Worldwide Pride Parades Offer Solutions for Targeted LGBT Individuals

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This past weekend saw a large amount of pride parades all across the world, with some creative solutions for those who could not participate.
Marking the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City (NYC), the United States had pride parades in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and of course NYC. The focal points of the weekend were the people who made the Supreme Court rulings possible: the San Franciscan parade had two couples who brought the Prop 8 case in front of the Supreme Court—Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo—who were married just after the marriage ban was lifted; and Edith Windsor, the woman who was the plaintiff in the DOMA case, helped lead the march in NYC.… more

DC Area Shocked: Four Transgendered Assualts This Summer

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While the summer months always see a rise in assaults in the District of Columbia (DC), the transgender community fears that it will be a particularly violent summer for them.
The latest attacks happening just this past weekend, a high number of trans women have been attacked within the city.
The two most recent attacks happened on June 29, within an hour of each other. At 3:30 am in the East Corner neighborhood, a trans woman was offered a ride and then was sexually assaulted by an unknown male.
At 4 am that same night, in the area of 5th and K streets NE, two adult males attempted to rob a trans woman, then shot and left her.… more

Lesbian Murdered In South Africa

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South Africa may be the only African nation that allows same-sex marriage and recognizes gay rights, but that doesn’t mean it is free from homophobia and hate. News that a young lesbian had been found murdered and sexually mutilated last week was greeted with horror and sadness by gay rights campaigners and commentators.
The twenty-six year old was killed in what appeared to be a homophobic attack and was found with a toilet brush inserted into her vagina, in the Thokoza area, just east of Johannesburg.
“The woman was last seen at a local shebeen and we are awaiting the results of a post-mortem to determine whether she had been raped,” Captain Godfrey Maditsi of the Thokoza police station told newspaper reporters.… more

Couples Can Wed Again in California

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Proposition 8 Struck Down
What is Prop 8?
Proposition 8 in California is the voter-approved law that limits marriage to one man and one woman that was passed in 2008.  In 2010, Prop 8 was declared unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn Walker because it limited marriage to only opposite couples thereby denying gay and lesbian Californians their basic rights.
Judge Walker’s decision was challenged by a group of citizens who put Prop 8 on the ballot. A federal court ruled that this group did not have legal standing to challenge the law.  Hollingsworth vs.… more

Will Phillips Ends His Silence: The Pledge from A Historic Young LGBT Activist

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After more than three-and-a-half years, Will Phillips finally got to say the Pledge of Allegiance in a nation with greater equality.
Will’s journey as a young gay rights activist started when he was 10. In his 5th grade class in the West Fork School District in Arkansas, Will decided that he couldn’t in good conscience stand for the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, which got him in trouble with the entire school. On the original CNN interview he did with his father in November 2009, the reason that he decided to stay seated was because, in his words, “I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be a lawyer… I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”
He took the stand, or more aptly kept his seat, because he thought if gays and lesbians couldn’t get married, then he didn’t want to repeat a dishonest pledge.… more

The Little Engine Who Could: Edie Windsor

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The Woman Who Sued the United States and Won!
“I think I can, I think I can” must have been Windsor’s motto as she led an uphill battle that lasted five years, and culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal law DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) that regarded marriage as a union only between a man and a woman.  But in terms of her strength,  Edie Windsor’s  impact on gay rights in the U.S. was  (like Superman) “as strong as a locomotive.”
Auspicious Beginnings
Edith Schlain was born eighty-four years ago in Philadelphia.  She briefly married a man, divorced , and moved to New York City “to be gay.” A math and computer whiz, Edie worked at I.B.M.., one of the few women at the heart of the revolution in programming.  She was closeted at that time, but did ask a friend “if you know where the lesbians go, please take me.”
The First Meeting
On Friday evenings, Portofino in the West Village was a hangout for gay women.  It was here that she met Thea Spyer, a wealthy Jewish emigre from Holland, who was a psychologist and violinist in 1963.  Four years later, they began what turned out to be “ a very long engagement”( the title of a documentary about Edie and Thea).… more

Obama Gives Hope for Gay African Community

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South Africa might be progressive and pretty in pink, offering a great gay tourist destination and gay marriage for everyone, but it’s only the rainbow tip in the largely homophobic African subcontinent.
Amnesty International released a report this week titled “Making Love a Crime: Criminalization of Same-Sex Conduct in Sub-Saharan Africa”  which detailed facts and human rights abuses against LGBT individuals within the sovereign countries.
Of its various findings, it notes that 38 countries consider homosexuality illegal. Four of them—Mauritania, Sudan, northern Nigeria, and southern Somalia—offer the death penalty for those found guilty of “homosexuality,” and five more—Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, Liberia, and Nigeria—have all attempted to further criminalize homosexuality within their countries.… more

President of Brazil’s Commission for Human Rights and Minorities is Controversial

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Marco Feliciano Accused of Homophobia and Racism
Marco Feliciano, an evangelical pastor from the Christian Social Policy, is accused of homophobia, racism, and excluding outsiders from sessions in Brazil’s lower house of parliament that were previously open to the public. Last April, human rights groups called for Feliciano’s resignation due to his bigotry. He is also under investigation for embezzlement charges.
His Election
On March 7, Feliciano was elected as President of the Brazilian House of Representatives’ Human Rights Committee by a vote of eleven out of the Committee’s eighteen members during a session closed to the public.… more

Legally Married Gays Entitled to Federal Benefits

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Down With Doma
Yesterday, June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States (Scotus) ruled that The Defense of Marriage Act, that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.  Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered “the swing vote,” read the majority opinion in language similar to his opinion on historic past “gay rights”  cases of Romer v. Evans in 1996 and Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.
In a 5-to-4 decision, he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.  Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions.… more

Equality Won – Gay Marriage Victories

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America took a great stride toward fulfilling its inherent commitment to equality. On June 26th, the United States Supreme Court issued two very important gay rights rulings that nullified the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8. The court found DOMA unconstitutional on equal protection grounds and determined those petitioning the court to sustain Prop 8 did not have “standing” to do so and let the 9th Circuit decision stand.
DOMA being declared unconstitutional, brings to an end a very long fight that finally brings fairness and equity to those same sex couples legally married in that they now are accorded all the federal benefits of marriage that are available to heterosexual couples.… more