Voodoo ceremony for twins in Benin to celebrate them as deities
In Abomey-Calavi near the port city of Cotonou in Benin, a voodoo priestess organises a large, traditional ceremony bringing together dozens of twins to be honoured as deities. In southern Benin, Nigeria and Togo, twins are worshipped as demigods.news.yahoo.com
Kentucky and Baptist foster care agency settle dispute over LGBTQ language
Kentucky has finalized its contract with a Baptist-affiliated foster care and adoption agency after months of dispute over whether to include language that expressly bans LGBTQ discrimination, the state announced Friday.news.yahoo.com
Texas’ GOP leadership already at odds over plans for special legislative session
Since House Democrats staged a walkout that killed Republicans’ priority elections bill for the regular session, the governor and the leaders of the state House and Senate have diverged notably in interviews about how they are approaching the overtime round.
Stronger Houston: The COVID-19 crisis and it’s impact on Houston’s transgender community
“The trans community is one of the most overlooked communities in times of disaster,” said Austin Ruiz, communications and marketing manger at The Montrose Center. AdWhen COVID-19 hit, The Montrose Center, which serves Houston’s LGBT community, saw a sharp increase in requests for help among Houston’s trans community. “We found there were a lot of community members, specifically trans community members, that do not feel safe to go to other social service agencies because they were afraid they’d be turned away or discriminated against because of their status as a trans community member,” Ruiz said. Through a foundation grant, Save Our Sisters United has been able to provide money for food, shelter, basic necessities and medication like HRT’s. She added that ongoing therapy sessions with her counselor at the Montrose Center continues to make all the difference in the world.
House pass legislation to ban discrimination on sexual orientation, gender identity
HOUSTON – The U.S. House has passed sweeping legislation to ban discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to provide protection for LGBTQ individuals. If approved by the Senate and signed by President Biden, it would be the most sweeping federal LGBTQ Civil Rights Bill to ever become law. The same act passed the Democratic-controlled House in 2019 but stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. “The best thing you can do is make yourself heard when it comes to your Civil Rights.
Man used gay dating app to target person he eventually killed, deputies say
HOUSTON – Harris County deputies have charged a former convict with capital murder in the death of a man they said he targeted for robbery using a gay dating app. Deputies said he opened an account on an app called Grindr to find people to rob. According to deputies, Davis told them he turned on Betanzos once he was in his apartment, knocking him unconscious. Police said Davis told detectives that he used a scarf to strangle him. Deputies said Davis told detectives that he poured bleach on the Betanzos’ body in an effort to destroy evidence, and drove off in the dead man’s truck after taking his iPhone and iPad.
Study: Pandemic eats into LGBTQ representation on network TV
The percentage of regularly seen LGBTQ characters on streaming as well as prime-time broadcast TV and cable during the 2020-21 season fell. Prime-time broadcast fell to 9.1% after reaching an all-time high of 10.2% last season. GLAAD's report, “Where We Are on TV,” found that 70 out of 773 series regular characters on broadcast scripted prime-time TV were LGBTQ. The group found good news on the second request in the latest study — over half of LGBTQ characters on cable television were people of color, meeting GLAAD’s challenge. The advocacy group noted that nearly half of all LGBTQ representation in prime-time scripted cable is seen on just three networks — FX, Freeform and Showtime.
Texas education board approves new sex ed policy that does not cover LGBTQ students or consent
Over the last several months, panels of educators and medical professionals formulated recommendations to overhaul the health and sex education policies. This marks the board’s first thorough revision to its sex education policy since 1997, and will affect millions of students in the state. In 2017, they unsuccessfully pushed a policy preventing transgender people from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity. Experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association oppose abstinence-only education and champion comprehensive sex education. This type of sex education prioritizes accurate and exhaustive information about contraception, human sexuality and sexually transmitted infections.
Sarah McBride becomes the first openly transgender person to be elected state senator
While most Americans continued awaiting the presidential election results, history was silently being made in Delaware. Sarah McBride, 30, made history on election night by becoming the first openly transgender person to be elected to the state Senate in U.S. history. “I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too,” McBride tweeted Tuesday night after the election was called. McBride is a former spokesperson for the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign and also became the first trans person to speak at a major political convention. McBride will represent parts of Bellefonte, Claymont and Wilmington, the state’s largest city.
New channel offers fare for women in the LGBTQ community
LOS ANGELES – An online channel devoted to women in the LGBTQ community is launching with shows including a pandemic-set romantic comedy and a paranormal drama. The channel debuts Thursday as part of Revry, a digital platform that offers free, queer-focused programming, including the 24/7 Revry News channel. “I’m overjoyed to offer a free, living and breathing space for queer female stories to be seen across the world,” Revry co-founder LaShawn McGhee said in a statement. Now called OML, it's become “a tentpole brand for the lesbian and queer female communities,” McGhee said. OML has expanded its female-driven content and outreach to a larger audience, a goal that will be enhanced by its partnership with Revry, OML founder Shirin Etessam said in a statement.
Texas social workers will no longer be allowed to discriminate against LGBTQ Texans and people with disabilities
After backlash from lawmakers and advocates, a state board voted Tuesday to undo a rule change that would have allowed social workers to turn away clients who are LGBTQ or have a disability. The Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council voted unanimously to restore protections for LGBTQ and disabled clients to Texas social workers’ code of conduct just two weeks after removing them. The governor’s office recommended removing language that prohibited social workers from turning away clients on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. That set off an immediate firestorm of criticism from social workers, LGBTQ advocates and advocates for people with disabilities. “This is a recognition of the key principle that a social worker’s personal beliefs must never impede a person’s right to self-determination or access to services.”
Critics urge Texas regulators to reverse decision allowing social workers to turn away clients who are LGBTQ or have a disability
Advocates called the move by the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners, which has not yet been finalized, an attempt to create “two classes of Texans” during a press conference organized by the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. There is currently no law in Texas that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination. The code will no longer prohibit social workers from discriminating on the basis of a disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. Greg Abbott’s office recommended the change, board members said, because the nondiscrimination protections went further than those laid out in state law. The change sparked national backlash, including from 11 members of Texas’ congressional delegation who called on Abbott and the board to reverse the decision.
Mixed Philippine reaction on pope nod on gay civil unions
MANILA – Pope Francis’ endorsement of same-sex civil unions drew mixed reactions Thursday in the Philippines, Asia’s bastion of Catholicism, with a retired bishop saying he was scandalized by it while an LGBT group welcomed the pontiff’s remarks with relief. President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said the Philippine leader has long expressed support to same-sex civil unions but added it needed to pass through Congress. Retired Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said he “had very serious doubts about the moral correctness” of the pontiff’s position. He said it ran against long-standing church teachings, which explicitly permit only the union of man and woman whether in civil, legal or church sacramental unions. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte has long supported same-sex civil unions and the papal endorsement may finally convince legislators to give their approval.
Show us your Pride to celebrate National Coming Out Day
Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day, and for many LGBTQ+ Americans, there are many reasons to celebrate their Pride. National Coming Out Day has been celebrated for 32 years now, and it’s an important reminder on just how far the queer community has come since earlier times. There was an entire generation of LGBTQ Americans who had live inside the closet because of laws and discrimination. So if you’re proud to be out and want it to shout it from the rooftops, tell us about it below! If you have advice for people still in the closet struggling with their identity, maybe offer some advice, and tell us how your life has improved since coming out.
San Antonio ordered to lift ban on Chick-fil-A at international airport
SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio has been ordered to lift the ban on Chick-fil-A at the city’s international airport. The order comes after the city council banned the restaurant from the airport with a 6-4 council vote. An investigation into the city’s potential violation of federal law and Transportation Department regulations went into effect when the city was suspected of banning Chick-fil-A from operating a restaurant in the San Antonio International Airport based on the company’s religious beliefs. The Federal Aviation Administration announced that San Antonio International Airport will offer Chick-fil-A a lease opportunity for space in Terminal A. "To exclude a respected vendor based on religious beliefs is the opposite of tolerance and is inconsistent with the Constitution, Texas law, and Texas values.
‘United with pride.‘: A look back at Houston’s first LGBTQ Pride Parade more than 4 decades ago
As the nation wraps up Pride Month in June, we look back at the foundation of Houston’s Pride Parade, one of the country’s largest events celebrating Pride. The beginning of Houston’s Pride ParadeAccording to Houston LGBT History, the first official Houston Pride Parade was held in Montrose on July 1, 1979. On June 20, 1976, the University of Houston’s Gay Activist Alliance took its first steps in the gay movement with a Houston Pride Parade. Event article clipping from June 19, 1976 (Larry Butler, courtesy of JD Doyle, HoustonLGBTHistory.org)The official Houston Pride Parade began three years later on July 1, 1979. For the first time since 1977 when the parade was canceled due to lack of funds, Houston’s Pride Parade was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Harry Potter’ actors come out in support of trans community after J.K. Rowling’s comments
I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter himself, was the first star to make a statement on the matter. His thoughts were long, but to many “Harry Potter” fans, his words were very comforting. And in my opinion, nobody can touch that.”Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, tweeted out in support of the trans community. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid.
Texas teacher of the year suspended for showing students a picture of her fiancée wins $100,000 settlement
Stacy Bailey, who was on paid leave, reached a $100,000 settlement with the Mansfield Independent School District last week, her attorney said. The teacher was transferred to Lake Ridge High School, which is in the same school district, at the end of the 2018 school year. The school district said the teacher refused to follow administration directions "regarding age-appropriate conversations with students" about sexual orientation. The settlement also requires the school district to provide Bailey with a "neutral" letter of recommendation. "I think this settlement was a win-win for Stacy, the educators and the students of Mansfield ISD," Smith said.