LGBT

Newly Elected U.S. Rep. Green Has History of Supporting Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

Soon-to-be congressman and physician Mark Green — who came under fire last week for comments linking vaccines to autism — will likely bring other controversial platforms to the hill, the Tennessean reports. Green, who will assume the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, was forced to withdraw as a candidate for Secretary of the Army because of statements he made about LGBT persons and Muslims. As a Tennessee state senator, he sponsored a bill allowing mental health providers to refuse to treat LGBT patients and supported a "bathroom bill" that would prohibit students from using public facilities that correspond with their identified sex.

read more »

Hawkins County Board of Education Approves Gay-Straight Alliance for High School

The Hawkins County Board of Education has voted in favor of a Gay-Straight Alliance student organization at one of its high schools, despite strong opposition from one of its members, the Kingsport Time-News reports. The organization was approved 5-1, with the lone holdout being Tecky Hicks who is a pastor at the First Baptist Church in Surgoinsville. Hicks, regarding the constitutionality of denying the group, was reported as saying the Bible supersedes the Constitution of the U.S., the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact, school board policy, the state constitution “and everything else.” Several board members voiced concerns that denying the alliance would open the county up to lawsuits, with County Attorney Jim Phillips and the board’s lawyer Lawrence Giordano agreeing that the county would likely lose in litigation. Board member Chris Christian said of the organization, “Could it provide a venue to prevent tragedy, to protect this child who has no family support or no one to reach out to? That’s why I serve on this board, for the betterment of the children. I’m not questioning what these kids are going to do, but if there’s an ounce of hope of saving someone, a child, I would have to vote yes.”

read more »

Several LGBT-related Petitions to be Considered by U.S. Supreme Court

Several petitions calling for a for a rollback of LGBT rights or a reversal of decisions from lower courts affirming LGBT rights are currently awaiting review by the U.S. Supreme Court, The Washington Blade reports. Petitions filed include President Trump’s transgender military ban, whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to discrimination of LGBT persons in the workforce and a policy allowing transgender kids to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity, among others. The petitions were set for review on Monday, however, the Supreme Court’s website indicates that they were removed from the docket on Monday and will be considered at a later date.

read more »

Nashville Nonprofit Offers Shelter for LGBT Youth

A Nashville nonprofit is offering shelter to homeless youth identifying as LGBT, WTVF reports. Launch Pad is a ‘street free sleep’ initiative that uses community members and allies to provide safe sleeping shelter for those in need. The article cites a recent study by the Williams Institute at UCLA Law that indicates 40 percent of homeless youth in the country identify as LGBT. You can learn more about the program, including how to get involved, on its website.

read more »

ETSU Group Honors Transgender Persons Lost to Violence

Members of East Tennessee State University’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance held a vigil on Tuesday to recognize the Transgender Day of Remembrance, The Johnson City Press reports. The day honors victims who lost their lives because of anti-transgender violence. This is the second LGBT-focused event in the Tri-Cities in as many months. The area hosting its inaugural Pride Festival in September.

read more »

Republican Lawmakers Ask Trump to Pull Out of Trade Deal Over LGBT Protections

40 House Republicans on Nov. 16 sent a letter to President Trump asking him to drop out of the latest trade proposal with Mexico and Canada because of a provision encouraging countries to adopt policies barring anti-LGBT discrimination in the workforce, The Washington Blade reports. The group, led by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), say they are “deeply concerned” by the proposed requirements and that “a trade agreement is no place for the adoption of social policy.” The lawmakers maintain that the proposal would undermine efforts currently underway in the U.S. government. 

read more »

Several LGBT Couples in Migrant Caravan Wed Over Weekend

Several LGBT couples who traveled through Mexico with the migrant caravan participated in a joint wedding on Saturday, NBC News reports. The couples were married in Tijuana where same-sex marriage just recently became legal. There are about 80 LGBT individuals in the caravan fleeing Central America, where they face open discrimination and pointed violence. “This is an act of justice,” said officiant Hugo Córdoba. “The dream of marrying is an illusion for most of them. We are helping them make this a reality.” 
read more »

MTSU Students Win International Award for Documentary on Transgender Couple

A short film produced by MTSU students and an arts professor recently won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary short at the Perth International Queer Film Festival, MTSU Sidelines reports. The documentary titled 'Graham and Zeke' follows a Tennessee transgender couple, focusing on their struggles and challenges in day-to-day life. Kailee Morris, a director for the project, said she hopes the documentary will help the transgender community, making them “relatable and easier for people to understand how to help them or how to just properly treat them or listen to their story.”

read more »

Some in African Country's LGBT Community 'Fearing for Their Lives'

Some LGBT persons in Tanzania are fearing for their lives after the regional governor of the African country’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, made threatening statements regarding its gay community, CNN reports. Paul Makonda told journalists last Monday that he intends to set up a task force to arrest people suspected of being gay, further stating "I am announcing this to every citizen of Dar es Salaam. If you know any gays, report them to me.” The Tanzanian government responded that "Mr. Makonda was only airing his personal opinion" and that the government will "continue to respect and uphold all human rights as provided for in the country's constitution.” The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning, telling U.S. citizens to remove any material on social media that could "run afoul" of Tanzania's anti-homosexuality laws. 

read more »

New Jersey Congressman Faces Criticism Over Gay Adoption Remarks

A New Jersey congressman came under fire last week for remarks he made about adoptions by gay couples, NJ.com reports. Rep. Chris Smith, R– New Jersey, was asked a series of questions on adoptions by gay parents during a high school forum earlier this year. Critics maintain he suggested orphanages as an alternative, but Smith says that the comment was taken out of context and that his one objection was that religious groups that oppose same-sex marriage were no longer being allowed to handle adoptions. Read more and watch the video from the forum. 

read more »