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Anti-gay Pennsylvania High School Students Wear Flannel, Harass Peers To Protest National Day Of Silence: VIDEO

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A group of students at a Pennsylvania high school dissatisfied with the national Day of Silence event, which is designed to raise awareness of LGBT bullying, organized an "Anti-Gay Day" on Thursday before the Silence event on Friday, wearing flannel and writing the phrase "Anti-Gay" on their hands reports The Advocate. The national Day of Silence event is a largely peaceful event, but the students taking part in the "Anti-Gay Day," hung posters on LGBT students lockers and physically harassed LBGT peers within the hallways of McGuffey High School.

The group utilized social media to spread the event, posting pictures of themselves in flannel and planned on enacting additional anti-gay events with the first event lasting a full week. Groups like Focus on the Family and the Illinois Family Institute have organized several of their own anti-gay day events such as walkouts and their version of the day of silence called "Day of Dialogue," which they claim is designed to get Christians’ voices heard on the matter in what they deem a "loving, respectful manner." However, LGBT students and their supporters at McGuffey High School encountered the complete opposite of a "loving, respectful" event.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 5.54.35 AMSaid student Zoe Johnson (pictured right):

"There was pushing, posters hung on homosexual students' lockers. Teachers were having to run out and take them down. It hurts me to see how rude and cruel, and some of these people were my friends before this started."

McGuffey School District administrators are currently investigating the incident with the school’s superintendent, Dr. Erica Kolat, announcing that the school will "follow our Student Code of Conduct, and file legal citations as warranted…We will resolve to ensure that all children can grow and learn in a safe, supportive environment free from discrimination." However, students remain skeptical about returning to the school as a lynch list with students' names on it is reportedly circulating throughout the school.

Watch WPXI-TV’s report on the incident, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Anti-gay Pennsylvania High School Students Wear Flannel, Harass Peers To Protest National Day Of Silence: VIDEO" »


Gravestone of Hillary Clinton's Father Knocked Over in Pennsylvania: VIDEO

Rodham

The gravestone of Hillary Clinton's father Hugh Rodham was found toppled over the day after Clinton announced her candidacy for the White House. The man who takes care of the grave site in Scranton, Pennsylvania believes the toppling was intentional.

There were no serious weather events, according to the funeral director.

Scranton's WNEP 16 reports, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Gravestone of Hillary Clinton's Father Knocked Over in Pennsylvania: VIDEO" »


Indiana Backlash Fuels New Push For Statewide LGBT Protections In Pennsylvania

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Indiana's "religious freedom" law is the gift that keeps on giving. 

In the latest example of how backlash over the law is fueling the push for LGBT protections in other states, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf (above right) launched a petition this week calling on lawmakers to add sexual orientation and gender identity to Pennsylvania's nondiscrimination statutes. 

Wolf announced the petition in response to a letter from four members of the Pennsylvania LGBT Equality Caucus, who said of the Indiana measure: 

This new law is tantamount to a resurrection of Jim Crow. It flies in the face of all the progress our nation has made on civil rights issues. Although any group can be victimized by this new statute, we know that the catalyst for it was the expansion of gay rights in recent years. Thus, as members of the LGBT Equality Caucus, we feel we have heightened standing to raise this issue.

If this law stands in Indiana, it is likely to metastasize to other states fairly quickly. Just yesterday the Arkansas legislature passed a similar bill. Governor, we urge you to stand with the people of Indiana and the nation in making it clear that this sort of law is unacceptable.

Here in Pennsylvania, while we do not have the sort of aggressive endorsement of discrimination that the Indiana law represents, we still do not have a statewide anti-discrimination law that covers members of the LGBT community. While many of our municipalities have passed their own anti-discrimination ordinances, many of our citizens still have no legal protection against the sort of bigotry that results in people being denied service by private companies. We urge you to redouble your efforts to work with the legislature to pass a bill that you have already said you will sign.

Wolf wrote in an email announcing the petition:   

I simply don't understand what the Governor of Indiana was thinking when he signed a bill that allows discrimination against people based on who they love.

It's not only wrong on a human level, but also ill-advised for attracting businesses and creating jobs in today's global economy. ...

Without a non-discrimination law, LGBT Pennsylvanians and their families can be fired, denied a mortgage, or refused service at a hotel, library, or even a hospital.

That's not welcoming, and that's not right. Make a stand for fairness and equality here in Pennsylvania -- sign the petition and tell the legislature to pass a non-discrimination law. 

Sign Wolf's petition by going here


Lawyers for Philly Gay Bashing Trio to Ask for Charges to Be Dropped or Lowered

Philly

Lawyers for the trio of individuals accused in the September 11 assault on a gay couple in City Center, Philadelphia are expected to argue at an upcoming hearing for charges to be dropped or reduced, CBS Philly reports

Kevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott, and Philip Williams were charged with various counts of aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy for their role in a brutal attack on a gay couple that left one victim with facial fractures and a jaw that had to be wired shut. 

CBS Philly adds:

Defense lawyer Louis Busico, who represents the 24-year-old Knott, says all of the defendants maintain their innocence:

“Perhaps some of the charges may never see a courtroom, or they all may. That’s the purpose of reviewing discovery.”

Defense lawyers are expected to argue at the next hearing, set for April 16th, that the conspiracy charges should be dropped and other charges reduced.

Prosecutors contend the three were part of a larger group that yelled slurs and confronted the two gay men “because of who they are.”

You'll recall the Philadelphia City Council reacted to the anti-gay beating by unanimously approving a measure that would provide additional penalties for future crimes motivated by hatred regarding sexual orientation, gender identity or disabilities.


Pennsylvania Governor Advocates For First Openly Transgender Physician General

Pending an upcoming confirmation by the state Senate, Dr. Rachel Levine could become Pennsylvania’s newest Physician General and the first transgender woman to hold the position. Prior to being submitted by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Levine’s decades long career included practicing pediatrics and psychiatry.

LevineShe currently serves as the chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where she is also a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry.

Levine, who is openly trans, became actively involved in the Pennsylvania trans community 10 years ago. Since then become a fixture in local queer student outreach initiatives as the liaison for LGBT Affairs to the Penn State Hershey Office of Diversity.

"You don't suddenly decide at 50-something that you're transgender,” Levine said of her coming out. “I think that it has helped me in terms of the LGBT community in terms of understanding what all the issues are, and I think I've been able to serve as a mentor and role model to LGBT individuals at the medical center as well as in the community."


Charges Against Philadelphia Gay-Bashing Trio Read In Court This Week

Philip Williams, Kevin Harrigan, and Kathryn Knott

Last September a trio of horrible people were arrested on charges of assaulting a gay couple in Center City, Philadelphia, resulting in the hospitalization of the gay couple.  Due to lack of LGBT protections in Pennsylvania the assailants cannot be brought up on charges of hate crimes, so they have been arraigned on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person (REAP). Phillip Williams and Kevin Harrigan are also charged with conspiracy.

Philadelphia Gay News reports:

A judge last month upheld all charges against the three, who have been out on bail since shortly after their Sept. 24 arrest. In the fall, Philadelphia adopted an LGBT-inclusive hate-crime law, but none of the defendants can be charged under it, since it was enacted after the incident. However, at last month’s preliminary hearing, assistant district attorney Michael Barry, who is prosecuting the case, emphasized that the suspects’ alleged anti-LGBT animus was a primary factor in the crime, and served as the basis for the conspiracy charge.

The trial isn't due to start until later this year, but we will be reporting on it once it begins.


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