Executive Director of Immigration Equality Rachel Tiven
History Is Watching - Light To Justice (by GetEQUAL)
Is it just me or does this seem a little melodramatic? Maybe it is the announcers voice or the background music.
TW for some disturbing and violent images.
“You have the classic situation where a young person comes out and gets kicked out,” said Kate Barnhart, director of New Alternatives, a homeless LGBT youth advocacy organization in New York. “But then you also have a fair number of young people who become homeless for socioeconomic reasons.”
Two out of every three Americans admit that anti-gay discrimination is a “serious problem” in this country, and nine out of ten LGBT adults agree. A new Gallup/USA Today poll also finds that almost half of all Americans believe it is difficult for LGBT people to live openly in their community, while almost the same number of LGBT adults agree. A related Gallup poll yesterday found three out of four Americans under 30 — or a huge 73 percent — support same-sex marriage equality, as do approximately 50 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 64. Overall, Gallup found 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage.
Colombia’s highest constitutional court has guaranteed Chandler Burr custody of his two sons.
The gay New York Times journalist sued the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) for barring him from taking his two legally adopted sons outside of the country.
The ICBF called for the US Embassy to revoke the boys’ adoption emigration visas in March 2011 after he disclosed he is gay.
Burr had adoption the boys through an international adoption agency and met all legal requirements, including obtaining the adoption decree.
With the help of civil rights group Dejusticia, Burr was allowed to take his two sons to the US on 12 December 2011, but the family’s legal status was still being disputed in court.
The latest court ruling is based on the argument that the adoptive’s parent sexual orientation can’t be considered a risk to the children’s well-being.
Instead, the court ruled that the ICBF’s decision to separate the two boys from their legal guardian posed a greater risk to the emotional stability of the children.
A 1995 Colombian court decision found that sexual orientation may not be used to assess a person’s ability to adopt.
Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry: The Story of Monica and Naomi (by FreedomToMarry)
A poignant new ad from Freedom to Marry and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Gay and lesbian service members risk their lives to protect ours while their families are denied the critical protections of marriage because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
This video is part of Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry, a new multimedia persuasion campaign to highlight the stories of military families harmed by DOMA. The campaign is a partnership between Freedom to Marry and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Find out more at http://www.freedomtomarry.org/military
The United States has never had a publicly out male gymnast participate in the Olympics outside of equestrian events. Gymnast Josh Dixon hopes to be the first.
The Stanford grad took a big step toward that goal at the U.S. Men’s Qualifier on Saturday in Colorado Springs, finishing second overall out of the 72 competitors. He also tied for wins in two events: floor exercise and high bar. It was a game-changing come-back performance for Dixon, who tore his Achilles tendon last spring.
Now Dixon is talking about his personal life and sexual orientation publicly for the first time. Like charging at the vault, he’s coming at it at full speed.
Dixon and his two sisters were all adopted at birth by Michael and Kathy Dixon. While the three children were born at different times, they share the same birth mother, whom none of the family has ever met. It was through his sisters that he first discovered gymnastics.
The Dixon household was diverse: Josh is half-black and half-Japanese, while his father Michael is white and his mother Kathy is Japanese.
Maybe it was the multicultural household he grew up in, but Dixon never felt his early crushes on boys were wrong. Still, he didn’t talk about those crushes because he was immersed in gymnastics from the time he hit puberty.
“Eat, sleep, train and do homework,” was the extent of Dixon’s life. “Gymnastics was my number one priority, and if something got in the way of that I had to push it aside.”
The mantra was reflected in his interview with Outsports. When asked about gymnastics, he could rattle of incredibly detailed accounts of his scores and performances. Questions about his personal life were more of a struggle for him to answer.
There is a link to the petition at the end of the article.
A gay mother in Ohio has started a petition calling on the Boy Scouts of America to reverse its stance on expelling gay youths and leaders from the organisation.
Jennifer Tyrrell was told she could no longer be a den leader in the organisation because of her sexuality under the organisation’s long-standing gay exclusion policy.
The Boy Scouts of America has adopted positions since 1991 which state that homosexuality is “inconsistent with the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed”.
Its Scout Promise states: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
The Scout Law states: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
In the UK, the Scout Association has an anti-discrimination policy and its promise states only: “On my honour, I promise that I will do my best, To do my duty to God and to the Queen, To help other people, And to keep the Scout Law.”
A 2010 legal challenge in Philadelphia of the gay ban confirmed that the private organisation was within its rights to exclude people on the basis of sexual orientation. Last month, the city was ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in legal fees.
GLAAD’s recently appointed president Herndon Graddick said: “The Boy Scouts of America is one of the last cultural institutions to categorically discriminate against LGBT Americans.
“Sending the message to America’s youth that they or their parents are somehow less than everyone else is dangerous, inaccurate and should be changed immediately.”
Dana Rudolph, editor of gay parenting blog Mombian, said: “Lesbian and gay parents have proven themselves time and time again to be dedicated, caring, and trustworthy Scout leaders and volunteers, as evidenced by Jennifer and many others who have served in welcoming local Scout groups.
“It is shameful that the Boy Scouts have chosen to stigmatize Jennifer’s son by not letting his parents participate in the same way as those of his peers.”
Ms Tyrrell’s petition, calling on the organisation to change its policies, states: “I was recently removed from this volunteer position, and my membership was revoked after nearly a year of service – just because I happen to be gay.”
The letter continues: “I received notice that my membership had been revoked, based on my sexual orientation, citing that due to being gay, I did ‘not meet the high standards of membership that the BSA seeks’ […]
“It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider their policy of exclusivity against gay youth and leaders. Please sign this petition to call for an end of discrimination in an organization that is shaping the future […] Please join me and take a stand.”
Strict new voter ID laws may leave large numbers of transgender people unable to vote in the US general election this November.
A study published by the Williams Institute suggests transgender people will run into problems when presenting identification that no longer accurately reflects their gender, appearance or both.
It says that, as well as causing problems for transgender people when it comes to applying for employment and housing and interactions with police and government officials, not having the correct photo ID could prevent transgender people from voting.
The Williams Institute suggests that over 25,000 will come up against ‘substantial barriers’ and may not even be able to vote at all.
Nine states - Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin - have adopted the stricter photo ID laws.
‘Transgender people who have transitioned face unique hurdles when acquiring or updating identification that would fulfill voter ID requirements because they must comply with the requirements for updating the name and gender on their state-issued or federally-issued IDs and records,’ wrote the study’s author, Dr Jody L Herman.
‘Requirements for updating state-issued IDs vary widely by state and can be difficult and costly. Federal requirements also vary by agency.’
The report’s data, from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, suggests that ‘40% of transgender citizens who have transitioned to live full-time don’t have an updated driver’s licence’, with 74% having an outdated passport.
27% have no ID or documents that list their correct gender.
The report says that, on presenting ID that no longer accurately reflected their gender, 41% of respondents had been harassed, 15% had been asked to leave the venue where they’d used it and 3% had been assaulted or attacked.
It also suggests that transgender youth, people of color and those with low incomes or disabilities were more likely to have inaccurate identification.
Carol & Nan- “The Bitter End” (by www.gayusathemovie.com)
Cute ad in support of marriage equality.
This actually sounds interesting for all the videographers and writers out there in [US]Tumblr land. Reblog widely as it closes on May 4, 2012.
From the Whitehouse website:
Across the country, ordinary people are doing extraordinary things to improve the lives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. They are parents and students, neighborhood and business leaders, artists and advocates, all united in the fight for equality.
We know that the American people are the source of some of the best ideas and most innovative solutions. That’s why the White House Champions of Change series spotlights everyday heroes who are demonstrating commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or the lives of their fellow citizens. And in that spirit, we are launching the LGBT Pride Month Champions of Change Video Challenge to explore the stories of unsung heroes and local leaders who are leading our march towards a more perfect union.
If that sounds like you or someone you know, then we want to hear from you – and we want to see you in action!
Here’s how it works. You have until Friday, May 4 to submit video entries online. A panel will review submissions and select a group of semi-finalists. Then, in early June, the public will have a chance to weigh in and help identify finalists that will be featured as Champions of Change at an event at the White House.
Each video should fit one or more of the following categories, some of which may be used to organize semi-finalists and finalists:
- Storytelling (stories of coming out or overcoming adversity)
- Culture & Identity (interesting intersections with race, national origin, religion, and disability)
- Unsung Heroes (individuals and organizations that haven’t been recognized for their contributions)
- The Arts (music, art, photography, poetry, and prose that inspire courage and acceptance)
- Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation (individuals and organizations that are testing new approaches and demonstrating results)
- Community Solutions (local initiatives that are solving local challenges)
- Friends & Allies (family members, teachers, faith leaders, and other allies in the fight for equality)
Videos will be accepted in any form (including music video, PSA, short film, video blog, and interview) but must be no longer than 3 minutes. Essays no longer than 750 words will also be accepted if video production is not possible. Submissions should be creative, innovative, and inspiring and must be submitted by Friday, May 4, 2012.
T/W Violence, homophobia, suicide
Sunday, March 25, 2012
I have hated you almost every day since we first met. But for different reasons altogether than you might expect.
I still remember the terror I felt, every time I approached the soccer field. It was junior high, a difficult time for almost everyone, but for me, especially so.
You see, I’d always known I was gay. Even in kindergarten, just looking at Jeff Hayward’s smile would make me happy, and I knew, intrinsically, that it was alright to feel this way — to love other boys — as everything about it felt completely natural and unforced.
In junior high, however, once placed on the same soccer team with you, everything changed.
What I had seen as natural and good, you were suddenly calling abnormal and detestable.
Every “faggot” you spit towards me hit directly between the eyes, and the whispers, taunts, and dirty looks you and Mike Baker sent my way continually unnerved me, affecting both my sense of self, as well as my performance on the field. Because of you, questions about my masculinity hovered over me, and I would feel physically ill at the thought of another practice or game. I would choose different, roundabout paths to my classes, just to avoid where I knew you’d be.
In high school, while I went on to be active in theater and academics, you and Mike continued to rise socially, becoming the big men on campus that I’d longed to be. You were even voted onto the homecoming king’s court, and as you took to the field, flashing your charming smile, all I could see was the sneer on your lips when you turned and glanced my way.
But that isn’t why I have hated you.
Just prior to our senior year, during summer break, word came that you’d tried to commit suicide and were in a coma. No one knew what had happened, but you eventually returned to school our senior year. You were just as popular as you had been before, and perhaps even more so, now that you had this added sense of intrigue about you.
But despite your outright hatred of me, I still wondered about you and about what could have possibly led you to try to take your own life. You, more than anyone, seemed to have it all, and despite the way you continued to torment me, I felt a pang of pity for you.
The following summer, I got another call. You’d again tried to kill yourself, tying a noose from the garage rafters — only this time you succeeded. Your mother discovered you, hanging there, upon her return home.
How lonely you must have felt, Dirk, as you tied that rope. Could you really see no path forward? Was there no one you could have reached out to? Was there no friend, family member, priest, counselor — not one person you could’ve trusted with your pain?
Later, I heard that you’d left behind a note, writing that although you did not like girls, you did not want to like boys. And suddenly it became horribly clear to me. You and I were exactly alike. That anger and venom you directed at me, you were also directing at yourself.
How I wish, Dirk, that you’d allowed yourself to connect with me. I’m not saying that a friendship between us could have altered your path, but just knowing that we weren’t the only ones could’ve made our lives easier. For me, discovering that there were other gay people out there did help. I found a progressive bookstore, not too far from where we lived, and I’d covertly journey there as often as I could, just to lose myself in reading about a world which I knew I’d someday enter.
And even if a friendship between us wasn’t possible, given our differing social status, imagine how less torturous you could have made another’s life, simply by being kind.
While in school, my hatred was based solely about how mean you were to me, now my anger is reserved for the lack of value you placed upon yourself. Clearly, you didn’t think you were worth loving. Where did you get such a message? You were smart, personable, an exceptional athlete, and beyond handsome. Even with all of the venom you sent my way, I still admired your more affirming qualities. Regardless, despite all these many gifts, somewhere along the way, you were taught that instead of acting on your love of other men, you’d be better off dead.
I hate that you hurt so, Dirk, and hate just as much that you listened to those who filled your head with such thoughts.
I also hate that I was so absorbed in and blinded by my own situation that I couldn’t see your venom for what it really was. What if, one day, instead of running the other way when I saw you, I had instead offered you a smile?
Dirk, you might be surprised to know who I ran into at our high school reunion — your old pal, Mike Baker. Imagine my shock, spotting him across the room, when we suddenly locked eyes. I immediately went to that same place of fear and panic, but that only lasted a moment, until I saw him break out into a big grin and make a beeline toward me.
I was shocked when he warmly clasped my hand in his, as if we were longtime friends. “I’ve been looking all over for you,” he said, intently. “I’ve really been wanting to say ‘hello.’” While he never brought up our shared past, it was clear to me that he was making amends.
Did you know, Dirk, that Mike’s younger brother has come out as gay? Would it surprise you to know that Mike is totally okay with it? If you had known back then that your best friend might have been accepting of you, could that have possibly altered your decision?
People loved you, Dirk — then and now.
I wish I could have held you, Dirk, comforted you, and told you that everything would be alright. Our individual uniqueness’s are a gift, given by our maker, which we then get to share with the world. Your void is noticeable, even 20-odd years later.
You could’ve done so much, Dirk, if only you’d realized that each one of us is deserving of love and respect.
Wishing you peace,
Though innocence for all was lost some years ago, in respect of their families, all names have been changed.
SAN FRANCISCO — Several straight students at Francisco Middle School in San Francisco’s Marina district have created a program to address homophobia in their school.
Jessica Pullano, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Education Fund, which is involved with the project, said that since none of the students are openly LGBT, they’re not calling it a gay-straight alliance.
The eighth grade Peer Resources class has created Allied Allegiance, a weekly lunchtime club where students can work on projects designed to encourage acceptance. Activities include guest LGBT speakers. So far, there are 12 club members.
According to Pullano, students’ reasons for starting the club included: “I want to stop homophobia because my friend is gay and his dad beat him and I know that he probably faces that same problem at school” and “My LGBT friends have been bullied and some considered suicide. My family doesn’t approve but I don’t care what they think. Some people even assume I’m Bi because my friends are.”
In forming the group, the youths also got some experience in grant writing. They submitted a funding application to a panel of other students and were granted $700.
The money will be used to provide lunches, produce flyers in English and Cantonese (many of the school’s students only speak the latter language), and cover other expenses.
Peer Resources is a joint effort between the San Francisco Unified School District and the education fund. The program’s classes are meant to help middle and high school students take an active role in creating safe, engaging, and supportive learning environments.
The club’s organizing a Day of Silence event in support of LGBT youth on April 5.