Mississippi’s Controversial Anti-LGBTI Law to Go Into Effect After Appeals Court Ruling

HB 1523 considered the worst of so-called ‘religious freedom’ bills

The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed an injunction against Mississippi House Bill 1523 which is considered one of the most anti-LGBTI laws in the US.

Known as the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, the law effectively gives license to anyone to discriminate against LGBTI people including organizations and businesses based on ‘sincerely held’ religious or moral beliefs.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Bryant had signed the bill into law in April 2016.

The law also includes a portion that forces transgender people in Mississippi to use bathrooms corresponding with the gender of their birth instead of their gender identity.

US District Judge Carlton Reeves had struck down the bathroom portion of the law last June and a month later issued a ruling that blocked HB 1523 from going into effect.

Reeves had written that HB 1523 ‘violates both the guarantee of religious neutrality and the promise of equal protection of the laws’ and that ‘the deprivation of equal protection of the laws is HB 1523’s very essence.’

But a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit disagrees.

Opponents of the law vow to continue their legal fight against it.

‘We believe the Fifth Circuit panel is wrong and intend to seek further review, perhaps from the full Fifth Circuit and definitely from the United States Supreme Court,’ says Mississippi civil rights attorney Rob McDuff.

 

Read more at: Gay Star News.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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During Pride, Take a Moment to Realize All We’ve Accomplished

After nearly 50 years of struggling for equality, amid celebration of the arrival of marriage equality in the United States, there was hand-wringing and name-calling. Cries abounded in LGBT quarters that “the movement had prioritized marriage” to the exclusion of all else. There were accusations and recriminations against national organizations that they drove the prioritization or came late to the game and claimed the glory.

As a movement we are a group of diverse, cantankerous, agitating, never-satisfied individuals. When some said we need a leader we balked. Leadership, yes; a leader, no! Some said we were too divided; too many unruly, defiant individuals to follow a single hero/ine. Whatever. We accomplished much, squabbling all the way.

Perhaps this is a moment when we can relent in our unrelenting complaints against ourselves to celebrate our national organizations, our state and city groups, our activists, individuals, couples, families, queer spawn, and allies for what we’ve accomplished together.

Some accused the national organization of coming late to marriage equality, not so — Lambda Legal was involved from the start, in 1993 in Hawaii filing an amicus brief supporting plaintiff couples, and in 1996 as co-counsel in the trial court. The Task Force was involved in fighting same-sex marriage bans state by state since starting in at least 2003, and its Policy Institute contributed critical opposition research. Freedom to Marry was founded to create a funding consortium and strategy base. Equality Federation state members like Mass Equality, Equality California, and Empire State Pride Agenda engaged state by state.

In city after city, individuals and couples stepped up to say, “Enough, don’t ask us to wait.” It was certainly a grassroots effort. But it wasn’t just marriage equality we were fighting for, or continue to fight for.

As a community, we battled a plague — HIV and AIDS — which the government would have refused to address were it not for our efforts. At the national level there was passage of hate-crimes legislation, repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and LGBT inclusion in the Violence Against Women Act. Antidiscrimination and anti-bullying laws were passed in cities across the country. LGBT families put themselves on the line to gain adoption and parenting rights. “LGBT rights are human rights and human rights are LGBT rights” became official State Department foreign policy, thanks to Hillary Clinton.

We matured to recognize and be a voice on issues of the larger society. We became a force within the immigration reform movement, participating in Black Lives Matter, advancing nondiscrimination on the basis of gender identity, calling for reform of law enforcement policies and prison conditions, health care and economic reform. We entered the fray of local and national electoral politics as voters and candidates.

Religious bodies became more inclusive, thanks to the Metropolitan Community Church, United Church of Christ, More Light Presbyterians, Lutherans Concerned, and progressive Jewish congregations. Courageous faith leaders reclaimed the high ground from those who used hate-filled rhetoric against us.

Issues of gender identity moved from the margins to the center of a national conversation. The role of transgender men and women in advancing civil rights and dignity for all has became a vital part of our movement. Across the country we changed hearts and minds.

No, it’s not like nothing else happened while we were prioritizing marriage equality.

 

Read more at: The Advocate Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gay Relationships: How to Survive a Long Distance Relationship

Being in a long distance relationship can be difficult, that’s why we created this guide to help you find ways of coping with the trials that distance can bring to a relationship.

 

What kills a long distance gay relationship is the constant underlying uncertainty to everything. “Is this all worth it?” “Does he still feel the same way about me as he did before?” “Is he secretly meeting other guys on Grindr without me knowing?” “Am I kidding myself with all of this? Maybe we’re horrible for each other and I don’t know it.”

The longer you two are apart, the more these uncertainties will fester and grow into legitimate existential crises.

That’s why when making any long distance relationship work it’s necessary to always have some date that you are both waiting for. Usually, this will be the next time you are both able to see each other. But it can be other major life moments as well — applying for jobs in the other person’s city, looking at apartments together, a vacation together, and so on.

The minute you stop having some milestone to look forward to together, you’ll be stuck in emotional limbo. One thing that is true about all relationships is that if they’re not growing, then they’re dying. And this is more important than ever in long distance relationships. You must be evolving towards something. You must both have a converging trajectory on some point on the horizon. Otherwise you will inevitably drift apart.

There are few ways to portray long distance relationships as pleasant experiences, but there are steps you can take to make them easier until the time comes when you will be back in the same place. Which brings me to my first and most important tip:

1. Since you don’t have the benefit of in-person time together, daily communication is a must. Whether you prefer text messages, IMs, emails, telephone calls, or video chatting, keeping in touch is the most important thing you can do in a long-distance relationship. There are even smartphone apps that allow long-distance couples to share photos, videos, send voice messages, and more. And don’t forget good old snail mail! A cute handwritten letter or small unexpected gift goes a long way to making your LD partner feel loved and appreciated.

 

2. Be slow to judge. 

A funny thing happens to humans psychologically when we’re separated from one another. We’re not able to see each other as we truly are. When we’re apart from one another or have limited exposure to a person or event, we start to make all sorts of assumptions or judgments that are usually exaggerated or untrue.

This can manifest itself in various ways within a long distance relationship. In some cases, people get insanely jealous or irrationally possessive of their partner because they perceive every casual social outing without them as potentially threatening to their relationship. They become paranoid, asking “who the fuck is Dan, tell me who the fuck this Dan guy is, and why is he writing on your Facebook wall — oh, he’s your stepbrother? I didn’t know you had a stepbrother. Why didn’t you tell me you had a stepbrother, are you hiding something from me? OK, maybe I wasn’t listening when you told me, but I still don’t want you hanging out with Dan, got it?”

 

3. Make Time to be Boring.
Reuniting after time apart can make relationships feel honeymoon-y a lot of the time, especially if you’re visiting on weekends. If your times together feel more like mini-vacations than real life, it’s hard to know if your relationship would work under ordinary circumstances. Be sure to plan some downtime during each visit so you can get a better sense of how you function as a couple under more typical day-to-day conditions. It’ll help you realize whether or not the relationship will be worth the effort in the long run.

 

4. Send nudes.

Sexting is wonderful at any time, but in a long-distance relationship it is vital. Let him know you still think about him sexually, and that you can’t wait until you guys are naked together again.

This is important. Everybody wants to be seen as sexy, especially by the person they’re dating. When you are apart, it is easy to feel unattractive – there’s no one there to kiss you and touch your butt and tell you that you look good even when you think you look terrible.

When you are far apart, remind him often that you think he’s sexy, that his new pictures on Facebook or Instagram are hot, and that you want to do nasty things to him when you’re back together.

 

5. Make sure the distance is temporary.  A long distance relationship cannot survive without hope. And for there to be hope, there must be some possibility that you two will one day be together and achieve your Happily Ever After.

Without that shared vision of Happily Ever After, everything else will quickly begin to feel meaningless.

Remember, love is not enough. You both need to have life visions that are aligned, shared values and mutual interests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oregon just became the first state to legally recognise non-binary people

Oregon has become the first state to legally recognise non-binary people.

The state will now allow people to choose a third gender on official documents like driving licenses and identification cards.

In addition to ‘F’ and ‘M’, people will be able to choose ‘X’.

The move, which is set to go into effect on July 1, is confirmation of a massive civil rights win for anyone who does not identify as simply male or female.

This includes non-binary, gender-fluid and genderqueer people, as well as some trans people.

Citizens will be able to request a change to the gender on their documents without the need for a doctor’s note.

“This change in ID is a huge piece of validation for me,” J Gibbons, a non-binary, transgender Portland resident told The Guardian.

Gibbons, 26, uses gender-neutral and they/them pronouns.

They said: “The state of Oregon sees me for who I am.

“I don’t even think ‘excitement’ can capture all of my emotions about this change.”

Governor Kate Brown, who is out as bi and who signed the bill into law, made history last year when she became the first out LGB person to win election as governor of a US state.

Earlier this month, California took a huge step towards legally recognising non-binary people.

The state Senate passed a bill which, similarly to the Oregon legislation, would allow people to choose a third gender on official forms.

Read more at PinkNews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Homophobic People are More Likely to Be Gay, Apparently

In news that will surprise not one living person, a study has shown that homophobic people are more likely to be gay.

A recently unearthed study from a 2012 edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed higher homophobic instances in those who identified as straight but showed attraction to members of the same sex, as reported in Indy100.

The study examined the differences between how male college students self-identified their orientation and how they responded to quick timed tasks. These tests uncovered the respondents’ implicit attractions.

The results showed that the men who were more likely to display hostility towards gay people were more likely to be ‘implicitly homosexual’.

Netta Weinstein, the author of the study, wrote: “Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves.”

Richard Ryan, who also worked on the study, said: “Those people who have such discrepancies, who have really a split between their unconscious attraction and what they consciously say about themselves, are more likely to come from authoritarian homes.

“If you are a parent who really believes your child should be straight, and when you use whatever means you can to convince them them that they’re only good and worthy if they are, that would be very controlling and it creates a lot of conflict in the child.”

 

Read more at: Attitude Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WATCH: Love Conquers Hate! Anti-gay Protestor Arrested at Pulse Nightclub Vigil

An anti-gay protestor was arrested outside Pulse nightclub in Orlando yesterday during a vigil held to remember the 49 victims on the first anniversary of last year’s horrendous attack at the venue.

The protestor was holding up a banner that read “All homos will burn like faggots in hell.”

The crowd responded with a chant of “love conquers hate” as police approached the man and put him in handcuffs, before leading him away.

He was one of three anti-gay protestors who decided to show up the vigil.

Pulse nightclub held a remembrance ceremony for family, friends and the local community, which honoured both the victims and the first responders.

Elsewhere, organisers of LA Pride released 49 balloons in honour of those who lost their lives in Orlando.

Brian Pendleton, who organised Sunday’s Resist March during LA Pride, said: “As we remember those lost, we must not forget the fight for the living.”

Read more at: Gay Times Magazine.

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The FDA just approved generic Truvada, and the implications are immense

It’s a game-changing move that’s come as something of a shock to HIV advocates: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved a generic version of Gilead’s antiretroviral drug Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine).

What that means as far as what the drug will cost is still up in the air, but it’s bound to have significant implications for consumers as well as insurers.

 

Poz reports the approval allows Teva Pharmaceuticals to produce a generic version of the drug, which is used as a component of HIV treatment as well as pre-exposure prophlyaxis (PREP.) It would come in the same form as the current brand name version: a fixed-dosed combo tablet.

Talking to Poz, Jeffrey S. Murray, MD, MPH, deputy director of the Division of Anti-Viral Products at the FDA, says:

“Yes, the first generic for Truvada has been approved and will now be available in the U.S. Usually, it takes several generics before full cost-savings potential is reached though. Hopefully, this will help to expand PrEP availability for many.”

 

Read more at: Queerty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Germany grants rare humanitarian visa to gay man fleeing Chechnya

Germany has granted its first visa to a gay man from Chechnya.

 

The man arrived in the country on Tuesday (6 June), according to German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

He was granted a special humanitarian visa. ‘We are happy we’re able to help in especially difficult cases,’ the German Foreign Ministry told the paper.

These residence permits are very rarely given out in Germany, as well as other EU states, but can be granted to people ‘on urgent humanitarian grounds’.

The man was initially interviewed at the German Embassy in Moscow. Following his interview, the foreigners’ registration office in Germany decided he fulfilled all requirements to be granted a visa. Several other applicants have also been invited to the embassy so they could make statements.

‘The Federal Government checks which meaningful protection can be granted in the interest of the affected person in every case,’ the embassy said.

Three further men have already been interviewed and might soon be able to leave for Germany.

Germany is the third reported country to take in Chechens fleeing the persecution of gay men.

First was Lithuania, who took in two gay men according to its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevic. France has also taken in one refugee; more are expected to follow in his steps.

On 1 April Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta broke news of Chechnya operating a concentration camp for gay men.

 

Read more at: Gay Star News.

5 Gay Dating Tips and Practical Advice for Singles

Dating is often awkward, sweet, and challenging. But don’t worry! We’ve put together some top gay dating tips to consider when meeting new people.

 

We’ve put together some top gay dating tips to consider when meeting new people. Let us save you some time, energy and heartache. You can thank us later.

1. Finding a romantic partner is only one of many goals you can have at once. There’s a difference between making something a priority and having an obsession. No one wants to be the Captain Ahab of the dating world.

2. It’s not about getting someone to think you’re good enough for them. It’s about finding someone you can stand to spend a ridiculous amount of time with. It’s about finding the puzzle piece you fit with and the Ernie to your Bert.

3. Stop worrying about potential paramours rejecting you for being too fat, too short, too whatever. It’s entirely possible that you would’ve had to reject them for never having seen Star Wars (your essential piece of pop culture may vary) anyway. People who simply are “not the right fit” exist. The sooner you weed them out of your life, the happier you’ll be.

4. A first date is not an audition for marriage. It’s just a tryout for a second date. No one ever fell in love while analyzing every detail of their momentous first meeting.

5. If a man says that he’s too damaged for you (or too neurotic, or too anything), just take his word for it. Even if it is his low self-esteem talking, you’re not going to be able to fix him. And it’s probably just a euphemism for “I’m just not feeling it.”

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Where to Eat, Sleep & Play During D.C.’s Equality March

On June 11, 2017, the Equality March will mobilize LGBTQ+ communities and our allies to affirm and protect our rights, our safety and our full humanity.

 

Over the past few years, Washington, D.C., has become much more than a staid political town. In 2017, the city even received its first Michelin Red Guide, effectively anointing the destination as a culinary capital as well. This June, head there for the Pride March, dropping anchor in Dupont Circle, the city’s historic gay center, before fanning out east toward the 14th Street Corridor, Logan Circle, and Shaw, then north to discover Adams Morgan and Petworth. Here, we break down the essential stops.

 

EAT

Tail Up Goat: The restaurant’s trio of owners spent years working at local favorites like Little Serow and Komi before opening this now-Michelin-starred neighborhood haunt. Shareable dishes like fatty grilled lamb ribs and house-made pici pasta in a short-rib ragu practically scream for bottles of Old World wine. (TailUpGoat.com)

 

Read more at: Out Magazine.

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Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

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