Former Rugby union star Israel Folau has hit out at support for trans children, saying the devil was behind allowing young people to ‘change their gender’.
The former New South Wales Waratahs player also condemned homosexuality as a ‘sin’ in a recent church sermon.
Folau is seen making the remarks in a video posted on his church’s Facebook page.
The 30-year-old has a history of courting controversy by promoting religious-themed homophobia.
In April, he posted a picture which stated ‘Hell awaits’ homosexuals and other sinners on his Instagram account.
As a result, Folau was fired by Rugby Australia after refusing to remove or apologize for the post. He is currently suing the governing body over their decision.
'Young kids in primary school have permission to change their gender if they way'
’The video showed Folau speaking at the Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Kenthurst, New South Wales.
‘They are allowing young kids in primary school, to be able to have the permission to change their gender if they want, by taking away the permission of their parents,’ Folau said in the sermon.
‘Now they’re trying to take control as a government to make those decisions for young kids, basically that are 16 years old or younger, they don’t even know what they’re doing … this is what the devil’s trying to do to instill into this government, into this world, into society, and it’s slowly happening.
‘The sad thing is why a lot of people out there that are non-Christians say bad things about the church, is because a lot of the churches allow those things to happen,’ he added.
‘They say that a man and a man should be able to be married and there is nothing wrong with it. This buys into the theme of pleasing man rather than pleasing God and standing up for the truth.’
In the video, Folau goes on to say that true believers of Christ ‘profess him wherever we go’. He also denounced modern ‘westernized’ churches.
‘Are we too scared because we might be cast out by our workplace or cast out of somewhere because we’re not liked or loved by those around us and don’t believe the same thing we do?’ he asked.
‘You might be the only born-again Christian in that workplace, you might feel a bit awkward with your co-workers because they are in the world and you’re not. We should feel blessed … because God has called us.’
History of homophobia
Folau has been sharply condemned for promoting homophobic sentiments on social media in the past.
In April, Folau also tweeted a photo of a news story about Tasmania passing historic new gender laws whereby recording gender markers on birth certificates will be optional. In the tweet alongside the photo, the rugby star wrote: ‘The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus Christ who will set you free.’
In an Instagram post from April 2018, Folau wrote that God’s plan for gay people is: ‘HELL. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.’
Following his recent posts, governing body Rugby Australia tore up Folau’s $5 million contract last month.
He has also lost sponsorship deals because of the social media posts.
Folau has since begun legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission against Rugby Australia. He is seeking up to $10 million in damages, the Guardian reports.
Despite the backlash, Folau has refused to back down and said he was simply following his sincerely held Christian beliefs.
Though raised a Mormon, Folau has been an active member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship since 2011, a global coalition of churches with around 70 million members.
Written by: Calum Stuart. 17 June 2019. Gaystarnews.com
Gay and bi men believe men they find ‘physically attractive’ are less likely to be HIV positive or have other STIs. Because of this, they are also less likely to use condoms when having sex with them.
That’s the conclusion of a study undertaken by researchers at the University of Maryland in the US. The results appeared in the Journal of Sex Research in March.
Given the popularity of dating apps, the authors say exploring physical attractiveness was of particular interest to them. Many men now turn to apps like Grindr to find sexual partners. Judgments about others are made based purely on photographs. Other studies have found we are less likely to discuss sexual health via apps.
The study involved 197 men who have sex with men in the United States. None were in a monogamous relationship and all used apps to meet other men.
It showed them video clips of other guys in both non-sexual and sexual scenarios.
Each man was shown clips of attractive men and clips of less-attractive men. The attractiveness of the men depicted was ranked in advance. Researchers used 22 other gay and bi men not included in the study to do the ranking.
Questions asked to determine if they found men attractive The study asked participants whether they thought the men were attractive, with questions such as, ‘Overall, how sexually desirable is the person in the photo?’
They were separately asked if they were aroused by the men they saw. Questions included: ‘How likely is it that you would have a one-night stand with this person?’
Participants were then asked, on a scale of one to seven, whether they thought the men had ‘positive partner traits’ (‘trustworthy, responsible, healthy,’ etc).
The study then asked directly about the perceived risk of sex with that person might pose. Questions included: ‘How likely do you think it is that you would get HIV—the virus that causes AIDS—from this person?’ and whether they were likely to use a condom with that person.
The study's main findings were as follows:
• On average, when men were rated as more physically attractive, they were also rated as being less likely to have HIV or another STI. This was largely irrespective of whether participants were feeling sexually aroused when they were making their ratings.
• When men were rated as being less likely to have HIV or another STI, participants were less likely to intend to use condoms were they to have sex with those men.
• Evidence supported the role of two thought processes to explain why physically attractive men are seen as less likely to have HIV or another STI.
[So, what’s the explanation for this?The authors speculate the thought processes at play include the ‘halo effect’: In short, if someone possesses one positive trait (such as attractiveness), this leads others to believe they have other positive traits, such as perfect health.
Also, if you find someone physically attractive, there is more chance you will want to have sex with them. Therefore, you may potentially remove or overlook psychological barriers that might deter you from this goal. This includes considering whether someone has an STI or not.
The study says other factors could have also impacted condom use, such as whether someone was using PreP.
Study limitations and further 'attractive' research suggestions
They also acknowledged the limitations of their study. For example, what men say in a study may differ compared to real-life bedroom situations. They also think they looked at a narrow sample of men (those who are HIV negative and not in relationships).
Also, on dating apps, users often offer more details than just photos alone. These can include information on HIV status and condom use.
They say they cannot fully explain some of the findings. They note, ‘Some scholars have proposed that rational decision-making processes become impaired when individuals are sexually aroused.’
‘Arousal … may override intentions to use condoms’
Commenting on the findings, Dr Tom Nadarzynski, a social scientist with London’s University of Westminster, told GSN, ‘Arousal associated with perceived physical attractiveness, especially in the context of sexual intercourse, may override intentions to use condoms.
‘Nevertheless, the findings of this research demonstrate a specific bias in thinking that sex with an attractive person could be less risky, which is unlikely to be accurate. Also, physical attractiveness is highly subjective, therefore it cannot be a reliable determinant of HIV status.’
The study’s authors suggest further research to determine what issues are at play, and whether other factors can influence the findings, such as alcohol or drug use.
Based on their results, they also conclude that dating apps are a great way to share information about sexual health to users.
Idea for study on attractiveness came from HIV testing
Dr Elissa Sarno, one of the study’s co-authors, formerly worked as a HIV test counselor. She says her experiences influenced her decision to undertake the survey.
‘I was interested in understanding how people make decisions about when to use a condom with a new sexual partner,’ she told Gay Star News.
‘My experiences as an HIV test counselor inspired me to study physical attractiveness. People getting tested told me that their sexual partners’ physical appearance influenced their beliefs about whether they may have HIV or another STI.
‘Future research is needed to support our results, to gain a better understanding of why we found these results, and lead to interventions that address the role of partner perceptions in condom use decision-making.’
‘This study illustrates that people often don’t make rational choices,’ says Matthew Hodson, Executive Director of HIV information organization, NAM.
‘There is no reason to suppose that people who are considered to be more attractive are any less likely to be HIV-positive or to have other STIs. From my personal experience, some of the sexiest men I know are living with HIV.
‘It’s easy to make a faulty risk analysis when emotions come into play. We’ve observed this throughout the course of the epidemic. In the heat of the moment, love or lust can alter our perceptions of risk, as can drugs or alcohol.
‘I hope that not many people genuinely expect to correctly identify someone with HIV just by looking at them.’
Written by: David Hudson. 16 June 2019. Gaystarnews.com
The Pennsylvania Senate rejected a Pride Month proclamation, in front of pioneers in the fight for LGBTQ rights.
Sen. Sharif Street introduced the Unanimous Consent Resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month, telling Philadelphia Gay News he hoped it would be adopted to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
“I was pleased to be joined by pioneers of the LGBTQ-plus community on to offer a resolution honoring and commemorating Pride festivities in Philadelphia and across the commonwealth,” street said. “Unfortunately, Republican leadership did not see fit to allow it to proceed.”
Those present included activists Elizabeth Coffey-Williams, John James, Susan Silverman, and David Acosta. Collectively they founded early LGBTQ organizations, took part in groundbreaking demonstrations, and held important leadership roles both inside and outside of government.
Silverman reported being “grateful that Sen. Street and [policy director] Micah Mahjoubian are fighting so hard to bring legislative protections to the LGBT-plus community of Pennsylvania.”
“While I’ve seen many strides since Stonewall, we still can lose our jobs, lose our apartments and, for some, lose our physical safety and even our lives. The fight goes on,” Silverman added.
Street, who introduced similar legislation in 2017 and 2018, said he intends to keep putting it forward until it is adopted.
The community also has allies in Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, both of whom attended Pride events this year, according to the Pennsylvania Capital Star.
Wolf presented a Pride proclamation from the Governor’s Office that read, in part:
Pride Month is a time to unite and denounce discrimination and violence toward LGBTQ individuals, to promote self-affirmation, dignity and equality and to mobilize communities. The commonwealth is proud to honor the history and contributions of LGBTQ communities within our state and throughout the nation.
A rainbow flag and a trans Pride flag are also hanging from the balcony of the Capitol office, thanks to Fetterman.
A similar situation played out in Texas this month, where a commissioner refused to sign a Pride Week proclamation and read a statement ensuring her objection was entered into the record.
In both cases, Pride celebrations were able to carry on unhindered.
Written by: Jeff Taylor. 14 June 2018. Pride. Newnownext.com
Ricardo Rosselló, the Governor of Puerto Rico, pushed for a “Religious freedom” bill for the Commonwealth, and it seemed destined to pass.
The bill, which would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity based on one’s religious beliefs, was approved by the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The fate of HB 2069, however, turned out far differently with the intervention of what may be Puerto Rico’s most famous pop singer.
Ricky Martin is known by many as the “King of Latin Pop,” starting with seminal boy band Menudo before embarking on a solo career in 1991 that has seen Martin sell over 70 million albums.
Following the worldwide success of his hit song, “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” Martin was pressed to come out by the media. He finally did officially come out in 2010 via his official website.
Martin spoke out against HB 2069, publishing an open letter on Thursday.
“House Bill 2069, filed at the request of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and promoted by Representative Charbonier, achieves nothing more than opening the doors to hatred towards anyone who doesn’t share the same ideology, who simply belong to the LGBTT community, or who don’t have the same color skin, amidst many other discriminatory measures,” said Martin on his official website.
Added Martin, “As a defender of human rights and a member of the LGBTT community, I am vehemently opposed to the proposed measure imposed upon us under the guise of religious freedom, which degrades us as a society and projects us to the world as a backward country, unwilling to honor the basic constitutional right of individuality.”
“This movement is not representative of the Puerto Rico that we all love, defend and hold so dear,” concluded the singer. “We call on the Senate, the House and Governor Ricardo Rosselló to reject this effort, which is an open door to hatred and discrimination.”
Martin had also spoken out on his Twitter account, saying that HB 2069 “is nothing other than to open the door to hatred for anyone who does not share the same ideology, belonging to the LGBTQ community.”
Mere hours after Martin’s pleas, Governor Rosselló changed his tune on HB 2069, asking legislators to halt HB 2069, as well as a bill involving conversion therapy.
“Respect for the dignity of the human being and the protection of the rights that assist all citizens is a responsibility that I assume as governor,” said Rosselló on Twitter.” I request that both projects be withdrawn because instead of reaching a consensus on a basis of mutual respect, it provokes the division of our people.”
On Wednesday, Rosselló had said he would only sign HB 2069 if his bill on conversion therapy also passed. Critics also panned the second bill, as it only banned such therapy in mental health settings, but did not bar its use by religious facilities or by parents of minors.
Rosselló had sidestepped the controversy on the second bill by issuing a ban on conversion therapy as an executive order in March.
The Governor’s statement calling for the end of HB 2069 came just minutes after Commonwealth Senator Zoe Laboy also declared that she was “determined to present a negative report to the project of religious freedom before the members of the Commission that it presided for its evaluation.”
Written by: Gwendolyn Smith. 14 June 2019. News. Lgbtqnation.com
Sad news for fans of sappy romance novels: literary giant Nicholas Sparks tried to have LGBTQ curriculum banned from the Epiphany School of Global Studies, a faith based prep school started by the author.
Sparks, the popular author of romance novels like The Notebook and The Longest Ride, helped found the school in 2006. Newly leaked emails, however, show a bitter feud among school employees and Sparks.
Saul Benjamin, a former headmaster at the Epiphany School, has accused Sparks and other school Trustees of creating a hostile work environment, as well as homophobic and racist policies. The new emails would seem to support his case, with Sparks making some shocking remarks.
Regarding the lack of racial diversity in the school, Sparks takes pride in having one–yes, one–Jewish student among the 500-person student body.
The author further notes that the dearth of Black students at Epiphany has less to do with racist policies and more to do with local African-Americans failing to have the money or academic qualifications to attend.
In one email, Sparks comments that African-Americans, which comprise 40% of the local population, are “too poor and can’t do the academic work.”
Further rifts appeared between Benjamin, Sparks and other faculty over the school’s treatments of LGBTQ students and issues.
In 2013, a group of students began meeting informally to discuss their sexual orientations, and became the immediate subject of bullying. Sparks ordered Benjamin to ban the group, and threatened at least two teachers with termination for defending the students.
When Sparks was told banning the LGBTQ group was discriminatory, Sparks wrote back: “Not allowing them to have a club is NOT discrimination.”
The author also suggested banning all forms of student protest after two lesbian students planned to come out during chapel services. When Benjamin refused to do so, Sparks accused him of secretly authorizing an “official School LGBT club.”
Benjamin ultimately resigned after a heated meeting with Sparks, in which the former headmaster claimed the author behaved in a physically intimidating manner. Now, he has filed a lawsuit claiming harassment and discrimination.
Sparks, for his part, claims the Board fired Benjamin after he authorized a clandestine gay student club.
The trial for Benajamin’s suit is scheduled to be held this August.
Written by: David Reddish. 13 June 2019. Entertainment. Queerty.com
Last night, Falcon Studios announced the death of gay adult performer (link NSFW) Jay Dymel, aka Julian Pereza. Although the 27-year-old performer had attended Los Angeles Pride with his boyfriend, fellow performer Ryan Stone, just this past weekend, Dymel reportedly slipped into a coma and was placed on life support yesterday before he died. His cause of death is not yet known.
A GoFundMe set up to raise $10,000 towards Dymel’s funeral costs reads:
Today we lost an amazing human being! We lost a brother, a son, a best friend and most of all a sweet soul. Jules had an infectious personality, it was so easy to love being around him. No matter what he always made you feel loved and like family and now he’s gone. Jules was loved by so many and will remain in our heart forever. He had made his imprint and impact on this world and our community.
Naked Sword studios had just released a new scene with Dymel last month in a two-part series entitled Five Brothers: Family Values! In the production, Dymel played a prisoner who bottoms for another inmate.
Just last month, gay adult performer Casey Jacks also died at age 29 — some of his adult industry peers suspected suicide.
As gay pop-cultural critic Johnny Gayzomnic once wrote, the deaths of gay adult performers can shake fans deeply because many of us first learn about our sexuality and pleasure from them. So, when they die, it’s like losing an attractive peer who showed us what our raw sexuality can look like.
Gay adult video performers Parker Allen and Billy Santoro, as well as gay adult video producers Chi Chi LaRue and Dominic Ford, have all donated towards Dymel’s funeral.
Written by: Daniel Villarreal. 13 June 2019. Life. Queerty.com
Is Twitter getting you down? Fed up with Facebook? Irate with Insta? You’re not the only one who thinks social media can be a real pain.
One leading expert says social media has changed what it means to be a young person struggling with sexual identity.
Bestselling author, philosopher, and historian, Yuval Noah Harari, has been talking about this very modern issue the first National Conference for Israel’s LGBTI Community, on Tuesday in Tel Aviv.
The conference comes ahead of the Middle East’s largest gay pride parade in the city this Friday.
Harari noted that social media can be an essential lifeline for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who live outside of liberal bubbles like Tel Aviv, the Times of Israel reported.
But the bestselling author of Sapiens warned there is also a dark side to social media. He said it can be used for government surveillance, manipulation, and control.
‘All of the online world has done some wonderful things, like enabling people who have no immediate community to be part of something,’ Harari said after the panel session with musician Ivri Lider and journalist Ilana Dayan.
‘When I grew up [in Kiryat Ata, near Haifa], there was nowhere I could go, no one I could meet.’
Harari, met his husband of 17 years on one of the first gay online dating websites, called CheckMeOut. This was a long-defunct website that predated the popular gay meet-up app Grindr, the paper said.
Fight for gay rights different
The fight for gay rights is different from other social struggles, such as black activists fighting against racism, Harari said.
Because LGBT people are usually not born into gay families, they must first overcome a sense of isolation, Harari said. They also must make a community for themselves and win family support, before joining the public struggle.
Social media helps diminish this isolation by providing a tool for people on their personal journeys to start reaching out and finding allies and like-minded people, he said.
But using technology to build these bridges also has a dark side.
“[Social media and the internet] also means that LGBTI people are extremely vulnerable to surveillance and abuse,” Harari said.
‘I just read an article about Christian fundamentalist groups who are targeting LGBTI teenagers with advertisements for conversion therapies, which basically play on their insecurities.
‘They target people using the Facebook algorithm, so you don’t even have to identify as gay, it’s enough if you clicked on some gay related news issues or stories and they target you.’
Life threatening Impact
Beyond manipulative advertising, social media surveillance of LGBT people can also be life-threatening, the Times reported.
‘In Egypt, there was a case where the police used Grindr to arrest people’, Harari said.
‘You have more and more regimes today around the world which target LGBT people. With the new technologies coming along, the danger is that as the political climate worsens, there is no way you can even hide.’
‘The option that once existed, to hide in the closet, had some terrible consequences because it meant that people did not fight against the oppressive system, but at least it was a survival mechanism on a personal level,’ Harari added.
‘In the future, there might not be an option of going back to the closet because technology makes the closet completely transparent.’
Tel Aviv is in the midst of its 2019 Pride Week celebrations. This Friday’s parade is expected to attract 200,000 people, the Times said.
Friday’s march will wind through the streets and on to a beach and party, complete with party floats and DJs.
Written by: Mark Johnson. 11 June 2019. Gaystarnews.com
We at the Pride Foundation of Maryland are quitting YouTube. We’ve already pulled our videos from the site and don’t intend to use it in the future. We’re confident that no one at YouTube will miss us because we had so very little content on our channel. And though we understand the site has afforded some LGBTQ creators an outlet for expression and has been an equally important source of self-affirming content for others, we certainly won’t miss YouTube. It’s never been essential to the work we do on behalf of Maryland’s LGBTQ community. We can do without it.
Our decision is a direct response to YouTube’s decision regarding Steven Crowder’s targeted harassment and homophobic abuse of Carlos Maza, the openly gay journalist at Vox and producer of its Strikethrough web series. We’ve watched the various video segments on Crowder’s channel in which he offers rebuttals to content created by Vox. Not all of the videos Crowder attempts to rebut feature Maza, but those which do are characterized by repeated antigay slurs, sexual innuendo, and mocking references to Maza’s speech, mannerisms, and identity as a gay man. It didn’t take us an algorithm to find the blatant homophobia in Crowder’s videos. We knew it when we saw it.
YouTube saw things differently. The company’s management reviewed the videos and decided they wanted them on the site. They justified their decision by claiming that as an “open platform” YouTube would carry homophobic content as it might only be “potentially offensive” and is otherwise “valuable speech” depending on its context.
As a private company, YouTube has the absolute right to decide what is consistent with the community guidelines it has established for its creators. The same is true for its decisions about what constitutes a violation of its policies. The people who implement and interpret those policies, YouTube’s corporate managers, have the capacity to change them at any time. In their sole discretion they can remove from the site whatever videos they choose. They have no obligation to propagate content simply because a creator uploads it to a channel.
In the case of Steven Crowder, YouTube’s management has chosen to retain his explicitly homophobic videos. By retaining them, especially in light of their own justification for doing so, they have ratified Crowder’s views as “valuable speech.”
Elaborating on their decision, the company’s management stated, “For harassment, we look at whether the purpose of the video is to incite harassment, threaten or humiliate an individual; or whether personal information is revealed. We consider the entire video: For example, is it a two-minute video dedicated to going after an individual? A 30-minute video of political speech where different individuals are called out a handful of times? Is it focused on a public or private figure? For hate speech, we look at whether the primary purpose of the video is to incite hatred toward or promote supremacism over a protected group; or whether it seeks to incite violence. To be clear, using racial, homophobic, or sexist epithets on their own would not necessarily violate either of these policies. For example, as noted above, lewd or offensive language is often used in songs and comedic routines. It's when the primary purpose of the video is hate or harassment. And when videos violate these policies, we remove them.”
According to this statement, YouTube’s management would have us believe that homophobia is implicitly acceptable if embedded in some broader qualitative context and that its impact can be mitigated if it doesn’t exceed some minimal quantitative threshold. But their argument sidesteps two critical facts: homophobic speech is always harassment, and nothing that exists at the scale enabled by YouTube is ever just a “wee bit o’ content.”
Expressions of homophobia inherently represent an attempt to intimidate LGBTQ people, to humiliate us, to cow us into silence, or to make us fear for our own safety. When Crowder looked into the camera and called Maza a “lispy queer” it was harassment — full stop. For its part, YouTube is now compounding that harassment by calling Maza a “lispy queer” in more than a million instances, once to each person who views the offending content the company has decided to retain as “valuable speech” on its “open platform.”
With its decision, YouTube is participating in Crowder’s homophobic abuse and its attendant stigmatization of the entire LGBTQ community. Disclaiming its decision as being necessary to create an environment where people can “participate in the critical cultural and political conversations of our day” demonstrates a deep ignorance of the impact homophobic speech has when it’s endorsed and amplified by validators.
The Pride Foundation of Maryland exists to promote the culture, history, and general well-being of LGBTQ people. We will not associate ourselves, or our name, with any company that knowingly, willingly, and directly promotes harassment of LGBTQ people. We dispute the aim of YouTube’s management that the removal of grossly homophobic content would constitute the loss of “valuable speech.” We will not ourselves ratify YouTube’s decision to coddle homophobes and broadcast their hateful messages to millions of viewers.
We don’t need YouTube. Our subscriber base is negligible, and we have the capacity to find an alternative location for the content we might want to share. The same is true for other LGBTQ organizations in Maryland, and we’ve already reached out to them to ask that they relocate their content as well.
National organizations serving our community should do the same. The Human Rights Campaign, the largest such group, claims over three million members and supporters with less than 2 percent of that number as subscribers to their YouTube channel. They don’t need YouTube any more than we do, nor does GLAAD, our advocate to the media, with its 25,000 subscribers (a number that likely represents a small fraction of their email list). In fact, the combined number of YouTube subscribers for all the nation’s LGBTQ organizations comes nowhere close to the nearly four million subscribed to Crowder’s channel.
YouTube is a profit-motivated corporation, and given the cumulative relative contribution of LGBTQ organizations to their business model we will never be as important to the company’s bottom line as Crowder and his ilk. Our greatest value to YouTube at the moment comes from staying put in order to validate the company’s treatment of its LGBTQ creators and to sustain its pretense to be something other than a growing right-wing echo chamber.
Like YouTube, we have a choice to make about how we will respond to this situation. Either we stand up for members of the LGBTQ community, or we stay on YouTube when it serves us no purpose. We cannot do both. To choose the latter option is to condone YouTube’s spread of homophobia, and that is something we at the Pride Foundation of Maryland will not do.
Brian Gaither (@briangaither) is a Board member and co-founder of the Pride Foundation of Maryland (@PrideMaryland).
Written by: Brian Gaither. 11 June 2019. Commentary. Advocate.com
President Donald Trump’s tweet “honoring” Pride Month came on the heels of more attacks on the LGBTQ community and was met with immediate scorn. As if to put a finer point on it, days later the administration announced that despite’s Trump’s tweet, they would not allow embassies to fly the Pride flag as ambassadors have done for years.
Trump’s state department has rejected at least four requests from embassies to fly the rainbow flag during Pride month: Brazil, Germany, Israel, and Latvia.
But some embassies have found a way to get around the decision or are outright defying the administration’s homophobia, The Washington Post reports. The paper notes that embassies in Korea, Nepal, India, Chile, Austria, and Israel have all taken matters into their own hands.
“This is a category one insurrection,” one diplomat told the paper.
Trump’s handpicked gay internet troll-turned German ambassador, Richard Grenell, spent his time on Twitter defending Trump’s “pride proclamation” and attacking LGBTQ people and journalists who spoke out against it.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a darling of the religious right and active opponent of LGBTQ equality, has made it his mission to give Christians a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people by forming “religious freedom” committees and envoys. Under his command, embassies are required to get “top-level clearance” to fly a Pride flag.
So far into his tenure as the nation’s top diplomat, Pompeo has refused to attend the annual Pride Day event as his predecessors did.
“We fly below the radar,” one fearful employee told the Post. “We survive because they don’t realize we’re here.”
Written by: Bil Browning. 10 June 2019. Politics. Lgbtqnation.com
Dante Austin was the Philadelphia Sheriff’s office’s first LGBT+ community liaison officer.
He was found dead at his desk two days before the Philadelphia Pride parade.
“This is a tragedy for the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Austin’s family, and the local LGBTQ community,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams, in a statement released by the Philadelphia Sheriff’s office.
“Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody,” said Williams.
“He had the highest score on the Deputy Sheriff’s exam when he was hired in November 2013. He was our first openly gay deputy sheriff and we promoted him to become our first LGBTQ community liaison in May 2017. Dante was scheduled to be promoted to Sergeant on July 1, 2019.”
Austin was also an Army veteran.
On Friday, the Sheriff’s office closed at midday and the rainbow flag outside Philadelphia’s city hall flew at half mast.
While officials believe that Austin died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, they are waiting for confirmation from the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Philadelphia’s LGBT+ community ‘struggles with issues of race
’Austin had previously worked with Michael Grossberg and the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, which is an organization providing funding to LGBT+ nonprofits.
“I think the LGBT community in Philadelphia has struggled with issues of race and issues of equality and having leaders like Dante in our community was really fundamental,” Grossberg said.
The Mayor’s Commission on LGBT+ affairs in Philadelphia also released a statement.
“Dante worked tirelessly, always, to lift up the most marginalized among us, to secure safety and protection for the most vulnerable, and to serve his community with unparalleled dedication and a warmth and generosity that moved so many of us,” it read.
“Dante’s legacy is one of boldness, bravery, compassion, and an unfailing commitment to a kinder and more just world for all. As we move forward in mourning and honoring our friend and colleague, may we cherish and celebrate the ways he changed us, improved our city, and protected and saved lives.”
If you are in the US and are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression, or just want to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255. If you are in the UK, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.
Written by: Vic Parsons. 10 June 2019. US. Pinknews.co.uk