2nd April 2014, 6:47 PM
Joseph Patrick McCormick

The campaign hopes to keep Jake in the custody of his mother The campaign hopes to keep Jake in the custody of his mother


A campaign has been started to raise money towards a lawsuit to allow a woman to keep custody of her trans son.

The campaign was started by the grandmother of the boy, Jake, who says his father initiated the custody battle “solely because she supports her child’s self-proclaimed gender,” and that his father intends to make him go to school “as a girl”.

Grandmother Beth, states that Jake’s mother can’t afford the attorney bills on her own, and that without help, she will lose custody.

The page states: “Right now, Jake goes to school and is treated just like any other first grade boy. His teachers and friends are 100% supportive, everyone calls him by his chosen name and I’ve never seen him happier. If my daughter loses this legal battle all of that will change. Once Jake’s father gets full parenting rights, he will force my grandson to go to school as a girl—or as Jake calls it, as ‘his false self.’”

The campaign has so far raised just over $7,000 of a $19,000 (£11,000) goal.

According to the page, Jake has lived with the support of his family as a boy for over a year, and that he had “thrived”.

In Japan, we are afraid of being different, but we don’t show our hate so openly. It is silent discrimination. If nobody talks about the problem then it doesn’t exist. Many gay people in Japan hide who they really are because they are afraid of being rejected, not with angry words or threats of violence, but with isolation. Being gay in Japan is a very lonely existence.

17-Year-Old Japanese Student Comes Out In Inspiring ‘I Have a Dream, Too’ Speech: VIDEO| Gay News | Towleroad

A student’s speech for the Hokkaido Prefectural English Speech Contest, held in Sapporo, December 2013.

Click on the source link for the full transcript and video.

(via ▶ Homeless Jamaican LGBT Youth Live in Sewers - YouTube)

A follow up to the article I posted on March 10th in which a Jamaican judge rule that homeless LGBT youth were allowed to live in the Kingston sewers. (http://qbits.tumblr.com/post/79175166897/jamaica-rules-gay-teens-can-live-in-the-sewer).

Here openly gay lawyer and activist Maurice Tomlinson takes us on a tour of the sewers. TW neglect, abuse, inhumanity

Jamaica’s crushing homophobia has resulted in several LGBT kids as young as 12 years old being evicted from their homes. Some of these kids now live in the sewers of the capital and sell sex to survive. Many are paid extra by their rich (often married) clients to have condom-less sex. This increases their risk of contracting HIV. Dwayne’s House is providing these youth with food and clothing. Eventually we will establish a home for them. Please consider supporting this venture by visiting www.openarmsmcc.org. Thank you.

Jamaica rules gay teens can live in the sewer

This is heartbreaking. TW violence, abuse, neglect.


Police have repeatedly attempted to evict the LGBTI youths from the sewers, with attempts to ‘burn’ them out and conducting early morning raids
A Jamaica judge has ruled gay teens are allowed to live in sewers.

Jamaica gay teens thrown out by their families, chased out of shelters and abandoned by the state have been told they can live in sewers.

A New Kingston judge has advised police that LGBTI teens are allowed to stay in their last option for refuge as sewers are public spaces.

Police have repeatedly tried to evict the youngsters from the sewers and gullies, on the pretext they ‘attract criminals’.

Last week on 5 March, officers once again raided the gutters and demanded the youth leave immediately.

Yvonne McCalla-Sobers, a Jamaican LGBTI rights activist, said: ‘The youngsters were understandably upset and some put up quite a struggle as they literally have nowhere else to go.

‘Police had already chased them from every abandoned building they previously occupied and the buildings were then torn down.’

She added: ‘Some of the youth were arrested for resisting their forcible eviction. They were also charged with using swear words (which is still an offense under Jamaican law).’

On 7 March, the teens were brought before the court to fine them for their language.

However, the judge has told police the sewers are a public space so the youngsters have every right to be there.

Maurice Tomlinson, a lawyer and LGBTI rights campaigner in Jamaica, told Gay Star News:

‘Although the Jamaican Commissioner of Police has issued a directive that LGBT victims are not to be discriminated against…it is clear that there is a lot of work that needs to be done with the police in order for them to respect and support the human rights of vulnerable gay Jamaicans.’

Last year in October, police officers burned down the house – as well as clothing and other property - of gay and bisexual men living in New Kingston.

And in September, four gay men in the resort city of Montego Bay had to flee their home after a mob firebombed it. They asked the police to take them in and protect them but were refused.

The property was thought to be the last place where trans teen Dwayne Jones lived before she was ‘chopped and stabbed’ to death after a party in July.

And yet another study showing same-sex parents can be good parents.

Key Messages

About 11% of Australian gay men and 33% of lesbians have children. Children may have been conceived in the context of previous heterosexual relationships, or raised from birth by a co-parenting gay or lesbian couple or single parent.
Overall, research to date considerably challenges the point of view that same-sex parented families are harmful to children. Children in such families do as well emotionally, socially and educationally as their peers from heterosexual couple families.
Some researchers have concluded there are benefits for children raised by lesbian couples in that they experience higher quality parenting, sons display greater gender flexibility, and sons and daughters display more open-mindedness towards sexual, gender and family diversity.
The possible effect of important socio-economic family factors, such as income and parental education, were not always considered in the studies reviewed in this paper.
Although many Australian lesbian-parented families appear to be receiving good support from their health care providers, there is evidence that more could be done to develop policies and practices supportive of same-sex parented families in the Australian health, education, child protection and foster care systems.
Additional key messages, relating to specific family structures and psychosocial outcomes for children raised by lesbian and gay parents, are included throughout the paper.

Gay-straight alliances reduce suicide risk among all students: study

Student-led clubs and anti-homophobia policies found to lower odds of discrimination

By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun January 20, 2014

Gay-straight alliances reduce suicide risk among all students: study

Both gay and straight students in Canadian schools are less likely to have suicidal tendencies when explicit anti-homophobia interventions such as school-based gay-straight alliances (GSAs) are in place, according to a University of B.C. study.

“This study looked across school districts provincewide and looked at gay-straight alliances and anti-homophobic polices, suicidal thoughts and attempts by both gay and heterosexual students,” said Elizabeth Saewyc, lead author of the study and professor with the UBC school of nursing.

“What we found was when these policies were in place for three years or longer, discrimination based on sexual orientation had lower rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts, and also for heterosexual boys,” Saewyc said Monday.

“For heterosexual boys, the odds of suicide attempts dropped by 48 per cent, 28 per cent for suicidal thoughts.”

She said her study concluded that there was no specific effect on heterosexual girls where school-based GSAs were in place.

Gay-straight alliances are student-led clubs that aim to make the school community a safer place for all students regardless of sexual orientation. Their members include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their straight allies.

Read More

Dr Ussher warned that if schools failed to act it would lead to a “hugely increased risk of bullying and abuse; isolation and rejection – all leading to significantly increased levels of depression, self-harm and suicide”.

He added: “We must acknowledge we are facing a crisis. Schools have a key role to play in providing inclusive environments for all young people with zero tolerance of bullying and discrimination and by eliminating the fear of it through education and support.”

LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell said the project’s findings “should be a wake-up call for the Education Secretary, Michael Gove”. “Every school should be required to teach sex and relationship education that addresses LGBT issues.”

Riley Hackford-Peer @ LET IT STAND Rally in Salt Lake City, UT (by ecastro98)

From the mouths of babes…

(via towleroad.com)

"Sometimes I felt really scared that my moms weren’t married. I imagined being taken away by one of my moms. At school we talked about things we hoped to see during our lifetime. I always said I imagined my moms getting married in Utah. On December 20 it happened! I saw my moms get married - in Utah! It felt like fireworks bursting in my heart….But Governor Herbert wants to treat my moms unfairly. He says he wants to protect families. But I want to tell him that my family deserves protection too! I have two moms. And I love them. And they deserve to have their marriage recognized everywhere"

Mumbai to host 2014 Indian LGBT Youth Summit in February
Young LGBT Indians will gather in Mumbai this February for the 2014 Indian LGBT Youth Summit to improve their leadership skills through a series of seminars and workshops
One of Mumbai's iconic Premier Taxis
Photo by David Wilmot

LGBT Indians between the ages of 18 and 25 have been invited to apply to be delegates to the Indian LGBT Youth Summit being held in Mumbai this year on 15-16 February.

The summit is being organized by the Mission for Indian Gay & Lesbian Empowerment (MINGLE) and is intended to upskill young LGBT Indians in order to assist them in taking leadership roles in the community.

MINGLE describe the summit as a ‘pioneering initiative in India, primarily aimed at identifying and grooming high potential individuals within the LGBT youth, and preparing them for future leadership roles.’

Young LGBT people from across India will be selected among the applicants to participate. 20 will be selected from the host city of Mumbai and another 20 will be chosen from the rest of India.

Those chosen to attend from outside Mumbai will have their travel, meals and other needs during the summit provided for.

Participants will be selected on the basis of their application forms– which will judge their leadership potential, creative skills and willingness to work for other LGBT Indians.

The screening process will be done by project coordinators at MINGLE in consultation with prominent LGBT community leaders in India who are part of the organization’s advisory council.

Organizers say the two days will be packed with a host of activities, workshops and seminars that will hone their leadership skills and prepare them for challenging tasks ahead as pro-active members of the Indian mainstream.

The event is being held with the support of the Fondation de France, Fondation Rainbow Solidarite, Pink Pages, the Humsafar Trust and GB.

If you’re a young LGBT person living in India visit www.mingle.org.in/Leadership to apply to attend.

The summit is also looking for volunteers to assist putting the event on.

To apply to volunteer click here

(via Unwanted And Forgotten: The Problem of LGBT Youth Homelessness - VIDEO| Gay News | Towleroad)

A new report from KDAF - Dallas highlights the problem of LGBT youth homelessness in this country and specifically in the North Texas Area. Doug Magditch digs into the issue and reveals that combating homelessness among LGBT youth often times proves challenging because homeless LGBT youth are not counted, making it difficult to adequately assess and address the scope of the problem:

One out of every twenty people in the United States identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Among the homeless youth population, it’s two out of five. According to a study published in September called “Serving Our Youth,” Forty percent of homeless youth are LGBT. The biggest reason: family rejection. Many LGBT youth say they either ran away because their family didn’t approve of them being LGBT (46%), or their family forced them to leave (43%).

There are no numbers on how many homeless youth in North Texas identify as LGBT. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) doesn’t require municipalities count LGBT as a specific demographic in the annual point-in-time homeless count. So, we aren’t counting.

Ghana to crackdown on lesbian schoolkids
Education Ministry vows to severely punish any child who forces another to ‘practice lesbianism’
Ghana has announced a crackdown on lesbian activity among students.

Ghana has announced a crackdown on lesbian children.

The Education Ministry has vowed to severely punish any student caught engaging in ‘homosexual or lesbianism activities’.

Public relations officer for the ministry claimed during a Ghanaian radio show a girl was forced to leave school after she faced pressure from other students to ‘practice lesbianism’.

He said: ‘It is a big problem and it is an issue that nobody is happy about. Those who engage in homosexuality and lesbianism, I mean these are practices that we don’t condone in our parts of the world.

'We as officials of the Ghana Education Service shun such practices and we would not condone them in our educational institutions.

‘So when the culprits are found out we will punish them according to the rules and regulations that guide the schools.’

Under the Ghana Education Ministry rules and regulations, any penalty for major misconduct is expulsion for the student. A teacher must also take the student to the police station.

In April this year, 53 male students were expelled from Ghana high schools for being gay.

Gay sex and behavior between men is illegal in Ghana punishable up to three years in prison. It is unclear whether same-sex sexual activity among females is illegal.

Transgender youth clinic opens at Sick Kids

First clinic in the city to focus on medical care for transgender teens

The Canadian Press Posted: Oct 12, 2013 5:48 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 12, 2013 6:08 PM ET

Sick Kids says gender dysphoria is relatively rare, but increased awareness and acceptance has led more teens to identify as transgender. (CBC)

Sick Kids says gender dysphoria is relatively rare, but increased awareness and acceptance has led more teens to identify as transgender. (CBC)

A new Toronto clinic for transgender youth is seeing its first patients.

The clinic at Sick Kids hospital officially opened on Friday and administrators say it will help fill an important gap in care for teens with gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria is diagnosed in people whose gender identity doesn’t match their anatomical sex.

Sick Kids says gender dysphoria is relatively rare, but increased awareness and acceptance has led more teens to identify as transgender.

It says while there are two mental health clinics that provide the diagnosis in Toronto, the Sick Kids clinic is the first in the city to focus on medical care for transgender teens.

The hospital says without proper care, transgender teens can experience “negative consequences” such as mental health issues and risky behaviour.

Patients will work with an interdisciplinary team to ensure they get counselling and in some cases, will receive hormone therapy to prevent the changes associated with puberty, the hospital says.

The team includes physicians specializing in adolescent medicine and endocrinology, a nurse practitioner, a nurse and a social worker as well as children’s mental health organizations.

Boys cry too: life in China’s gay underground

Intensive media coverage the last several years has inspired many of China’s homosexuals to come out of the closet.

For many though, the image of the same-sex couple remains one of sexually-obsessed, socially-immoral and domestically-irresponsible people who are at a high risk for contracting HIV.

At least one theme in that stereotype rings true true: China’s homosexuals suffer.

A sad Spring Festival

For China, Spring Festival is the most important holiday. It is a time for family reunions and being with loved ones.

When Lin Yi brought his boyfriend home for Spring Festival 2003, the 15 days of celebration would be his last with his family.

“I still can’t remember all the details of that day – when I finally told my parents that I liked boys,” Lin, 21, said.

“My mother asked why I brought home a total stranger for the holidays. I didn’t know what else to say, so I just told her the truth.”

His mother, a high school teacher in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, was stunned by her 16-year-old son’s blunt revelation.

While most households drowned in the noise of firecrackers and laughter as families tuned in to CCTV’s New Year’s Gala, the Lin household sat in silence. His mother and stepfather refused to speak to him. Only Lin and his boyfriend An Ning stayed in the room to watch TV.

“Now that I think about it, my mother was probably too shocked to talk to me. She wasn’t angry. During the last few days of our stay, she took very good care of An after I told her what happened to his leg,” Lin said.

An’s leg was crushed while defending Lin in a fight.

After he dropped out of high school, Lin went to Dalian, Liaoning Province, to be with An, who was tending the bar a local gay club. Lin found work as a waiter.

In 2002, Lin was 15 years old. For many customers, the tall, young boy-waiter was far more enticing than anything on the drinks menu. When An saw his boyfriend being harassed, he confronted the men and was brutally assaulted.

“My mother cried and shouted; my stepfather called me ‘defective.’”

But it may not have been the story alone that made Lin’s mother cool off.

Lin’s parents had already hatched a plan to “cure” him. “The day before I was leaving, they sat me down and told me they wanted to send me to South Korea to study. Their logic was that if I were in another country and away from An, maybe I would become ‘normal’ again,” he said.

When Lin, being in love, refused their proposal, an even bigger fight began. “My mother cried and shouted; my stepfather called me ‘defective,’” he said.

After that, he was kicked out of the house and his parents severed all ties.

“They knew little about homosexuality,” he said.

Read More

Why Homelessness Is A Major LGBT Issue

By Scott Keyes on October 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

Sassafras Lowrey

Sassafras Lowrey

Sassafras Lowrey had no choice but to run.

Ze grew up abused, “the recipient of wandering fingers, of broken promises, black eyes, and manipulation.” (Sassafras prefers the gender-neutral pronouns “ze” and “hir.”) When ze came out, at 17, ze wasn’t met with love. Ze was told how to be “fixed.” So, like thousands of LGBT youth every year, Sassafras left.

But the “safe” adults ze ran to also soon asked “if [ze] was over that whole gay thing.” Sassafras wasn’t straight, and because ze wasn’t going to pretend to be, ze found hirself homeless for the second time.

Living on the streets presents enough challenges in and of itself, but it often creates new ones, like when Sassafras was kicked out of hir high school because they had never had a homeless student before and didn’t know how to handle it. (Other parents complained to the administration that ze was “leading their kids down a path to hell.”)

On hir 17th birthday, Sassafras had a home, a family, and an education. On hir 18th, ze had none.

Sassafras’ story is tragically common. As a new report from the Center for American Progress details, LGBT people, especially LGBT youth, are at a far greater risk not only of winding up homeless, but being abused on the streets as well.

This is true even in some of the most tolerant areas of the country.

In San Francisco, for instance, approximately 1 in 6 residents identify as LGBT. Among the city’s 6,436 homeless residents, though, nearly 1 in 3 are LGBT.

There are many reasons why LGBT people are more likely to wind up on the streets.

LGBT youth are coming out earlier than in the past — the average age is now 13. In cases of family rejection, LGBT youth often have nowhere to go.

Other factors can exacerbate problems at home for LGBT youth as well. These include bullying and poor performance in school to drug abuse and mental illness, which occurs more frequently among LGBT youth. In addition, many wind up in the juvenile justice system, instigating a malevolent cycle between jail and the streets.

Though not pleasant for anyone, homelessness can be a particularly tough experience for LGBT individuals. They’re more likely than straight homeless people to have a substance abuse problem. They’re more likely to be robbed, physically attacked, or sexually assaulted. They’re far more likely to have HIV/AIDS.

In fact, homelessness is a major force exacerbating the HIV/AIDS problem, Brad Vanderbilt of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, told ThinkProgress. For many LGBT homeless people, “the push to attend to medical care has to be set aside because the search for housing is the primary concern,” he said. In addition, many LGBT people living on the streets resort to sex work to survive, which increases their risk of contracting disease.

Organizations like Project Homeless Connect and the Family Acceptance Project are working to address the LGBT angle of homelessness. PHC held its first ever LGBT homelessness services fair in San Francisco this month, bringing in dozens of service providers to address the needs of LGBT individuals living without a permanent home. More than 600 people, as well as an additional 400 volunteers, showed up for the all-day event. The Family Acceptance Project, meanwhile, works with families and their LGBT children to decrease the chances of rejection, the leading cause of homelessness among LGBT youth.

For Sassafras, family was what caused hir to be homeless, but it was also what ultimately saved hir. After relocating to Portland, Oregon, ze walked into a queer youth center and found home. “I survived because of the queer family that I created” there, ze wrote. Sassafras went on to write an award-winning novel about the experience, hoping to help the millions of other LGBT people across the country who continue to grapple with homelessness.

"Some bisexuals may struggle with depression later on because they don’t feel accepted and supported in either lesbian and gay or straight communities," said University of Kentucky lead researcher Robert Cardom in an interview with Medical Xpress. "Bisexual identity does not fit into the gay/straight categories most people are comfortable with."

Some draw criticism of the “It Gets Better” campaign for lacking to address the needs of the bisexual community. The new study addresses concerns over Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, which launched in 2010 to address LGBT teen bullying and suicide.

"The [It Gets Better] campaign has helped many of the LGBT students that I work with in my clinical work," Cardom said. "It has started conversations. Our results seem to support the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign’s claims, while also telling us that we must do better to include bisexual individuals in our efforts to support LGBT youth and adults."