It Has Been 50 Years Since The First Gay Rights Protest Outside The White House….

1965-Picket

It has been half a century since a historic picket outside the White House demanding gay rights.

The Mattachine Society of Washington – which led early calls for basic gay rights in the United States – held a protest outside the White House on April 17, 1965.

The group led by Dr Franklin Kameny was fighting for a number of goals – the repeal of anti-gay laws, declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, and equal treatment for federal gay employees.

Though it would be another 49 years until President Barack Obama signed an executive order outlawing discrimination against LGBT federal contractors, the group marks some of the earliest forms of the movement.

It came four years before the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York – often considered to be the birthplace of the LGBT movement.

However, unlike the riots the Mattachine Society’s protests were uniquely ordered and restrained – with men and women even instructed to follow a strict dress code.

Protester Eva Freund said previously: “We all had to dress quite properly. The guys had to wear jackets and ties. Women had to be in skirts or dresses.

“We always had permits when we did a demonstration. We always had police protection.”

According to Back2Stonewall, late gay rights pioneer Jack Nichols had recalled: “As we marched, I looked about at our well-dressed little band. Kameny had insisted that we seven men must wear suits and ties, and the women, dresses and heels.

“We paraded in a small circle. Behind lampposts stood unknown persons photographing us. Were they government agents?

“[Protesters] Perrin and Otto wore sunglasses so absolute identification would be difficult should they fall prey to security investigations.

“We walked for an hour that passed, as I’d predicted, without incident. A few tourists gawked and there were one or two snickers, more from confusion than from prejudice.

“We’d hoped for more publicity than we got. Only The Afro-American carried a small item about what we’d done. But we’d done it, and that was what mattered.

“We’d stood up against the power structure, putting our bodies on the line. Nothing had happened except that we’d been galvanized, and, to a certain extent, immunized against fear.”

According to one of the only protesters still alive, Paul Kuntzler, President Lyndon B Johnson was said to be “very upset” by the protest.

A film about the 1969 Stonewall riots from Independence Day director Roland Emmerich is set for release this autumn.

Watch a clip about the Mattachine Society of Washington below:

Pink News

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Judge Rejects Motions To Downgrade Charges In Philly Gay Bashing….

From left Philip Williams, Kathryn Knott and Kevin Harrigan.
From left: Philip Williams, Kathryn Knott and Kevin Harrigan

A judge has refused to downgrade charges against three people accused of beating a gay couple on a Philadelphia street in September.

KYW-AM reports that a judge made the ruling on the defense requests Thursday.

Twenty-four-year-old Philip Williams, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott and 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan were held for trial in December on all counts, including aggravated assault.

One of the accusers testified that Harrigan used slurs to ask if he and his partner were gay and the dispute got physical.

Harrigan’s attorney, Joshua Scarpello, acknowledges that his client exchanged anti-gay slurs, but he argues that it was the accusers who escalated it.

Knott’s attorney says one of the victims wasn’t sure there was contact with her. Williams’ lawyer says his client was just helping a friend.

Associated Press

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Guam Attorney General Orders Territory To Allow Same-Sex Marriages….

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Guam’s attorney general directed officials to immediately begin processing same-sex marriage applications Wednesday, putting the island on course to be the first U.S. territory to allow gay nuptials.

The move by Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson came two days after a lesbian couple barred from applying to wed sued over the territory’s marriage laws.

Despite the order, Leo Casil, the acting director of the Department of Public Health and Social Services, told the Pacific Daily News that officials won’t accept applications “until further notice.”

Casil said he just received a letter from Barrett-Anderson, not a legal opinion.

Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo’s office said in a statement that the Legislature can take action or residents can hold a referendum to change the law “if it is the will of the people of Guam to make same-sex marriage legal” while the issue is reviewed.

The U.S. District Court of Guam falls under the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ruled in favor of gay marriage. Barrett-Anderson said her directive stems from the 9th Circuit’s decision in October finding state bans on gay marriage unconstitutional.

The Department of Public Health and Social Services should treat “all same gender marriage applicants with dignity and equality under the Constitution,” the attorney general said.

Loretta M. Pangelinan and Kathleen M. Aguero sued Monday in U.S. District Court in Guam after their marriage application was refused last week. The couple, both 28, says they are challenging “the discriminatory denial of their freedom to marry in the Territory of Guam.”

Guam, which is 3,700 southwest of Hawaii, would be the first of five U.S. Pacific and Caribbean territories to allow gay marriage.

A lawsuit challenging Puerto Rico’s law defining marriage as between a man and a woman is pending before a federal appeals court in Boston. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that it would await a U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the issue before scheduling oral arguments in the Puerto Rico case.

Puerto Rico’s Justice Department previously has defended the law in court, but Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda said last month that the department would no longer do so.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a staff attorney with gay-rights group Lambda Legal who is involved in the Puerto Rico lawsuit, criticized Guam’s governor and said he was ignoring 9th Circuit precedent.

“We commend Attorney General Barrett-Anderson for recognizing that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right that applies equally to same-sex couples,” he said.

Grace Garces Bordallo – Associated Press

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Delta Air Lines To Assist Gay Employees With Health Care Taxes….

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Delta Air Lines became the first major air carrier Thursday to make same-sex domestic partners whole for additional income taxes they owe for health care plans.

Atlanta-based Delta will pay those taxes for employees retroactive to Jan. 1. The tax is only a problem for employees living in states that do not recognize their marriages; Georgia is one of them. Delta executives, pilots, flight attendants and other employees living there have to pay extra tax based on the value of the insurance.

There are currently 37 states that allow same same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of June that could expand same-sex marriage to the entire country.

Delta Air Lines Inc. is hardly the first major company to offer such benefits, known as “grossing up.” There are at least 40 large companies and law firms that make employees whole for the tax, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which lobbies for LGBT rights. The group says Delta is the first big airline to do so.

Grossing up has become less of an issue as more states allow same-sex marriage, according to Deena Fidas, director of the group’s workplace equality program.

Still, she says, “it’s the right thing to do. It’s fair to the workforce.”

Scott Mayerowitz – Associated Press

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Malta Now Has One Of The Best Trans And Intersex Laws In The World….

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Malta is now leading with one of the most comprehensive laws protecting trans and intersex people in the world.

They will no longer need to have surgery, sterilization and a diagnosis of mental illness to legally change gender under a law passed.

It will also ban medically unnecessary surgery on the genitals of intersex infants.

‘To say that this Act is a groundbreaking human rights milestone is almost an understatement.’ Paulo Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board,said.

‘It provides an inspirational benchmark for other European countries that need to improve their own LGBTI equality standards. The Act is a beacon of hope – and bears testament to the political leadership and hard work of the LGBTI movement in Malta.’

The passage of the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (GIGESC) followed an apology from the governent to a trans woman Joanne Cassar who was successful in her fight to marry her husband.

The following year, gender identity was added to the constitutional list of non-discrimination and trans people were afforded protection under national employment laws.

The third reading was passed with a unanimous vote. The bill will now be sent to President Maria Louise Coleiro Preca for her signature.

Maltese Member of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, Miriam Dalli MEP, said: ‘I am very proud to be from a country that has from now on the most comprehensive and respectful laws when it comes to the rights of trans and intersex people.”

“No one should be declared mentally ill, undergo forced surgery or being forced to go through a divorce, in order to be recognised as who they truly are. I sincerely hope that the whole of Europe will follow Malta’s example, and that such degrading practices will be issues of the past.’

Joe Morgan – Gay Star News

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A Shred Of Decency….

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Transgender Teen Who Spoke On YouTube Of Bullying Takes Her Own Life….

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16-year-old transgender girl from northern San Diego County who spoke on YouTube about being bullied at school has reportedly taken her own life.

Taylor Alesana, a student at Fallbrook High School, committed suicide last week, according to the North County LGBTQ Resource Center in Oceanside.

Taylor made a name for herself on YouTube, where she posted makeup tutorials and spoke of intense cyberbullying and the loneliness she experienced because of her gender identity.

“I’ve lost tons of friends, tons,” she said in a video posted in November. “And it’s been hell. I go to school every day, and I get my lunch and I sit down alone.”

Taylor is the second teenager who attended youth support groups at the North County LGBTQ Resource Center to commit suicide in recent weeks, said the center’s executive director, Max Disposti. Letters and artwork mourning the loss of a teenager named Sage — who killed himself in early March — are still displayed in the center, Disposti said.

“We’re devastated,” Disposti said.

Disposti said he has been in close contact with Taylor’s family and was planning a candlelight vigil for her. Taylor spoke openly about her struggles at school — which continued after she told school staff — and Disposti worried about her, he said.

“She was happy to be who she was but was struggling with the fact that people didn’t accept her,” Disposti said. He hoped other students would learn that “it’s not OK to make fun of someone because their gender identity is different from what they were assigned at birth.”

“Transgender kids know who they are,” Disposti said. “They are not confused. They are not struggling with their gender identity.”

In a statement released Wednesday, Fallbrook High School referred to a student who “tragically passed away during the spring break” on April 2. The statement did not name Taylor.

“We are attempting to honor the family’s request for privacy while also helping our students and staff who have been impacted by this sad event,” the school said, adding that it had counselors on site and “a continuum of appropriate services … to ensure every student is supported and successful.”

Taylor spoke on YouTube about wearing headphones when she walked through the hallway and about bouncing between friend groups.

In her first video posted in October, in which she spoke straight into a camera with a poster of Marilyn Monroe taped on the wall behind her, Taylor said she had recently moved to Fallbrook with her family and was starting her transition. She showed off a pink button on her purse that said “She Her Hers” — her preferred pronouns, she said.

“I feel for anyone that’s even just a little bit different,” she said, nodding. “They know what bullying is like.”

In a later video, she was defiant: “My biggest advice to anyone who’s transgender and struggling? You’re becoming yourself.”

On Thursday, Twitter users mourned Taylor’s death using the hashtag #HerNameWasTaylor.

“Taylor was a beautiful and courageous girl, and all she wanted was acceptance,” the North County LGBTQ Resource Center said in a statement, urging schools to “teach inclusiveness and acceptance” and to “get educated on gender identity and sexual orientation.”

Hailey Branson-Potts – Los Angeles Times

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