The U.S. Department of Justice recently named a new director for the Office of Public Affairs. Kerri Kupec was named to basically be their spokesperson, and she just happened to work for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a LGBTQ hate group.
ADF is a legal group designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). It regularly takes on court cases representing clients who discriminate against LGBTQ folks. The ADF supports the criminalization of sodomy, Russia’s “gay propaganda” law and the right to fire or refuse service to LGBTQ people.
The ADF has asked the Supreme Court to hear two cases that just might roll back LGBTQ rights.
Kupec’s appointment wouldn’t be so concerning except for the fact that it continues the Trump Administration’s habit of advancing anti-LGBTQ bigotry in its ranks.
In May 2018, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), another SPLC certified hate group, was appointed onto the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal commission “dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.”
In July 2018, the Trump administration held a U.S. Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom led by the Secretary of State. During the ministerial meeting, Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, announced that African laws criminalizing LGBTQ identity are a form of “religious freedom.”
In January 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced its new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which exists almost entirely to allow medical professionals to oppose abortion and discriminate against LGBTQ people.
These moves are largely bits of red meat that Trump throws to his religious conservative base. Remember, 81% of evangelical voters voted for Trump in 2016.
There is trash, then there is Bryan Eure and Bill White. Two rich Manhattanites who support Trump even in spite of his anti-transgender policies, and on top of that Eure thinks being âtransgender is gross.â
The commercial insurance broker, who was just featured in The New York Times as a gay Trump fan, reportedly made a now-deleted transphobic comment in an Instagram reply to drag queen and activist Marti Gould Cummings.
In his comment, Cummings critiqued Eureâs support for No. 45. âThis is shameful and disgusting,â he wrote. âChelsea didnât wave at you, Hillary didnât take a photo so you jump ship â¦ The incredible privilege you have showâs in this article. You could be using your wealth to help transgender people [whom] Trump is actively discriminating against or you could use it to help families seeking asylum. You are both gross.â
And thatâs when Eure apparently replied with those three hateful words.
Captioning a screenshot of the exchange, Cummings wrote, âHey @euregram you can delete your reply but just to remind people that you posted it â here ya go.â
The Times profiled Eure and his husband, Bill White, as a âliberal coupleâ who became âtwo of New Yorkâs biggest Trump supporters.â The duo, who once hosted a fundraiser for former President Obama and supported Hillary Clinton in the last election, told the newspaper they turned coat on Election Night. With Americaâs decision made, they contended, it was time to âget behindâ the new President. (Never mind that popular vote!)
In the hours since the profile went live, social media users havenât minced their words about Eure and White.
Even New York Times opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg trashed the couple in an op-ed for the newspaper, calling the two menâs support for the current president âshameless, unvarnished thirst.â
âTrump is hardly the first politician to attract self-serving followers,â Goldberg added. âBut Trump is unique as a magnet for grifters, climbers and self-promoters, in part because decent people wonât associate with him.â
Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez was looking for a better life when she came to America seeking asylum. She was fleeing brutality in her native Honduras but died at the hands of the for-profit prison industry who held her captive since her arrival.
She was being held in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in New Mexico operated by the second-largest private prison company in the United States, CoreCivic.
“Trans people in my neighborhood are killed and chopped into pieces, then dumped inside potato bags,” Hernández Rodriguez said in an interview with Buzzfeed Newsa month before her death. “I didn’t want to come to Mexico—I wanted to stay in Honduras but I couldn’t… They kill trans people in Honduras. I’m scared of that.”
Hernández Rodriguez told the outlet that she was gang raped by four members of the gang MS-13 and contracted HIV during the attack.
“She journeyed thousands of miles fleeing persecution and torture at home only to be met with neglect and torture in this country’s for-profit human cages,” Andrew Free, an attorney representing her family, told The Daily Beast.
Autopsy results have shown that Hernández Rodriguez died of severe untreated dehydration and was beaten before she passed.
When she was hospitalized, she was admitted with “symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration and complications associated with HIV” according to ICE. A spokesperson said that “comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay.”
“[S]he developed severe diarrhea and vomiting over the course of several days,” forensic pathologist Kris Sperry wrote in the autopsy report, “and finally was emergently hospitalized, then transported to Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she remained critically ill until her death.”
“According to observations of other detainees who were with Ms. Hernández Rodriguez, the diarrhea and vomiting episodes persisted over multiple days with no medical evaluation or treatment, until she was gravely ill.”
The autopsy also found signs that Hernández Rodriguez had been beaten while in custody.
“Deep bruising” was found on her hands and abdomen “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with blunt object.” An accompanying diagram showed several thin long bruises along Hernández Rodriguez’s back and sides as if she was hit with a baton.
She also had “extensive hemorrhaging” on her wrists “typical of handcuff injuries” according to the report.
Hernández Rodriguez traveled over 2000 miles to America over six weeks seeking asylum and safety. She was taken into immediate custody when she arrived at the border.
Less than three weeks after surviving the journey and arriving in America, she was dead.
Source: Bill Browning. LGBTQ Nation. 26 November 2018
Donald Trump and his dysfunctional administration has asked the Supreme Court directly to make a ruling on a proposed transgender military ban.
The lower district and federal courts have heard arguments to the ban, and have ruled in favor of the challenges. Because of this, the Trump administration is not able to implement the policy to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
There are several challenges in front of the courts, for example, the DC Circuit will hear arguments in December regarding the ban.
But this did not stop Solicitor General Noel Francisco from filing petitions with the Supreme Court. The petitions are asking the Court to make a ruling on the issues to three cases. If the justices take up the issues, their final ruling would decide it and remove all cases before the Federal courts system.
Typically, the Supreme Court will not take and/or hear cases that have not gone through the lower courts, but instead, consider previously issued opinions by lower court judges.
History of the ban
The proposed ban was first announced last year in July. One month later, he issued a memorandum that would end trans service that would have started at the beginning of 2018. However, there was immediate criticism against the policy and several lawsuits were filed challenging it.
To date, the first court to hear a case ruled against the policy and the judge in an opinion said that trans troops must be allowed to join. So, in March 2018 Trump issued a new policy which was a watered-down version.
The issue of the ban still remains tangled in the court system. Some trans people have been able to join the military, and others face obstacle after obstacle.
So, now Trump a petition before the Supreme Court will get the matter out of the labyrinth of the courts.
Trump vs judges
This past week Trump got into a Twitter dispute with Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts. Ranting about the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and referred to one judge as an ‘Obama judge’. Roberts, therefore, issued a shark rebuke to Trump’s comments.
‘We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,’ he said.
‘What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.’
Trump responded to Roberts’ on Twitter
A Republican state lawmaker has admitted that he wrote a manifesto for a holy war that calls for supporters of gay marriage to be murdered.
Rep. Matt Shea, a pro-Trump Republican who represents the 4th district in the Washington state House of Representatives, on Wednesday admitted that he wrote four-page document, titled the “Biblical Basis for War.”
The manifesto outlines a plan for a Christian “holy army” to conduct a biblical war against non-believers, carrying out a “census of all able bodied males” aged 18 to 45.
Those who agree “must pay share of work or taxes,” the document explains, before adding: “If they do not yield – kill all males.”
The document was published by the Spokesman-Review after being leaked by associates of Shea. It is unclear when precisely the document was penned.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told the Spokesman-Review on Wednesday that the document was “a ‘how to’ manual consistent with the ideology and operating philosophy of the Christian Identity/Aryan Nations movement.”
Knezovich was given the document in August, and “gave it straight to the FBI.”
The FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force told KHQ that the document is being reviewed.
Shea, a strong opponent of LGBT+ rights, uploaded a Facebook Live video after the Spokesman-Review broke the story, claiming the story was planted by the “Marxist and Islamic counter-states” to discredit him.
He then admitted writing the document, claiming it was “a summary of a series of sermons on biblical war in the Old Testament as part of a larger discussion on the history of warfare.”
Shea added: “This document, in and of itself, was not a secret. I’ve actually talked about portions of this document publicly.”
Shea is up for re-election in November 6’s midterms, facing Democrat Ted Cummings.
Cummings wrote on Facebook: “This man does not represent my views and I am embarrassed that he is my current representative.
“Eastern Washington is top great for fear and hate! Let’s vote this man out of office!”
His campaign added: “Matt Shea supporters want their money back, meanwhile there has been a steady stream of donations all morning to his challenger. People all across the state and nation are saying NO to hate!”
Shea has held the seat since since 2008, winning re-election every two years. The candidate did not face a Democrat opponent in 2008, 2010 or 2014.
In 2012 and 2016, the only elections where he has faced a Democratic opponent, Shea won the district with 56 percent and 64 percent of the vote respectively.
Rapper Ja Rule is being accused of transphobia after posting a photoshopped image of 50 Cent wearing make-up and a wig.
The image was posted on social media after 50 Cent bought 200 seats to Ja Rules concert, the goal was to make the venue look empty.
The two have been in a nearly 20-year feud.
He wrote in the caption: “What a show, 👏I mean just f***ing great. Do it again😆my kid went to the restroom. LOL #bellator #lecheminduroi.”
Ja Rule responded by posting three photos of 50 Cent either photoshopped as a woman or portrayed in a way that negatively suggested he had sex with trans women.
The rapper has since deleted two of the photos on Instagram, following backlash, but the image on Twitter is still online.
Ja Rule posted alongside the photoshopped image on Twitter: “This beef is a JOKE to everyone except this lil ape looking b***h… she mad mad!!! 😡😂🤣😭”
Social media users were quick to criticise Ja Rule over the images.
“So Ja Rule got back at 50 by ….. making jokes about the trans community,” one person wrote on Twitter
Anti-gay Christians are suing a Texas library over drag queens reading books to children. Christ Followers argue that taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund the Dray Queen Story Time at the Freed-Montorse Neighborhood library in Houston.
The group believes it’s unfair because the library will not permit ‘man-woman marriage storytelling hour’ as reported by the Houston Chronicle.
RADAR Productions has been staging the Drag Queen Story Hour at the library for two years now.
But listed as defendants for the lawsuit are the library director and Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The group filed the lawsuit against the Texas library on Friday (19 October), when they also rallied outside the federal courthouse.
Christ Followers also opposed marriage equality, as well as motions to lift bans on trans people using gendered bathrooms they self-identify with.
One of the members of the group is anti-gay activist Chris Sevier. He tried to do the exact same thing at a Louisiana library last month too.
Sevier previously also filed a lawsuit to be able to marry his laptop. His logic is that same-sex marriage is as unnatural as marrying a machine or an animal.
He’s previously said: ‘The state is not doing anyone any favors by encouraging people to live that [gay] lifestyle.’
Sevier also previously co-wrote a bill in South Carolina calling for all same-sex marriages to become ‘parody marriages’.
He claims LGBTI people are all members of a secret shadow religion – Secular Humanism.
Five men have settled with the city of San Jose who were discriminated against when police arrested them in targeted undercover sting operations.
The City Council approved a $125,000 payment to each of the men to avoid a federal lawsuit filed in November 2017. Between 2014 and 2015 undercover police arrested six men on misdemeanor lewd-conduct charges at Columbus Park.
However, a judge dismissed the charges against all the men after determining the police had violated their equal protection rights by selectively discriminating the men involved. Five of the men filed a federal lawsuit last year.
Bruce Nickerson, who is an LGBT rights attorney who said he as “extraordinarily pleased” with the settlement and praised the City Attorney’s Office and the police department for their quick response to the lawsuit.
“I want to give them full credit for their response,” Nickerson said. “They were good faith personified.”
As part of the settlement, the city must abide by several conditions.
The Mercury News reports:
Under the settlement, the city must also meet a Nov. 12 deadline to provide Nickerson with a five-year list of “individuals other than the Plaintiffs, who were arrested by the San Jose Police Department, pursuant to ‘sting” (undercover) operations” that lead to similar charges as the plaintiffs. The city is also required to cooperate with Nickerson’s request with the Santa Clara County Superior Court “to discover information about factually similar arrests by the SJPD during the last five years.”
“They’re going to continue to search the database for past cases and clients who would have been class members,” he said. “We may be able to resurrect those cases.”
C-SPAN callers wasted no time in tearing about Christian hate group leader Tony Perkins live on television. Perkins is the leader of the Family Research Council, an extreme far-right group that portrays itself as a Christian charity.
One caller took Perkins to task for abandoning Christian values and principles such as love and helping others all to become a “worshipper of Trump.” Another caller wanted to know how they could support a person accused of adultery and sexual assault.
“I was an evangelical Christian,” Steve, a caller from North Carolina said. “But I gave that up. I went back to being a true Christian.”
“A true Christian follows the teachings of Jesus,” he continued. “Evangelicals have become paranoid, white Christians losing their country to minorities. They have only one goal and that is to keep America white and Christian. And that’s exactly opposite of what Christianity is. Christianity is about love and helping others and taking care of others.”
“The paranoid white Christians have now become worshippers of Donald Trump. They follow all of these false prophets out there living in $16 million houses, flying around in $10 million jets. They need to wake up. Jesus is love, not hate.”
Perkins wasted no time is hitting back saying: “I know we want to describe Jesus as all love,” the evangelical leader opined. “He is love, but he’s truth. And we cannot sacrifice his truth because if we do that, we’ll never experience his love.”
To make matters worse Perkins defended his support of our less-than-Christ-like President by stating Clinton’s policies are not Christian enough for their liking. “The choice was between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” Perkins replied. “Hillary Clinton openly supported policies that were antithetical to Christian beliefs. What were we to do?”
“Between that and Hillary Clinton, it is no-brainer,” Perkins added. “We supported him. We said we said we’re going to give you a chance. We don’t agree with what you [did] in the past. We think your lifestyle is anathema when it comes to the standards and values we embrace, but here is the choice. We gave him an opportunity, and he has not disappointed us.”
The support of Trump is solely based on the evangelical wish list and since Trump has checked most of the boxes that they demanded for their support. For example, he has placed far-right appointees to the Federal bench, attacked LGBT people and dismantled several civil rights protections.
Commentary - Hassan Shibly
Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson robbed, pistol-whipped, tortured, and left Matthew Shepard to die on a wooden ranch fence in Laramie, Wyo. A cyclist passing by — who first mistook Shepard for a scarecrow — discovered him in a coma 18 hours after the attack. Twenty years ago yesterday, Matthew Shepard died.
The murder of Matthew Shepard didn’t happen in a vacuum. McKinney and Henderson grew up in a culture permeated with hate crimes targeting minorities. Crimes motivated by bias don’t just affect the victims, but everyone who shares their identity. Minority groups must contend not only with finding their place in a society that looks, believes, and prays differently from them but also with the lingering threat of violence in the back of their mind.
In the years since Shepard’s death though, the LGBT community has organized and made significant gains in securing legal protections. One of the most significant advances — hate crimes legislation that expanded the federal definition to include sexual orientation and gender identity — was even named after Matthew Shepard. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which I am a part of, supported the legislation that was signed into law by President Obama in 2009.
Regardless of our religious, political, ethnic, social, economic, or moral differences, we can all agree that violence expressed as a result of these differences can never be tolerated.
The law also removed a prerequisite that hate crimes related to the race, religion, or national origin involve the victim engaging in a federally protected activity like voting or going to school.
Out of a traumatic event, the movement against hate crimes achieved remarkable progress.
We’re now seeing a rise in hate again, from President Trump’s rampant Islamophobia, numerous synagogues defaced with swastikas, to white supremacists openly marching in Charlottesville are just a few examples of rising hate in our country.
But just like after Shepard’s murder, hate is not the totality of the story.
In the midst of the Trump’s administration attacks on minorities, we are currently witnessing a record number of minority candidates running for office and standing strong against hate. Over 90 Muslim-Americans are running in this election cycle. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the Democratic nominees for the House of Representatives in their respective districts, could be the first Muslim women in Congress.
These candidates proudly stand strong against hate targeting all minorities and are disturbing the cycle of hate in hopes of ensuring victims like Matthew Shepard did not lose their lives in vain. Violence against one person is violence against us all. As the Holy Quran teaches, “Whoever kills a soul, it is as though they have killed all humanity. And whoever saves a soul, it is as though they have saved all humanity.”
Our communities would rather be protagonists in the story of an inclusive America, rather than resign ourselves to live in fear of hate crimes.
We will also not be divided by politicians and pundits who seek to divide and conquer minority groups. We saw then-candidate Trump attempt to do this after the Pulse nightclub shooting. Yet what saw on the ground here in Florida is communities of all backgrounds coming together across our differences to stand united against all forms violence.
When black and brown Americans, the LGBT community, women, and religious minorities — as well as white, straight, men of goodwill — stand together for civil rights, we can’t be ignored. That’s why our opponents try so hard to divide us.
Twenty years after Matthew Shepard’s murder, my heart continues to break for victims of hate crimes. But I also know that they, along with Muslim-Americans and all others who face the brunt of white supremacy, see a better future for our country. We intend to make the founders’ commitment to equality real and are actively working across targeted communities to do just that.
Source: Shibly, Hassan. What’s Changed and What Hasn’t Since Mathew Shepard’s Murder. 13 October 2018. Advocate.