Event honors LGBT refugees

By junior Mayema,


– KTVU — Being killed, for being gay.

It’s a reality in more than a half-dozen nations around the world.

Eighty others imprison people for same sex conduct.

“I was stopped at a government checkpoint, targeting me because I was different,” Subhi Nahas, a 28 year old Syrian told a sold-out San Francisco audience Saturday night.

Nahas was one of fourteen LGBT refugees and asylees honored by the Horizons Foundation, a leading philanthropic organization, at its annual gala.

The crowd, packed into the grand ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel, heard Nahas describe ISIL coming to mosques in his hometown, and threatening to “cleanse” the city.

He fled to Lebanon, then Turkey, and finally to the United States, grateful he escaped, and marveling at being out.

“You could be killed, you could be harrassed on the streets, so many horrible things can happen to you because you’re gay or perceived as gay,” Nahas told KTVU.

He now works with as an activist with the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration.

Nahas made it to the Bay Area in June, and was able to take in the celebration, as the Supreme Court made gay marriage the law of the land. But as equality comes to the LGBT community in the U.S., some refugees say there is a growing backlash in repressive countries.

“It’s getting bad, it’s getting worse, ” Junior Mayema told KTVU, after fleeing the Republic of the Congo, and later, South Africa.

“It’s because people read the news and they see how people are celebrating being gay, in North America and Western Europe, and people are becoming more conservative. It’s getting bad.”

The honorees were recognized with Courage Awards from the Horizons Foundation, which raises and grants tens of millions of dollars for LGBT causes and programs.

“I was wondering what would become of my daughter and my partner,” shared refugee Gertrude Metsilegan, from the stage.

She is from Cameroon, and in time, her family was able to join her in the Bay Area.

Agencies that help with resettlement say unlike traditional political refugees, LGBT refugees often arrive with nothing, and knowing no one.

“Because they’re alone, finding them housing hosts is the best model for them,” Holly White of Jewish Families and Child Services of the East Bay.

“We have people who open up their homes, and that’s amazing for the refugees, they get a supportive community from the very beginning,” explained White.

Metsilegan spoke for the assembled recipients, expressing gratitude for the guidance she has received.

“We feel helped, your advice, your support, and your warmth made the impossible, possible, thank you!” she said to applause.

An estimated 3,500 LGBT refugees arrive in the U.S. every year.

Another 1500 come in, granted asylum.

And many remain understandably skittish.

Some honorees declined to be identified on the program, or didn’t want their full name used, or home country listed.

An abundance of caution, that doesn’t just go away.


This Gay Syrian Refugee Found Asylum In The U.S. And Now He’s On An Amazing Mission and Dutch government admit Russian LGBTIs are in danger, offer asylum

By Junior Mayema,

While LGBT People around the globe are fleeing death in their countries LGBT people in some LGBT who live the more liberal western nations are still focusing on samesex marriages, honeymoons, baby showers and etc… A battle that has been won already instead of focusing on the pressing issue of our community but some LGBT people who are managing to escape are not staying idle or silence once they arrive here in these so-called gay friendly countries, they are creating an underground railroad to safety but the question remains are the services available for the heroes who are making it here ? well the answer is yes in Canada organizations are beginning to figure out where the gaps are with recommendations here is what i received in my e-mail today :

Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights is proud to announce the launch of our new report on issues facing LGBT asylum seekers. The report examines the experiences of LGBT refugee claimants and refugees living in the Greater Toronto Area, and the experiences of community service providers who work with them. It offers 37 recommendations for developing policies and improving services.
Report: Envisioning LGBT Refugee Rights in Canada: Is Canada a Safe Haven?

Date and Time: Tuesday, September 29, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

Location: The 519, Ballroom, 2nd floor. (519 Church Street, Toronto)
The report will be presented by a panel of members of the Envisioning research team, LGBT refugees and representatives of Envisioning’s community partners.

– Nancy Nicol, Associate Professor, York University, Envisioning Principal Investigator

– Nick Mulé, Associate Professor, York University, chair of Envisioning’s Canada Research Team

– Kathleen Gamble, PhD Candidate, York University, Research Assistant to Envisioning’s Canada Research Team

– Craig Cromwell, Refugee Settlement Coordinator, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention

– a representative of The 519

– LGBT refugee speakers

– a representative of Ontario Council of Agencies Supporting Immigrants will present the report recommendations

– Ramraajh Sharvendiran, Men’s Sexual Health Coordinator, Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention

The question of whether Canada offers a safe haven to refugees is a very timely one. Our report focuses on LGBT asylum seekers; however, it locates their experiences in the context of recent significant immigration and refugee policy changes in Canada.
The research is based on focus groups that took place in 2012-2014. Focus groups with 92 asylum seekers were organized by Envisioning’s community partners and four other focus groups were held with service providers.
The Canada Research Team partners are: Africans In Partnership Against AIDS, Alliance For South Asian AIDS Prevention, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, Pride Uganda Alliance International, Rainbow Health Ontario, The 519 and York University.
The report will be available online following the launch on September 29 at:http://envisioninglgbt.blogspot.ca/p/publicationsresources.…
Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights is an international research and participatory documentary film project, working to research, document and analyze issues of social justice and equality for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people. We are based at York University, Centre for Feminist Research, Toronto, Canada. The project is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Community University Research Alliance (CURA) grant, and conforms to Tri-Council research ethics guidelines. The report “Is Canada a Safe Haven?” is also funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario (LFO). While financially supported by SSHRC and the LFO, the findings of this research do not necessarily reflect the views of SSHRC and the LFO.

Contact us: envision@yorku.ca

For more information on Envisioning and to access our resources, please see: Website: www.envisioninglgbt.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/envisioninglgbthumanrights

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EnvisioningLGBT

Nancy Nicol
Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights
606 Kaneff Tower
York University

And here is the link of the story of our friend of Syria who mad it here in America and is now working with organizations to get more people to safety here in North America, i am even in that documentary called no place for me that is when i was still in South Africa  :


LGBT refugees around the world still need help.

It’s not safe to be gay in Syria. All same-sex sexual activity is illegal — LGBT people can face prison sentences of up to three years if their sexual orientation is exposed, and while it’s unsafe for just about everyone in Syria right now, the persecution of the LGBT community has gotten even worse than it used to be in the midst of Syria’s civil war.

Unfortunately, Syria isn’t that unusual — more than 75 countries throughout the world still enforce anti-homosexuality laws (many with much harsher punishments — including the death penalty) — which leads many LGBT refugees to seek asylum in other countries out of fear for their safety.

Subhi Nahas is a gay Syrian who left home after being terrorized for his sexual orientation by the Syrian military, insurgent militias, and even members of his own family. The San Francisco News outlet KQED reports that after an attack from his dad left him hospitalized, Nahas escaped to Lebanon and then fled to Turkey, where he began receiving death threats from ISIS for being gay, before he was eventually granted asylum in the U.S. Now he lives in San Francisco, among a community where he finally feels safe, loved, and supported.

Nahas was recently invited to tell his harrowing story at the first-ever meeting on LGBT rights at the United Nation Security Council, and now that he’s safe, he’s doing everything he can to help other Middle Eastern LGBT Refugees.

Nahas is working with the San Francisco-based Organization for Refuge, Asylum, & Migration (ORAM) — the same organization that helped him find asylum in the U.S. — which provides legal assistance to LGBT refugees and asylum applicants throughout the world. ORAM also provides tools, training and resources to aid workers working with LGBT refugees.

One of these tools is a five-language glossary of LGBT terms — which ORAM’s executive director Neil Grungras told KQED is super essential “so when refugee professionals interview someone who is gay, they don’t call him a male prostitute instead of calling him a gay person, which is very, very common” since “a lot of refugee professionals only know insulting terms for LGBT people around the world.”

According to Nahas, there are at least 400 other LGBT Syrian refugees who have escaped to Turkey, where they still face some very real threats — “In Istanbul and Ankara, groups raised banners calling for gays to be killed,” he wrote in a recent story for the Huffington Post. “My friends are feeling alone and terrified about what might happen to them; the same loneliness and fear that I once felt.”“We may not be able to do much to improve conditions for LGBT people in Syria, Iraq or other countries,” he continued. “But we sure can help the individuals who manage to escape.”

The situation of LGBT people has gotten worse in most part of the world even The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has criticised Russia for its crackdown on internet freedom and lax attitude to gay rights, despite having been granted asylum by the country., living in ‘exile’ in Russia, calls government fundamentally wrong as he accepts Norwegian prize

Here is the story below about it :


The NSA whistleblower, living in ‘exile’ in Russia, calls government fundamentally wrong as he accepts Norwegian prize

Edward Snowden appears via videolink as he is awarded the Bjornson prize.
Edward Snowden appears via videolink as he is awarded the Bjornson prize. Photograph: Ntb Scanpix/Reuters

Edward Snowden has criticised Russia for its crackdown on internet freedom and lax attitude to gay rights, despite having been granted asylum by the country.

The National Security Agency whistleblower described Moscow’s tightening grip over online activities and treatment of gay people as “fundamentally wrong”.

The former US intelligence contractor was given a three-year residence permit in August 2014, but insisted that it was never his choice to go there. He said he would prefer to live in the US, although he cannot return without facing arrest for leaking to the Guardian classified documents revealing the vast scale of the country’s surveillance programmes.

The 32-year-old was accepting the Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression’s Bjornson prize – which he was awarded for his work on the right to privacy – by videophone from Russia when he described the country’s restrictions on the web as a “mistake in policy”. He said: “It’s wrong in Russia, and it would be wrong anywhere.

“I’ve been quite critical of [it] in the past and I’ll continue to be in the future, because this drive that we see in the Russian government to control more and more the internet, to control more and more what people are seeing, even parts of personal lives, deciding what is the appropriate or inappropriate way for people to express their love for one another … [is] fundamentally wrong.”

Despite his criticism of Russia, Snowden said he still felt free to express himself online. “I do. And I think it’s primarily in the context of the fact that most activities happen online. I mean, when people ask me where I live, the most honest answer is on the internet.”

But he described the ever more restrictive use of intelligence monitoring by richer nations as useless and said the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January proved that surveillance does not necessarily keep citizens safe.

He said: “They say: ‘Well, these things are necessary to keep us safe’. In the Charlie Hebdo attacks, for example, the intelligence services say: ‘Oh yes, we knew who these people were’. But it didn’t stop the attack.”

Snowden, who left Hawaii in May 2013 for Hong Kong, where he leaked the trove of classified documents before leaving for Russia, said his life is now normal but he misses the US. He said: “I mean, I would prefer to live in my own country. But exile is exile.”

And very happy that a Liberal country like the Netherlands stepped in and  is now trying to get gay people from Russia to safety in Holland the story unfold below ;


Dutch government admit Russian LGBTIs are in danger, offer asylum

Until recently, Moscow and St Petersburg were considered ‘safe spaces’ for LGBTIs – now asylum applications will be made easier

Dutch government admit Russian LGBTIs are in danger, offer asylum

08 September 2015

The Dutch government has declared Russian LGBTI asylum seekers a risk group following a letter by the State Secretary for Security and Justice.

In the letter Klaas Dijkhoff wrote to the Tweede Kamer der Staten-General – the Dutch House of Representatives – he states that the Russian anti-gay laws ‘further fueled anti-gay sentiments among the population’.

‘The law also gives radical groups carte blanche to attack, intimidate or discriminate against LGBTIs, because authorities hardly take action againstacts of violence against them ’ Dijkhoff wrote.

He also highlighted the growing number of attacks and the steep rise in violence against LGBTI people since the law came into force, according to de Volkskrant.

By appointing them as a risk group, Russian LGBTI asylum seekers will be eligible for asylum if they show minor indications of persecution in their home country, although they must still demonstrate this through personal circumstances and facts.

Before the change, cases were treated on an individual basis, with asylum seekers having to explain their situation and lay out the dangers they would face upon their return to Russia.

Until now, the Dutch government still labeled Moscow and St Petersburg as safe places for LGBTIs, despite an official report by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating same-sex couples had to fear violence everywhere in Russia.

‘This is very good news for Russian LGBTI asylum seekers,’ said Tanja Ineke, chair of COC Nederlands, the oldest LGBTI organization in the world.

‘We are counting on the Russian LGBTI asylum seekers who are fearing deportation to also be allowed to remain in the Netherlands.’

In the past, the Dutch government had told LGBTI asylum seekers to move to other places, according to COC Nederlands.

Video : Creating Housing facilities, employments and integration of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers

By Junior Mayema

The LGBT Community has become complacent in many so-called western gay friendly countries, they  have become complacent to struggle of LGBT people who are fleeing countries where they want them dead for simply being who they are and loving who they love,  The LGBT community in western countries forget that we are all citizens of the world and they forget what can happen to them if they choose to relocate in Russia or go there for honeymoon, it is just like black south africans who are paying forward apartheid that oppressed them to xenophobic violence against Africans from African countries that granted their freedom fighters asylum, it is just so sad that most of time people tend not to learn a good lesson from history and so sadly it turns out to retaliation against their own or people from their own community please check out this important video below :

LGBTQ Activism Continues for Bias Protections and Overlooked Trans Issues and Houston senator asks DOJ to protect rights of gay Texans

By Junior Mayema,

Gay marriage is not the end of the battle, it is just the beginning of a new battle against religious extremist people, racist people, sexist people, transphobic people, xenophobic people etc…. this artice below explain more about it  :

LGBTQ Activism Continues for Bias Protections and Overlooked Trans Issues


After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality, many LGBTQ leaders are now redirecting their attention to obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in areas of employment, housing and commerce. Nationwide, anti-discrimination laws for gay people are inconsistent and unequal with only 22 states barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Human Rights Campaign is now advocating for a broad federal shield that would protect people of all sexual orientations and gender identities under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Meanwhile, grassroots LGBTQ activists are calling for large, national organizations to also focus their attention and resources on other pressing issues, including lesbian and gay refugees and asylum seekers, the plight of homeless youth ostracized by their families, and the disproportionately high levels of violence experienced by transgender people. We are joined by Jennicet Gutiérrez, an undocumented trans activist from Mexico who recently made national headlines when she interrupted President Obama to say “No more deportations!” at a White House event. Gutiérrez is a founding member of Familia: TQLM, established to advocate for LGBTQimmigrants often excluded in the immigration debate. We are also joined by Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry and author of “Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits – and Won.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As the Supreme Court delivered an historic ruling on marriage equality Friday, we turn to the future of the LGBTQ movement. Many gay rights leaders are now redirecting their attention to obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in areas of employment, housing and commerce. Nationwide, anti-discrimination laws for gay people are inconsistent and unequal with only 22 states barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Human Rights Campaign is now advocating for a broad federal shield that would protect people of all sexual orientations and gender identities under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Meanwhile, grassroots LGBTQ activists are calling for large, national organizations to also focus their attention and resources on other pressing issues, including lesbian and gay refugees and asylum seekers, the plight of homeless youth ostracized by their families, and the disproportionately high levels of violence experienced by transgender people. During the first two months of this year, transgender women of color were murdered at a rate of almost one per week in the United States. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, transgender women of color are among the groups most victimized by hate violence in the country.

For more, we go to Los Angeles, California, where we’re joined by Jennicet Gutiérrez, an undocumented trans activist from Mexico. Last week, she made national headlines when she interrupted President Obama at the White House to say, “No more deportation!” Gutiérrez was a founding member of Familia: TQLM, established to advocate for LGBTQ immigrants often excluded in the immigration debate. And we’re here in New York with Marc Solomon still, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Jennicet, your reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday?

JENNICET GUTIÉRREZ: Good morning, and thank you for having me again. I do believe the US Supreme Court made the right decision, and this is a huge victory for the LGBT community and for justice in this country. However, you know, many people in the LGBTQ, especially people of color, marriage is not a priority. So we’re facing many challenges.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about those challenges and what you think needs to be the focus of LGBTQ activism today?

JENNICET GUTIÉRREZ: Yes. Well, personally, as an undocumented trans woman of color, and, you know, my community is facing a lot of incarceration, police brutality and deportation. So I do believe that we are at a point where we have to – you know, the mainstream LGBT community can come and get behind the transgender community and include all the voices and listen to the struggles that we are facing. And hopefully we can move in the right direction and make progress for all of us.

AMY GOODMAN: Marc Solomon, you’re the national campaign director of Freedom to Marry. What happens with this organization now?

MARC SOLOMON: So, our organization, as we have always promised, will shut down in the next few months. But the fight for equality for LGBT people must continue. And there are some crucial items on the agenda that – I believe we can harness all of the momentum and all of the conversations and all of the goodwill that’s come out of this marriage ruling to make steady and actually rapid progress.

AMY GOODMAN: Your book is called Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits – and Won. Do you have any strategy suggestions for all that you have won, for all you’ve learned in this victory, for how people organize effectively?

MARC SOLOMON: Absolutely. I think – I mean, I have a number of them. And of course people can look at the book if they want the full picture. But I think a couple are having a powerful vision of what you want to accomplish, which I think motivated so many people in our community and so many of our allies to get motivated, and then it’s, you know, really looking strategically at the map and where we can put wins on the board and build momentum every single day towards that, towards that end.

AMY GOODMAN: Jennicet Gutiérrez, if you could talk specifically about the experience of immigrants, you, yourself, an undocumented trans activist from Mexico? I mean, it’s quite astounding. I want to go back to that moment. You know, we had you on when you interrupted President Obama Wednesday as he spoke to a gathering celebrating LGBT Pride Month at the White House. You got in. This is what happened.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I want to thank all of you – advocates, organizers, friends, families – for being here today. And over the years, we’ve gathered to celebrate Pride Month, and I’ve told you that I’m so hopeful about what we can accomplish. I’ve told you that the civil rights of LGBT Americans –


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Yeah, hold on a second.

JENNICET GUTIÉRREZ: Release all LGBTQ detention centers! President Obama, stop the torture and abuse of trans women in detention centers! President Obama, I am a trans woman. I’m tired of the abuse. I’m tired of [inaudible] –

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Listen, you’re in my house. … As a general rule, I am just fine with a few hecklers, but not when I’m up in the house.

AMY GOODMAN: That was President Obama and Jennicet Gutiérrez last Wednesday at the White House. If you had the microphone for longer, Jennicet, if you could talk about the plight of undocumented trans immigrants – a six-month Fusion investigation found some 75 transgender detainees are detained by immigration authorities every day?

JENNICET GUTIÉRREZ: Yes, that is correct. And I have been involved, especially in the last two months, with this community, in particular, that has been affected. And I have spoken to specifically two transgender women from Guatemala who came to the US in hope of a better treatment and a better future. And they turned themselves in to the immigration officials, and only to be put into these detention centers. So they shared their horrific stories, the abuse, the torture, that they’re being – going through in these facilities. And, you know, the abuse that they’re facing is like sexual abuse. They’re being harassed. When they need to take showers, the officials say, like, “Turn around. Let me see your breasts.” And they want to touch them. And other people detained, they’re sexually abusing them. So, to me, that was very heartbreaking to hear. And I connected with her – you know, with that, because I am an undocumented woman, and I am potentially at risk to be put in one of these detention centers. So it is very important for the mainstream LGBT community to listen to these struggles and to unite and do something that will benefit us all and move us in the right direction.

AMY GOODMAN: And the issue of housing?

JENNICET GUTIÉRREZ: Yes, housing is a huge issue that we face, as well. And, you know, I have known people, transgender people, who I’ve been coming in contact to through the last year or so, and they have employment, and they transition during the work, and they – once they transition, they get fired, because they don’t support it, and then they have to be demoted with the risk of losing housing. So that is another very critical issue that we have to come together and face this and get behind our community and, you know, do see something productive and positive in the struggles that we’re facing.

AMY GOODMAN: US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning has a new piece in The Guardian. It’s called “Same-sex marriage isn’t equality for all LGBT people. Our movement can’t end,” she wrote. In it, Chelsea Manning writes, “I worry that, with full marriage equality, much of the queer community will be left wondering how else to engage with a society that still wants to define who we are – and who in our community will be left to push for full equality for all transgender and queer people, now that this one fight has been won. I fear that our precious movements for social justice and all the remarkable advancements we have made are now vulnerable to being taken over by monied people and institutions, and that those of us for whom same-sex marriage rights brings no equality will be slowly erased from our movement and our history.” She wrote this in prison. Chelsea Manning, of course, is the whistleblower who was an Iraq intelligence officer, released documents to WikiLeaks revealing US killings in Iraq, and has been sentenced to decades in prison. As you hear Chelsea’s words, Marc Solomon, your response?

MARC SOLOMON: I am much more positive or much more optimistic than that. I think that with this tremendous win nationwide for equality and dignity for so many people, I believe that Americans now see a much more multidimensional aspect of who our entire community is, and I think that they are – I mean, they are fully behind protections on employment, on housing, on public accommodations. And I think, you know, we also now have a huge amount of power, that we’ve harnessed through the marriage conversation, with all of these companies that are behind us, you know, and I think we just need to take that power and move it and drive it towards nondiscrimination protections. And I think we can – we can do it. I think we can do it with a Republican Congress. I think we can do it in red states. We just need to move, you know, forward.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, here in New York City, the Stonewall Inn, the site of the uprising that helped launch the modern LGBT movement, has been granted landmark status by a city commission. The Stonewall uprising began the morning of June 28th, 1969, when members of the gay community decided to fight back against yet another New York City police raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar. Stacy Lentz, co-owner of the Stonewall Inn, praised its new landmark status.

STACY LENTZ: On that particular night, they had enough. They were fed up. And it was the first time that people from LBGT backgrounds actually stood up and kind of said, “We’re queer, we’re here, get used to it,” shut the police outside and started throwing pennies and that thing. They call it a riot, but it was pretty peaceful, for the most part, you know, a few cars overturned and those kind of things and throwing things. But for the most part, though, people gathered for three days after that. And the next year, there was actually the first LBGT pride parade.

AMY GOODMAN: Jennicet Gutiérrez, it was trans activists the led that uprising, is that right? Sylvia Rivera.

JENNICET GUTIÉRREZ: Yes, that is correct. And that is something that we must not forget. You know, transgender women of color were at the frontlines of this current LGBTQ movement, and we need to give them credit. And we also need to be listening to the concerns that these people were bringing up to the community and that were still trying to be ignored. So now I think we are at a critical moment where our mainstream LGBTQ community can reach out to organizations who have been advocating for transgender people, and to start providing funds and to start opening up resources so that more members of our community do see the benefit and are treated with respect and dignity.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Cathy Marino-Thomas of Marriage Equality USA.

CATHY MARINOTHOMAS: No, no, no. You know, we’re not fully equal. We have still some of our brothers and sisters that suffer. Our transgender brothers and sisters have virtually no legal protection. We have over 5,000 LGBT homeless youth in Manhattan alone every night. We have to fix those problems. We have to be able to move freely around the world as equal and supported citizens. But this is a significant step. For today, we enjoy the win.

AMY GOODMAN: Cathy Marino-Thomas of Marriage Equality USA. As we wrap up, final comments, Jennicet?

JENNICET GUTIÉRREZ: I just want to say, you know, my mainstream community, it was heartbreaking, and it really – I felt betrayed when they turned their back on me. So I believe now they are in a position to do the right thing and to reach out to us and to include us in the conversation and listen to our struggles.

AMY GOODMAN: Jennicet Gutiérrez, I want to thank you for being back with us, undocumented trans activist from Mexico, founding member of Familia: TQLM, established to advocate for LGBTQ immigrants often excluded in the immigration debate. And again, thank you to Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, the author of Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits – and Won. Marc just wrote an article for the New York Daily News headlined “A field guide to making history,” and we’ll link to it at democracynow.org.

When we come back, speaking of making history, Bree Newsome scales the flagpole in Columbia, South Carolina, on the Capitol grounds and takes down the Confederate battle flag. Stay with us.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

The battle continue in the USA where are still using their deep held religious extremist belief to violate the constitutional rights of LGBT people check it out down here :

Houston senator asks DOJ to protect rights of gay Texans


AUSTIN – A state senator from Houston has asked the U.S. Department of Justice ensure same-sex couples in Texas have the right to marry, after the state’s attorney general told county clerks they could disregard the Supreme Court’s recent ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, on Monday sent a letterto U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking the department to “monitor the implementation of Obergefell and intervene, if necessary, to ensure that Texas officials do not flout the Supreme Court’s ruling and blatantly discriminate against same sex couples.”


On Sunday evening,  first-term Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion that told county clerks they could refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they believed their religion prohibited them from doing so. The opinion, which is not legally binding, said clerks should expect to encounter possible litigation and fines, and added that Paxton would “do everything I can from this office” to help them.

In his letter, Ellis blasted Paxton for the guidance and said “religion must not be relied upon as an excuse to discriminate and refuse to fulfill the duties of government taxpayer-funded jobs.”

“Where does this end?” he asks. “Will judges be able to argue that they should not have to recognize or authorize divorces if it offends their religious sensibilities? Could a judge refuse to sentence a defendant to the death penalty under his or her belief that ‘thou shalt not kill’ means just that?”

Earlier Monday, gay rights activists gathered on the steps of the state Capitol also reacted to Paxton’s attempts to subvert the  Supreme Court’s ruling, calling him irresponsible and reminding supporters their fight for equal rights was far from over.

“The theatrics of Texas Attorney General Paxton, who has blatantly encouraged state officials to defy the highest court in the land, is evidence of that very fact,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.

He added, “Over the course of this country’s great history, there have been elected officials who have found themselves on the wrong side of history when iust comes to implementing historic decisions. And I suspect, in this case, history will not be kind to the attorney general of this state.”

Many members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community spent the weekend celebrating the landmark ruling at various PRIDE events around the county. In Texas, one of the 13 states with a ban on same-sex marriage still in place before the ruling, gay couples began getting licenses at a handful of clerks offices almost immediately Friday.

Many more clerks waited for guidance Paxton had promised.

Rebecca Robertson, legal director of the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said at the press conference Monday that many clerks woke up on Monday, read the high court’s ruling and Paxton’s opinion and decided to follow the former. Additional clerks that have begun issuing licenses include those in Collin, Denton, Smith and Williamson Counties.

“We say to Attorney General Paxton – follow the law and respect everyone’s love,” said Kathy Miller, head of the left-leaning advocacy group Texas Freedom Network. “No obstruction, no excuses, no politics.”

Perhaps foreshadowing the next Supreme Court argument for their community, those gathered also called for a renewed emphasis on expanding gay rights beyond just marriage. While same-sex unions now cannot be denied nationwide, Texas is one of many states where individuals can be denied employment and housing based on sexual orientation.

“A couple who gets married at 10 a.m. could be fired from their jobs at noon and evicted from their homes by 2, all in the same day, simply for posting that photo on Facebook,” said Griffin. “The time has come in this country for comprehensive federal non-discrimination protections.”

Even though the majority of American now are not upset if their children are gays conversion therapy, homelessness of LGBT youth and bullying in schools is remain rife in most of part of the USA  here is a Pew about support for LGBT children by parents  :

Most Americans now say learning their child is gay wouldn’t upset them


Most Americans now say learning their child is gay wouldn’t upset them

The Supreme Court decision last week legalizing gay marriage nationwide came with growing public support over the past decade. But the support for gays and lesbians to wed legally is a reminder of how Americans’ acceptance of homosexuality has also grown dramatically.

Changing Reactions to a Gay ChildThree decades ago, most Americans felt it would be troubling to have a child tell them he or she was gay: In a 1985 Los Angeles Times survey, nine-in-ten American adults (89%) said they would be upset if this happened, and just 9% said they would not be.

But views of homosexuality have shifted over time, and today nearly six-in-ten (57%) say they would not be upset if they had a child come out as gay or lesbian, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in May.

The change in attitudes toward having a gay child reflects broader shifts in views of homosexuality. More than six-in-ten Americans (63%) now say homosexuality should be accepted by society, compared with 46% in July 1994, according to the same May poll. In 1994, 49% of the public said society should discourage homosexuality.

Millennials are the least likely to say they would be upset (29%) if their child told them he or she was gay or lesbian. But the older the respondents, the more likely they are to say the moment would be a difficult one: 36% of Gen Xers say they would be upset, as would 47% of Boomers and 55% of Silents.

The question on learning a child is gay or lesbian is largely hypothetical (it was asked of adults with children and without), and this is especially true for Millennials. The oldest Millennial today is 34 years old, and our 2013 survey of LGBT Americans found that the median age for coming out to a family member or close friend was 20.

An important milestone for many gay men and lesbians is telling their parents about their sexual orientation, our 2013 survey showed. Overall, gay adults are more likely to have shared this information with their mothers (70% in the case of gay men, 67% in the case of lesbians) than with their fathers (53% gay men, 45% lesbians).

Coming Out to Parents Difficult for Gay Men and LesbiansThe majority of gay adults who did end up telling their parents said it was hard to do. Among those who told their mothers, 64% of gay men and 65% of lesbians said it was difficult; and among those who told their fathers, 74% of gay men and 63% of lesbians said it was difficult.

LGBT respondents who said in our 2013 survey that they had not told their parents about their sexual orientation or gender identity were asked in an open-ended question, “Why not?” Two main reasons emerged: 1) Some felt it was not important to tell their parent, or the subject never came up; and 2) some assumed their parent would not be accepting or understanding of this, or they worried about how it would affect their relationship with their parent.

Most gay men and lesbians who told their parents about their sexual orientation, however, said their relationship with that parent either grew stronger afterward or stayed the same, while very few said their relationship weakened.

Read more about LGBT Americans’ coming out experience, in their own words.

As people march for Pride, here are 6 things LGBT activists are still fighting for


Same-sex marriage may have become legal last year, but there is still a long way to go for LGBT people.

1. Homophobic crimes have actually gone up in the past year

According to figures released last November by the police, the number of homophobic crimes had gone up by over 20 percent from 2013 in Greater Manchester, South Wales and others. Homophobic crimes have also been increasing every year since 2006 in Northern Ireland. In London alone, 1,073 homophobic attacks were reported between last January and October.

2. So have transphobic crimes

In December, the Metropolitan Police released figures showing that transphobic hate crimes had gone up by 44 percent between 2013 and 2014. Ten other police forces reported a rise in hate crimes against trans people, and it is thought that the real figures could be much higher as most of the crimes aren’t reported.

3. A quarter of homeless youth are LGBT

A survey published in February by the Albert Kennedy Trust showed that LGBT young people are more likely to end up living on the street than their straight peers. 69 percent of them became homeless after their families forced them out because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and 62 percent said they had experienced aggression or even physical violence in their homes.

4. LGBT refugees and asylum seekers are reportedly being sent back to countries where they are in danger

Many LGBT people have moved to England to escape from their home countries, as their sexuality and/or gender put them in danger. The UK has reportedly sent many of them back, refusing asylum for reasons that apparently include not knowing their partner’s date of birth, or having previously had children.

5. LGBT asylum seekers are reportedly being physically and emotionally abused in Yarl’s Wood detention centre 

Yarl’s Wood is an ‘immigration removal centre’, where asylum seekers are detained until their asylum claim has been assessed – most of them women. There has now been multiple reports of LGBT asylum seekers being abused and harassed by staff and fellow detainees.

6. LGBT people are more at risk of mental health issues, and less likely to get adequate treatment

Cambridge University surveyed over 27,000 LGBT people between 2009 and 2010, and found that 12 percent of lesbian women and 11 percent of gay men suffer from mental health problems. Bisexuals are especially badly hit, with 15 percent of men and 19 percent of women having reported mental health issues. These figures are two to three times higher than for straight people. LGBT respondents were also twice as likely to have had a bad experience with a GP.

LGBT Refugees who turn to sex work need support

By Junior Mayema,

Once again i am reiterating the vulnerability and lack of protection of LGBT asylum seekers, most for them are forced into selling their bodies as a mean of survival.

LGBT refugees and asylum seekers in transit countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Turkey etc… are dying in miseries, silence and dire poverty, they don’t have the resources to sustain themselves, including us who are now in  so called safe havens for LGBT people, we still face many terrible situations that makes it very hard for us to even find durable housings and start rebuilding our lives.

please read more about the true reality of being LGBT refugees and asylum seekers below:


Finding work can be difficult. In many countries, asylum seekers are prohibited from formal employment. Women and gay refugees in particular face hiring discrimination regardless of a country’s refugee employment laws. In Beirut, for example, poor refugees are given three months’ rent, after which they’re expected to be self-sufficient. Many LGBTI refugees, facing discrimination, can’t secure a job and after those three months turn to sex work.

Sex work at times can be safer than other jobs in which refugees are subjected to sexual harassment and abuse from employers and co-workers. Some refugees may feel that sex work is their best option because the pay is better or more reliable. After trying and failing to obtain other jobs, Daniela, a 19-year-old Afro-Colombian trans refugee in Quito, said, “We are allowed to do only two jobs here — in a hair salon or on the street [selling sex], and I can make a lot more money on the street.”

To date, however, the UNHCR has not articulated policies or protocols to meet the concerns of refugees engaged in sex work. “It’s an unknown world,” one UNHCR field officer in Quito told me. “We really don’t know what types of services should be given to them.”

The UNHCR’s silence has created a haphazard approach among its field staff. But access to health and information services should not be at the mercy of personal opinions.

In this vacuum, some refugee sex workers in Quito are referred to a local anti-trafficking organization that takes an explicit anti-prostitution position: Everyone who engages in sex work is presumed to be a victim of trafficking to some degree. The organization teaches them alternative ways to generate income, such as making luxury soap and chocolate to sell at markets. For those looking to leave sex work, such classes may be exactly what they need. But for those not looking to exit sex work, what they won’t receive is information about how to do sex work safely and what health and legal services are available to them.

There are, of course, a number of social and professional networks in Quito for people engaged in commercial sex. RedTrabSex — referring to trabajadoras sexuales, or sex workers — does routine street outreach, distributing packets with condoms, the names of friendly health centers and information on sex worker rights in Ecuador. Marcha de las Putas has created a legal patrol that helps sex workers pool safety knowledge about risky clients, say, or incidents of police harassment.

But such organizations are largely unknown by humanitarian actors all over the world, especially in cities like Kampala and Quito in which refugees and sex work economies converge. The UNHCR and its local partnering organizations, which provide refugee services such as legal assistance and job and housing referrals, can be particularly helpful because they are often the first and main point of contact for displaced people without resources or knowledge of their local rights. It is part of the UNHCR’s mandate to help urban refugees acquire the information and services they need to survive and protect themselves in their new environment. This means not only providing immediate assistance like food coupons and temporary housing but also helping refugees harness and access local resources that will help them stay safe in the long term.

Giving sex workers a say

Other U.N. agencies, such as U.N. Women, the U.N. Development Program, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, have voiced explicit support for sex workers’ rights. These agencies have endorsed giving sex workers a say in programs that affect them and have sought to ensure their access to the same services provided to others, from comprehensive health care to banking to police protection.

Meanwhile, the UNHCR’s silence has created a haphazard approach among its field staff. “For me, sex work is not dignified work,” another UNHCR staffer in Ecuador told me, adding that she tries to persuade refugees to leave commercial sex work. But access to health and information services should not be at the mercy of personal opinions.

The organization could look to its recent history for a solution. In 2011 the UNHCR issued guidelines on how to work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex refugees. These guidelines (PDF) instructed staffers to learn about the particular vulnerabilities of LGBTI refugees — such as abuse they often face from family members and fellow refugees and their often systemic exclusion from access to basic health and education services — and to “make themselves aware of their own preconceptions or discriminatory attitudes towards” LGBTI individuals.

The UNHCR should issue similar guidelines for sex workers and leave no room for personal bias. Its staff should be directed to assess their needs, a process that begins by giving them the floor. Because it won’t know how to best offer support until it starts asking.

Jennifer S. Rosenberg is a senior program officer at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera America’s editorial policy.

European Union gives €500,000+ to help LGBTI people in Brazil start their own businesses and Over $150,000 Raised For Homeless Teens With Pizza4Equality

By Junior Mayema,

LGBT refugees and asylum seekers in transit countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Turkey etc… are dying in miseries, silence and dire poverty, they don’t have the resources to sustain themselves, including us who are now in  so called safe havens for LGBT people, we still face many terrible situations that makes it very hard for us to even find durable housings and start rebuilding our lives.

We need such initiative here in the USA where religious people are giving millions to support attacks on LGBT people not only here, they are sending extremist missionaries to Africa for the export this same extremism but no one is helping LGBT refugees and asylum seekers and homeless LGBT youth.

Here is one amazing news below so far so good :

European Union gives €500,000+ to help LGBTI people in Brazil start their own businesses

Micro Rainbow International secures funding through the European Union for a three-year project to help lift LGBTI people in Brazil out of poverty

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/european-union-gives-%E2%82%AC500000-help-lgbt-people-brazil-start-their-own-businesses130415?fb_action_ids=868471989882244&fb_action_types=og.comments#sthash.opOa6XXz.dpuf

European Union gives €500,000+ to help LGBTI people in Brazil start their own businesses

Micro Rainbow International secures funding through the European Union for a three-year project to help lift LGBTI people in Brazil out of poverty
Rio De Janeira

Artyominc | wikimedia

Not-for-profit social enterprise Micro Rainbow International (MRI) has announced that is has received funding from the European Union for a three-year project to help alleviate poverty among the LGBTI communities in Brazil.

A proportion of the funding will be used to help LGBTI individuals set up their own businesses.

Recognizing that LGBTI people face barriers in entering the workplace, other parts of the funding will be used to enable LGBTI-focused NGOs to offer staff training to private businesses and employers on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

Founded in 2012 by social entrepreneur and LGBT activist Sebastian Rocca, the London-based Micro Rainbow International is dedicated to creating the ‘tools, programmes and policy recommendations that enable LGBTI people to step out of poverty, everywhere’, according to a statement on its website.

Besides helping LGBT refugees in the United Kingdom, MRI has carried out extensive work in Cambodia and Brazil. Research undertaken in the latter country last year found that 61% of LGBT people are unemployed and living in poverty.

The remaining 39% of respondents were mainly in low-paying jobs, with sex work being the most common form of income for trans respondents.

MRI has now secured €518,909 (approx. US$550,000) support from the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

Founded in 2006, EIDHR has the task of promoting democracy and human rights in non-EU countries. Between 2007-2013 it had an approximate budget of €157million per year, and has helped fund more than 1,200 projects in over 100 countries.

In a statement, MRI said that it will be working in close partnership with Brazil’s ASTRA Rio, Grupo Arco Iris (GAI) and other local NGOs to distribute the funding.

Speaking about the funding, Rocca said in a statement: ‘According to a local NGO, Grupo Gay da Bahia, one LGBTI person is murdered every 26 hours in Brazil and most of the victims also appear to live in poverty.

‘This is shocking to me. Brazil is far from being a tolerant, equal and inclusive society towards LGBTI people. This project will tackle social attitudes and change people’s lives. We are thrilled.’

‘Our research shows that far too many lesbian, gay and bisexual people hide their sexuality in the workplace for fear of being discriminated and/or fired,’ Rocca went on to tell Gay Star Business.

‘We are planning to support LGBTI people to set up small businesses, access skills training opportunities and train local employers on the barriers that LGBTI people face in accessing employment and in the workplace.

‘Our preliminary investigations show that big corporations might be relatively more willing to engage with us, which is welcomed because a high number of LGBTI employees could benefit from our project.

‘However, we also want to target small and medium size businesses, those businesses that are at heart of the local community, those which can have a great impact in changing the negative social attitudes that too many people still hold in Rio towards LGBTI people.’

Majorie Marchi, President of ASTRA, Rio de Janeiro, said that finding ways for LGBTI people to earn a living will have a significant effect on combatting discrimination: ‘This is the time to celebrate one of the most important moments for the low-income LGBT population in Rio.

‘Access to credit, employability and other forms of self-support guarantee emancipation, empowerment and full citizenship, which are extremely necessary to fight homophobia in Brazil.’

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/european-union-gives-%E2%82%AC500000-help-lgbt-people-brazil-start-their-own-businesses130415?fb_action_ids=868471989882244&fb_action_types=og.comments#sthash.opOa6XXz.dpuf

Bigotry is the number one cause of LGBT youth homelessness, we must get these young people out of streets to show those bigots that we are united and we care for our community members.

Religious extremist parents are rejecting their own children from their own wombs(wombas) and kicking them out to become homeless, we must show them that we won’t tolerate bigotry in all of its shape or form.

We need more campaign like this one below :

Over $150,000 Raised For Homeless Teens With Pizza4Equality


Posted: 04/13/2015 5:21 pm EDT Updated: 3 hours ago

In an inspiring example of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community uniting against discrimination, one man has helped to raise almost $150,000 to support homeless youth.

#Pizza4Equality, launched by activist Scott Wooledge, is a fundraising response to thenearly one million dollars raised for Memories Pizza after owners of the Indiana business stated they wouldn’t cater a gay wedding and then claimed they had to shut down their restaurant due to threats and harassment.

But Wooledge isn’t alone. He’s teamed up with The Food System, which is sponsoring pizza parties across the country to screen “The Homestretch,” a doc about youth homelessness, and Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund to help raise even more money and awareness about homeless youth.

“I started #Pizza4Equality nine days ago,” Wooledge told The Huffington Post. “Will Thwaites and The Food System came up with #HateFreePizza parties independently. I believe we were all simultaneously inspired by Memories Pizza story. #Pizza4equality action was to ask for donations to True Colors Fund to help homeless youth. And we’re just about to break 4,000 donors and $150K.”

Wooledge adds, “There’s lots of ways to help homeless youth and a public pizza party of support is a fantastic compliment to what #Pizza4Equality has accomplished so far. I’ve spoken to the people at True Colors too and they love the pizza party idea too as a way to raise awareness on the topic. It was True Colors’ suggestion that any monies raised go to help local groups helping homeless youth, not to True Colors.”

These groups are aiming to match the money raised by Memories Pizza by April 29 — the first national #40toNoneDay as marked by the True Colors fund.

“There is much disgust and consternation in the LGBT community over a viral fundraiser effort, that has as of this writing, earned $842,387,” Wooledge notes on the GoFundMe page. “Many have lamented, ‘If only our cause could raise that much money that fast.’ I say, yes, we can.”

The Homestretch” airs tonight on PBS at 10pm ET.
There’s also an impact campaign sponsored by National Network for Youth andNational Associations for Educators of Homeless Children and Youth related to the film that is working with policymakers and advocates across the country to change the current definition of homelessness to include youth.

Why not throw your own pizza party and donate to #Pizza4Equality?

Head here for more info about #Pizza4Equality .

Gay Millionaires Tell Alabama It’s Too Bigoted for Their Money and Equality California endorses Hillary Clinton in 2016 presidential race

By Junior Mayema,

There are vulnerable members of the LGBT community who need that fund like LGBT Homeless youth, LGBT refugees and LGBT asylum seekers so instead of pouring millions on  barren grounds and wasting it, please donate it to people who need it most here is the entire story below :


Gay Millionaires Tell Alabama It’s Too Bigoted for Their Money

A gay couple who fell in love at the University of Alabama planned to leave their formidable estate to their alma mater — but have changed that plan in the wake of Alabama’s resistance to marriage equality.


MARCH 16 2015 5:06 PM ET

Elliott Mitchell (left) and Clark West

Elliott Mitchell (left) and Clark West

A pair of gay, married alumni of the University of Alabama have discontinued plans to leave their estimated $15 million estate to their alma mater because of the state’s — and by extension, the state school’s — refusal to embrace marriage equality.

Elliott Mitchell, now 65, and Clark West, now 60, met at the University of Alabama in 1972 and have been together ever since, reports AL.com, a website for several Alabama newspapers. The couple married in Hawaii in 2013, and they currently share a home in Sarasota, Fla.

Ten years ago the couple donated $1 million to their alma mater’s arts and sciences, business, and athletic departments. They had planned to leave their estate — estimated at $15 million accrued over a lifetime of professional success the couple shared as a real estate developer and mental health counselor — to the university.

After the university rejected the couple’s offer to fund a new community outreach center that would include programs for LGBT students, Mitchell and West wrote a letter to the school explaining their decision to remove their alma mater as the beneficiary of the couple’s estate, according to AL.com.

“We understand the conflict of well-intended people struggling to find balance with this issue,” the men wrote. “But, we also realize there is no support in the legislature or initiatives at the University to create a dialogue. Instead, there is a very strong and continued effort by the state and the majority of its citizens to exclude this group in every way possible.”

The prominent alumni even encouraged the University to share the couple’s story as a way to change hearts and minds in the traditionally conservative state.

“You are welcome to share our situation with anyone you believe will be helpful in encouraging Alabama to provide equality to all its citizens,” West and Mitchell wrote. “You have done it before and you can do it again. We do not want anything from you, just a recognition that all decisions have consequences.”

At the time, the couple received no response from the university.

When approached by AL.com, University of Alabama president Judy Bonner expressed gratitude for Mitchell and West’s “unprecedented generosity and support  for their alma mater.”

Noting that she “enjoyed several opportunities to talk with” Mitchell and West, Bonner’s statement concluded that “Elliott and Clark will continue to be valued members of the UA family, and we look forward to many years of working with them to make a difference in the lives of our students.”

But Mitchell and West told AL.com that kind words aren’t enough, especially when the state’s officials — who have a hand in distributing funding to the state school — have gone above and beyond to ensure that same-sex marriage is not respected in Alabama. Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court instructed all probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in direct defiance of a federal court order that struck down the state’s ban on marriage equality.

“We just have to assume that any legal arrangement or any financial arrangement would not be honored in Alabama,” Mitchell told AL.com.

That assumption is affirmed by the tragic story of Paul Hard, a gay man from Montgomery who was not allowed to see his husband in a hospital before his spouse died of injuries sustained in a 2011 car accident. Hard filed a federal lawsuit in February 2014 challenging the portion of Alabama law that prohibits recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.

Mitchell and West said a fear of a similar fate keeps them from returning to the state where they fell in love, even for vacations. If a tragedy similar to Hard’s befell the couple, “after 42 years together, we would not be allowed to visit each other on our deathbed,” Mitchell told AL.com.

And here is another good news please endorse Hillary Clinton and please desist from endorsing the republican, they are evil and wicked people, they will bring us back to the stone age if they take the white house. Please read below :


Equality California endorses Hillary Clinton in 2016 presidential race

LOS ANGELES — Equality California, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, on Monday announced it was endorsing former Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race.

Hillary Clinton

EQCA is the first major LGBT organization in the nation to endorse the former Secretary of State for President.

“We want Hillary Clinton to run and are ready to mobilize our 800,000 members to help her win,” said Equality California’s Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We’re enthusiastic about her candidacy because she has the best record of accomplishment on LGBT issues of any potential candidate. Equality California is ready for Hillary!”

In addition to announcing the group’s endorsement of Clinton, Equality California will kick off a campaign focused on engaging its 800,000 members across the state and country to build a diverse coalition of support for Clinton.

EQCA is the second largest LGBT advocacy group in the nation terms of membership.

 It is about time even people who are using religion to stop samesex couples from being able to get married are now being on the right side of history:

San Francisco’s Evangelical City Church Will No Longer Ask LGBT Members To Be Celibate



(RNS) A prominent evangelical Christian church in San Francisco has announced it will no longer ask members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to remain celibate.

“We will no longer discriminate based on sexual orientation and demand lifelong celibacy as a precondition for joining,” senior pastor Fred Harrell Sr. and six board members of City Church, one of the largest members of the Reformed Church in America denomination, wrote in a letter emailed to members Friday (March 13).

The church, which claims about 1,000 attendees and meets at two San Francisco locations, has long welcomed LGBT persons to attend, but has required lifelong celibacy of those LGBT persons seeking membership.

“Imagine feeling this from your family or religious community,” the letter states. “‘If you stay, you must accept celibacy with no hope that you too might one day enjoy the fullness of intellectual, spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical companionship. If you pursue a lifelong partnership, you are rejected.’ This is simply not working and people are being hurt. We must listen and respond.”

City Church’s action places it in the ranks of at least two other large, urban evangelical congregations that have reversed their policies requiring celibacy for gay members. In January, both GracePointe Church in Nashville, Tenn., and Seattle’s EastLake Community Church reversed their celibacy policies.

The policy of many evangelical denominations and independent churches is that homosexuality is “incompatible” with the Bible and therefore cannot be tolerated among members, or the broader society.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted his displeasure with City Church on Friday, calling their decision a cave-in to secular society and “tragic.”

In Nashville, the pastor’s announcement of the change from the pulpit was greeted with a standing ovation.

But there have been costs, too. Giving, attendance and membership declined at GracePointe immediately after it changed its stance, and two board members at City Church have resigned, according to the letter.

Laura Turner, communications coordinator for City Church (and a blogger for Religion News Service), said City Church’s leadership spent nine months debating the new policy as well as reading the gospel, books by evangelical theologians and social science research.

“Churches are slowly coming to recognize that if God is bringing people to them who are LGBT they have to meet them where they are and not demand that they change,” Turner said. “Telling LGBT people they have to change before they can become Christians is leading to depression, suicide and addiction and we won’t do that anymore.”