Thursday, April 27, 2017

House introduces anti-conversion therapy bill; more on Safe Havens for youth and school censorship

Ted Lieu (D-CA) and others have introduced a “Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017”, (borrowed from the Senate as S. 928) allowing the FTA to classify “conversion therapy” as fraudulent.  LGBTQ people were born “perfect”, a Washington Post headline reads on April 27.

Lambda Legal has released a report (“Safe Havens”) on inadequate care of LGBTQ (especially transgender) youth in various kinds of care here
The National Coalition Against Censorship has also demanded an apology from a Tennessee school district over a takedown of a student’s pro GLBT art.

Monday, April 24, 2017

GLSEN National Day of Silence; Idaho on birth certificates

Lambda Legal reports here on GLSEN’s recent “Day of Silence”  to combat anti-LGBT bullying, link here.  The observation seems to be limited to students, but would demand people “shut up” to show solidarity.
Lambda Legal also announces that it is suing the state of Idaho for refusing to allow transgender people (minors) to change their legal gender on birth certificates.  In fact, many states attempting “bathroom bills” have allowed such changes and insist that the bathroom use match the certificate.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Texas considers clone of NC HB2 "pseudo-repeal" which is worse; Cherry circuit party in DC

The Washington Blade, in an article by Chris Johnson, is reporting that Texas is considering a bill modeled after North Carolina’s HB2 “repeal”.  There is a curious irony in this. The Texas bill. HB2899 would bar any city or county from adopting any anti-discrimination law based on any invented “protected class” not already recognized by state (or federal) law.  That would effectively nullify LGBT discrimination (with regard to employment and housing) bills in many cities like Dallas and Houston. But on the surface the bill sounds benign and abstract, since it does not specifically mention gender identity or bathroom use.  This parallels what happened in North Carolina.  The bill is also an alternative to the more specific Senate Bill 6.

I used to live in Dallas (1979-1988) and things have come a long way – in the big cities. The Dallas Voice has its story on the bill here.

I finally got around to looking into the DC Cherry Circuit Party today (link).  (Is it a bit like The Saint's Black Party in the past, March 25, 2012).   Down the street I see that an after-hours party was held at Flash this morning (next to the Uproar, see March 31).   The Cherry DC weekend raises money mostly for HIV charities (Doug Rule story for Metro Weekly).  I did visit the DC9 venue for dinner, but came home.  No time for it given the events in NYC and then the March for Science all day Saturday.  Will try next year.

There was a film "Circuit" in 2000 by Dirk Shafer about the White Party in Palm Springs.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Hillary Clinton warns at fundraiser that Trump administration seems indifferent at best on LGBT issues

Hillary Clinton spoke at a fundraiser for the Center in New York City, where she warned that the Trump administration could roll back progress on LGBT rights, more because of his appointments than of Trump himself.  Outside of Kushner and perhaps Mattis, a number of other appointments have given some evidence of hostility in the past, even though they seem mum now.

Hillary mentioned the fact that gay men were simply pulled out of their homes in Chechnya, and that tge Russian government denies that gay people exist.  She was disappointed in the State Department’s underwhelming response. That would have been the equivalent of pulling out of home in high school because I was perceived as a “sissy”.

She also mentioned not being counted specifically in the 2020 Census or any special surveys.  (“Numbers”).  She also mentioned the Supreme Court.

The CNN story link is here. Hillary also mentioned the importance of the 2018 elections.

I was coincidentally in New York City last night for a New York Philharmonic concert.
The Washington Blade is now reporting that the policeman killed in the Champs in Paris yesterday was gay.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nebraska state supreme court strikes down antiquated ban on gay couple foster parents

The Nebraska state supreme court has struck down a rule (M-95) prohibiting gay couples from becoming foster parents.  Slate has a typical news story here
There is some question as to how often it as enforced, and it was obviously not constitutional once same-sex marriage became the law of the land.

The rule could matter in asylum situations.  There are agencies (like the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition) which place unaccompanied minor immigrants (usually 16 or 17) with foster families while seeking asylum, although this is obviously very challenging.

Wikipedia attribution link for Pine Ridge NB phot by Spencer, CCSA 2.5 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

North Carolina GOP introduces bill to snub Supreme Court, make gay marriage and civil union illegal again

Four Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill, HB 780, to try to make gay marriage illegal in North Carolina. The AOL news story is here.

The bill would also make civil unions illegal and seems to deliberately flout the Supreme Court Obergefell ruling.
Curiously, I haven’t yet seen the story anywhere else but AOL.

Update: April 13

The bill was called the "Uphold Traditional Marriage Act" but the latest information is that the bill will not be heard (local television report)..

Here are a few more links talking about parole from ICE detention, especially for LGBTQ

It’s dangerous when “Bill” goes on a long day trip and researches more stuff on his smart phone at lunch.  I checked further yesterday (after a moving visit to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park south of Cambridge, MD, on the Eastern Shore).  This posting follows up a posting on April 1.

One disturbing report is that the Trump EO’s, even if held up by the courts, have resulted in slowing down the release of people (especially LGBTQ) from detention.  I’m not sure everyone reports this.
I also found more links about how getting someone paroled from detention works (especially Immigration Equality and Rainbow Welcome, affiliated with a “Heartland Alliance”).

There are some specific cases that are particularly disturbing, such as transgender females held with male detainees.  (ICE has very limited facilities for transgender people, just one place in California, as I recall).

It has been my impression (and at least one Virginia laywer told me this last October) that generally someone will be released on “parole” (possibly sometimes with ankle bracelets) only to a relative or to someone who knows the person well.  This still seems to be the case, despite references to “sponsors” ("pseudo" compared to how it is handled in Canada) who would guarantee housing and other financial support..  A relative or friend (and legal US resident) would have to put up the “bond” money in most cases.

It would be a good question to wonder whether a charity could set up to provide bond money, or whether some sort of “Give Well” or “Give Direct” setup could work.  But from reading the literature it looks as though ICE wants someone who knows the person already to put up the money.

QDEP in New York City, however, seems to be leading fundraising efforts to raise parole money for specific detainees, as with this example  but it’s a good question as to whether this is repeatable on any kind of volume of people.

This is still a very complicated topic, with reputable sources giving different details as to how things really work.

I have to say that the Tubman museum visit highlights one important concept, "resistance".

Monday, April 10, 2017

Chechnya is becoming the worst place in the world for gay men

One of the most awful stories about anti-gay policies in other countries seems to come from Chechnya, a semi-autonomous part of Russia that gave us the Tsarnaev brothers.  Here’s the Daily Mail version of the torture reports.

This part of the world seems to be super combative, super warrior-class, with unassimilated radical Islam at its worst.

No doubt we’ll hear about this with asylum seekers. It's no fodder for Facebook jokes.  No, Sessions isn't going to do anything like this.

Update: April 17

OutRight has a press release urging oil companies to condemn the anti-gay raids, here.

Russia seems oblivious, seems willing to accept extra-judicial or "honor" killings in autonomous (especially Muslim) areas.