Al Franken asks public for help passing Student Non-Discrimination Act

Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken, D – Minnesota, is asking the public for help passing S. 555, The Student Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination against public school students on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the provisions of S. 555 students who experienced discrimination because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or because of their association with LGBT people could bring a civil suit against the school officials or districts responsible for the discrimination. The bill currently has 34 co-sponsors (none from Texas) and its House companion (H.R. 998 by Rep. Jared Polis, D – Colorado) has 150 (with 7 Texan co-sponsors including Houston’s own Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green) . Both bills have been referred to committee but neither has received a hearing, a crucial step towards becoming law.

In the video requesting the public call their Senators (after the break) Franken points out that federal law already provides protection for school children harassed because of race, color, sex, religion, disability, and national origin, but that no protection exists for sexual orientation or gender identity.

The inclusion of “association” in S. 555 is particularly well thought out. According to the Williams Institute nearly 1 in 5 same-sex couples in the United States is raising children, in Harris County 18% of same-sex couples are.  As these children enter school it’s important that they be able to receive an education without harassment or bullying due to who their parents are.

Franken is asking people to call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 and encourage their Senator’s to support the bill.

—  admin

Leading Gay Russian Activist Nikolai Alekseev Safe in Moscow, Says He Was Harassed, Drugged by Captors

Leading Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev is safely back in Moscow, and has written an account of his harrowing abduction by captors thought to be with Russia's secret police. Alekseev says the captors harassed, threatened, and possibly drugged him.

Alexeyev Early Saturday morning Alekseev left the following message on Facebook:

"My dear friends, I just entered Moscow. Thank you to all of you for support. All I want now is to brush my teeth and to shave. I will try to describe all that happened tonight! I never thought so many people care for me, it brings tears to my eyes."

Alekseev has written the personal account of his abduction HERE (translated via Google).

Radio Free Europe reports:

"A spokeswoman for the airport told Russian news agencies that Alekseyev was detained after refusing to take off his shoes at the security check. The activist rejects this account and claims airport security officials arbitrarily detained him for two hours before handing him over to a group of unidentified men in plainclothes. He told RFE/RL that he was then driven to a police station in Kashira, a small town some 100 kilometers south of Moscow, where he spent the next two days."

In his personal account, Alekseev notes that he discovered his location by using an iPad, which the authorities had not taken from him.

Radio Free Europe continues:

"[In Kashira], he says he was threatened, harassed, and possibly drugged. 'The first night, I slept on a chair and a table. I spent the second night on a kind of banquette. They gave me water, but I think it was laced with something because my reactions were very slow and I felt completely disoriented. I was given very simple food like biscuits,' Alekseyev says. Conflicting reports had emerged in the wake of Alekseyev's mysterious disappearance. While the activist did not respond to repeated calls to his mobile telephone, news agencies said they had received text messages from him saying he had been taken to Belarus and intended to seek political asylum there. Alekseyev denies such intentions and says the text messages were sent by his captors from his confiscated telephone."

During his abduction, Alekseev was pressured to withdraw a complaint he had filed with the European Court of Human Rights over Moscow's banning of Gay Pride parades.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

90% of LGBT students harassed; similar percentage of Americans care more about Friday night’s game

New report:

The 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students found that at school nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation. Nearly a third of LGBT students skipped at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.

STUDY: 9 OF 10 LGBT STUDENTS FACE HARASSMENT AT SCHOOL [GLSEN via Towle]

New sadly factual supporting evidence:

Same old negligence:

“We feel more and more that activists are being deceptive in using anti-bullying rhetoric to introduce their viewpoints, while the viewpoint of Christian students and parents are increasingly belittled,” Focus on the Family education expert Candi Cushman told the Post. Cushman worried over the public school system’s portrayal of same-sex partnerships as normal and voiced concerns that Christian viewpoints would be interpreted as bigotry.

Focus on the Family: Anti-bullying efforts push LGBT agenda [Edge]




Good As You

—  John Wright