(San Francisco, CA, August 27, 2015)—On Tuesday Federal agents arrested Rentboy.com CEO Jeffrey Hurant and six of the company's employees on prostitution charges. The agents also seized their homes, bank accounts, and $1.4 million.
PayPal Endorses Landmark Equality Act As Corporate Support for Critical LGBT Non-Discrimination Legislation Grows
WASHINGTON August 27, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, hailed PayPal for becoming the latest company to announce public support for the newly-introduced Equality Act, a landmark federal bill that would guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBT people from discrimination in many of the most important aspects of their lives.
WASHINGTON - August 26, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the introduction of the bipartisan Pennsylvania Fairness Act in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Introduced by Representatives Dan Frankel (D-23) and Thomas H. Killion (R-168) in the House of Representatives and Senators Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr. (D-1) and Patrick M. Browne (R-16) in the Senate, this critically important legislation would update the state's non-discrimination law to explicitly include protections for LGBT people from discrimination at work, in housing, and in public places.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - August 26, 2015 – A federal appeals court today denied Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' request for a stay on the order requiring that she issue marriage licenses to couples in the case Miller v. Davis.
WASHINGTON - August 26, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the news that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has denied a request from Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis of Kentucky to issue a stay on a lower court's ruling that orders her to immediately resume issuing marriage licenses – including to same-sex couples – regardless of her religious objections to marriage equality. U.S. District Judge David Bunning had temporarily stayed his order directing her to do so while Davis appealed his decision to the Sixth Circuit.
Harrisburg - August 26, 2015 – Today the PA Fairness Act was introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to update the Human Relations Act to ensure that no one can be fired from a job, turned away from a business, or evicted from a home just for being gay or transgender.
The legislation (S.B. 974 and H.B. 1510) would update Pennsylvania's current nondiscrimination law – originally written in 1955 – to ensure that all citizens regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, disability and now – sexual orientation, gender identity and expression – can participate in and contribute to the state's economy.
Washington - August 26, 2015 – Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, responded to a report by USA Today that the military could officially lift its ban on transgender service by May of 2016.
August 26, 2015- Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security suddenly raided the offices of Rentboy.com, which has been operating in public view for 18 years, and arrested several staff on charges of racketeering and promoting prostitution. This bust comes at a time when human rights advocates globally are uniting around a call to decriminalize sex work and at a time when the United States has the largest prison population in the world, with people of color, particularly Black people, representing a vastly disproportionate percentage of the incarcerated.
(New York - August 24, 2015) – During an historic briefing before the U.N. Security Council on violence against LGBT by ISIS, Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), urged world governments to act urgently to support people targeted by extremist persecution and cruel acts in Iraq and Syria.
On Sunday, August 16, 2015, the last performance at Michelle Michaels' FACE show at The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA, was the reigning Miss Erie, Valerie Valentino, AKA Derek. Derek's boyfriend, Todd (AKA Victoria London) had planned a surprise marriage proposal with the cooperation of Michelle Michaels and other performers. After accepting, Derek's mom, who was in attendance, had requested a song for the newly engaged couple to dance to, and soon almost everyone in the bar was on the dance floor as well. Todd and Derek both reside in Ohio, which was one of the states involved in the US Supreme Court marriage equality decision on June 26 of this year. Wishing the couple much happiness!
WASHINGTON - August 24, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, called on the Republican candidates running for president to tell the American public where they stand on the Equality Act, a landmark federal non-discrimination bill that would finally extend key civil rights protections to LGBT Americans. HBO's Last Week Tonight reported last night that the entire field of Republican candidates for President refused to answer a simple yes or no question about whether they would support such a bill. The segment also noted that Gov. Bobby Jindal and Gov. John Kasich both weakened non-discrimination protections for LGBT people during their tenure.
From the rolling hills of Uganda to a stifling NYC apartment, Invisible Thread (formerly titled Witness Uganda) engages audiences as it weaves poetic lyricism throughout spoken word, musical theatre and gospel. Our opening night performance features show creators Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould, alongside a local gospel choir, presenting the music from their award-winning show before it premieres on Broadway this fall. Griffin, a black American volunteer, arrives in Uganda from New York City to help build a school and escape his church's probing into his sexuality. But when he meets a group of destitute, orphaned teenagers, he becomes obsessed with a mission that will change his and their lives forever. Fresh off a workshop at Disney hosted by music theatre legend Steven Schwartz, the score from this two-time winner of the Richard Rogers Award for Musical Theater will come alive in Erie for one night only. Invisible Thread is the story of a man battling to find his place in a world full of injustice as he asks "is changing the world even possible?"
You and your partner are invited to the 1st Annual 'Same Love, Same Rights' LGBT Wedding Expo on September 27! Dozens of gay-friendly exhibitors will participate, eager to help you and your fiancee plan the ceremony of your dreams! Couples, singles, and allies interested in marriage rights are all invited to attend.
Crime Victim Center will host our 4th annual Moonlight on the Bay gala at the Perry Monument on September 11, 2015. This unique event will be sure to amaze as we bring together the best Erie has to offer including gourmet Hors d'Oeuvres, local wines and locally brewed craft beers .Performing this year are the Mercyhurst D'Angelo Department of Music's string quartet followed by The Sam Hyman Band. Food and beverages, great company with the leaders iWith your help we can make a huge impact on crime in our region.
With the aging of the baby boomers, nearly 80 million Americans born between 1946 and 1965 will need some types of service in their senior years. Of these 80 million approximately 2.4 million to 8 million are LGBT approaching the retirement age (Source: Senior Action in a Gay Environment)
Online Anonymous Survey: Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer-Identified Women participants are needed. Eligible participants must be at least 18 years old, be English-speaking, self identify as a sexual minority woman (lesbian, bisexual and queer –identitied woman/women with same-sex attractions or same-sex partners.) The survey is a 10-15 minute anonymous online survey to explore issues that affect breast and cervical cancer screening usage of sexual minority women. It consists of questions about your breast and cervical cancer screening utilization, your sexual orientation, sexual behavior and her social experience as a sexual minority woman, including how you feel others perceive you. You will also be asked if you have ever been diagnosed with cancer.
Ellen Page Serves Ted Cruz 'Equality on a Stick' at Iowa State Fair for Defending LGBT Discrimination
WASHINGTON - August 21, 2015 – Today, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz found himself on the defensive in Iowa after his speech on the Des Moines Register Soap Box after taking questions from actress Ellen Page, who came out in 2014 at HRC's Time to Thrive conference. Page has since become an activist and role model for LGBT youth, and also stars in "Freeheld" with Julianne Moore, an upcoming film that documents the struggle of real life lesbian couple Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree to overcome discrimination.
(New York - August 21, 2015) -- The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) will brief the U.N. Security Council on Monday, August 24, during the first-ever Council briefing on LGBTI human rights violations. The briefing, an informal session known as an "Arria,", focuses on alleged atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Illinois Law Banning Conversion Therapy Against LGBT Youth First to Contain 'Consumer Fraud' Provision
August 21, 2015 - "Illinois did the right thing by passing a law to protect LGBT youth from the harmful and fraudulent practice of conversion therapy. What's new and progressive about Illinois' law banning this 'therapy' is that it's the first to include a provision that says advertising this practice amounts to consumer fraud.
(New York - August 21, 2015) -- The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) says an Iranian newspaper's disparaging characterization of its newly serialized "Yousef & Farhad " graphic novel underscores why the organization's campaign for greater acceptance of LGBTI people in Iran is so urgently needed.
(Springfield, Ill August 20, 2015)—Today, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 217 into law, making Illinois the fifth jurisdiction—behind California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and Oregon—to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of conversion therapy.
School Survey on Crime and Safety to Ask About Anti-LGBT Harassment and Hate Crimes, Presence of GSAs
NEW YORK (August 19, 2015) – The U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has received approval from the federal Office of Management and Budget to include additional questions about anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) bias in schools and the existence of supportive student clubs in schools in the 2016 and 2018 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS
August 20, 2015 – On Thursday, several LGBT rights organizations across the country issued the following joint statement in support of Amnesty International's August 11th resolution supporting sex worker human rights.
LOS ANGELES (August 19, 2015) In response to ongoing and inaccurate media coverage and reporting on AHF's position on the use of Gilead Science's AIDS treatment Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is releasing this statement to reiterate and clarify where AHF stands—and has stood—on PrEP.
FINALLY! Defense Department Adds Germany To List of Duty Stations Available to Same-Sex Military Couples
WASHINGTON - August 20, 2015 – Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, received word from military officials that Germany has finally been added to the list of duty assignments outside of the United States available for same-sex couples. Previously, same-sex spouses of U.S. service members were denied "command sponsorship" to duty stations in Germany due to concerns that they were not covered under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). While opposite-sex spouses were able to accompany their service member to their new duty stations, same-sex spouses and their children were left behind.
130 Major Organizations Urge Obama Administration to Rescind Discriminatory Bush-Era 'Religious Freedom' Memo
WASHINGTON - August 20, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization joined a total of 130 major religious, education, civil rights, labor, LGBT, women's, and health organizations in a letter to President Obama urging him to review and reconsider a memo from the Office of Legal Counsel that has been used to permit taxpayer funded discrimination. The letter warns that the 2007 memo "reaches the erroneous and dangerous conclusion that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) provides a blanket override of a statutory non-discrimination provision. "
WASHINGTON - August 20, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released new polling to show broad support for the newly introduced Equality Act in swing districts across the country. The Equality Act – which was introduced with a record number of original cosponsors -- would ensure permanent non-discrimination protections for LGBT Americans.
NEW YORK - August 19, 2015 - A closed disciplinary board at the military correctional facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, last night found Chelsea Manning guilty of four charges, including possessing prohibited material and disrespecting a prison officer.
Washington, DC — On Wednesday, August 19th, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) opened the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey (USTS), the follow-up to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, in attempt to gather a more comprehensive understanding of the experiences of transgender people in the United States. The 2015 US Trans Survey is expected to be the largest, most extensive study ever undertaken of trans lives in America.
(Kansas City, MO, August 18, 2015)—Today, the Western District Court of Appeals in Kansas City, Missouri held that a woman who planned for and raised twin children with her long-term same-sex partner can seek custody of the children.
SEATTLE - August 18, 2015 – Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, a comprehensive bill that aims to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
WASHINGTON - August 18, 2015 – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released the following statement after media reports that the Republican National Committee (RNC) passed an anti-LGBT resolution in support of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). Going far beyond protecting the rights established in the First Amendment, this anti-LGBT legislation would undermine the rule of law and promote taxpayer-funded discrimination.
Washington, DC - August 18, 2015 - National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) staff member Raffi Freedman-Gurspan has been appointed as an Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Freedman-Gurspan is the first openly transgender official in history to serve in the White House. She previously served as NCTE's Policy Advisor for the Racial and Economic Justice Initiative.
Anti-LGBT County Clerk Gets Time to Appeal Judge's Decision Over Her Opposition to Marriage Equality
WASHINGTON - August 17, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the news that U.S. District Judge David Bunning temporarily stayed his order requiring Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis of Kentucky to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as she appeals his decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
WASHINGTON - August 16, 2015 – Following news early this morning of the passing of civil rights leader Julian Bond, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a statement from its president, Chad Griffin:
Mark your calendars and see the date to attend NOW's annual fundraising auction party on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Come join the fun is once again celebrate Northwest Pennsylvania NOW's annual auction at the beautiful Goodell Gardens and Homesteadon on Route 6N in Edinboro. The fund begins at 4 PM and last until whenever. NW PA NOW Board member Tracie Andrews and her musical partner, known as The Flapjacks, will provide musical entertainment for the first hour. You don't want to miss this chance to gather with other feminists for great food and drinks in excellent company. Plan on coming out is a look forward to her wanted to be here that funds are chapters activities around women's issues. The food, wine, beer, soffits, and a lot of laughs. It's $10 per person and that fee will be waived for anyone who contributes an auction item.
The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, Inc. (GEAE) would like to thank those who helped make its fifth annual Afternoon for Equality social and fundraiser the most successful one to date. On July 19th, Erie community members gathered at 21 La Rue Dix to celebrate this year's advances and advocates for the LGBTQ community from the historic SCOTUS decision on marriage equality in June to the local trans-youth that have emerged as their own advocates in area schools. This year, GEAE was proud to present the first local LGBT Community Progress Awards to two long-standing corporate allies: GE Transportation and Erie Insurance. At the event, GEAE Board President, Will Koehler, presented GEAE's 5-year vision to work with local allies in order to increase Erie's Municipal Equality Index (MEI) from its current rating of 57/100 to 100/100 by 2020 (Human Rights Campaign, 2014). His address highlighted the first phase of this vision which is to conduct a multi-phase LGBT community needs assessment. This assessment includes working with NWPA Pride Alliance to form a community roundtable discussion group and working with Edinboro University's Social Work Department to conduct a needs assessment survey. Over 80 people participated in the Afternoon including State Representative Ryan Bizzaro, City Council Member Bob Merski, and founding Board member, Bob Howden. We are grateful to this year's Hosts, Friends, Partners, and Equality Advocates that enabled us to raise over $10,000 towards our efforts to improve Erie's MEI! We look forward to working with these resources to complete our needs assessment, offer quality educational programing such as the 2nd Biennial Intersections of Equality on November 7th, and other service opportunities and social events throughout the remainder of 2015 and beyond. Please visit our website GreaterErieAlliance.org to take our survey, learn more about us, and to donate to our 2020 vision.
Near where I live, closeted lesbians built and installed a bench on a mostly hidden concrete path between grassy sand dunes, out of sight of any casual observer. The bench was created in the mid 1990s to pay respect to members of the group who had died.
LOS ANGELES (August 14, 2015) Timed to coincide with today's release of the widely anticipated new film, 'Straight Outta Compton,' AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is launching 'StraightOuttaCondoms,' a new safer sex media campaign that includes billboard and bus bench ads in Los Angeles as well as a related public service announcement promoting condom use that will play with the film in over 80 theaters in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.
"I want to applaud Pennsylvania Competes and the coalition of businesses, universities and local advocates that have signed on to support a bipartisan effort to pass nondiscrimination legislation that would protect LGBT citizens from discrimination in the workplace and in their daily lives," said Tyler Deaton, Senior Advisor to American Unity Fund.
(New York) – Starting Thursday, August 12, on Facebook [ http://www.facebook.com/yousef.farhad.story ], the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) launches the first episode of a commissioned graphic novel, Yousef and Farhad, a story about the struggles for acceptance by two fictional gay men in Iran. This weekly publication will be the start of the digital campaign: #LoveForAll. The campaign kickoff on Facebook includes weekly episodes in both English and Farsi with additional posts about the real life struggles of LGBTIQ people in Iran and across the world.
WASHINGTON - August 13, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released the following statement after media reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie "laughed on Thursday about his recent veto of legislation that would have streamlined the process in his state for transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates." Christie made his comments on a right-wing radio talk show. On the show, Christie defended the veto by saying, "certain things go beyond the pale."
(San Francisco, CA, August 13, 2015)—Today the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the state's Civil Rights Commission in Craig and Mullins v. Masterpiece Cakeshop. The Colorado Court affirmed the Commission's ruling that the store violated Colorado law by refusing services to a gay couple based on the owner's disapproval of their wedding.
DENVER - August 13, 2015 – The Colorado Court of Appeals today ruled that a cake shop cannot refuse service to a gay couple because of who they are. The ruling comes on the heels of oral arguments from early July in a discrimination case brought by a same-sex couple against a cake shop that refused to sell them a cake for their wedding reception.
Florida is Breaking the Law By Refusing To Acknowledge Married Same-Sex Couples As Parents on Birth Certificates
(Tallahassee, FL, August 13, 2015)—Just days ago, Cathy Pareto and Karla Arguello—the first same-sex couple to be married in Florida—celebrated the birth of their twin son and daughter. But the couple's joy was soon mixed with fear and frustration when the hospital denied Cathy the right to add her name to the children's birth certificates.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - August 13, 2015 – A new analysis published today in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine finds that the cost of providing transition-related health care for transgender service members will be minimal after the Pentagon lifts its ban. In "Caring for Our Transgender Troops—The Negligible Cost of Transition-Related Care," Dr. Aaron Belkin, Palm Center director and visiting professor at University of California, Hastings, concludes that the analysis should allay concerns about financial implications of inclusive policy. "Under any plausible estimation method," Belkin said, "the costs are minimal."
August 12, 2-15 - U.S. district judge David Bunning ruled today that four couples must be able to obtain marriage licenses in Rowan County, holding that personal religious beliefs do not exempt government officials from performing the duties of public office.
After Australian Prime Minister Abbott Denies Parliament Conscience Vote, HRC Asks: What Are You Afraid Of?
WASHINGTON August 11, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, joins with Australian Marriage Equality in expressing disappointment and anger at Prime Minister Tony Abbott's latest political stunt: overriding the nearly three-quarters of Australians who believe in marriage equality by denying Members of Parliament the right to vote according to their own conscience on national marriage equality legislation. Prime Minister Abbott met with members of the governing coalition who determined that party members will be forced to vote according to party lines, even if they wish to support marriage equality legislation. Though Prime Minister Tony Abbott remains a staunch opponent of marriage equality, members of his own party support the proposal and were expected to cross party lines if a conscience vote had been allowed.
WASHINGTON - August 11, 2015 – For the second time in two years, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has shamefully vetoed a bill that would have made easier for transgender residents to obtain an appropriate birth certificate reflecting their identity. The bill Christie vetoed (S1195) would have allowed state agencies to change a birth certificate as long as proof was provided that the individual was undergoing gender transition. Currently, transgender New Jerseyans can only obtain an updated birth certificate if they have undergone gender reassignment surgery, which is not always necessary or safe, and can be cost-prohibitive for low-income people.
No matter what your feelings are on Caitlyn Jenner, there is no disputing that she is having a very positive impact on our community. She may not know all the right things to say yet, but she is working hard on learning. No one can ask for more than that. Aside from Chaz Bono, she is by far the most high profile person ever to come out as transgender, and she is challenging a lot of people's thinking on what it means to be male or female. Locally, her coming out is making a difference. Since her appearance on ABC with Diane Sawyer, and the resulting local media attention, TransFamily of Erie has doubled in size. Most interesting is the explosion of attendance by trans youth, as well as people from the more rural areas of NW PA. Launched in February 2013, TransFamily started with about eight people, many of whom were already out and part of the Erie Sisters and Brothers. Since then, our group has grown to roughly 60 attendees, with our largest single attendance of 36 in June! Our attendees come from all over northwest PA and northeast OH.
National Center for Transgender Equality Responds to Governor Christie's 2nd Veto of Birth Certificate Modernization Bil
August 10, 2015 - Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed a bill that would have eased access to accurate birth certificates for transgender people. This is Governor Christie's second veto of this legislation despite overwhelming support in the New Jersey General Assembly. In response, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) State Policy Counsel, Arli Christian, who has worked closely with local and state advocates on this bill, issued the following statement:
On Wednesday, September 23, 2015, the Mental Health Association (MHA) of NW PA and NW PA Pride Alliance will jointly present a fall candidate forum at 6:30 PM (doors open at 5:30 PM) at the Mental Health Association of NW PA, 1101 Peach St, Erie PA. The event will include a meet and greet with candidates, light refreshments, a demonstration of a voting machine and voter registration. It is free and open to the public, and we encourage you to speak one on one with candidates about issues that matter to you!
Picture yourself in a tuxedo or formal gown at Perry Monument on a beautiful early September evening. Imagine sipping locally produced wine and other beverages and partaking in fabulous food. Be surrounded by extraordinary natural foliage along with exquisite centerpieces, fine music, and first class hospitality. Enjoy meeting and visiting with a select group of Erie dignitaries and socialites including our honorary chair, Michelle Ridge and our chair couples, Mr. & Mrs Terrence and Patricia Cavanaugh and Mr. & Mrs. Michael and Craige Victor.
I am thrilled to announce that Keystone Progress will host the North by Northwest Progressive Summit in Erie on Sunday, August 30th, at the Avalon Hotel, 16 W 10th St, Erie PA. This event will be an opportunity for leaders, activists and community members to learn, speak and share ways to make real improvements in our community.
In conjunction with the Edinboro University Social Work Department, we are conducting a Needs Assessment Survey for the greater Erie LGBT community. Your opinion and experiences (whether you identify as LGBT or are a valued ally) are needed to help us have an accurate understanding of what it is really like for the LGBT community in the greater Erie area. Please take 10 minutes to complete this survey. You can find it online at here or at one of the many LGBT events taking place in our area throughout the summer! Survey results will be used to address the needs and service gaps identified in the survey. For further information, you can contact Dr. Hilary Copp at email@example.com or Will Koehler, LCSW at firstname.lastname@example.org.