LGBTQ students are being harassed, assualted and discriminated against in Louisiana schools, according to a new report by an LGBTQ-rights advocacy group.
GLSEN (formerly the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) conducted a national survey that included about 300 LGBTQ students in Louisiana. The majority of those students reported that within the past year they had been harassed based on their sexual orientation or gender expression. Nearly 1 in 5 reported being physically assaulted.
Survey Results of Louisiana Students
Rates of harassment and assault were higher in Louisiana than in the nation at large. Most Louisiana students also reported discrimination by school staff.
GLSEN recommends Louisiana schools provide professional development for educators on LGBTQ issues, and stronger anti-bullying policies with specific protections for LGBTQ students.
Written by: Jess Clark. 09 January 2019. Education Desk. WWNO.com
A Canadian tech company Netsweeper is coming under fire for allegedly providing filtering software that censors LGBT content to anti-LGBT governments.
Both All Out and R3D have joined forces to bring this issue to light. The two organizations are asking the Canadian company to stop providing the filters to homophobic governments. The broader issue is they want the company to ensure clients are not using the technology to violate human rights.
Activists have started an online petition to end all censorship against LGBT individuals. They have also reached out to the Canadian government which is now reviewing their recommendations.
‘Helping countries like the UAE censor LGBTI content online, including life-saving information on HIV prevention, is a gross violation of international human rights guidelines,’ Senior Campaigns Manager at All Out Yuri Guaiana told Gay Star News.
‘We are glad the Canadian government agreed to review our recommendation that any additional financial support to Netsweeper will be made conditional on their commitment to human rights.’
Guaiana furthermore said that more than 27,000 people have signed the petition so far. They are asking Netsweeper to stop providing these filters censoring content identified as ‘Alternative Lifestyles’.
‘We’ll keep demanding that,’ Guaiana also added.
This is not the first time that Netsweeper has faced criticism.
Just last year Citizen Lab and security and human rights research group released a report on the use of Netsweeper in at least 10 countries, most cited for systematic human right problems. The group analyzed the countries of Afghanistan, Bahrain, India, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, UAE, and Yemen.
‘Netsweeper’s services can easily be abused to help facilitate draconian controls on the public sphere by stifling access to information and freedom of expression,’ said Ronald Deibert, who runs Citizen Lab.
The detailed reports how the software works, in effect the software blocks Google searches for the LGBT-related keywords and non-pornographic websites by mischaracterizing them as sexually explicit.
Squirrel News has reached out to Netsweeper for comment but has not received a response.
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a group of Christians who sued a Texas library for having drag queens read stories to children.
Three Christian activists filed a lawsuit against two public library directors in Houston for hosting events from the Drag Queen Story Hour initiative.
The nonprofit Drag Queen Story Hour or Story Time series gets drag queens to read to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores throughout America.
The plaintiffs argued that public taxes should not be used to fund events ‘brainwashing the children of Houston’, Courthouse News reported.
However, the judge said that they had failed to prove that the events had caused any harm or misappropriation of public funds.
The Christian group, Christ Followers, took the case to court in October 2018 after an online petition and a protest were unsuccessful in deterring the library from hosting the events.
U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal on Thursday (3 January) dismissed the case for having a lack of standing and a failure to state a viable First Amendment Establishment Clause claim.
Rosenthal said that the men could not prove that the story hour events had caused any harm, as they were unclear if they had even attended any of the events.
‘The plaintiffs assert the very opposite: they purposefully avoided “Drag Queen Storytime” because of its alleged immorality and potential to harm their children,’ Rosenthal wrote in the 18-page order. ‘Instead of witnessing the event, the plaintiffs “researched [it] online”.’
The group has a history of anti-LGBTI beliefs.
‘The plaintiffs believe that LGBTQ ideology is immoral, obscene and subversive to human flourishing and that the LGBTQ ideology is inseparably linked to the religion of Secular Humanism,’ it stated in their lawsuit.
One of the group’s members, Chris Sevier, filed a similar lawsuit against a Louisiana library in September 2018.
Sevier had also previously filed a lawsuit to be able to marry his laptop as a form of protest against same-sex marriage.
Not their first storytime
Drag Queen Story Hour was started by RADAR Productions in San Francisco and has become a popular feature throughout America over the past two years.
However, the initiative has prompted a backlash from conservative and religious groups.
Right-wing Infowars host, Alex Jones, has railed against Drag Queen Story Hour, describing the events as a ‘societal wrecking ball’ and comparing the drag queens to demons.
Several Christian activists have attempted to interrupt events in the past.
In November last year, a woman interrupted a session being held in a private bookstore by shouting about a ‘homosexual agenda’ before being escorted out by police.
In June, Dave Grisham, an evangelical pastor in Alaska, videoed himself attempting to interrupt a drag queen children’s story time taking place in a public library.
He was instantly booed by the crowd and ushered out in under a minute.
Written by: Calum Stuart. 5 January 2019. Gaystarnews.com
Returning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to pass the Equality Act Law, which would pan anti-LGBT discrimination across the United States.
This past Thursday a record number of openly gay, lesbian and bisexual lawmakers were sworn in, and the Democratic leader told Congress that, “We will make America fairer by passing the Equality Act to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community,” according to the Washington Blade.
Chad Griffin president of the Human Rights Campaign said: “Now is the time to move equality forward by advancing the Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans are able to go to go to work, raise their families, and live their lives free from discrimination.
“Far too many LGBTQ people face unfair and unjust discrimination each and every day with only a patchwork of protections across the country.”
“We are thankful for Speaker Pelosi reaffirming her commitment to advance this critically important legislation and seize this historic moment to make full federal LGBTQ equality a reality,” he added.
Currently, there are no laws on the federal level that protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the US.
This means that it is legal to fire people for being gay in dozens of states due to uneven state-level protections.
The Equality Act bill faces a smooth path in the House, where the Democrats have a majority but may struggle to get through the Republican-controlled Senate.
On his first day in office, Brazil’s President signed an executive order removing all LGBTQ issues from consideration in his human rights ministry.
The “proud homophobe” said previously that he’d rather have a “dead son rather than a gay son” and parents should beat their children if they think or suspect they are gay.
But the executive is a direct blow to the LGBTQ community, putting many at risk, especially when Brazil and the world are deeply divided.
In her first public statement as minister of Bolsonaro’s new human rights ministry, Damares Alves, a former evangelical pastor, said: “The state is lay, but this minister is terribly Christian.”
“Girls will be princesses and boys will be princes. There will be no more ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil.”
In anticipation of the possible erosion of LGBTQ rights, many same-sex couples rushed to get married before Bolsonaro took office, worrying that he may reverse the country’s 2013 marriage equality law.
“The human rights ministry discussed our concerns at a body called secretariat of promotion and defense of human rights,” LGBTQ activist Symmy Larrat told the AP.
“That body just disappeared, just like that. We don’t see any signs there will be any other government infrastructure to handle LGBT issues.”
Both Donald Trump and the US’ United Nations Ambassador, Nikki Haley, tweeted messages of support to Bolsonaro after he was sworn into office.
Trump wrote that “the U.S.A. is with you!”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said the president is confident the new relationship between the two countries “will benefit the world and the set of shared values that we believe we can together advance.”
Germany has become another country that legally recognizes intersex and gender non-conforming people. Now those who do not identify as male or female can now register as ‘diverse’ on official government documents.
The new law which was approved by Germany’s parliament in December went into effect on Tuesday, January 1. Individuals wanting to register as intersex must have a certificate of approval form a doctor.
Critics claim that the new law does not do enough to recognize rights of intersex and/or gender non-conforming people. Since 2013, people who did not identify as either male or female could opt-out of registering their gender. But in 2017 Germany’s high court ruled that not recognizing intersex people denied their basic rights to a gender.
The UN estimates that between 0.5% to 1.7% of the global population are born with intersex traits.
Other countries have passed similar laws.
In June, Austria’s constitutional court passed a law which recognizes the rights of intersex people.
Australia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, New Zealand, and Canada have also introduced measures to improve the rights of the intersex community.
Many progressive politicians and LGBTI rights supporters in Germany have welcomed the move.
But some equal rights activists have said the law does not go far enough with regards to recognizing the rights of the intersex community.
Those wishing to register as intersex must first undergo a medical examination and receive approval from a doctor.
Equal rights activists have said that this procedure is intrusive and in fundamental contrast with the basic rights of intersex people.
Trans rights groups have also criticized the law, which they say could make it harder for trans people to update their official documents.
Gay and lesbian couples in Brazil are rushing to marry before the nation’s new homophobic president is sworn into office, reports The New York Times.
Back in October, right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential elections. News of his victory instilled fear in the hearts of LGBTQ Brazilians, who worried what havoc “Brazil’s Donald Trump” could wreak on the South American countries already volatile political climate. To make matters worse, Bolsonaro has never been shy about broadcasting his violently anti-gay beliefs. In an interview from 2011, he told Playboy magazine that he’d rather his son “die in an accident than be gay.”
On January 1, 2019, Bolsonaro (pictured above) will be sworn into office—and gay and lesbian couples in Brazil are afraid he’ll make good on his vow to defend “the true meaning of matrimony as a union between man and woman.” (Marriage equality has been legal in Brazil since May 2013.) Countrywide, the number of same-sex weddings in Brazil surged post-election, according to The Times: In São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, 57 gay or lesbian couples tied the knot in the first 10 days of December alone. That’s compared to 113 same-sex weddings during the entire month of December in 2017.
Brazilian cake makers, wedding planners, photographer, and DJs have stepped forward to aid the cause, offering their services to gay or lesbian couples before the new year free-of-charge. Regional LGBTQ activists have also organized group weddings for same-sex couples across the country.
“We’re going to resist,” Victor Silva Paredes, a 23-year-old gay Brazilian who married his partner this month, told The Times. “We fought for these rights and we’re not going back into the closet.”
The situation is especially dire given Brazil’s staggeringly high rates of homophobic and transphobic violence: According to Grupo Gay de Bahia, a local LGBTQ advocacy group, anti-LGBTQ homocides in Brazil increased about 30% from 2016 to 2017. Just this March, Marielle Franco, an openly lesbian city councillor in Rio de Janeiro, was shot and killed. Now, LGBTQ Brazilians fear Bolsonaro’s presidency will incite a new era of bigotry—and inspire conservatives in Brazil to act on their hateful beliefs.
Written by: Sam Manzella. 31 December 2018. Newnownext.com
The year 2018 will no doubt go down in LGBT+ history with several landmark moments changing LGBT lives.
India’s Supreme Court repealed a British colonial era-rule criminalizing gay sex
The historic decision on September 6 not only freed the country’s 1.3 billion peopleof the threat of life in prison for consummating consensual homosexual relationships, but it also revitalized the fight for LGBT+ rights in nearby countries, such as Singapore, and further afield, like in Kenya.
The landmark decision will not overcome the stigma surrounding homosexualityovernight, and LGBT+ people continue to faces various forms of restrictions and persecutions across the world.
Yet LGBT+ rights have advanced in small and big steps in the past 365 days—and as American voters elected the largest-yet contingent of LGBT+ lawmakers in the midterm elections this year, there are reasons to hope for more steps to come in 2019.
Here are the landmark moments of 2018 worth celebrating and remembering.
LGBT+ history in communities: new and first points of pride
Pride parades have colored new parts of the world in 2018, starting in Myanmar in January, when the country saw thousands of people attending its first-ever public LGBT+ festival.
Over the course of the year, the rainbow community claimed rights and visibility from the glaciers in Antarctica to the Caribbean shores of Barbados and Guyana.
In New Zealand, pride festivities this year were particularly eventful. Auckland Pride march saw for the first time the participation of the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, and was also the first pride parade in the country to feature the same-sex wedding of a lesbian couple.
More community-specific parades have also emerged. Trans rights supporters marched for the first time in the streets of Belfast in Northern Ireland in June and Dublin in the Republic of Ireland in July.
Those who identify as bisexual and their allies instead held a pride march in Los Angeles in September in what is believed to be the first-ever city-wide Bi Pride in the US.
LGBT+ history for trans representation: Awarded at lastWhile the UK was engulfed in a debate around self-identification of transgender people for most of the year as part of a public government consultation on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, similar reforms were approved in Uruguay and in Chile.
The year opened and closed with landmark moments for the transgender community working in the entertainment industry. In January, Yance Ford became the first transgender director to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.
Ford did not ultimately win the honour, but the Oscars still represented a landmark moment for transgender representation when Chilean actress Daniela Vega became the first transgender person to present an award at the ceremony and the movie she starred in, A Fantastic Woman, also won the prize for Best Foreign Film.
In December, the Miss Universe beauty pageant featured a transgender woman as one of the contestants for the first time—beauty queen Angela Ponce, who already made history in her native Spain by winning the national title in July.
In Pakistan, a country where the transgender community faces prejudice and violence, there were particular milestones to celebrate with regards to their presence in the workforce. A TV channel appointed a transgender newsreader for the first time, while the government hired its first-ever openly transgender employee.
LGBT+ history in Parenthood: A global fight for rightsThe legal and societal recognition of LGBT+ families is yet another goal on the path to full equality. In Croatia, a book celebrating and normalizing parents of the same gender proved a success, selling out its first 500 copies upon launch.
In various countries where a legal vacuum on IVF and surrogacy for LGBT+ people persists, it has become the role of the courts or local authorities to make landmark rulings in the best interests of the child.
This was the case in Italy, where a lesbian couple convinced local authorities to recognise their child, born out of IVF, as officially having two mothers.
In Israel, where the exclusion of gay parents from a reform of surrogacy law sparked a nationwide strike this summer and inspired an activist to launch the country’s first LGBT+ party, a court agreed with a gay couple that allowing only one of the adoptive parents’ names on the child’s birth certificate was a discriminatory practice.
LGBT+ history in the Royal family: Not that kind of wedding
This year the British royal family significantly grew in size.
A third royal baby was born, Prince Harry got hitched and Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin to the Queen and the great-nephew of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who came out as gay in 2016, wedded his long-term partner James Coyle.
While no member of the royal family attended the wedding, his ex-wife Penelope Thompson walked by his side to give him away at the altar.
Queen Elizabeth II appeared to celebrate Pride month by flaunting a rainbow flower decoration on her hat to Royal Ascot—earlier that month, she had also made her first appearance with the first-ever openly gay footman to serve the monarch.
Ollie Roberts, a 21-year-old who has previously served in the Royal Air Force, was appointed to the role of personal footman to the monarch in June. He reportedly quit his job after being demoted from his position because of “courting publicity” a few months later.
LGBT+ history in sports: No kicking around
Sports remains a largely hostile environment for LGBT+ people to thrive in their authentic selfs. Two leading footballers playing in the British Premier League, Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín and Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud have both said as much about football in recent interviews this year.
This is why is all the more remarkable that football player Collin Martin, who plays for Minnesota United in the MLS, decided to come out as gay this year posting a picture of himself wrapped in a rainbow flag. Martin is now the only out gay football player in a top professional soccer league.
In other sports, LGBT+ athletes have been able to show their excellency. On the sparkling surface of the ice rink, American figure skater’s Adam Rippon shined brightest, becoming the first openly gay man to qualify for the Olympics.
Rippon’s fellow Team USA athlete Gus Kenworthy, who came out in 2015 and competed in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as an out gay man, made television history when he kissed his boyfriend live on NBC’s international broadcast.
Even in the fighting sports, LGBT+ athletes have pulled all the right punches. Pat Manuel became the first transgender man to fight and win at a professional level in US boxing and WWE’s first openly lesbian wrestler Sonya Deville—real name Daria Berenato—competed in the first-ever WrestleMania women’s battle royal at the event.
In more strides for LGBT+ history in sports, assistant philosophy professor Rachel McKinnon won gold in the sprint at the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships, becoming the first transgender woman to win a world championship in cycling.
Traditional gender roles have been subverted in cheerleading, too, with male cheerleaders performing in the National Football League (NFL) for the first time this year.
The NFL also recorded a landmark moment when it joined the Major League Basketball to march at the New York Pride for the first time.
In yet another first, 59-year-old retired Dallas Cowboys player Jeff Rohrer became the first gay NFL player to marry a man when he tied the knot with his fiancé Joshua Ross in November.
Here’s to more progress in 2019.
Written By: Sofia Lotto Persio. 25 December 2018. Pinknews.com
Brigitte Macron, the wife of French president Emmanuel Macron, has come under fire for posing in a photo.
The French First Lady posed for a photo with Marcel Campion at the Tuileries Christmas market in Paris.
Campion is a French businessman who made his fortune in the funfair of Paris. He’s affectionately known as the ‘king of funfairs’ and owns the ferris wheel of Paris.
But back in September, video emerged of Campion calling city officials ‘gay perverts’. He believes the city officials are trying to push his funfair out of the city.
He also said at the time: ‘I don’t have anything against gays. Except those ones who are a bit perverted.’
As a result of his comments, he resigned.
He said in a written statement: ‘In order not to harm my family or my profession, I decided to stop my personal activities and also to resign from my activities in the association of the Festive World,’ according to L’express.
He then added: ‘The course of my life proves that I am not homophobic and I reiterate my apologies to the people that it could have hurt.’
Brigitte Macron under fire
So when Brigitte Macron visited the funfair this weekend with her grandchildren, she posed in a photo with Campion.
News organization Le Parisien posted the photo to Twitter on Monday (24 December).
It caused a stir online, with LGBTI questioning why the First Lady is posing with a man who has made homophobic comments.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘So Brigitte Macron the “first lady of France” ostentatiously appears with Marcel Campion , who speaks of homosexuals as “fags” “perverse” that must be saved from AIDS… shame on her!’
Another tweeted: ‘Absolute shame. Unworthy of a First Lady.’
It is believed Brigitte Macron spoke to Campion about how much she disapproved of his homophobic comments.
The controversy comes about after heightened political turmoil for French President Emmanuel Macron.
There are currently violent protests around France, with protestors fighting against the rising cost of living and increased fuel prices.
The French President introduced a tax, which caused diesel fuel prices to jump by 23%.
Police have arrested more than 1,700 people since the continued protests broke out at the start of this month.
Written By: James Besanvalle. 26 December 2018. Gaystarnews.com
A new ban on pornography will go into effect and will require individuals to use their ID’s to access any adult content. This past Monday the House of Commons announced that anyone using a British IP address will have to verify their age with official government documents (ID).
The Digital Economy Act 2017 will essentially block persons under the age of 18 from view all adult content online. The new law will require United Kingdom users to provide certain information from their credit card, driver’s license or a page age verification card.
The Act was delayed for a year so that the British Board of Film Classification could work out how to implement the new rules.
Porn sites that don’t adhere to the new rule could be fined £250,000 or have their site blocked from certain internet providers.
Stuart Lawley, CEO of AVSecure an age verification service confirmed the changes will go into effect around April 2019.
“The BBFC will look at the methods age verification systems use to verify people are 18, so for instance, a name and address wouldn’t be enough—but a scan of a driving license or a credit card and CVV number would be OK.”
Don’t feel left out!
Just last month Starbucks announced that it will begin blocking pornography at all of its U.S. locations. Starbucks will use a censor filter on its WiFi access and customers will not be able to access any adult content.
This past month Tumblr announced that it will no longer allow adult content after their filters failed to catch and delete child pornography. The new ban went into effect December 17thand users have left Tumblr in protest.
At Notre Dame University male students started a petition to create a porn filter for the entire campus. Harvard, Princeton, and UPenn are looking at blocking porn as well on their campuses.
It appears that internet censorship is taking hold in several counties. This might be a long and drawn out fight.