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What Makes Amazon's 'Transparent' So Special?

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You might want to cancel your weekend plans. Today Amazon releases all ten episodes of their excellent original series, Transparent. Not only is it far and away the strongest offering from the streaming service (and one of the best this television season), it’s also a new high-water mark in telling trans-inclusive stories.

The series follows a Los Angeles family with three adult children as they cope with their father’s coming out as a transgender woman. Forced to re-examine their family dynamics, the sun-soaked dramedy pushes and pulls at all members of the Pfefferman clan, as they struggle to live openly and honestly with one another and within themselves.

Maura Pfeffermen isn’t exactly the sort of role you’d envision for Jeffrey Tambor — the self-described “schlumpy” 70-year-old actor best known for portraying George Bluth on Arrested Development and Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show - but he is beyond fabulous. Labels like “career-defining” don’t do justice enough to his work here.

“I’m so proud of this show,” the actor told us earlier this month. “This show shines a light on something that needs to be shone and a conversation that has to move forward … That’s important, and that makes me smile when I get up in the morning.”

Find out more about what makes Transparent so special, with thoughts from the creator, cast and more, AFTER THE JUMP

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South Africa LGBT-Friendly Mosque May Close Down Barely A Week After Opening - VIDEO

Open Mosque South Africa to close down

South Africa’s first gay-friendly mosque could be shut down barely a week after it opened because it has violated municipal by-laws by not having any parking spaces, reports AFK Insider.

According to Taj Hargey, the director of the “forward thinking” organization Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and Imam of the university’s Islamic Congregation, the Open Mosque in Wynberg, a Cape Town suburb - which opened last Friday - welcomes all genders, religions and sexual orientations. The mosque also allows women to lead prayers.

Taj hargeyHargey said that he has received many positive responses to the mosque but confirmed that he has also received “a lot of death threats.”

The Muslim Judicial Council, an umbrella organization of the South African Islamic clergy, condemned the mosque, stating that Hargey’s establishment cannot be considered a true mosque given that it does not adhere to both the Qur'aan and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

However, Hargey told the BBC that although his “autonomous and independent” mosque has been targeted by the City Council using “ridiculous bylaws,” he “will not be threatened by them or anyone else.”

Protesting outside the mosque, Imam Bilal Ghorieb said that his argument against the mosque is personal and "not part of the religion['s] understanding, my understanding, a selfish understanding."

Elsabeth Muirhead said that, as a Unitarian, she went to the opening to support the mosque's message of "tolerance, interfaith dialog and equality with women."

Watch a report on the opening of the Open mosque, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Philippine Province Among First In Country To Ban LGBT Discrimination

Agusan del norteAgusan del Norte has become one of the few areas in the Philippines to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) that protects people irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, reports Outrage.

Provincial Ordinance No. 358-2014 also prohibits discrimination in the province on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, health status, physical appearance, political affiliation, religion, and social status.

The ordinance “recognizes as a policy...to value the dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect of human rights to promote equality and to effectively eliminate all forms of discrimination that violate and offend the guarantee of equal protection of human rights.”

The ADO prohibits denial of services; refusing admission/dismissal from educational institutions; denial of access to use private and public establishments, facilities and utilities; employment rejection; publication and/or use of derogatory/humiliating images and/or statements against persons; and uploading/posting of images and/or videos online to debase and humiliate a person.

BacasmasYsang Semacio Bacasmas [pictured right], executive officer of LGBT rights group Ladlad Caraga Inc., said:

“I feel very happy and at least we now have this that can help our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA community. To our fellow LGBTs, hopefully we continue the fight for us to have a peaceful and good lives.”

According to HapiHumanist.org, Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch reported that a total of 103 killings from 1996 to 2011 in the Philippines have occurred on account of sexual orientation.


Brazilian High School Students Wear Skirts To Support Transgender Classmate

Maria muniz

Students at a Brazilian high school have shown their support for a transgender fellow student by wearing skirts for a day, reports NewNowNext.

17-year-old Maria Muniz says she never felt happy as a boy and decided to come out as transgender by wearing a skirt to school. However, she was fined by a teacher and also forced to wear trousers.

Speaking about the support she has received from her classmates, Muniz said:

“I am really happy about the way my classmates supported me and I hope it serves as an example to others to feel encouraged to do the right thing. I was always taught at school to accept who you are, I am only trying to live that.”

Photos of the student protest have since gone viral. Twitter users are showing their support for Maria and her classmates with the hashtag #VouDeSaia, meaning "I'm going in a skirt" or "wearing a skirt." (Check out current tweets using ther hashtag #VouDeSaia HERE).

The school’s principal has since revealed he is considering relaxing the dress code:

“It is not about orientation. All our students are equal. The uniform determines male and female clothing, but we will study a new manual of coexistence.”


ACLU Sues Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel On Behalf Of Chelsea Manning, Alleges Improper Gender Treatment: READ

Chelsea

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel alleging the DOD and top officials have provided improper treatment for Manning's gender dysphoria. Currently serving a 35 year sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Manning insists she has received only "lip service" in response to her requests for proper medical treatment. BuzzFeed reports:

The suit alleges that such medical care has been withheld from Manning even though military doctors themselves diagnosed her with the condition, which attorneys say is a constitutional violation.

As a part of the suit, the ACLU is seeking a preliminary injunction demanding officials grant Manning with appropriate hormone therapy, the ability to follow female grooming standards, and access to medical providers who are qualified to treat patients with gender dysphoria.

“The government continues to deny Ms. Manning’s access to necessary medical treatment for gender dysphoria, without which she will continue to suffer severe psychological harms,” said Chase Strangio, attorney in the ACLU Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender project and co-counsel on Ms. Manning’s case, in a statement. “Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”

Previously, the ACLU promised it would take legal action against the U.S. military if Manning did not receive proper medical treatment. 

Read the ACLU's suit against Hagel, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NYC Trans Man Who Chose Not To Transition Speaks Out: 'I'm A Guy' - VIDEO

Lauren

In a new video from BuzzFeed, Lauren Hennessy of New York City talks about his experience with gender and identity. He describes how though he has always "felt more like a boy" and identifies as transgender, he decided not to transition:

"I'm also a minority in the trans community. I'm a trans person that has chosen not to pass as my gender in society. And I think that's important too. I don't think you should have to transition." 

Watch as Lauren shares his journey, AFTER THE JUMP...

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