LGBT activists say new bills — including one in Colorado — target transgender youth

LGBT activists say new bills — including one in Colorado — target transgender youth

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis delivers his second state of the state address in the House chambers at the state Capitol on January 9, 2020 in Denver. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun) By Lindsay Whitehurst and David Crary , The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — At the urging of conservative advocacy groups, Republican legislators in more than a dozen states are promoting bills that focus on transgender young people. One batch of bills would bar doctors from providing them certain gender-related medical treatment; another batch would bar trans students from participating on school sports teams of the gender they identify with.

The proposed laws, if enacted, “would bring devastating harms to the transgender community,” said Chase Strangio, a transgender-rights lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.

He warned that the medical bans — now pending in Colorado , Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota and likely to surface elsewhere — could trigger suicides among young people yearning to undergo gender transition.

The bills’ goals have been endorsed by several national conservative groups, including Alliance Defending Freedom and Eagle Forum. “We’ve got lots of legislators working on this,” said Gayle Ruzicka, an activist with Eagle Forum’s Utah chapter. “We don’t let this happen to children.”

The bill recently introduced in South Dakota would make it a felony for medical providers to perform operations or administer hormone therapy to help minors change their gender. The Missouri bill would subject doctors to revocation of their license if they administered gender-reassignment treatment, and parents who consented to such treatment would be reported to child-welfare officials for child abuse.

“I cannot imagine what happens to transgender people if these criminal bans pass,” said the ACLU’s Strangio, a transgender man. “I don’t think we can possibly raise the alarm enough, because people are going to die.”

The medical director of the Trevor Project, a youth suicide prevention service, also expressed dismay, saying the bills could deprive some young people of potentially life-saving treatment. “They would force doctors to make an untenable decision and could result in their imprisonment for providing best-practice medical care,” said Dr. Alexis Chavez, a transgender psychiatrist.

A Utah legislator, Republican Rep. Brad Daw, said he has accepted Eagle Forum’s request to begin drafting such a bill, though his current proposal now contains some changes from the language suggested by the advocacy group.

While his bill would ban surgeries and hormone therapy for minors, it would allow puberty blockers — medications that temporarily puts puberty on hold.

“We want to do what we think is reasonable practice, which is put off that kind of one-way ticket decision until the youth is an adult,” he said.

Daw said he wants to be sensitive and respectful to transgender kids and their families but remains concerned about medical steps toward transitioning.

“What we want is really good policy off the bat,” said Daw, who’s still drafting the bill for the legislative session that begins Jan. 27.

For transgender kids and their families, though, the idea of putting those steps out of reach is terrifying. Robyn Rumsey of Roy, Utah said her child was withdrawn and angry before coming out as transgender at age 12.

“As parents we were completely thrown, to say the least,” she said. In consultation with a counselor and doctors, Dex Rumsey gradually began wearing short hair and boy’s clothes, then began using puberty blockers and eventually testosterone.

“It wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly,” Robyn Rumsey said. It’s made her son, now 15, into a happy, thriving person, she said. The family is considering surgery later this year.

“We have seen this child completely turn around,” she said. Dex considered suicide before coming out, and if he didn’t have access to hormones she worries those thoughts would return. Just learning about the idea of a ban sent him into a panic and a sleepless night, she said.

“I know that it would be a life or death situation for my son. We would be desperate to find help and medication for him,” she said.

Dex Rumsey said the time since he’s started hormone therapy has been the happiest of his life.

“I was never comfortable under my own skin. I always felt wrong, disgusting and I hated myself. These hormones have allowed me to feel comfortable with who I am. It’s allowed me to be happier. I don’t hate myself, I’m not depressed, I don’t feel suicidal anymore,” he said.

That kind of sentiment should be a particular concern to state leaders looking to bring down the state’s suicide rate, said Troy Williams with the group Equality Utah.

If a law were to pass, Dex Rumsey said he’d want to leave the state. “I don’t think they realize the damage these types of things are causing,” he said.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is also leading a nationwide campaign to prevent transgender girls from competing with other girls in high school sports. It has filed a federal discrimination complaint on behalf of Connecticut girls who competed in track-and-field and say state’s inclusive policy on transgender athletes has cost them top finishes and possibly college scholarships.

“Forcing female athletes to compete against biological males isn’t fair and destroys their athletic opportunities,” said attorney Matt Sharp, the ADF’s state government relations director. “Likewise, every child deserves a childhood that allows them to experience puberty and other natural changes that shape who they will become.”

So far this year, bills to restrict transgender students’ sports participation are pending in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Washington state, according to the ACLU. Idaho State Rep. Barbara Ehardt told the Idaho Statesman she’s preparing a similar bill. In several cases, the bills would override trans-inclusive policies adopted by state high school athletic associations.

The Alabama measure, titled the Gender Is Real Legislative Act, would bar any K-12 public school from participating in interscholastic sports events which allow trans athletes to compete according to their gender identity.

“The GIRL Bill seeks to support female student-athletes, so that they may compete against each other and not have to compete against male students with an unfair advantage,” said the bill’s author, Rep. Chris Pringle.

Several national women’s rights and sports organizations are pushing back, saying that barring transgender people from sports teams aligning with their gender identity often means they are “excluded from participating altogether.”

Crary reported from New York

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Fighting for LGBT rights in Myanmar with a ”pink pinky”

Fighting for LGBT rights in Myanmar with a ''pink pinky''

Yangon, Jan 22 (AFP) LGBT activists in Myanmar campaigning to decriminalise same-sex relations are urging thousands of people to paint their little finger pink as they try to highlight the issue ahead of elections later this year.

Although space is opening up for the LGBT community in the conservative country, same-sex relations are still illegal, a legacy of former colonial power Britain.

At the "pink pinky" campaign launch on Wednesday — held ahead of a Pride party in Yangon this weekend expected to attract more than 10,000 people — rights groups called for the ban to be repealed and for an anti-discrimination law to be enacted.

Fronting the movement is Myanmar”s Miss Universe contestant, who came out publicly as lesbian late last year — the first to do so in the event”s history.

"We need legal protection, we need legal recognition and we need legal reform," Hla Myat Tun, deputy director of the group Colours Rainbow, told AFP.

This year”s Pride is the country”s sixth edition and biggest so far, spanning three weekends and multiple locations across the commercial hub, with organisers calling for attendees to show support with their hands.

The country is likely to hold elections in November and activists have been working closely with counterparts in India, where the country”s highest court revoked a similar law in 2018.

Hla Myat Tun said the victory had huge ramifications for Myanmar too.

"What are the lessons, what things can we learn, what things can we apply here?" Miss Universe beauty queen Swe Zin Htet will on Saturday receive the Pride”s "Hero" award for an outstanding contribution to the LGBT cause.

The 21-year-old said coming out was not easy but it was the right decision, and "so many people" had offered her support.

A prominent suicide of a gay man last year blamed on workplace bullying cast a spotlight on the long-marginalised community in Myanmar. (AFP) SCY

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

Shrewsbury book collector gifts LGBT ‘legacy’

Shrewsbury book collector gifts LGBT 'legacy'

Jonathan Cutbill studied natural sciences at Cambridge and was also a keen bird watcher and photographer An LGBT book collector "passionate about justice" has left his 30,000-piece collection to a university.

Jonathan Cutbill, a founder of Gay’s The Word bookshop in London’s Bloomsbury, died last May aged 82.

His collection, which dates back to 1760, will be moved from his Shrewsbury home to the University of London.

Geoff Hardy, a friend of Mr Cutbill, said the "incredible legacy" featured the history of LGBT issues and the oppression people had faced.

Mr Cutbill’s collection includes novels, pamphlets and newspapers, including all the copies of Gay News, which ran for 11 years. The collection includes novels by famous authors Mr Hardy said his friend of 40 years began collecting in the 1970s, ahead of the bookshop’s opening.

"The idea was to stock the books that other people were not stocking, but also to become a bookshop with the knowledge of LGBTQ history and literature," he said.

"Not only is it a phenomenal collection dating way back to 1760, it is also catalogued and cross referenced – he was a museum man."

Mr Cutbill’s obituary in The Guardian, details how the Bloomsbury shop was raided by customs officers in 1984 and Mr Cutbill was among those accused of conspiracy to import obscene material.

Mr Hardy said the raid, in which some books were confiscated, sparked a campaign by publishers and booksellers, who raised money to defend the charges.

They were eventually dropped.

Mr Cutbill had faced prejudice as a gay man and was "most proud" of setting up the shop and how it had changed lives and supported people, Mr Hardy said.

"He was passionate about justice," he added.

"And not just LGBTQ justice. Justice." One article in the Daily Mirror from 1949 told the story of a soldier who dressed as a woman to perform as a fire eater Mr Hardy first spotted Mr Cutbill in a military parade in London’s Blackheath.

"In the middle of this military tattoo there are two youngish guys hand-in-hand with hennaed hair swishing their way through and kissing – this is 1976," he said.

"And I just thought, ‘I have to get to know this man’."

The collection includes publications such as Mancunian Gay and Gay Midlands and community newspapers.

Mr Hardy said many such publications sprung up in the 1970s and 1980s and included information about groups and meetings and were a "complete lifeline" for gay people who felt isolated. Geoff Hardy and Sue Gorbing, of Sand (Safe Ageing No Discrimination) were among Mr Cutbill’s friends Mr Cutbill’s collection includes novels, pamphlets and newspapers Maria Castrillo, head of special collections and engagement at London University’s Senate House Library, said the collection would help fill "fundamental gaps" in LGBT history.

She added the library "recognises the unique qualities of the collection and would like to develop it" and hoped it would be a catalyst for research and community engagement.

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Petition revives calls for LGBT street names

Petition revives calls for LGBT street names

A man has started a petition to change the name of Isis Street to Harvey Milk Street. Photo: Courtesy Twitter A petition to rename a South of Market street after Harvey Milk has reignited the issue of honoring LGBT leaders with street names in San Francisco.

Last week, a change.org petition ( https://bit.ly/2uNuSg9 ) was created that asks Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to change the name of Isis Street, a small side street in the South of Market neighborhood, to Harvey Milk Street.

As of Tuesday, it had garnered 45 signatures toward a goal of 100.

The first such proposal to rename a street after Milk failed to gather steam back in 1999. Milk was the first openly gay man elected to office in San Francisco and California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He was assassinated the next year.

But now the creator of the petition — David Collins, 59, a straight ally who owns property on Isis Street — said he would be open to renaming the street after someone else, after members of the LGBT community indicated in Facebook discussions after the Bay Area Reporter’s initial January 15 article online that a street in SOMA should be named for a member of the leather community, or that Milk should be honored with a different street.

"Maybe instead of Isis Street, it could be something that has a patriotic connotation like Veterans Street," Collins said in a January 17 interview with the B.A.R., adding that he may rework his efforts to reflect that. "The most compelling thing is to take the Isis name off.

"The LGBT community is in a better position to name Harvey Milk street, and I would support that," he added.

Terry Beswick, the executive director of the GLBT Historical Society, wrote on Facebook that he would support renaming Market Street for Milk. The 1999 proposal would have renamed a section of Market Street for Milk.

Gerard Koskovich, also of the GLBT Historical Society, suggested renaming Isis Street for Michel Foucault, the French philosopher who frequented the SOMA LGBT scene and died of complications from AIDS in 1984.

At least two San Francisco supervisors expressed their support for the idea after the initial petition was launched. District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney (Isis Street is in his district) wrote to the Bay Area Reporter via text message, "I love it."

"I’m definitely for more streets named after our local LGBT heroes, and it’d be amazing to have a street named after Harvey Milk in West SOMA," Haney wrote. "It’s a great location for that. I’ll check in with the community about it and next steps."

Gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, the lone LGBT member of the board, wrote to the B.A.R. that he supports having a street named for Milk, but would prefer it if such a street would be in the Castro neighborhood that Milk represented.

"I’m a fan of naming everything we can after Harvey Milk! Naming a San Francisco street after Harvey certainly seems appropriate, though I’d obviously love for it to be in the neighborhood he represented on the Board of Supervisors," wrote Mandelman, who now represents the Castro at City Hall. "I’m happy to have discussions about any possibilities with community members and friends and family of Harvey’s."

Isis Street is near the SF Eagle leather bar and the under-construction Eagle Plaza in the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District.

"Its name presumably had paid homage to ‘Isis,’ a goddess from the polytheistic pantheon of Egypt," the petition states. "Unfortunately, Isis has taken on a new, maleficent meaning, referencing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

"This petition will be presented to San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in hopes that they will take action and change this street name to Harvey Milk St.," it reads.

Collins spoke with the B.A.R. by phone early January 16. He owns a 10-unit building on Isis Street.

"How would you like to be a disabled American veteran in your wheelchair on Isis Street?" he asked.

Collins said that his proposal is primarily about getting the Isis name off the street while honoring Milk, saying his LGBT relatives and friends might not have come out if not for Milk. The gay leader, both in his political columns he wrote for the B.A.R. and in his campaign stump speeches, implored LGBT people to come out of the closet.

"This isn’t about me," Collins said. "If someone in the LGBT community wants to take the mantle, I don’t mind. But if it starts with me, it’s OK. I just want a more positive name for the street and neighborhood."

Collins feels that the location is appropriate because of the historic LGBT presence in the South of Market neighborhood.

"We have the Eagle Plaza on one side and Folsom Street on the other side," Collins said. "Harvey Milk would fit right in."

Robert Goldfarb, a gay man who serves as the president of the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District board, wrote in an email to the B.A.R. January 16 he will see what people in the area think of the proposal.

"Naturally, we are in favor of ways to honor Harvey Milk and we’re also interested in what the residents think of the change," Goldfarb wrote. "Additionally, we believe that on other streets in the leather & LGBTQ district, there are many ways to commemorate leather leaders and the neighborhood’s rich history which would benefit everyone who visits, works, or lives in the district."

Collins said that he reached out to then-District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim "four or five years ago" about the possibility of a name-change for Isis Street and she said she would support it if Collins got a petition started. But at the time he thought that ISIS would fade from people’s memories, and he was occupied with other things.

"I thought ISIS would go away, but in the meantime it’s only gotten worse," he said.

Kim did not respond to a request for comment.

Past effort unsuccessful
San Francisco does not have a street named for the slain LGBT civil rights icon. San Diego had the first street named for Milk, in 2012. Salt Lake City named a street for Milk in 2016, followed by Portland, Oregon in 2018.

Twenty-one years ago a proposal to rename a stretch of Market Street from Octavia Boulevard to Portola Drive — a main artery through the heart of the city’s LGBT Castro district — after Milk went nowhere. A resident and business owner of the Castro, Milk represented the neighborhood at City Hall for 11 months in 1978 until he was assassinated November 27 that year.

That proposal from the Castro Citizens Congress, a neighborhood improvement group, needed 10,500 signatures to make the November 1999 ballot, according to a contemporaneous story in the San Francisco Examiner.

It didn’t make it, according to the San Francisco Department of Elections website.

But in the City by the Bay, and especially in the Castro neighborhood, Milk’s name is still omnipresent.

The San Francisco Public Library branch in the Castro is named for Milk, as is the plaza above the Castro Muni station, and the LGBTQ Democratic club he founded after his 1976 election defeat (originally called the Gay Democratic Club).

Milk’s name appears on Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport, the building that houses a Job Corps center on Treasure Island, an elementary school in the Castro, and an arts center in Duboce Triangle.

Milk also has an F Market streetcar, a bust in City Hall, a United States Postal Service stamp (2014), and a state holiday of special significance on May 22, Milk’s birthday.

The U.S. Navy announced last month that it began construction on a ship named for Milk.

Street names
Any request for a street renaming faces a lengthy process. It would need to be scheduled for a supervisors committee and voted on by the full board.

Several street names in San Francisco have changed in recent decades to reflect the diversity of the city’s population. Most notably, there was a bitter fight in 1995 over Army Street.

The Board of Supervisors voted to rename the street after Latino labor leader Cesar Chavez in 1995. But the name change came at a time of racial discord in California in the aftermath of the anti-immigrant Proposition 187, and many white residents wanted the name changed back to Army.

A ballot proposition to remove Chavez’s name went down in defeat November 7, 1995 by 54%-45%, according to the elections department.

In more recent years, there was considerably less controversy when Phelan Way was renamed in 2018 for Latina bisexual artist Frida Kahlo, and when a block of 16th Street was renamed 1 José Sarria Court, after the first openly gay candidate for public office in the United States. Sarria, a legendary drag queen, ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961 and founded the Imperial Court system.

That block, where the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library is located, was renamed for Sarria in 2006, when he was still alive. (Sarria died in 2013.)

The city has also bestowed honorary street names that recognize LGBT community members, meaning that they do not impact the mailing addresses for businesses and residences on that block.

The 100 block of Taylor Street was renamed Gene Compton’s Cafeteria Way after the business where a transgender-led uprising against police brutality occurred in 1966, three years before the more famous Stonewall riots in Manhattan.

The 100 block of Turk Street was named Vicki Mar Lane, after trans performer Vicki Marlane, who died in 2011 at the age of 76 due to AIDS-related complications.Marlane had hosted a popular drag revue show at gay bar Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, which is located at 133 Turk Street. She is the first transgender person to be honored with a street naming in San Francisco.In 2014, Lech Walesa Alley between Polk Street and Van Ness Avenue was renamed Dr. Tom Waddell Place, due in part, to the former Polish leader making homophobic comments. Waddell was the founder of the Gay Games.A block of Myrtle Street near City Hall is named for lesbian author Alice B. Toklas, who was born nearby. And Jack Kerouac Alley in North Beach honors the bisexual Beat Generation writer.

Nashville council passes resolution condemning Tennessee’s anti-LGBT adoption bill

Nashville council passes resolution condemning Tennessee's anti-LGBT adoption bill

Nashville council passes resolution condemning Tennessee’s anti-LBGT adoption bill (Stuart Deming)<p>{/p} NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Nashville council members are taking a stand against a Tennessee bill that would allow some adoption agencies to deny gay couples.

During a meeting on Tuesday, Metro Council members passed a resolution to formally condemn an anti-LGBT bill, citing it could result in boycotts of businesses across the state.

“We’d like to send a message to residents and to prospective businesses that Tennessee is a welcoming place,” District 8 Council Member Nancy VanReece said.

Council members said the bill would have “terrible, tremendous negative impact on the finances of Nashville.” During the meeting Councilmember Steve Glover left the meeting, telling FOX 17 News that he’s "not comfortable discussing social issues."

Online Extra: CA LGBTs urged to fill out census forms

Online Extra: CA LGBTs urged to fill out census forms

Equality California Institute Executive Director Rick Zbur said the organization is launching a campaign for LGBT people to pledge to complete the 2020 census. Photo: Courtesy EQCA With billions of federal funding at stake and California at risk of seeing its congressional representation diminish, the state’s LGBT residents are being urged to fill out their 2020 census forms. Doing so is being pitched as a way to not only protect the Golden State’s political clout and financial resources but also as a protest against the Trump administration’s rollback of federal LGBT rights and protections.

During the Obama administration, a working group of federal agencies had been looking at including questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on the 2020 census form but the final decision was left up to the administration of his successor. And in March 2017, nearly two months after President Donald Trump took office, the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed the forms would not include SOGI questions, causing an uproar among LGBT groups and federal lawmakers supportive of seeing the census collect SOGI data.

Since then LGBT groups and advocates have been using the hashtag #WillBeCounted on social media platforms to drum up awareness about the importance of taking part in the census despite the lack of the SOGI questions. It is especially critical in California, where for the first time in the state’s history it could lose a House seat in Congress because the state’s population is no longer growing as fast as several Western and Southern states that are expected to pick up House seats next year.

Not only is the census population count used to allocate House seats to the states, it also determines funding for myriad social services, from food stamps and Medicaid to Section 8 housing vouchers and community health centers.

Equality California, the statewide LGBT advocacy group, on its website is asking people to pledge that they will fill out their census forms this spring. For the first time people will be able to do so online, or they can return the printed forms that will be mailed to them by April 15.

"Thank you for taking the pledge and letting the Trump-Pence administration know we #WillBeCounted!" states a note that pops up on the screen of those who fill out the online form.

Pledge to be counted
Starting Wednesday (January 22) EQCA will be running ads on Facebook and the hookup app Grindr to encourage people to sign the pledge. It is part of a $1 million campaign the agency is undertaking this year to ensure LGBT people fill out the census.

"The 2020 census is nothing less than a fight for our future — a future that values diversity and invests in the communities that need it most," stated Equality California Institute Executive Director Rick Zbur. "Too often, California’s diverse LGBTQ community is undercounted — which denies us power, representation and funding for programs that the most vulnerable members of our community need to survive. There’s far too much at stake to allow that to happen in 2020. LGBTQ Californians will be counted."

The bulk of the money came from a grant EQCA received from the California Complete Count Office, which is overseeing the state’s 2020 census efforts. It also received funding from the California Community Foundation specifically for outreach efforts in Los Angeles County and from the California Wellness Foundation for its statewide efforts.

"Right now we are just asking people to pledge to complete the census. In March, we will be doing follow up outreach to people to remind them to fill out the census," said EQCA spokesman Samuel Garrett-Pate.

EQCA has been working with a coalition of LGBT groups around the state to prepare for this year’s census. A major awareness drive was conducted last year at Pride events across the Golden State.

Amanda McAllister-Wallner, director of the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, told the Bay Area Reporter that the census campaign generated overwhelmingly positive reactions.

"I think people were both receptive to the idea of being counted and that this is important for these services that are important to me and the community," said McAllister-Wallner, adding that the Trump administration’s attempts not to count LGBT people in various government surveys also registered. "They are attacking you at the federal level constantly and this is an opportunity to fight back and demand I will be counted in the census. It is a way for people to say, ‘You can’t erase me. You can’t erase my community.’"

The decennial count of the nation’s population will fall short in terms of collecting exact data on the number of LGBT residents, since the 2020 census will not be asking people to specify if they identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. In terms of a person’s gender, the only choice one can select is either male or female.

There will be a question where same-sex couples can clearly mark their relationship. New to the 2020 census forms in explaining how people living in the same household are related are the options "same-sex husband/wife/spouse" or "same-sex unmarried partner." In 2010 the options on the census form were the generic terms "husband or wife" or "unmarried partner."

Despite the lack of SOGI questions for LGBT individuals, there does not appear to be a concerted effort to depress LGBT participation in the 2020 census, according to half a dozen LGBT leaders the B.A.R. spoke to about this year’s count. Rather, there seems to be a broad recognition within the LGBT community of the critical importance for filling out this year’s form.

"We need to be counted as a community. We need to know we exist," said Miguel Bustos, a gay San Francisco resident who serves on the California Complete Count Committee and is the senior director of the Center for Social Justice at GLIDE SF.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more about efforts to ensure LGBT Californians take part in the 2020 census in its January 30 issue.

Batwoman Ratings Drop To Season Low With Recent LGBT Episode

Batwoman Ratings Drop To Season Low With Recent LGBT Episode

The ratings of Batwoman have taken a nosedive, with the latest episode hitting a season low by a significant margin.

“How Queer Everything Is Today!”, featuring Kate investigating a hacker holding Gotham City to ransom, pulled in just 780,000 viewers, a drop from the 1.01 million of “A Mad Tea-Party” (“ Crisis On Infinite Earths ,” as a separate entity, shouldn’t really be taken into account when postulating on viewing preferences) and the steepest percentage fall since the pilot. It’s worth noting that these are only live figures, which are steadily decreasing in relevance as increasing numbers of people watch TV through DVR.

While Batwoman ’s viewing figures have been steadily declining as the season has progressed, this is a frequent trend for any TV show, and even though they so far haven’t been exactly stellar, the series has actually been outperforming the latest seasons of both Supergirl and Arrow , and in its first two episodes, The Flash . Any decline in viewership won’t be an issue for a while, either, as the show has already been renewed for a second season , but it’s something that those at higher levels of network control might take note of.

It’s also worth noting that it’s unlikely to be a coincidence that the ratings slump occurred concurrently with an episode title referencing Kate’s sexuality. Detractors have been critical of this part of her character since day one, although they’re quick to point out that their criticisms are due to their perceived quality of the show and not specifically their issues with ‘being woke,’ ‘the gay agenda’, the existence of LGBT people being ‘shoved down their throats’ or other such telltale phrases that highlight their being perfectly happy to accept the fact that Kate is a lesbian, just so long as nobody brings it up. Such attitudes are even referenced in the episode itself, with radio presenter Vesper Fairchild using all-too-familiar lines like “not that there’s anything wrong with that” or “politics staying out of our superheroes.”

While the subplot of Kate addressing people’s presumption of Batwoman being straight was an important aspect of the episode, it in no way dominated it, and when it did occur it was as part of her questioning whether she can truly consider herself to be the Paragon of Courage if she feels unable to live her own truth in all aspects of her life. Additionally, through her brief interactions with teenage hacker Parker, she realized that having someone to look up to with whom you can identify makes people feel less alone, especially if, like many gay people, they feel marginalized. This isn’t politics, it’s people’s lives, and if certain viewers of Batwoman can’t accept that, then maybe they shouldn’t be watching it.

Gay Rights! LGBT Center to Introduce Poppers on Tap

Gay Rights! LGBT Center to Introduce Poppers on Tap

Photo by Danny Cooper / The Daily Pennsylvanian

In a sustainability win, the LGBT Center recently announced the arrival of poppers of tap. The party drug, popular amongst queers and avant-garde heterosexuals, will now be supplied on tap at the LGBT Center. Drop by with your reusable vial and fill up!

The announcement comes after months of pressure from numerous environmental groups on campus. Everyone knows one of the biggest sources of waste is poppers packaging. Go to any landfill and all you see are poppers bottles. With this historic installation, the days of poppers filled landfills will be over.

Students around campus rejoiced upon hearing the news and they can’t wait to feel the rush! College junior and hag Jaime Miller was especially ecstatic. “The environment is one the things I most care about in this world and it always broke my heart to have to throw away the 10 to 20 poppers bottles I would use every weekend,” said Miller. Now all Miller has to do is grab her reusable vial and head to the LGBT Center any time she needs a kick.

Miller excitedly declared, “I’m proud to attend a school that takes environmental issues so seriously. We may be deeply invested in the fossil fuel industry, but I sure sleep better at night knowing our landfills are poppers free! ”

Inspired by Ireland, Taiwan’s LGBT activists feel empowered for future battles

Inspired by Ireland, Taiwan’s LGBT activists feel empowered for future battles

The gay community in Taiwan followed the Irish same-sex marriage debate and referendum very closely and they kept in close contact with groups active in the campaign. Photograph: Ashley Pon/Bloomberg via Getty The battle has been long and at times bitter, but Taiwan’s LGBT activists say they now feel empowered to tackle remaining discrimination where they see it and act as a beacon for the burgeoning gay rights movement in Asia.

Taiwan became the first Asian state to recognise same-sex marriage last year, a historic breakthrough following a prolonged campaign, and one that activists say was buoyed by Ireland’s marriage equality referendum in 2015.

The introduction of the new law was divisive in Taiwan, and conservative and church groups vowed to punish President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party at the January 11th elections and vote in lawmakers who would reverse the legislation.

The electorate, however, delivered Tsai a landslide victory, meaning the LGBT community could heave a collective sigh of relief and focus on consolidating their position over the next four years. There is great solidarity across the world, and the Irish community was very helpful sharing all their experiences Taiwan has a vibrant LGBT scene, and one that has been spurred on by the legislative change. More than 200,000 people joined last year’s riotous gay pride parade in Taipei , among them many of the 2,600 same-sex couples who have legally tied the knot in Taiwan since the new law was introduced.

Also joining the party were representatives of several gay groups from all across Asia, many looking to emulate Taiwan’s legislative success in their own countries.

“We have had so many groups visit, from Hong Kong , Japan , Singapore , Malaysia , Korea, all over. We share our experience and resources, and together hope to develop the LGBT movement across Asia,” said Sih-Cheng Du, director of policy advocacy from the Taiwan TongZhi (LGBTQ) Hotline Association.

The community in Taiwan followed the Irish same-sex marriage debate and referendum very closely, he said, and they kept in close contact with groups active in the campaign in Ireland.

“It was inspiring. There is great solidarity across the world, and the Irish community was very helpful sharing all their experiences,” he said, “and now we are doing the same across Asia.” Taiwan president Tsai Ing-Wen was re-elected in a landslide victory on January 11th, cementing her government’s same-sex marriage legislation. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty The origins of the path to legislative reform can be traced back to 1986, the year before Taiwan’s four decades of martial law under Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek finally came to a close.

Chi Chia-wei, a solo activist at the time, decided to call a press conference in a downtown McDonalds. He stuffed notices into the postboxes of local and international media outlets, reserved a small section of the fast-food venue, bought dozens of soft drinks from the counter, and waited to see if anyone would show up.

His invites stirred press intrigue and with the cameras rolling he did the unthinkable in such oppressive climes: he openly declared his sexual orientation and launched a one-man HIV/Aids education campaign. He also petitioned the legislature to permit same-sex marriages, a proposal that was promptly and angrily rejected.

Chi quickly found himself in trouble with the law, and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on robbery charges that were widely seen as fabricated. He sat in a cell for five months, before being pardoned by a lenient and tearful judge who sent him on his way.

In the following years he set up an LGBT support hotline, raised funds for Aids victims, and continued challenging the island’s laws in the courts. A well-known public figure on the streets of Taipei, he would hand out free condoms, occasionally dressed in a suit made of condoms.

In 2013 he made another of his many attempts to apply for a marriage licence, and when denied he appealed to the Taipei city government, who referred the constitutionality question to the courts.

As that was winding its way through the legal system, Tsai Ing-wen was preparing for her first presidential bid. In November 2015 – the same month that same-sex marriage became legal in Ireland – she announced her support for the legislation in Taiwan.

When she came to power the issue was sidelined, though it proved to be deeply contentious amongst her governing ranks, much to the disappointment of the LGBT community, who accused her of reneging on campaign promises. She did, however, manage to appoint several liberally oriented judges to the constitutional court in her early days at the helm.

That court, considering Chi’s latest application that the ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, then reached the landmark decision in 2017, declaring that marriage in Taiwan should indeed be opened to same-sex couples. It gave the government two years to find a legal solution. Chi Chia-wei began his solo campaign for LGBT rights in Taiwan with a press conference in a branch of McDonalds in 1986. Photograph: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty The court decision was met with a conservative outcry, and opponents put forward a series of referendums in which two-thirds of the voters opted to reject same-sex marriage. While the government had said prior to the referendums that they were obligated to follow the court ruling regardless of any referendum outcome, it was an acrimonious time that drove a wedge into society.

“When we spoke to LGBT groups and individuals in Ireland, they told us to avoid a referendum if we could. They said it would be bitter and divisive and offensive and cause a lot of hurt to our community,” Du said. “They were right but we had no choice here. So, they advised us to prepare to protect our community, to give them emotional support.”

Conservative and Christian groups ran a well-funded campaign of hate and scare-mongering, he said, “and so much fake news” that led to “a huge amount of pain in our community . . . we really got beaten up in the process.” Same-sex couples still face areas of discrimination that the TongZhi group and others intend to challenge And while the vote was non-binding, it did lead the government to pass a special same-sex law as a compromise move, rather than amending the civil code, which is what the LGBT and human rights groups had been seeking to deliver full equality.

So, in May last year, right on the court’s two-year deadline, the legislators passed a Bill making same-sex marriage a reality.

Speaking to Taiwanese media at a rally outside the legislature after the vote, the 60-year-old Chi marvelled at the massive crowd around him.

“It was just a one-man campaign when I started, now I have 250,000 people here beside me. I am not alone in doing what is right,” he said.

He was never discouraged by the setbacks, he said, but always felt the cause was worthy.

“My belief is that if you can do one thing right in this life, then it is all worth it,” he said.

As the civil code was not amended, same-sex couples still face areas of discrimination that the TongZhi group and others intend to challenge, Du said.

Currently, same-sex couples can only adopt if the child is the biological offspring of one of the couple, for instance, and Taiwanese citizens can only have a transnational same-sex marriage recognised if their partner is from one of the 30 or so countries around the world that recognise gay marriage, he said.

“There are other issues too, such as gender equality education, that we need to tackle,” he said. “It will all take time. It’s a long process.”

But Taiwan, and Asia, are changing, he said.

After Tsai signed the historic law, she gave her pen to Chi in recognition of his decades-long struggle.

“I used this pen to sign the same-sex marriage Bill. Please keep it as a token. May love unite everyone in this land,” she wrote in a note to him.

Chi then acted as witness for the first same-sex marriages in the country, using the president’s pen to sign his name on the official marital documents.

Mormon university that bans ‘homosexual behaviour’ allows same-sex dancing for the first time

Mormon university that bans ‘homosexual behaviour’ allows same-sex dancing for the first time

Same-sex dance partners will be able to compete for the first time in the competition at the Mormon university. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP via Getty) A Mormon university that bans “homosexual behaviour” will allow same-sex couples to dance on its campus for the first time ever.

Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church.

BYU’s honour code prohibits “homosexual behavior”, and students can be expelled for not adhering to the code.

It states: “One’s stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity.

“Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code.

“Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

But this year, when the US National Amateur DanceSport Championships are held at the Utah campus March, the will be no limitations on the gender of partners dancing together.

The National Dance Council of America (NDCA) announced in September 2019 that it would be redefining the term “couple” in its rules to include people of any gender, including non-binary people.

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The US National Amateur DanceSport Championships are held every year at BYU, but this will be the first year anything other than opposite-sex partners will be allowed.

If BYU did not abide by NDCA rules it would no longer have accreditation from the organisation, but its own rules do stipulate that “competitors must not be overly suggestive in their movements” and there are strict guidelines for keeping costumes modest.

In August 2019, It Chapter Two star Taylor Frey said that his experience of being gay at BYU was like “a witch hunt”.

He told Attitude: “It’s the most incredible tattle-tale society. It’s damaging and it’s hurtful because you can be kicked out of school based on lies and rumours.

“I feel this fire in my chest when I speak about it because it was such a scary time for me… I’m still trying to let it go.”

“It’s happened to a lot of people, some people weren’t allowed to have their credits transferred, some people were close to graduating and were kicked out and their degrees were withheld.

“That’s why it’s scary, especially for someone like me who wasn’t out of the closet yet. I was afraid that had these accusations gone forward I’d have had to to tell my parents what they were about. That was horrifying.

“It was almost like I was being dragged through the mud. It was a witch hunt.”