Periodical Political Post *51

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Periodical Political Post *49

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  • Asia’s biggest pride parade brings tens of thousands to Taipei
  • Federal court blocks Trump’s transgender military ban
  • One in four people say same-sex relationships should be illegal
  • Hong Kong to be first Asian city to host the Gay Games
  • Teacher suspended for educating students on LGBT issues

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Disney delivers another Teen Coming Out & that’s great

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Earlier this week, it was reported that The Disney Channel was about to broadcast its first-ever coming out story using a recurring character in their teen drama series Andi Mack, oneof the network’s top performing shows. Well, the episode premiered this Friday (it was the first episode of the show’s Season 2 premiere) and we have a clip of the coming out scene below — it’s pretty sweet.

The context of the Andi Mack coming out scene

Cyrus is friends with the show’s titular heroine Andi Mack. Andi has a crush on the local cutie Jonah, and Cyrus has been totally supportive of her crush. Supportive, that is, until he sees Jonah and Andi actually kiss in the Season 2 premiere. Afterwards, Cyrus realizes that he’s jealous because heactually has a crush on Jonah too. Uh-oh…

Feeling odd about the entire thing (remember, these kids are teens), Cyrus goes to the local cafe to meet his friend Buffy. That’s where the scene begins….

Why the Andi Mack coming out scene is a big deal

The Disney Channel has been taking several gradual steps over the recent past to introduce gay, age-appropriate content to its young viewers, but this is the first time that they’ve had a majorly visible gay character who isn’t just a one-off.

Almost 94 million households receive The Disney Channel. That’s a lot of viewers who might see Cyrus’ coming out story and realise that having same-sex attractions doesn’t make you weird or any less worthy of your friend’s love.

Cyrus’ coming out story arc is also supposed to develop throughout the entire season, giving viewers multiple chances to see a young gay person navigate his feelings with his friends by his side.

Gay Parents aren’t bad for Kids, Discrimination is

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Those who oppose gay rights spend a lot of time worrying about how being raised by same-sex parents will damage kids. A new study found that children of homosexual parents are more likely to face hardships, but mainly because the law still discriminates against their families, not because same-sex couples are inherently incapable of raising a child. Shocking, right?

The report by several gay rights groups, including the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council and Center for American Progress, found that children of gay parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as those raised by heterosexual parents. The study estimates that there are 2 million children being raised by same-sex parents, and they live in 96% of U.S. counties. However, families with homosexual parents are more likely to live in poverty, and they face other unique situations that can add stress to their lives.

Since the federal government in the U.S. doesn’t recognise gay unions, same-sex parents pay more in taxes, have higher health insurance costs, and aren’t allowed to participate in many government programs for families. Plus, since some states don’t allow gay adoptions, one parent may not have any legal ties to the child they raise. That means that parents can lose custody or visitation rights, and don’t have the ability to make health decisions for their child.

When faced with these facts, groups that oppose gay rights had an interesting reaction. Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage told Reuters that the best way to protect kids is to pass federal legislation against gay marriage, because allowing only marriage between one man and one woman ensures kids will be raised by a mother and a father. So according to Gallagher, we can prevent discrimination against children of same-sex parents by getting rid of same-sex parents. Or, you know, we could just change the laws to be more inclusive of all families and have everyone agree to stop behaving like bigoted asshats.

Periodical Political Post *48

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One big Coming Out

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Coming out isn’t easy for many people but a neo-Nazi coming out as a gay Jew might be a whole new level of leaving the closet.

Growing up in England, Kevin Wilshaw had no friends. As a teenager, he drifted to white supremacist circles, finding a sense of camaraderie among its tightly knit thugs. When he joined the National Front, an extreme far-right British party, he cited his hatred for Jews on his application form. He proceeded to have a storied career of bigotry, smashing a chair on an opponent’s head in Leeds and vandalizing a mosque in Aylesbury. And today, he disavowed his ties to his former neo-Nazi friends and came out as a gay Jew.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Wilshaw admitted that coming to terms with his sexuality opened his eyes to the vileness of his views.

With stories like this and Trump in office, you gotta feel pretty bad for the writers over at The Onion, those poor fellas are gonna be looking for new jobs pretty soon if the world keeps this up.

Swedish Pronoun: Hen

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Identifying as non-binary can be difficult but Sweden has an official gender neutral pronoun: hen. It’s  similar to the use of singular “they” in English. It took inspiration from the neutral pronoun in the Finnish language (hän) and after much debate “hen” was officially adopted.

Its use is:
– for talking about someone who’s gender is unknown
– when the gender is unnecessary in the conversation
– for talking about someone who identifies as neither male nor female

It’s been used in various places in Sweden, some say since the 1960s, but was discussed in mainstream media in 2013 and eventually placed into the official Swedish dictionary in 2015.

It has two main uses in Sweden. The first is, obviously, for LGBT+ groups but the second is interesting. Some schools and pre-schools have started using “hen” for their pupils so as not to push gender roles or identities on their students.

First studies suggest that the use of “hen” in early education doesn’t reduce children’s tendency to use gender to categorise people but it reduces their tendency to gender-stereotype and gender-segregate.

The use of hen is the same and just as simple as han (he) or hon (she), for exmaple “hen är vacker” – “they are beautiful”.

Periodical Political Post *47

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19 Years Later

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It has been 19 years since Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, died as a result of being beaten and tortured by two classmates who targeted him because of his sexual identity. His injuries were so severe that the person who found his brutalised body tied to a fence initially thought he was a scarecrow—a lifeless, human form meant to scare.

Since Matthew’s horrific death and the subsequent murder trials of his attackers, the US has taken small, but important, steps to protect queer individuals through legislation—including the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009, which made assaulting an individual because of sexual orientation or gender identity a federal crime. In 2013, President Obama also signed into law a reauthorizing of the Violence Against Women’s Act, which included added protections for LGBT victims of violence.

Yet 2017 has been the worst year on record for hate-related homicides of LGBTQ people in the US. In August, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released a mid-year report that found that as of August 23, there had been 36 anti-LGBTQ homicides—the highest number NCAVP had recorded in its 20-year history of documenting this information. Three-quarters of these victims were people of colour; 19 were transgender or gender-nonconforming.

“This number represents a 29% increase in single incident reports from 2016,” the authors note. “So far in 2017, there has been nearly one homicide a week of an LGBTQ person in the US”

Cathy Renna is a longtime LGBTQ activist who spent more than a decade as GLAAD’s primary spokesperson, and actually travelled to Laramie in October 1998. She says how “extraordinary” it is to have a sense of “the change that has occurred because of the response to Matt’s murder and also how far we still have to go.”

On October 6, 1998—the morning Shepard was found, still alive but barely—Renna was living in Washington, DC. She’d just returned to her office after leaving a press conference announcing national advertising and advocacy against gay conversion therapy. Her phone, beeper, and email, which was still fairly new at the time, were lighting up with messages, she says. One of the people she spoke with was a friend of Shepard’s and the president of the LGBT student group at the University of Wyoming: They were feeling overwhelmed as media outlets began to converge on campus. The next morning, she jumped on an airplane and headed to Wyoming.

“The media and the community paid so much attention to this murder and was so motivated to action that it completely changed the way this issue was dealt with in American culture,” Renna says. “I spent a lot of time educating the media, both local and national, that were there about issues related to hate violence. The media were trying to portray this in a very sensational way … it was such a horrific case, and the reality was that this happens all the time. It had been happening for decades.” She clarified that gender nonconforming individuals and queer people of colour, especially, are often targets of violent crimes that go largely unreported in the media.

In the wake of Shepard’s murder and the subsequent coverage and activism, “there’s been an extraordinary amount of progress in terms of the education and awareness by so many,” she says. “However, with increased visibility can also come a backlash by those who are harboring anti-LGBTQ feelings. In a climate like the one we’re in now, not only do they feel emboldened, but they also feel they have permission to act on their hate and their homophobia and their transphobia. That is the reality of what the current administration has created.”

“It gives us an opportunity not to talk about Matt but to talk about all the other cases that did not get the attention that Matthew Shepard’s murder got.”

There’s evidence, she continues, not only in the political rhetoric used today but the actual policies and the actions that lawmakers are taking. For example, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley recently voted against a measure that condemned the use of the death penalty to punish people in same-sex relationships. And last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a guidance that would make it legal for any business to fire someone based on their sexual orientation.

“What happened to Matt is not unique. It happens all the time, and it mostly happens to those who are more marginalized,” Renna says. “That’s why I think it’s important we always go back and look at what happened to Matt—because it gives us an opportunity not to talk about Matt but to talk about all the other cases that did not get the attention that Matthew Shepard’s murder got.”

via Broadly