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India Gets First Transgender TV News Anchor: VIDEO

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In another milestone for transgender people in India, a transwoman named Padmini Prakash, 31, has been hired as a news anchor.

Working up to this career, Prakash has held jobs as a dance instructor and soap opera actress, and she's also participated in transgender beauty pageants.

Prakash has worked for Lotus News in the Indian state Tamil Nadu since last August. One of her earliest breaks moving up the ladder came with a promotion to do the channel's daily 7 p.m. special bulletin, a hire motivated largely by Prakash's popularity with viewers.

But, despite this success story, Prakash says she's faced discrimination all her life, even cutting ties with family due to "pressure."

In a quote to the Times of India (via GLAAD), Prakash describes her anxiety in becoming an on-air anchor:

I was very worried because I also had to focus on my diction and maintain a steady narrative pace to ensure that there was clarity and viewers could understand me.

Check out video of Prakash in action, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "India Gets First Transgender TV News Anchor: VIDEO" »


Will South Africa Become a Roadblock To International LGBT Rights?

South Africa, which was once an essential nation to advancing LGBTI rights in international diplomacy, has since become a potential roadblock, according to Huffington Post.

South africaIn 2011, South Africa sponsored a resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) that, for the first time, recognized LGBTI rights as human rights. Supporters of the resolution believed that it required at least one prominent African backer in order to prevent it playing into the hands of LGBTI rights opponents in Africa and other parts of the world.

However, when an updated version of the resolution was tabled last week at a HRC meeting, South Africa’s name was not on it. With a vote expected this week, some LGBTI rights supporters are now concerned that South Africa  could turn against the resolution.

This comes following a move by South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party to block a parliamentary motion to condemn Uganda’s severe anti-gay laws - which have since been struck down.

According to Mmapeseka Steve Letsike, a lesbian activist who chairs the South African National AIDS Council’s Civil Society Forum:

“We currently have leadership that fails to represent the ethos of what the constitution says and the equality principles they have to uphold. We have leadership going out of this country putting their personal beliefs before its own people. We have leaders that fail to protect their own.”

MandelaSome South African activists regard these decisions to move away from supporting LGBTI rights internationally as part of a larger trend in the country’s leadership.

While Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress embraced LGBTI rights, that commitment is not as strong among the younger generation of leaders, most notably President Jacob Zuma, who called same-sex marriage “a disgrace to the nation and to God” around the time the unions won legal recognition in the country.

The resolution’s supporters are optimistic that they will have the votes to pass the resolution and nobody believes it is possible that South Africa would vote against it on the final vote. It could abstain on a final vote or vote for a procedural motion that would kill the resolution by denying an up or down vote — exactly what it did to keep the inclusive language out of the Protection of the Family resolution in June.

The lack of support for the updated HRC resolution actually comes at a time that there is a new commitment from the government to fighting anti-LGBTI hate crimes inside the country, spurred by a series of horrific rapes and murders of black lesbians.


MTV to Air 'Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word' Documentary Highlighting Trans Youth

Cox

Between her role as Sofia in Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black and producing a feature length, independent documentary about Cece McDonald, Laverne Cox has firmly established herself as a modern icon within the transgender community. To date, the bulk of Cox’s work has highlighted the struggles facing adult trans women, but her latest project, Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, focuses on trans youth.

“For many of us, the ‘T’ in LGBT means more than transgender—it also means truth,” Cox said to New Now Next “The cast members in this documentary are fearlessly living their truths and in sharing their stories will send the message to other trans youth that it’s okay to be who you are.”

Earlier this year Cox accepted a Logo Trailblazers award on behalf of Orange Is The New Black and called on the LGB community to stand in solidarity with trans people dealing with discrimination. As a part of MTV’s Look Different campaign, The show will chronicle the lives of seven youths from different backgrounds they explore what it means to be trans-identified in America today. The T-Word will premiere on both MTV and Logo TV on the on Friday, October 17 at 7PM ET, followed by a round table discussion between Cox and the documentary’s seven cast members.

Watch footage of Laverne Cox's Logo Trailblazers award AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "MTV to Air 'Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word' Documentary Highlighting Trans Youth" »


Miami-Dade Moves Towards Adding Trans Protections To Non Discrimination Ordinance

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The Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously voted yesterday to further consider expanding discrimination protections to include transgender-identified people. The Commission’s preliminary amendment to Dade’s anti-discrimination ordinance adds “gender identity” and “gender expression” to its list of prohibited forms of discrimination. The expansion will provide transgender individuals equal access to governmental services as well as housing and employment opportunities.

The Commission attempted to pass a similar amendment last year, but found itself unable to find the necessary number of committee-level approval votes that would have brought the law to the floor for review. Proponents of the revision expressed their need to further educate the public of the law’s necessity before redoubling their efforts.

“It’s fairly apparent the education failed and the politics failed,” said Mara Kiesling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “They now know who they need to educate and who they need to advocate with.”

After being shut out of a vote last year, supporters of the expansion came to the Miami-Dade County Hall prepared to defend themselves against a vocal opposition. Instead, as SAVE field organizer Charo Valero discovered, most of the people in the County Hall were preoccupied with film industry tax rebates. SAVE, a Miami-based LGBT organization, has been pushing for broader protections for Miami's trans communities.

“This update that we’re working on would ensure very basic protections for a very vulnerable part of our community that many take for granted," Valero explained to the Miami Herald.

Watch an interview with SAVE field organizer Charo Valero, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Miami-Dade Moves Towards Adding Trans Protections To Non Discrimination Ordinance" »


IDAHO: Lewiston City Councilors Speak Out on Why They Oppose LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance - VIDEO

Rj johnson Lewiston Idaho

City councilors in Lewiston, Idaho, have spoken out against a proposed non-discrimination ordinance that would make it illegal to discriminate in housing, employment and public accommodation based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, reports KLEWTV.

Lewiston City Council Mayor Pro Tem R.J. Johnson said that although all seven members of the council are against discrimination based on sexual orientation, ordinance 4614 would infringe “on our basic civil liberties."

According to Jesse Maldonado, the youngest person ever elected to the Lewiston City Council, it is currently “legal to discriminate in the workforce, hiring or firing, or refusing someone service or not giving someone housing if they are gay lesbian, or transgender and there's no ramifications for doing so. So basically what this ordinance would do would make it a misdemeanor to do that which could then be punishable by jail time or a fine."

However, councilor Clinton Daniels said that 4614 could lead to retailers being “put in jail for six months” with a fine of $1,000 for refusing to serve LGBT customers. In a statement, Daniels said:

"My strong belief in liberty compels me to oppose ordinances that do not respect private property, freedom of association, and voluntary contracts; even when the stated goal of such ordinances is something I support.

When you engage in commerce, whether it be for a personal sale or a commercial one, it is a form of a contract, and in a free society all contracts should be voluntary."

Maldonado has since asked supporters to attend the next of two further readings of the ordinance on September 22nd.

 

Watch a KLEW TV reports, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "IDAHO: Lewiston City Councilors Speak Out on Why They Oppose LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance - VIDEO" »


Colorado Transgender Teen Crowned Homecoming Princess

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On Friday, a transgender teen at Sand Creek High School in Colorado was crowned homecoming princess, making her the first transgender person at the school and, according to KRDO, also the state, to receive the honor.

Scarlett Lenh, who began to identify as transgender earlier this school year, told KCNC-TV

"It’s just about being yourself. That’s what I want to do, inspire people. I want everyone to know no matter what body you’re in or what mind set you have, being you is the best feeling in the world. No matter what."

But, according to The Gazette, not everyone is happy about Lenh's win.

"It's craziness," said Jana Neathery, whose granddaughter attends Sand Creek.

"Originally, it was a joke that he was going to be nominated for homecoming princess, but he got a lot of nominations," she said, referring to Scarlett, "and now there are a lot of upset girls because a spot was taken from them.

"I'm very sympathetic that he's transgender, but he should be on the boys' side, not the girls'."

The school is located in Colorado Springs, which is not only home to Focus on the Family but also the National Association of Evangelicals.

Some of the school's students agree with Neathery:  

"I think it's wrong because he's actually a guy, he's not a girl, and he hasn't been doing this his entire life - he's only been recently doing it," said Jarrod Clarke, a junior at Sand Creek.

"We know him pretty well," another Sand Creek student who asked not to be identified said of Scarlett. "He's only cross-dressing, putting on girls' clothes."

While some people are upset by Lenh's win, most of the students have been highly supportive and, as KRDO reports, "only cheers could be heard from the stands" once her name was announced on Friday. Representatives from the district the school sits in have released a statement which also backs her.

"The leaders at Sand Creek High School and in District 49 respect the decision of the Scorpion student body in electing their homecoming court." The statement went on to say, "Our board policy sets the standard that we do not exclude any person from participating in any program or activity on the basis of gender identity and gender expression."

Watch a news segmenet which shows Lenh being escorted on the school's football field by two of her best friends just after she received the title of homecoming princess, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Colorado Transgender Teen Crowned Homecoming Princess" »


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