NATIONAL NEWS: Pope Francis Disappoints With Trans Comments

Pope Francis blesses baby  while in Philadelphia.

Pope Francis blesses a baby during his Philadelphia trip in September 2015.

Pope Francis makes discouraging remarks about trans youth identity and same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis has disappointed members of the Catholic church on matters pertaining to LGBTQ relations in his recent letter Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), which covers marriage and the family. In his writing, he supports the College of Pediatriciansrecent claims that “conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” “The young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created,” Pope Francis states. He further asserts that if individuals believe they have “absolute power over our own bodies,” it could potentially imply that “we enjoy absolute power over creation.” The 261-page document also included statements that there are “absolutely no grounds” for sincerely acknowledging “homosexual unions.” All of this comes as another reminder that Pope Francis is not as socially progressive as many followers had initially hoped. Read more »

NATIONAL NEWS: Protesters Sing “Let Us Pee” Outside N.C. Governor’s Mansion

Thousands of opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation Saturday, March 28, 2015.  Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill Thursday prohibiting state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Thousands of opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation Saturday, March 28, 2015. Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill Thursday prohibiting state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

“Triangle Families Against HB2” event had protesters singing the famous Beatles hit “Let It Be” — with a twist.

On Sunday, a coalition of hundreds of protesters spoke out against North Carolina‘s new law HB2, which overturns protections for LGBTQ people and prohibits transgender people from using the bathroom of their selected gender. The standout moment of the protest at Gov. Pat McCrory‘s mansion was when the group united to sing “Let Us Pee,” a spin on the Beatles song “Let It Be.” Read more »

OPINION: Here’s What We All Should Be Doing for Transgender Day of Visibility

transgender

Poster by Micah Bazant

Thursday is Transgender Day of Visibility, a moment designated to reflect and acknowledge the existence of transpeople and their causes. The special nature of the day will no doubt prompt a torrent of heartfelt pictures and historical retellings on social media. But our transgender brother and sisters need more than just shout-outs this time around — they need serious action.

The irony of celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility in Pennsylvania is that it might actually cost a transperson their job. While we have increased visibility of transpeople in media, the fact remains that there is currently no law to protect such individuals from employment discrimination. Read more »

NATIONAL NEWS: New North Carolina Anti-Gay Law Faces Court Challenge

(sebra/Shutterstock)

(sebra/Shutterstock)

New North Carolina gay discrimination law is headed to court.

A new anti-LGBTQ law that prevents North Carolina municipalities and counties from extending protections to LGBTQ citizens in restaurants, hotels, and stores is now being challenged by The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and Equality North Carolina. The controversial law was signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last week after GOP lawmakers wanted to overturn an impending Charlotte ordinance that allowed transpeople to have a restroom preference that matched their selected gender identity. The lawsuit argues that “by singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, H.B. 2 violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution. H.B. 2 imposes a different and more burdensome political process on LGBT people than on non-LGBT people who have state protection against identity-based discrimination.” Read more »

OPINION: Identity and Acceptance Collide in LGBTQ News

Caitlyn Jenner is now endorsing Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) for president.

Caitlyn Jenner is now endorsing Texas Senator Ted Cruz for president.

Coverage this week of LGBTQ news couldn’t be any more of a headache.

The same tropes of homophobia and transphobia showed their nastier sides on social media and beyond with adverse reactions to the difference in opinions and expressions in Hollywood. Read more »

LOCAL NEWS: Justice Delayed — Again — For Transwoman Murder Victim Keisha Jenkins

Kiesha Jenkins (left) via Facebook. Suspect Pedro Redding (right) in Philadelphia Police Department photo.

Kiesha Jenkins (left) via Facebook. Suspect Pedro Redding (right) in Philadelphia Police Department photo.

The preliminary hearing for Pedro Redding, on trial in connection to the death of transwoman Keisha Jenkins, has once again been delayed.

The preliminary hearing set for March 2 for the defendant in connection of the death of transwoman Keisha Jenkins was delayed until March 30, as authorities continue to investigate the crime. The hearing has been delayed multiple times. Jenkins, 22, was fatally shot at 13th and Wingohocking streets last October in what police believe to be a robbery unrelated to Jenkins’ identity as a transwoman. Police allege that Pedro Redding, 24, was with a number of other men who assaulted her. He is the only suspect who has been arrested thus far, and police have said they do not think Redding was the shooter. This news comes at a troublesome time for a community that has seen an increasing number of transgender murders, notably targeting transpeople of color. Read more »

NATIONAL NEWS: SCOTUS Reverses Alabama Court Ruling on Lesbian Adopting Parent

By Daderot - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4323604

By Daderot, Public Domain.

The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Alabama Supreme Court ruling that took away a lesbian mother’s adoption rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a lesbian woman who lost her rights to her adoptive children when she and her same-sex partner broke up. Last year, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the unnamed plaintiff (only referred to as “V.L.” in court documents) should lose her parental adoptive rights because the initial residing state of the couple had no right to grant them to begin with. “V.L.” is not the natural birth mother, but had gotten adoptive parental rights in Georgia. The lesbian couple — who never got legally married — broke up, and her same-sex partner, who is the birth mother (and is only referenced as “E.L.” in court documents) won the Alabama Supreme Court case taking away V.L.’s parental rights as the adoptive mother. Last December, the U.S. Supreme Court set aside the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision and temporarily granted V.L.’s parental rights while it contemplated whether to hear the case or not. On Monday morning, the Supreme Court finally issued a ruling that reversed the Alabama decision and is already being considered a major LGBT court ruling that has officially addressed the hardships of gay and lesbian adoption. Read more »

NATIONAL NEWS: HRC Speaks Out on the Death of Philly Transwoman Maya Young

Maya Young, 25, was murdered in Frankford on February 20th.

Maya Young, 25, was murdered on Frankford on February 20th.

The Human Rights Campaign publicly acknowledges the recent death of a Philly transwoman.

As Philly continues to reflect on another tragic death of a transwoman of color, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization joins the city in solidarity. Maya Young, 25, was stabbed to death on February 20th. The Human Rights Campaign released a public statement about her death to their huge following. The momentum continued this past Saturday at the HRC Greater Philadelphia Gala when national president Chad Griffin asked guests to “take a moment to remember the life of Maya Young” and said, “Congress needs to act with a greater sense of urgency to protect the lives of transgender Americans.” Over the past year, there has been an alarming number of deaths of transwomen of color across the country. Last October, Philly native Kiesha Jenkins became the 20th reported transwoman of color murdered in the U.S. in 2015. Read more »

OSCAR SUNDAY: Filming The Danish Girl

Rebecca Root in a scene from The Danish Girl.

Rebecca Root in a scene from “The Danish Girl.”

Trans actors Rebecca Root and Jake Graf play cisgender characters in the Academy Award–nominated film The Danish Girl. Watching the film carefully, one would have not noticed their identities until they revealed them later to the press. In an interview, both actors discuss their experience on set and their newfound fame. Read more »

Philly Transgender Sex Worker Jara Krys on Life, Fame, and Advocacy

Photo provided by Jara Krys.

Photo provided by Jara Krys.

Over the past week, Jara Krys, a Las Vegas native and transgender sex worker studying at Penn, made headlines across the country for her candid openness about her taboo profession. Though she’s been profiled in two local publications, once her story went viral on Buzzfeed, the consequences of her immediate fame made her refocus her personal priorities, career goals, and advocacy efforts.

I have interviewed you before, and now you’ve gone national after this week’s Buzzfeed feature story. How has life been since this story came out?
It was in July when I realized what I wanted to do in the next phase of my career. When I was on the road with an old friend of mine, we were discussing branding in this diluted adult entertainment industry. I wasn’t happy with my stage name, and after a week of discussing names it finally dawned on me. The moment I chose my new alias was the moment I realized what I could do with it: an online persona, an online sex store, a brand. Read more »

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