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U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu Introduces Federal Bill That Would Ban Ex-Gay Reparative Therapy

Lieu

LGBT conversion therapy would be considered fraud and outlawed in all 50 states through the Federal Trade Commission under a proposal introduced by a California Democrat on Tuesday. 

As a member of the California Legislature, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu authored the Golden State's ban on conversion therapy to change people's sexual orientation. However, his federal "Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act" would go further than the California law, applying to people of all ages and not just those under 18. The proposal would also explicitly prohibit therapy to change people's gender identity, an idea that has gained momentum in the wake of the death of Leelah Alcorn.  

BuzzFeed News reports: 

“The public views conversion therapy as quackery, as something that harms people,” Lieu told BuzzFeed News on Monday afternoon, just after landing back in D.C. from California. “Eventually, I believe Congress will catch up to that, but you do need to start somewhere, so that’s why we’re introducing this legislation.”

He faces an uphill battle: The legislation, which would label conversion therapy an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” that would be illegal under the Federal Trade Commission Act, is being introduced with less than three dozen co-sponsors — all of whom are Democrats.

Lieu does, however, have a powerful ally in his effort. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has signed on as an original co-sponsor of the bill.

California, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, D.C. are the only jurisdictions that have passed laws banning conversion therapy, but only for minors. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama came out in support of banning the discredited practice. 

David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, said the following of Lieu's bill: 

“This vitally important legislation has the potential to save countless lives across this country by helping to end a practice that uses fear and shame to tell LGBT people the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. We’re proud to work alongside Congressman Lieu and our partners to send a different message - a message of hope, acceptance, and love where such a demeaning and destructive practice isn’t promoted as useful therapy. Ending this harmful profit-making practice is something that all of Congress should be able to rally behind.”


Openly Gay Basketball Player Derrick Gordon Transferring To Anti-LGBT Catholic University: VIDEO

Gordon

The first openly gay Division I men's basketball player in history is transferring to a school with an anti-LGBT reputation. 

Derrick Gordon, who came out last April while playing at UMass, announced Sunday he is transferring to Seton Hall University, a Roman Catholic school in New Jersey:

Seton Hall is an interesting choice for Gordon given that, as we reported Sunday, the local archbishop just fired the school's campus priest Warren Hall (pictured below) for a pro-LGBT tweet. OutSports notes that Seton Hall has also faced lawsuits from a gay student who claimed discrimination and for refusing to allow an LGBT group. 

From The New York Daily News

HallGordon, speaking on the school’s radio station Sunday night, said he was aware of the firing, but felt comfortable on the South Orange campus.

“When I visited the campus today everybody made me feel comfortable,” Gordon told WSOU. “I was there with my family. They made me feel comfortable to the point where it was a safe environment, even with the situation that happened with the priest two days ago. It felt like a family environment, and that was very big for me in my book. The visit went better than what I expected.” ... 

Gordon told USA Today on Sunday that he was not being recruited by some schools because of his sexuality, but that was not the case at Seton Hall.

“As long as I’m accepted, that’s all that really matters to me,” Gordon told the radio station. “We’re all in a society now where there are people who accept it and people who don’t accept it. Regardless of where I go, it’s always going to be like that.”

OutSports' Cyd Ziegler writes that Seton Hall's decision to pick up Gordon is a sign of progress:  

Ultimately, this had nothing to do with Gordon as a "gay athlete." The school chose to make a "basketball decision." Seton Hall could use the help. A strong program in the late Eighties and early Nineties, the men's basketball team has struggled in the Big East over the last decade. The team hasn't made it to the NCAA basketball tournament since 2006 and has won more than 20 games only once since 2004. The last time the Pirates were in the Sweet Sixteen, Gordon was in third grade. ... 

It's another strong sign of a changing tide in sports. While Michael Sam is still not on an NFL team, he was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys after being released by the Rams last summer. Jason Collins was signed by the Brooklyn Nets after he came out publicly. Former professional rugby player Gareth Thomas was picked up by the Crusaders Rugby League in 2010 after he came out.

Yet the move by Seton Hall might be the most telling. Gordon is at the height of his basketball career, and the school needs him. Seton Hall is a Catholic school with an anti-LGBT history, and Gordon needs the school.

Watch a video in which Gordon talks about his coming out last year, AFTER THE JUMP ...  

Continue reading "Openly Gay Basketball Player Derrick Gordon Transferring To Anti-LGBT Catholic University: VIDEO" »


Suspended Anti-Gay New Jersey Teacher Viki Knox Drops Reinstatement Bid: VIDEO

Viki knox

Viki Knox, a former high school teacher who was suspended for posting anti-gay comments on Facebook in 2011, has dropped her bid for reinstatement, reports CBS New York.

Knox’s comments referred to homosexuality as a “perverted spirit” that “breeds like cancer”.

Her attorney filed notice with the U.S. District Court in Newark on Tuesday.

Speaking to CBS 2 regarding the controversy in 2011, the former teacher’s husband Gene said:

“Everybody’s entitled to an opinion. They can persecute her, but they can’t prosecute her.”

However, Knox was suspended without pay following an investigation and resigned several months later, citing health problems.

In 2013 Knox sued the school district for religious and racial discrimination, free speech violations and denial of due process.

The lawsuit, which is continuing in federal court, seeks compensatory and punitive damages and back pay.

Watch the 2011 interview in which Gene Knox supports his wife, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Suspended Anti-Gay New Jersey Teacher Viki Knox Drops Reinstatement Bid: VIDEO" »


NJ High School Wrestling Champion Alec Donovan Comes Out as Gay: VIDEO

Donovan

New Jersey's high school state wrestling champion Alec Donovan, "ranked in the top 25 of high school wrestlers in his weight class in the nation," has come out as gay, Outsports reports:

2_donovanAt the time this story is published, Donovan is on a recruiting trip at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Other schools - in addition to Limestone College - have come calling as well.

For Donovan, the importance of being with a program that wants him for who he is - and the opportunity to help other LGBT athletes walking down the path he was on just three years ago - far outweighs any risk this story might pose.

According to Outsports, Donovan came out on the Limestone College recruiting trip when a fellow recruit asked if he was bisexual:

"The rumor isn't true," Donovan told the other recruit. "I'm not bisexual... I'm gay."

The recruit was "cool with it" and found it fascinating. He asked Donovan if he could tell the guys on the Limestone team who were recruiting them. Donovan didn't care. He had accepted who he was. Fear had left him.

"It's better that everybody knows anyway, so I don't end up on a team that doesn't want me for all of me."

Donovan says that just three years ago he was considering suicide and made it through the next three years with the help of a friend and two fellow wrestlers he confided in about his sexual orientation.

He's now involved in an anti-bullying group at Brick Memorial High School and is trying to decide which college he'll wrestle at next year.

Watch Donovan's state champion final wrestling match, AFTER THE JUMP...

Donovan is the second high-profile wrestler to come out in recent months. In March, Ohio State National Champion Mike Pucillo came out as gay.

Continue reading "NJ High School Wrestling Champion Alec Donovan Comes Out as Gay: VIDEO" »


SCOTUS Rejects Liberty Counsel's Appeal Challenging NJ Ban on 'Ex-Gay' Conversion Therapy for Minors

The Supreme Court has turned down the hideously anti-gay Liberty Counsel's challenge to New Jersey's ban on "ex-gay" therapy for minors, the Washington Blade reports.

StaverThe U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals had previously upheld the constitutionality of the statute, prompting a petition before the Supreme Court.

Said Third Circuit Judge Dolores Sloviter following that earlier ruling: "The listener's right to receive information is reciprocal to the speaker's right to speak. The fundamental rights of parents do not include the right to choose a specific type of provider for a specific medical or mental health treatment that the state has reasonably deemed harmful."

The Blade notes the high court also declined to take up a lawsuit seeking gender reassignment surgery for a transgender inmate. 

 


Transgender Game Developer Commits Suicide After Enduring Persistent Cyberbullying

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A transgender game developer committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge last Thursday after enduring abuse from online trolls, Vocativ.com reports

Developer Rachel Bryk, who suffered chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, published a comment on a 4chan forum saying that she chose to withdraw from various sites after suffering persistent transphobic comments from fellow users. 

Just days before her death, Bryk wrote several suicide comments with other users mockingly responding to her with comments such as "jumping off a bridge isn’t rocket science," and, "good riddance." Bryk's work on Wii emulators earned her a supportive following online; her followers created memorial posts online in her honor with tributes to her work and prompting discussions of transphobia in online communities after Bryk's death. Bryk’s suicide follows the suicide of Fallbrook, Calif. trans teen Taylor Alesena on April 2 who posted a video to YouTube addressing the transphobia she faced at school.

(Photo via Facebook)


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