Hurricane Florence: Prisons in hurricane’s path not evacuated

Hurricane Florence: Prisons in hurricane's path not evacuated

Hurricane Florence gains strength in the Atlantic Ocean as it moves west, seen from the International Space Station on Monday "Storm of a lifetime" hurricane Florence is predicted to bring deadly disaster to large parts of the eastern US coast when it makes landfall on Thursday.

But as millions are under order to flee, some are being told they have to stay put.

On Monday, South Carolina officials announced they would not remove inmates from at least two prisons inside mandatory evacuation zones.

"In the past, it’s been safer to leave them there," a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Corrections said.

One of those facilities is no longer in those zones but remains in Florence’s path.

In Virginia and and North Carolina, some prisons have already been evacuated.

Many on social media are drawing parallels with the devastating hurricane Katrina, in 2005 , when thousands of inmates endured terrible conditions in a facility that had not been evacuated. Hurricane Florence could ‘kill a lot of people’

Are hurricanes getting worse?

Your guide to hurricane Florence

"Almost 1,000 inmates were left to die in Orleans Parish Prison during hurricane Katrina," said PhD student Bedour Alagraa in a widely shared tweet, which was also popular on Facebook.

"The [prison officers] evacuated themselves and inmates spent five days in chest-high water, with no food or water.

"The generator had blown leaving them in pitch blackness – 517 were never found." What did happen to inmates in Katrina?

Hurricane Katrina was the third deadliest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in the US, causing more than 2,000 deaths and catastrophic flooding and wind damage. Flooding in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina in 2005 New Orleans was particularly badly hit but prisoners locked in cells in the city’s jail were not moved to another facility. A third of the inmates had been awaiting trial – not convicted of any crime.

Power cuts and broken generators caused ventilation and lights to fail and electric cell doors to remain shut. One guard reported that officials had fled as the waters had risen.

Prisoners were abandoned in cells without food or water for days as [toxic] floodwaters rose towards the ceiling, according to reports by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch based on more than 1000 eyewitness accounts. Prisoners of Katrina

Orleans Parish Prison was eventually evacuated four days after the storm hit. Some inmates say they saw dead bodies and Human Rights Watch claimed that 517 prisoners had gone missing.

In 2006, Sheriff Marlin Gusman maintained no prisoners had died and none had escaped. Later, it emerged that arrest warrants had been issued for 14 escaped inmates. Why are prisons not evacuated?

South Carolina has not evacuated prisons in response to hurricanes since 1999, according to local media. People have left homes and taken precautions ahead of the hurricane A prison official told the Post and Courier last year: "In most cases, it is safer for the public, officers, and inmates for a facility to hold in place rather than transfer and hold in a secondary location."

Evacuation can also be expensive and resource-intensive at a time when supplies are stretched or running out.

Instead, extra staff can sometimes be deployed to manage conditions within the prison.

"These aren’t tiny facilities. It’s an operation to get buses and make sure you have the staff there to transport offenders from one facility to another," a North Carolina prison communications officer told Vice News .

During a prison evacuation in Puerto Rico, when hurricane Maria hit last year, 13 inmates escaped. What about other hurricanes?

Last year during hurricane Irma, 4,500 people were left in a correctional institution in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Guards later described cells covered in mould, urine and faeces , as well as leaking cells and power cuts during the storm. Houston residents are rescued after flooding caused by heavy rain during hurricane Harvey in 2017 In Texas, four county jails were evacuated before hurricane Harvey made landfall last year. Built to withstand the most severe hurricanes, they were evacuated as a precaution and sustained some structural damage.

But in Houston, which was severely flooded, inmates left in prisons and jails reported minimal drinking water and food and poor access to medicine , as well as stifling heat.

In 1992, hurricane Andrew slammed Florida, causing huge damage to one prison in Miami, after which about 4,000 prisoners were moved out.

By Georgina Rannard, UGC and social news

Facebook UK boss: ‘We could do a much better job’ of helping users

Facebook UK boss: 'We could do a much better job' of helping users

Facebook’s UK boss says the social media site could do a "much better job" of helping users control their experience on the site.

Top Facebook executives were answering questions in a rare Q&A held by Radio 1 Newsbeat, several of which were about users’ data and privacy.

"We’re hearing loud and clear that we could do a much better job of helping to inform people in a really clear and simple way," Steve Hatch said.

The Q&A is on Newsbeat’s Facebook .

Steve Hatch used advertising as an example of an area where they want to "ramp up" the control users have of what they see.

"At the top of every single ad in Facebook there’s three little dots and if you click on that, you’ll be able to see why you’re seeing that ad," he said.

"It’s about bringing in those little nudges, those little ways of being able to help you to be better informed." Facebook and Twitter ‘too slow’ on meddling

Gin society rapped over Facebook adverts

Richard Allan is the company’s head of UK public policy.

He thinks that there’s a "cycle" in the way the issue of control has worked on Facebook.

"People want more and more control.

"A number of you will ask us for more and more control, so we build more and more controls. And then they feel it’s got more complicated.

"Then we simplify it again and they say I haven’t got enough control."

Facebook is holding an event in London until 16 September in an attempt to be more transparent, where its users can ask them directly about concerns about data, privacy and control.

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram , Facebook and Twitter .

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – if you miss us you can listen back here .

US State Department changes language about gender on passports

US State Department changes language about gender on passports

A petition to ban ‘obscene’ Pride in Scotland gains hundreds of signatures More red tape for transgender people | Photo: Unsplash/Jeremy Dorrough The National Center for Transgender Equality revealed earlier this week the US State Department changed language about gender markers on passports.

In their report , they listed the changes from old statements in 2010, to new ones out of Donald Trump’s administration.

While the policy itself remains unchanged, the Center warns the change in language could cause fear and confusion among transgender and other non-cisgender identifying people.

Since 2010, the page regarding gender on US passports was labeled as Gender Desgination Change . The new page is Sex Designation Change , although it now leads to an error page and there is no current page for gender or sex desgination changes.

According to the Center, some of the changes included replacing the word ‘gender’ with ‘sex’. Another was removing links to resources from the American Medical Association and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health.

It also included information on why the 2010 page was wrong.

‘While ultimately pointless, this move seems designed to frighten, confuse, and keep transgender people from exercising their full rights under the current policy—the same policy we fought for and won in 2010,’ said Mara Keisling, executive director of the Center.

‘Transgender people can and absolutely should continue to update and renew their passports. That is our right and that should always be our right.’ An apology and more change

The Center tweeted earlier today a statement from the State Department.

In it, they apologize for the changed language and indicated they’re updating the page once again.

Here is the statement:

We want to state unequivocally that there has been no change in policy or in the way we adjudicate passports for transgender applicants. The Department of State is committed to treating all passport applicants with dignity and respect.

With regard to the web update, we added language to make our use of terms consistent and accurate and to eliminate any confusion customers may have related to the passport application process.

We apologize for inadvertently including some language which may be considered offensive and are updating the website to remove it.

The Center will be hosting a Facebook Live tomorrow (14 September) to explain all this. To tune in, make sure you’re following us on Facebook: https://t.co/AmLjcL6raZ — National Center for Transgender Equality (@TransEquality) September 13, 2018 More from Gay Star News

More Yale incoming freshman identify as LGBTI than conservative

More Yale incoming freshman identify as LGBTI than conservative

A petition to ban ‘obscene’ Pride in Scotland gains hundreds of signatures Yale during the fall | Photo: Facebook/Yale University It’s coming up on fall and that means one thing — school is officially back in session. At Yale University, they surveyed their incoming freshman and found more of them identify as LGBTI than conservative.

The Yale Daily News conducted the survey, Class 2022 by the Numbers , polling 864 of the 1,578 new students.

‘No matter where you are from, or who you are, or your path to arriving here, now you are — among other things — a member of this community,’ said University President Peter Salovey.

‘You belong here. You are citizens of Yale.’ Two Ls: Left-leaning and LGBTI

Most of their new students identify as heterosexual — 76%, to be exact.

9% identify as bisexual or pansexual, while another 6% are questioning. Finally, 5% identified as gay or lesbian in the survey, 3% identified on the asexual spectrum, and 1% chose not to answer.

More people identifying as female responded to the survey. 7%, however, identified as gender-queer.

Then, a majority of their new students identified either as somewhat or very liberal, as shown by the pyramid below.

Overall, most of the students (44%) identified as somewhat liberal, while 30% said they were very liberal.

For conservative students, only 9% said they were somewhat conservative and a final 1% said they were very conservative.

These numbers show that out of all the incoming students, more of them identify as part of the LGBTI community than those who say they’re conservative in their politics. Evolving demographics

These numbers reflect a general trend of both support for LGBTI people and those who say they’re part of the community.

A Gallup poll from earlier this year revealed that a record number of people in the US support same-sex marriage.

Another Gallup poll showed that more adults in the US now identify as LGBTI than ever before . More from Gay Star News

The future of Russia’s one and only LGBT film festival

The future of Russia’s one and only LGBT film festival

New legislation will hit independent and controversial cinema in Russia. The organisers of this LGBT film festival are going to keep on fighting for their right to speak on “forbidden” topics. RU Spectators of the festival “Side by Side” at the discussion of the film Querama with its director Daisy Asquith. St. Petersburg, November 2017. Photos from the archive of the festival. In July 2018, Russia’s State Duma passed a new law on foreign films in Russia . Only festivals and retrospectives included in a registered “permitted” list will be able to screen films without a special permit, as was previously the case. Everybody will encounter considerable financial and bureaucratic hurdles.

It’s clear that the new law has been designed to restrict the activities of independent cinema and festivals on “sensitive” subjects – such as the Side by Side LGBT and human rights film festival , which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Evgeny Shtorn talks to Gulya Sultanova, one of the festival’s founders, on homophobia and the future of independent cinema in Russia.

Gulya, before we discuss the recent so-called cinema festival law, I’d like you to tell me a little about the annual Side by Side LGBT film festival, which has been taking place for more than ten years in St Petersburg and other Russian cities.

Side by Side is a human rights-themed LGBT festival that has been running in St Petersburg since 2008. We celebrated its 10th birthday last year. Its main aim is to create and develop an open cultural space for dialogue on LGBT subjects. Side by Side uses art to initiate discussion on a whole spectrum of issues relating to the LGBT community’s situation in Russia and around the world, the (non)acceptance and (in)tolerance it encounters and its place in the general fight for human rights.

Over its stormy 11 years history, our festival has lived through and outlived bans and disruption, negative coverage and being ignored by the media, attempts to have it classified as illegal and attacks by xenophobic members of parliament and nationalists.

The two most recent festivals have attracted large audiences: 3,600 in St Petersburg (over ten days) and 1,800 in Moscow (over four). These two cities are our main platforms, but the festival supports showings and discussions of LGBT cinema in other places as well: more than 15 Russian cities have been involved in our project. And apart from showing films, Side by Side publishes awareness raising literature on a large range of subjects, from coming-out and LGBT cinema that has changed the world to queer comics.

Do you cater to different audiences in St Petersburg and Moscow, as well as different audiences in the regions?

After the festival was attacked and subjected to regular acts of provocation in St Petersburg in 2013-2015, our audience there was more tense than in Moscow. But that’s behind us now, people are more relaxed. In Moscow, things have been more glamourous and laid back from the start, and there has been a more diverse crowd than in Petersburg: older, more male and more business people.

I remember the festivals you took to other cities – Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Perm. Regional audiences are basically less spoilt when it comes to festivals, and certainly LGBT festivals. Have they been a hit?

From 2010 to 2012 we were able to run Side by Side not just in the two capitals, but also in Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Tomsk, Arkhangelsk and Perm. At that time, there weren’t any explicit homophobic government policies at that time – after an initial reflex negative reaction, the local authorities would revert to disinterest. After a few attempts at disruption, the festival would run in comparative peace and always enjoyed good media coverage and large audiences; there was no problem there.

Our experience of running Side by Side in Kemerovo, for example, was quite typical: the first festival was plagued by disruptions and forced into underground screenings, but after two years of “normalisation” we had peaceful and successful showings with capacity crowds and a constantly neutral-to-friendly interest from the media. Organizers of the festival “Side by Side” with a guest moderator Ira Roldugina. Gulya Sultanova – second from the left in the second row. St. Petersburg, November 2017. Source: archive of the festival. In the summer of 2012, however, that changed. We were attacked by a nationalist group (funded, as we later discovered, by the city authorities). We had to drop our work in Kemerovo because of this and also because the local organising committee was intimidated and a smear campaign against us led to our volunteer group falling apart. And this pattern was repeated across the country.

What does the map of Russia look like in terms of homophobic reactions to your festival?

Before the government embarked on its homophobic policies, we could even cooperate with it. We had, for example, official support from Novosibirsk’s Department of Culture in 2010. At that time, we would initially either encounter a reflex negative reaction or be ignored, but this would be followed by a gradual acceptance of what we were doing. But 2012-2014 brought an increasingly ferocious official homophobia campaign: a witch-hunt against the entire LGBT community in the media, speeches by Duma members and a hate campaign that culminated in the infamous “gay propaganda” law.

Life became more difficult for us. Cooperation with state bodies, including state-controlled media, stopped entirely, independent platforms and spaces became more cautious and Russians in general more cautious-to-hostile.

But partially “thanks to” the witch-hunt, the LGBT issue became political – which had to happen sooner or later. Those people who have a generally critical attitude to life in Russia today have become more open to LGBT matters, but the majority, who imbibe a daily dose of hatred from the TV screen, have become even more narrow-minded on gender issues. Now we can only run large openly-LGBT events in Petersburg and Moscow, and only one-off small ones in the regions. We run single screenings there. For example, a film followed by a discussion. And that works.

You referred to the effects of the “gay propaganda” law as the politicisation of the subject. I remember how even 10 years ago, the attitude of many human rights campaigners to LGBT issues was, to put it mildly, sceptical. But after the smear campaigns and this ridiculous and harmful law, many of them changed their position, so I would say that the effects of the law were more positive than not. The situation where LGBT people had to stay in the closet has long since disappeared. Side by Side has spent almost half its existence under that law. To what extent has it helped you be heard, attracted new people to the cause, given you new opportunities?

The so-called “propaganda” law immediately made it much more difficult to run our film festival. We are an open cinema forum, and the question of a safe, however open, space is crucial to our work. Immediately after the law was passed, our opponents started using it to demonise the festival and scare the audience away. They threatened to disrupt or ban it, provoke mayhem with teenagers and so on. Regular appearances by homophobic parliamentarians and nationalists hired by them, illegal attempts to interfere with the film festival programme with fake phone calls about mines being laid (in 2013, for example, in five festival days there were five such calls requiring the general evacuation of a venue which was sometimes an enormous shopping centre) – all these ploys halved the size of the audience. It took us two to three years to build our audiences back to the size they had been before the “propaganda” law. Discussion “How to talk with LGBT teenagers?”, Moderator – psychologist Maria Naymushina. St. Petersburg, November 2017. Source: archive of the organizers of the festival. Over the last few years (when direct pressure on LGBT organisations weakened), however, the number of people visiting our screenings has dramatically increased – a result of stable and regular activity on our part, as well as the presence of security guards. Our audience feels calmer and safer. Our partner organisations have had the same experience: after the “gay propaganda” law was passed, we had to rebuild public confidence from the start and convince people to go on working with us, even though the state was not on our side. The only good thing the law did was to give us a high media profile and increase awareness of the significance and urgency of the issue of homophobia, bi-phobia and trans-phobia among Russians – a politicisation that was imperative for these issues to be resolved. And we have also gained a lot more volunteers than we had before.

Your involvement with Russian business is striking. You are getting funding from large hotel chains, cosmetics companies and restaurants. How have you managed that?

It’s all down to our perseverance and professionalism. Business people can see that our work is highly professional and are ready to take part in our projects because they understand that we have an interesting and progressive audience and the contribution made by business is ever more visible.

Do the companies that fund you see this as a political statement on their part, or is it just that they realise their target audience will visit your festival and so are read to support you for commercial reasons?

There are a lot of factors here: political motivation, general empathy and a wish to attract new customers to their business.

Do you see any prospect of attracting business to the work of human rights organisations?

Business will work with human rights organisations if they meet two conditions: they mustn’t threaten the actual business (as the saying goes, you can’t sell cookies on a battlefield); and they must be professional and successful in their work. Then everything will be fine.

The new “festival law” that is all over the papers will, as far as I can see, be yet another serious obstacle for you. Can you give me some more info about it, please.

This law could make independent film festivals a thing of the past. The chief snag is the need for the festival to be included in a special “register” that is approved by the government. Otherwise it will need to buy a distribution licence from the Russian Ministry of Culture for every single film in its programme. This will be incredibly expensive, might take years and it’s not clear how the system would work. The main thing is that it will create an absurd situation: why should a festival need a distribution licence when a festival screening involves no distribution? It’s like asking someone for their pilot’s licence when they’re just driving a car.

This law could make independent film festivals a thing of the past

Even festivals on the “register” (which has to be […]

Khalid Samad to proceed with suit against GMIM chairman over LGBT party claim

Khalid Samad to proceed with suit against GMIM chairman over LGBT party claim

KUALA LUMPUR: Khalid Abdul Samad will continue his defamation suit against Gerakan Muslimah Islam Malaysia (GMIM) chairman over allegations that he had allowed a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) party to be held.

The Federal Territories Minister said upon receiving the lawyer’s letter from Wan Asshima Kamaruddin, he was not satisfied with her apology.

Khalid said Wan Asshima defended her reasons for making such a statement in the letter, saying that it was due to her responsibility towards Islam.

"I do not accept her apology, I will carry on with my suit. There is no justification for slander," he said in a press conference on Thursday (Sept 13)

Wan Asshima had previously accused Khalid, together with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, of allowing a LGBT carnival to be held In Kuala Lumpur.

LGBT renters wait for marriage to move to home ownership

LGBT renters wait for marriage to move to home ownership

National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals logo New report shows LGBT home buying and renovation numbers are strong

It has been more than three years since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Marriage Equality. Many thought this paved the way for the continued increase of LGBT married couples purchasing homes. The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals’ second annual LGBT Real Estate Report shows the real numbers. The NAGLREP has more than 2,000 members. It is one of the nation’s largest LGBT trade associations.

Forty-nine percent of surveyed NAGLREP members report an uptick in LGBT married couples buying homes since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Marriage Equality on June 26, 2015. This was an increase from last year.

LGBTs continue to also have a positive impact on the nation’s housing market in other ways. 41% of surveyed NAGLREP members expect a sizeable number of their LGBT clients will “move up” vs. downsize (20%) in the near future. And 27% of members believe a large number of their LGBT clients will buy a second home in the very near future. And 48% said they anticipate that their LGBT clients will soon make a major home renovation.

LGBT renting versus owning a home statistics

The LGBT community is noted as an economic driver in the survey of 485 members. They asked, why LGBTs are choosing home ownership over renting. “A discussion at our summit in April showed that commentary about LGBT home ownership often revolves around two-income couples,” said NAGLREP founder Jeff Berger. “And while these couples are buying and moving up, we also wanted to explore the reasons for first time home ownership within the LGBT community and why others choose to remain renters.”

Two of the major reasons cited by NAGLREP members for LGBT clients buying first home were “they found the right property and job stability. Other reasons were enough financial stability to earn credit and the pride of home ownership is greater than renting.

“Home buying and selling decisions are often predicated on such life events as marriage, children, new jobs, death and divorce, yet our members believe LGBTs have a more pragmatic approach based on financial security,” Berger said. “It will be interesting to see over time how marriage and engagement drive interest in home ownership along with children, since 62% of our members believe the number of LGBTs with kids is increasing since Marriage Equality.”

Berger pointed out that 59% of NAGLREP members believe that LGBT renters believe they live in an area where the cost of home ownership might be exorbitant.

The study found that financial considerations sometimes drive LGBTs decision to remain renters. They said it appears there is a need for education and awareness about the home buying and mortgage processes.

Reasons why LGBTs remain renters

62% of LGBT home and apartment renters were concerned about financial status. And 62% said they live in an area where cost of home ownership might be exorbitant. Meanwhile almost as many, 59%, were concerned about long term financial stability. Other reasons for staying in a rental situation were a need of further knowledge about the home buying process, 59%, and 57% were nervous or fearful about the credit and mortgage process.

“These findings are eye-opening for us and we hope for all of the real estate community,” Berger said. “There are a variety of reasons LGBTs may not be as aware of the emotional and financial benefits of home ownership. But we now recognize the need for further, and potentially more targeted, education and enlightenment.”

NAGLREP fielded the survey to approximately 2,000 members in July. More than 480 participated.

Visit naglrep.com for more information.

Siddharth Gautam: One Of India’s First LGBT Activists To Fight For LGBT Rights In The 90s

Siddharth Gautam: One Of India's First LGBT Activists To Fight For LGBT Rights In The 90s

India is still celebrating a historic win with the annulment of Section 377. On 6th September 2018, the Supreme Court announced that members of the LGBT community shall no longer be looked upon as criminals or treated as second-class citizens in their own country. © siddharthagautam The win had come after years of struggle and activism, some of which went cold after a few years, while newer activists and petitions surfaced to take their place.

Over the years, prominent names of LGBT activists such as Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Harish Iyer et al. have become common knowledge, but there is one name that remained little-known, and that is of Siddharth Gautam, who became the face of India’s first collective activism for LGBT rights, powered by AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan (ABVA). © siddharthagautam But we know life is not always fair and decides to come at us unbeknownst. In 1992, India lost one of its prominent gay rights heroes at the tender age of 28. Siddharth did not live to see his fight come to fruition or celebrate it with his fellow other members and friends at ABVA. All About Siddharth Gautam

Siddharth was a lawyer and a social activist who held degrees from Yale and Cambridge Universities. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was a teenager and suffered from this cancer throughout his short life. He eventually had to move to New York for his treatment, where he also completed his further studies. © siddharthagautam As a graduate, he moved back to India and launched himself full force into the arena of social activism. It was during this time around 1989 when Siddharth joined hands with other activists in the country and co-founded India’s very first AIDS activism movement, AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan, which fought for the human rights of AIDS patients. Face Of The Early LGBT Activism In India

Apart from actively fighting for the cause of the rights of AIDS patients, Siddharth was also very vocal about the struggles faced by the LGBT community in India. © siddharthagautam He went on to co-author an influential report titled ‘Less Than Gay: A Citizen’s Report on the Status of Homosexuality in India’ which was published in 1991.

A collective effort by six other co-authors besides Siddharth, the report was a one-of-a-kind document that shed light on the condition and life of LGBT people in India and attacked Section 377 of the IPC. © siddharthagautam Siddharth succumbed to Cancer in 1992 and two years later, ABVA took up the legal battle for the repeal of Section 377 and filed the first ever petition against it in the Delhi High Court in 1994. Don’t Miss

He Believed ‘Hum Hon-gay Kaamyaab’ In This Fight

Even though he didn’t live to see his dream get fulfilled with the decriminalisation of gay sex in India, Siddharth always believed India would see the light in the future and the LGBT community shall taste freedom in the years to come. © siddharthagautam In an article in the New York Times, novelist Sandip Roy stated, “I can still see him sitting there near the playing fields of our youth, his shirt sleeves rolled up, his glasses glinting in the moonlight, telling me: “Stay in America for your education and your career if you need to. You don’t have to stay away because you are gay. Things will change here. Believe me.”

That was Siddharth Gautam, a man way ahead of his time and gone too soon.

Photo: © siddharthagautam (Main Image)

London’s first LGBT Sunday League opens Cup to “mainstream teams” in move to merge boundaries

London's first LGBT Sunday League opens Cup to "mainstream teams" in move to merge boundaries

The London Unity League, London’s first and only LGBT-friendly Sunday League will open its Cup competition to non-league, mainstream teams Credit: John Nguyen/JNVisuals The London Unity League (LUL), London’s only LGBT-friendly Sunday league, was the first of its kind to affiliate with the Amateur Football Alliance in August. Now it will open its Cup competition to non-league (non-LGBT) teams for the 2018/19 season.

The opening up of the Cup is an effort to “merge the boundaries between LGBT-friendly and mainstream football clubs”.

League Chair Brian Silk said: “The LUL started because players didn’t necessarily feel comfortable playing in the mainstream leagues.

“But over the years society has changed hugely, our players and clubs are increasingly playing in mainstream leagues. It’s time to open up more.”

Entry to the competition is available to teams of all forms, LGBT-friendly, mixed gender, or mainstream clubs, with the first games due to kick off in November. League Chair, Brian Silk, hopes the opening of the LUL Cup to mainstream teams will encourage communication and interaction within the local community Credit: Robbie Jay Barratt/Getty Images Formed in 2006 and comprising of eight teams, the LUL allows members of the LGBT community to enjoy football within a safe and inclusive environment. Uniquely, it also allows transgender persons to play within their league, regardless of self-identification or reassignment surgery status.

This allows players to participate, “without going through the complicated clearance rules that the FA has implemented, which can be rather humiliating”, according to Rex Glensy, a referee for the LUL.

FA rules state players who are 19-years and over are required to play in “gendered teams and to compete only against teams of the same gender”.

Currently, a person can only play in a team of their self-identified gender if “their hormones have settled in the range ‘typically’ associated with their self-identified gender” and “their gender has been reassigned through surgery”.

Kirsty Clarke, director of sport at Stonewall, a LGBT charity said: “We know many trans people feel excluded from taking part in sport, particularly team sports.

“Trans inclusive policies are a really positive way to help make sport a more welcoming environment. Nothing should prevent LGBT people from being accepted in sport. Charlton Invicta FC are the first LGBT-friendly team to be affiliated with a professional team, after their partnership with Charlton Athletic in 2017 Credit: John Nguyen/JNVisuals While player numbers in traditional Sunday League teams have declined in recent years , LUL club numbers have grown significantly.

AFC Muswell Hill, for example, have added a second team due to the high increase in players over the last two seasons.

“To be honest, at the moment it’s looking like next season we’ll probably be adding a third team to our ranks”, said Jaime Randall, first team manager and club secretary.

“The work Brian (League Chair) and Robin (Secretary) have been putting into the league over the last year or so has been fantastic and we, as a club, can’t wait to see how far they can push the LUL.”

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Republican candidate for US Congress defended gay ‘cure’ therapy

Republican candidate for US Congress defended gay ‘cure’ therapy

Steve Negron A Republican Congressional candidate has defended voting against a ban on gay ‘cure’ therapy.

New Hampshire state lawmaker Steve Negron is the GOP candidate for the US House of Representatives in the state’s Second Congressional District.

Negron picked up the Republican nomination in a narrow primary vote on Tuesday, just weeks after he publicly defended voting against cross-party legislation to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy. Steve Negron The candidate was among Republicans to oppose the state’s recently-introduced law that bans the provision of conversion therapy to minors.

He was challenged over his vote in an interview with local TV station WMUR, as noted by Talking Points Memo . In the interview, which took place last month, Negron was challenged about his vote on gay ‘cure’ therapy and appeared to defend the practise.

Negron said: “I did not vote for that [bill].

“I believe that’s something that, when you look at these young children that are trying to make a decision, and I remember when I was 15, 16 I was confused, I had a lot of options in my life. “I think we need to be able to help them understand what it is, give them the right information, and let them get the treatment that they need to understand what the situation is.

“I think the parents have a huge role in that as well, and that’s why I think we should be able to help them.” Steve Negron He also reaffirmed his personal opposition to same-sex marriage, though he claimed gay couples in relationships should have “the same rights” as straight couples.

Negron said: “A union between two people is really not a federal issue for me. I have my own beliefs because I am a Catholic.

“For me, as a Catholic, marriage is very succinct at what it is, but for people that are in a relationship, they should have all the rights and privileges as anybody else.”

The New Hampshire Democratic Party said: “The Republican nominee in the Second Congressional District, Steve Negron, fought through the primary to appear more supportive of President Trump and his administration’s policy objectives than his opponents.

“His views, whether it’s about repealing the Affordable Care Act, building a border wall, or engaging in trade wars with our nation’s and our state’s closest allies, are morally reprehensible. He is wrong choice for New Hampshire.”

The district has been held by Democratic Rep. Ann Kuster since 2012.

Kuster, who held the seat by a four-point margin in 2016, is standing for re-election.