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Don Lemon Tells Piers Morgan 'Duck Dynasty' Star Shouldn't Be Fired: VIDEO

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Piers Morgan spoke last night with GLAAD's Wilson Cruz and CNN's Don Lemon, both gay men, about the suspension of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for anti-gay remarks he made in a GQ interview.

Lemon, a Louisiana (where Duck Dynasty is filmed) native, said he believes that Robertson should not be fired but that "the market should decide" his fate and that though he believes Robertson's remarks were "deeply offensive" he believes in free speech.

Wilson said that Robertson's remarks "do not reflect the true Christians out there" and said "it's just not who we are as Americans anymore."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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A&E Places 'Duck Dynasty' Star on Indefinite Hiatus Over Anti-Gay Remarks

Following his ugly remarks about gay people in an interview with GQ, A&E Networks has placed Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson on an indefinite hiatus, GLAAD reports.

P_robertsonSaid A&E in a statement:

"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."

Said GLAAD's Wilson Cruz:

“What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike. By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value."


Gay Iconography: The Legacy Of Rickie Vasquez

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The phrase "gay icon" gets tossed around a lot, but what does that really mean? Welcome to Gay Iconography, a new feature where we present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts. Last week, we discussed Roseanne and received lots of interesting responses about her work, her legacy and her more recent controversial comments about the trans community. If you missed it, you can join that conversation here. This week's installment shifts its focus to another '90s ABC series.

Even though it only lasted one season, My So-Called Life is one of the most beloved television shows of all time. Its realistic portrayal of the teenage experience extended beyond just the ennui, awkward first loves and Manic Panic dye jobs. It also encompassed the show's deft handling of hot-button topics that were allowed to unfold over the course of several episodes and often avoided the kind of hokey happy ending that plagued "very special episodes" on other series.

Chief among the issues tackled by MSCL was the ongoing coming out process of Rickie Vasquez. The show's commitment to authentic adolescent storytelling ensured he never became just the eyeliner-adorned B.F.F. in the girls' room, nor was he only reduced to his tragic backstory. If Rickie was a proto-Kurt Hummel, he did it with just as much style, but more heart and much less support. Not to mention the significance of Rickie being a queer person of color on primetime network TV played by an out actor (Wilson Cruz) in 1994.

Revisit some key Rickie moments from the show, and share your thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP …

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CA Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Into Law Landmark Protections For Transgender Students

6a00d8341c730253ef019103dad489970c-800wiCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law a bill that will provide unprecedented protections for transgender students in the Golden State, the San Jose Mercury News reports:

California on Monday became the first state to enshrine certain rights for transgender K-12 students in state law, requiring public schools to allow those students access to whichever restroom and locker room they want.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he had signed AB1266, which also will allow transgender students to choose whether they want to play boys' or girls' sports. The new law gives students the right "to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities" based on their self-perception and regardless of their birth gender.

Supporters said it will help reduce bullying and discrimination against transgender students. It comes as the families of transgender students have been waging local battles with school districts across the country over what restrooms and locker rooms their children can use, disagreements that have sometimes landed in court.

Prior to signing the bill, Governor Brown received a petition from transgender high school student Ashton Leigh who had garnered 6,000 signatures in support of the proposed legislation. The bill, named the School Success and Opportunity Act, was introduced by assembly member Tom Ammiano and coauthored by Senator Mark Leno and Senator Ricardo Lara. Carlos Alcala, a spokesman for Ammiano, commented that the bill will help transgendered students have a more normal life during their high school tenure:

Dunk"They're not interested in going into bathrooms and flaunting their physiology...Clearly, there are some parents who are not going to like it. We are hopeful school districts will work with them so no students are put in an uncomfortable position."

Wilson Cruz, GLAAD's national spokesman, praised the bill's passing:

"Well done California for passing a law that protects transgender students from discrimination in their own schools and affirms their identities. This is another step to ensuring that transgender students have the same opportunities at learning and school involvement as all other students."

This comes as the second victory for transgender students in California within the last month. At the end of July, the Departments of Education and Justice found that transgendered students were protected under Title IX and Title VII. The DOJ and DOE's findings were related to a discrimination complaint brought against Arcadia Unified School District in California.


GLAAD Alters Mission Statement to Include Transgender Focus: VIDEO

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On a panel on Sunday's Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, GLAAD's Wilson Cruz joined author and advocate Janet Mock and Mel Wymore, a community activist and Democratic candidate for New York City Council, to talk about GLAAD and an announcement made by President Herndon Graddick at the recent GLAAD awards that the organization would be altering its mission statement to add a focus on transgender defamation and equality.

"The organization has formally dropped the words 'Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation' from its name and will be known going forward as simply GLAAD, the LGBT media advocacy organization," it reports:

"It is a natural progression that reflects the work GLAAD's staff is already leading," said Cruz. "We respect and honor the full name that the organization was founded with, but GLAAD's work has expanded beyond fighting defamation to changing the culture. Our commitment to marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination, and other LGBT issues is stronger than ever, and now our name reflects our work on transgender issues as well as our work with allies."

GLAAD will continue a broad range of important media work, from holding the media accountable for coverage of LGBT issues, to elevating the important LGBT stories that make headlines and ultimately inform the conversations that are happening at dinner tables, in boardrooms, and schools around the country. GLAAD also reaffirmed its commitment to combatting the misinformation and hateful rhetoric that anti-LGBT activists like the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins put forth through the media.

Watch the Melissa Harris-Perry segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Wilson Cruz Joins GLAAD As Strategic Giving Officer

WilsonCruzGLAADGLAAD today announced that actor Wilson Cruz, best known for his groundbreaking role as out teen Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life, is joining their team as a strategic giving officer.

Pointing out that GLAAD has "combatted anti-LGBT images in the media and changed the national conversation about LGBT people," Cruz said "GLAAD is also using its media expertise to create a culture that is accepting and safe for all young people" and that he is "proud and excited to grow this culture-changing work."

Herndon Graddick, GLAAD's president, celebrated Cruz's role in expanding positive portrayals of LGBT people on television.

"His work in film and television, as well as his commitment to supporting local and national LGBT organizations exemplifies GLAAD's mission to move LGBT equality forward," said Graddick.

AFTER THE JUMP, a 2010 GLAAD interview in which Cruz discusses his decision to be true to himself on stage and off. Oh, I've also included that iconic My So-Called Life dance scene featuring Rickie and Delia Fisher, the girl who was heartbroken when Rickie came out. Eat your heart out, Brian Krakow!

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