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Ohio Gay Teen Crowned Homecoming Queen

Cooper robar

A high school in Lakewood, Ohio, has crowned a gay male student as homecoming queen, reports Cleveland.com.

Last September, a transgender student in Huntington Beach, California, was crowned homecoming queen. In August 2013, two out gay students in Illinois were named homecoming king and queen.

Instead of naming a traditional king and queen, Lakewood High School decided to crown three people after Cooper Robar won the race for homecoming queen. Also named as members of “royalty” were Tess Jones, who received the most votes among girls, and Xavier Pedro, who was elected king.

Cooper’s mother Wendy explained that what started out as a joke turned into a statement on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community:

"It was him being a goofball and saying wouldn't it be fun if he could be queen. I was pretty shocked [that we won]. I was surprised by the roaring of applause and the yelling for Cooper….We are very proud of him being able to stand up for himself and tell the world he is who he is and have no misgivings about it.”

She added that although Cooper is popular at school, she was surprised he didn't encounter any serious backlash from critics.

Lakewood Principal Keith Ahearn said there was nothing in the rules preventing a boy from running as queen and deciding to name three members of royalty was the fairest way to handle the situation.


PHILIPPINES: Quezon City Council Bans LGBT Discrimination, Includes Affirmative Action

Quezon cityQuezon City Council has become the latest Philippines city to approve an ordinance banning discrimination against LGBT people, reports FRIDAE.

Late last month, Agusan del Norte passed a similar anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) that protects people irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

The ordinance was passed unanimously on September 29th.

The ADO improves on a 2003 resolution preventing discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace by providing venues to educate employers and educators on the rights of LGBT individuals.

Praising the inclusion of affirmative action in the ADO, Ging Cristobal, project coordinator for the Asia Pacific region of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and vice chairperson of the Quezon City Pride Council, said it will also be useful to everyone in the community, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

In an interview with Philippines LGBT magazine Outrage, Quezon Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte highlighted the importance of an ordinance that will protect the rights of LGBT individuals:

“There are many LGBT [people] in our city, and I believe they are such a strong and important force in our city’s progress and development. There’s so much they can do for the city if we help them.”

 


Hillsborough County, Florida Extends Non-Discrimination Protections To LGBT Citizens - VIDEO

Kevin beckner

Florida’s Hillsborough County Commission voted Wednesday to extend its Human Rights Ordinance to protect LGBT citizens, reports The Tampa Tribune.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, real estate transactions and county contracting and procurement.

The unanimous 7-0 vote reverses a 1995 decision that removed gay people from the county’s protection ordinance.

Several speakers at the commission meeting opposed extending protections to LGBT citizens. One speaker referred to homosexality as a “disfunction” and suggested that to extend protections would lead to special rights for pedophiles.

The vote was a victory for Kevin Beckner, the county's first out gay commissioner, who had assembled a business coalition in support of the amended ordinance, making it easier for some of the more-conservative commissioners to vote yes.

Members of the coalition argued that a more inclusive and diverse community is also more prosperous and attractive to highly trained workers.

Terry Wolfe, a resident who spoke in favor of the ordinance, said that the vote “goes a long way toward creating a climate of equality” in the county.

Watch a report on the leadup to the vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hillsborough County, Florida Extends Non-Discrimination Protections To LGBT Citizens - VIDEO" »


Russia Ends U.S. Student Exchange Program, Blames Elderly Michigan Gay Couple

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov

Russia has canceled a foreign exchange program with the U.S., alleging that a gay couple persuaded a man to stay with them and apply for asylum, reports The Guardian.

FlexSince 1992, the state department-financed Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) has brought 23,000 students aged 15 to 17 from Russia and former Soviet countries to study in U.S. schools and live with local families for one academic year.

Human rights organisations have accused the Russian government of promoting discrimination following the introduction of a "gay propaganda" law last year.

Announcing the end of the country’s participation in FLEX, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov [pictured above] said the couple became the legal guardians of the Russian student, after the student left his host family and stayed in the U.S. when the school year ended in May.

According to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass, the student met the couple - elderly veterans who had previously adopted two American boys - in church and the men offered to become his immigration sponsors and pay for him to study at Harvard University.

Astakhov explained on Twitter that the cancellation came about because of a “gross violation by the host country, the United States, of the obligation to unconditionally return students from Russia who travel there to study.”

In an interview with the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, he added that the student moved in with the two men in Michigan, “and they gradually developed – how can I say this carefully – close friendly relations.”

Anton Meshkov, a former FLEX student, said the fact that 15 young people are thought to have stayed in the U.S. after the program ended was not a “serious reason to take away the chance to travel from hundreds of kids”.

“It’s absurd to suppose that the program could facilitate the seduction of young Russians. As a participant in this program myself, I know what a serious selection process host families go through.”

Last year, Astakhov vowed he would do everything possible to ensure that Russian orphans were only adopted by heterosexual couples. 


Controversy Surrounds Screening Of Gay Teen Documentary in Russia - VIDEO

404 film

A Russian television channel has created controversy surrounding the screening of a documentary about gay teens last month at the Pacific Meridians festival in Vladivostok, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

According to People's Patriotic Channel, despite the 18+ rating of the documentary Deti 404 (Children 404), tickets to the screening were sold to minors without a proper ID check.

404404 refers to an online forum for Russian-speaking LGBTQ teens and to an error message displayed on Russian computer screens when people attempt to navigate to a web page that doesn't exist. 

People's Patriotic Channel claims that the documentary violates Russia's "gay propaganda" law.

A screening of the film in St Petersburg last April was disrupted by Orthodox Christian activists and police.

The festival's organizers have said the theater is to blame for the incident but added that the inclusion of the film into one of the festival's sections was important as it deals with a major social issue.

Festival programming director Natalia Timofeyeva said “this film is very useful because we are striving for a tolerant society in which people who are different can also exist.”

Watch a trailer for Deti 404, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Controversy Surrounds Screening Of Gay Teen Documentary in Russia - VIDEO" »


Pro-LGBT Republican Donors To Meet At Secret Washington Conference Today

Singer

Pro-LGBT Republican advocates are today to host the confidential and off-the-record American Unity Conference of high-dollar donors seeking to make the party more LGBT-inclusive, reports the Washington Blade.

The same advocates are behind the American Unity Fund and the American Unity PAC, related groups that seek to elect pro-LGBT Republican candidates and encourage party support for LGBT rights. Both organizations are funded by philanthropist and billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who backs LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)Singer - whose sone Andrew is gay - is also scheduled to deliver remarks this morning to kick off the event.

GriffinAccording to sources, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is due to speak at the event although his role will be limited to an introduction of Theodore Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general who was lead counsel in the federal lawsuit against California’s Proposition 8 and pending litigation challenging Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. 

Singer and Griffin have worked together on LGBT advocacy issues in the past. In January, HRC under Griffin organized two events on international LGBT rights with Singer at the World Economic Forum.  Americans for Workplace Opportunity, which was set up by Griffin as a collaborative project with other pro-LGBT groups to pass ENDA, also reportedly received a donation of $375,000 from Singer to encourage House members to vote for the bill.

Other scheduled speakers include Ken Mehlman, the former chair of the Republican National Committee who later came out as gay and has since worked to advance marriage equality; Rep. Charlie Dent, one of four House Republicans advocating for same-sex marriage and a House Republican co-sponsor of ENDA; and Dan Innis, a gay former dean of business at the University of New Hampshire who recently lost his bid to represent the state’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House.


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