Avery’s Story

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Meet Avery and her parents, Debi and Tom, who set a beautiful example of love and support. In their series Transgender Today, The New York Times profiled an incredible 7-year-old girl named Avery Jackson.

Like most kids her age, Avery is happy, active, and enjoys a wide range of interests, from Girl Scouts and gymnastics to “being a ninja.” In a video diary called “Avery Chat,” Avery admits she’s “just a normal girl.” However, she also explains what makes her different, and in the process, sets an example of tolerance and acceptance.

 

Boys (and Teachers) Beware!

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A US high school has indefinitely suspended one of their teachers after he showed his class a film warning boys of ‘predatory homosexuals’.

Simons, a history teacher at the school, was suspended weeks before he was due to retire for showing a law enforcement class the film Boys Beware; it warns students to avoid strangers ‘because they might be homosexual’.

Made by Sid Davis Productions with assistance from Inglewood Police in California, the film was a social guidance film depicting gay men as sexual predators, prowling around high schools on the lookout for underage boys. One of the film’s scenarios shows a boy named Jimmy being lured in by a man named Ralph.

‘I’m not against homosexuality,’ Simons told KCTV. Simons said three days after showing the film, he was told by school officials that two students had complained; the school then suspended him from teaching.

Simons argued he had been using the film to highlight how attitudes towards homosexuality have changed. Why the students would report him in this case remains unclear.

Kids have Anti-Gay Day

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Students at a Pennsylvania high school allegedly staged a protest of the Day of Silence, which included intimidation and physical harassment of LGBT students and a ‘lynch list’.

The Day of Silence, an annual event that raises awareness of LGBT bullying, produced a loud backlash from students at a Pennsylvania high school. A group of students at McGuffey High School allegedly organized an “Anti-Gay Day” in response to the peaceful protest coordinated by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.

A local news station reports that the clique encouraged others who were antigay to wear flannel and write “Anti-Gay” on their hands Thursday, the day preceding the Day of Silence. But the backlash did not end with sartorial choices. Participants also targeted LGBT students, hanging posters on their lockers and physically harrassing them in the hallways of their school.

“There was pushing, posters hung on homosexual students’ lockers. Teachers were having to run out and take them down,” Zoe Johnson, a student at McGuffey High School, told the news station. “It hurts me to see how rude and cruel, and some of these people were my friends before this started,” she added.

The antigay group promoted the event on social media, posting a photo of the flannel-clad participants. “Anti-Gay Day” was to be the first of a planned week-long series of antigay events, which would use clothing to signal their animosity toward their LGBT peers. “Flannel anti-gay day only a few of many tomorrow is red day,” a student wrote in the caption.

Nationwide, animosity toward the Day of Silence has been encouraged by groups like Focus on the Family and the Illinois Family Institute, which organized antigay events like the Day of Dialogue as well as walkouts in protest of GLSEN’s “homosexuality-affirming dogma.” GLSEN reports that 56 percent of LGBT students felt unsafe at school due to their their sexual orientation. In addition, 38 percent felt unsafe because of their gender expression.

Administrators at the McGuffey School District are investigating the incident. Dr. Erica Kolat, the superintendent, released a statement saying that the school “will follow our Student Code of Conduct, and file legal citations, as warranted. We will resolve to ensure that all children can grow and learn in a safe, supportive environment free from discrimination.” However, some students do not feel safe returning to the school.

“It’s sad to me. It’s a high school. We should feel safe here. We don’t, and it’s starting to get worse,” Johnson said. Among the reasons for this fear was a “lynch list” circulating around the school, with a growing list of names.

via Advocate

Surveillance, Dick Pics & You

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“The good news is, there is no government program named The Dick Pic Program,” said Edward Snowden. “The bad news is they are still collecting everybody’s information, including your dick pics.”

It’s a pretty long but important (and entertaining) video, so if you have some time to spare, please check it out. It’s pretty important stuff.

Seniors give Gay Advice

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They lived through bar raids, blatant discrimination and isolation and are still around to tell about it. A group of gay and lesbian seniors from a LGBT Community Center have teamed with YouTube personality Davey Wavey on a video to share memories and advice.

Gay Conversion Therapies

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US-based Vice, known for its controversial documentaries, has released a three-part documentary investigating gay conversion therapy – a practice that has been denounced by medical communities and partially banned by several states. For the documentary, Vice sent their cameras to Journey Into Manhood, a gay conversion program, where men pay more than US$600 to attend a weekend retreat where they participate in exercises and activities to ‘cure’ themselves of their attraction to other men.

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Dr Joseph Nicolosi, the founder of reparative therapy, is seen saying in the film, ‘Everyone is heterosexual. The idea that some people are naturally homosexual, or naturally gay, is just a social construct. So when you have individuals with same-sex attraction, we see it as something went wrong developmentally and we try to resolve the issue and put them back on the path toward their natural heterosexuality.’

It also investigates the controversial legal battle to fight conversion therapy for children.

Sam Brinton, a survivor of reparative therapy who is today a nuclear engineer as well as co-chair of Born Perfect which works to end reparative therapy, spoke of being physically tortured during his therapy sessions during which he was shown erotic pictures of men while his hands were ‘wrapped in hot coils’ and ‘shocked with electricity.’

The documentary also travels to the annual Gay Christian Network Conference in the US and speaks with former ‘ex-gay’ leaders including John Smid of Love in Action, who is now married to his gay partner. He says in the documentary, ‘Today I’m very offended at the concept of change therapies for homosexuality because the message that someone who is gay has something intrinsically wrong with them is a shame-producing, negative message that hits at the core of a human life and I’m offended that the message is still in any way communicated.’

Watch Part 2 | Watch Part 3