11th trans woman murdered in US this year after fatal shooting

11th trans woman murdered in US this year after fatal shooting

Sophia Adler has been charged with the murder of a trans woman. | Photo: Multnomah County Jail A trans woman has died after a 33-year-old woman allegedly shot her in Portland in the north-west of the United States.

Police found Gigi Pierce’s body on Monday (21 May) night with a fatal gunshot wound to the stomach.

At the scene of the murder, police arrested Sophia Adler and charged her with murder. Adler allegedly shot Pierce after an altercation between the two women.

‘I heard Gigi say, “Don’t touch me”,’ a woman named Amber who was a friend of Pierce, told KATU.

‘And the woman came up and hit Gigi in the face with her purse.

‘That kinda set Gigi off. Gigi went to hit her, pulled back to hit her, and the next thing I know my ear’s ringing. There had been a gunshot. It all happened so fast. It always does.’

Amber said Pierce had ‘died in my arms’.

Originally from Idaho, police said they did not know how long Pierce had been in Portland and whether she was visiting or living there.

But police did tell media they did not believe Adler allegedly shot Pierce because of her gender identity.

‘Based on information learned at this time does not suggest this is a bias or hate related crime,’ said Sgt. Chris Burley, spokesman for Portland Police. 11 murders too many

Pierce’s death marks the 11th murder of a trans person in the United States this year.

LGBTI advocacy group Human Rights Campaign has tracked trans murders in the United States.

It said 2017 was the worst year on record for violent murders of trans people.

‘While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable,’ HRC said on its website.

‘Since 2013, HRC has tracked 117 incidents of fatal violence against transgender and non-binary people. Of these, 66 have been victims of gun violence. In 2017, 16 out of the 28 deaths were the result of gun violence.’

Portland LGBTI organization, Q Center, said it is planning a community response to Pierce’s death.

Arrested Development cast defend Jeffrey Tambor’s on set harassment

Arrested Development cast defend Jeffrey Tambor's on set harassment

Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter (R). | Photo: Twitter Some of the male cast of the popular comedy TV show, Arrested Development. have defended costar Jeffrey Tambor after ‘bad’ on set behavior.

Arrested Development stars, Jessica Walter, Jason Bateman, Tony Hale, David Cross, Alia Shawkat and Tambor sat down for a round table interview with the New York Times.

The discussion was supposed to be about the upcoming fifth season of the show. But things soon got ‘raw’ when the topic turned to allegations of Tambor’s sexual misconduct on the set of the landmark show about trans people, Transparent.

Walter who plays Tambor’s wife, Lucille Bluth, described an intense incident on set where he verbally abused her.

‘He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologise. I have to let it go. And I have to give you a chance to, you know, for us to be friends again,’ Walter said.

‘But it’s hard because honestly — Jason [Bateman] says this happens all the time.

‘In like almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set. And it’s hard to deal with, but I’m over it now.’ It gets worse

Even though the incident sounded very traumatizing for Walter – she actually cries during the interview – it was the way Tambor’s male costars defended him that has attracted the most criticism.

Tony Hale who plays Walter’s son Buster on the show said: ‘We’ve all had moments.’

To which Walter replies: ‘But not like that, not like that. That was bad.’

Lead actor Jason Bateman said in an extended monologue that he did not want to ‘belittle’ Walter’s experience but he had ‘zero complaints’ about the show.

‘ But this is a family and families, you know, have love, laughter, arguments — again, not to belittle it, but a lot of stuff happens in 15 years,’ he said.

‘And I can say that no matter what anybody in this room has ever done — and we’ve all done a lot, with each other, for each other, against each other — I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I have zero complaints.’

‘Again, not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, ‘difficult’.

‘It’s a weird thing, and it is a breeding ground for atypical behavior and certain people have certain processes.’ You can hear Walter crying in this clip:

Here’s audio of Jessica Walter CRYING, standing up for herself after all the men in the AD cast try to gaslight her into thinking Tambor’s harassment isn’t THAT bad. This is horrific. pic.twitter.com/innJv8LIYF — Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) May 23, 2018 Gaslighting Walter

People took to social media accusing the men of gaslighting Walter and talking over her about her own experiences. this is the story of a wealthy group of men who are willing to excuse everything; and the two women in the room who had no choice but to keep them all bouyant even as they were crying https://t.co/qZebwO3Vd0 — rachel syme (@rachsyme) May 23, 2018 Jessica Walter made her screen debut before most of the other Arrested Development cast members were born, yet here they are talking over her to explain set dynamics. — Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) May 23, 2018 This is, uh, not great. (I mean, the piece is good. But the men are not listening to the women in this conversation. Hard-core, almost across the board.) https://t.co/6iEzqiFw9y — Linda Holmes (@lindaholmes) May 23, 2018 This interview is really a perfect distillation of how people feel the need to protect and comfort powerful men at the expense of the people they’ve hurt. She was in the room. Crying. Everyone but Shawkat just wanted to defend him and move on. https://t.co/1bv4JHesW2 — Marin Cogan (@marincogan) May 23, 2018 I’m glad about this Arrested Development interview. I’m glad people get to see, at least once in a while, what it’s really like for women in Hollywood. 99% of your fave dudes are problematic. Don’t @ me — Lexi Alexander ‎ (@Lexialex) May 24, 2018

Adam Rippon’s boyfriend is going to move in with him

Adam Rippon's boyfriend is going to move in with him

Adam Rippon says when his boyfriend moves over from Finland they are going to live together.

He is in a relationship with the Finnish realtor Jussi-Pekka Kajaala – and their Instagram relationship game is already strong.

Now in an interview with People Magazine’s ‘People Now’ show he says when he moves over ‘we will live together:’ Video Player is loading.

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The announcement comes days just after the Olympic figure skating medalist won Dancing With The Stars.

It made him the first openly gay person to win the US version of the TV show.

After slaying with a version of Ru Paul’s Sissy That Walk , he went on to endear fans even further by dedicating a later performance to his mom.

In their first week performance, they even got a full score of 30: He made the comments on People Now with his dancing partner Jenna Johnson.

When he was asked what would happen when his boyfriend arrived, Rippon told the host: ‘We’ll live together.’

‘It’s a whole process to move out here, but I think it’s something that we’re both really looking forward to. It’s going to be a lot of fun.’

Going on to discuss if this would change the vibes between the pair he says: ‘I mean, that’s a dynamic change – I’m like, very open to.’

The Dancing With The Stars winning duo also talked about their plans to host a double date with both of their partners when Rippon’s boyfriend Kajaala comes over too. Read more about Adam Rippon on Gay Star News:

UK Prime Minister’s letter to LGBTI people slammed as cheap ’empty PR’

UK Prime Minister's letter to LGBTI people slammed as cheap 'empty PR'

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has written a letter to the LGBTI community | Photo: Instagram On the 30th anniversary of the homophobic legislation section, 28 came into effect – The UK Prime Minister Theresa May has written a letter to the LGBTI community. And it’s already facing a backlash.

In it she pledges her government’s support to:

‘Help make us a country where no one feels the need to hide who they are or who they love.’

Published in the latest issue of Gay Times , she also says an LGBT Action Plan will be published this summer following the results of a nationwide survey for the LGBTI community.

GSN exclusively revealed in March, this survey meant the Home Office was considering a ban on gay conversion therapy. 30 years since banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in UK schools

The letter comes on the 30th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government legislation banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in schools.

The law, repealed 15 years later, created a generation of young people and teachers afraid to speak about their sexuality.

Today’s letter also addresses the ongoing delayed gender recognition consultation. May says it will be published ‘soon.’ The delay has come after a series of resignations from those in the Women’s and Equalities ministerial role.

May says the action plan will set out ‘concrete steps the Government will take to improve lives for LGBT people.’

‘We’ve also engaged with experts to understand better the limitations of the current system of gender recognition and will soon publish a public consultation on how we best reform the process. ‘Words are cheap, it’s action that counts’

The opposition party Labour have already slammed the letter as ’empty PR.’

Shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler says: ‘All this Government seems to do is make announcements about future announcements, it’s just empty PR.

‘Theresa May announced a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act last August, but nearly a year later it hasn’t even started.

‘We need to see deeds, not just words, from the Conservatives. Today marks 30 years since Thatcher’s Government introduced the cruel Section 28, a grim moment in our country’s history, which was defended by Theresa May.’

LGBTI rights campaigner Peter Tatchell says the May’s words are laudable but adds ‘words are cheap.’

‘It’s action that counts. The Prime Minister has imposed direct rule on Northern Ireland. She is legally entitled to legislate same-sex marriage but is refusing to do so, despite 76% public support for marriage equality. This is collusion with the homophobic DUP.

‘Reforming the gender recognition process for trans people was agreed in principle ages ago. The planned new public consultation looks like a delaying tactic and a sop to anti-trans campaigners.

‘Theresa May has declined to make equality and diversity lessons mandatory in every school, to reduce homophobic bullying and hate crime. That’s a big fail.’

Last week for IDAHOT, Theresa May’s Instagram account posted a video about how introducing equal marriage was one of her ‘proudest moments.’ Could Section 28 come back?

Could LGBTI rights go backward after Brexit? The government promises they won’t. But there is no guarantee.

A new report commisioned by Gay Star News argues that Section 28 couldn’t happen under the modern EU rules.

But without EU membership, the UK has nothing to stop LGBTI-hating politicians from passing a similar law in future.

In particular, the report recommends the UK retains the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This effectively guarantees many of the rights we enjoy today, politicians can’t just take them away. But the government says we don’t need the Charter in UK law post Brexit.

One of the report’s authors, Jonathan Cooper, is a leading human rights barrister. He was involved in some of the key European court cases that led to improved LGBT rights in the UK.

In the report, he argues that the loss of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is a mistake:

‘We are also removing from the UK’s jurisdiction the only international binding legal instrument that expressly prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the text of the document.

‘That is counter-intuitive. Were those who voted to leave the EU voting to take away LGBT rights? Without replacing those rights with something equal or better? It is unlikely that was their intent.’ Read More from Gay Star News:

David Robson wonders how different growing up gay would have been with LGBTI sex and relationship education GSN releases major report, Brexit: The LGBT Impact Assessment, showing we are much more vulnerable if we leave the EU.

Fundraising page raises thousands for at-risk LGBT youth after death of basketball writer Bo Churney

Fundraising page raises thousands for at-risk LGBT youth after death of basketball writer Bo Churney

On Wednesday morning, sportswriter Robby Kalland shared on Twitter that Atlanta-based NBA blogger Bo Churney had died by suicide and that Churney’s brother had hoped to spread word to the online NBA community.

Within hours, a fundraising page set up to benefit an Atlanta organization that provides outreach to at-risk LGBT youth in Atlanta had raised more than $5,000 in Churney’s honor.

The news of Churney’s death rocked much of the Twitter NBA world, with dozens of people, from high-profile writers to regular fans, expressing shock and sharing their memories. I have some terrible news this morning, I got a call from @bochurney ‘s brother and learned Bo committed suicide yesterday. He wanted me to let all of Bo’s friends in the NBA/Twitter community know. Bo was a great writer but a better friend and person and he will be dearly missed. Tragic, awful news about @bochurney . All my best wishes to everyone that knew him well. Just horrible. It’s on all of us to be kind to each other and show that we care. You never know how much that little step to check in and say hello can mean. — Reggie Comma Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) May 23, 2018 I don’t even have the words right now…one of my favorite twitter followers and eventual colleagues @bochurney committed suicide yesterday. I will always remember Bo as one of the nicest people thanks to this app. — Andrew Hammond (@ahammsportsgeek) May 23, 2018 So, so sad this morning to learn of the passing of @bochurney Life is so precious and to have his spirit extinguished so suddenly leaves a hole in our universe. RIP. — Bob Rathbun (@BobRathbunTV) May 23, 2018 RIP @bochurney . The world is so, so much worse without you. — Andrew Lynch (@AndrewLynch) May 23, 2018 Rest in peace @bochurney . I hope your soul is finally at ease — #Mickstape (@ColeyMick) May 23, 2018 Incredibly sad news about @bochurney . I’m just stunned that someone so seemingly positive could have been suffering so much. Please folks, seek help in any corner you can when life gets tough– and I’m always here for *anyone* RIP So sad to hear of @bochurney passing. Was one of first basketball twitter people i ever followed. Always seemed to have the right take and attitude about everything. — David Zavac (@DavidZavac) May 23, 2018 I’ve known @bochurney for like 6 years at least. Since the DDL days. We came up as bloggers at the same time. All in the same #squad . Met him at LVSL in 2013 and he was a super nice dude. It was a privilege to meet him and know him on Twitter. RIP, Simba. The Atlanta Hawks acknowledged Churney — who wrote for a number of publications including HawksHoop, Atlanta’s ESPN TrueHoop affiliate — through both their main account and their PR account. Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and colleagues of @bochurney . He was a very talented writer and will be missed dearly. https://t.co/wvmyhFg10F — Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) May 23, 2018 (1/2) Hawks PR is saddened to hear of the passing of @bochurney . His genuine passion and enthusiasm for covering the team came through in his writing and his witty and thoughtful social media posts, and we always enjoyed catching up at Philips Arena. (2/2) Our condolences go out to Bo’s family and the Hawks social media community. The NBATV show The Starters even displayed a photo of Churney’s Twitter avatar in its studio Wednesday. Appreciate @TheStarters showing Bo love. We’ll miss you, @bochurney . pic.twitter.com/hmU8loiZXs — Graybones (@MrGordian) May 23, 2018 Meanwhile, Kalland and fellow writer Jared Dubin set up a fundraising page, with proceeds benefiting Lost N Found Youth, an Atlanta-based non-profit that, per its website, “exists to end homelessness for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) and all sexual minority youth.”

“If you loved him, if you liked him, if you knew him, if you just want to help some kids who need help, donate here,” NBA writer and Hardwood Paroxysm founder Matt Moore wrote on Twitter while sharing a link to the page. In his honor, there’s a fund for at-risk LGBTQ kids in Atlanta at @LostNFoundYouth If you loved him, if you liked him, if you knew him, if you just want to help some kids who need help, donate here: https://t.co/Ul0pU27lao We already miss you so much, Bo. — Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 23, 2018 As of 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the page had raised $5,132, a figure that was rising by the minute. You can donate right here .

Prime Minister pledges action plan to tackle LGBT discrimination

Prime Minister pledges action plan to tackle LGBT discrimination

The UK should be a country where "no one feels the need to hide" who they love, Theresa May said as she promised a new action plan for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) people.

The Prime Minister said the new plan would be published this summer and would aim to tackle the "injustices" faced by the LGBT community.

She promised a consultation to understand the "limitations" of the current system of gender recognition and action to tackle discrimination "in every walk of life".

Writing in the Gay Times she said there had been a "phenomenal" response to a survey of LGBT people in Britain with over 100,000 replies, making it the largest such study in the world.

"One answer that stood out to me was how many LGBT people said they avoided being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity in public, or with their own family and friends.

"I want to help make us a country where no one feels the need to hide who they are or who they love."

She said the new action plan "will set out concrete steps the Government will take to improve lives for LGBT people in this country and address some of the injustices the community has faced".

"We’ve also engaged with experts to understand better the limitations of the current system of gender recognition and will soon publish a public consultation on how we best reform the process.

"Trans people still face indignities and prejudice when they deserve understanding and respect.

"There’s lots to do – but the UK can be proud that we are a world leader in advancing LGBT rights."

Shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler said: "All this Government seems to do is make announcements about future announcements, it’s just empty PR.

"Theresa May announced a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act last August, but nearly a year later it hasn’t even started.

"We need to see deeds, not just words, from the Conservatives. Today marks 30 years since Thatcher’s Government introduced the cruel Section 28, a grim moment in our country’s history, which was defended by Theresa May.

"It was repealed by the last Labour Government in 2003, a Government which did more than any other in British history to advance LGBT+ equality. "

She promised a Labour government would make LGBT hate crimes an aggravated offence, update laws to provide greater protection for trans people and ensure that health workers and teachers have specialist training on tackling homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying in schools.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Daniel Leal-Olivas / PA Wire.

Brexit: UK’s ‘strong objections’ to Galileo sat-nav exclusion

Brexit: UK's 'strong objections' to Galileo sat-nav exclusion

The Galileo system was conceived to give Europe an independent sat-nav capability The UK has lodged a "strong objection" to EU negotiators over plans to limit its participation in the Galileo satellite programme after Brexit.

In a document seen by the BBC, UK officials warn EU counterparts the scheme could cost an extra €1bn (£876m) without their continuing involvement.

Excluding the UK from Galileo, it says, contravenes the phase-one withdrawal deal agreed by both sides in December.

It also warns it will hinder wider post-Brexit security co-operation.

The European Commission says Brexit means the UK will have to be excluded from the Public Regulated Service (PRS), a key element of the Galileo system, after its March 2019 departure.

A navigation and timing signal intended for use by government agencies, armed forces and "blue light" services, PRS is designed to be available and robust even in times of crisis. UK ups the ante on Galileo project

Brexit customs plan ‘could cost £20bn’

Brussels says the UK cannot immediately have access to it when it leaves the European bloc because it will become a foreign entity and PRS is for EU member states only.

The UK has accepted that its officials should not be part of the administrative elements of the programme but is insisting British companies should be allowed to bid for contracts and that base stations should still be located in British overseas territories such as the Falklands. ‘Security ceiling’

A document given to EU officials during Brexit talks this week states "excluding industrial participation by UK industry in security-related areas risks delays of up to three years and additional costs of up to €1 billion".

"It will not be straightforward to effectively fulfil all Galileo security work elsewhere," it says.

"The UK therefore has a strong objection to its ongoing exclusion from security-related discussions and exchanges pertaining to the post-2019 development of Galileo and the PRS, which serves to limit UK assurance in the programme and discourage UK industrial participation.

"Current EU restrictions on UK participation will have implications for the ceiling placed on future UK-EU security cooperation."

Separately, the UK has outlined the extent of existing law enforcement capabilities which would be lost if a bespoke security deal is not agreed after Brexit.

According to details of a presentation seen by the BBC, the UK says there will be "significant gaps" in a wide range of areas including prisoner transfers, asset recovery, sharing of financial intelligence, victim compensation and access to criminal records for child protection vetting.

The family who broke records and changed laws

The family who broke records and changed laws

Deborah McFadden was top of her class when she was paralysed from the neck down by a rare illness. For the first time, she knew what it was like to be discriminated against. It would later motivate her to challenge the US legal system for the two disabled orphans she adopted from Russia and Albania.

This is the extraordinary story of a woman who caught the attention of a US president, and the siblings who went on to break world records. Deborah was a straight-A student and competitive fencer when she started to feel exhausted. Doctors diagnosed her with Guillain-Barré syndrome, which crept through her body. Her immune system attacked her nerves and destroyed any sense of feeling.

"It starts at your feet and it works its way up and you can’t stop it," she says. It’s loss of sensation and then no movement. I couldn’t move my arms. I had to be fed and dressed.

"The hospital called my parents and said, ‘She may die you’d better get here. If she doesn’t die, she’ll never walk.’"

Deborah stabilised but remained paralysed. She used an electric wheelchair to get around. She hated the inactivity and decided to return to school, because "the only thing I could do was talk". But back in class, she found people treated her differently.

"I drooled and needed help doing things. But [people] spoke louder to me. They treated me like an idiot, Why would they do this?

"There were people who stayed with me that surprised me. I was also surprised at those who just couldn’t handle it." President George H W Bush Employment was tough, too. People didn’t see her potential. She was offered a job in a call centre because she could dial numbers using a stick attached to a baseball cap.

Slowly, over 12 years, she learned to walk again – but it didn’t erase the feeling of marginalisation.

"I witnessed first-hand discrimination, so I was very active politically, wanting to change the system."

Her campaign caught the attention of President George H W Bush. He appointed her United States commissioner of disabilities – and she helped write the Americans with Disabilities Act.

That was 1989.

Unknown to her, that same year, a baby born with spina bifida – a deformity of the spine – had been handed into an orphanage in St Petersburg, Russia. St Petersburg, Russia Nina Polevikova, the child’s mother, had been advised it was the best thing for baby Tatyana, as she might receive some medical treatment. She gave her daughter to Orphanage Three, a place which would become the girl’s home for six years.

"I had no medical treatment, I had no wheelchair, no education," says Tatyana, who is now 29.

"You wake up, and just follow the same routine. I scooted around or I walked on my hands."

Communism had started to collapse and Deborah was tasked with distributing US aid. A visit to Orphanage Three was arranged. By now it was 1994.

She was led around the home and noticed a "little girl with a bow in her hair bigger than her head". The girl was being kept in a separate room because of her disability.

"She just had these bright eyes and this great smile. I said, ‘Come on in.’" Listen to the BBC Ouch podcast series with Tatyana and Deborah McFadden about their extraordinary lives.

Part one: From Russian orphan to Team USA and part two: Turning to snow to find my mother Tatyana as a child They sat together. Deborah talked in English – Tatyana in Russian – but they understood each other in other ways.

"That night when I was back at the hotel I could not get her off my mind," Deborah says. "And so I told the staff ‘I’m going to go back to that orphanage.’"

She returned every six weeks armed with clothes, toys and a wheelchair. In return the orphanage placed a photo of Deborah in the girl’s room.

Tatyana told everyone the woman in the picture was her mother.

During another visit in 1995 Deborah was told Tatyana was due to be transferred to a home for disabled children. It was time to say goodbye.

"It had never been on my mind to adopt, but the moment they said they were going to transfer her to this place that, frankly in your worst nightmare you can’t imagine, I said, ‘You can’t do this.’

"The reaction I had was a reaction of a parent."

Deborah called her partner Bridgette in Baltimore, who was already well aware of the girl who Deborah "talked non-stop about". Bridgette agreed they should adopt.

Twelve months later Tatyana arrived in the US. Tatyana as a child "It was really exciting, but scary," Tatyana says. "I had a lot of first things happen – surgeries, going to a friend’s house or going to school. I even tried ice cream for the first time and I remember telling my parents to put it in the microwave."

Behind the excitement, Deborah had sobering news. Doctors had said due to a lack of medical attention, Tatyana wouldn’t have a long life. A couple of years, maybe.

"I thought I’ve got to get her strong. I thought swimming – you don’t need your legs."

They tried the local pool, but every instructor turned them away until Deborah offered to pay over-the-odds privately.

After Tatyana pushed herself into the water and resurfaced she shouted "Ya sama!" – Russian for "yes, I can do this". It started her love of sport.

She joined a club for children with physical disabilities and tried different sports.

"There was just something with wheelchair racing that really clicked with me," Tatyana says.

"I’m not sure if it’s the need for speed as a child but it was just something I really loved – and it allowed me to become stronger and more independent."

As Olympic-fever hit America ahead of Athens 2004, teenage-Tatyana read about the selection competitions for Team USA and declared she wanted to become an Olympian. She had never heard of the Paralympics.

She showed promise on the track so her parents found the nearest para trials. Tatyana was 15-years-old and the youngest competitor. Tatyana and Deborah Against the odds she qualified for the 100m, 200m and 400m and was told "go for the experience".

She returned with a silver and bronze.

"It was absolutely amazing," she says. "When I was on the medal stand I was already thinking about the Beijing Games and I wanted to become faster and better."

Tatyana returned home on a high with plans to join her high school’s track team.

But she got a shock. The school told her that due to health and safety reasons, she couldn’t use the same track as her friends or join the club.

The topic went back and forth between school and family until Deborah made a demand.

"You give her a uniform and you let her run around the track. They said, ‘Sue us’."

The McFaddens did. They filed for no damages – they wanted equal opportunity not compensation. They won their county case – and then a similar battle with the state of Maryland.

But nationally, disabled students across the US were not guaranteed the same opportunities as Tatyana.

This irked the young athlete. It seemed short-sighted. So she asked her mother to make it law. Hannah and Tatyana competing together at London 2012 "I said, ‘You’re killing me Tatyana, this is a lot of work,’" says Deborah – but they managed to get the Sports and Fitness Equity Act, also known as Tatyana’s Law, passed and put into federal law. It enabled those with a disability to participate in school sports.

But Tatyana says the battle to get to that point wasn’t pleasant.

"Every track meet that I went to they were always booing. But on the inside I just knew this was the right thing to do."During the highs and lows the McFadden family had expanded. Hannah was adopted from Albania and Ruthie joined the family too.Hannah, who has an above-knee amputation due a bone deformity in her left leg, also took to wheelchair racing and won a place on Team USA alongside her sister.The McFaddens became the first ever siblings to compete at the same Paralmypic Games when they raced at London 2012.Ruthie, who is able-bodied, is described as the creative one."What I saw in them was their spunk," Deborah says of the deprived children she helped shaped into extraordinary people.Tatyana has shown her determination and stamina time and again. Tatyana with Prince Harry In 2013, she won all the major marathons – London, Boston, Chicago and New York. She repeated the feat in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Something no able-bodied or para-athlete has ever achieved.But she was tempted by a new challenge in 2014, which would take her to her birth country – the Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.The problem was, Tatyana didn’t do winter sports. She considered the options and settled on cross-country skiing."It takes a lot of endurance, strength and technique and I had two out of the three," she says.But this time it wasn’t just about the sport.In 2011 Deborah had tracked down Nina, Tatyana’s birth mother, and she and Tatyana had met. Tatyana with her adopted mother Deborah McFadden and her birth mother Nina Polevikova "I was almost emotionless because I didn’t really expect anything in case she didn’t want to meet me," Tatyana says."I think she was overwhelmed and kind of relieved too. She had to do the hardest part – give up a child in the hope of a better life – and I have a great life so I’m so grateful for her."They kept in touch with "casual emails", using Google translate, as Tatyana fought for a place on Team USA’s winter squad."It was always a dream of mine to have my birth family and my adopted family at one competition," she says. "So I thought why not, dreams are never too big."But she had a reality check. She was used to being on the podium, but now "you had to turn the last page to see my results" and her fellow competitors weren’t always supportive."I had people making comments like, ‘You should just go back to your summer sport, why are you even trying?’"It came to a point where I didn’t think I was going to make the team." Tatyana competes during the Women’s 12 km Cross-Country Ski Sitting at the Sochi Olympics It took a final sprint in the last competition for Tatyana to secure her place. The underdog once again, she claimed silver in front of her American and Russian family which she describes as "the cherry on top".Tatyana continues to rack up the medals. In the past few weeks she won the Boston Marathon and came second in the London Marathon.She’s also involved in the Toyota Mobility Unlimited Challenge – a competition to improve mobility options for those with lower-limb paralysis.Some inventors have suggested installing phone chargers in wheelchairs – while Tatyana wants a […]

Palestinians face uncertainties over Abbas succession

Palestinians face uncertainties over Abbas succession

Mahmoud Abbas’s office released this image of the president (centre) walking in a hospital corridor Wearing an elegant dressing gown, the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is shown walking unaided along the corridor of Ramallah’s best private hospital.

A family photograph has him sitting upright in bed casually studying a newspaper.

A hospital official said the 83-year-old leader – who had surgery on his ear last week – now had inflammation in his lung but was "responding to the treatment quickly and recovering".

The message was clearly meant to quell swirling rumours of the president’s imminent demise.

However, his latest medical scares are a reminder of how Palestinian politics remains in a critical condition. Mahmoud Abbas (right) is the Palestinians’ second president A deep schism persists between the president’s Fatah faction and its rival, Hamas. It is a split which has induced a state of paralysis.

Hamas won a parliamentary poll in 2006, a year after Mr Abbas became president.

In 2007, it reinforced its power in Gaza, ousting forces from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA), after days of clashes. The PA was left to run parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Quick guide to the Palestinian territories

Who are Hamas?

What’s life like in the Gaza Strip?

No presidential or legislative vote has been organised since, and President Abbas is now in the 13th year of a four-year term.

Last year, local elections took place only in the West Bank and were boycotted by Hamas. Factional rift

Increasingly, there are open discussions among ordinary Palestinians as well as Israeli officials and foreign diplomats about who could be the next leader.

It is expected that Hamas will nominate Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Islamist movement.

A Hamas spokesman, Hazem Qassem, insists that any future presidential contest "must be an affair for all Palestinians, not an internal Fatah issue". Hamas (above) and Fatah have been deeply split since 2007 However, after the latest attempts at a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation failed, his group could well be sidelined.

According to Palestinian Basic Law, if the president dies or is incapacitated, the parliamentary speaker should fill in while elections are organised.

As the current speaker is Aziz Dweik of Hamas, many Fatah officials have argued this article no longer applies. They point out parliament has not met in over a decade because of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement and due to the Palestinians’ political split.

Last year, Mahmoud al-Aloul, a former governor of Nablus, was appointed as the first-ever vice-chairman of Fatah.

Figures in his party have since said that if Mr Abbas was unable to carry out his duties, he would take over for three months as acting president until elections could be held.

That would leave the Fatah Central Committee – the party’s top decision-making body – to make the decisions about who would ultimately become president. Key figures

For Palestinians, the most popular of the committee’s 18 members is Marwan Barghouti, who led Fatah’s Tanzim militant group during the 2000-2005 uprising against the occupation, or intifada.

Although he is in jail in Israel, serving five life terms for involvement in murdering Israelis, he remains influential and has led efforts to end divisions with Hamas.

"Support for him is widespread in both Gaza and the West Bank," says Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey, which conducts regular polls.

"[In an election] he can defeat Abbas, he can defeat Haniyeh and looking at all leaders from the other factions, from Fatah, nobody gets even close to him." One of Mr Abbas’ potential successors is serving five life terms for murder in an Israeli prison If Mr Abbas does not stand in a future vote, Barghouti has previously indicated he would run for the presidency from his prison cell.

However, with no sign from Israel that it would release him, his part in any presidential race could be as kingmaker, rather than candidate.

Three other potentially important players have strong backing in the security forces or else the money and regional favour to launch a credible leadership bid: Jibril Rajoub : a former militant who used to command Preventive Security in the West Bank. Known for his blunt manner, he maintains his public profile through his role in sports bodies. Last year he was elected secretary general of the Fatah Central Committee.

Majed Faraj : head of intelligence. As a a negotiator in the last round of failed peace talks with Israel, he apparently impressed Israelis and Americans.

Mohammed Dahlan : led the PA’s Preventive Security force in Gaza until 2007. He was expelled from Fatah after falling out with the president and now lives in luxurious exile in Abu Dhabi. He has close ties to regional leaders.

Division of posts?

While these men and others undoubtedly regard themselves as possible future presidents, there is no clear frontrunner and analysts warn against second-guessing the dynamics within Fatah.

"The names you hear about most often are basically former security people because these are whom Israel is most comfortable with and whom Western donors have interacted with and vetted," says Nathan Thrall of International Crisis Group.

"These sometimes correlate with what’s realistic in Fatah power structures but oftentimes not." One potential post-Abbas scenario would see the division of his titles: president, chairman of Fatah, and head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

If different individuals took these jobs it would allow for a more collective political leadership.

This might involve Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator and secretary general of the PLO, although he has recently suffered from poor health and had a lung transplant.

Another name often mentioned is Nasser al-Kidwa, a former foreign minister and representative to the UN who is also nephew of the revered late leader, Yasser Arafat. However, he recently handed in his resignation to the Fatah Central Committee in a sign of internal strife.

Some predict a dramatic power struggle once Mr Abbas is gone.

For now, though, he is trying to give the impression of being firmly in control and the jockeying for position remains mostly behind the scenes.

Sextortion: Big rise in victims with ‘tens of thousands at risk’

Sextortion: Big rise in victims with 'tens of thousands at risk'

Simon, not his real name, was forced to hand over hundreds of pounds after being blackmailed by an international criminal gang There’s been a big rise in the number of victims of sextortion being reported to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

There were 1,304 cases reported in 2017, up from 428 in 2015 – although the real number of victims is thought to be much higher.

Sextortion is when people, mainly men in their teens and twenties, are talked into letting themselves be filmed carrying out sex acts.

Victims are secretly recorded and then blackmailed by criminal gangs.

Warning: Contains graphic sexual references.

NCA investigators say "tens of thousands" of people are putting themselves at risk.

It happened to one man, who we agreed to call Simon to help try to protect his identity.

"What happened was the computer screen I was looking at flipped – and I was then watching a video of myself back on a loop," he told Newsbeat. "You never expect it to happen to you"

Simon, who is in his twenties, had met a woman online he thought was interested in getting into a relationship with him.

Before long they were making video calls, shortly after that he was getting intimate with her and that’s when he agreed to let himself be filmed masturbating.

"As soon as I saw the screen flip, I knew what was coming," Simon told us.

"I know this sort of stuff happens but you never expect it to happen to you.

"They said: ‘We want £600 or we’re going to send this video to all of your friends and family.’" The National Crime Agency released this video to show how easy it is to be caught out by blackmailers "I was angry at myself"

Simon had just become the victim of an international criminal gang, most likely based in the Philippines.

They’d recorded the footage and were playing it back at him.

"I don’t know how but they’d got the names and contact details of my friends and family and work colleagues.

"It certainly felt a lot more sinister at that point. It felt more real as opposed to just a scam where someone’s trying to rip you off. That’s when it got really serious."

Simon initially transferred £150 to an account in the Philippines hoping his blackmailers would leave him alone. But they didn’t.

Three days later they came back for more. He paid them another £150 and hasn’t heard from them since.

"I was just…not devastated, but more disappointed. That someone would think to do this to someone else.

"I was angry at the person for doing this. I was angry at myself for letting that happen. Being so stupid basically.

"I was worried. It just shocked me."

Simon has since gone to the police and has been given advice on how to help try to catch his blackmailers if they get back in contact. "Tens of thousands of people, mainly young men, are putting themselves at risk of sextortion," according to the National Crime Agency Help and advice

The National Crime Agency says if anyone ever finds themselves being blackmailed in this way the advice is simple.

Don’t panic, don’t pay and call the police .

By its very nature sextortion is an under-reported crime and the few victims that do come forward to police often have no way of knowing who blackmailed them or how to get their money back.

That’s one of the reasons the true number of victims is thought to be much higher than the figures reported to the NCA.

Investigators at the agency believe millions of pounds is blackmailed from victims in the UK each year.

Roy Sinclair from the National Crime Agency told Newsbeat: "Tens of thousands of people, mainly young men, are putting themselves at risk of sextortion.

"Some people have paid the ultimate price and we know of at least five people who’ve taken their own life because they felt there was no other way out." Getting naked on camera: The advice

Joanne Bucko is a Cyber Protect Officer for Avon and Somerset Police and says there are serious risks to getting naked on camera.

"People need to be aware – once that footage is made, it’s gone and it’s out of your hands what happens next," she says.

"Most likely it’s organised crime groups in the Philippines, Morocco. And their job will be to bring cash in from victims all around the world."

As for how serious the problem can get, Joanne is blunt.

"People have killed themselves over this kind of thing in the UK. So it can be very, very serious.

"Just imagine – indecent or naked images of yourself going to your boss, your friends, your family. It can be absolutely devastating and horrendous for those people involved.

"Ultimately we’d advise people not to get naked on webcam – but we understand it happens."

If you want advice about staying safe online, check out BBC Advice .

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