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California Judges Barred From Joining Boy Scouts Due To Discriminatory Ban on Gay Leaders

State judges in California can no longer be members of the Boy Scouts beginning next year — at least until the Scouts lift a ban on gay adult leaders. 

The California Supreme Court voted unanimously this week to eliminate an exception for youth nonprofits to a rule that prohibits judges from belonging to groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reports: 

Scouts“The people of California have a right to an impartial and unbiased judiciary,” Richard Fybel, a state appeals court justice in Santa Ana and chairman of the high court’s ethics advisory committee, said Friday. “This is important to accomplishing that.” ... 

In a statement that responded to the committee’s proposal last year, Deron Smith, a spokesman at Boy Scouts headquarters in Irving, Texas, said the Scouts “would be disappointed with anything that limits our volunteers’ ability to serve more youth. ... Today, more than ever, youth need the character and leadership programs of Scouting.”

The proposal had drawn a mixed response from judges. In written comments to the court, one opponent said the prohibition would elevate “gay rights above religious freedom rights,” and another said it would interfere with judges’ rights to raise their children as they choose.

California judges have been barred from membership in groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation since 1996 — with the exception of youth nonprofits. In 2003, the state's high court amended the rule to say judges who are members of the Boy Scouts must disclose their affiliation in gay-rights cases and recuse themselves if there's a conflict of interest. 

Last year, the ethics advisory committee recommended eliminating the exception altogether, and the proposal was backed by the California Judges Association, which represents three-quarters of the state's judges.

The Chronicle notes that judges can still be members of religious groups that discriminate, but not groups that discriminate based on religion. The Boy Scouts is not considered a religious group but does discriminate based on religion — barring atheists in addition to gays.

In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America voted to lift a ban on gay youth but continue to bar gay adult leaders. The organization recently reported that membership dropped 7.4 percent in 2014 in the wake of the decision.  


San Francisco LGBT Groups Protest String Of Police Abuse Cases By Blocking Streets In Castro

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Close to 200 people, many from the LGBT community, blocked streets in and around San Francisco's Castro district on Christmas Eve morning, with a protest rallying against what they described as systemic police violence toward minorities reports SFGateThe demonstration is just one of numerous rallies around the country protesting the deaths of unarmed black men Mike Brown and Eric Garner, amongst many others, at the hands of police. Janetta Johnson, the program director for a transgender justice project in San Francisco, was one of the 200 protesters.

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 4.24.04 PMSaid Johnson:

"We want to stand in solidarity and say the killings have to stop. There’s a lot of fear of police — especially by black people and brown people."

Wednesday's group amassed at Market Street and Octavia Boulevard, blocking the Highway 101 ramps temporarily before marching down Market. Organizers chose to rally on the morning before Christmas to disrupt shopping, saying it was "No time for a celebration." Officers from the California Highway Patrol and the San Francisco Police Department stood by while some in the group placed a large pink triangle in the middle of the intersection at Market and Octavia; a sign next to the symbol read, "Silence = Violence."

Thea Matthews, a student and activist leader at City College of San Francisco, described the purpose of the black-LGBT intersectional march. 

Said Matthews:

"Today, we march, proclaiming our demands for police accountability, transparency and an end to institutional racism. In order to truly have all lives, especially black lives, matter, we must unite all oppressed communities who face police repression and violence."

San Francisco Police spoke with protest organizers at the beginning of the rally to find out what their plans were at the rally. S.F. Police then proceeded to help direct traffic around the protest. The protest ended around 10 a.m. at Market and Castro, with marchers singing and holding hands. 


'Hot Cop of Castro' Is Apparently Too Hot for Castro Street: VIDEO

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In an interview with Mike Enders of Accidental Bear, Chris Kohrs (aka) "The Hot Cop of the Castro", says his supervisors now keep him out of the Castro area because "it gets kind of crazy" whenever he is seen there.

Kohrs also shares how he deals with all the attention that comes his way and reveals he hasn't worked out in over three months. Towards the end of the video, Kohrs can be seen striking a few poses in Blade + Blue clothing to help raise money for the Officer Down Memorial Fund, a fund that donates money to families of police officers killed in the line of duty.

Check out the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

See more photos over at Accidental Bear here. And for more information on the Officer Down Memorial Fund, visit www.odmp.org

Previously, "Hot Cop of Castro Gets Wet for Charity" [tlrd]

Continue reading "'Hot Cop of Castro' Is Apparently Too Hot for Castro Street: VIDEO" »


Dedicated Transgender Hotline Aims To Stem Epidemic Of Suicides Like Texas Teen Alex DeChiara's

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After relentless bullying at her high school in Texas, transgender teen Alex DeChiara (above) transferred to an alternative school in April. 

But switching schools cut 17-year-old Alex off from her closest friends and her biggest passion: working with special-needs children at Euless Trinity High School, in a conservative suburb of Fort Worth. Alex hoped to one day become a teacher for autistic kids. 

After Alex transferred schools, administrators at Euless Trinity even barred her from campus and threatened her with arrest when she tried to visit. Faced with loneliness and a deepening depression, Alex felt she had nowhere to turn. On May 8, she hung herself from a tree in her family's backyard. 

Alex's father, Rick DeChiara, who came home from work to find Alex and had to cut her down from the tree, told the Texas Observer this week he feels there are a fair amount of resources dedicated to gay youth. But he added: “As far as transgender awareness kind of stuff, that’s a different story. I don’t think that’s quite as popular, as out there in the open.” 

MartelaNow, a San Francisco-based group is hoping to help change that — and to stem the epidemic of trangender suicides like Alex's. According to Greta Gustava Martela (right), the founder of Trans Lifeline, half of people who are openly transgender will attempt suicide at least once in their lives. 

Trans Lifeline is a first-of-its-kind, nonprofit crisis and suicide hotline staffed by transgender people. 

“There are a ton of suicide hotlines. There’s no shortage of them,” Martela told Time.com. “But it’s really difficult to get a person who isn’t trans to understand what it’s like to be trans.”

According to Trans Lifeline's website: "Our hotline is staffed by the true experts on transgender experience, transgender people themselves. Our volunteers are all trans identified and educated in the range of difficulties transgender people experience." 

Although the hotline's goal is to prevent self-harm, it is open to any transgender person in need — as well as the parents of transgender children. 

After a surge in calls thanks to the Time.com story this week, Martela launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for training for additional volunteers. Those interested in volunteering for Trans Lifeline can learn more here. 

The hotline covers the US and Canada and is staffed by volunteers outside the Bay Area.

For those in crisis, the number is 877-565-8860

 

 

 

 


CA Assemblyman Tom Ammiano Marries Carolis Deal: VIDEO

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Longtime LGBT rights activist and friend of Harvey Milk Tom Ammiano recently wed partner Carolis Deal in San Francisco. Ammiano, a California assemblyman, reportedly brought guests together at the Delancey Street Foundation without too many clues as to the precise nature of the event. From the San Francisco Sentinel:

So after several songs from jazz singer Paula West starting out with “Thanks for the Memories” and including “Anything Goes” and “Night and Day” both by Cole Porter, there was a video of Tom accomplishments as a political leader at the Board of Supervisors and at the State legislature. After his response to the video Tom introduced Harry Britt and announced that Harry would preside over his wedding to Carolis Deal

Watch a video tribute shown at the wedding, chronicling Ammiano's many accomplishments over the years, AFTER THE JUMP...

(Photo via Twitter)

Continue reading "CA Assemblyman Tom Ammiano Marries Carolis Deal: VIDEO" »


Actors Jonathan Groff and Raul Castillo Hit the Folsom Street Fair + 15 More 'Looking' Set PHOTOS

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Andrew Haigh, the creator of HBO's Looking, Instagrammed this adorable photo of actors Raul Castillo and Jonathan Groff from the streets of San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair yesterday, where the cast was spending a bit more time. Looking has been shooting its second season since late August in and around the Bay area.

Fans of the show will remember a few pivotal scenes from the show last year for which Groff donned some leather.

Castillo, who recently joined Instagram, posted a photo from the Fair as well, with the caption, "Folsom Street Fair 2014. Check."

Several new actors have joined the cast this season including Mean Girls star Daniel Franzese, Crossbones' Chris Perfetti and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon's Bashir Salahuddin.

Check out 15 more Instagram photos from the set and around town shot by the cast, crew and fans, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Actors Jonathan Groff and Raul Castillo Hit the Folsom Street Fair + 15 More 'Looking' Set PHOTOS" »


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