Sunday, 25 September 2016

'Love Is Love' Comic To Benefit Victims Of Orlando Massacre

DC and IDW have entered into a partnership to produce a new one-shot comic called 'Love is Love', the proceeds of which will benefit the victims of the Orlando Pulse Massacre that occred earlier this year in whihc 49 LGBT+ people lost their lives.  The project will be donating to the victims of the shooting through Equality Florida.

'Love is Love' will feature work by industry names such as Paul Jenkins, Jason Aaron, Olivier Coipel, Phil Jimenez, Mike Carey, Damon Lindelof, Ming Doyle, Jesus Saiz, Patton Oswald, Jason Latour, Leinil Yu, Brandon Peterson, James Tynion IV, Rafael Albuquerque, Marguerite Bennett, Cecil Castellucci, Steven Orlando and many more to be announced.

'When Tragedy happens, art responds, and after the Pulse massacre, the comics community responded quickly, decisively and with open hearts,' said project organiser Marc Andreyko, 'I could not be more proud of this book, or to be a member of the comics community.  The talent and emotion on every page is staggering.  'Love is Love' mourns the forty nine lost, honours the survivors and celebrates love in all forms.'

The 144 page book, due out in December, will not only have IDW and DC characters and creators, but is also being reported to have additions from other publishers too.

Chris Ryall, Chief Creative Officer at IDW, said, 'When Marc brought this project to me, there was no hesitation about us being involved.  To echo Marc's sentiments, we are proud of the hard work and the talent that has gone into this project and to involved in any way to support the survivors and their families in the face of tragedy.'

Vertigo group editor Jamie Rich added, 'Marc's heartfelt passion for this cause and this project has inspired everyone involved in 'Love is Love'.  As an editor on the book, I continue to be moved every day by the expressions of hope and love the contributors have put forth, and can only imagine the profound impact the book will have on readers.'

'Love is Love' is set for release this December.


Gay Teen Suing School That Refused To Let Him Bring A Date To Prom

A gay teen from Tennessee is suing his former school after they refused to let him bring a date to his homecoming prom.

Lance Sanderson has filed a lawsuit stating that his school, the all male Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, went against anti-discrimination laws when he was told that he could not bring another boy to the dance as his date, despite other students being allowed to bring female partners from outside of the school.

Lance chose to skip the dance rather than attend without being able to bring a partner, but reports that the school still suspended him for a week for having requested permission to bring a same sex partner.

The lawyers in the case, which cites breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent training among it's violations, have said that that despite the school's private status it is in receipt of federal funding, and as such must abide by anti-discrimination laws and legislation.

Speaking out on the incident Lance said, 'I've been out since my freshman year of high school, and I've been a great student as well as a photographer for most of my school's events.  When I first started to float the idea of bringing a same sex date to homecoming I was told that my school doesn't discriminate by a school official.

'But, when that school official left over the summer, I was met with harsh opposition by my school.  One administrator told me that even though some people interpret Pope Francis's teachings on the issue as as meaning that they should support same sex couples, these people are 'not the authority to which Christian Brothers High School is accountable'.

'Now my school is making daily announcements across the whole school saying that students can't bring same sex dates from other schools.

'I just want to bring a date of my choice to homecoming like the rest of my friends and classmates.  I'm not asking for special treatment.  I'm just asking for respect and the chance to make my last homecoming a truly memorable experience.'

Lance's case is still ongoing.


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Christian Music Festival Bans Gay Singer

Joshua Fest, a Christian festival in Quincy, California, has dropped an openly gay singer from it's line-up and banned him from their event.  Trey Pearson, lead singer of the popular Christian band Everyday Sunday came out to fans as gay in an emotional letter earlier this summer, a shock revelation to many of the bands fans as he has previously been believed to be straight, being married and having two children with his wife.

In his coming out letter Pearson admits that he has been 'choosing' to be straight after being raised in a Christian environment that taught him that homosexuality was a sin, and a choice.  'I tried for a really long time , I don't think I was ever trying to lie to anyone, I was trying to convince myself I could be something I wasn't.'

Despite some of his more open minded fans congratulating him on his bravery at coming out and living his life as his true self, others have been extremely critical of his sexuality, and Joshua Fest has since dropped the band from their event and have reportedly banned Pearson from attending.

The decision to drop the band came after members of the festival crew threatened to walk out of the event if an openly gay man was allowed to appear.  The festival owners cite this as their reason for dropping the act, claiming that the amount of staff who threatened to leave would have made the event unable to be run.


Monday, 12 September 2016

Judge Tells Trans Man To 'Pick A Name I Can Live With'

A judge from the state of Georgia has refused to allow a transgender man to change his name unless he chooses a gender neutral or unisex name.

Earlier this year Andrew Baumert filed a petition to have his name legally changed from his birth name to Andrew.  Court records show that Andrew provided all of the relevant and correct documents necessary for the change, yet Judge J. David Roper denied the request less than 10 minutes into the hearing.

Roper stated his reason for denying the change as being that Andrew is too masculine a name, and that it may confusing or misleading to other people.  Whilst there are exceptions in which a court can deny a name change, such as a lengthy criminal record or if they believe that someone is trying to defraud creditors, but there is no legal standing to deny a petition based on the ground of gender dysphoria.

Court records have shown that Roper told Andrew that he would be fine allowing the name change if a gender neutral name was chosen.  He said, 'I can live with Morgan, Shannon, Shaun and Jamie'.

Andrew has since approached civil rights organisations for assistance with this case and has gone on to describe the incident as 'humiliating' to the press.

'It was humiliating and insulting to be told by the court that I would not be able to change my name legally when I'm already known as Andrew by my family, my friends and my community.  I work in labs all day, but it doesn't take a scientist to know that the judge's ruling was based on sexist opinions about 'appropriate' names.'

This is not the first time that Roper has denied a trans man's petition to change his name legally, however, as in the past he has refused to allow a trans man to change his name to Rowan.  At the time Roper denied this change, which also met all of the legal requirements, on the grounds that he believed it could 'offend the sensibilities and mores of a substantial portion of the citizens of this state.'


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Leicester Pride Issue Apology For Using The Word 'Tranny'

Five days after an incident at my local Pride event in Leicester where I received a torrent of abuse online for asking event organisers why a member of their team was wearing a high-vis jacket with the word 'tranny' printed on the back, Leicester Pride has released an official statement regarding the incident.

Apology from Leicester Pride

With reference the recent event in Leicester and it being highlighted to us about the use of the word 'Tranny' being an offensive word to some people in our community, we would like to whole heartedly apologise for any offence taken. It was never meant in its context to be offensive and it was ignorant of us to think that in this day it was ok.

One the day of the festival comments were made on our Facebook page, which by the time we were aware had also got very abusive sub comments added by members of the public. We took what action we felt was right at the time, which was to delete the entire thread from our page.

Leicester Pride welcomes people from all walks of life and to think that this has in anyway ruined people's day when they were attending or upset them in any fashion is totally unacceptable and for that we once again apologise.

Since then we have been contacted by the publication Planet Transgender and agreed to meet to discuss this, although a formal time etc has not yet been agreed we hope that we can have an open discussion and move on from this is a positive way.

Leicester Pride will never encourage any sort of negatively to people in our community and hope this apology is accepted in the spirit it is intended.

Leicester Pride

I would like to thank the organisers of  the event for taking this incident seriously, even though it did take them a while to respond to the incident it's encouraging to see that they have not just dismissed it out of hand the way that some groups might have done.

As they have said in their statement, they have been contacted via Planet Transgender, who I work with, and they have greed to discuss the matter with us further,  As the rest of the Planet Transgender Team are not within the UK I am pleased to be the one to talk to them regarding this matter, and am hoping that they contact us regarding this very soon.