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.”

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WATCH: Is this Bud for us? New Budweiser ad appears to support gays in the military

Budweiser has released a new military-themed ad that some folks are saying is also a “pro-gays-in-the-military” ad.

The ad starts off with a soldier calling another guy and saying, “Hey man. I’m coming home.” Then in a split-screen, continues with scenes of the soldier making his way home while the other guy goes about planning and organizing a welcome home party, and then being the first one to step forward and hug the soldier when he gets home.

If it is a “gay” ad, it isn’t, well, flamboyantly gay. And that’s perfectly fine, since there are many, many, many LGBT people out there — including many of our men and women in uniform — who are definitely not flamboyantly gay themselves. We deserve to have our diverse community portrayed (and honored and celebrated) realistically in all our diversity.

Is this a gay ad? Did Budweiser mean for it to be a gay ad? Huffington Post has a poll up, and readers there are pretty evenly split, with 33 percent saying it is totally gay, 25 percent saying no way it’s gay, and 41 percent saying probably not but I can see why some folks think it is.

And AfterElton.com points out that “if you substituted a woman for [the guy the soldier calls first], it would read pretty much exactly like a heterosexual relationship.”

Only Budweiser knows for sure, of course. But — again, as AfterElton notes — this is a mega-big company with some pretty experienced advertising folks working for them, and do you really think they would let something so very obviously possibly gay slip through inadvertently?

Watch the ad yourself (below) and see what you think. All I know for sure is that I don’t drink beer of any kind, but if I did drink beer, I think I’d probably drink Bud.

—  admin

MD one step closer to being our most phonetically logical marriage equality state

EQUALITY MARYLAND APPLAUDS THE PROGRESS OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY LEGISLATION IN THE SENATE

Maryland’s LGBT Group Pledges to Keep up the Fight

ANNAPOLIS, FEBRUARY 17, 2011 – The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7-4 to favorably report the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB 116) today. This legislation would end the exclusion of committed gay and lesbian couples from marriage. This is the first time the legislation has passed committee and is scheduled to be voted on by the Senate next week.

Statement from Long-Time Champion of LGBT Rights, Senator Richard Madaleno (District 18):

“It is time to provide equal rights under state law to all individuals, including same-sex couples, who seek a marriage license in Maryland. No one can argue that the capacity and bond of love is any different between heterosexual couples and same-sex couples. It is time that the rights already enjoyed by many who can obtain a marriage license in Maryland are enjoyed by all regardless of gender and sexual orientation. We moved one step closer to full marriage equality today.”

Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Executive Director of Equality Maryland released the following statement upon hearing the vote count:

“This is a historic day for all loving and committed gay and lesbian couples throughout the Free State. For the first time in Maryland’s history, we’ve cleared the committee vote which has stalled efforts for marriage equality in previous years. “We know that momentum is swiftly moving for the same rights, responsibilities, and privileges to be extended to gay and lesbian couples through civil marriage. Very soon our families will be provided with the same respect and protections as all other families.

As we look toward the Senate vote, we urge all lawmakers to think about the love and commitment they share with their partners and extend those same rights to those of us who are looking for recognition of our love from Maryland.”

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Equality Maryland

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*Metro Weekly has on-scene reportage: Wheels in Motion: Maryland marriage bill receives historic approval of state Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee [MW]




Good As You

—  David Taffet

Colorado Diocese Adopts Snake-Oil “12 Step Program” For Gay Men

Today we called on the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs to listen to mental health professionals and discontinue their newly adopted “12-step program” for gay men.  The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the diocese has adopted Twelve Steps of Courage, a counseling program for gay men based on Alcoholics Anonymous.  Part of the program asks participants to admit they are “defective.”

“The diocese should be ashamed for selling this snake-oil therapy that mental health professionals have denounced,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Programs like this say they offer hope but in reality they demean and denigrate LGBT people’s sense of self-worth.”

Both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that “reparative” therapy is unhealthy and can be harmful.  In fact in a recent report the American Psychological Association instructs mental health professionals to be honest with clients about the inefficacy of such treatments and to help patients deal with distress over sexual orientation in a positive manner.

The APA report noted that many who seek psychological interventions do so because of distress over the perceived irreconcilability of their sexual orientation and religious beliefs.  They encourage mental health professionals to be respectful of those religious beliefs and work to help patients “address the reality of their sexual orientation while considering the possibilities for a religiously and spiritually meaningful and rewarding life.”

“Homophobia, bias and discrimination are what make it difficult for people to accept and be open about their sexual orientation,” said Solmonese.  “Those who wish to give counsel to people struggling with their identities should offer acceptance, not rejection.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Video: The sanctity of [telling gay soldiers they'll go to hell should they step on a land mine]




Good As You

—  admin

Amos: Marines Will ‘Step Out Smartly’ to Implement Repeal of DADT

Mentioned briefly in the NYT article I linked to earlier this morning on implementation of 'DADT' repeal was an excerpt of a statement by Marine Commandant General James Amos.

Amos The Stars and Stripes blog has posted his full statement, sent out on Sunday evening, in which the Commandant, who prior to the Senate vote warned of Marines losing legs in battle over the "distraction" of open gays serving beside them, promises to faithfully carry out repeal.

Amos' statement:

"Fidelity is the essence of the United States Marine Corps. Above all else, we are loyal to the Constitution, our Commander in Chief, Congress, our Chain of Command, and the American people. The House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to repeal Title 10, US Code 654 'Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the United States Armed Forces.' As stated during my testimony before Congress in September and again during hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, the Marine Corps will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new policy. I, and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, will personally lead this effort, thus ensuring the respect and dignity due all Marines. On this matter, we look forward to further demonstrating to the American people the discipline and loyalty that have been the hallmark of the United States Marine Corps for over 235 years."


Towleroad News #gay

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Full equality is the cure, but here’s a def. positive step for Ill gays

Illinois-State-FlagIllinois gays are one step closer to being one step closer to being equal citizens:

After about an hour of discussion, the Illinois House on Tuesday evening approved legislation legalizing civil unions.

Illinois House Passes Civil Unions Bill [NBC Chicago]

The bill is expected to easily pass the Senate, and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has stated that he’ll sign. That is unless Santa is more responsive to the anti-LGBT crowd’s “Harumph!” and “but, but, but…” wishes than we’d anticipated.




Good As You

—  admin

‘Hating the sin but loving the sinner’ preacher to step down?

Surprise! What have we been saying about homophobia? Most of those Elmer Gantry preachers “who hate the sin but love the sinner” and have so influenced our political leaders with their piety to keep homophobic policies in place end up getting caught in their own web of “Do as I say, not as I do!” hypocrisy. Oh, what a terrible shock (snark…). Actually, it has been noted Bishop Eddie hated the sinner, as well, and mark my words that Long’s homophobic hateful message still resonates with many of his followers and politicians willing to utilize it to rationalize the, decidely un-Christian, continued oppression of our LGBT community:

“The problem today and the reason why society is like it is, is because men are being feminized and women are becoming masculine,” Long says. He then rejects the notion that homosexual orientation can’t be changed. “You can not say, ‘I was born this way’… I don’t care what scientists say, If you say you were born this way, then you’re saying, ‘God, you’re a liar! And I see this thing down here but I’m going to ignore it!’ ”

Much of Long’s sermon is devoted to the theme of proper gender roles. “It is the most unattractive thing I have ever seen, when I see women wearing uniforms that men would wear, and women fighting to get in the military!”

Long later mocks lesbians and female self-gratification. “So the woman gets converted, or perverted, to turn towards woman. Why would she turn toward woman? Because, she’ll turn toward woman because woman is acting like man.”

Oh, and his quote that “everyone knows it is dangerous to enter an exit!” just brings the house down.

It is now being reported Bishop Eddie Long has another accuser the plaintiff’s attorney has added to the list. Only four, Bishop?

Please check out Pam’s House Blend for more hilarity regarding the media allowing fellow arrogant hypocrite Ted Haggard to weigh in on this scandal. I’m still amazed Haggard is paid by the media to provide his two cents! What does that man have to offer except empty platitudes and possibly moaning about the horrible mistreatment he has suffered by the truth being exposed?

Oh, and this is another one of those “Teachable Moments” for Team Obama and their willingness to place the advice and profound spiritual guidance of intolerant Talibangelicals above our civil rights. Did the Obama Admin ever stop to question what truly motivates their Evangelical friends to continue to oppress us? It most certainly adds new meaning to “hating the sin and loving the sinner” on so MANY levels.

How many accusers does it take for the homophobic Bishop Eddie Long to finally step down?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

NY One Step Closer to Marriage Equality with Tim Kennedy Primary Win

Tonight NY state Senate candidate Tim Kennedy’s had a triumphant victory over anti-equality state senator William Stachowski in the SD 58 Democratic primary election. HRC endorsed Tim Kennedy, a pro-equality candidate, as part of the Campaign for New York Marriage, which aims to help re-elect senators who supported marriage equality, defeat incumbent opponents and elect fair-minded candidates to open seats.

“Tonight voters sent a clear message to lawmakers everywhere that taking a stand for equality is the right thing to do,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “With high reelection rates for incumbent state Senators, Tim Kennedy’s win is a tremendous victory for treating every New Yorker with dignity and respect.”

“I would like to thank the Human Rights Campaign for the assistance they have provided in my effort to change Albany,” Kennedy said. “HRC staff and volunteers played a key role in ensuring a major victory.”

HRC’s Campaign for New York Marriage has been working in cooperation with Fight Back New York, Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry and Marriage Equality New York to close the eight-vote gap blocking marriage equality in the New York state Senate. As part of the campaign, HRC endorsed Tim Kennedy and provided direct contributions, staff resources and volunteers to his campaign. Unfortunately two endorsees – Charlie Ramos and Lynn Nunes – were not successful in their primaries today.

HRC’s New York PAC has raised over 0,000 so far this election cycle and mobilized its 70,000 members in the state. HRC’s involvement in New York state elections dates back to 2007, when HRC endorsed pro-equality candidate Craig Johnson from Long Island won a seat in the state Senate that had been held by anti-equality senators for over 100 years.

Solmonese added, “With marriage equality hanging on the balance as we look toward November, this is a critical election season in New York. The Empire State will be a national leader in fight for equality.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright