RNC sides with Trump ban of transgender people in military

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(From the Chicago Tribune) — The Republican National Committee is siding with President Donald Trump on his order to bar transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military.

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Intolerance and oppression walk hand in hand. Transgender soldiers have served in the military with distinction for generations. The United States Armed Forces is an institution whose systems, though flawed, have steadily pushed the boundaries of acceptance (albeit slowly), and often paved the way for women, gay males and females, African Americans and other persons of color to serve and rise through the ranks. In turn, its policies have trickled into nonmilitary employment sectors. Interrupting attempts to walk back the freedom and equitable treatment of oppressed groups of people through training and education is Job One of the Beyond Diversity Resource Center.

To learn more click here.

It’s up to the Pentagon to set things right for transgender service members

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(From the Washington Post) — As of Jan. 1, the United States military finally began accepting transgender recruits. That’s despite President Trump’s tweets over the summer demanding a ban on all military service by transgender Americans. Barred multiple times by federal judges from implementing the president’s order, the…

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A salient issue in this opinion piece not central to the author’s point, yet is glaring in its magnitude, is the reality of bias and how it plays out. Bias exists in all of us. It can operate at both a conscious and unconscious level. Some biases are harmless (i.e., favorite color or vacation location, dislike of winter or chocolate ice cream, etc.). It is when bias operates without our awareness that it is particularly problematic — especially when it comes to perceiving people who are different than one’s self. Its deleterious effects can range from distasteful prejudicial thoughts to discriminatory action or inaction against an individual or group of people. Both are toxic. With respect to the issue of military service and other professional vocations, personal bias in the workplace is unproductive and limits human resource capacity. It’s the same in the education sector. Unhealthy forms of bias thrives on negative stereotype narratives, which are reinforced through self-fulfilling prophecy. Bias (especially the unconscious kind) can trick us into believing our opinion is fact, no matter the evidence to the contrary. This distorted mental storytelling diminishes our ability to see others different from us as they truly are: fully formed human beings. And it begs the question, how do we work on something that can operate outside of our conscious awareness? Here are three concrete ways: 1.) Talk about it; 2.) Move with compassion; 3.)  Practice empathy.

Learn more at the Beyond Diversity Resource Center

New York City Legalizes Sex Change On Birth Certificate Without Surgery

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Curtis M. Wong of The Huffington Post reports: “Members of NYC’s transgender community and advocates are praising the city council’s vote to pass legislation, making it easier for residents to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates without surgery.” To read more, click here.

“Sexual Preference” Or “Sexual Orientation?”

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Jesse Bering in the website, The State of the Universe, states: “There are some phrases that should just be done away with, but over time they are used and heard so routinely that we develop a sort of soft spot for them and can’t bear the thought of chopping off their heads. The term ‘sexual preference’—at least when it’s used interchangeably with ‘sexual orientation’—is one of these seemingly harmless phrases whose cultural execution…is long overdue.” He goes on to point out “the obvious fact that sexual orientation is not a choice….” To read more, click here.

Most Students Aren’t White

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As reported by Chris Hoenig on the website, DiversityInc, the National Center for Education Statistics projects that Latinos, Blacks, Asians and Pacific Islanders, American Indians and biracial students will, when added together, represent 50.2 percent of the 2014–2015 student population. To read more, click here.

Recent Book: Ann Inner Roadmap of Gender Trasformation

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In her latest book, Dr. Lee Ann P. Etscovitz, a marriage and family therapist specializing in LGBTQ issues,  takes an unflinching look at her personal struggles with gender identity.

… I asked myself how long I could possibly go on living with my particular life-long secret, namely, my gender confusion. How long could I continue to hide it? How long could I deny myself the gender fulfillment which only I could bring about and which the precariousness of life could deny me before I ever acted?

Etcovitz’s book is available for preview and sale on Amazon.com and will be available for Kindle readers in July 2014.

Anti-Homophobia Policies In Schools Reduce Alcohol Abuse

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imageThe results of a study at the University of British Columbia published recently in the Journal of Preventative Medicine showed students at schools with anti-homophobia policies and gay-straight alliances tended to abuse alcohol less, regardless of sexual orientation. To read more, click here.


“Geography Of Hate” Maps Racist and Homophobic Tweets

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ht_hate_homophobia_tweet_map_tk_130514_wg-1As reported by ABC News, a new Twitter study by assistant professor Monica Stephens and Humboldt State University measured racist and homophobic tweets in the United States. The result is the “Geography of Hate” shown above. To read more, click here.

Gay Parades Banned In Moscow For 100 years

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Nikolay Alexeyev has been campaigning for years for the right to stage gay parades in Russia

Nikolay Alexeyev has been campaigning for years for the right to stage gay parades in Russia

Moscow’s top court has upheld a ban on gay pride marches in the Russian capital for the next 100 years. Earlier Russia’s best-known gay rights campaigner, Nikolay Alexeyev, had gone to court hoping to overturn the city council’s ban on gay parades. The Moscow city government argues that the gay parade would risk causing public disorder and that most Muscovites do not support such an event. To read more, click here.

Germany Offers Third Gender Option on Birth Certificates

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Beginning November 2013, Germany will be the first country in Europe to offer a “third gender” distinction on birth certificates. A new German law stipulates that children who are born of indeterminate gender no longer have to be categorized as male or female. Instead, parents can choose to leave the space blank on their child’s birth certificate. The individuals can eventually decide whether to identify as male, female or neither. The measure has a shortcoming, however:  those who choose to identify as “blank” will likely encounter a host of bureaucratic headaches when traveling abroad. To read more, click here.

Oppression of LGBT People in Russia Draws Condemnation

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Injured Gay Protestors Surrounded By Russian Police

A recent law signed by President Vladimir V. Putin has ignited international condemnation. The new law, nominally aimed at “protecting” children by banning “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships,” is widely understood as an effort to suppress homosexuality and Russia’s fledgling gay rights movement. Russia remains a country where discrimination and even violence against gay people are widely tolerated. To read more, click here.

Prince Harry Defends Gay Soldier From Attack

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To one gay soldier, Prince Harry lived up to his duty to protect those in need. A former fellow infantryman is praising the royal for reportedly saving him after six soldiers supposedly threatened to assault him due to his sexuality while their squad was stationed in Canada back in 2008. To read more about the incident, including an excerpt from Lance Corporal James Wharton memoir, Out in the Army, click here.

Hip Hop Artist Takes on Homophobia

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Macklemore is a hip-hop artist whose biggest hit is about the second-hand shops where he buys clothes. But he’s also becoming famous for another song, Same Love, which promotes acceptance of LGBTQ people. To read more about Macklemore click here.

You can watch the YouTube video of Same Love below.

A Closet By Another Name

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Daniel Mendelsohn, writes about the “coming out” of Anderson Cooper, CNN reporter and talk show host. In a New York Times op-ed piece, Mehdelsohn criticizes Cooper for not sooner speaking up about being a gay man:

You can’t claim to be comfortable with being gay while trying to keep it a secret: When you conceal your sexuality, you’re buying, however unconsciously or reluctantly, into the notion that there is, at some level, something wrong with it.

To read the full article, click here.

Boycotting a Cookie

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The makers of Oreos posted on their Facebook page a special cookie in honor of gay pride. Some commenters have gone so far as to proclaim that eating Oreos is now a sin. Click here to read the comments on BuzzFeed

A Rage Cartoon, “Adam and Eve,” From Beyond Diversity

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Homophobia Linked to Denial of Same-Sex Attraction

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According to studies published the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who repress their own sexual attraction to persons of the same sex are more likely to express hostility toward LGBTQ people. To read the CBS News article, click here.

Study: Culture to Blame for Racism, Sexism, Homophobia

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A study led by Paul Verhaeghen, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Psychology, found that facets of U.S. culture, such as literature, movies, television, radio and the internet, may contribute to the problem of racism, sexism and other “isms” by exhibiting the same stereotypes that society tries to snuff out. To read the story in Science Daily, click here.

Gen Silent: LGBT Elders Go Back Into the Closet

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Vist the filmmaker’s website at by clicking here.

Regional Acceptance of Same-Sex Relations

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A University of Chicago study shows wide variations in the regional acceptance of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Acceptance is highest in New England, where 27 percent of adults say they think homosexual relations are “always wrong.”  To read more about this CBS News story, click here.

Illinois Issues Civil Union Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

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Patrick Bora, 73 (left), and his partner Jim Darby, 79, show their civil union license at the Cook County Office of Vital Records, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, in Chicago.

Illinois has joined a handful of states and the District of Columbia in providing for civil unions, which give same-sex couples many of the rights and significant legal protections that are afforded to traditionally married men and women. That includes the power to decide medical treatment for an ailing partner and the right to inherit a partner’s property. To read more click here.

To see a listing of states that provide for same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnership, click here.

Wrestler Promotes LGBT Support Among Athletes

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Wrestler Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor, an All-American wrestler and coach at Columbia University, wants to eliminate homophobia from all levels of sports. To learn more click here.

“I Don’t Care If You’re Offended”

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In an article from his blog, Fineness & Accuracy, Scott Madin talks about the difference between saying something that is “offensive,” and saying something that harms others because of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the like. The article adds clarity to the “you’re-being-offensive-too” argument often made when people are rebuked for remarks that reinforce oppression. To read the article, click here.

Push(back) at the Intersections: How About Some -isms with Your Feminism?

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What do Mary Daly, Margaret Sanger, Nellie McClung, Martha Griffiths, Gloria Steinem, Geraldine Ferraro, Julie Bindel, Robin Morgan, Germaine Greer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Janice Raymond, Sheila Jeffreys, and Beth Elliott have in common? According to s. e. smith, “All of these ‘leading lights’ of the feminist movement are contributors to a long and not very proud history of dragging -isms into the feminist movement.” To read smith’s article, click here.

Report: Catholic Attitudes On Gay and Lesbian Issues: A Comprehensive Portrait from Recent Research

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Catholics are more supportive of legal recognitions of same-sex relationships than members of any other Christian tradition and Americans overall. Nearly three-quarters of Catholics favor either allowing gay and lesbian people to marry (43%) or allowing them to form civil unions (31%). Only 22% of Catholics say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship. To read the full report from the Public Religion Research Institute read here.

Microaggressions Blog

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Microaggressions are brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities—whether intentional or unintentional—that communicate hostile attitudes, slights, or insults toward members of marginalized groups, including people of color, women, and members of the LGBTI community. The Microagressions blog collects and publishes reader-submitted descriptions of microaggressions and the impact the microaggressions had on the people who endured them.  Here are two examples:

Look at her. That’s no fair. Why do I have to walk? She’s taking advantage.

I’m a wheelchair user in a large museum. I felt like my struggles with accessibility were nothing and the young, able-bodied man who said this expected pity.

* * * * * * *

Excuse me, do you speak English?

—Man at the bus stop. I am an Asian American woman. I was reading Jane Austen. In English.

To read the many posts on the blog and perhaps to submit your own, click here.

Groundbreaking Study Finds Pervasive Discrimination Against Transgender People

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) today released a comprehensive new report, “Injustice at Every Turn,” revealing the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in a wide range of areas, including education, health care, employment, and housing. To read more click here.

Social Networking and Gender Categories

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Social networking sites pose obstacles to people who do not identify as either male or female. To read more click here.

Joel Burns Tells Gay Teens, “It gets better.”

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New Study Examines Relationship Between Racial Justice Organizations and LGBT Communities

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A new, landmark study on the relationship between racial justice organizations and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities finds the lack of resources, funding, and community support are obstacles to engagement. The study, titled, “Better Together: Research Findings on the Relationship between Racial Justice Organizations and LGBT Communities,” was produced by Applied Research Center (ARC) in partnership with the Arcus Foundation. To read more and download a copy of the study click here.

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