LGBT Stories Hub

Ricky Skaggs: Gay Country Stars Accepted Because 'We Are All Sinners' - WATCH

Ricky Skaggs

Ricky Skaggs has the (reasonably) healthy view that gay country singers are accepted by the industry because “we are all sinners”, reports TMZ.

Religion aside, Skaggs seems genuine when he says that although it's "not what my heart is about," he hopes recently out country singers Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman will be accepted by the industry.


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Dedicated Transgender Hotline Aims To Stem Epidemic Of Suicides Like Texas Teen Alex DeChiara's


After relentless bullying at her high school in Texas, transgender teen Alex DeChiara (above) transferred to an alternative school in April. 

But switching schools cut 17-year-old Alex off from her closest friends and her biggest passion: working with special-needs children at Euless Trinity High School, in a conservative suburb of Fort Worth. Alex hoped to one day become a teacher for autistic kids. 

After Alex transferred schools, administrators at Euless Trinity even barred her from campus and threatened her with arrest when she tried to visit. Faced with loneliness and a deepening depression, Alex felt she had nowhere to turn. On May 8, she hung herself from a tree in her family's backyard. 

Alex's father, Rick DeChiara, who came home from work to find Alex and had to cut her down from the tree, told the Texas Observer this week he feels there are a fair amount of resources dedicated to gay youth. But he added: “As far as transgender awareness kind of stuff, that’s a different story. I don’t think that’s quite as popular, as out there in the open.” 

MartelaNow, a San Francisco-based group is hoping to help change that — and to stem the epidemic of trangender suicides like Alex's. According to Greta Gustava Martela (right), the founder of Trans Lifeline, half of people who are openly transgender will attempt suicide at least once in their lives. 

Trans Lifeline is a first-of-its-kind, nonprofit crisis and suicide hotline staffed by transgender people. 

“There are a ton of suicide hotlines. There’s no shortage of them,” Martela told “But it’s really difficult to get a person who isn’t trans to understand what it’s like to be trans.”

According to Trans Lifeline's website: "Our hotline is staffed by the true experts on transgender experience, transgender people themselves. Our volunteers are all trans identified and educated in the range of difficulties transgender people experience." 

Although the hotline's goal is to prevent self-harm, it is open to any transgender person in need — as well as the parents of transgender children. 

After a surge in calls thanks to the story this week, Martela launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for training for additional volunteers. Those interested in volunteering for Trans Lifeline can learn more here. 

The hotline covers the US and Canada and is staffed by volunteers outside the Bay Area.

For those in crisis, the number is 877-565-8860





Reports Show LGBT People Living Under ISIS Control in Iraq Are 'At Imminent Risk Of Death'

Iraq Map

Two publications released yesterday report that LGBT people in Iraq are experiencing levels of persecution that puts many at imminent risk of death, reports the Washington Blade.

IGLHRCThe reports by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), international women’s human rights group MADRE and the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) show that while the conflict in Iraq has placed hundreds of thousands of citizens at risk of serious human rights abuses, LGBT individuals continue to be among the least protected of all groups.

A briefing paper entitled When Coming Out is a Death Sentence, documents violence and serious human rights abuses against LGBT individuals perpetrated by relatives, tribal factions and Islamist militias and vigilantes.

The briefing concludes that LGBT Iraqis are among the least protected groups in terms of the escalating threats to safety because their persecutors range widely across society-at-large; they have little to no protection from family, community or government; their physical appearance may put them at risk in public; they face hostility in refugee circumstances; and their movement has been curtailed by the conflict.

MadreThough little concrete information is known about the situation for LGBT people in the areas controlled by ISIS, it is known that the group prescribes death for individuals engaged in same-sex activities.

Jessica Stern, executive director of IGLHRC, said:

Stern“LGBT Iraqis are in a desperate situation that demands action. Many Iraqis face violence and serious human rights abuses but LGBT Iraqis, reviled across large segments of society, have none of the protection that can come from families, tribes and the community-at-large. Now, many LGBT Iraqis literally must hide to protect themselves. Exposure can mean death in the chaos of present-day Iraq.”

Yifat Susskind, executive director of MADRE, added:

Susskind“Human rights advocates, in Iraq and across the world, are banding together to sound the alarm. Respect for all human rights, indivisible and universal, demands that we stand up for LGBT people who are in grave danger now. This struggle, to defend all who are targeted for their gender and sexuality, is central to securing human rights for all people.”

IGLHRC, MADRE and OWFI have made recommendations for how foreign embassies, relief organizations, donor countries and others can protect lives.

These recommendations include:

  • Pushing the Iraqi government to lift the prohibition on civil society organizations operating shelters for those fleeing violence and increase resettlement spaces for LGBT individuals.

  • Expediting appeals for gay and transgender people who want to leave the country.

  • Monitoring reports of ongoing violence against gay Iraqis with the goal of urgently expanding protections.

  • Holding militias accountable for harassment and abuse of individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Australian Liberal MP Don Harwin Comes Out as Gay In Emotional Speech to Colleagues

In a speech to the New South Wales Legislative Council today, Australian Liberal MP Don Harwin has revealed that he is gay, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Don harwinHarwin, the president of the upper house, came out in a Christmas message on the last sitting day of Parliament for the year.

In the emotional speech, Harwin said he rejoiced in the opportunities available to young gay and lesbian people today:

"Life is so different for them than it was for me. Much has been achieved since then, and perhaps my travails in less happy times gave me the determination I needed to pursue this role."

He added:

"It is remarkable how quickly public opinion has shifted and, indeed, our house has voted to support marriage equality in principle. I hope that my many friends who are waiting for the opportunity to marry will not have to wait too much longer for the Commonwealth Parliament to reform the law."

Following the speech, Harwin said he has been out to parents, friends, and work colleagues for almost 20 years. Harwin joins Labor's Penny Sharpe and Helen Westwood, Liberal Bruce Notley-Smith and independent Alex Greenwich as one of the few out politicians in New South Wales.

Last month, the New South Wales parliament passed new legislation that will allow people convicted under the country’s old laws criminalizing homosexuality to have their records expunged.

International Olympic Committee Proposes End To Anti-Gay Discrimination - READ


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced a proposal to include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination language in Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter, reports The Advocate.

The IOC received criticism from LGBT advocacy groups for hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, given the country’s national law against “gay propaganda”. During the the games, the IOC appeared to defend the arrests and beating of LGBT activists.

Principle 6 currently states:

“Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

Supporting the proposal, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said:

“No athlete or fan should face fear of discrimination because of who they love. The International Olympic Committee must seize this opportunity to protect Olympic attendees and affirm its commitment to equality across the globe.”

The IOC will vote on this and 39 other proposed amendments in December.

Read the full report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Kansas City Royals Marketing Executive Matt Schulte Comes Out as Gay - VIDEO


Matt Schulte, marketing coordinator for Major League Baseball team Kansas City Royals, has come out in an interview with Outsports. 

As the Royals made their unexpected run through the playoffs this year, Schulte began exploring the idea of coming out. Through conversations with other out gay people in sports he saw a side of sports that was inclusive of gay people.

As team victories mounted this year and the elusive World Series drew near, his confidence grew and he began to find inner pride in a way he had never experienced before.

Although coming out to his father and stepmother had been a positive experience, doing so in the macho environment of Major League Baseball was a whole different matter.

"To walk into my boss's office, how do I set it up? Do I give them a warning? Do I spring it on them? I'm still not even totally comfortable with saying the words, 'I'm gay.'"

Still not knowing how to address the topic with co-workers and friends, he decided to share his story publicly via Outsports.

Watch Matt talk about his lifelong connection with Kansas City Royals, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continuing a positive recent trend, professional strongman Rob Kearney came out earlier this year as did Sky Sports presenter Mark McAdam.

[photo via Facebook]

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