News Bites for October 14, 2015

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender headlines for the week.

 Lesbian

Sen. Tammy Baldwin Asks US AG to Investigate McCarthy-Era Anti-Gay Plot

(EDGE) Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D -WI), the first openly lesbian member of Congress is asking United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the role that three U.S. senators played in an apparent anti-gay plot that led to the suicide of Wyoming Sen. Lester Hunt in 1954, Yahoo News reports.

Baldwin's crusade comes in the wake of the recent release of the Yahoo News documentary "Uniquely Nasty: The U.S. Government War of Gays," which shed light on how Hunt's son's arrest for soliciting gay sex in a Washington, D.C. park was exploited by political rivals who allegedly blackmailed the senator. Hunt would end up taking his own life.

"While decades have passed since this tragic incident, it remains a troubling example of the misdeeds of the McCarthy era and the role homophobia and bigotry has played in the history of our nation, including at the highest levels of federal government," Baldwin wrote in a letter to Lynch last week.

The ostensible culprits behind the blackmail, Senators Styles Bridges (NH) and Herman Welker (ID), both Republicans were close allies to anti-communist witch-hunter Joseph McCarthy. They allegedly threatened to expose Hunt's son's arrest for soliciting gay sex if the Democratic senator didn't give up his seat.

"It's a stunning example of a very sad chapter in American history in terms of the persecution of gays," Baldwin said.

Gay

Marine in 2012 Viral Kiss Photo Ties the Knot

(EDGE) The Marine sergeant and his boyfriend who were immortalized in a 2012 viral photo that showed the couple kissing at a homecoming event in Hawaii, tied the knot last weekend, Gay Star News reports.

The iconic photo, which circulated around social media in February 2012 - not long after the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy ended (the measure that prohibited LGBT military members from openly serving), shows Marine Sergeant Brandon Morgan kissing his then-boyfriend, Dalan Wells at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Morgan had just returned from a six-month tour in Afghanistan and jumped into the arms of his partner. 

The couple's friend snapped the pic and posted it on Facebook.

"This is a homecoming picture-gay, straight, lesbian, no matter who you are, love is love," Morgan told local media at the time. "We haven't fought for more rights or better rights than anyone. We've fought for equal rights, and now we have them."

A year later, Morgan proposed to Wells. The men have been together since 2008.

The couple married in Honeoye Falls, New York. 

Bisexual

HRC Member Says Being Openly Bi is a Radical Act

(SFGN) Beth Sherouse is an American Council of Learned Studies Public Fellow and senior content manager at the Human Rights Campaign. In a recent op-ed “Finding my Bisexual Community and Coming out Again and Again” Sherouse says “being openly bisexual is in many ways still a radical act,” despite surveys which estimate that more than half the LGB population identifies as bisexual.

“I often hear people say they’d rather avoid labels because they want to acknowledge their attraction to non-binary people. But bisexual community activists have long embraced non-binary people, and included those who identify as pansexual, queer and fluid,” Sherouse says.

Sherouse touches upon the impacts of biphobia both --internalized and externalize-- and the disproportionate rates at which bisexuals experience major health and mental wellness issues. She also discusses the need to continue building and extending a supportive community, far beyond National Coming Out Day.

“I try to be as out as possible, and to address biphobia wherever I see it. So if you fall somewhere within the bisexual umbrella, and it is safe and healthy for you to be out and proud about who you are, please join me in coming out, and keep coming out as much as your situation permits. For those in our community who can’t be out for whatever reason, those of us who can will do our best to challenge biphobia and create safe and healthy spaces for us all.”

Transgender

UK Student Documents Transition With Over 1,400 Selfies

(EDGE) A British student documented his transition from female to male by taking a selfie every single day for the last three years, the Daily Mail reports.

Jamie Raines started his transition when he was 17 by taking testosterone and decided to take a picture of himself every day to track his facial changes. Three years later, Raines, who is now 21 and a psychology student at the University of Essex, created a mind-blowing time-lapse video with his more than 1,400 pics.

Raines, who is set to appear on a new documentary called "Girls to Men" on the U.K.'s Channel4, also has a popular YouTube channel that documented his transition journal and has earned more than 700,000 views.

"Growing in confidence and feeling more and more comfortable in myself has been a hugely exciting experience. The changes in how I feel about myself have been amazing," he said, according to the Daily Mail.

Raines said he was around four years old when he first realized he was a male trapped in a female's body.

"I remember thinking I was just like any other boy," he said. "Then as I grew older I realized more and more that I was different. I remember getting a haircut when I was around eight and afterwards turning to my mum and asking if I looked like a boy now. I felt like one and wanted to make sure I looked like one too"

Raines said he's always been attracted to females and met his current girlfriend at college.

"We were best friends for about a year before I came out as trans," he said. "We've been together for nearly four years now, and she's been a massive support throughout my whole transition. When I first told her she had no idea what being transgender meant! But she has been completely supportive of me from the start."


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