Federal court considers bathroom use by transgender student

By : wire report
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ATLANTA (AP) | A student has the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity, a lawyer told a federal court Thursday, arguing that the issue is about the right of transgender students to “equal dignity.”

But the Florida school district that’s appealing a lower court order in favor of the transgender boy told three judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they should overturn the ruling and let the school district restrict students to the bathroom matching their at-birth sex to protect the privacy of other students.

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Libertee Belle, early Alabama LGBTQ activist, dies

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Alabama drag queen and activist Libertee Belle. (Photo from Facebook)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) | A drag queen who was an early advocate of LGBTQ rights in Alabama has died.

The performer known as Libertee Belle was among the organizers of Central Alabama Pride in the 1980s and served as grand marshal of Birmingham’s gay pride parade at least once.

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Grad nixed from yearbook over tuxedo photo; reprint promised

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SPRINGVILLE, Ala. (AP) | An Alabama high school graduate doesn’t appear in her yearbook after wearing a tuxedo top for her senior portrait, instead of the black drape female students usually wear.

Holley Gerelds tweeted that she was left out of the Springville High yearbook “because I’m a lesbian who wanted to wear a tux instead of a drape.”

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Alabama deputy who made homophobic comments hired as officer

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ABOVE: Nigel Shelby, photo via Rocket City Pride’s Facebook page.

OWENS CROSS ROADS, Ala. (AP) | A former Alabama sheriff’s deputy who posted homophobic Facebook comments in response to the suicide of a bullied gay teenager now has a job with a different Alabama law enforcement agency.

Jeff Graves resigned as a Madison County sheriff’s deputy in May. His comments on the death of 15-year-old Nigel Shelby of Huntsville called the LGBTQ movement “fake.” He also said “society cannot and should not accept this behavior.”

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Alabama lawmakers pass workaround bill on same-sex marriage

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) | After some conservative Alabama probate judges stopped issuing marriage licenses over the issue of same-sex marriage, state lawmakers have come up with a workaround: marriage certificates that don’t have to be signed before the wedding by the judge.

The bill, which won final approval May 23, now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature.

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Event to highlight LGBTQ history in American South

By : wire report
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) | An event this week will highlight the history of LGBTQ people in the American South.

What organizers are calling the inaugural Queer History South Conference opens March 28 in Birmingham, Alabama. More than 115 people are expected to attend from the South and elsewhere.

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Law center: Hate groups in US at highest level in 2 decades

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The U.S. had more hate groups last year than at any point in at least the past two decades, according to an organization that tracks white supremacists and other far-right extremists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said Feb. 20 that the 1,020 groups it counted in 2018 is the most since 2011 and the highest number since the center broadened its survey of such groups in the 1990s. Last year’s tally also represents a 7 percent increase over the 954 groups that the Alabama-based law center counted in 2017.

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Proud Boys founder sues SPLC over hate group label

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) | The founder of a far-right men’s group filed a defamation lawsuit Feb. 4 against the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the organization as a hate group, in the latest attempt to use litigation to fight the extremist label.

Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys — an organization that describes its members as “Western chauvinists” — contends in the lawsuit that he was banned from social media platforms and saw his livelihood suffer after getting the designation from the SPLC.

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Transgender ex-student sues Alabama school over mistreatment

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) | A former student has sued a north Alabama school district, saying she was harassed and physically assaulted because she was transgender, while administrators turned a blind eye.

Zelda Menefee filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Huntsville city school system, former superintendent Casey Wardynski and eight other teachers and school employees.

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Project uncovering South’s hidden LGBTQ history

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) | A new project is documenting the history of LGBTQ people in the Deep South, a region that once all but forced gays, lesbians and others to live in hiding.

Bob Burns, who is gay, both lived through some of the toughest times for LGBTQ Southerners and documented them through years of activism. Now 66, he compiled a trove of information from years that included the AIDS epidemic and the systemic oppression of gay people in the Deep South.

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Kansas governor signs ‘religious freedom’ anti-LGBTQ adoption law

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed anti-LGBTQ adoption legislation making his state the latest to enact a “religious freedom” law enabling taxpayer-funded agencies to deny placement into LGBTQ homes.

Colyer signed the legislation, Senate Bill 284, into law on Friday, according to a local media report. The Washington Blade has placed a call in with Colyer’s office seeking confirmation that he signed the bill.

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One Orlando Alliance retracts ED offer after Patricia Todd suggests Alabama Gov. is lesbian

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The One Orlando Alliance has retracted the offer of employment made to former Alabama Rep. Patricia Todd to serve as the organization’s executive director after Todd suggested on Twitter May 15 that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is a lesbian.

“The Board affirms that Ms. Todd’s recent comments are not aligned with the values of One Orlando Alliance. We strongly believe that coming out is a personal choice and we do not support involuntarily outing,” said Jennifer Foster, Chair of the Board of Directors and one of the original co-conveners of the Alliance, in a press release. “This has been a challenging situation. While Ms. Todd has a well-established record of outstanding service to the community, her lapse in judgment has led us to end our relationship with her. We admire her many decades of exemplary service and believe that, with the right opportunity, Ms. Todd will continue to use her many talents to make significant progress advocating for justice and equality.”

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