Toady the Atlana LGBT community is coming together for the national Transgender Day of Remembrance. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, who murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder–like most anti-transgender murder cases–has yet to be solved,” the Transgender Day of Remembrance website explains.
In addition to honoring the victims of transphobia, “the event provides a forum for transgender communities and allies to raise awareness of the threat of violence faced by gender variant people and the persistence of prejudice felt by the transgender community,” HRC explains on their Transgender Day of Remembrance webpage.
If you’d like to join others in observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance in Atlanta meet on the steps of the State Capitol (206 Washignton St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334) November 20th at 6 p.m.
Atlanta’s Alissah Brooks posted a disturbing video on her YouTube channel on Friday. The video allegedly shows staff at Don Pollo Bar & Grill in Atlanta intentionally discriminating against transgender customers.
Brooks explained to FENUXE on Friday that she was denied entry to the restaurant/nightclub and her friends then spoke to management about the issue and filmed the encounter. “Yes, it was me that was denied. My reacting is simply just surprised. Like I said in my post I’ve never had this happen. So it feels awkward–[I] feel a little less than,” Brooks said.
During the YouTube video a male employee appears and asks, “What’s the problem?” One of Brooks’ friends explained, “The problem was she’s a transgender and [the bouncer] denied her entry.” Without skipping a beat the employee asks, “What’s wrong with that?
The staff at Don Pollo continued to defended their right to discriminate against transgender men and women in the video saying they’re “private property.” The same male employee then explains, “We can do that. We have the right to be selective. We can do that. We’re a private property.”
Check out the disheartening video below:
So, what is Ms. Brooks doing about it? “As for what’s next, I’m just spreading the word so everyone is aware. I’m involved with GLAAD and my best friend Kat Graham is helping share the story and just make everyone aware of the situation. I’m not seeking a lawsuit. Just awareness.” However, Brooks did point out that she would like “an apology and maybe they can be more sensitive to other girls like myself. I could understand if it was a dress code thing. But I’m not the first [transgender person] and I am certainly not the last.”
Congress is debating ENDA in the Senate today. You can watch the debate live here. ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) prevents an employer from discriminating against an employee because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Senate is expected to vote on ENDA by the close of business today according to the Huffington Post. Gay rights advocates are eagerly awaiting the historic vote because of recent support from Senators who were previously on-the-fence. “All 55 members of the Democratic majority, including senators from the Deep South, and several Republicans were expected to unite on Thursday in backing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2008, signaled his conditional support on Wednesday,” Huffington Post wrote today.
Gay rights advocates are hopeful that the legislation will pass; however, the bill faces many vocal critics. “Since 1964, federal law has protected Americans from discrimination based on race, religion, sex or national origin. The Senate is about to add a new, special right based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This is bad public policy and should be rejected,” Ralph Reed, the founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, wrote in the USA Today on Monday.
Why is Reed freaking out that businesses won’t be able to discriminate against gay employees anymore? “Employers, including schools, would be required to allow men to show up for work dressed as women, or women as men. Personal objections aside, this is an unnecessary disruption of the workplace,” Reed wrote. What Reed seems incapable of understanding is the fact that there wouldn’t be any “disruption” if people like him stopped causing homo and transphobic disruptions in the first place.
How do you think the vote will go? Let us know and we may include your reaction in our coverage after the vote!
You may remember Mikhail Baryshnikov as Carrie’s Russian love interest in Sex and The City, but he’s also a distinguished ballet too. Baryshnikov defected from Russia in 1974 to Canada and has enjoyed a career in film, stage, and television (Check out the beautiful White Nights from 1985. It’s not only a great movie, but also features some amazing ballet dancing by a young and absolutely gorgeous Baryshnikov).
In addition to his performance work, Baryshnikov is also involved in the No More Fear Foundation. The group helps LGBT people from all over the world flee persecution and discrimination in their homelands. Baryshnikov hasn’t been silent about the atrocities occurring in Russia to the LGBT community and recently released a statement, which reads in part:
“My life has been immensely enriched by gay mentors, colleagues and friends and any discrimination and persecution of gay people is unacceptable. Equal treatment of people is a basic right and it is sad that we still have to even speak about this in [the] 21st century. I salute No More Fear foundation for stepping in so quickly to provide the much necessary assistance to gay and lesbian people who are fleeing persecution and help them lead a proud life in their new country.”
- Mikhail Baryshnikov
We couldn’t agree more – and we salute you, Mr. Baryshnikov, for making such a resolute statement.
The fifth annual Atlanta Pride Kick-off Party was a smashing success this year. There’s a reason this event always sells out in advance–it’s that awesome! Gay Atlantans and all of the wonderful visitors joining us this weekend packed out the Georgia Aquarium for a Pride party like no other. Where else can you sip a delicious “Honey Lemonade” or a “Georgia Peach” with a giant whale shark gracefully floating by?
This year the Atlanta Pride organizers really stepped things up and added some wonderful new details to the event. There was a performance artist channeling her inner sea creature in the Oceans Ballroom and wicked cute guys doing gravity defying tricks using two trampolines. Hot guys on trampolines? Thank you Atlanta Pride!
Here are some pictures we snapped during the party. Enjoy!
British actor, author, and television presenter Stephen Fry has written an open and very emotional letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, the International Olympics Committee, and IOC President Jacques Rogge, urging them to ban the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. Fry argues that the horrendous treatment and discrimination of LGBT people in Russia warrants the ban.
His letter is a scorching critique and heartfelt protest of the events taking place throughout Russia and compares the situation to what Hitler did to Jews. Here are some quotes from Stephen Fry’s open letter. For the full letter, click here.
“I write in the earnest hope that all those with a love of sport and the Olympic spirit will consider the stain on the Five Rings that occurred when the 1936 Berlin Olympics proceeded under the exultant aegis of a tyrant who had passed into law, two years earlier, an act which singled out for special persecution a minority whose only crime was the accident of their birth.”
“Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law.”
“The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma.”
“An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 in Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.”
“He is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews. He cannot be allowed to get away with it.”
“I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.”
And with that said may we strongly recommend that you delve into Stephen Fry’s impressive movie career. As an openly gay actor, he has portrayed gay characters from the very start of his career. Two exceptional examples of his talent can be found in the wonderful Peter’s Friends from 1992 and the critically acclaimed bio-pic Wilde about the life of Oscar Wilde.
Over 1000 Haitians protested gay marriage today in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. According to ABC News, “the protest brought together a mix of religious groups, from Protestant to Muslim, who carried anti-gay placards and chanted songs, including one in which they threatened to burn down parliament if its members make same-sex marriage legal.”
The protest was organized by several different religious groups and the Haitian Coalition of Religious and Moral Organizations. They’re responding to watchdog groups who expressed concern for Haiti’s LGBT community on Wednesday and a local gay rights group that plans to submit a bill to parliament calling for marriage equality.
If you haven’t heard much gay news out of Haiti there is a good reason. “Haiti gay and lesbian community is small and has long kept a low-profile because of a strong social stigma that sparks fear of physical violence and loss of employment,” according to the Washington Post.
If you watch The Sing-Off” on NBC you’re probably already a fan of a cappella group Pentatonix. The group of five young vocalists reigned supreme on the third season of “The Sing-Off” where they won $200,000 and a recording contract with Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Now, they’re touring the country and working on their next album.
As if their talent wasn’t enough, they’re also big supporters of the LGBT community. Two members of the group are openly gay, Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying. While competing on “The Sing-Off” Pentatonix visited The Trevor Project headquarters and recorded a PSA for the organization that aired during the season finale. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth. However, according to The Back Lot, NBC edited the PSA before it aired taking out all of the LGBT references.
So, where can you see these talented five vocalists perform? They’re coming to The Tabernacle on July 31 at 8 p.m. Tickets are only $35, including taxes and fees. You can purchase tickets here. Want to WIN two free tickets to the show? One lucky person who correctly answers the trivia question below will win!
Berlin Sylvestre, Staff Writer and D. David Kinney, Digital Editor
The gay community is on pins and needles waiting for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to weigh in on two separate items that affect us deeply.
Today, let’s explore Proposition 8, which doesn’t just affect gay couples in California, but could also make for a historic ruling on marriage equality that affects the entire country. There’s a quick history leading up to where we are and, though it’s legal as all get-out, it doesn’t have to be so intellectually demanding.
Here’s the scoop:
In May of 2008, six separate couples in California brought a case before the state’s Supreme Court asking the court to rule on whether same-sex marriage was legal in The Golden State. After hearing the arguments, the court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the state’s constitution. After all, there was no terminology in the constitution that excluded same-sex couples from marrying. One month later, gay couples were getting married.
This ruling was called: In re MARRIAGE CASES.
By November, though, an angered California electorate (which basically calls on the majority opinion of the public in order to change laws) proposed an amendment to the state constitution stating that marriage should be “between one man and one woman.”
This was Proposition 8.
Voters in California were asked to decide whether gays should be able to marry. If voters agreed that same-sex marriage was a legal right, gay couples in California could still legally wed. If voters wanted to make marriage strictly between one man and one woman, an amendment would be made to the state’s constitution to define marriage as such.
To the dismay of same-sex marriage supporters, 52 percent of Californians voted “yes” to Proposition 8 and the amendment was made.
More protests were held and the case went back to California’s supreme court in May of 2009. The court heard both sides of the argument and decided that though the amendment was constitutional, couples who married while same-sex marriage was legal could remain married under the eyes of the law.
This was Strauss v. Horton.
But supporters of same-sex marriage weren’t about to let it go. They took the case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and in August of 2010, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the U.S. Constitution’s fourteenth amendment, which deals with due process and equal protection clauses, had been violated. In other words, the act of not wanting something doesn’t make that “something” unconstitutional.
From here, it was up to the Ninth Circuit of Appeals (where appeals for California and eight other states are heard) to uphold Judge Walker’s verdict.
Though narrowly, the appeals court decided to uphold his decision, meaning gay marriage should be good to go in California.
However, the ruling was stayed (meaning, like it sounds, that it’s going nowhere) until a higher court decides its fate, which is where SCOTUS (may or may not) come into play.
This is Hollingsworth v. Perry … what we’re currently awaiting a ruling for.
So why wouldn’t SCOTUS check into the case? Believe it or not, the highest court in the land doesn’t always make time to squash the quibbling of lower courts. If the justices on the bench believe the matter has already been resolved in a sound, constitutional manner, then what more is there to say? There isn’t. The ruling of the lower courts will be upheld and put in place (which would rock for California).
If SCOTUS decides to weigh in on same sex marriage for California, it can go one of five ways. (We’ll rate them from best to worst.)
1) SCOTUS can strike down Prop 8 on the grounds that marriage is a constitutional right available to every American, granting all 50 states the right to marry. This would make Hollingsworth v. Perry a landmark case that would usher in dramatic change, similar to Brown v. Board of Education. Is the court ready to settle the matter once and for all?
2) SCOTUS can decide that a state cannot bar same-sex marriage if it already grants the same benefits to civil unions that it does to marriage. This would make gay marriage legal in the nine states that offer comprehensive civil union and domestic partnership laws.
3) SCOTUS could rule that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, but narrow the scope of their decision only to California — not the entire nation.
4) SCOTUS can dismiss the case on procedural ground arguing standing, meaning Judge Walker’s verdict in the lower court stands and that gays can marry in California. (Wanna go further? Usually a state’s governor or attorney general would defend state law in court. However, both the governor and attorney general in California refused to defend Prop 8. Therefore, the Court could easily rule that the private group suing to defend the law doesn’t have proper standing to sue.)
5) SCOTUS can decide that same-sex marriage is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. This would severely set back the marriage equality movement. The Court’s decision would take precedent, making it much harder to get rid a state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
And that’s, folks, is Hollingsworth v. Perry (or “the Prop 8 case”) that we’re waiting on The Supreme Court of the United States to rule on …
… any … minute … now.
In the meantime, check out this uplifting video and cross your fingers with us:
Decisions from the Supreme Court on DOMA and Prop 8 could come any day now. Many experts think the Court will spill the beans tomorrow, but no one really knows for sure except the Justices. In these (hopefully) landmark cases our community has several national organizations fighting for LGBT equality. But who fights for the LGBT community in Georgia?
Georgia Equality, the largest LGBT organization in Georgia, “works to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for Georgia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.” Georgia Equality accomplishes these goals by raising money for candidates who support us, educating citizens and leaders on LGBT issues, and through direct advocacy.
This Wednesday Georgia Equality is hosting a reception at Steel Restaurant & Lounge in Midtown to support Georgia State Representative Karla Drenner. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and will go until 7 p.m. The suggested minimum contribution is $250.
Additionally, Georgia Equality’s Ninth Annual Evening for Equality & Silent Auction is on June 29, 2013. You can get tickets here. The event will take place at Twelve Hotel at Atlantic Station. There are three 2013 Georgia Equality honorees that will be recognized during the evening. The Phillip Rush Community Builder Award is being awarded to the Lloyd Russell Foundation. The Champion for Equality Award will be presented to Dázon Dixon Diallo. Finally, the Allen Thornell Political Advancement Award will go to Anthony Michael Kreis.