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Wisconsin Teen Commits Suicide Days After Coming Out as Transgender

Cameron

Cameron Langrell, a 15-year-old freshman from Racine, Wisconsin committed suicide last week days after coming out as transgender on Facebook.

Cameron's parents believe bullying at school was a contributing factor in the suicide.

The Racine Journal Times has more on the tragedy (note: male-pronouns are used to refer to Cameron):

Last Thursday his mother, Jamie Olender, and stepfather, Eric Olender, came home shocked to find that Cameron had taken his own life in the basement sometime that day.

“There were absolutely zero warning signs,” Jamie Olender said. “He busted out all the lights and his intent was clear.”

He loved to play piano. He also loved dance. Singing was his passion and next year he was set to join the school choir. He would have loved being a high school cheerleader. He wanted to try out for “American Idol.”

“He was always bullied for being feminine,” Jamie Olender said. “We told him to be who you are.”

Cameron’s parents knew their child was unique since he was a toddler. “Ever since he was very little, we knew Cameron felt differently,” she said. “He used to dance, twirl, sing and was all about that kind of attention. His brother would be in a football game and he would try to get people to notice his dance routine.”

OlenderWISN 12 adds Jamie and Eric (right) want the school district to do more to combat bullying. “There needs to be more within the school, not just some outside resource. It needs to be taught in school,” Jamie said.

A spokeswoman for the district released the following statement: "We are heartbroken by the loss of Cameron. Our district crisis team has stepped up to provide support for all of our Horlick students, staff and families these past several days. We have programs in place to ensure all students have a positive place to learn.
We will continue to work with our entire Horlick family to enhance these programs."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with financial burdens on Cameron's family. 


Scott Walker Repeats Calls for a Federal Marriage Amendment: VIDEO

Walker

Wisconsin Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker repeated his calls for a federal marriage amendment preserving state bans on gay marriage in an interview with the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Right Wing Watch reports.

Walker said that if SCOTUS does rule for marriage equality “the only other viable option out there is to support a constitutional amendment, again, believing, I believe in not just in marriage being defined as one man and one woman, but I also believe in states’ rights. I think that’s an issue that appropriately belongs in the states.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out

Ray

The words "It Gets Better" mean so much to Dalton Ray that he got them tattooed on his arm. 

Ray is a former high school football star who's now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

In a post for OutSports, Ray recounts how he struggled with his sexual orientation — both on and off the field — before finally coming out during his junior year of high school:  

Middle school was a challenge, but high school was the true battle for me. Subtle feelings turned into everyday thoughts. It increasingly became clear this wasn't just a phase for me.

To make it even worse I started hearing my peers, including some of my closest friends, use terms like "gay", "faggot", and "queer" to describe when something was stupid or wrong. Eventually that's how I felt - I felt like something was wrong with me, and worst of all I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror because I was so ashamed of who I was. ... 

One saying that has guided me through all of this: "It Gets Better." It's hard to realize that when you're stuck in the middle of the country hearing gay slurs every day. As I opened up my true self to people, I learned the power and truth of those three words. It's meant so much that I tattooed it on my arm.

In an "It Gets Better" video accompanying his OutSports piece, Ray — who also competed in basketball and track — says he didn't think it was possible to be an openly gay athlete until he became one:

Ray"I had this huge misconception that you couldn't be in sports and also be gay. That's wrong. That's completely, utterly wrong. I think once I actually came out I became a better athlete. I became a better competitor. I also became a better friend, a better brother, a better son, because I was finally being honest with not just everyone around me, but being honest with myself, and that's an extremely important part of life."  

Ray also has a powerful message for LGBT youth who are contemplating suicide:

"A bad day doesn't mean you have a bad life. If you don't think people wouldn't miss you, you're completely wrong, because you have friends and family and people in your lives that would miss you so much, so don't make them know what it feels like to live without you, because you're special, you're unique, you're an awesome person, and it gets better."

Read Ray's full article here and watch his "It Gets Better" video, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out" »


Jimmy The Groundhog Doesn't See His Shadow But Has a Taste For Blood: VIDEO

Groundhog

Apparently not all oracular rodents can be as well-mannered as Punxsutawney Phil. While delivering the news of his shadow-sighting to the mayor of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Jimmy the Groundhog was overcome with an insatiable thirst for blood and launched his incisors at the tender cheek of Mayor Jonathan Freund, claiming what was owed for the foreknowledge of the plans of Winter herself.

The incident should stand as a harsh reminder of the cost of delving into climatological prognostication...and of shoving one's ear into the face of a wild woodchuck.

The incident was caught on tape and can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...

[h/t jmg]

Continue reading "Jimmy The Groundhog Doesn't See His Shadow But Has a Taste For Blood: VIDEO" »


States Defending Gay Marriage Bans Costing Taxpayers Millions In Attorney Fees

MarriageGraphic

Plaintiffs in successful same-sex marriage lawsuits have been awarded more than $800,000 in attorneys fees' from states that defended the bans, with another $2.6 million in requests pending, according to a new report from The National Law Journal: 

Federal district judges across the country have issued nearly three dozen rulings since late 2013 declaring state same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. Attorney fee petitions haven't been filed yet in the majority of those cases as they go before circuit courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. The fee awards, agreements and requests to date offer an early snapshot of what these landmark civil rights cases could cost taxpayers. ... 

Plaintiffs who prevail in federal civil rights cases can collect legal fees from the losing side. Congress set up the fee-shifting rule as an incentive for lawyers to take on time-consuming and expensive civil rights litigation, said Deborah Ferguson, lead counsel for the couples who fought Idaho's gay marriage ban.

In Idaho, the plaintiffs' attorneys were awarded a whopping $410,663 — the most in any state thus far. But that hasn't stopped Republican Gov. Butch Otter from continuing his futile defense of the state's marriage ban in court. The other states where plaintiffs' attorneys fees have been awarded or agreed to in same-sex marriage cases are Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon and Virginia. Requests are pending in Alaska, Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

Of course, the plaintiffs' attorneys fees don't include the cost to taxpayers of states paying their lawyers or hiring outside counsel to defend the bans — or, for that matter, lost revenue from wedding-related spending where same-sex marriage is still not legal. 

All told, it seems that defending discrimination isn't cheap, and states that continue to fight same-sex marriage better be prepared to pay up. And the irony is, many of the same folks who advocate lower taxes are the same ones fighting hardest to deprive same-sex couples of the freedom to marry.  


U.S. Diplomat To Marry Turkish Pop Star Partner: VIDEO

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Charles F. Hunter, U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, is to marry his partner, Turkish pop star Ramadan Çaysever, reports Daily Sabah.

Speaking at an event in the Dutch consulate, Hunter spoke about his relationship with Çaysever for the first time and confirmed reports about the planned marriage. The couple are thought to have met at one of Çaysever’s concerts.

Hunter proposed a few months ago and told friends about the planned wedding at Thanksgiving.

The wedding will take place in Hunter's hometown, Appleton, Wisconsin, where the couple are set to travel on December 20th.  However, a date for the ceremony has not been confirmed.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Wisconsin in October.

Watch the music video for Çaysever's "Diskotek", AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "U.S. Diplomat To Marry Turkish Pop Star Partner: VIDEO" »


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