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activism

  • Pittsburgh runs one of the best Pride festivals in the country. But a few weeks ago I got a stunning wake up call about homophobia.  I was verbally assaulted for the first time in my life for being gay.

  • The Kenyan transgender rights group Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA) won a major court battle this month when the country's high court ruled that government's Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) board must allow them to register.

  • The movement to boycott the upcoming historic pic "Stonewall" received some major backlash from an unlikely source Friday, when ACT UP founder Larry Kramer chimed with this opinion via social media, saying those who say the film is "whitewashed" have no way of proving their claim.

  • Around 50 people attended a “meet the candidate” reception for lesbian lawyer Lea Krauss on July 23 at Dapur Asian Tapas & Lounge in Fort Lauderdale. Krauss, the former President of the Gay & Lesbian Lawyers Network, is campaigning for Circuit Court Judge. The Long Island, New York native, who has called Broward County home for the last 17 years, says becoming a Judge unites her two passions of law and community service.

  • On May 20, the gay activist, scholar, and writer, Jeffrey Escoffier (1942-2022), died.

  • (SS) Gay rights and mental health advocates in South Florida are trying to come up with new ways to fight conversion therapy, the practice of mental health counseling aimed at “curing” teenagers with unwanted feelings of homosexuality or questions about their gender identity.

  • The Equality Pledge Network will be gathering at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C tonight at 8:30 p.m. for a vigil, two days before the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

  • INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The anti-discrimination group Freedom Indiana is launching a campaign pushing for a new law giving equal rights and protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people statewide.

  • In 2015, a United Nations working group, consisting of three delegates, investigated the status of women’s equality in the United States.

  • More than 120 LGBT activists, bloggers, organizations, funders, and journalists from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico gathered in Detroit this past week for a day-long discussion about the future of the LGBT movement and ways to effect progressive social change within it and beyond.

  • Jorge Diaz-Johnston, a plaintiff in Miami-Dade’s landmark ruling to legalize same-sex marriage, was found dead in a landfill about an hour from Tallahassee on Jan. 8, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

  • Mike Bracchi’s seat wasn’t up for election this year, but he still won a major vote.

  • LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Little Rock native who has worked for several nonprofits will be the first Arkansas director for the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group.

  • Lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender news bites.

  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender news bites from this week.

  • A group of noted AIDS activists issued a statement calling out pharmaceutical giant Gilead over price gouging. The group, which included Peter Staley and Larry Kramer, slammed the makers of PrEP drug Truvada and called for the profiteering to end.

  • The idea of a direct route across the Isthmus of Suez was considered a fantasy until the 19th century.

  • It was hard to hate Fred Phelps. You could feel sorry for him, remark that all the croutons were not in the salad, but he was so much of a showman, you never took him seriously enough to really hate him.

  • As America closes a month of gay pride celebrations, international LGBT rights are still in the Dark Ages in very bright places. We can start with Uganda.

    Thanks to a technological communications revolution, the world is a much smaller place. We witness Iraqi executions on cell phones, and the Internet takes us across the globe in seconds. What happens a continent away is on our laptop seconds later. We can’t look the other way and play pretend.

    There are places where the gay community still needs to be heard. One of those is at East 42nd Street on First Avenue in New York City, by the East River. It is called United Nations Plaza.

    As a representative of the nation’s gay press, the South Florida Gay News today condemns and censures the United Nations for permitting Uganda’s Sam Kutesa to be selected as the new head of the UN General Assembly. It’s a damn, shocking, shame.

    Given that 81 countries on this globe still outlaw homosexuality, it’s easy to see why being Ugandan would not automatically disqualify him from such a prestigious post. Still, given that the head of the General Assembly represents all countries, it’s a position that the LGBT community should care enough about to be heard.

    It has been estimated that there are nearly 500,000 men and women in the Ugandan gay community. They have absolutely no legal protections. Both male and female homosexuality is illegal. Torture and executions have occurred, and authorities have looked the other way. It is not a gay friendly place to be. Many places in Africa are not, and that is precisely why the African delegation had no problem choosing Kutesa.

    A special shout out is warranted for HBO’s new host, John Oliver, for his feature last weekend on just how backward Uganda really is. More importantly, Oliver re-publicized and documented how American religious zealots have generated anti-gay bigotry in Uganda. Yes, evangelicals like Scott Lively have even testified before Uganda’s parliament, calling for a hard line on homosexuality.

    As Oliver notes, “This means that Africa isn’t just where we send our losing team’s Super Bowl shirts, it’s also now where we send our losing political philosophies.”

    As we celebrate American independence this weekend, thankfully we are also celebrating marriage equality in dozens of states. In our America, we have seen sodomy laws fall and gay communities rise.

    America’s LGBT communities are growing exponentially in number and size, in power and strength. We are open, we are out, and we are proud. We are heard, and we have a place at the table. Our name is called in NFL drafts, and can be selected for U.S. District court judicial appointments. We can be proud of who we are. But we should never be comfortable breathing air in a world that is not universally free.

    Homophobia is a fear which breeds hate. We have gone a long way to ending it here at home. We have seen our share of martyrs, from Harvey Milk to Matthew Shepherd. In other countries, darker places, martyrs are still being made. Let’s do what we can while we are here to bring them the independence and freedom we now cherish everyday.

    Let the United Nations General Assembly know that we say ‘NO’ to an anti gay leader as their spokesperson. Let’s start an international petition right here in South Florida. Why not?

    Today, July 2, 2014, is the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. It was a law that came about one hundred years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed American slaves. The Civil War brought an end to slavery, but not discrimination. It took years. It does still. Let’s issue our own proclamation against hate, starting here, starting now.

    Our brutal world still needs taming. Terrorists abduct children in Nigeria, slaughter innocents in Syria, and execute gays in Uganda. In Eastern Europe, LGBT brothers and sisters are still persecuted by churches and governments like Russia foster hate rather than hope.

    Let’s not forget that Stonewall was a riot, not a street party for boy dancers on floats. It was an assertion that gays and lesbians would not settle into second-class citizenry. It was a statement that we would stand up and be counted. It was our Rosa Parks moment, but we are not done yet. We still have work to do at home.

    Here in America, teenagers are still bullied. ENDA has not got through Congress. LGBT employees do not have equal rights in hundreds of communities, and Neanderthal city commissioners, like the Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, still oppose marriage equality.

    Stonewall is not over, and July 4 is not for everyone, just yet. But we have the world at our fingertips, and we can let everyone from Fort Lauderdale city commissioners to global leaders in world assemblies know that our voices can and will be heard.

    Stand up and be counted.

  • Recently, I took a trip to Washington D.C., but I didn’t take that three-hour Amtrak ride south to look at monuments and statues. I went to talk.

  • As the world’s focus has shifted to the pandemic, LGBT issues have fallen by the wayside — at least according to a discussion during the “COVID-19 in The Americas: Re-Thinking Everything” conference last week.

  • A longtime gay rights activist is asking for the state’s largest LGBT civil rights organization to stay out of Palm Beach County.

  • (WB) Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sat down with the Washington Blade in her office on Jan. 24 for an exclusive interview just weeks after formally stepping down from leadership, having led her party in the House for 20 years, including as Speaker. 

  • (WB) Activists in Peru have expressed concern over their country’s new government and whether it will actively oppose LGBT rights.

  • After spending nearly two years in a Russian prison for their charge of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred," Pussy Riot members Masha Alekhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova went on to create Mediazona, a new independent media organization aimed at bringing attention to justice and prison issues in Russia.

  • Following Sunday night's debut of the reality series "I am Cait" on E!, former child star Raven-Symoné, who currently is sharing co-hosting duties on "The View" expressed her opinion that Caitlyn Jenner is moving too fast in positioning herself as the go to advocate for transgender rights.

  • Gay porn performer Zac Stevens died in San Diego this week, according to a report by Str8UpGayPorn.com (extremely NSFW). He was 25.

  • (WB) This past Monday, the Russian Ministry of Justice included the Russian LGBT Network and five lawyers from the recently dissolved human rights group, Komanda 29 (Team 29), including its founder Ivan Pavlov, a prominent lawyer, on the list of “foreign agents.”

  • MOSCOW (CNN) -- A Russian politician behind a controversial anti-gay propaganda law has been caught up in a social media storm in which he is pictured in a photograph of two women kissing.

  • When Suzi Hollis lost her arm in a construction accident in 1996, it was the beginning of a painful journey. One that would take her through therapy, pill mills, steroids and finally to salt.

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