The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled its new $1 ‘equality coin’, honoring the progress of civil rights for ‘LGBTQ2’ Canadians.
Canada’s Minister of Finance Bill Morneau unveiled the coin today via a Facebook Live stream.
The unveiling ceremony took place at The 519 Center – an LGBTI center in the heart of Toronto’s gay village.
It has been created to mark 50 years since the beginning of the process of decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.
The new coin combines the words ‘EQUALITY-ÉGALITÉ’ and features the work of Vancouver artist Joe Average.
It enters into circulation today. Only 3 million of the coins will be produced.
‘The equality coin recognizes their triumphs’
Commenting, Bill Morneau said: ‘For the past 50 years and beyond, Canadians have fought for their right to love, marry, start a family and live openly as their most authentic selves.’
He continued: ‘The equality coin recognizes their triumphs and encourages all of us to build a better, more inclusive Canada – because like the coin itself, the more equality we have in Canada, the richer we all are.’
‘Today is an important day for the LGBTQ2 community, and for all Canadians, as this commemorative coin enters circulation,’ said Randy Boissonnault, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues. ‘It is an opportunity to reflect on a landmark event in our country’s history, and a reminder of the progress still to be made as we work toward inclusion and equality for all LGBTQ2 Canadians.’
Written by: Jamie Tabberer. 23 April 2019. Gaystarnews.com
The Supreme Court of the United States announced on Monday (22 April) they will review three cases dealing with LGBTI discrimination in the workplace.
There has been an ongoing debate about whether or not Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, granting federal protections against discrimination for certain identities, applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.
These cases will finally settle the matter. This has been a source of contention between federal courts and the Trump-Pence administration.
The three cases
Lawyers are presenting three cases relating to LGBTI employment discrimination to the Supreme Court.
In the first case, a funeral home fired its director, Aimee Stephens, when she came out as transgender. She said she would be coming to work as a woman and they responded that would be ‘unacceptable’.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Stephens’ favor in March 2018, saying her firing violated Title VII.
Donald Zarda is the defendant in the second case. Altitude Express, Inc. fired Zarda from his skydiving job due to his sexual orientation. A federal court initially rejected his discrimination claim before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII’s language about sex discrimination does apply to sexual orientation in February 2018.
Finally, an employer fired Gerald Lynn Bostock from his job as a county child welfare services coordinator when they learned he was gay. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied his appeal in May 2018.
Courts vs Trump
Federal courts have not come to an agreement about whether or not Title VII applies to sexual orientation and gender identity. Some have ruled in favor of LGBTI protections, while others have not.
The Trump-Pence Administration stepping into the debate further complicates the situation.
On numerous occasions, the Justice Department under Trump has declared that Title VII does not apply to either sexual orientation or gender identity.
What happens now?
There has been no clear answer on employment protections for LGBTI people, muddied by varying court decision and political leaders’ opinions.
Lawyers will argue the cases before the seven Supreme Court Justices in the fall. A decision will likely be handed down in June 2020 — during the thick of the presidential race.
The Supreme Court currently has a conservative majority. Trump nominated two conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, within his first term. There is no way of knowing how they will rule until the decision is handed down, however.
The Supreme Court is not the only path for LGBTI federal protections.
Democrats recently re-introduced the Equality Act to Congress, which would mandate federal protections for LGBTI Americans across the nation.
Written by: Anya Crittenton. 22 April 2019. News. Gaystarnews.com
It’s a warm Friday night and the line at the ILWU Memorial Hall in Wilmington, California, wraps around the block. The crowd is diverse — men and women, young and old, all different walks of life — and once inside the venue, the buzz is palpable.
Vendors sling cheap beer and tacos as quickly as possible, merchandise sales fly fast at makeshift stands and spectators settle into their folding chairs for a night of independent professional wrestling.
But this night is noteworthy for a reason that goes far beyond the action in the ring. Because on this night, in front of a sold-out crowd some 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, everybody is here to see a champion who just happens to be gay.
Jake Atlas won the PCW ULTRALight title in January 2019, a milestone in the meteoric rise of one of the most talented and buzzworthy performers in the sport. PCW (Pacific Coast Wrestling) is one of the most popular companies on the exploding indie wrestling scene. For Atlas, an openly gay man, the impact and importance of his title reign is something he cherishes.
“I have so much pride in a variety of aspects in being the PCW ULTRALight champion,” he says. “I worked so hard for two years to have management believe that I can be a part of their roster, that I can be someone they can rely on to deliver in front of capacity crowds.
“I was the first one in the building and the last one to leave for two years. I did everything from setting up the locker room, holding the cables for the cameramen, running entrance gear for the talent and leading a group of young wrestlers to set up the entire arena on show days.
“To have management believe in my story and background, allowing me to showcase my pride with the lifestyle I live, has been an incredible sense of relief. I am one of the leading faces of PCW Ultra, along with some of the greatest talent in the world. I am also gay. I am proud of that.”
Mike Scharnagl, owner of PCW, never gave it a second thought. “There was never any issue with having an openly LGBTQ wrestler with one of our belts,” he says. “The great thing about wrestling is that the audience is a great cross-section of Los Angeles … when they all get in the building, they are all just fans, blowing off steam from a hard week of work.”
Atlas represents the new breed of LGBTQ talent in the professional wrestling world, a community that has flourished in recent years thanks to promotions like PCW and performers like himself.
It hasn’t always been this way.
In 2013, Darren Young became the first openly gay wrestler in WWE. Young, who had contemplated how to handle his sexuality for years, spontaneously came out to a TMZ cameraman when asked about whether or not the wrestling world was ready for a gay performer.
His fear and uncertainty came from decades as a wrestling fan.
“In the ‘70’s, ‘80’s or even ‘90’s, it was not a safe space for gays,” he says.
After coming out, Young was thrown into a fire that nobody saw coming. Despite an almost exclusively warm welcome from the backstage contingent and a seemingly positive reaction from his boss, those in places of power and influence below the surface were less enthused. The flame burned out quickly.
He draws a straight line between his coming out and his eventual demise with the company. “I sacrificed my WWE career and living my childhood dream to live my life truthfully,” he said.
Young was released from WWE in 2017.
Despite its troubled history, the professional wrestling landscape is diversifying and expanding as quickly as its talent base.
The recently founded and much buzzed about All Elite Wrestling, featuring the likes of the legendary Chris Jericho, signed Sonny Kiss, an openly gay wrestler, and Nyla Rose, the first-ever transgender competitor signed to a major promotion. A Matter of Pride, a promotion that features exclusively LGBTQ wrestlers and allies, is flourishing in New York. Just years ago, the mere thought of developments like this would have been unfathomable.
Anthony Bowens, an openly gay wrestler who has most recently competed for IMPACT Wrestling and WrestlePro, says attitudes have shifted in the six years he has been wrestling professionally.
“I have seen things change and it’s for the better,” he says. “I can’t speak for everyone, but the locker rooms I’ve been a part of have been incredibly supportive and, because of that, all the original worries of acceptance that I had before coming out are not even a thought anymore.”
Mike Parrow, a gay wrestler who prides himself on busting stereotypes with his 6-foot-4 and nearly 300-pound frame, struggled to see himself using his sexuality as a source of power when he started his career. “It was part of the reason I stayed in the closet,” he says. “I thought I would lose all of my bookings.”
Now, Parrow is a torch-bearer for the sport, bringing his message of positivity to shows all around the world.
As attitudes evolve, it is important for LGBTQ talent to not only be accepted, but to be legitimized. In these independent promotions, diversity is paramount, but quality is king.
“A common misconception is that we are expected to be awarded titles, championships and recognition because we are gay,” Atlas says. “I can definitely and confidently say that that is not the general message. The message is that we don’t want our potential to be hidden and/or disregarded because of our sexuality.”
For the new crop of LGBTQ talent, it’s all about what comes next. Wrestlers like Atlas and Bowens will be quick to tell you that WWE is still the goal. To the company’s credit, they have shown signs of growth recently.
Sonya Deville, who came out as a lesbian before her WWE debut, is one of their fastest-rising female stars. At last year’s WrestleMania, Finn Balor, one of the most popular names in the entire company and a straight man, made his entrance decked out in rainbow gear surrounded by the LGBTQ community of New Orleans. Balor had his custom rainbow shirt sold on WWE.com, with a portion of proceeds benefiting GLAAD.
Atlas, who spent time training at the WWE Performance Center late last year, has big dreams for the grand stage.
“The biggest challenge we face is being able to be presented openly and without fear to the mainstream audience,” he says. “I hope to be at the forefront of this progress as I begin to build some more steam in my professional career to get more eyes and attention on our talents.”
But on this night in Wilmington, the only audience that matters is the one in front of him. Not only does the raucous crowd accept him, they embrace him. As chants of “Whose house? Jake’s house!” rain down, he uses finishing move the LGB-DDT to retain his title. It’s just another step toward a revolution.
“I want us to get to a point where becoming a gay champion isn’t a headline, it becomes the norm,” he says. “So, any other LGBTQ kid that comes after us can see that nothing is holding them back from following their dreams.”
Written by: Daniel Trainor. 15 April, 2019. Wrestling. Outsports.com
Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military service people takes effect from today, jeopardizing the livelihood of thousands.
Almost two years after Trump first announced his much-maligned policy on Twitter, legislation banning trans people from openly serving in the military has been enacted.
According to the Palm Center, about 13,700 people will lose their jobs as a result.
“The military is the largest employer in the nation and, as the USTS found, transgender people are twice as likely to have served in the Armed Forces as the general population,” Gillian Bransetter, media relations manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told Advocate.
The 2015 US Trans Survey (USTS) found that 18 per cent of all trans people have served in the military, which is thought to be the single largest employer of trans people today.
When does the transgender military ban begin?Trump first announced the ban in a series of tweets on July 26, 2017.
“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military,” he wrote.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
The White House formally announced the policy in March 2018, which was blocked by a series of four injunctions.
In January 2019, the first injunction was lifted by an appeals court in Washington DC, with the Supreme Court removing a further two (from California and Washington state) in the same month.
On March 27 the final hurdle was lifted, paving the way for the ban to be enforced from Friday (April 12).
Who will be affected by the transgender military ban?Since trans people were first allowed to enter service in 2016, almost 15,000 are estimated to have joined the military.
Any person who comes out or is outed as trans from April 12 will be discharged, unless they are willing to suppress their identity. The military will not pay for any gender confirmation surgeries, apart from those which will “protect the health” of people who have begun to medically transition.
After April 12, those applying to join the services with a record of gender dysphoria will have to adhere to the gender they were assigned at birth in order to serve. A doctor will have to certify that they have been stable in that gender for at least 36 months, and that they have not medically transitioned.
Transgender people without a diagnosis will be permitted to serve in the gender they were assigned at birth, but only if they have not had any confirmation surgeries.
There are exemptions for active service members who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, including those who have already completed a medical transition before the policy takes effect.
According to the Palm Center, just 937 people will qualify for the grandfather exemptions, which they note could be revoked at any time.
The Navy has released guidance noting that sailors will be permitted to live “in their preferred gender” while off-duty.
“Appropriate civilian attire, as outlined in the uniform regulations, will not be determined based on gender,” a statement read, though this may be limited “to meet local conditions and host-nation agreements with foreign countries.”
Criticism of the transgender military banThe Palm Center’s director Aaron Belkin is one of many who has called the ban “a return to don’t ask, don’t tell,” the military’s pre-2011 ban on LGB people.
“Fully 100% of transgender troops are threatened and stigmatised by this ban,” Belkin said a statement on April 9.
In Washington, criticism of the policy has come from both sides of the aisle.
Conservative pundit Meghan McCain tweeted on Wednesday (April 10): “It is indefensible that Trump’s ban on Transgender troops is being implemented on Friday.
“This discriminatory policy will lead Transgender service members, patriots who have decided to serve their nation, to live in the shadows.
“It’s an unfair, un-American, and dangerous policy.”
House speaker Nancy Pelosi is one of many Democrats to rebuke the ban, labelling it an “act of cruelty” on April 3.
Trump’s claims that transgender people “burden” the military “with the tremendous medical costs” has also been wide refuted.
In 2016 the RAND corporation estimated that these costs would amount to somewhere between $2.4 million (£1.8 million) and $8.4 million (£6.4 million) annually.
Written by: Reiss Smith. 12 April 2019. Current Affairs. Pinknews.co.uk
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said that she was aware of research showing how harmful her anti-transgender guidance two years ago was.
DeVos appeared before the civil rights subcommittee of the House Education Committee.
The subcommittee chair, Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) asked DeVos if she knew that “the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades as well as depression and anxiety for transgender students” when she reversed Obama-era guidelines that told schools that discrimination against transgender students is illegal under Title IX.
At first, DeVos dodged the question with a vague statement that the Office of Civil Rights “is committed to ensuring all students have equal access to education free from discrimination.”
Bonamici pressed DeVos: “Sorry, I would really like answer.”
“Did you know, when you rolled back the guidance, that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades as well as depression for transgender students?” Bonamici asked.
“I do know that,” DeVos said.
“But I will say again that OCR is committed to ensuring all students have access to their education free from discrimination,” she added, even though she rescinded the guidance that said that anti-transgender discrimination is illegal at the federal level.
Bonamici also asked DeVos if she was aware of “alarming levels of attempted suicide among transgender youth.”
“I am aware of that data,” she responded.
“I’m troubled by Sec. DeVos’ answers to my questions during today’s hearing,” Bonamici said in a statement she issued later.
“The Department of Education has a responsibility to protect all students, but she acknowledged that she moved forward with a plan to rollback protections for transgender students despite knowing that it would put them at risk.”
Written by: Alex Bollinger. 11 April 2019. Top Categories. Lgbtqnation.com
Transgender children in the Netherlands are now able to change their gender on passports before the age of 16, while trans adults can self-identify without a doctor’s statement.
Children seeking to have their gender legally recognized will be able to do so by requesting a court date.
Sander Dekker, the Dutch minister for legal protection, said on Thursday (April 11) that judges will grant such requests only in “extreme circumstances.”
Responding to criticism that children may “change their minds” and revert back to the gender they were assigned at birth, he confirmed that any child who legally transitions will be given only one opportunity to reverse course without a court date.
Netherlands streamlines legal gender change
The path to legal recognition has also been made easier for people aged 16 and above, who can now change their gender marker without a statement from a doctor or psychologist.
Under the new process individuals will be given four weeks to cancel a change in legal gender before it becomes permanent.
LGBT+ groups said that they were “pleased with the abolition of the expert statement,” but argued that the new measures are not far-reaching enough.
Transgender Network Netherlands, COC and NNID released a joint statement which read: “This proposal does not provide any relief to intersex people and violates the right to self-determination of transgender children.”
Intersex and non-binary people in the Netherlands can apply for the gender marker X, but must do so through the courts without any guarantees. Dekker indicated that this process may also be made simpler.
Which countries issue gender-neutral passports?Leonne Zeegers became the first Dutch person to receive a gender-neutral passport in October 2018, following a two-year legal battle.
Australia, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and Pakistan, India, Ireland and Nepal have also introduced (or are introducing) a gender-neutral passport, alongside a handful of US states.
In June 2018 Christie Elan-Cane lost a high court challenge which called on the British government to adopt an X marker.
Written by: Reiss Smith. 11 April 2019. Current Affairs. Pinknews.co.uk
Musician Taylor Swift has made a big donation to an LGBTQ organization in the state where she lives to fight what she called a “slate of hate.”
Swift cut a check for $113,000 to the Tennessee Equality Project to fight several anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced in the state, including a bill that would allow adoption agencies to refuse LGBTQ parents, a bill that would ban transgender people from using the correct locker room, and a bill that bans marriage equality in an attempt to get the Supreme Court to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges.
“I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the ‘Slate of Hate’ in our state legislature,” Swift wrote in a letter, referring to over 100 religious leaders who signed a statement opposing the bills.
“I’m so grateful that [the faith leaders are] giving all people a place to worship.”
The executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, Chris Sanders, said the group was “honored and grateful” for the donation.
“She sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people, including religious leaders, who are speaking out for love in the face of fear,” he said in a statement.
“Taylor Swift has been a long-time ally to the LGBTQ community.”
Written by: Alex Bollinger. 09 April 2019. USA. Lgbtqnation.com
On Wednesday (3 April), Brunei introduced harsh sharia law which punishes homosexual sex with death by stoning.
The news caused international backlash, including from high-profile celebrities like George Clooney, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres. The United Nations also pleaded to halt the ‘cruel and inhuman’ new code.
People then began calling for the boycott of international hotels owned by Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
It prompted the Dorchester Collection — which owns and manages each of these hotels for the Brunei Investment Agency — to release a statement on Twitter yesterday (3 April).
‘Dorchester Collection is an inclusive and diverse company and does not tolerate any form of discrimination,’ the statement read. ‘ Although we believe in open and transparent communication, we have reluctantly deactivated our hotel social pages due to the personal abuse directed at our employees for whom we have a duty of care.
‘Our corporate social media pages remain in place.
‘Dorchester Collection’s Code emphasises equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees,’ the statement read.
Social media backlashAs a result, social media pages for The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London, Coworth Park in Aston, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris and the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan have all been deleted.
The Hotel Eden in Rome made its Twitter account private.
Many social media users began reacting negatively to the social media statement.
One person replied: ‘Equality, respect and integrity in all areas of your operation? Including where your profits are going?’
Another responded: ‘How can you say you don’t tolerate any form of discrimination when your owner murders gay people by stoning? Is it fine for Brunei but not for the UK?’
Then another tweeted: ‘Sadly your owners don’t agree with that statement.’
Background of BruneiRulers of Brunei have long enforced strictly traditional interpretations of Islamic teachings. The country, in Southeast Asia, operates under an absolute monarchy.
In other words, the head of state, the Sultan of Brunei, is also head of government. Royalty and lawmaking are one and the same.
For example, under the current 51-year-long monarch Hassanal Bolkiah, the country banned alcohol and forbade the proliferation of non-Islamic faiths.
Written by: James Beasnvalle. 04 April 2019. Gaystarnews.net
Everyone knows that Utah is one of the most politically conservative states in the union, but it’s apparently so conservative that it actually had a 1973 fornication law punishing sex outside of marriage as a class B misdemeanor with up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.
This last week, the state finally repealed that law. But surprisingly, six other states have laws forbidding sex outside of marriage including Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and even Washington D.C. According to civil rights attorney Brian Barnard, all 50 U.S. states had anti-fornication laws on the books back in 1971, but it’s unclear if this is accurate.
What’s especially weird about these laws (apart from being Puritanical and sex-phobic AF) is that they explicitly punish sexual encounters between consenting adults.
Utah Republican Representative Paul Ray called the 1973 law “unenforceable,” and other legislators considered it one of many laughable old-timey laws that had been kept on the books purely for “morality’s sake” (ie. because some conservative Mormons wanted it.)
And yet, in 1990, the Salt Lake County Attorney used the law to press charges against a Murray, Utah high school teacher for having sex with two music students. The charges were later dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to two counts of sexual abuse of a child.
Along with this law, Utah lawmakers also recently voted to repeal similar statutes against adultery and sodomy, according to the Associated Press.
In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court banned sodomy laws nationwide, criminalizing sex between consenting same-sex adults. But despite this ruling, 16 U.S. states still have anti-sodomy laws still on their books: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
Some people arrested for sodomy remain in prison even though it’s no longer illegal.
Written by: Daniel Villareal. 01April 2019. Querrty.com
Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló has announced he will issue an executive order banning “ex-gay” conversion therapy for minors in the Commonwealth.
Rosselló told reporters that the discredited attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity have “zero scientific bases and causes significant damage.” He did not give a timeline for when he would issue the order.
“As a father, as a scientist and as the governor for everyone in Puerto Rico, I firmly believe that the idea that there are people in our society who need treatment because of their gender identity or whom they love is not only absurd, it is harmful to so many children and young adults who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” Rosselló said in a press release.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz echoed Rosselló’s concerns on social media the next day, tweeting, “Conversion therapies are inhumane and intend to strip the human being of their dignity. Love is love. It is a simple concept. Our countrymen from the LGBTT community love, period. And love will always, always win over hate: Always.”
Bans on the psychologically harmful pseudoscience are rapidly gaining steam across the nation.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have already banned the practice.
Written by: Bil Browning. 22 March 2019. lgbtqnation.com