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Phoenix Activist and Performer Austin Head Assaulted: Report

Towleroad received this report from a reader over the weekend:

HeadAustin Head, a Phoenix-based entertainer, activist and star of LogoTV’s Positive Youth documentary, was assaulted early Friday morning by two assailants who targeted him and a friend as they were headed home and walking down Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix.

Following an evening out at the popular LGBT nightspot Charlie’s, Head and his friend were attacked by two men, Jermon and Ernie Barnes, ages 24 and 21 respectively. As the men approached Head and his friend, they yelled homophobic slurs, and then began to physically assault the two.

Knocked unconscious, Austin Head woke up later Friday morning with multiple head injuries, including a Maxillary Sinus Fracture, Lateral Orbit Fracture, eyebrow laceration and severe swelling on the left side of his face. 

The two suspects were immediately tracked down by the Phoenix Police Department, identified by a witness, arrested and jailed.   It is not known if the two assailants were still in police custody.

Dr. Stuart Sperry of St. Joseph’s Hospital, who took charge of Head’s recovery, warned that further plastic surgery may be needed to restore the fractures caused by this assault.

Watch an interview with Head, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Police Unresponsive as Gay Arizona Couple with Kids Terrorized by Frightening Homophobic Attacks: VIDEO

Gilbert

A gay couple with four children in Gilbert, Arizona are being terrorized in a series of attacks. The series of attacks has escalated from banging on windows, to burning bushes, to anti-gay notes left on cars, to breaking into the family home and writing graffiti on the house's walls.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

A poster on Democratic Underground writes:

Roy and Felix are an interracial couple - Felix is hispanic, Roy is white. A couple of the kids are Hispanic.

They recently moved to Gilbert from North Phoenix - every since then, they have had items burned on their lawns, racist and anti-gay notes attached to cars, people pounding on their doors in the middle of the night, yelling at them, and finally, a break in where graffitti was sprayed in the house last week.

Police have been called 9 times - and each time, Roy and Felix were made to feel as if the problem was their fault for being gay, hispanic, having handicapped children, etc.  Roy and the kids are too scared to stay at the house - and are now staying with his sister.  Fortunately, friends of the couple have mobilized - starting a facebook page, contacting media, local officials, etc. It is helping - Felix had a meeting yesterday with the Gilbert Hate Crimes Unit, and with Gilbert Internal Affairs. Congressman Flake's office has been in contact.

Watch NBC12's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay-Hating Preachers Silenced by Gaga Flash Mob at Phoenix Pride: VIDEO

Hatephoenix

Phoenix Pride took place over the weekend and the gay-hating religious folk were out in force.

Videographer Mike Skiff writes:

At Phoenix Pride 2012, a group of bigoted preachers who attend LGBT pride celebrations in many states, heckled folks leaving the pride parade. One hurled particularly vile, un-Christian insults at the crowd, causing emotions to run high. Then a flash mob, led by Queen B, demonstrated what true Christian love was about by performing "Born This Way" to the cheers of the crowd - and silencing the hate speech of the preachers.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Lovephoenix

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NEWS: Obama In Colombia, Secret Service In Trouble, Sony In A Hole, Paul McCartney In ASL

Obama Colombia

Road Obama resolutely prohibitionist in war on drugs panel at Colombia's Summit of the Americas:

Obama earlier Saturday left the door open for debate, but made it clear that the United States has a firm stance.

"I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are doing more harm than good in certain places," Obama said. "I personally, and my administration's position is, that legalization is not the answer."

Road Meanwhile, his Secret Service agents should have been serviced more secretly:

A group of Secret Service agents and officers sent to Colombia ahead of President Barack Obama were relieved of duty and returned home amid allegations of misconduct that involved prostitution, according to two U.S. government sources familiar the investigation.

The 11 Secret Service members -- both agents and uniformed officers -- were interviewed Saturday at the agency's Washington headquarters, after which they were placed on administrative leave, Assistant Director Paul Morrissey said in a statement.

They are under investigation after preliminary findings revealed that they brought back several prostitutes to the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena,

Road "Q High School": An educational alternative for Phoenix-area LGBT teens.

Road Director of Bully was bullied.

Road Ever wonder what happens at an NRA convention? Pudgy, tomahawk-wielding men do battle. (HT: JoeMyGod)

Road NASA solicits ideas for less expensive, more conservative approach to Mars:

The race to redraw a new, cheaper road map comes two months after NASA pulled out of a partnership with the European Space Agency on two missions targeted for 2016 and 2018, a move that angered scientists. The 2018 mission represented the first step toward hauling Martian soil and rocks back to Earth for detailed study — something many researchers say is essential in determining whether microbial life once existed there.

Agency officials said returning samples is still a priority, but a reboot was necessary given the financial reality.

Road Robin Gibb is in a coma.

Road Ten candidates banned from Egyptian elections:

Egyptian election officials have barred 10 candidates from standing in upcoming polls, including former spy chief Omar Suleiman and the Muslim Brotherhood's Khairat al-Shater.

Ultra-orthodox Salafi Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and long-standing opposition leader Ayman Nour were also banned.

... Mr Suleiman - a former ally of Mr Mubarak whose nomination has sparked protests - was apparently barred because he failed to get enough signatures to endorse his last minute candidacy, our correspondent says.

MyValentineMeanwhile, the hopeful representing the hardline Islamists, Mr Abu Ismail, was ruled out because his mother has American citizenship ...

... As a result, the Muslim Brotherhood are best covered, while the Salafists backing Mr Abu Ismail look to be the hardest hit ...

Road Sony loses $6 billion; remains optimistic.

Road Paul McCartney's new "My Valentine" video: Sedate but lovely, featuring Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "NEWS: Obama In Colombia, Secret Service In Trouble, Sony In A Hole, Paul McCartney In ASL" »


Bullied Gay Teen Now Working in Phoenix Mayor's Office: VIDEO

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Caleb Laieski, a 17-year-old teen who made headlines more than a year ago for being bullied, is now the youngest advocate on loan in the Phoenix Mayor’s Office and should get huge props for turning his situation into a positive one for himself and many others.

The City of Phoenix writes: Laieski

Laieski, 17, as a youth and diversity liaison, will work to raise awareness about bullying and diversity and serve as a point of contact for youth issues.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work for one of the largest cities in our nation, and I look forward to continue making Phoenix a safer place for our entire community,” Laieski said. “Being a youth myself, I feel that this opportunity will allow me to bring a young person’s perspective to the administration. During my time in this office, I will strive to see the dropout rate lower, intervention by school administrations steadily increase and the suicide rate rapidly decline.”

Laieski, a former high school student, said he endured anti-gay bullying on a daily basis, which included being followed home by other students and threatened for being gay. Laieski said felt he had no other choice but to leave his school and pursue his GED.

Among Laieski's accomplishments are founding the organization Gays and Lesbians United Against Discrimination; Successfully petitioning his former high school district to add sexual orientation to their list of protections; Testifying his support for the Arizona Safe Schools Act and SB 1462, an anti-bullying bill; Meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden to ask them to appoint an adviser on LGBT Youth Issues; Being named Echo magazine’s Man of the Year in 2011..

Said Mayor Stanton: “I’m excited to have someone as talented as Caleb working in my office  because I know he truly cares about our community, our city and our youth. I want Phoenix youth to have a voice in my office. I also want our students to be able to concentrate on their education for future success, not be bullied. All our kids deserve to live their lives, no matter who they are, because diversity is a strength in Phoenix.”

Watch an interview from June 2010 when Laieski was taking action against his high school in Arizona, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Booted Lesbians Receive Mayoral Support, Apologies, And Booze

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Earlier this week, Andy reported on the interrupted anniversary dinner of Kenyata White and Aeimee Diaz -- two lesbians in Phoenix, AZ, who were ejected from a restaurant in a Sheraton Hotel after sharing a brief kiss. From ABC15:

The couple says they shared a simple kiss and they didn't think anything of it until the manager came up to them and told them to get a room.         

The women said the manager told them other patrons had complained to him. 

"By no means at all were we doing any inappropriate activity. It was a light kiss a kiss that you could give your friends on the lips. It wasn't any make out at all and so we were very puzzled as to why we need to get a room," White said.     

After the manager saw how upset they were they say he apologized and offered them free drinks if they would leave and come back another time.

When the story broke, it broke big. The incident spawned its own Facebook page. Phoenix's mayor got involved, issuing a statement which read, in part:

We fully expect the Sheraton, which also has committed their support to our LGBT community, to work with Equality Arizona and resolve this issue in a professional way with their staff. Let’s be completely clear -- Phoenix is a gay-friendly city and we welcome the LGBT community, not only because it is good business but also because it’s the right thing to do.

All the publicity caused the Sheraton deep shame, or at least deep nervousness, and the restaurant's management contacted the couple on Facebook. From Edge magazine:

The hotel’s representatives eventually reached out to White and Diaz and asked to meet with them and apologize for making them leave.

"We had the opportunity to meet with the couple late (Tuesday) to listen to their story and better understand their view and how they felt," hotel General Manager Leo Percopo said in a statement. "We had a collaborative conversation, and both parties are taking this incident seriously. Together, we have identified opportunities in which both parties can unite and work together to foster diversity awareness."

The magazine reports that the Sheraton's offer for free booze remains intact. Incredibly, it has not been upgraded to an offer for a free meal. 


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