David Hogg Talks About Transgender Issues and Gun Violence at Conference

David Hogg, a gun control advocate and survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, has consistently used his platform to raise awareness for issues such as gun control, racial inequality, and LGBTQ+ issues. Earlier this month, Hogg attended the US Conference on AIDS and spoke about the connection between gun violence and the transgender community.

At the event, Hogg held up a fan onstage that was styled with the trans flag and had the words “End trans gun violence” written across the front. His action was meant to highlight the high number of trans people, particularly trans women, who are murdered with guns in the United states. According to reports, 2017 was the deadliest year on record for trans women in the US with a total of 28 victims in the annual year.

When he took the stage, David Hogg said:

“We’re more upset about a pair of shoes than gun violence… or HIV/AIDS. Don’t let politicians divide us. Don’t let our labels divide us. No matter the size of your platform, speak up and then be willing to hand the mic to others.”

In a string of tweets, Hogg brings up that one of the biggest issues the trans community faces when it comes to gun violence is that often times, transgender people are misgendered by law enforcement, the media, and even family. The media previously reported a transgender murder that took weeks to be labeled as such because they had used the victims dead name.

Murders are all too common in the transgender community and the average life expectancy for a transgender woman of color is around 30 years old.

h/t: David Hogg’s Twitter and Instagram

Chicago Couple Gets Married with Toy Story Themed Wedding

Garrett Smith and Jason Bitner were engaged at Disneyland two years ago after a beautiful proposal. This week, the two tied the knot as their favorite Disney characters: Buzz Lightyear and Woody.

The couple from Chicago dressed up as the iconic characters from Pixar’s 1995 hit movie, Toy Story. They decided on those characters because of the song they wanted for their first dance- “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from the Toy Story soundtrack. On the topic, Bitner said:

“Garrett wanted to dress as Buzz and Woody because ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ is one of his favorite Disney songs, and has known for a long time he wanted that to be the song he danced to as his first dance. So of course [I] had to be Sheriff Woody. Both characters are reminiscent of each of our personalities. About a year out from the wedding we started to get more serious about the wedding. That’s when we were like this is our special day we should do what we want and have the things that we like. We love Halloween and we throw an elaborate themed party every year. We also enjoy Disney-bounding in our everyday and cosplaying at comic cons and the renaissance faire. So it was a logical decision to combine all of these things for our wedding.” - Pink News

The best part is, their parents joined in on the costumes too, dressing up as characters from The Little Mermaid, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Peter Pan.

Here are some photos from the wedding, courtesy of Tiffany Brandt Photography, Tiffany Brandt and second photographer Kip Gire ( tiffanybrandtphoto.com ).


See the video of their first dance below:


CBSNews even covered the wedding.



h/t: Pink News, tiffanybrandtphoto.com

New Study Debunks Myth About Predators in Transgender Bathrooms

The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law has published a new study that debunks the “transgender predator” myth. This myth is the concern put forth by transphobic people that providing an equal access to public accommodations will lead to sexual assault and the loss of an expectation of private. In this study, researchers were unable to find any evidence that sexual predators take advantage of laws supporting transgender equality.

Anti-LGBTQ+ organizations such as the American Family Association were putting forth these claims, none of which could be confirmed. The lead researcher for this new study, Brian Barnett, discovered just how rare these instances are and said:

“We found only one instance, one, of a transgender perpetrator in an alleged sex crime in a changing room. Likewise, we found just one case where a man who, frankly, sounds like provocateur, allegedly entered a woman’s locker room without disguising his gender in any way and stated that a new local law expanding transgender bathroom access allowed him to be there.” -Barnett for a Huffington Post editorial

The conservative groups arguing against these equality laws have cited over 100 possible cases but the majority of these cases involve non-transgender men who are simply violating women’s spaces. Allowing access to these spaces for actual transgender people has no effect on the men who already intended to enter these spaces.

Currently, only 19 states and Washington D.C. that currently allow transgender people access to public accommodations. When covering this topic, CNN reached out to 20 law enforcement agencies in states with anti-discrimination policies and none reported any bathroom assaults after the policies took effect.

h/t: Huffington Post, CNN, The Hill

Trans Woman Found Dead in Florida in Potential Hate Crime

Trigger Warning: Murder, Hate Crime

On the morning of September 8th, the body of Londonn Moore was discovered near a bus stop in Florida on Sawyer Circle in an undeveloped part of Port Charlotte.

After discovering her body, police determined that her death was suspicious and began a search for her car. Her vehicle, a Chrysler 200, was discovered in another part of Port Charlotte. It is unclear where she was murdered.

The police have not classified the case as a hate crime.

Nathan Bruemmeer, the Executive director of ALSO YOUTH in Sarasota said:

“I think it is too early to say if it’s a hate crime, but I think what is important to recognize is that the state of Florida is leading the nation in violence against transgender population, specifically in trans woman and trans women of color.” -ABC affiliate

North Port Police Department officer, Joshua Taylor, said:

“Whether it’s a hate crime or not, you’re going to pay that price.” -NBC, Florida

The story is significant because although the police have not declared it a hate crime, many people feel that this is part of a larger pattern. Hal Trejo of All Rainbow and Allied Youth Inc. said:

“This would mark the 21st person in the nation since the start of the year that a transgender person has been murdered. It’s the fifth person in Florida alone this year, so we see it’s a huge crisis and needs to be addressed and talked about.”

The news media and police have also continued to misgender and “deadname” the victim in coverage in spite of calls from friends and local leaders. Her name was Londonn Moore.

Police are still seeking information.

h/t: ABC Affiliate Florida, NBC Florida

Singer Sia Refused To Take Photo with Trump for Queer and Mexican Fans

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Sia recently revealed that one time she had refused to have her photo taken with Donald Trump because of her queer and Mexican fans.

Back in 2015, Sia performed on Saturday Night Livethe same day that Donald Trump was hosting the episode. Sia also remembers that Ivanka had been in the audience.

She said that after the show, Donald and Ivanka were excited to meet her so they ran backstage.

She says Ivanka had a camera and Trump said:

“We’ve got to get a photo!”

However, Sia says that although she is usually afraid of hurting people’s feelings, she know what the photo would mean to her fans so she said:

“Actually, do you mind if we don’t? I have a lot of queer and Mexican fans, and I don’t want them to think I support your views.”

Rather than associate herself with Trump for the popularity or simply to have a photograph, Sia understood what this might mean and decided to not take part.

She also recalls that he didn’t seem “angry or hurt” but rather said, “Oh, no problem. Then don’t.” She thinks he viewed it as her protecting her brand and respected that from a business standpoint.

Sia is openly bisexual and has always been an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.


h/t: Rolling Stone

Homophobic Man Avoids Jail Time After Biting Another Man’s Ear Off

According to the Northumbria Police Department, Martin Gallagher attacked a man in the bathroom of a Newcastle nightclub saying that the other man looked at his genitals while they peed at the urinals. Gallagher was intoxicated at the time and reacted by biting the other man’s ear off.

The attacker pleaded guilty to “assault occasioning grievous bodily harm” earlier this year. He was sentenced to two years on probation and a three month curfew. He is also forced to perform 200 hours of community service and pay the victim approximately $6,500 in compensation. It is important to note that the attacker was not given any jail time.

Detective Constable Lisa Common from the Northumbria Police department did not seem pleased with the verdict and said:

“This was an unprovoked attack on a complete stranger who had gone out that night to socialize with friends. Instead, he was confronted by a drunken male who was so out of control he bit the victim’s ear off. The victim has been left suffering not just permanent physical injury, but emotional trauma as a result of the incident. I hope he can take some comfort in the sentence that has been given today.”

When asked about motive, the attacker cited a “gay panic.”

On the attack, the victim said:

“[These have been] some of the most testing and strenuous times in my life. I’m still coming to terms with my new reflection and hope for a future to bring better days.”

h/t: lgbtqnation.com

Study Finds That More Than 1% of 9-10 Year Olds Might Be LGBTQ+


JAMA Pediatrics recently published a new study that explored how children aged 9-10 felt about their sexuality and gender. Jerel Calzo and Aaron Blashill from San Diego State University used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study ABCD. The ABCD is an initiative by the National Institute of Health that recruited 7500 children at ages 9-10 and will follow them into their young adulthood.

Data from ABCD was released earlier this year and gave a profile for the first 4519 participants in the study.

The results show that 0.2% of the participants said that they were bi or gay and that 0.1% said they were transgender. These children provided definite answers to the best of their knowledge.

The results for the children that were uncertain showed that another 0.7% said that they were “maybe” gay or bi and 0.4% said that they were “maybe” transgender.

The numbers for “yes” and “maybe” answers were added together since the researchers wanted to show “probable” numbers rather than definite numbers. When added together, 1.26% were found to probably be gay, bi, or transgender.

Out of all participants, only 23.8% of the 9 and 10 year olds said that they did not understand the question. This statistic shows that most kids (76.2%) that age already possess an understanding of what sexual orientation is, even if they are straight.

The study also surveyed the parents and found that 6.7% of their parents thought their child “might” be gay or bi while another 1.2% thought their child “might” be transgender.

On the study, Blashill from SDSU said:

“For so long, social scientists have assumed that there is no point in asking kids at this age about their sexual orientation, believing they do not have the cognitive ability to understand. This is the first study to actually ask children about their sexual orientation this young.”

h/t: lgbtqnation.com, CDC

Laura Ingraham, Fox News Host, Called “Monster” By Brother

Laura Ingraham’s gay brother, Curtis Ingraham, is a California-based teacher who has been using his Twitter to vent his political frustrations. Curtis only has a few hundred followers but because of his relation to Laura, his recent tweets have garnered attention.

Recently, he has been expressing his outrage at topics such as White House policies and has been engaging with figures such as George W. Bush’s speechwriter (David Frum) and the Krassenstein brothers.

Curtis was interviewed by The Daily Beast about his sister and in the interview he simply said:

“I think she’s a monster.”

In various tweets, Curtis has not held back as he criticizes both his sister and other right-wing family members. Some of his other tweets can be found below.





h/t: thedailybeast.com, NPR

Coca-Cola, IBM & More Urge Legalization Of Marriage Equality Legal In Northern Ireland

Several major corporations have signed on to a letter urging the UK Parliament in London to introduce legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Marriage equality has been the law of the land in England, Scotland and Wales since 2014, and the Republic of Ireland voted for marriage equality via public referendum in 2015.

That leaves Northern Ireland as the only part of Western Europe to not allow LGBT couples to marry. The only legal recognition available for same-sex couples are civil unions thanks to UK-wide legislation passed in 2005.

According to Gay Star News, the government of Northern Ireland basically broke down in early 2017 when a coalition of rival parties stopped working together.

And so, activists and business leaders are asking UK Parliament to step in regarding same-sex marriage.

The list of over two dozen multinational businesses supporting the marriage equality letter to Parliament include Coca-Cola, Bank of Ireland, Deloitte, Citi Belfast and Pinsent Masons.

“Equality, diversity and inclusion contribute to a happy and productive workforce and can help in attracting global talent to Northern Ireland,” says John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project and member of the Love Equality consortium. “However, without full legal recognition of same-sex marriages retaining and attracting talent can be difficult.”

Petre Sandru, Country Manager for Coca-Cola Ireland, agrees.

“As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, Coca-Cola celebrates diversity, inclusion and equality,” says Sandru. “At Coca-Cola, we know that creating an environment where everyone can reach their full potential, regardless of gender age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, ability or socio-economic background, is key to driving businesses forward.”

Corporate support has been shown to be a powerful component in the fight for equal rights.

In 2015, hundreds of major companies signed on to an amicus brief in support of marriage equality as the U.S. Supreme Court weighed the issue.

And in Australia, Coca-Cola, Quantas Airlines and more voiced their support for same-sex marriage as the country readied to vote in a mail-in referendum which eventually led to marriage equality becoming legal ‘down under’ in January of this year.



(h/t Gay Star News)

Clarks Summit University Denies Gay Student Chance To Finish His Studies

Pennsylvania's Clarks Summit University, a Christian school, has denied a student from finishing the last six hours of his bachelors’s degree because he is gay.

To be clear, the university kicked him to the curb not for having a boyfriend or engaging in a gay “sexual relationship” as the school’s student handbook prohibits.

No, after accepting Gary Campbell’s money to take two classes, the school contacted him after learning he is gay and informed him he’s not welcome as a student since Clarks Summit only believes in "biblical sexuality."

Campbell attended Clarks Summit University (then known as Baptist Bible College) from 2001 - 2003 earning 109 college credits.

He tells the Citizens Voice that, as a young man, he hoped attending the school would help him overcome his attraction to men.

“Long story short, it didn’t work out that way,” says Campbell. He dropped out and planned on finishing at a community college.

Instead, he enlisted in the Navy. But, during his stint in the armed forces, he struggled with alcoholism and was discharged after an episode of driving while drunk on base.

Today, 19 months sober, Campbell decided finishing his college degree would be a top priority. He hopes to become a peer counselor to help others with problems with addiction.

After contacting the university this past spring, he was told he only needed two classes to complete his degree. Campbell worked to save his money to pay the tuition and fees, while friends and family chipped in $700 to aid in covering his return to academia.

But near the end of August, the school reached out to him to say they’d (somehow) discovered he is gay and that he would not be able to complete his studies at Clarks Summit University.

The school cites very stringent rules of conduct for their students including being required to attend chapel, being forbidden from any displays of public affection (that includes hand holding), and in fact, students are not allowed to be alone with members of the opposite sex.

Infractions of the rules dictated by the student handbook can lead to being expelled.

None of that behavior would come into play for Campbell, however, as he was enrolling in online classes.

Citizens Voice spoke to a civil rights attorney in Pennsylvania, Barry Dyller, who sees the situation as “complicated.”

Dyller explains that there’s no federal law that prohibits a religious-based school from excluding LGBTQ students. And to attempt to pass such legislation could encroach on First Amendment rights.

According to Citizens Voice, the school issued a statement offering to help any former or prospective student “who does not choose to agree with those faith standards” to find another school in order to finish a degree.

But after exploring other options, Campbell discovered other schools he contacted would only accept about half of the 109 credits he had earned from Baptist Bible College.

Campbell wrote to the university asking them to reconsider their decision.

From Citizens Voice:

“One of my top goals being in recovery was to finish my bachelor’s degree. Having a degree is much more to me than a certificate, it’s a culmination of hard work, sweat and tears, and I owe it to myself and to my recovery to accomplish this goal,” he wrote.

“I ask that you not view me only as a homosexual, but as a determined, compassionate, hard-working man who is of good moral character. My goal again is to assist my community and help those who are struggling in the grip of addiction.”

The university denied Campbell's request.

After media coverage of Campbell's story, it appears there could be hope on the horizon.

The president of nearby Lackawanna College, Mark Volk, read about Campbell's plight and says his school may be able to help.

“For us, it’s about giving people that opportunity, that chance to move forward in their lives and their careers,” Volk said. “When I read it, I thought maybe we could do something. ... I sent a note to staff, and there is tremendous excitement about it.”

Lackawanna has worked with students in the past who found themselves just short of attaining their degree.

Volk believes his school may be able to accept most of Campbell's college credits and apply them toward a Lackawanna College degree.

Clearly, the environment at Lackawanna College is very different from Campbell's old school.

“We look at the whole person,” Volk said. “Maybe we can do something here to help him out.”

Watch a report from the local Fox affiliate:



(h/t Citizens Voice)