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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Embarks On Inclusion-Focused Rebranding

TaskforceIn an effort to strengthen its position as one of the country’s leading organizations fighting for queer equality, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has rebranded itself the National LGBTQ Task Force. Though the Task Force remains dedicated to its original mission of advancing the rights for lesbian and gay individuals, its new name is meant to reflect an evolution of the group’s focus.

Rea Carey, the Task Force’s Executive Director, explained that recent advances in the fight for marriage equality were a foundational part of the modern gay rights movement, but there was still more work to be done.

“There is a deep desire for more change, to look beyond marriage equality,” she explained in a statement. “With millions of us still facing formidable barriers in every aspect of our lives: at school, in housing, employment, in health care, in our faith congregations, in retirement and in basic human rights.”

The Task Force’s inclusion of bisexual, transgender, and queer identities is the latest in the organization’s effort to foster the development of a socio-politically inclusive group of sexual minorities. The rebranding is joined by the new “Be You” tagline, encouraging all  people marginalized for their gender expression or sexuality to feel welcome within the Task Force’s cause.

“Now more than ever we have the power to define the future we want — a world where every LGBTQ person can be themselves without any barriers,” said Carey “We have worked hard for decades to create this momentum. Let’s seize this opportunity, let’s be ourselves fully, and let’s make a future together that’s worthy of our struggle.”

Watch the National LGBTQ Task Force's latest video introducing its Be You campaign AFTER THE JUMP...

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Dana McCallum, Trans Twitter Engineer Pleads Guilty In Spousal Rape Case

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Yesterday, Dana McCallum pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and false imprisonment in connection to the alleged rape of her wife. In January McCallum pled not guilty to the five initial felony charges which included three counts of spousal rape. She was released on a $350,000 bail.

A vocal member of the trans-rights community and a Twitter engineer, McCallum had previously made a name for herself as an advocate for sexual and gender minorities’ inclusion within the tech industry. Following the rape allegations McCallum’s web presences on sites such as Model View Culture were deleted. McCallum’s lawyer John Runfola said that the rape allegations came as a result of the couple’s ongoing divorce proceedings and McCallum’s financial success as a top Twitter engineer.

"I'm just disgusted that, you know, this is going on," Runfola told The Examiner. "Dana is an employee [at Twitter] and is about to come into a large amount of money. ... This whole thing is about money."

Erin Caton, a close friend of McCallum’s wife refuted Runfola’s claims, insisting that McCallum attacking her wife was an event separate from their divorce.

Today in court McCallum’s wife expressed that she wanted her ordeal to to be an inspiration to others, like her wife, who were dealing with alcohol addiction, rather than “an ugly headline for the vultures to pick over."


NYC Councilman Corey Johnson Introduces Groundbreaking Transgender Birth Certificate Legislation

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A bill introduced yesterday by New York City councilman and LGBT rights activist Corey Johnson aims to change the law under which transgender people wishing to change sex on their birth certificate must prove that they have had “corrective surgery,” reports Capital New York.

The Department of Health will propose new regulations mirroring Johnson's legislation.

Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Tuesday that will make it easier for transgender Californians to obtain a birth certificate with sex and name alterations

New York City law currently requires anyone wishing to change their birth certificate to undergo surgery. However, under the proposed change, transgender people would only be required to provide a signed form from a physician, a doctoral level psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, licensed master social worker, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, marriage family therapist, mental health counsellor or a midwife.

According to advocates, although New York City in 1971 became the first municipality to permit changes to a birth certificate for transgender people, the policy has not been updated and now stands as too restrictive.

Johnson - a former political editor for Towleroad - said that the change is a human rights issue and is necessary “because transgender people currently do not have accurate documents to be able to access basic things like a driver's license that matches who they are.”

Michael Silverman, Executive Director of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, said:

“We applaud both of these efforts to help transgender people born in New York City update their birth certificates to match who they truly are. These proposed policy changes reflect modern medical standards for transgender health care.

"A birth certificate is a fundamental form of identification. Yet New York City’s existing policy makes it all but impossible for transgender people to get birth certificates that reflect their true identities. It requires surgical procedures that most transgender people have not undergone, either because of discriminatory health insurance exclusions that make such procedures unaffordable, or because such procedures are medically inappropriate for some people.”


Ohio Gay Teen Crowned Homecoming Queen

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A high school in Lakewood, Ohio, has crowned a gay male student as homecoming queen, reports Cleveland.com.

Last September, a transgender student in Huntington Beach, California, was crowned homecoming queen. In August 2013, two out gay students in Illinois were named homecoming king and queen.

Instead of naming a traditional king and queen, Lakewood High School decided to crown three people after Cooper Robar won the race for homecoming queen. Also named as members of “royalty” were Tess Jones, who received the most votes among girls, and Xavier Pedro, who was elected king.

Cooper’s mother Wendy explained that what started out as a joke turned into a statement on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community:

"It was him being a goofball and saying wouldn't it be fun if he could be queen. I was pretty shocked [that we won]. I was surprised by the roaring of applause and the yelling for Cooper….We are very proud of him being able to stand up for himself and tell the world he is who he is and have no misgivings about it.”

She added that although Cooper is popular at school, she was surprised he didn't encounter any serious backlash from critics.

Lakewood Principal Keith Ahearn said there was nothing in the rules preventing a boy from running as queen and deciding to name three members of royalty was the fairest way to handle the situation.


MSNBC Profiles Trans Minister and Former Outserve_SLDN Director Allyson Robinson: VIDEO

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Allyson Robinson, the former executive director of Outserve_SLDN who became one fo the few openly trans pastors in the U.S. when she was ordained in July at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., is speaking out about her journey to personal and spiritual fulfilment in a new profile video for MSNBC.

Said Robinson:

What I see happening in the church today is a restoration of balance - and that radical welcome, those open arms being given, restored to their proper place in the expression of God's people in the world...if you want to know what the future of the kingdom of God on Earth lookls like, it looks like more of this. 

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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First Look at 'Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word' Spotlighting The Lives of Trans Youth: VIDEO

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Earlier this month, we told you about an upcoming documentary Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word - which chronicles the lives of seven youths from different backgrounds as they explore what it means to be trans-identified in America today. 

The film, part of MTV's Look Different campaign aimed at combating racial, gender, and LGBT bias, has released a first look that you can check out AFTER THE JUMP...

CoxSaid MTV and Logo TV president Stephen Friedman:

Laverne Cox has been a pioneer in bringing transgender issues and stories into the national spotlight, and we are proud to work with her on this new documentary. Every young person struggles to define their identity, but for transgender people that struggle is magnified. 'The T Word' shows how challenging it can be – and how inspiring it is when people discover themselves and truly live their authentic lives.

Following the documentary's premiere October 17, Laverne Cox will host a live "Trans Forum" to further discuss issues and questions surrounding the lives of transgender people. 

Continue reading "First Look at 'Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word' Spotlighting The Lives of Trans Youth: VIDEO " »


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