Disaster In Florida: Federal Appeals Court Okays Conversion Therapy

Conversion therapy is the practice of “teaching” a gay person to be straight. These practices do not work. They have been consistently debunked by researchers and members of the medical community, and are usually conducted by people who do not have the victim’s best interests at heart. Conversion therapy leads to increased rates of alcoholism, drug use, suicide, and depression. And that’s not surprising, since conversion therapy only “works” by first deconstructing the victim as a person.

A preposterous legal ruling by an appellate court in Florida overturned a previous ban on conversion therapy, in a harsh, inhuman blow to the LGBTQ people who live there.

One 29-year-old Orlando, Florida resident named Jordan Hunter remains psychologically broken and battered by his own experience with conversion therapy. But LGBTQ members who live there believe themselves part of an Orlando Family Team — and there’s no breaking their support for one another. Hunter has their undying support.

Hunter said, “You don’t tell anyone about this secret, because then they would know. They would know that you are different. That you are sinful. That you are broken. You keep this secret locked away.”

He is talking about his own interest and affection for men, of course.

“But one day you will confess. You will tell your pastor.”

And that’s exactly what happened. But the pastor didn’t accept that homosexuality was a feeling deep within a person rather than an existential choice in favor of evil. The pastor told Hunter he would have to “overcome homosexuality” by casting it out in front of his church’s members. 

19 cities and three counties in the sunshine state already enforced bans on conversion therapy because of the overwhelming evidence that not only does it not change a person’s sexual orientation, but also that it actually leads to a great deal of personal damage. 

Democratic House member Michael Grieco sponsored a 2020 bill that was designed to protect members of our community from the damages of conversion therapy.

Grieco said, “Conversion therapy is a dangerous, despicable and non-scientific practice that only harms people it is supposedly meant to ‘help.’”

Two relevant laws that banned conversion therapy in Florida were struck down by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Palm Beach County.

Openly gay Commissioner Michael Gongora said, “This decision is legally and morally wrong. There is no First Amendment right to practice junk science on LGBT minors, and the decision this week should be reversed before anyone else is harmed by this scientifically rejected practice.”

The ruling will likely be challenged by attorneys in Boca Raton and Palm Beach. Should that fail, the Supreme Court of the United States could theoretically take up the case. 

The lawsuit leading to this ruling was filed by nonprofit law firm Liberty Counsel on behalf of Christians. Senior pastor and chief counsel Matthew Staver said that the phrase conversion therapy should not be used to describe the practice he chose to defend. 

He wrote: “The counselor is like a GPS and the client has the right to choose the goal of counseling. Like a GPS, the counselors do not impose their predetermined course on the client.”

What Are The Top Hate Crimes Committed Against The LGBTQ Community?

New studies on how often hate crimes are perpetrated against certain minorities and what kind of crimes are most likely have been conducted during President Trump’s time in office, and the outlook is much as expected — the LGBTQ community is targeted at a disproportionate rate than other minority communities. They are almost four times more likely to become the victim of a hate crime.

These crimes often involve violence, which is what most of us think about when we hear the phrase “hate crime.” But there are other types of hate, and much of it is directed at property instead of people.

For example, many LGBTQ individuals who publically flew a rainbow flag in their yard acknowledge that the flag was vandalized, stolen, or destroyed. Minneapolis resident Troy Kriech decided to fly his own flag when he lived in Webster with a friend — but that it was quickly taken. He posted a video on Facebook of a fellow resident using homophobic slurs while burning the flag in full public view.

Brandt said, “I called the cops. They came over and took my statement. We had [the flag] screwed onto the house. There are still pieces of the flag hanging there. Then the video blows up on Facebook on Saturday. People are posting it and reporting it, just doggin’ him out and everything. I showed the cops the video before he deleted it. Then someone else had managed to save the video.”

Sadly, Day County State Attorney Danny Smeins doesn’t seem to acknowledge that vandalism is a crime! Smeins said to Forum News, “I don’t think there’s a crime itself in the burning of the flag. It’s a crime to steal it and it’s a crime to trespass on property to remove it. I haven’t seen the video year to see if there’s a threat being stated in it. There’s some loose ends as far as the investigation goes. I don’t know what going to happen with this. It’s complicated by the fact is the person complaining about it abandoned it, so it’s really not his property unless there was an agreement.”

Property damage attorney Ray Collins does not agree. Collins said, “Mr. Kriech lived on the premises where the flag was taken and then vandalized, and there was also damage to the property itself. Yes, trespassing is a crime. Yes, theft is a crime. But willful destruction of another person’s property is a crime too. Burning someone’s flag is something that opens the perpetrator up to both criminal and civil action — and both should be taken in conjunction with one another to show the person responsible for doing this that these actions are unacceptable in our society.”

The video depicts an obvious hate crime, which is also against the law and carries additional criminal penalties. 

The South Dakota Attorney General’s website defines a hate crime as “a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity/national origin.”

And yet, the burning of the flag is still controversial when someone says it is a hate crime:

Legal Advocates Call To Action For LGBTQ Asylum Seekers

Many of the Central American asylum seekers — you know, those men, women, and children who are legally entering our country from the south only to be called illegals and see their families split apart — are members of the LGBTQ community. These individuals face even greater obstacles than other mostly hispanic asylum seekers. The Trump administration has plotted to stop as many of these individuals from entering the country as possible to no avail. 

Transgender Law Center attorney Emem Maurus said, “It’s not a deterrent in the sense of ‘Oh, I’m not going to do this right now. I’ll go next year.’ It is certainly having a practical impact, I do want to say that. These policies are causing people to be hurt, they are causing people to die, truly. These are causing a lot of harm and in that sense, they are practically impeding asylum, but I don’t know that it’s causing people to be like, ‘Oh, I’ll wait until next spring’ necessarily.”

Last year, many children had died in ICE captivity, ensuring that human rights groups would continue their calls to action to see barbaric practices stop — and also to see families reunited. But those news stories mostly ended as bigger news stories developed toward the end of the year. Impeachment sapped attention for months, and now COVID-19 has everyone looking elsewhere.

Human Rights Watch released a report that said, “The COVID-19 pandemic served as the pretext for the [border] closure, but for years, the Trump administration had adopted increasingly severe measures aimed at preventing asylum seekers from ever reaching the United States and expelling them quickly if they ever did cross the border.”

Estuardo Cifuentes told reporters for the Los Angeles Blade that he was a gay man from Guatemala seeking asylum without actually knowing anything about how the U.S. system worked. “I went back to Matamoros without knowing anything, without knowing anything about the process,” he said.

Other LGBTQ individuals have already succumbed to death because of that same process — like Roxsana Hernandez, a transgender woman who was not provided with adequate care for her HIV when she arrived at ICE custody in New Mexico. She died on May 25, 2018, still in detention. Trans woman Medina Leon died on June 1, 2019 only three days after her release — but also due to complications from HIV that were ignored while she was detained.

LGBTQ individuals are among those most likely to seek asylum in the U.S. due to violence in Central America.

Human Rights Watch Senior LGBT Rights Researcher Neela Ghoshal said, “As long as this kind of violence and discrimination do persist, LGBT people from the Northern Triangle will continue to travel north to the United States to attempt to seek asylum and what the Trump administration has done in the last two years — which is to make asylum so restrictive that there’s barely an asylum system left to speak of — is unconscionable and it puts LGBT people at great harm.”

Apparently Rainbow Cake Is Anti-Religion

One Kentucky girl was recently expelled from her Christian school. Why, you ask? Well, according to the school officials, it was because she posed for a photo dressed in a rainbow shirt. It must’ve added salt to the imaginary wound when they saw the rainbow cake. School officials said the photo presented “a posture of cultural acceptance contrary to that” of the school’s.”

In other words, rainbows equal gay and gay equals wrong.

High schooler Kayla Kenney wasn’t out before the school decided she should be expelled for rainbows, though, and so her family is fighting the school’s decision in court by arguing it was essentially an invasion of privacy. 

The lawsuit provided details on the family’s stance: “This decision (of stating one’s sexual identity) is one which can ripple, leading to repercussions in untold aspects of someone’s personal, social and family life. This decision — when, where and how to ‘come out’ — is a profound endeavor that is the sole right of an LGBTQ person. And yet (Kayla), an LGBTQ child, has been denied that right.”

Regardless of the fact that society at large has debunked the idea that homosexuality is a disease, the Whitefield school maintains that it is.

The school dismissed the idea that the expulsion was based on rainbow clothes and cakes. “In the fall,” a statement said, “we met with the student to give her a final chance to begin to adhere to our code of conduct. Unfortunately, she did not live up to the agreement, and therefore, has been expelled.”

It’s an expulsion, so it must’ve been pretty serious! You know, drugs, guns, physical violence, that sort of thing. But we couldn’t find any evidence of it. There were Juul pods — for which she was put on probation — but rainbows seem to be the primary concern.

The problem is that Kayla’s parents had never discusser their child’s sexual orientation. She was not “out.” And because of that, the expulsion and the reasons behind it do indeed present an obvious invasion of a young girl’s privacy. 

According to the lawsuit, there were no new disciplinary measures after the Juul pod incident. Kayla was counseled to read a book called Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been by Jackie Hill Perry. The author of that story describes her own struggles with (and against) homosexuality. You know, the sort of thing that can damage someone who is already struggling with unsupportive school staff. 

Her parents described the birthday experience as pleasant. “It was a happy moment,” her mother said. “We were celebrating her 15th birthday. The day God gave me her. Not supporting any sexuality or anything like that.”

It Might Be Time To Go On A Gay Cruise

Vacations can be a source of stress for many gay men and women, who might not know where to go or what to do. The usual vacation research becomes even more exasperating when you know you have to find out exactly what to expect from the local residents. Are they okay with your sexuality? Will they treat you like a human being? Are there local laws punishing homosexuality? These questions are something you don’t have to worry about when you embark on a gay cruise, and that’s why it might be time to go on one.

What are the benefits of a cruise? Basically, the same as any cruise.

First and foremost, you don’t have to worry about any additional travel planning. Booking a cruise is simple and easy, and all you’ll need in order to embark is your cruise-specific travel pass and a passport. Almost everything else will be handled quickly and efficiently at your port of departure. All in all, the process is less stressful and simpler than any trip you’ll plan for yourself. Plus, there’s no arguing where to go or what to do once your there. You get to “cruise your own cruise” without worrying about what anyone else is doing.

On top of that, it’s the most bang for your buck. Cruises are really inexpensive when compared to even other bargain vacations. Normally a hotel alone will turn out to cost you more than a cruise for the same amount of time. The latter offers you food, friends, the serenity of the ocean, service, and any number of fun activities to do both on and off the ship.

What are the benefits of a gay cruise?

If you’ve ever been on a cruise before, you’ll get more of what you’ve come to expect–plus the pleasure of knowing that there are potentially thousands of like-minded people who would probably like nothing more than to get to know you. If you’ve been to a gay pride event, then you know exactly how you’ll feel the second you board the ship. The energy will be palpable, and the people-watching alone could fill your time.

Naturally, you’ll encounter some bad behavior. It’s expected. Thankfully, you can avoid anyone partaking in these oh-so-scandalous activities if you so choose. You probably won’t encounter the rare instance of homophobia on or off the ship. And that’s the real reason we want to go on a gay cruise, isn’t it?

Motor City Pride Festival

The Pride Festival travels the country hitting major cities along the way. Detroit, Motor City Pride Festivalalso known as the Motor City, has been the on and off home of Michigan’s LGBT pride parade since 1986. Since then, the parade has evolved into a weekend long festival that is hosted by three different non-profit charities. If you are in the Detroit metropolitan area during the weekend of June 9th and 10th 2018, we suggest you check it out.

The History of the Pride Parade in Michigan

The pride parade began as a civil rights movement for the LGBT community. The movement quickly gained traction as individuals of this community believed that they were often being singled-out and discriminated against. In 1986, the pride parade came to Michigan for the first time. From 1986-1988, the civil rights movement trotted through the city and ended at McGregor Center on the campus of Wayne State University. By 1989, the parade had gathered a good amount of momentum. In order to capitalize on this, the committee decided to move the location of the march to Lansing, Michigan. The reasoning for the move was because Lansing is a more central city of the state and the committee wanted to attract as many people as they could. Detroit felt abandoned by the move. In the same year, Frank Colasonti Jr. founded the very first Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival.

From this point, the festival only grew. In 1990, the name of the festival was officially changed to PrideFest. In 2003, the festival would once again undergo a rebranding as the name changed to Motor City Pride. By 2009, the festival registered over 35,000 participants and featured over 200 performers. Nowadays, the festival begins with a parade on Griswold Street and ends at the festival hub in Hart Plaza.

The 2018 Motor City Pride Festival

In 2018, the Motor City Pride Festival will be held on June 9th and June 10th. The cover charge for this year’s festival is $5.00. However, children 12 and under will be granted free admittance. If you are planning on driving your car to the event, there are plenty of parking garages nearby. If you are going to ride your bike to Hart Plaza, there will be a bicycle valet service east of the main entrance.

Food and beverages will be available at the event. According to the website, there will be about 14 different food trucks. AS far as beverages go, you will not be permitted to bring outside beverages into the festival. Bottles of water will be sold for one dollar USD. The event will have a bevy of alcoholic beverage options featuring Miller Lite, Summer Shanty, a variety of frozen slushies, and Deep Eddy Vodka drinks.

Smoking is only permitted in designated areas. Restrooms will be provided on the festival grounds. Pets are permitted if they can walk on a leash, but it is not recommended that you bring your furry friends.

The Pride Vigil

On June 10th at 8PM, the festival planners have sectioned off a time slot where festival-goers are encouraged to gather for a vigil. The festival committee is planning to honor those who have died in the LGBT community, including the 49 lives that were lost in the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

If you are in the Detroit metropolitan area in the second week of June, check out Motor City Pride Festival.

Understanding Why Many LGBT Teens Are Homeless

Individuals all around the world face inequality and violence because of who they are, where they come from, how they look or who they love. This is not an accepted virtue that should be encouraged in the 21st century since people should live in harmony with each other regardless of their background. It is a backward mentality that should not be encouraged at all.

This also applies when it comes to the gender identity and sexual orientation of a person. The self-identification process takes place at an early age and coming out is not an easy task. Some may opt to stay in the closet for fear of the stigma experienced in the society but that is not advisable as it can take a toll in the development process and cause low self-esteem.

Teens are greatly affected especially at school and home where they are abused because of their identity. Being a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not something that should be used to judge anybody. Even with various initiatives being done globally and with the legalization of gay marriage, homophobia still remains ingrained in how such individuals are treated.

Youths are likely to be homeless as a result of being evicted from home because the family is unwilling to accept them for who they are. In some cases, one is disowned and shunned by their own parents as well as relatives. Being of a particular sexual orientation does not in any way limit how one carries out tasks and should therefore not be treated as such.

Most teens run away from home as a result of being physically or verbally abused. It takes a toll in the emotional as well as mental state of a person making one feel inferior or making them feel that they are an abnormality. The physical abuse can result in sexual abuse especially for queer girls who may be subjected to corrective rape. It is a huge violation of human rights and the perpetrators of such acts should be brought to justice.

The environment at school is also a factor that can lead to homelessness. Teachers may not be around all the time to protect LGBT teens leaving them to fend for themselves when they experience conflict from bullies. The adolescents period is quite vital towards development and victimization does not help in enabling support and acceptance.

It is a brave new world out there which has no room for prejudice and stereotype way of thinking. We are all equal and everyone should be treated with the respect they deserve. Also, visit their website! They preach how opportunities should be made available to everybody and those individuals who think they can get away with abuse have another thing coming.

4 People You May Not Know Were Transgender

Do you like keeping up with the latest entertainment news? If so, you probably hear about famous people speaking out about gender identity. These days, the term “transgender” is commonly heard in various entertainment channels, thanks to actors, athletes, and singers who have decided to reveal how they want the world to see them. A notable example is Caitlyn Jenner, who has since become an influential spokesperson for the LGBT community. Here are some people you might know were transgender.

Jake Zyrus

The name Jake Zyrus may not ring any bells, but a quick Google search should help you figure out who this famous singer is. Formerly known as Charice Pempengco, the singer from the Philippines first made waves in the local entertainment industry. Charice also appeared on the hit show, Glee, helping her rise to global fame. In June 2017, he changed his name to Jake Zyrus and announced plans of continuing his career as a singer.

Jamie Clayton

If you’re watching Sense8, then you might find it surprising that Jamie Clayton was transgender. Known as Nami by fans of the show, she first enjoyed fame on TRANSform Me, a makeover series. She has spoken a lot about the difficulties she had to deal with to make it this far into her career. She now takes part in several projects.

Caroline Cossey

Have you watched all James Bond films? If yes, then you may know Carline Cossey. She managed to build an incredible career in Hollywood and modeling, without revealing to the public her true identity. Caroline began hormone replacement therapy at only 17 years old. In 1974, she went through gender confirmation surgery. Despite the attempts by tabloids to reveal her past, Cossey continued to get big roles including For Your Eyes Only in 1981.

Jazz Jennings

Jazz always knew she was different since she was a child. At the young age of six, Jennings became known to the public after her appearances on 20/20 and The Rosie Show. She then started a YouTube series of her own, garnering a lot of followers. In 2013, Jennings wrote “I Am Jazz,” where she chronicled her struggles as a transgender. She now plans to undergo gender confirmation surgery.

There’s no question that more transgender individuals are finding the courage and confidence to reveal who they are. And it’s interesting to see that they continue to enjoy success in their respective careers as society learns to accept the LGBT community.

Gay Movie Characters And Their Place In Stories

As Hollywood steadily becomes more progressive, an increasing number of gay, bisexual and transsexual characters are emerging in the world of American cinema. While other liberal republics are also producing various movies focused on gay, bisexual and transgender characters, most of the movies making an impact on the global scene are American productions focusing on the struggles of people who are not straight and cis-gendered. Sometimes these characters are more respectful to the people involved and others have reveled in the outrageous camp of varying levels of good taste, camp, poor taste and outright offensiveness.

Probably the most well-known gay character to come out of Hollywood actually originated in Britain. Albus Dumbledore of the Harry Potter franchise is well known to both children and adults and according to the franchise’s creator, Dumbledore was gay all along. However, as many literary and film critics have noted, Dumbledore’s sexuality has absolutely no impact on the plot of the Harry Potter series, despite the fact that Dumbledore is one of the most important characters in the Harry Potter narrative. Indeed, Dumbledore’s homosexuality was only announced after the last book and a number of the films had been released, making it more or less an almost invisible manifestation of homosexual representation.

Elsewhere, the film “But I’m A Cheerleader” is fairly heavy and open about its homosexual themes. The film focuses on the story of a teenage girl named Megan Bloomfield who is forced into a conversion therapy camp that claims to be capable of “curing” her homosexuality. Despite Megan’s best efforts to change her sexuality away at both the behest of her parents and her own beliefs about her identity (hence the title; she feels that because she’s a cheerleader and very feminine, she can not actually be a lesbian). However, as she falls in love with another girl at the camp, other former students of the camp infiltrate the ranks of students and begin to coax them out of their efforts to become heterosexual.

The film is notable for being rated NC-17 specifically because of the homosexual content. While a few people in less tolerant areas, like Texas, would argue that such a sexually charged film was worthy of an R rating, the decision to keep it at NC-17 (and thus out of mainstream theaters) was done specifically in regards to the homosexual content. This prompted a great deal of anger at the MPAA, though little can be done about that organization at the moment.

How To Learn More About Gender Issues

 

People who don’t fit the traditional gender norms of male and female face many issues. While transgender and LGBTQ people have become much more visible in society, they still face plenty of stigmas and it can even be dangerous being trans or genderqueer in some communities. One of the best ways to learn more about gender issues is to read about them through books.

Transgender people face discrimination and stigma in society. One of the worst problems is the lack of legal protection. Transgender people are not included in discrimination protections. Trans and genderqueer people can still be denied jobs and housing just based on how they look or what their lifestyle is. They also face discrimination when it comes to using public restrooms. Transgender children can even be discriminated against in school.

Transgender people also face unemployment. Many transgender people live in poverty because they are discriminated against and transgender people of color have it even worse. Some trans people become sex workers or part of the underground economy because they cannot get decent jobs.

When you start to read books about gender you will learn that transgender people are subject to harassment every day. They are harassed on the street and even characterized as predators. People make fun of transgender people and they are even often rejected by their families. Transgender people have to go through a lot in society and they get bullied and sometimes even murdered.

Each year, transgender people get murdered and it is hard for them to get justice because they are often harassed and ridiculed by the police. In fact, some transgender people face beatings and sexual assault by police officers and they are not treated like other people. Many transgender people are very hesitant to use the police because they don’t know how they will be treated.

Books also state that transgender people face discrimination when it comes to healthcare. Some people are refused care because the hospitals just don’t want to treat them. Another big problem in the transgender community is that it can be hard for transgender people to get the proper identity documents that match their gender. When transgender people don’t have the right documents, they can be denied access to healthcare, education, and services that they desperately need. You can learn about the different issues that transgender people face when you read books on the issue.