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Kentucky State Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Anti-trans Bathroom Bill for Students


Yesterday, the Kentucky Senate approved a bill that would require transgender students in the state to use the bathroom that matches their biological sex rather than their gender identification.

The vote was 27-9, with three Republicans joining Senate Democrats in opposing the bill. 

The Courier-Journal reports:

EmbryRepublican Sen. C.B. Embry (right), the bill's sponsor, calls it a "common sense" approach to guide school administrators and safeguard privacy in areas where students are in a state of undress. Supporters argue the rule also would help protect transgender students from bullying and harassment by providing separate accommodations.

But opponents charged Friday that lawmakers are yielding to fear and discrimination. They said the bill will strip flexibility from school districts and violate federal guidelines on civil rights for transgender students.

"We need to acknowledge that this is the civil rights issue of our current time, and today this Senate has failed the people of Kentucky," said Sen. Reginald Thomas, a Democrat who warned that the legislation would "cast a shroud of darkness" over the Senate.

Under the legislation, transgender students must either use the bathroom of their biological sex or seek special accommodations such as a faculty or unisex bathroom. 

The Lexington Herald-Leader has background on why the bill was introduced in the first place:

The bill stems from a controversy last year at Atherton, where a transgender student who was born male identified as a female and wanted to use the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms.

A controversy arose, and the school eventually adopted a policy of letting students use bathrooms based on their gender identity. The decision was backed by the school's site-based council and a Jefferson County Public Schools appeals committee. 

The bill now heads to the Democrat-controlled House, where Speaker Greg Stumbo has already indicated he isn't interested in taking up the bill and "deciding where kids can go to the bathroom."

Donatella Versace Reflects on the Death of Gianni 18 Years Later: VIDEO


The NYT pays a visit to the studio of Donatella Versace, to discuss how she keeps the brand relevant, and the loss of her brother, which she still feels deeply:

"When my brother died, and the way he died, I had to show strength. I had to show, 'we're going to do it. don't worry.' I was living my pain in public, and I couldn't show my pain, to anybody. This office, this space we're in now, reflects really me, and my emotions. The ones I don't show to anybody...Nobody believes me but I'm not a very secure person. You know, I question everything I am. My vulnerability was always hidden. I was going home and crying, but closing the room, because I didn't lose the king of fashion, which he was. In that moment, I lost my brother."


Continue reading "Donatella Versace Reflects on the Death of Gianni 18 Years Later: VIDEO" »

News: SCOTUS, Uganda, Blogger, Blade Runner 2, Scarlett Johansson

Road Same-sex couples in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee have filed their briefs with the Supreme Court asking it to strike down bans on gay marriage. 

Road Scarlett Johansson defends John Travolta's awkward Oscar kiss.

Road KellyKelly Clarkson reveals she will never ever ever show her daughter the American Idol atrocity From Justin to Kelly

Road West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael says there's "no way" he'll consider an Arkansas-style bill that would nullify local LGBT protections

Road New human rights report documents numerous cases of Ugandan gay men being abused by police.

Road A ban on "ex-gay" conversion therapy has been introduced in the Minnesota Senate. 

Road Jason Collins defends Michael Sam's decision to join the cast of Dancing with the Stars

Road Google is backtracking on its initial plan to ban sexually explicit content from Blogger. 

Road Love Cards Against Humanity but want some variety in your adult board game nights? Check out the Kickstarter for OdiousLists - an R-rated spin on the classic Scattergories from openly gay gamemaker Ken Goff. 

Road Madonna reveals she suffered whiplash from her BRIT Awards tumble.

Road Neil Patrick Harris treats himself to some post-Oscars Tiffany's.

Road More celebrities react to Leonard Nimoy's passing. 

OliverRoad How John Oliver saved the internet. "And while the three-to-two partisan vote handed a stunning victory to the advocates of net neutrality, Wheeler’s about-face in some ways reveals how comedic takes on the news by the Jon Stewarts of the world can be more influential than the Brian Williamses and more “serious” coverage of wonky subjects that nevertheless have profound social effect. 'John Oliver absolutely helped turn the tide in the net-neutrality debate,' says Aram Sinnreich, professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information in New Brunswick, New Jersey."

Road 15 people who could host the Oscars next year

Road The Washington Post examines the days leading up to Missouri GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich's suicide. 

Road In honor of #theDress, here are 12 optical illusions that show you how color can trick the eye

Road Harrison Ford will return for Blade Runner 2

San Francisco Archbishop's 'Purity Test' Would Punish Teachers for Posting Photos of Their Gay Son's Wedding


Earlier this month, we reported on San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's new "purity test" for Catholic schools that threatens termination for teachers who give any statement that contradicts church doctrine, including holding a position that homosexuality is anything other than "gravely evil."

Drunk driver Cordileone's anti-gay crusade goes even further, however, as The New York Times reports:

Part of the focus here and elsewhere appears to be online sharing of photos and personal opinions. A number of morality clauses in other dioceses express such concerns, specifying that teachers may not post anything on Facebook or Twitter that contradicts church teachings.

Archbishop Cordileone said that teachers who crossed doctrinal lines would be dealt with “on a case-by-case basis.” Asked if a teacher could post photos on Facebook of her gay son’s wedding, he said that “if someone was upset and reported it,” then “the person with the Facebook page would have to be talked to.”

A protest vigil against the new "purity test" was held outside St. Mary's Cathedral earlier this month. 

Russian Government Takes Revenge on Lesbians Who Kiss-Trolled Anti-Gay Politician


In early February we reported on a pair of lesbians who found themselves on a plane with Russia's leading anti-gay politician Vitaly Milonov, and decided to troll him by capturing him in a photo in which they were kissing. They then posted the photo to social media where it went viral.

The couple owns Infinity, a lesbian nightclub in St. Petersburg.

MilonovNow, the action has cost them in a big way, Global Voices reports:

Milonov didn’t find the stunt very amusing, however. He called the girls “crazy little morons” and said he was “ashamed for their parents, who raised such idiots.”

Two days later, on February 3, an anti-gay online community based in Moscow and St. Petersburg published a call to get Infinity closed down. The group posted instructions and a scripted complaint to be sent to the district attorney, demanding that police shut down the lesbian nightclub. Community members were also encouraged to appeal to Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state-run media watchdog, and federal anti-drug agents, based on claims that Infinity opens its doors to minors and operates as a center for illegal drug use.

The anti-gay group, called Moscow Isn’t Sodom and Petersburg Isn’t Gomorrah, claims that at least 524 of the club’s 30,000 VKontakte community members are underage, making the “propagation of homosexuality” a federal crime. Access to Infinity’s VKontakte group is restricted to members, making it difficult to verify accusations that it caters to minors.

Those who want the nightclub shut down are instructed to convey their concerns to police. “I have every reason to believe,” the scripted complaint reads, “that the promotional activities carried out at the lesbian club Infinity pose a serious threat to the physical and mental health of minors who manage to enter the establishment.”

Infinity was raided as a direct result of the kissing selfie. Whether or not the club will be shut for good is not clear.

Has Jeb Bush Privately 'Evolved' on Gay Marriage?


With the race for the White House in 2016 already underway, various exploratory committees are hard at work vying for the biggest slice of the campaign fundraiser pie in this crazy post-Citizens United political landscape we find ourselves in. Heavyweight contender Jeb Bush has been doing quite well in this regard, and is reportedly aiming to raise $100 million before he formally enters the race sometime later this year. Helping the former Florida governor reach this goal are a number of donors with left-leaning sensibilities on social issues, a reality that isn't sitting well with the party's "anti" crowd.

Naturally, the influx of these donors has raised questions about were exactly Bush stands on certain divisive social issues. Like President Obama, we've seen Bush tweak his public stance on issues like gay marriage in order to make himself a more palatable candidate for the electorate to swallow. Following marriage equality's arrival in Florida last month, for example, Bush issued a calculated statement saying:

"We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty."

And while the statement is far from a ringing endorsement on LGBT equality, it's still light years ahead of his dismissal of "sodomy" rights back in the 1990s. It's clear Bush is positioning himself as the moderate of the 2016 GOP pack - a strategy that appears to be working in his favor financially.

Donors, however, seem increasingly convinced that Bush (again like Obama circa 2008) is even more evolved on the issue of LGBT rights privately than he is publicly. 

Buzzfeed reports:

But inside Bush’s orbit, some believe his personal feelings on the subject may have evolved beyond his on-the-record statements. Three Republican supporters who have recently spoken with Bush as he’s blitzed the GOP fundraising circuit told BuzzFeed News they came away with the impression that on the question of marriage equality, he was supportive at best and agnostic at worst.

“He wants to do the respectful, human thing,” said one of the Republicans, a donor who requested anonymity to comment on private conversations.

If, as many observers expect, the Supreme Court rules this June to extend marriage rights to all same-sex couples nationwide, some of Bush’s pro-gay donors are hoping he will use the moment to fully pivot toward an embrace of marriage equality — turning himself into the first serious pro-gay GOP presidential candidate.

“His thinking appears to have evolved,” said David Aufhauser, a former senior Treasury official who co-hosted a fundraiser for Bush earlier this month in Virginia. Aufhauser, well known in GOP circles for his gay rights advocacy, stressed that he doesn’t speak for Bush, but contended that the candidate would benefit from opening up about how he now views the marriage issue. 

If Bush does decide to open up more about the marriage issue in the future, it will likely be with the help of his soon-to-be communications director Tim Miller, an openly gay man

What do you think? 


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