President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

Woman pleads guilty in case of videotaped beating of trans woman at McDonald’s

Teona Brown, 19, has pled guilty Thursday, Aug. 4, to first degree assault charges and a hate crime charge in connection with the beating of transgender woman Chrissy Polis last April in Towson,

Chrissy Polis

Md. The attack was captured on video by a McDonald’s employee — who filmed the assault rather than step in and try to stop it — last April. The video went viral online and was used, along with new footage from a surveillance camera, in court hearings this week. CBS Baltimore has this report on the plea.

Conviction on a first degree assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, and a hate crime conviction could add another 10 years. Because Brown pled guilty to the attack, prosecutors are recommending that the judge sentence her to five years in prison. A sentencing hearing has been set for next month.

Polis was present in court on Thursday, but told reporters she was nervous about being there and had no comment. “I just want to lay low and keep my life as normal as possible,” she said.

A second person charged in the attack was 14 at the time and has been charged with assault as a juvenile. Because she is a minor, her identity has not been released.

Below is a video of a news report aired on the Washington, D.C., Fox news program when the attack happened. It includes video of the attack and, as State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said this week, “The severity of the beating is much easier to understand when you see a video. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, a video’s worth a million.”

—  admin

Elaine Donnelly: searching hard for relevancy, still beating the DADT drum

The disgraced doyenne of DADT discrimination was belching a lot of hot air at CPAC, try to find some way to keep herself relevant and in the public eye. (Washington Blade):

Donnelly urged for greater deliberation before enacting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal during a panel titled “How Political Correctness Is Harming America’s Military” at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C.

During her CPAC panel appearance, Donnelly denounced the law allowing for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that President Obama signed in December, which she said was “rushed through recklessly” in the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress.

“It’s supposed to be a non-discrimination policy,” she said. “But instead of calling it ‘Not “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” … let’s give it a name. We call it the ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Law for the Military’ – ‘LGBT Law’ for short. We have to start thinking about it in terms of what it would do.”

Among Donnelly’s pursed-lip concerns:

  • how will the armed forces “train people to be less sensitive to sexual privacy and modesty.”
  • whether there will be tolerance training in schools on military bases.
  • her old-school lies: military chaplains would have to endorse homosexuality if they had to preach to openly gay people in the military.
  • the fact that this is a slippery slope of equality that will lead to transgender people serving in the military. Well, yes, it is:
Mara Keisling, executive director for the National Transgender Center for Equality, said Donnelly was raising the issue of transgender people in the U.S. military to draw attention to “her last shrill efforts to try to stop “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal,” but added she’s right that trans people shouldn’t be excluded.

“There is no more reason to exclude trans people from service than there is to exclude women, or anybody, African Americans or gay people,” Keisling said. “It’s just all based on old stereotypes that people like Elaine Donnelly use to advance their own causes.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Will God Forgive Will Lynch For Beating Up The Priest Who Forced Him To Fellate His Brother When They Were Boys?

What to do if you're Will Lynch (pictured), a 43-year-old San Francisco man, who's still just a bit upset over being molested by his priest — and forced to have sex with his own brother in the woods — when he was a boy? You find that priest and kick his ass. And then get arrested.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  admin

Ex-Cop Pleads Guilty to Trans Beating

DuannaJohnsonBeatingx390 (Screengrab) | Advocate.comA former Memphis police officer pleaded guilty to the beating of Duanna Johnson and is likely to receive a sentence of two years, less than the 10 years he would have faced at his retrial.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Teen injured in anti-gay attack in Liverpool

As the mourning continues for Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado of Puerto Rico and Jason Mattison Jr. of Baltimore — and as we wait to see what happens following an attack on Houston 16-year-old Jayron MartinPinkNews in the United Kingdom has published a report about a 19-year-old gay man who was beaten by eight young men in Liverpool because they didn’t like his flamboyant style of dress.

The young man, who was not identified by name, suffered a broken nose and will have surgery next week to repair the injuries inflicted in the attack. He told Pink News:  “I was bombarded with punches, I didn’t know where they were coming from. They were shouting, ‘what the f**k are you wearing?!’ I can’t even get on the train without suffering abuse. It’s everywhere I go. I wear colourful stuff, and lipstick, but if I didn’t it would be restricting how I want to be.”

He also said he had been attacked before, and that his ex-boyfriend needed extensive surgery after being assaulted 18 months ago.

Gay trainee policeman James Parkes was hospitalized with a fractured skull after being set upon and beaten by a gang of young men in Liverpool in October, and in August 2008, gay 18-year-old Michael Causner died after being beaten by two other teens, also in Liverpool.

—  admin

Frightening possible consequences of a 'conversion'

Dwan Prince and his mother, Valerie Prinez
Dwan Prince and his mother, Valerie Prinez

One June 8, 2005, Dwan Prince was standing behind his apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y., taking out his garbage, when he got into an argument a man named Steven Pomie. Prince, according to the LGBT Hate Crimes Project, responded rather flirtatiously to something Pomie said to him, prompting Pomie to leave and then return with two friends to attack Prince, yelling anti-gay epithets as they beat and kicked and stomped him.

Now, according to reports in The Gay City News, Prince has sent Pomie a letter apologizing for having made “hateful” statements to Pomie, and expressing his hope that Pomie will receive a light sentence.

On the night of the attack, a neighbor sitting on the stoop in front of the building heard the commotion and went to Prince’s rescue, but not before Prince was beaten into unconsciousness, according to the LGBT Hate Crimes Project. He was hospitalized in the ICU at Brookdale Hospital and remained in a coma for more than a month, suffering from a blood clot the size of a soda can in his brain

Prince, who is HIV-positive, had to have three brain surgeries and still was left partially paralyzed. He also suffered impaired speech and cognitive problems, including memory loss, along with nerve damage that left him with uncontrollable tremors and constant pain in his limbs.

Once he left the hospital, Prince had to move in with his mother, Valerie Prinez, in New Jersey. Prinez, a paralegal, had to take unpaid leave from her job to care for her son and later had to declare bankruptcy. She told The New York Blade that when she asked her church for help, she was turned down after the church found out her son was gay.

Pomie was arrested eight days later in New Jersey and was later convicted of first-degree assault and first-degree assault as a hate crime and sentenced to 25 years in prison. A state appellate court reversed the conviction last year and ordered that he be tried again on second-degree charges of assault and assault as a hate crime.

But last month, according to Gay City News, Prince sent Pomie a letter of apology. The apology comes, GCN reports, after Prince started attending a Bible study class and telling people he is no longer gay.

The letter read, in part: “First please allow me to deeply apology [sic] for my hated comment. Please I do hope you know I am truly deeply sorry for what ever was sayed [sic] that night. I have made some big mistakes in my life and that was the stupidiest [sic] and biggest one of all. … I was at blame so it is my to my strongest degree that you get out as soon as possible. … Steve you changed me! So hopefully when you get out we can hang out. You know me. I know you. I help you calm that angry machine down. And allow you to know I am not gay but a lover, and you can find me a female I can love and can love me.”

Okay, I don’t know about you, but this makes me pretty mad. This man was beaten nearly to death, and no he is apologizing to the guy who did it?! Sounds like “conversion therapy” at its finest, doesn’t it? And here’s the really good part: This “apology” from Prince to Pomie could endanger prosecutors’ chances of winning a conviction in the new trial, which means it’s more likely that another hate-filled gay basher will be set free to roam the streets and find another queer to beat up, maybe even kill.

—  admin