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North Carolina Transgender Teen's Suicide Mirrors Death Of Leelah Alcorn: VIDEO

Ashlyn Haffner

A North Carolina mother believes that bullying led to her teen transgender son’s suicide, reports WSOCTV.

Alcorn16-year-old Ashlyn Haffner died close to his family’s Indian Trail home late last month. According to an accident report Ashlyn - who went by the name Ash - stepped into the path of an oncoming vehicle, the same way Ohio transgender teen Leelah Alcorn (right) died in December of last year.

Ash’s mother April Quick said the bullying started when Ash decided he wanted to transition from female to male.

Quick found a suicide note on Ash’s iPad that read in part:

“Please be WHO YOU ARE... Do it for yourself. Do it for your happiness. That's what matters in YOUR life.  You don't need approval on who you are.  Don't let people or society change who you are just because they're not satisfied with your image."

At a memorial service outside Porter Ridge High School, where Ash was a student, family and friends lit candles, shared memories of the teen and pleaded for acceptance of all people. The school’s principal said the district is fully cooperating with investigators as they dig deeper into Ash’s death.  

Watch a Fox News report, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

Continue reading "North Carolina Transgender Teen's Suicide Mirrors Death Of Leelah Alcorn: VIDEO" »


State Legislators Mark Texas Independence Day By Introducing Omnibus LGBT Civil Rights Bill

SB856 graphic (final)

On Texas Independence day, five Democratic state senators introduced an omnibus civil rights bill that is the first of its kind in the state's history. 

Senate Bill 856 would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and state contracting. Texas claimed its independence on March 2, 1836. 

“I chose today—Texas Independence Day—to file this important legislation,” Senator (Jose) Rodríguez said in a release, “because Texas values—such as hard work, opportunity, and the Golden Rule—are the reason why Texas remains strong 179 years later. That is why we must act definitively to ensure everyone in the Lone Star State is treated fairly and equally.”

More from Equality Texas' release

One of our most strongly held beliefs here in Texas is taking care of our own and treating our neighbors as ourselves. This kind of Texas spirit is visible in every town and city in the state, in family-owned businesses and large public employers. 

And yet, we realize there are places across Texas where this spirit does not flourish. Texans like Isabel and Victoria in Lewisville (Denton County) can be denied housing for themselves and their sons Juan and Oscar because the two women are in a same-gender relationship. Casanova from Austin and Dylan from Houston were harassed on the job after coming out as transgender but were given no recourse by their employers; Dylan would end up being laid off. Darla from Austin has been and can again be discriminated against while attempting to secure employment because she is a lesbian. John David and his partner Jerry from Tyler can be asked to leave a public accommodation—such as a restaurant or concert venue—because they are gay. Antonia, a transgender woman of color was fired from her job because of her transition.

Further, discrimination is bad for business. Fair treatment for workers, families, and people who visit our state—including gay and transgender people—is a crucial factor in the ongoing strength of the Texas brand.

In the past, separate legislation has been filed in Texas to ban anti-LGBT discrimination in all four areas — but the effort has never been combined into a single bill. The other authors of SB 856 are Sens. Rodney Elllis, Sylvia Garcia, Kirk Watson and John Whitmire. 

“Discrimination of any form has no place in Texas. Not in our schools, our government, or our services. I am proud to co-author this legislation and proud to stand strong for the fair treatment of all Texans especially our friends in the LGBT community who for too long have been the target of discrimination,” Whitmire said. 

“I’m proud to coauthor legislation to prevent fellow Texans from being discriminated against due to who they love,” Ellis added. “All hardworking Texans, including our LGBT neighbors, should have the chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live like everyone else without fear of getting fired or evicted solely because of who they are. ”

“All Texans should enjoy equal protection under the law. This important legislation would ensure that our LGBT brothers and sisters can express who they are without fear of discrimination. It would also send a message to the rest of the world that Texas welcomes anyone that wants to contribute to our great state, regardless of sexual orientation,” Garcia said.

The 20-page bill has little chance of passing in the Republican-dominated Legislature. But its introduction is important symbolically in the face of a slew of anti-LGBT legislative attacks. It could also signal a future shift to protect all LGBT civil rights with a single piece of legislation, rather than doing it piecemeal. 

Read the full text of the bill, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "State Legislators Mark Texas Independence Day By Introducing Omnibus LGBT Civil Rights Bill" »


Kentucky State Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Anti-trans Bathroom Bill for Students

Ky

Yesterday, the Kentucky Senate approved a bill that would require transgender students in the state to use the bathroom that matches their biological sex rather than their gender identification.

The vote was 27-9, with three Republicans joining Senate Democrats in opposing the bill. 

The Courier-Journal reports:

EmbryRepublican Sen. C.B. Embry (right), the bill's sponsor, calls it a "common sense" approach to guide school administrators and safeguard privacy in areas where students are in a state of undress. Supporters argue the rule also would help protect transgender students from bullying and harassment by providing separate accommodations.

But opponents charged Friday that lawmakers are yielding to fear and discrimination. They said the bill will strip flexibility from school districts and violate federal guidelines on civil rights for transgender students.

"We need to acknowledge that this is the civil rights issue of our current time, and today this Senate has failed the people of Kentucky," said Sen. Reginald Thomas, a Democrat who warned that the legislation would "cast a shroud of darkness" over the Senate.

Under the legislation, transgender students must either use the bathroom of their biological sex or seek special accommodations such as a faculty or unisex bathroom. 

The Lexington Herald-Leader has background on why the bill was introduced in the first place:

The bill stems from a controversy last year at Atherton, where a transgender student who was born male identified as a female and wanted to use the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms.

A controversy arose, and the school eventually adopted a policy of letting students use bathrooms based on their gender identity. The decision was backed by the school's site-based council and a Jefferson County Public Schools appeals committee. 

The bill now heads to the Democrat-controlled House, where Speaker Greg Stumbo has already indicated he isn't interested in taking up the bill and "deciding where kids can go to the bathroom."


First Look at Eddie Redmayne as 1930s Trans Pioneer Lili Elbe in 'The Danish Girl' - PHOTO

Redmayne

The first photo of Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne as 1930s sex reassignment surgery pioneer Lili Elbe has been released, The Guardian reports:

The Danish Girl, adapted from David Ebershoff’s novel and directed by Tom Hooper, is the story of Elbe, who became one of the world’s first known recipients of this type of surgery. She was born in Denmark as Einar Mogens Wegener and underwent a series of then experimental operations in Berlin in 1930-31. Organ rejection following an attempt to transplant a uterus resulted in her death in 1931.

No release date for the film has been announced. Last Sunday Redmayne won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in the film The Theory of Everything


Facebook Expands Custom Gender Identity Options Even Further

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Beginning today Facebook users will be able to describe their gender using whatever kind of personal language they feel the most comfortable with. The move comes after an increased demand from the public for Facebook to allow people to choose from a wider array of gender descriptors in their “About Me” sections. Last year Facebook took a major step forward by expanding its list of selectable genders from three (male, female, or none) to over 50 terms including male to female, gender queer, and cisgender.

“Facebook’s new free-form field for gender identity is a huge step forward for transgender, gender nonconforming and gender queer youth,” said GLSEN Executive Director

Dr. Eliza Byard, “The internet is an essential source of resources, support and community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, and one of its most important ‘living rooms’ now better reflects their reality and self-understanding."

Speaking to Motherboard, Facebook engineer Ari Chivukula explained that the company deployed a special team focused specifically on buffing out the social network’s expanded gender settings. Moving forward users will be able to more finely customize their privacy settings to better control who sees their gender displayed on their profiles.


Gaming Website 'The Escapist' Hires Transphobic New Writer

Morse1

The Escapist, for the unfamiliar, is an online magazine dedicated to pop culture with a very strong focus on video games. Earlier this week Alexander "Archon" Macris, GM & SVP of Alloy Digital, the parent company of The Escapist, had an announcement to make: two new writers have been hired on to the staff!

Great news, given the site's diminishing roster as of late. There's just one problem though. That first name, Brandon Morse? Yeah...he's kind of transphobic.

Morse lives in Waco, is a contributor for Rare.us - a right-leaning site that holds Herman Cain as one of their all-star voices - and thinks that transfolk are faking it:

Right...because dealing with the emotional distress and social fallout, which includes astronomically high rates for being victims of violence and discrimination, is something people want to deal with. This is not a new attitude for Morse as past tweets show his contempt with full-blown mockery:

The wingnuts at Michelle Malkin's Twitchy are ecstatic over the news, mostly over the fact that it's causing "butt-hurt", but when a site that mocks the execution of homosexuals is in your corner perhaps it's time to revise one's perspectives on, well, everything.

Morse, however, is unlikely to revise anything as even his current posts show that he's more content to double-down and even make the so-absurd-it's-laughable comparison of trans discrimination to gamer discrimination:  

Congratulations, The Escapist. That's quite the winner you've got there.


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