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GIVEOUT AND J-FLAG LAUNCH UK FUNDRAISER FOR ‘RAINBOW HOUSE’

SUPPORT NEEDED AFTER FIRE DESTROYS JAMAICA’S LGBTQI COMMUNITY HUB GiveOut and J-FLAG, Jamaica’s leading LGBTQI human rights organisation, are fundraising in the UK to re-establish ‘Rainbow House’, the office space and LGBTQI community hub in Kingston, Jamaica that was destroyed by fire at the end of 2018. … Read the original article Author:

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Southern Poverty Law Center fires co-founder Morris Dees

The civil rights legal group Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has fired one of its founders, Morris Dees. Dees, 82, helped co-found SPLC in 1971 with Joseph J. Levin Jr. and Julian Bond. It started as a civil rights firm in Montgomery, Alabama, where it is still located today. Primarily still a litigation organization, SPLC has become known for their tracking of hate groups and Teaching Tolerance program. As it says on their website, Teaching Tolerance ‘combats prejudice among our nation’s youth while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments in the classroom’. President Richard Cohen released a statement about Dees’ exit from the group. ‘As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,’ he said. ‘When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.’ The organization gave no specific reason for Dees’ ousting. However, he told the Associated Press it was a personal issue and that he wished the SPLC luck. The SPLC website also removed Dees’ biography, according to NPR. Finally, the organization made an announcement that numerous actions are being implement to ensure ‘all voices are heard and all staff members are respected’. Past work Earlier this year, the SPLC released an alarming report showing the rise of hate groups in the United States. ...

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George and Amal Clooney are monitoring oppression of LGBTI people and more

George and Amal Clooney are setting up a new program to monitor trials and courtrooms around the world that oppress LGBTI people and other groups. According to Reuters, their Clooney Foundation for Justice is launching TrialWatch this year. The project aims to ‘monitor trials and create an index to track which countries are using courtrooms to oppress minorities and government critics’. George Clooney, 57, said courtrooms can be used to do ‘really rotten things’. TrialWatch is meant to ‘shine a light’ on what’s happening with these global trials. ‘We now have the highest number of journalists in jail in the world since records began,’ Amal Clooney said at an event in Edinburgh. Amal Clooney, 41, is an international human rights lawyer. She is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and has represented the likes of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. She said she hopes to use both her and her husband’s fame and power to do good. ‘It helps when we want to engage governments to act or business leaders,’ said the British-Lebanese lawyer. The couple, who married in 2014, founded their Clooney Foundation for Justice in 2016. It serves ‘the rights of individuals unfairly targeted by oppressive governments through the courts’. The organization’s mission statement advocates ‘advancing justice for marginalized and vulnerable communities targeted by hate; justice for displaced children deprived of opportunities to learn; justice for refugees seeking to rebuild their lives abroad’. Power of courts Courts have the ability to dictate laws in countries and legalize protections for LGBTI people ...

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Gay USC official arrested in college admissions scandal

An out lesbian athletic director at the University of Southern California has been fired for her part in the US college admissions scandal. USC fired Senior Associate Athletic Director Donna Heinel after she was indicted in federal court in Massachusetts, according to the LA Times. Heinel reportedly took more than US$1.3 million in bribes to help parents get their children into USC as ‘athletes’ if their grades were not high enough. Federal prosecutors say more than 50 people took part in the multi-million dollar scheme. It involved cheating on standardized tests and bribing college coaches and school officials to accept students as college athletes. Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among the dozens of parents facing federal charges. Staff at nine elite schools as well as exam administrators are also under investigation. Parents paid tens of thousands of dollars to get their children into elite schools. The FBI has said CEO of college admissions prep company called The Key, William Rick Singer, is behind the scheme. Donna Heinel Heinel was USC athletics’ chief administrative officer and senior women’s administrator. Heinel is married to a woman and has two young children. She is the only school administrator indicted in the nationwide probe. But, Heinel was also a prominent member of LGBT Collegiate Athletics, according to Auto Straddle. In 2017, Heinel spear-headed efforts at USC that led it receiving a perfect score from Athlete Ally for LGBTQ inclusive sport spaces. She was also credited with revitalizing the LGBT athletic committee at ...

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Man accused of murdering trans woman avoids life in prison with plea deal

A man accused of murdering a transgender woman in Fresno, California, has avoided life in prison due to a plea deal. Richard Lopez, 38, was accused of stabbing Kenton ‘KC’ Haggard, 66, in July 2015. He pleaded not guilty to first degree murder charges. On Wednesday (13 March), Lopez made a deal with prosecutors at the Fresno County Superior Court. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge. Judge Michael Idiart said because of this deal, Lopez will have to serve 23 years in prison. Under a first degree murder charge, Lopez would have had to serve at least 51 years in prison before being eligible for parole. Now, he may be eligible in 17 years. What happened to Haggard? On the night of 23 July 2015, Haggard was fatally stabbed in the neck. Someone pulled up beside her in a silver SUV and then stabbed her before driving away. Police later found her slumped against a pole. The Sacramento Bee published surveillance video of the attack. Warning: It is extremely disturbing. There were two other witnesses to the crime. One was in the SUV allegedly with Lopez, but Lopez’s lawyer, Greg Gross, said they became a witness for the prosecution. The second witness later died in a motorcycle accident. Gross confirmed why Lopez took the deal: ‘He wanted to protect himself from a life sentence.’ Reactions from LGBTI activists Kat Fobear, a board member of Trans-E-Motion, a trans advocacy group in Fresno, told the Bee: ‘The thing is, far too often ...

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Misgendering trans kids can constitute child abuse, Canadian court rules

In a landmark ruling, a Canadian court has ruled in favor of a teenager who wants to undergo gender affirmation treatment. The boy’s father had objected to hormone therapy, arguing the 14-year-old was not mature enough to make the decision. Experts said the landmark ruling affords trans kids more legal rights and protections, according to The Star Vancouver. The British Columbia Supreme Court ruling last month will impact the province’s family law. Parents will need to respect their child’s chosen gender, pronouns, and name. Trans rights lawyer Adrienne Smith told The Star misgendering could now constitute emotional abuse. What’s more, parents could, therefore, be reported to authorities. ‘Misgendering a person, using the incorrect name for them and trying to persuade them not to undertake gender-affirming care are forms of family violence, and that’s really important,’ Smith said. ‘Young trans people can take comfort that the way that they are often misgendered and deadnamed is a human rights violation and could rise to the level of being family violence.’ Health decision The Star reports that the ruling suggests transitioning is a health decision. It is not a political or moral one that a parent can stop. The boy, who The Star does not name, has lived his true gender since he was 11. He planned to start hormone therapy in the summer of last year. But, his father objected and took him to court. With the support of his mother, medical professionals, teachers, school district, and the Ministry of Education, he ...

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Elle Fanning belts out Robyn single for new teen film

Actor Elle Fanning is taking on the role of an aspiring pop star in the new film Teen Spirit — and the movie features Fanning singing the songs of many artists beloved by LGBTI people. Directed by Max Minghella, Teen Spirit tells the story of Violet Valenski (Fanning). Violet is a young, shy teen who has big dreams of escaping her small town and becoming a singer. When she stumbles across a local singing competition, an unlikely mentor comes to her side to help her achieve her dreams. If the plot sounds familiar, that’s because it is, but unlike other movies about teens with aspiring big dreams, this one is steeped in true appreciation for pop music. Rather than trying to create original pop music, Teen Spirit features music from the likes of Robyn, Ellie Goulding, Tegan & Sara, Annie Lennox, Orbital, Sigrid, and Carly Rae Jepsen. And Fanning sings the numbers all herself. Bleecker Street released a new clip from the film featuring Fanning performing Robyn’s Dancing On My Own. The movie also features music from Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, No Doubt, and more not sung by Fanning. Teen Spirit recently screened at South by Southwest to glowing reviews. Teen Spirit is a movie you’ve seen before (young singer rises above poverty thanks to a kind soul and an incredible voice) but thanks to nimble direction and a stellar performance from Elle Fanning this one hits straight in the heart. — Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) March 12, 2019 #TeenSpirit may seem familiar but ...

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Lady Gaga is pregnant with a new album

Lady Gaga on Tuesday (12 March) appeared to announce an upcoming album. The bisexual Pop legend and LGBTI super ally wrote ‘Rumors I’m pregnant? Yeah, I’m pregnant with #LG6’ on Twitter. Gaga recently followed producer Bloodpop and Rihanna at the same time. Fans are speculating whether Gaga’s sixth studio album will feature collaborations with these two. Rumors I’m pregnant? Yeah, I’m pregnant with #LG6 — Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) March 12, 2019 The superstar has already had a busy 2019. In February, Gaga won her first ever Oscar. The Academy named Shallow, from A Star is Born, as Best Original Song. ‘I’ve worked hard for a long time, and it’s not about, you know, it’s not about winning’ she told the audience. The same track also won her a Golden Globe. Gaga also picked up three Grammys last month. She used her speech to raise awareness about mental health. She is also starting a Las Vegas residency in June 2019. Titled ENIGMA, it will include four intimate ‘jazz and piano engagements’. ‘I can’t wait to share ENIGMA with all of my fans and with Las Vegas,’ she said in a statement at the time. ‘We’re creating a show unlike anything I’ve done before. It will be a celebration of all that is unique and different within us.’     Read the original article Author: Rik Glauert

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Broadway stars turn Rodgers and Hammerstein classic into LGBTI love song

Two Broadway stars are taking the lack of LGBTI romances in musicals into their own hands. Jelani Alladin and Matt Doyle recently recorded and filmd their rendition of the poignant song We Kiss in a Shadow. The song is from one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musicals, The King and I. It takes place between Tuptim, a slave woman, and Lun Tha, a scholar, who are secretly in love. They have to hide their relationship from the King of Siam. Alladin and Doyle recorded the song because of its relevance today. ‘Unfortunately, we are living in a world, in a space, that doesn’t value love of all kinds,’ Alladin said. ‘This song is our way of understanding how we can begin to accept love of all kinds, to embrace the ugliness, the beautifulness of all of it and understand that we are all human.’ Doyle added: ‘Anyone who has felt like they weren’t able to express who they are or how they love can listen to this song and find a connection.’ Alladin is best known for orginating the role of Kristoff in Disney’s Broadway adaptation of their hit movie Frozen. Doyle, who is openly gay, has appeared in LGBTI musicals such as Spring Awakening and bare: A Pop Opera. The video is part of a new YouTube series, R&H Goes Pop! which re-imagines Rodgers and Hammerstein songs as pop/rock tunes. It started earlier this year with Jeremy Jordan’s take on Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ from Oklahoma. See also ...

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Mississippi high school prom bans same-sex guests

A high school in Mississippi, USA, has come under fire for banning same-sex guests to the annual prom. Paperwork sent out by Tremont Attendance Center earlier this month detailed guests ‘must be 10th grade-21 years old and of the opposite sex’. ‘This is a night set aside to honor and celebrate our Juniors and Seniors and will be treated as such’, the form details in the same paragraph. But, according to local news, organizers said the rule was meant for ‘crowd control’. A parent involved in organizing the prom said the language had nothing to do with ‘sexual preference’. They reportedly apologized for any hardship that language may have caused. Meanwhile, the local school authority said a teacher is being investigated for authorizing the original form, according to WTVA. The district authority said the prom was organized by parents. History repeated A Mississippi school in the same district made headlines in 2010 when it banned Constance McMillen from taking her girlfriend. McMillen sued the district with help from American Civil Liberties Union. She won, and the prom was canceled. After a lengthy lawsuit, the school was later ordered to pay $35,000 in damages to McMillen. Parents organized a prom at a private country club and did not invite McMillen. In Missouri, gay teen Stacey Dawson was told he hoped to take his boyfriend as his senior prom date. It was only after a legal challenge that the school’s superintendent reportedly agreed to revise the policy banning same-sex prom dates. Read ...

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