Allentown’s Pride in the Park, for 25th celebration Sunday, brings together ‘LGBT homies’

Allentown's Pride in the Park, for 25th celebration Sunday, brings together 'LGBT homies'

PHOTO GALLERY: The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center presents the 25th Pride in the Park at the the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley on Sunday. A change in venue and threat of rain didn’t keep the crowds away Sunday from the annual Pride in the Park event in Allentown.

Held on the grounds of the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley, the event celebrated its 25th year of bringing the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community together. The event included artisans and craftsmen, musical entertainment as well as food vendors offering burgers, baked goods and funnel cake. No compatible source was found for this media.

Normally held at Cedar Creek Park, the event needed to find a new home due to flooding. It found a willing and accommodating partner in the JCC.

“They share our values and vision for diversity and an inclusive community,” said Adrian Shanker, executive director and founder of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.

After forming Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley in 1993, Shanker brought the community its first Pride in the Park gathering the following year and started the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in 2014, merging it with Pride last year.

Events such as Pride in the Park, he said, are important for advancing the LGBT community’s goals of equality and acceptance. “This is the 25th year of Pride — that milestone is really important for the Lehigh Valley,” he said.

In a continued push for inclusion for underserved classes, the festival this year brought in sign language interpreters for the deaf to aid in stage presentations, and provided reserved parking for those with disabilities.

“We believe pride is for everyone,” Shanker said.

Musical entertainers included the Philadelphia Freedom Band, folk singer Bobby Jo Valentine, electro-pop band Sateen and Interminable, a Spanish jazz/fusion band from Philadelphia.

Drag performers included Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (“Miss Vanjie”), and Alexis Mateo from the VH1 and Logo series “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” now in its 10th season.

Jacqui Armbruster of Topton returned to Pride in the Park again after attending last year’s celebration. Self-identified as bisexual, she said she was seeking her comfort zone — “I wanted to see my fellow LGBT homies” — and was heartened by the diverse turnout.

“It’s nice to be reminded that there are people on our side,” she said.

Sam Callison, an Allentown resident by way of Philadelphia who attended the festival Sunday with his partner Daryl Race, said the event stands for acceptance, awareness and inclusion. “Black, white, green, purple, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

Raising money for HIV prevention and AIDS research is the primary goal of volunteers from Fighting AIDS Continuously Together who stationed themselves at the Bingo tent. But FACT president and founder Carl Mancino said promoting inclusion is just as important. “That’s the whole point of the Pride festival, bringing people together,” he said.

Shanker said he recognized that shifting this year’s venue was stressful for vendors. But he was heartened by a positive response from the public.

And canceling Sunday’s event due to the threat of rain, he said, was never a consideration.

“This event is rain or shine — the LGBT community has weathered a lot more than a couple of drops of rain,” he said.

Kevin Duffy is a freelance writer.

Johor doesn’t recognise LGBT but won’t condone discrimination against it

Johor doesn’t recognise LGBT but won’t condone discrimination against it

KOTA ISKANDAR: The Johor state government will not recognise the LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community but said it shouldn’t be discriminated.

Johor Housing and Rural Development Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad (pix) said we should not discriminate against LGBT in our society, be it in the workplace or when it comes to health services.

"They should enjoy these rights as other normal people do," he said in his winding-up speech at the state assembly here today.

Dzulkefly said it is a sin for Muslim men wear to dress up as women, and for a woman to behave like a man. He added that its is still a sin if such practices were in private.

He said the government sees the LGBT as living a deviant lifestyle, and the Islam religious department would guide them back to normal life through religious teaching and guidance.

He urged all parties not to politise the LGBT issue. There was a fuss after the removal of pictures of pro-LGBT activists from the month-long "Stripes and Strokes" exhibition at the George Town Festival by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

On Aug 17, transgender activist Elisha Kor Krishnan lodged a police report claiming the community has been targeted by abusive comments and it received death threats after the photo exhibition.

LGBT Germans reveal life of insults with #MeQueer

LGBT Germans reveal life of insults with #MeQueer

Germany is seen as a progressive and safe country for LGBT people, but a new social media trend is exposing the daily struggle of many. One user recalls being threatened with the specter of Nazi death camps. A reveller takes part in the annual Christopher Street Day gay pride parade in Cologne, Germany LGBT people in Germany are sweeping Twitter with the hashtag #MeQueer, exposing how difficult life can still be in the country.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer people are using the hashtag, modeled on the #MeToo movement, to expose the reality of their situations.

Read more: Hate crimes against homosexuals on the rise in Germany

‘We used to gas you’

In one tweet, a 19-year-old describes walking through the streets of Berlin wearing a rainbow t-shirt when an elderly man shouts out "When I was young, we fortunately could have gassed you!"

Threats of violence and open insults still persist for many people.

"The worst thing is when I just walk around with my boyfriend holding hands, then get spat on and have insults hurled out of cars at me. I’m not doing anything bad, nothing sexual, I just love my sweetheart," one Twitter user wrote.

"Guy hitting on me and my girlfriend in the bar. We turn him down, sit down. When we leave, he attacks us in the street," another user wrote.

Read more: Germany’s Bundestag passes bill on same-sex marriage

The original poster

"Every time before I take my husband’s hand, I check the area to make sure I’m safe. Sometimes I don’t realize it until after the fact," author Harmut Schrewe wrote.

According to Buzzfeed Germany , Schrewe actually started the hashtag. He is 51 and has been married to his husband since last year.

"I was very grateful for #MeToo and #MeTwo because I could learn from it, and see the world from the perspective of people who have experienced discrimination," he told the online news outlet. "And I sometimes felt caught out. This is my main concern: That people realize ‘I’m hurting someone right now.’"

He said he did not expect so many reactions, "I am grateful and enthusiastic about the courage of the people, the vehemence and the openness. It’s important that no one hides."

Read more: Gay men in Germany earn less than heterosexuals – study

Daily comments

Equally sinister to the threats of violence are the daily comments and subtle insults people endure.

"Years ago, some jerk asked us, ‘Which one of you two is the man?’ I said: ‘On even days me, on odd days her,’" a programmer recalled.

"You’re with a woman? Uh-huh, so you’ve never really had sex," a linguistic scientist user recalled in one conversation with a gynecologist.

Coming out for young people

A common theme of posts was coming out as a child and the reactions of family and friends.

"After my outing, a homophobic — former friend — set me a deadline until I could ‘change my mind’ to continue as his friend," a student wrote.

Others talked about how little homosexuality and gender dysphoria was openly discussed in high school.

"We didn’t have any outed, queer students at school. 2 weeks after graduation: 6 pupils from my class came out," a Twitter user wrote.

"My mother told me not to come out to my grandparents, they would shut me out of the family (with disinheritance and everything)," a cofounder of a political magazine recalled.

"My best schoolmate (15) and I (then 16) took erotic photos of each other. Also naked. And with a boner. The photos were found by his father and my stepfather. We were both beaten up. We never had sex," one blogger wrote.

The hashtag has spread to other countries, including Austria and France, but remains a German-language dominated social media trend.

A study last year found that hate crimes against gay people in Germany was on the rise. Over the first half of 2016 there were 130 hate crimes reported connected with the victim’s sexual orientation. Over the same period in 2016, 102 crimes of the same nature were reported.

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Ruby Rose opens up about her queer icons

Ruby Rose opens up about her queer icons

Ruby Rose has opened up about her queer icons. (them/YouTube) Ruby Rose, who was recently cast as lesbian superhero Batwoman, has shared a video in which she opens up about her queer icons, including Angelina Jolie and Ellen DeGeneres.

The gender-fluid actor, who is openly gay, shared the a snippet of the video on her Instagram account on Saturday (August 18), which was made by LGBT+ publication Them.

In the clip, Rose says: “So, growing up, there wasn’t as many gay, queer, lesbian icons are there are today. And I’m so glad there are so many more.”

She continues: “Angelina Jolie came out as bisexual. That was a great one, I was so stoked.”

Rose went on to discuss an incident where Jolie reportedly said she was “most likely to sleep with my female fans,” after she questioned by reporters when she won an award for being the “most beautiful” person alive.

The actor said of Jolie’s remarks: “I just loved the way she said it, like it was nothing. And, of course it was something to me, and it was something to a lot of people. But for her it was just a throwaway comment.”

Rose even jokingly said: “She could be a penguin and I’d be like, “Gay. I am a gay penguin now.’”

In the full video, posted by Them on YouTube, Rose also discusses her other queer icons, including Ellen DeGeneres and Annie Lennox.

She says that, growing up, Lennox was the “big one because she showed me what androgyny was and how to be unapologetic about the way you look, the way you act, and the way you’re just yourself.”

Later in the video, Rose says: “I wouldn’t want to stand her and say that [LGBT+] kids being born now or being born five, 10 years ago, are not going to encounter a struggle.”

She adds: “I don’t think that [discrimination] is going to be erased entirely in the next five years, 10 years or 20 years. I think we’re on the right path and I think it’s amazing and I feel blessed because I haven’t been through what the people before me went through, and I know the people after me will say the same thing.

“It’s just going to keep being a work in progress.”

Watch the video below: Rose recently deleted her Twitter account , after hitting back at “hurtful” criticism of her casting as lesbian superhero Batwoman.

The former Orange is the New Black star announced last Tuesday that she is set to play the superhero in an upcoming TV series.

The live-action version of Batwoman will debut on existing CW superhero shows Arrow , Supergirl and The Flash , before kick-starting her own solo series. Ruby Rose (LISA O’CONNOR/AFP/Getty) But the casting was met with a mixed reaction from fans.

Some social media users complained about the choice, listing other actors they would have liked to see in the part.

Rose appeared visibly upset about the negative responses , hitting back at critics repeatedly, before quitting Twitter.

Rose previously wrote: “I wish we would all support each other and our journeys.

“When women and when minorities join forces we are unstoppable.. when we tear each other down it’s much more hurtful than from any group. But hey I love a challenge x.” (Photo by DC Comics) She added: “I just wish women and the LGBT community supported each other more. (…) My wish was we were all a little kinder and more supportive of each other.”

The star continued: “Sending everyone my love and gratitude, it’s been a rollercoaster of a year, this month especially.

“I am looking forward to getting more than 4 hours of sleep and to break from Twitter to focus all my energy on my next 2 projects. “If you need me, I’ll be on my Bat Phone. ” Ruby Rose (Getty) In a previous statement announcing her new role, Rose said: “The Bat is out of the bag and I am beyond thrilled and honoured. I’m also an emotional wreck because this is a childhood dream.

“This is something I would have died to have seen on TV when I was a young member of the LGBT community who never felt represented on TV and felt alone and different.

“Thank you everyone. Thank you god.”

The version of Batwoman headed to TV screens is set to remain true to her comics portrayal, where Batwoman has been an out lesbian since 2006.

Prolific producer Greg Berlanti – who has overseen numerous CW shows, as well as hit film Love, Simon – will executive produce the new show. Ruby Rose (Emma McIntyre/Getty) The CW superhero universe is growing significantly, with trans actress Nicole Maines set to play TV’s first transgender superhero on CW show Supergirl.

Animated series The Ray also featured a gay lead.

The diversity within the CW universe stands in stark contrast with the total lack of LGBT characters in blockbuster superhero films.

Police raid Malaysian gay bar to ‘stop the spread of LGBT culture in society’

Police raid Malaysian gay bar to ‘stop the spread of LGBT culture in society’

Malaysian police raided a gay bar in capital Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of Saturday morning. (Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan/Facebook) Malaysian police have raided a gay bar in the country’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, which authorities have said was carried out to “mitigate the LGBT culture from spreading into our society.”

The Blue Boy club in Jalan Sultan Ismail, which lies in the east of the city, was raided at about 1:30am on Saturday morning (August 18), reports national newspaper Berita Harian.

The raid was allegedly carried out by Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI), and the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK).

Regional Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Adnan bin Hj Md Ikshan told the newspaper that the bar was filled with about 100 people, including tourists, at the time of the incident. The police raid took place on Saturday morning. (Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan/Facebook) It is reportedly the first time the club has been raided in its 30 year history.

The regional ministry secretary-general said that a series of raids were carried out in the city after investigations “found that the area had serious drug addiction problems.” However, Khalid Samad, the minister of Federal Territory, implied in an official statement on the Ministry of Federal Territory’s Facebook page that the police action was in response to the club being an LGBT+ venue.

“The government is very serious in dealing with this radical belief. Hopefully this initiative can mitigate the LGBT culture from spreading into our society,” the statement, which describes the venue as a “famous gay club,” reads, according to a translation by Malaysian-English news site World Of Buzz.

According to World Of Buzz, the JAWI gave orders to 20 men arrested during the raid to go to counselling.

Malaysia has a poor record on LGBT+ rights, where homosexual activity remains illegal ever since a ban on sodomy was introduced under British colonial rule.

In 1994, the government also made it illegal for LGBT+ people to make appearances in the state-controlled media. 20 men were reportedly arrested during the police intervention. (Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan/Facebook) A 2015 Human Rights Watch report noted that “discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is pervasive in Malaysia.”

Malaysia’s deputy health minister Lee Boon Chye recently said that LGBT+ people suffer from an “organic disorder.” A government official said that a number of other raids were carried out in the area. (Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan/Facebook) Religious affairs minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa , meanwhile, attracted global attention earlier this month when he ordered two portraits of LGBT+ Malaysian activists be removed from an exhibition.

On August 13, PinkNews reported that two women in the country were sentenced to six lashings each after being arrested for having sex with each other.

Lead singer of Say Anything, Max Bemis, comes out as “bi-ish”

Lead singer of Say Anything, Max Bemis, comes out as “bi-ish”

Instagram The singer also hinted toward an end for Say Anything.

Max Bemis, the lead singer of the band Say Anything, has come out as “bi-ish” or a “straight guy who can also like boys” in an emotional letter.

In a post that Bemis wrote, he explains about how the band will no longer be touring, and how their latest record, Oliver Appropriate, is their first “truly inclusive” album, in which it can be sung by anyone.

Writing in a section entitled “Gay Stuff”, Bemis said: “I have always been bi-ish or queer or a straight guy who can also like boys. I always talked or joked about it with my friends and found it to be blatantly clear I was.”

Bemis then opened up about being bullied because of his sexuality, writing: “I was bullied for it and called a ‘fag’ (without irony). This is, sadly, common. I’m not special.”

He then added, that many people initially thought that his sexuality stemmed from his bi-polar disorder. “They chalked it up to my bipolar shit, which was hurtful,” he wrote.

“They also minimized it because I found true love early in life, and saw that as a negation of my sexuality, or at least a minimization of my right to even identify as bisexual or queer.”

Bemis then wrote: “I’ve always been somewhat of a monogamist and my queer experiences were limited and remain mostly emotional ones. I don’t feel threatened or scared because I grew up with some amount of privilege in that regard, coming from a supportive, liberal family.

“So I’m not minimizing how hard that can be for other people. I get that I have it easy.”

Writing about the album, Bemis said that he partly associates himself with, writing that Oliver was a “man who kisses boys at beer-soaked coke parties as some kind of ironic joke instead of because he actually allows himself to find them attractive in an emotional sense.”

He further added: “See, falling in love with boys has always been a weird pastime for me. And most sane, nice people can do it happily, whether it’s platonically or romantically.

“Oliver (in the loosest sense one can imagine and creatively speaking) showed me what it’s like to fear being true to yourself.”

Related: Jason Mraz has opened up about his ‘two spirit’ sexuality GAY TIMES AUGUST 2018. Get inside the latest Gay Times to discover exclusive interviews with Lizzo, Derek Chadwick, the cast of Transparent, Aquaria and many more! BUY NOW .

In Haiti, slight progress for LGBT rights is seen as victory

In Haiti, slight progress for LGBT rights is seen as victory

Yaisah Val, 46, a transgender woman, watches a movie with her husband, Richecarde Val, 28, in their home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. — AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Yaisah Val recently came out publicly as a transgender woman on YouTube, a potentially risky move in a country like Haiti where LGBT residents face pervasive hostility in most spheres of public life.

Two proposed anti-LGBT laws are pending in Parliament. The major churches are firm in their condemnation of homosexuality. Gay Haitians are frequent targets of attacks and harassment, and police are often unsympathetic to victims of anti-gay violence.

“We told my family beforehand,” Val told The Associated Press of her decision to come out. “And they said, ‘You’re going to be stoned.’”

Instead, Val says she’s developed a supportive fan base — many of them straight people and mothers who gratefully view her as a role model for their transgender daughters. Val says she’s occasionally recognized on the streets by people who want to be photographed with her. And she recently attended a meeting in Washington, D.C., as part of a delegation trying to strengthen LGBT rights in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Her situation is indicative of the struggle for LGBT rights in Caribbean nations like Haiti, where incremental progress toward acceptance is seen as a major step in the face of deep-rooted cultural opposition to gays. Val and other activists have been pushing for greater equality and access to education, and have been welcomed into some broader civil-society initiatives, including events supported by Haiti’s first lady.

They also realize it’s an uphill fight in a country with a strong anti-gay stigma — contributing to an HIV prevalence rate among gay men that’s nine times higher than for the adult population as a whole.

The SEROvie Foundation, a 20-year-old organization providing free HIV treatment and prevention services for LGBT Haitians, says many gay and bisexual men avoid seeking care because they fear mistreatment or disclosure of personal details. Executive director Reginald Dupont said several men had committed suicide in the city of Jeremie after their HIV status was publicly revealed.

As a precaution against harassment, there’s no exterior sign identifying the foundation’s main clinic in Port-au-Prince — a two-story building in a neighborhood housing several international organizations.

The complex includes an emergency shelter in the rear courtyard where victims of anti-gay violence and harassment can stay for up to two weeks. It was busy last year, staffers said, when debate in the Senate over anti-gay laws triggered a spate of attacks.

According to the latest figures from UNAIDS — the United Nations agency that fights HIV and AIDS — about 2.1 percent of all Haitian adults are living with HIV, while prevalence rate among gay and bisexual men is 18.2 percent.

The overall HIV prevalence rate, though still among the highest in the Western Hemisphere, is down sharply from a decade ago. UNAIDS says new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have both decreased by about 25 percent since 2010.

However, further progress will be difficult without addressing the persistently high infection rate among gays and bisexuals, said Dr. Jean William Pape, who founded Haiti’s largest HIV/AIDs organization in 1982 and also teaches at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

Anti-gay bias is prevalent even among health care providers, said Pape, who recounted how one of his senior staff members complained about the flamboyant appearance of some gay men.

“I told him, ‘They can look the way they want. Our job is to provide care,’” Pape said.

The head of the UNAIDS operation in Haiti, Yafflo Outarra, says he and officials of other humanitarian organizations have been prodding the government to be more active in countering anti-LGBT prejudice. But he acknowledges the task is daunting, given the results of a survey last year commissioned by Haiti’s Health Ministry with support from UNAIDS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the 1,089 respondents in the nationwide survey, 90 percent rejected the idea of equal rights for LGBT people and 75 percent said Haiti should ban gays and lesbians from entering the country.

“The results were not encouraging,” Outarra said.

Given that background, it’s striking that Haiti’s most prominent LGBT activist, while dismayed at the hostility, is hopeful about the future.

“More and more young people, bringing their skills, are getting engaged in our fight,” said Charlot Jeudy, president of Kouraj, Haiti’s leading LGBT-rights group. Jeudy founded the group in 2011, seeking to counter anti-gay sentiment that intensified after the previous year’s devastating earthquake.

Prior to Kouraj’s founding, Haiti’s LGBT community remained largely underground because of social stigma, even though there are no laws criminalizing homosexual relations as there are in several English-speaking Caribbean nations. Two years ago, an LGBT cultural festival in Port-au-Prince was canceled after organizers received threats and a local official, calling it a violation of moral values, sought to ban it. — (AP)

Last year, Haiti’s Senate passed two bills targeting LGBT Haitians. One would formalize a ban on same-sex marriage, and prohibit public demonstrations in favor of LGBT rights. The other would include gays among categories of people who could be denied a “certificate of good standing” — a document required as part of many job applications.

Kouraj and other advocacy groups, as well as some foreign diplomats and international organizations, voiced opposition to both bills, which have not advanced in Parliament’s lower house.

Jeudy attributes much of the anti-LGBT animosity to the influence of Haiti’s Catholic and Protestant churches. The main exception, Jeudy said, is the Voodoo religion, which is more welcoming to LGBT people in keeping with its tradition as a spiritual home for marginalized communities.

Yaisah Val’s husband, Richecarde, experienced religious disapproval firsthand. When he told his father, a Protestant pastor, that he planned to marry a transgender woman, his father replied, “You know that’s the devil.”

Richecarde subsequently left the church, is estranged from his father, and devotes himself to the cause of transgender rights.

Yaisah Val, who is now 46, started her gender transition at age 29 in Haiti and completed it five years later with sex-reassignment surgery in Philadelphia.

She and her husband are now seeking to raise funds to open a first-of-its-kind shelter for transgender Haitians that would help them pursue an education and get appropriate health care.

“Most people want to be activists behind the scenes,” she said. “If you really want to make change, you need to be out and about in public.”

LGBT activist: What is ‘political suicide’ compared to actual suicide?

LGBT activist: What is 'political suicide' compared to actual suicide?

PETALING JAYA: "While you worry your career will die, we worry people want us dead," says Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activist Pang Khee Teik.

In a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 17), Pang condemned the comparison between "political suicide" and actual suicide, and described how difficult it was to be part of the LGBT community in Malaysia.

"Instead of funding research on LGBT mental health and suicide and improving resilience, the Government is funding institutes on ‘curing’ LGBT people.

"We are told: Stop being LGBT and you will be fine.

"You tell us to keep things private, but you have done nothing to help our families accept us. Instead you teach them to correct us and bully us into conforming," he wrote.

Pang said "social stigma" isolated the LGBT community and made them vulnerable to depression.

"When their mental health takes a dip, it simply spirals inwards, sucking them into a darkness from which they may not emerge," he said.

Pang added that he was "tired" of politicians saying that they couldn’t speak about LGBT issues because it would be "political suicide".

Touching on actual suicide, he said "it is what LGBT youths are actually contemplating" due to the "homophobia and transphobia" they face in Malaysia.

On Friday, hours before Pang’s Facebook post, reports emerged of a man being arrested in Seremban for allegedly assaulting a transgender woman.

So far today (Aug 18), the victim’s condition is still unknown.

Earlier this month, Pang and fellow activist Nisha Ayub had their portraits removed from the month-long "Stripes and Strokes" exhibition at the George Town Festival by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

Dr Mujahid said it was because the portraits were "promoting LGBT activities", and this was not in line with the Government’s policies.

Both Nisha and Pang were portrayed holding the Jalur Gemilang in prints.

"Stop comparing your political career to actual suicides if you are just making excuses. There are people so marginalised that the very people who should protect us won’t.

"Tell me, how is a marginalised person supposed to deal with hearing that they are like poison to your careers?" said Pang in the same Facebook post.

LGBTI inmates win lawsuit, to receive $1 million for bigoted treatment

LGBTI inmates win lawsuit, to receive $1 million for bigoted treatment

Major Pride parade postponed due to killer floods in India Sheriff’s officials had claimed the isolation was to protect inmates from harassment. | Photo: Pixabay The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department have agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming LGBTI inmates were confined to their cells for up to 23 hours a day.

They were also allegedly prohibited from taking part in jail programs. The decision was taken on 15 August and still needs to be approved by U.S. District Court in Riverside. If so, it would mark another victory for the ACLU in its battle for equal treatment of inmates in Southern California jails.

The 2014 lawsuit shed a light on the unfair treatment of gay, bisexual, trans and intersex inmates at San Bernardino County jail. The plaintiffs were housed in the so-called county’s Alternative Lifestyle isolation tank.

Despite sheriff’s officials had claimed the isolation was to protect inmates from harassment, LGBTI inmates complained their removal from activities could compromise their life out of prison. LGBTI inmates couldn’t take part in special programs

Lynn Price is a transgender woman and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. She said she would have participated in the General Education Development (GED) program offered at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga if she had the opportunity.

‘So when I got out, I would be able to do something. I’d be ready for society,’ she said.

But Price and other LGBTI men and women had to stay in their cells for all but an hour a day. They were also denied access to the jail’s job training, educational, drug rehabilitation, religious and community re-entry programs.

Price explained they all experienced discrimination.

‘Everybody else, all the non-gay people, they could do the things they wanted to do. But us, there was nothing we could do.’

ACLU officials confirmed the Alternative Lifestyle Tank housed 600 people between 2012 and 2018.

Lynn Price had to spend up to 23 hours a day in her cell. | Photo: Flickr/Travis Wise ‘It was a very lonely thing’

Price was in her 50s when police arrested her for narcotics possession in 2012. She was wearing makeup, a dress and heels at the time of arrest.

At the West Valley Detention Center, Price said she was classified as an LGBTI inmate and placed on virtual lockdown. She explained she had only an hour a day to shower, make a phone call or watch television.

‘It was a very lonely thing. It kind of tends to wear you down,’ she said.

Upon being released in 2014, Price joined a lawsuit against the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department by former Indiana sheriff’s deputy Dan McKibben. A gay man, McKibben, too, spent 23 hours a day in his cell and couldn’t participate in a work program.

According to McKibben, who died in 2016, sheriff’s deputies beat up and verbal abused LGBTI inmates. Price said she experienced the same kind of verbal discrimination. The plaintiffs might receive $1 million

‘The [San Bernardino County] jail maintains the discrimination folks experienced was for their own safety,’ ACLU Southern California attorney Brendan Hamme told .

‘But jails have an obligation to keep everyone safe while providing equal access to opportunities in jail.

‘No one should be led to choose between their safety and their equal rights.’

According to the terms of the agreement, LGBTI inmates will have more housing options and a broader access to programs.

Furthermore, jail staffers will receive special training. The county also agreed to pay $1 million to plaintiffs. The amount will be split between those incarcerated in the Alternative Lifestyle Tank from 2012 to 2018, as well as attorney’s fees.

Price, who has worked at an Ontario motel since her release, commented on the settlement. She said she’s glad she was able to help other LGBTI inmates in their struggle for equal treatment.

‘Somebody had to speak for those who didn’t know what to say,’ she told

GSN has reached out to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for comments. Read more from Gay Star News:

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Guess which bisexual actress is among the ten highest-paid in the world

Guess which bisexual actress is among the ten highest-paid in the world

Russian local authorities approve Pride march, then ban it less than 24 hours later Scarlett Johansson stepped down from playing a trans man in Rub & Tug after backlash. Forbes has revealed this year’s top 10 of highest-paid actresses in the world.

Emma Stone, 2017’s number one, has virtually handed her crown and scepter to Scarlett Johansson.

ScarJo, who recently stepped down from portraying a trans character , leads this year’s ranking with $40.5 million. The ranking covers the period going from June 2017 to June 2018.

During that time, Johansson played a bride-to-be in Rough Night and reprised her superhero role of Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow in the Marvel universe. Avengers: Infinity War, released last May, was her biggest salary bump.

She has also voiced Nutmeg, one of the dogs of Wes Anderson’s latest movie, Isle of Dogs. Angelina Jolie made the top 10

‘I have a very fortunate life’ Angelina Jolie | Photo: BBC News YouTube

The 2018 ranking features Angelina Jolie. She perched atop Forbes magazine’s list of the top-paid actresses for the fourth time.

The openly bisexual actress ranked second in 2018. She made $28 million thanks in part to her upfront pay for Maleficent 2.

Reportedly, she was the only woman in Forbes’ list of best-paid actors in 2013, when she earned $33 million for the first movie of the Disney’s franchise. The ten highest-paid actresses

Hold tight, no black or Asian actresses feature in the ranking.

Here are the 10 best-paid actresses according to Forbes:

1. Scarlett Johansson, $40.5 million

2. Angelina Jolie, who made $28 million

3. Jennifer Aniston, whose $19.5 million mostly comes from endorsements

4. Jennifer Lawrence, who was paid $18 million for X-Men, Mother! and Red Sparrow

5. Reese Witherspoon, who earned $16.5 million, with her high-profile projects, Big Little Lies and A Wrinkle In Time

6. Mila Kunis, $16 million for Bad Moms and The Spy Who Dumped Me

7. Julia Roberts, $13 million for Wonder

8. Cate Blanchett, $12.5 million for her projects, including Thor: Ragnarok Ocean’s 8

9. Melissa McCarthy, $12 million for her roles in Life Of The Party and soon to be released Happytime Murders and Can You Ever Forgive Me

10. Gal Gadot, $10 million for her role in Wonder Woman

If you think these salaries are impressive, however, you might want to think twice.

Although undoubtedly high, none of these compares to the $124 million made by The Rock, labeled 2018’s highest-paid actor by Forbes. Gender pay gap much? Read more from Gay Star News: