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Violence in Charlottesville

 

August 2017

 

NY Times: Guide to Violence in Charlottesville

CNN: Virginia Governor Wants White Supremacists to Leave

LGBTQ Nation: Trump's Comments on Charlottesville Violence

USA Today: Violent Clashes in Charlottesville

NY Times: President Trump Condemns Violence

You Tube: President Trump Condemns Charlottesville Attack

NY Times: Suspect in Car Attack Denied Bail

NY Times: President Trump Defends Initial Remarks

USA Today: Trump Defends White Supremacists

 

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, Va. on Saturday, August 12.

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. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer identified the victim as Heather Heyer of Charlottesville.  Lt. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va. and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates, 40, of Quinton, Va. were killed in a helicopter crash.

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.

 

LINKS:

 

NY Times: Guide to Violence in Charlottesville

CNN: Virginia Governor Wants White Supremacists to Leave

USA Today: Violent Clashes in Charlottesville

NY Times: President Trump Condemns Violence

You Tube: President Trump Condemns Charlottesville Attack

NY Times: Suspect in Car Attack Denied Bail

NY Times: President Trump Defends Initial Remarks

USA Today: Trump Defends White Supremacists

 


Newsworthy


Kim Burrell's Homophobic Rant

 

January 2017

 

Pharrell Williams made it clear that hate has no space in this day and age. The singer sat down with Ellen DeGeneres to promote the soundtrack for “Hidden Figures.” He was originally supposed to appear alongside his “I See A Victory” duet partner, Kim Burrell, but she was disinvited following a video leak of her spewing anti-gay rhetoric at the Love & Liberty Fellowship Church in Houston. DeGeneres said she chose not to have Burrell on her show because the homophobic remarks were directed at her and who she chooses to love.

“There’s no space, there’s no room for any kind of prejudice in 2017 and moving on,” Pharrell said, adding that he loves the gospel singer just like he chooses to love everyone. “We all have to get used to everyone’s differences and understand that this is a big, gigantic, beautiful, colorful world, and it only works with inclusion and empathy. It only works that way.”

“Whenever you hear some sort of hate speech and you feel like it doesn’t pertain to you because you may not have anything to do with that, all you got to do is put the word black in that sentence, or put gay in that sentence, or put transgender in that sentence, or put white in that sentence, and all of the sudden it starts to make sense to you,” he said. “I’m telling you, the world is a beautiful place but it does not work without empathy and inclusion. God is love. This Universe is love and that’s the only way it will function. And I get it that sometimes some of the divisive stuff works. We learned that lesson last year that divisiveness works. But you have to choose what side you’re on. I’m choosing empathy; I’m choosing inclusion; I’m choosing love for everybody just trying to lift everyone. Even when I disagree with someone, I’m wishing them the best and hoping for the best because we can’t win the other way.”
 

LINKS:

 

Ellen Cancels Homophobic Gospel Singer's Appearance

Kim Burrell's Homophobic Rant Caught on Tape

Pharrell's Response to Kim Burrell's Homophobic Rant

Homophobic Singer Won't Appear on Ellen Show

Stars Come Out Against Kim Burrell

Commentary: Let's Talk About Kim Burrell and Ellen DeGeneres

Kim Burrell Loses Radio and TV Show After Homophobic Rant

Kim Burrell's Radio Show Cancelled Following Homophobic Rant

 


What's Happening?
 

Alabama's First Conference on Transgender Students in Higher Education

 


Alabama's First Transgender Conference on Trans Students in Higher Education

 

September 2015

 

As gender identity and gender expression are an area of growing diversity on college campuses nationwide, leaders at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are taking steps to ensure that individuals who identify themselves as transgender and gender nonconforming, often generally referred to as transgender or trans, can be successful at UAB.  UAB’s medical and mental health providers and student services leaders attended the Supporting Trans Students mini-conference Sept. 28-29; it was the first event of its kind at an institution of higher education in Alabama. Organizers say the effort is consistent with the institution’s longstanding commitment to diversity and support of student success.

“UAB has well-established policies that position us as an institution providing a leadership example in the areas of welcoming and inclusion of all students in the provision of educational programs and other services,” said Vice President of Student Affairs John R. Jones III, Ph.D. “In support of student success on one of the nation’s most diverse campuses, UAB will continue our commitment to meet the needs of all our students, and I commend those advancing this effort.”

Student Health and Wellness Counseling Services Director Angela Stowe, Ph.D., says faculty and staff work very hard within the campus community to address the needs of students who may require additional services or resources to optimize their ability to thrive in higher education and life.  “Each student at UAB has challenges to overcome in getting the most out of his or her time here, and there are countless services and resources across this campus dedicated to addressing them,” Stowe said. “While the transgender community may be small on campus, it is our duty to help our students succeed, and this initiative is evidence of UAB’s commitment to our students’ success.”

The Supporting Trans Students mini-conference began with a Trans 101 Opening Session for all attendees, led by Gabriel C. Javier, M.A., assistant dean/director of the LGBT Campus Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Javier leads a team of content experts on the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people at UW and helped develop the integrated model of trans-inclusive health services. He is past co-chair of the Consortium of LGBT Higher Education Resource Professionals.

Breakout sessions followed, covering medical, mental health and student services tracks. Student Health and Wellness personnel attended the medical and/or mental health tracks appropriate to their duties, to ensure providers of such services are trained and competent in meeting the needs of transgender students. The Student Services track was open to leaders of student service across the university to prepare UAB personnel to provide compliant, appropriate and supportive services.

Student Services track goals included:  Educate student services leaders about the needs of trans students on campus and the responsibility of our institution to address their unique needs.  Inform student services leaders about the existing and available resources on campus and in the community for trans students.  Provide consultation to UAB student services areas about how to establish and provide appropriate and relevant services.  Bring student services departments together to have a unified discussion and establish plans of action in order to avoid fragmentation of initiatives and services.

Clinically, transgender individuals are frequently diagnosed with gender dysphoria — a condition broadly defined as discomfort or distress caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and that person’s sex assigned at birth. This discrepancy, and the societal acceptance or discrimination against transgender individuals, contributes to significantly greater health risks, including but not limited to greatly increased suicide ideation, up to 64 percent; actual suicide attempts, ranging between 16 and 37 percent; and greater likelihood of becoming a victim of violence, 27 percent.

Assistant Vice President for Student Development, Health and Wellness Jake Baggott says this conference, which gathered UAB leaders in targeted areas, is a first of many steps that will take place on campus to meet the health and wellness needs of a diverse student population.   “Student Health and Wellness staff place a premium on providing a comfortable, safe and respectful environment for all students,” Baggott said. “We take this responsibility seriously, and we will continue to offer the highest standards of medical and mental health care and support for all students.”  Baggott says Student Health and Wellness will provide student-centered integrated health and mental health care for students across the gender spectrum, which he expects to positively impact academic performance, retention and mental health status for students.

 

(From Jim Bakken, UAB Media Relations)

 

LINKS:

 

UAB News: Alabama's First Conference on Transgender Students in Higher Education

UAB Student Health & Wellness: Supporting Transgender Students

UAB Opens Alabama's First Mental Health Clinic for LGBTQ Patients

 

 


Franklin Graham Boycotts Wells Fargo

 

June 2015

 

Wells Fargo Bank, headquartered in San Francisco, has been a longtime supporter of LGBT issues and concerns.  Evangelist Franklin Graham (62 year old son of Billy Graham and head of the North Carolina-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) has been an outspoken opponent of LGBT rights.  So this latest move, showcasing Graham's homophobic attitude, should come as no surprise. Christian Evangelist Franklin Graham has sparked an angry Facebook debate about gay rights when he announced he is pulling all of his organization's millions out of Wells Fargo accounts in response to the bank's recent ad campaign featuring a lesbian couple. "Have you ever asked yourself, how can we fight the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community?" Graham said. "At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we are moving our accounts from Wells Fargo to another bank." In addition to closing his accounts with Wells Fargo, Graham wrote that he plans to boycott Tiffany & Co. in response to an ad the jeweler released in January that shows two men getting engaged.  Starbucks and Nike have also been mentioned as possible boycott targets by Graham.
 

LINKS:

 

CNN: Evangelist Pulls Wells Fargo Account Over Pro-Gay Ad

USA Today: Rev Graham Urges Boycott of Bank Over Same Sex Ad

Towleroad: Graham Urges Boycott of Wells Fargo

AJC: Georgia's First Pro-Gay Marriage Ads

LGBTQ Nation: Franklin Graham's Boycott of LGBT Friendly Businesses

Huffington Post: Gay Commercials

 


Current LGBT News

 

Kentucky Attorney General Refuses to Defend Gay Marriage Ban

Federal Judge Rules Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Kansas Anti-Gay Segregation Bill

Macklemore, Madonna, Queen Latifah,Wedding Ceremony at Grammys

Coca-Cola's Beautiful Super Bowl Ad

Behind the Scenes: Coca-Cola's Ad on American Diversity

Guess Who Wrote America the Beautiful?

Rose Bowl Features First Gay Wedding Ceremony

GMA Host Robin Roberts Comes Out as Lesbian

Charlie Crist Apologizes for Backing Gay Marriage Ban

Boy Scouts End Gay Ban on January 1

Olympian Brian Boitano Comments on His Coming Out

Don Lemon Comments on Robin Roberts' Coming Out

Rose Bowl Parade Hosts Same Sex Wedding on Float

Duck Dynasty Star Still Spewing Nonsense

 


Same Sex Couples Get Married at Grammy Awards

 

January 2014

 

At 2014 Grammy Awards Event: Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Queen Latifah, and Madonna On Stage Singing While 33 LGBT Couples Get Married

 

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis marry 33 couples during their emotional Grammy performance with some help from Madonna.  Get ready to shed some tears, here's a clip of Macklemore's "Same Love" and Madonna's "Open Your Heart" wedding ceremony (View the You Tube Video).

 

 

The most heartfelt performance at the 56th Annual Grammys was no doubt Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' performance of the "Same Love" anthem, featuring Mary Lambert and Trombone Shorty. Macklemore started off the mash up singing "Same Love" in a bolo tie and tux under a cathedral altar. Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert and Trombone Shorty help him out with the rap ballad track. Midway through the song is where it gets good! The track pauses when Queen Latifah enters the altar and ordains a mixture of 33 same sex, transgender and heterosexual marriages right there in the audience.  Queen Latifah announces to the brides and grooms, "We are gathered here to celebrate love and harmony... please exchange rings...by the power vested in me by the state of California I now pronounce you a married couple!"  In the stage turned-church aisles the couples put on the rings and recite their vows.  Then in an awe-worthy moment, Madonna appears in all white and sings, "Open your hear to me, baby, I'll hold the lock and you'll hold the key..."  The rest of the gang along with a gospel choir join her to mash up "Same Love" with "Open Your Heart" as the couples walk down the theater aisles to complete their ceremony. How incredible would it be to be one of those lucky 33 couples?

 

LINKS:

 

YouTube: Macklemore, Madonna, Queen Latifah, Same Sex Wedding at Grammy Awards

YouTube: Same Love/Open Your Heart Performance & Wedding Ceremony

Entertainment Weekly: Macklemore, Madonna & 33 Weddings at Grammy Awards

Hollywood Reporter: Macklemore & Madonna Perform as 33 Couples Get Married

Billboard: Macklemore & Madonna Sing as 33 Couples Wed Live at Grammys

Daily News: Queen Latifah Officiates Wedding at Grammy Awards

 


Same Sex Wedding on a Float at Rose Bowl Parade

 

January 2014

 

Standing atop a giant wedding cake float, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair exchanged vows New Year's Day in the first same-sex marriage during the Tournament of Roses Parade. Throngs of spectators cheered as the men, dressed in dark suits, faced each other and held hands before the Rev. Alfreda Lanoix, who officiated the ceremony aboard the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float. Days earlier, a San Diego woman launched a Facebook page urging people to boycott the 125th Rose Parade after learning of the couple's plans. But some like Jennifer Adair, who cheered along with her girlfriend, lined the streets just for this moment. "We're a modern-day society, so accept it. Don't worry about what other people do," Adair told the Los Angeles Times.  The Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which puts on the parade, had said the float represents this year's parade theme, "Dreams Come True."


LINKS:

 

Gay Couple Exchanges Vows Atop Rose Bowl Parade Float

Rose Bowl Parade Features First Ever Gay Wedding Ceremony

Rose Bowl Hosts Same Sex Wedding Atop Parade Float

First Gay Wedding on Rose Bowl Parade Float

Rose Bowl Parade Wedding Ignites Controversy

 


Stories of Interest

Huff Post: Teased for Having Two Mommies

Companies That Do Not Support LGBT Rights

My Son Wears Pink

 


Atlanta Pride Weekend

 

October 2013

 

The 43nd Annual Atlanta Pride Festival took place on Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13 in Atlanta's Piedmont Park.

 

 

 

The main event was the Annual Atlanta Pride Parade, which was scheduled for Sunday, October 13 at 1:00 PM.  It is the largest parade in the City of Atlanta. Thousands of spectators showed up to watch the procession on the streets of Midtown Atlanta.  It was an amazing large-scale celebration!

 

ALGBTICAL Officer Michael Lebeau marched in the Atlanta Pride Parade with some of his students from Birmingham-Southern College for the second year in a row.

 

LINKS:

 

Atlanta Pride Festival
Photo Gallery of Last 3 Years
2013 Pride Guide

2012 Pride Guide

 


Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA and Dismisses Prop 8

 

June 2013

 

The US Supreme Court announced its decision on two important gay marriage cases on Wednesday, June 26.  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was ruled unconstitutional.  And California's Proposition 8 was dismissed, thereby allowing gay marriage to resume in California.  Pictured here are Michael Knaapen (left) and his husband John Becker (right) share an emotional moment outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

 

 

The Supreme Court has struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act forbidding federal recognition of gay marriages for couples residing in states that recognize their union.  The court's decision came by a ruling of 5-4. "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. Kennedy was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The court also ruled on Proposition 8, California's anti-gay marriage law.  The court ruled 5-4 that the defendants in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which considered the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban, have no standing in court. By dismissing the case on procedural grounds, the court passed up the opportunity to issue a significant ruling on the issue of marriage.

 

LINKS:

 

ABC News: Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage Advocates

CBS News: Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA, Dismisses Prop 8

Huffington Post: DOMA Ruled as Unconstitutional

Huffington Post: Supreme Court Rules on Prop 8

NY Times: Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Rulings

Wash Post: Supreme Court Makes DOMA & Prop 8 Rulings

US News: Supreme Court DOMA & Prop 8 Rulings

Politicians React to Supreme Court Rulings on DOMA and Prop 8

Same Sex Marriage Victories Draw Big Crowds for Gay Pride

General Mills Celebrates Supreme Court Rulings

Same Sex Marriage Debate on Meet-the-Press

Reaction From Haters

 


LGBT News Items

New Coming Out Video

Queen Elizabeth's Support of LGBT Rights

Huff Post: Teased for Having Two Mommies

Bill Clinton to Receive GLAAD's Advocate Award

Ray Boltz: Don't Tell Me Who to Love

 


How Gay Marriage Won

 

April 2013

 

The current same-sex marriage debate, along with the US Supreme Court deliberations on the subject, are the subject of a Time Magazine feature article written by David von Drehle. The article, entitled "How Gay Marriage Won," is Time Magazine's April 8 cover story.  And included on the cover and on the inside pages are Peter Hapak's very striking photographs.

 

 

The cover of the magazine announces, "Gay Marriage Already Won."  Inside, David von Drehle comments on society's "widespread changes of heart."  He discusses this "uncontroversial controversy" and observes that "yesterday’s impossible now looks like tomorrow’s inevitable."  Along with a rundown of the recent events surrounding the gay marriage debate, the author suggests that public opinion on the subject is shifting dramatically.  Exit polls in November showed that 83% of voters believe that same-sex marriage will be legal nationwide in the next five to 10 years, according to a bipartisan analysis of the data. Like a dam that springs a little leak that turns into a trickle and then bursts into a flood, the wall of public opinion is crumbling. That’s not to say we’ve reached the end of shunning, homophobia or anti-gay violence. It does, however, suggest that Americans who are allowed by law to fall in love, share their lives and raise children together will, in the not too distant future, be allowed to get married.  And according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 1 in 7 American adults say their initial opposition to same-sex marriage has turned to support. The picture of a nation of immovable factions dug into ideological trenches is belied by this increasingly uncontroversial controversy. Yesterday’s impossible now looks like tomorrow’s inevitable.
 

 

What’s most striking about this seismic social shift — as rapid and unpredictable as any turn in public opinion on record — is that it happened with very little planning. In fact, there was a lot of resistance from the top. Neither political party gave a hint of support before last year, nor was marriage part of the so-called homosexual agenda so worrisome to social-conservative leaders. For decades, prominent gay-rights activists dismissed the right to marry as a quixotic, even dangerous, cause and gave no support to the men and women at the grassroots who launched the uphill movement. Instead, the impetus has come from disparate forces in seemingly unconnected realms: courtrooms, yes, but also hospitals, nurseries, libraries and soundstages. The rise of same-sex marriage from joke to commonplace is a story of converging strands of history. Changes in law and politics, medicine and demographics, popular culture and ivory-tower scholarship all added momentum to produce widespread changes of heart.

LINK:

 

Time Magazine Cover Story: How Gay Marriage Won

 


Jeanne Manford: Ally, Advocate, Activist

 

January 2013

 

Jeanne Manford founded PFLAG after a simple and brave demonstration of her love for her gay son after he was beaten in 1972.  She died this week, in California, at the age of 92.  She was a lifelong LGBT ally, advocate and activist.  She was a real hero. 

 

 

PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians And Gays) is national support, education and advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, their families, friends and allies. With 200,000 members and supporters, and local affiliates in more than 500 communities across the US and abroad, PFLAG is the largest grassroots-based family organization of its kind. PFLAG is a non-profit organization and is not affiliated with any religious or political institutions.  The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York's Christopher Street Liberation Day March, the precursor to today's Pride parade. After many gay and lesbian people ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, she decided to begin a support group. The first formal meeting took place on March 26, 1973 at the Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village (now the Church of the Village). Approximately 20 people attended.

In the next years, through word of mouth and community need, similar groups sprang up around the country, offering "safe havens" and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these groups met for the first time in Washington, DC.

By 1980, PFLAG, then known as Parents FLAG, began to distribute information to educational institutions and communities of faith nationwide, establishing itself as a source of information for the general public. When "Dear Abby" mentioned PFLAG in one of her advice columns, we received more than 7,000 letters requesting information. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding president Adele Starr.

In 1982, the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc., then representing some 20 groups, was incorporated in California and granted non-profit, tax-exempt status. In 1987, PFLAG relocated to Denver, under President Elinor Lewallen. Also in the 1980s, PFLAG became involved in opposing Anita Bryant's anti-gay crusade and worked to end the U.S. military's efforts to discharge lesbians—more than a decade before military issues came to the forefront of the GLBT movement. And by the late 1980s, PFLAG began to have notable success in organizing chapters in rural communities.

In 1990, following a period of significant growth, PFLAG employed an Executive Director, expanded its staff, and moved to Washington, DC. Also in 1990, PFLAG President Paulette Goodman sent a letter to Barbara Bush asking for Mrs. Bush's support. The first lady's personal reply stated, "I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country. Such treatment always brings with it pain and perpetuates intolerance." Inadvertently given to the Associated Press, her comments caused a political maelstrom and were perhaps the first gay-positive comments to come from the White House.

In the early 1990s, PFLAG chapters in Massachusetts helped pass the first Safe Schools legislation in the country. In 1993, PFLAG added the word "Families" to the name, and added bisexual people to its mission and work. By the mid-1990s a PFLAG family was responsible for the Department of Education's ruling that Title 9 also protected gay and lesbian students from harassment based on sexual orientation. PFLAG put the Religious Right on the defensive, when Pat Robertson threatened to sue any station that carried the Project Open Mind advertisements. The resulting media coverage drew national attention to PFLAG's message linking hate speech with hate crimes and LGBT teen suicide. In 1998, PFLAG added transgender people to its mission.

At the turn of the century, PFLAG began to develop nationally coordinated programs in order to better focus the grassroots network. Programs like Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools for All, Straight for Equality, the National Scholarship Program, Bringing the Message Home, and Welcoming Faith Communities are already showing results.

 

(From PFLAG Atlanta)

 

LINKS:

 

Jeanne Manford Featured on Rachel Maddow Show
Jeanne Manford: Gay Rights Activist
SF Gate: PFLAG Founder Dies

AARP: Jeanne Manford Raised the Flag for Intolerance

 


LGBT News Reports

Yale’s LGBT Alumni Association Reunion

Lesbian Couple Handed Anti-Gay Letter by Cafe Owner

James Dobson: Gays Caused Connecticut Shooting

Neil Patrick Harris: It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore

Pope Slams Gays in World-Day-of-Peace Speech

Russell Brand Interviews Westboro Baptist Church Members

How the Religious Left is Changing America's Future

Same Love: Hip Hop Music for Marriage Equality

Freedom to Marry: State by State Progress

Is Homosexuality a Sin?

Gay Book Characters Who Turned Straight for the Movie Version

Thanksgiving Message: What I Am Thankful For

 


Atlanta Pride Weekend

 

October 2012

 

The 42nd Annual Atlanta Pride Festival took place on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14 in Atlanta's Piedmont Park.

 

 

The main event was the Annual Atlanta Pride Parade, which took place on Sunday, October 14 at 1:00 PM.  It is the largest parade in the City of Atlanta. Thousands of spectators were on hand to watch the procession on the streets of Midtown Atlanta.

 

 

ALGBTICAL Officer Michael Lebeau marched in the Atlanta Pride Parade with some of his students from Birmingham-Southern College.  This is the second year that the BSC Gay Straight Ally Group was an official participant in the parade, featuring 25 students and four faculty and staff members.

 

 

 

It was striking to see so many corporations sponsoring the event and entering floats in the parade.  Among the LGBT-friendly (Atlanta-based) companies were AT&T, Home Depot, Macy's, Wells Fargo, Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, Cox Media, and UPS.

 

 

LINKS:

 

Atlanta Pride Festival
Photo Gallery of Last 3 Years
2012 Pride Guide
Entertainment Line Up
Pre-Event Activities
Weekend Events
Parade and March Notes

 


Gay Teen Denied Eagle Scout Award

 

October 4, 2012

 

A Boy Scout in California is being denied the Eagle Scout award after coming out gay. Ryan Andresen spent over 10 years working to fulfill the requirements for the Boy Scouts' highest honor, the coveted Eagle Scout award. However, after completing all the requirements for the award, the Boy Scouts are refusing to make Andresen an Eagle Scout because he is gay.

 

 

On Thursday, October 4, the Boy Scouts of America said that because of Andresen's sexual orientation “he is no longer eligible for membership in Scouting.” The Boy Scouts of America have a longstanding and controversial policy denying membership to gay leaders and Scouts, a policy which they reaffirmed earlier this year after a two-year confidential review of the controversial ban. Andresen has shown heroic commitment to the Boy Scouts despite fierce adversity and intolerance. Andresen has endured years of bullying and torment at school and while attending Boy Scout activities. According to reports, when Andresen attended Boy Scout camp his nicknames were "Tinkerbell" and "faggot." In addition, Andresen endured hazing that included, among other rituals, having the word "fag" written in charcoal across his chest, all so he could participate in the Boy Scouts, and earn his Eagle Scout award. Andresen’s final project for the Eagle Scout award, a "tolerance wall," was inspired by the many years of hazing the youth endured while attending school and Boy Scout activities. The wall is completed and installed at a local middle school, and is intended to promote anti-discrimination amongst youth. Andresen was notified last Sunday that he would not receive the award he had earned after years of hard work and loyal service.

 

LINKS:

 

Boy Scout Anti-Gay Policy Denies Scout His Eagle Badge
Huffington Post: Boy Scouts Anti-Gay Policy
PBS: Boy Scouts Anti-Gay Policy
SF Examiner: Boy Scouts Deny Gay Teen His Eagle Scout Award

ABC News: Boy Scouts Reaffirm Anti-Gay Policy

Huffington Post: Companies Sever Funding for Boy Scouts

 

 


Boy Scouts Embrace LGBT Prejudice

 

July 2012

 

Twelve years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center stopped participating in the Montgomery Ala United Way campaign because the organization chose to fund the Boy Scouts of America despite its policy of excluding LGBT people from its ranks. We clearly could not support such discrimination. We were not alone. Some United Way chapters across the country chose to drop the Boy Scouts as beneficiaries of their fundraising campaigns.

 

Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts of America has decided recently to keep the policy in place. That’s a mistake, one that will reverberate far beyond the realm of scouting. It’s unfortunate that an organization that has meant so much to millions of boys and young men and that has epitomized the values of honesty, integrity and character has chosen to continue a policy that’s antithetical to our nation’s ideals of equality. Allowing LGBT people to serve in leadership positions will not endanger children. The American Psychological Association has stated unequivocally that “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men.” And there is absolutely no reason to fear the prospect of a gay youth becoming a boy scout.

 

But this is about more than scouting. It’s about a major, well-respected American institution continuing to endorse the belief that LGBT people are second-class citizens. Many people will believe that if the Boy Scouts of America is excluding LGBT people, it must be OK. Of course, the Boy Scouts of America doesn’t intend to encourage bigotry. But such policies can have that effect. We see the impact of anti-LGBT bigotry in schools across the country, where bullying is rampant. It’s easy to understand why a child might engage in such behavior when he sees adults treat LGBT people as undeserving of basic rights. As adults, we must never forget that children learn by our example.  Anti-LGBT bigotry also can lead to horrible hate crimes. Two years ago, the SPLC analyzed 14 years of federal hate crime data and found that LGBT people, and those perceived to be gay, are far more likely to be victims of a violent hate crime than any other minority group in the United States. We shouldn’t be surprised by that finding, given that so many people in positions of authority – politicians, pundits and others – portray LGBT people as dangerous.

 

The good news is that despite the persistence of prejudice, we’re witnessing a sea change in the attitudes of Americans toward gay men and lesbians. More and more people are realizing that they aren’t some shadowy threat but rather our friends, our family members, our neighbors and our co-workers. They’re people who deserve the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

It’s time for the Boy Scouts of America to realize it, too.

 

(From Joseph Levin Jr, SPLC)

 

LINK:

 

SPLC: Boy Scouts Anti-LGBT Policies

Huffington Post: Companies Sever Ties with Boy Scouts
 


Same Sex Couples May Attend Prom

 

March 29, 2012

 

Alabama's Tuscaloosa County School System will allow its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students to attend prom with same-sex dates. The school district also has recognized the right of students to wear clothing with slogans expressing acceptance of LGBT people.  The district’s statement comes after the SPLC sent a letter to school officials  in January on behalf of a Brookwood High School student who was forced to remove a sweatshirt with a slogan expressing acceptance of the LGBT community. An administrator also indicated that the student could not attend the prom with a same-sex date.

 

 

Elizabeth Garrett, a 10th-grader at Brookwood, wore a sweatshirt on Jan. 5 with the words “Warning, This Individual Infected With ‘The Gay,’ Proceed With Caution.” She wore it to express her support for LGBT rights and to communicate, in a humorous way, that there is nothing wrong with gay people.  A school official demanded that Elizabeth remove her sweatshirt, claiming that it was “distracting.” The administrator released Elizabeth to her class only after she placed it in her backpack. On a separate occasion during this school year, the administrator indicated that same-sex couples are not permitted to attend the school prom together.

LINKS:

 

SPLC Letter Sent to Tuscaloosa School Officials

SPLC Report: Resolution reached with Brookwood High School
Tuscaloosa Report: Same Sex Couples May Attend Prom
 


SPLC Represents Brookwood High School Couple

 

January 25, 2012

 

Southern Poverty Law Center Demands Brookwood High School (Tuscaloosa) End Policy Banning Same-Sex Couples From the School Prom....  Letter Demands BHS Respect Students’ Right to Express Acceptance of LGBT People....

 

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sent a letter today to Brookwood High School (BHS), the Tuscaloosa County School System superintendent and the county’s school board demanding that school officials respect its students’ constitutional rights or face a federal lawsuit.  The SPLC sent the letter on behalf of BHS student Elizabeth Garrett who was forced to remove her sweatshirt that includes an expression of acceptance of gay people.  Additionally, the letter seeks to overturn a policy prohibiting same-sex dates at the school prom.  “At Brookwood, like in too many Alabama schools, gay students and those perceived as gay face unfair treatment," said Sam Wolfe, an SPLC attorney. "Too often, gay students also face serious harassment at school. No student should be singled out for unfair treatment or be denied their basic rights at school.”   In the letter, the SPLC gives the school district until Feb. 1, 2012 to stop its censorship of speech supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and its prohibition against same-sex couples at the prom.  If the school district does not comply with those demands, the SPLC will file a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction, damages and attorneys’ fees. 

 

LINKS:

 

Birmingham News: Brookwood High School Facing Scrutiny from SPLC
Birmingham Free Press: SPLC Demands End to Policy Banning Same Sex Couples at HS Prom
Southern Poverty Law Center: Threatens to File Federal Civil Rights Law Suit

 

On Jan. 5, 2012, Elizabeth, a 10th grader, wore a hoodie-style sweatshirt with the playful slogan, “Warning, This Individual Infected With ‘The Gay,’ Proceed With Caution.”  She wore the sweatshirt to express her support for gay rights and to communicate, in a humorous way, that there is nothing wrong with gay people.  “A gay person is just as normal as anyone else,” she said.  Elizabeth is often on the honor roll, attends mostly advanced placement courses, and is a member of the school French club.    Although it was a cold morning and she had no other outer layer, a BHS school official demanded Elizabeth remove the hoodie, claiming that the sweatshirt was “distracting.”  The administrator released Elizabeth to class only after she removed her sweatshirt and placed it in her backpack. On another occasion this school year, the same administrator informed Elizabeth that same-sex couples are not permitted to attend the school prom together.  The prom is set for May.  Elizabeth has plans to attend the prom with another female BHS student.  Elizabeth says she is taking this action not only for herself “but for others like me who feel trampled over by the school and don’t always have an opportunity to stand up for themselves.”  “Brave students like Elizabeth who are willing to stand up for who they are – even when faced with school authorities who tell her she can’t – help raise awareness and improve school climate for the entire school community,” Wolfe said.

 

LINKS:

 

Birmingham News: Brookwood High School Facing Scrutiny from SPLC
Birmingham Free Press: SPLC Demands End to Policy Banning Same Sex Couples at HS Prom
Southern Poverty Law Center: Threatens to File Federal Civil Rights Law Suit

 

The SPLC’s letter to BHS explains that statements supportive of LGBT people as well as attending prom with a same-sex date are protected under the First and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution.  The letter cites federal precedents such as Gillman v. School Board for Holmes County, in which a federal court ruled that a school board’s ban on clothing expressing support for LGBT people was unconstitutional. In that case, the school had to pay $325,000 for the students’ legal fees. The letter also cites McMillen v. Itawamba County School District, a case in which a female high school student asked to bring a same-sex date to prom and wear a tuxedo.  After the school district received a letter informing it that denying the student’s request was unlawful, it chose to cancel the prom.  A federal court later ruled that a lesbian student bringing a same-sex date to prom and wearing a tuxedo are “the type of speech that falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment.”  In a similar case, Fricke v. Lynch, a school district had to pay over $116,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees for denying a student’s right to bring a same-sex date to a school dance.  The letter further explains that if there are students who will act disruptively in reaction to Elizabeth’s hoodie or her attending the prom with a girl, BHS has a duty to counter the disruptive students, not prohibit Elizabeth’s speech.

The SPLC was alerted to Elizabeth’s situation by the Alabama Safe Schools Coalition (ASSC).  The SPLC is a part of the coalition, which provides training and seeks to improve state and district school policies relating to LGBT students in Alabama.

 

LINKS:

 

Birmingham News: Brookwood High School Facing Scrutiny from SPLC
Birmingham Free Press: SPLC Demands End to Policy Banning Same Sex Couples at HS Prom
Southern Poverty Law Center: Threatens to File Federal Civil Rights Law Suit

 


Working With LGBT Clients

 

May 2011

 

The May 2011 Issue (Vol 53, No. 11) of the American Counseling Association publication, Counseling Today, featured a cover story on working with LGBT clients. Senior writer Lynne Shallcross's article (pages 24-32), entitled, "Come and be who you are," asserts that counselors in all arenas can provide a safe, accepting place for LGBT clients to work through diverse issues.  Among others, Shallcross interviews ALGBTIC President Michael Chaney. He says that it is important to gain understanding of working with LGBT clients, not only because counselors have an ethical responsibility to learn about diverse cultures, but also because at some point in their careers, counselors will almost assuredly come across clients who identify as LGBT, and they need to be prepared to work with this population.

 

Also, in the April 2011 edition of Counseling Today, Michael Chaney (along with co-authors Filmore and Goodrich) wrote an article entitled, "No More Sitting on the Sidelines," in which he confronts the growing discussion within our profession about the need for competent counselors to work with LGBTQQI clients in an affirming manner. He says, "Largely, the discussion has focused on the inadequate training many counselors receive related to counseling these populations."  In the article he offers practical strategies for working with LGBTQQI clients on issues of heterosexism and transphobia, coming out and bullying.

 

And the American School Counselors Association has also put out a special issue of their magazine that is focused on LGBTQ issues in the schools.

 

LINKS:
 

Counseling Today Article: No More Sitting on the Sidelines

 

 


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ALGBTICAL

Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama