A Florida man is under arrest and two others remain at large after they allegedly kidnapped, stripped, beat, and robbed a man who had arranged a hookup with one of them on Instagram.
20-year-old Matthew Evans is charged with felony kidnapping and attempted robbery. The alleged attack happened last week near the Sebastian River Landing clubhouse in Sebastian, Florida.
According to the victim, whose identity has not been released, he had agreed to pay Evans $50 for a quickie. They arranged to meet in the club parking lot inside the gated community at 11 PM on the evening of November 18. Evans pulled up in a car and the man got in.
What happened next is truly horrifying…
Before the victim could register what was going on, Evans allegedly put him a choke hold and began shouting antigay slurs at him as a getaway driver of the car sped off down the dark street and out of the gated community.
The TCPalm reports:
They drove about a quarter-mile east and parked at San Sebastian Park, where another man with a handgun was waiting, the warrant said. Evans and the man with the gun demanded the $50 and punched the accuser in the face until he blacked out, breaking his nose and leaving him with a depression in his cheekbone, according to police. His sweatpants, cellphone and the money were gone by the time the man walked home 20 minutes later and called 911, according to a detective.
When police arrived at the victim’s home, he was in bad shape, his face swollen and bleeding.
Police were able to track Evans down through his Instagram profile. He is currently being held without bail.
The alleged gunman and the getaway driver still remain at large.
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
While Brazil is in the midst of a very contentious presidential election, there is some good coming out of the country politically. This good comes in the form of Érica Malunguinho.
Érica Malunguinho made history as the first trans woman to win a spot in state congress in São Paulo. Malunguinho was one of more than 50 trans people running for office during the 8 October election.
According to AfroPunk, the 36-year-old was raised by a single mother in a small household with her extended family. She was surrounded by a lot of African and Indigenous culture growing up. Her mom was the only educated member of the family and worked as a nurse to support everyone.
‘We all knew we were Black, but when you’re Black in Brazil, you also suffer racism within the family,’ Malunguinho told AfroPunk. ‘We were always comparing who had the widest nose, or the nappiest hair.’
Soon after finishing high school, Malunguinho moved to São Paulo and began living as a woman.
‘I was always trans. I was living a gay life and a trans life at the same time.’
Over the next decade, Malunguinho earned several degrees and was married twice. Formerly an educator, she is now working to fight Brazil’s racism in the political sphere.
In 2016, she opened Aparelha Luzia, an urban community space created for black people to celebrate their culture and heritage.
‘[Malunguinho] wanted to create a cultural space in São Paulo where black people could freely celebrate their blackness and maintain the longevity of black culture while feeling protected,’ writes Kiratiana Freelon for OkayAfrica.
‘The space hosts events almost every night of the week: intellectual get-togethers, hip-hop battle session, black kid’s playdates, everything. More than 200,000 people have passed through its doors.’
‘Malunguinho’s win is a major milestone for Brazil’s black and LGBTQ communities,’ writes Damola Durosomo for OkayAfrica. ‘Her win is seen as a source of hope for minority groups in the country who fear their rights are under threat by highly controversial candidates like Bolsonaro, who won the first round of votes on Monday and who many consider “a risk to democracy.”’
On Saturday, September 22 West Hollywood will be hosting the first Bi Pride celebration in the United States. Let fly those pink, purple and blue flags.
The Human Rights Campaign and the city of West Hollywood will be organizing the event along with the Los Angeles chapter of amBi, according to the Los Angeles Blade.
“While a small number of cities have issued proclamations recognizing Bi Visibility Day, this is a historic celebration as the first full-fledged Bi Pride celebration hosted by any U.S. city,” Ian Lawrence-Tourinho, president of the amBi network, tells the site.
amBi wants to“to build a world in which our bisexuality is a clear source of pride, joy, and strength” — according to Ian Lawrence-Tourinho.
“Ostensibly LGBT events and LGBT organizations fail time and time again to address bi issues. Just a few years ago, it was common for amBi to get booed hand heckled by gays and lesbians in the crowd as we marched in the LA Pride parade. We still get hostile people coming up to us at the festival every year,” Lawrence-Tourinho stated.
Bisexuals are often mistaken for straight or gay. “Short of carrying bi flags around all day, to be visibly bi we’d have to walk hand in hand with at least two people who aren’t the same sex,” Lawrence-Tourinho says. Furthermore, there is a common misconception that bisexuals are treated better in the Heterosexual world, but a recent study found that most will experience a “higher risk for poor mental health outcomes” than gay or straight peers.
The bi population will get their moment in the spotlight as West Hollywood gears up for the Bi-Pride event.
“This is our first crack at this and the event will certainly evolve a great deal in the future,” adds Lawrence-Tourinho, “but we definitely would like to continue every year and create a model of celebration and visibility that can be duplicated in other cities around the globe.”
Apparently, a gay pop singer from German jumped to his death from a cruise ship over the weekend.
Küblböck was a gay German pop singer and reality star. He appeared on Pop Idol (coming in third), and competed on Big Brother and Let’s Dance.
The 33-year old was cruising on an Aida cruise ship from Hamburg to New York when a witness says he saw Küblböck jump from a fifth-floor balcony while off the coast of Newfoundland on Sunday.
A spokesman for Aida Cruises confirmed the incident happened and the ship returned to land afterward:
“The cruise ship AIDAuna was on the sea route to Newfoundland when a person jumped overboard in the early hours of September 9, 2018. The captain and crew of AIDAluna have immediately taken all necessary reuse measures, in close coordination with local competent authorities. A cabin check was performed, which confirmed that a male guest was missing. The mission person is Daniel Küblböck. The ship was stopped as a precautionary measure and returned to the spot where the incident was accepted. The search continues. AIDA Cruises fully cooperates with the authorities and works hard to find the mission person. As soon as further information is available, we will make it available.”
The Canadian coast guard conducted an intensive search for Küblböck but was unable to locate him. It was just last month that Küblböck posted a message to fans on Facebook talking about his struggles with mental illness.
“Dear fans, unfortunately, I am still mentally and physically not getting better,” the letter, which has since been deleted read. “I have yet to cope with this pain of the last few months.”
The post has since been taken down.
For years users on Scruff were required to list the color of their skin on their profile, which allowed for race-based filtering Scruff is now making the “ethnicity” field optional.
It appears this was a sudden change, why?
Eric Sliverberg, Scruff co-found and CEO now wants to do its part to end global racism. The app currently has over 12 million users in 180 countries.
“We recognize that the queer community of color faces discrimination and racism as part of their regular lives,” Silverberg says. “It is why Scruff is the only platform that vigorously enforces its community guidelines to ensure that harassment, racism, and abuse doesn’t happen, and if it does it is dealt with swiftly.”
We have to refute the claim that Scruff is the “only” app to “vigorously” combat racism and abuse. Chappy and Jack’d have been doing this for some time and Scruff is late to the party.
Silverberg adds that “what people are comfortable sharing changes, both as you use the app more and as social and cultural expectations evolve.”
To be honest this is quite a turnaround from what he told Buzzfeed in 2016 when Sliverberg tried to defend the app’s ethnicity filters, saying:
“Ultimately we wanted to build an app and a service that enables guys to find the kind of guys they’re into and for some people that include… That can mean many things to different people. Sometimes they have ethnic preferences, sometimes they have height/weight preferences, and sometimes people have body hair preferences.”
It’s only natural that people change, right?
This comes on the heels of Grindr announcement that it will be launching “kindr”, an initiative to combat racism, transphobia, and body-shaming (good luck on that one).
“Our upcoming ‘Kindr’ initiative, which is built around education, awareness and specific policy changes in the Grindr app, will serve as the first step of many Grindr will be taking to help foster a more inclusive and respectful community on our platform,” the hookup app said in a statement last month.
Silverberg was asked to comment about Kindr and told the Advocate: “Scruff has always had zero tolerance for abuse on its app, and diligently removes these kinds of accounts to create a safe platform for its users.”
To be honest it good to see popular hookup apps finally acknowledging and coming to terms that racism exists within the LGBTQ community and admitting that they might have some reasonability for some of it.
So, the question remains that after years of promoting sexual racism, would merely getting rid of one filter be enough? We will have to wait and see.
Chris Watts appears to have a gay lover or at least according to a man who says he engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship with Watt’s for nearly a year.
Watts was charged with murdering his pregnant wife and two kids in Frederick, Colorado.
He buried his wife’s body in a shallow grave at his former boss’s yard, and his two daughter’s bodies were discovered submerged in crude oil drums nearby.
Watts managed to play the victim and made public pleas for the return of his family. He told police he killed his wife after she strangled their daughter because he told her he wanted a divorce.
He claims that they met on MeetMe a dating app and soon began an “instant” sexual relationship. “He reached out to me and messaged me,” the man alleged in the interview. “It was small talk. He told me his age. He had two daughters. He told me he was looking for a relationship in the long run.”
“I asked why his profile said straight. He said he was not out and not ready to be out as far as sexuality.”
Watts’s and this man maintained a relationship for approximately 10 months. “We had many conversations,” he said. “I asked him to make sure he’s not bisexual because he had two children. He told me he didn’t know.”
“At that moment he was attracted to me as a male.”
The unidentified man explained that in the beginning, Watt’s lied and claimed he was single. As the relationship progressed he admitted he was married, but that he and his wife “didn’t have sex anymore.”
“I asked why he lied to me. He told me he knew he wouldn’t have a chance with me if he told me he was married. He told me what I wanted to hear. He knew I had good morals.”
The man further stated that Watts explained that his wife was an abusive partner and their marriage was miserable.
“He told me his wife was verbally and emotionally abusive,” he alleges. “He told me he didn’t love her. She didn’t love him. I knew something was wrong at home. If nothing was wrong, he wouldn’t have pursued me.”
“I could see in his eyes he was very unhappy.”
When asked if he thought Chris had committed the crime, he responded, “no and yes.”
“You never really know what someone is capable of and the way he portrayed himself as the victim and made me feel sympathy for him,” he said. “Sociopath’s can easily lead to different lives and different emotions.”
“I hope he gets convicted and I hope he stays in prison for the rest of his life.”
A former Napa County jailhouse guard has claimed he was driven out of his job and ended up in a mental hospital after relentless anti-gay harassment from colleagues and supervisors. Now here’s the deal, he isn’t gay.
41-year-old Dante Michelucci was a correctional officer for Napa County from 2007 until April 2018. Despite being married and straight, he claims that he was the target of homophobic abuse from his colleagues.
It started just over a year ago when his coworkers “decided he was gay” and then started using anti-gay slurs.
The alleged harassment escalated over the months. Michelucci’s locker was “littered” with photoshopped pictures of him at Pride parades, and frequently asked how many blowjobs he had performed that day.
When he reported the abuse to supervisors, the lawsuit states, “he was labeled a snitch, and his coffee cup (was) spit into.” He was also “mocked” for complaining about being bullied and told the harassment was a sign that his colleagues “liked him.”
“The hostile work environment became so pervasive that (Michelucci) was hospitalized” with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression, the suit continues.
Michelucci claims that he suffered from Bell’s Palsy, a temporary facial paralysis caused by trauma or damage.
“He had a breakdown,” Michelucci’s attorney, David Poore, says.
Michelucci was also placed on medical leave. He has since filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco, he is seeking punitive damages and unspecified damages.
A U.K. man is bisexual and a Muslim. Not something you hear every day, Right!
Drew Dalton is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Sunderland and the chair of Hidayah, a support organization for LGBTQ Muslims. “I always felt I stood out a little bit on the ‘gay scene’ because I was bisexual,” 38-year-old Dalton tells Gay Star News in a fascinating interview. “Add on the Islam and you’ve got a hard road ahead of you.”
At 18 he came out as bisexual and converted to Islam years later of the tragic death of his best friend. “I’d lost my best friend, I was out of depth about my place in the world. You start to question a lot more things,” he recalls. “I needed some solace, so I started to think more about Islam.”
He admits that coming out as Muslim was more difficult than coming out as bi. “I felt that I was coming out twice,” he recalls. “Islam was a lot harder for me because you kind of internalizes the Islamophobia that exists.” He continues, “When I came out [as Muslim] on social media, I started to then feel the feedback. I was getting remarks like ‘how can you support a religion which kills gay people’ all this stuff.”
People told him that he was converting to the most “hated religion,” and even deleted him from their Facebook friends list. Dalton said “suggesting a person can’t be both LGBTQ and Muslim does a “disservice” to people living at that intersection. I think there’s an issue in the LGBTI community. We’ve got so used to the narrative of religion being wrong, that it’s oppressed people… we’re trapped in that narrative now.”
Dalton worries about young LGBTQ Muslims, for example, what happens when a young Pakistani man who is raised a Muslim comes out at 18, where does he go? Does he go back to his own Pakistani community and face the cultural beliefs that it’s wrong? Or does he go to the gay community who tells him “you can’t be Muslim because it’s a religion that oppresses us”.
He believes that it is possible to be queer and Muslim, and those who suggest otherwise is speaking from pure ignorance. “You can be both and you can be very proud to be both,” he argues.
Dalton wants other within the LGBTQ community to stop isolating their counterparts and embrace them. “We’re a minority within a minority,” he says. “We really need people who aren’t a Muslim to defend us.”