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NEWS

 

California Recognizes Third Gender
NPR News: Remembering Edith Windsor, LGBTQ Advocate

LGBTQ Pride in Serbia

Senators Introduce First-Ever Resolution to recognize June as LGBTQ Pride Month

President Trump Defends White Supremacists

India Declares: Freedom of Sexual Orientation is Fundamental Right

Evangelical Leaders Release Anti-LGBTQ Statement on Sexuality
Australians Rally for Support of Same Sex Marriage

Response to the Nashville Statement

 



LGBTQ News Sources

Huffington Post: Queer Voices

Advocate Magazine

LGBTQ Nation

Pink News

Lavender Magazine

On Top Magazine

 

Edith Windsor, LGBTQ Advocate, Dies at 88

 

Edith Windsor, the famous LGBTQ advocate who fought the Defense Of Marriage Act, died on September 12, 2017, at the age of 88.

 

Edith Windsor loved Thea Spyer. For nearly half a century, the two were partners and eventually were legally married as well. When Spyer died in 2009, though, the federal government didn't recognize that love on Windsor's tax forms, expecting her to pay more than $350,000 in estate taxes. That is, until Windsor fought the law that did not recognize that marriage — and won.

 

Judith Kasen-Windsor, whom Windsor married last year, confirmed her death in a statement. "I lost my beloved spouse Edie, and the world lost a tiny but tough as nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality," she said. "Edie was the light of my life. She will always be the light for the LGBTQ community which she loved so much and which loved her right back."

 

 

Barack Obama issued the following statement: "America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fueled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right. I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love. She was engaged to her partner, Thea, for forty years. After a wedding in Canada, they were married for less than two. But federal law didn’t recognize a marriage like theirs as valid – which meant that they were denied certain federal rights and benefits that other married couples enjoyed. And when Thea passed away, Edie spoke up – not for special treatment, but for equal treatment – so that other legally married same-sex couples could enjoy the same federal rights and benefits as anyone else."

 

NPR News: Remembering Edith Windsor, LGBTQ Advocate

Huff Post:  Remembering LGBTQ Rights Icon, Edith Windsor

LGBTQ Nation: Tribute to Edith Windsor

 

Evangelical Leaders Release Anti-LGBTQ Statement

 

A coalition of over 150 evangelical leaders released a manifesto on August 29, 2017 reiterating their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Titled the “Nashville Statement,” the document also asserts that God created two distinct sexes, that sex should only occur within the bounds of heterosexual marriage, and that “it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism.”

The statement emerged out of a meeting convened by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood on Friday at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference in Nashville. It consists of 14 statements of affirmation and denial relating to human sexuality.

 

For instance, Article 7 of the statement reads: "We affirm that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture. We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption."

Among the signers were many prominent and influential evangelical leaders, including Steve Gaines, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. Perkins was also reportedly one of the architect’s behind President Trump’s ban on transgender service members.

 

LGBTQ News Reports

 

Evangelical Leaders Release Anti-LGBTQ Statement on Sexuality
Response to the Nashville Statement
James Corden's Tribute to Transgender Troops
Ireland’s First Gay Prime Minister

German Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

LGBTQ Equality March on Washington DC
Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC Sings to Drown Out Protesters at Knoxville Pride
Taiwan Makes History as First Asian Nation to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

 

Violence in Charlottesville

 

One person was killed and 35 injured in a day of violence surrounding a white supremacist rally in the usually quiet college town of Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. Early in the day, clashes had broken out as the groups that planned the "Unite the Right" rally were met with counter protesters. After the rally, a car plowed into a crowd, killing one person and injuring 19.

 



A 32-year-old woman was killed in the car crash. The victim was identified as Heather Heyer of Charlottesville. Thirty-five people were injured in clashes between opposing groups and in the car crash. At least nineteen were injured in the crash alone. Charlottesville police chief Al Thomas said the injuries ranged from life-threatening to minor. The driver has been taken into custody. Albermarle County Regional Jail officials identified the suspect as 20-year-old Alex Fields, of Ohio. Thomas said the driver will be charged with criminal homicide.

White supremacist, alt-right, neo-Nazi, and pro-Confederate groups were protesting the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park.

 

Huff Post: President Trump Defends White Supremacists

 

 

India Supports LGBTQ Rights

 

India’s Supreme Court has given the country’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer community the freedom to safely express their sexual orientation. In a historic decision on August 24, 2017, the nine-judge panel declared that an individual’s sexual orientation is protected under the country’s Right to Privacy law.

“Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy,” the decision reads. “Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform.”

Although the Supreme Court did not directly overturn any laws criminalizing same-sex relationships, the language of the court decision offers hope to the LGBTQ community. The judges expressly state sexual orientation falls under an individual’s right to privacy, a constitutional right, and that no individual should be discriminated against based on their orientation.

Going forward, this can establish a precedent as organizations challenge discriminatory laws in court, and offer protection against discrimination in places such as the workforce.

This could even deliver a death blow to an oppressive and controversial law in the Indian Penal Code. Section 377 is a law that limits a citizen’s right to express their gender identity or sexual orientation in consensual relationships. In 2013, another panel of the Supreme Court upheld Section 377.
 

India Declares: Freedom of Sexual Orientation is Fundamental Right

Ireland’s First Gay Prime Minister

German Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

Taiwan Makes History as First Asian Nation to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

Australians Rally for Support of Same Sex Marriage

LGBTQ Pride in Serbia




President Trump Bans  Trans Troops

 

On June 26, 2017, President Donald Trump declared that transgender people weren’t fit to serve in any branch of the armed service in any capacity, citing a strain and distraction to the United States military readiness. His exact words were:

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
 

No Allies Here: Trump Bans Transgender People From Military

Pentagon Says Trans Troops Can Still Serve

Transgender Ban: About Hate Not Money

Trump's Ban: Trans Veterans Respond

Defense Secretary Appalled by Trump's Announcement

Trans Military Ban: Joint Chiefs Respond

Why We Need Trans People in the US Military

Trans Service Members Make Public Statement at VMA Event

 

Marriage Equality in Germany

 

On June 30, 2017, Germany’s parliament passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage - a sudden landmark shift for LGBTQ rights in Europe’s most populous country.

 

The vote came days after Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled that she was open to changing Germany’s marriage laws to include same-sex couples, prompting a hurried push from opposition lawmakers to pass the so-called marriage-for-all legislation.

 

 

Merkel’s ruling coalition had long opposed a vote on same-sex marriage, an issue that is divisive among her conservative bloc. But during an interview on Monday with German women’s magazine Brigitte, Merkel said she was open to members of her coalition voting their conscience, rather than holding the party line.

 

Merkel’s shift came after she visited a lesbian couple raising eight foster children. She called her dinner with the family “a life-changing experience” and said she realized her party’s arguments against same-sex marriage were no longer valid.

 

Polls show that a strong majority of German voters favor same-sex marriage. A Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency survey earlier this year showed 83 percent of Germans support it.

 

Germany has allowed civil partnerships since 2001. But unlike many neighboring countries, it has lacked full same-sex marriage equality. A growing number of countries in Europe have legalized same-sex marriage, including Finland and Slovenia this year. Italy remains among European states that permit only civil unions and do not grant full rights afforded to married couples.

 

German Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

The One Sentence That Brought Marriage Equality to Germany

Angela Merkel's Dinner With Lesbian Couple

Gay Pride in Berlin

First Gay Couple Married in Germany

 

Sesame Street Expresses Pride

 

“Sesame Street” sent a heartfelt message to LGBTQ people as cities across the US celebrated National LGBTQ Pride Month. On June 23, 2017, the classic children’s TV series tweeted a photograph that featured seven of its beloved characters, including Elmo, posed to form a rainbow.  the accompanying message read, "Sesame Street is proud to support families of all shapes, sizes, and colors."

 


 

LGBTQ News Reports

 

Why Pride: Explanation for Straight People

Human Rights Watch: LGBTQ Students in US Face Discrimination and Hostile Environment
TED Talk: This is What LGBTQ Life is Like Around the World

CNN: What a Trump Presidency Means for LGBTQ Americans

People Guess the Sexual Orientation of Strangers

The Power of Inclusive Sex Education

Boy George Covers YMCA

 

Chechen President’s Comments on Gay People

 

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov gave a chilling interview, in July 2017, where he said gay people do not exist in Chechnya and if they do, they should flee to Canada.

 

Kadyrov (an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin) was confronted in an interview about his nation's imprisonment, torture, and killing of gay and bisexual men; an unknown number have been murdered.

 

 

Kadyrov answered, "We don't have those kinds of people here... If they are here, take them to Canada... Take them far from us so we don't have them in our home... To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them. They are devils. They are for sale. They are not people."

 

Advocate Mag: Chechen Prez Says Gays Are Devils Not People

Huff Post: Chechen Prez Says We Don’t Have Any Gays

LGBTQ Nation: Chechen Prez Laughs About Anti-Gay Violence

Republican Senate Candidate Says Putin Was Right About Gays

 

Marriage Equality in Taiwan

 

On May 24, 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court declared that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, sparking celebration by activists who have been campaigning for the right for years.

 



The court, known as the Judicial Yuan, said current marriage laws were “in violation of both the people’s freedom of marriage and the people’s right to equality”, and it gave two years for legal amendments to allow same-sex marriage.  “If relevant laws are not amended or enacted within the said two years, two persons of the same sex who intend to create the said permanent union shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated,” the court said.

Hundreds of supporters of same-sex marriage gathered in the street next to the island’s parliament to celebrate the decision, holding colorful umbrellas to ward off a drizzle. “This ruling has made me very happy,” said Chi Chia-wei, a veteran gay rights activist who had petitioned the court to take up the issue.  The ruling clearing the way for same-sex marriage is the first in Asia, where socially conservative attitudes largely hold sway.

 

Taiwan Makes History as First Asian Nation to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

German Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

 

Increased Calls to Trevor Project Suicide Hotline

 

The LGBTQ community was enjoying a growing wave of support, although admittedly it had a long way still to go. Marriage equality had been won, nondiscrimination ordinances were becoming more common, and it appeared as if the momentum was on our side. Then America elected Donald Trump to become our 45th president. Since then, that progress has looked more in danger than it has in years. For younger people, the turn can be particularly upsetting.

 

 

“After the election it became clear to me that young people needed our help more than ever,” reports Amit Paley, the new CEO of The Trevor Project, whose suicide prevention hotline has seen a noted increase in call volume. LGBTQ youth attempt and commit suicide at a higher percentage than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. “The day after the presidential election the Trevor Project’s call volume doubled, and there has been an increase in calls since then,” he said.

 

In May, Paley reported, The Trevor Project’s Lifeline received more calls than in its entire 19-year history. “The policies of this administration, no doubt about it, are directly harming young LGBTQ people,” Paley told The Daily Beast. “What’s so upsetting and shocking for them is that up until this point they had been growing up in a time of increasing acceptance and tolerance. Our mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ young people, and we are concerned by any activities that might reverse the progress we have made.”

 

“There are more people feeling in crisis and more people reaching out for help,” said Paley. “When the president of the United States and politicians in positions of power stand up and make LGBTQ people feel less-than, or make them feel their rights are being taken away from them, that has a significant impact on their self-worth. That’s our reason to be here: to say that no matter what anyone in Washington says, you are worthy, you are loved, you have dignity, and you are who you are and who you love does not lessen you as a person.”

 

LGBTQ News Reports

 

Human Rights Watch: LGBTQ Students in US Face Discrimination and Hostile Environment

TED Talk: This is What LGBTQ Life is Like Around the World

CNN: What a Trump Presidency Means for LGBTQ Americans

Why Pride: Explanation for Straight People
Changing: Trans Teen Music Video

 

Chick-Fil-A Still Supporting Anti-LGBTQ Causes

 

Chick-Fil-A’s  tax-exempt foundation continues to bankroll anti-LGBTQ organizations with more than $1.4 million in donations.

 

It has been nearly five years since Chick-fil-A chairman and CEO Dan Cathy’s comment that the company was “guilty as charged” of opposing same-sex marriage brought the company’s long history of anti-LGBTQ activism to the nation’s attention. Recall that Dan Cathy said the passage of marriage equality laws signaled a “sad day for our nation.”

 

Cathy, facing national backlash, vowed to stay out of the debate and focus on chicken. At that time, the company launched a very small charm offensive, issuing a statement that the company will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender.” Chick-fil-A did not back this up with any LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policy.

 

 

But has anything changed? It sure doesn’t look that way. While the company’s non-profit arms scaled back support for some of the groups that actively push an anti-gay agenda, the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s most recent IRS filings show it gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-LGBTQ organizations in 2015.

 

For example, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave more than $1 million in 2015 (nearly one-sixth of its total grants) to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The religious organization, which seeks to utilize athletes and coaches to spread Christian teachings, imparts a strongly anti-LGBTQ message. Staff and volunteers with the organization have been required to adhere to a strict “sexual purity” policy, prohibiting any “homosexual acts,” even for married couples. The group takes the view that, “The Bible is clear in teaching on sexual sin including sex outside of marriage and homosexual acts. Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God.”

 

The foundation also gave more than $200,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Georgia-based “transformative organization” that operates a “Christian residential home for troubled youth.” Focusing on boys, their teachings include the idea that the “sexual, physical, and mental abuse of children, mostly in the alleged ‘safety’ of their own homes has produced all kinds of evil throughout the culture to include the explosion of homosexuality in the last century.” The myth that people are LGBTQ due to abuse is a claim frequently made by anti-LGBTQ organizations to promote harmful “ex-gay” therapy.

 

Additionally, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave at least $130,000 to the Salvation Army. The religious organization has a long history of anti-LGBTQ housing discrimination, opposition to same-sex marriage equality, and supporting exemptions from non-discrimination ordinances. One page on its website, entitled “The Salvation Army and the LGBTQ Community,” boasts that the group adheres “to all relevant employment laws, providing domestic partner benefits accordingly.’ Given that only a minority of states explicitly bar anti-LGBTQ discrimination, that’s a low bar.

 

The Human Rights Campaign’s most recent scorecard rates Chick-fil-A a “0” on LGBTQ-inclusive policies (or lack thereof). With its continued foundation giving to those who preach anti-LGBTQ values (at least $1.4 million in 2015 alone) it does not appear that the group has yet lived up to its promise to focus on poultry.

 

Think Progress: Chick-Fil-A Still Funding Anti-Gay Causes

LGBTQ Nation: Chick-Fil-A Still Supporting Anti-LGBTQ Organizations

 

LGBTQ News Reports

 

The Year to Be Queer

Why I Am Coming Out Now

Why We Won't Go Back

Why I Must Come Out

What Could a Gay Utopia Teach Urban America?

What Has and Has Not Changed

Boy George Covers YMCA

 

Religious Based Discrimination

 

Most Americans don’t think religious-based discrimination should be lawful. The tide is turning in support of more open policies toward the LBGTQ community.

In June 2017, the governor of Texas signed into law a bill that allows faith-based adoption groups to deny services “under circumstances that conflict with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” Critics, including the ACLU of Texas, say the new law could likely be used to discriminate against LGBTQ families in adoptions. This law is similar to those passed in Mississippi and Tennessee which also legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people based on religious convictions.

 

 

In March 2016, the Tennessee legislature introduced a bill allowing counselors to refuse to provide mental health care services to anyone who violates their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” including beliefs about LGBTQ people.  That bill did pass and was signed into law.

A number of Christian groups and outlets applauded the bills passed in Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. But according to a new report by the Public Religion Research Institute, support for religiously based service refusals is quickly declining. PRRI’s report, based on a survey of roughly 40,000 interviews, found that more than six in ten Americans oppose allowing small business owners in their state to refuse to provide goods and services to gay or lesbian people on religious grounds.

White evangelical Protestants continue to be the faith group most in favor of religiously motivated discrimination, though even among that group support has dropped. In 2015, 56 percent of white evangelicals were in favor of allowing business owners to deny services to gay and lesbian people. In 2016, the number had dropped to 50 percent.

 

Legalizing Religious Based Discrimination

Federal Court Rules Mississippi Businesses Can Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

LGBTQ Discrimination in Tennessee

Map of State Religious Exemptions Laws

Handy Guide to Understanding Religious Exemption Laws

Evangelical Leaders Release Anti-LGBTQ Statement on Sexuality

 

 

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