03/28/2015

Eagle Scout Launches Petition To End Discriminatory BSA Policy Targeting His Gay Identical Twin: VIDEO

Liam Easton-Calabria

In support of his gay identical twin brother, August Easton-Calabriaand has launched a Change.org petition asking the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to end a policy preventing openly gay people participating in the organization once they turn eighteen, reports The Advocate.

August and his brother Liam (above) grew up as part of the BSA. Both reached the rank of Eagle Scout last year.

Bsa-logoThe petition reads in part:

“I am straight. Liam is gay. In the eyes of the BSA, I am worthy to share Scouting with my children, but he is not. This heartbreaking consequence for Liam, me, and our parents goes against all I learned in Scouting.

“In the face of the National Council’s continuing prejudice against gay and lesbian parents and volunteers, it is up to individuals and local Councils to demonstrate support for dropping the anti-gay ban. That is why I am calling on my local Council to follow the lead of other Councils across the country and speak out for change.”

The petition is now close to receiving 25,000 signatures.

Watch the short documentary Clipped Wings which tells Liam's story and follows Geoff McGrath, a scoutmaster who was ejected from scouting because of his sexuality, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Eagle Scout Launches Petition To End Discriminatory BSA Policy Targeting His Gay Identical Twin: VIDEO"

Posted Mar. 28,2015 at 8:00 AM EST by in Boy Scouts, Discrimination, Gay Youth, Video, YouTube | Permalink | Comments (7)


03/27/2015

Dallas Mayoral Candidate, Anti-LGBT Activist Arrested For Spray-Painting '666' On Gay Landmarks: VIDEO

Sheridan

A mayoral candidate and longtime anti-LGBT activist has been arrested and charged with spray-painting "666" on two gay landmarks in Dallas

Richard Sheridan (below), 66, who is running for mayor in May, is charged with vandalizing the Legacy of Love Monument (above) and the Cathedral of Hope (below) last June. 

The monument, in the heart of Dallas' gayborhood, and the church — known as the world's largest LGBT congregation — were among 12 sites in the city vandalized with "the number of the beast" in red paint. 

However, Sheridan thus far is charged in only two of the incidents. A grand jury indicted Sheridan for a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years behind bars. If prosecutors treat the case as an anti-gay hate crime, the charges could be enhanced to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

The Dallas Morning News reports: 

SheridanIn August, police told The Dallas Morning News that Sheridan was the only person who’d been questioned in the case. Sheridan maintained he didn’t do it: “I’m not guilty, I’m not guilty, I’m not guilty,” he told our Tristan Hallman on August 14 in the lobby of Dallas police headquarters. But Sheridan said he knew who did — and that he agreed with the tags. He also said that despite what police were saying, the tags were “not a hate crime [but] an act of love — and a warning.”

Sheridan, who frequently distributes anti-gay leaflets around Dallas City Hall and has been escorted out of council chambers more than once, took to his Facebook page last summer to admit to having been interviewed twice. He insisted he was merely “representing the person who did it.” In an open letter to Dallas police on August 2, Sheridan claimed that the person who actually tagged the locations “recognizes that there are some in the Gay community, the rabid faction, that wants vengence [sic], wants a ‘scalp’, wants to hang him out to dry, wants to send a message across Dallas and the Nation that (if they get their way) this is what will happen to anyone who dares to call out the immorality of the Gay lifestyle, to reference the Bible in saying that the Gay community is violating Gods laws.”

More from NBCDFW.com

“At no time did he admit to being the person that committed these offenses, but he also did not deny that to be the case either,” said assistant chief Randy Blankenberger. ... 

"We also believe that it is likely that Mr. Sheridan selected these locations due to their connection or significant to the LGBT community," Blankenberger said. ...

"These types of crime, that appear to be targeting people based on their sexual orientation or because of their race or religion, those types of crimes are important to the police department to solve," Blankenberger said. "So we can send a message that everyone is inclusive in the police community."

Watch NBCDFW.com's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Dallas Mayoral Candidate, Anti-LGBT Activist Arrested For Spray-Painting '666' On Gay Landmarks: VIDEO"

Posted Mar. 27,2015 at 8:00 PM EST by in Dallas, Gay Rights, Hate Crime, LGBT Rights, Texas | Permalink | Comments (17)


Michigan Civil Rights Commission Endorses Model Local LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 1.29.36 PMThe Michigan Civil Rights Commission endorsed a model local non-discrimination ordinance that covers sexual orientation and gender identity at a meeting held at the Holocaust Memorial Center on Monday reports the Daily Reporter. The ordinance states that no one should be denied "civil rights or be discriminated against," on the basis of gender expression, identity and sexual orientation. The model also bars bias based on education, age, disability, race, sex, religion, weight, national origin, marriage or family status. Commission Chairman Arthur Horwitz stated that the ordinance is designed to provide a more cohesive anti-discrimination view for over 30 Michigan municipalities.

Said Horwitz:

"The concept of developing a model non-discrimination ordinance grew from the fact that more than 30 Michigan municipalities have non-discrimination ordinances that vary significantly in their structure, wording and scope... developed model language that municipalities could access if, in their own discretion, they decided they wanted a starting point for their own discussions and deliberations."

In a January appearance before the commission, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder expressed hope that the GOP-controlled Michigan legislature would continue discussing a bill to add protections for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people to the state civil rights law. However, House Speaker Kevin Cotter, a Midland Republican and American Family Association of Michigan leader, believes the measure is unnecessary saying that gay and gender identity laws are a "solution in search of a nonexistent problem," and that they "have a history of themselves being discriminatory" in forcing people to choose between their morals or religious beliefs.

Posted Mar. 27,2015 at 7:30 PM EST by in American Family Association, Bisexual, Detroit, Gay Rights, Law - Gay, LGBT, Michigan, Republican Party, Transgender | Permalink | Comments (2)


Anti-Gay Activist Bill Whatcott Leaves Canada To Bring Hate To The Philippines: VIDEO

Bill_Whatcott_protesting_outside_Calgary_courthouse

Anti-gay Christian activist Bill Whatcott has moved to the Philippines after claiming that he was forced to leave Canada.

Last year, Whatcott and fellow wingnut Peter LaBarbera were arrested at the University of Regina, Canada for displaying materials the university described as "graphic" and against the institution’s policy.

Whatcott was also sued after he claimed that LGBT activists were trying to recruit children via the public school system.

Praising his good works in the name of god, Whatcott said:

“My ministry to Canada has come to an end, at least for the foreseeable future. Now, I am in the Philippines with my wife.

“I have pretty much given the last quarter century of my life to fighting for a Judeo Christian vision for Canada, especially in the areas of life, sexuality and family.

“While the path I chose was somewhat controversial, devastating to my secular career prospects in Canada, and indeed a path that rendered me a pariah in the eyes of many, I am quite happy with some of what I accomplished.   

“My efforts in defending Canada against the homosexual onslaught has been less successful in my view, perhaps more costly on a personal level, though these efforts have not been completely in vain.”

Whatcott estimates he handed out at least half a million anti-gay fliers in Canada since 2002. This material claimed that public schools were enabling the “recruitment” of children. One pamphlet said that children would be taught “how wonderful it is for two men to sodomize each other.”

Watch The Daily Show rip the piss out of Whatcott in 2012, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Activist Bill Whatcott Leaves Canada To Bring Hate To The Philippines: VIDEO"

Posted Mar. 27,2015 at 7:00 PM EST by in Activism, Canada, Evangelical Christians, Peter LaBarbera, Religion, The Daily Show, Video | Permalink | Comments (22)


Williams Institute Planning A Massive Study Of Trans Health Needs

2013_Rally_for_Transgender_Equality_21166

The Williams Institute at UCLA is partnering with Columbia University and the Fenway Institute to conduct what they hope will be one of the most comprehensive studies of the US’s transgender and gender non-conforming populations to date. “TransPop: U.S. Transgender Population Health Survey,” as the research team is calling it, plans to gather vital information about the health concerns of the trans community, and create a more representative model of just what our trans population looks like.

“Timely and accurate data about the transgender population is crucial for designing evidence-based public health and policy interventions,” said TransPop’s lead researcher Ilan H. Meyer, a senior scholar of public policy with the Williams Institute. “With awareness about transgender people growing in the public and among researchers and policymakers, there are new opportunities to establish policies that address the needs of transgender people in the United States.”

One of the biggest obstacles impeding the creation of more widespread initiatives to provide health and social services to the trans-community is the fact we don’t collect a lot of information about them. The information that we do collect, according to the researchers behind this new study, tends to be shot through with a certain degree of statistical inaccuracies due to research methodology.

Most large-scale, survey-based studies of LGBT-identified people are distributed through organizations queer social networks and organizations. While gathering information that way is incredibly useful and effective volume-wise, it runs the risk of skewing sample data by not pulling from a pool that accurately reflects the broader population.

For example, if you weren’t in a position to take advantage in your city’s trans-outreach efforts or if your city simply didn’t have them, there’s a strong chance that you could be missed by a targeted study. That’s one of the issues facing the oft-cited, but rarely understood populations of “at-risk” trans-youth, many of whom are made virtually invisible to studies like these by the fact that they aren’t connected to larger LGBT social networks.

Rather than specifically targeting the trans-population directly through trans-rights organizations and community organizers, TransPop’s researchers plan to work their way from the top down, partnering with Gallup to initially survey about 350,000 over the course of a year.

By starting with a comparatively large sample population and whittling it down to those who identify as trans or gender non-conforming, TransPop aims to draw a more accurate picture of what the US’s trans community looks like and what it is that they need. Ultimately the TransPop team estimates that they’ll gather responses from about 300-500 people, but the responses that those people give could change the way that we think of the trans-population.

Posted Mar. 27,2015 at 6:31 PM EST by in Health, News, Transgender | Permalink | Comments (16)


California Attorney General Kamala Harris Steps In To Block Monstrous 'Sodomite Suppression Act'

HarrisIn late February Matt McLaughlin, a practicing attorney based in Huntington Beach, California, began collecting signatures and processing paperwork that would allow him to put up his “Sodomite Suppression Act” for a statewide referendum. The tone of the proposal language in McLaughlin’s proposed bill is like a cross between the rhetoric of a religious conservative and a draconian “Kill The Gays” bill.

"Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God's just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst,” The proposal reads. “The People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method."

Unsurprisingly, there is a Change.org petition in place agitating for his disbarring.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is fighting back to keep the bill from ever making its way to a ballot vote. Though Harris is currently in the process of ramping up her bid for Barbara Boxer’s vacant Senate seat, she felt it her duty to stop the ridiculous law in its tracks before it was even fully formed.

“This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible and has no place in a civil society,” Harris explained. “Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the [Sacramento County Superior] Court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the 'Sodomite Suppression Act.' If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism.”

In accordance with California’s direct democracy style of legislating McLaughlin has had 180 days since February 26th to collect over 360,000 signatures in support of his bill. Though it’s highly unlikely that he would have ever been able to meet all of the requirements by his deadline, Harris’s move to attempt to block him entirely is admirable, if somewhat driven by her current Senatorial aspirations.

Posted Mar. 27,2015 at 6:00 PM EST by in California | Permalink | Comments (33)


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