Transgender Illinois inmate seeks clemency from governor

By : wire report
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CHICAGO (AP) _ Advocates for a transgender inmate who received rare approval from Illinois prison authorities to move from a men’s to a women’s prison have asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker to grant her clemency so she can be released immediately.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported on May 9 that Strawberry Hampton’s lawyers say authorities are penalizing the 28-year-old and delaying her release for reporting she was abused in prison and being vocal about it.

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Chicago prosecutors drop all charges against Jussie Smollett

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois have dropped all charges against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett. On March 14, Smollett was indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false report. He pled not guilty.

Smollett was summoned to an emergency court hearing at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday where State Attorney Kim Foxx told him that all charges against him had been dropped and his record expunged. Smollett forfeited his bond and the judge also granted a motion to seal the case from the public.

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Transgender Illinois inmate feels safer after transfer

By : wire report
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LINCOLN, Ill. (AP) | A transgender inmate who received rare approval from Illinois prison authorities to move from a men’s to a women’s prison says she feels safe in the new accommodations.

The Chicago Tribune reports 27-year-old Strawberry Hampton says she no longer worries about being attacked for being a woman.

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Illinois state prisons told to develop training on transgender issues

By : Wire Report
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) | A federal judge in Southern Illinois is ordering state prison officials to develop training for all staff on transgender issues.

The order handed down last week by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Rosenstengel comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a transgender prison inmate that claims repeated abuse and sexual assaults involving guards and inmates. As part of her order, Rosenstengel also directed state prison officials to re-evaluate Deon “Strawberry” Hampton’s previously denied request for transfer.

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Student accused of being neo-Nazi leaves Southern Illinois University

By : wire report
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) | An official at Southern Illinois University says a student accused earlier this month of belonging to a white supremacist neo-Nazi group is no longer enrolled in the school.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Stettler tells The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan that as of Wednesday the male student was no longer enrolled at the Carbondale campus but said that the students’ rights to privacy prevented her from identifying the student or elaborating on the reasons for his departure.

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Hawaii governor signs bill banning conversion therapy for minors

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Friday signed into law a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors.

“Sexual orientation is not an illness to be ‘cured’ — we accept you just the way you are,” said Ige in a tweet that included a picture of him signing the bill.

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Rhode Island House votes to ban ‘gay or trans panic’ defense

By : Wire Report
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The Rhode Island House of Representatives has voted to prohibit the “gay or trans panic” defense, a controversial legal strategy that seeks to use a victim’s sexual orientation or identity as justification for a violent crime.

The House voted to ban the legal defense May 23. It will now go to the Senate.

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Fit for Print: History isn’t always pretty, or straight

By : Steve Blanchard
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I am a history nerd.

I love visiting historical places, reading up on history and even enjoying a book or film classified as historical fiction.

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Illinois Senate plan would include LGBTQ history in schools

By : wire report
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois senators advanced a plan requiring public schools to teach a unit on the role and societal contributions of gays, lesbians and other LGBTQ individuals.

The Senate Education committee endorsed the measure 8-2 Tuesday. If enacted, Illinois would become just the second state to approve an LGBTQ inclusive curriculum.

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Transgender inmate seeks rare transfer to female prison

By : wire report
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Image from Illinois Department of Corrections website

CHICAGO (AP) — A 26-year-old transgender woman serving a 10-year sentence in Illinois for burglary is seeking a rarely granted transfer to a female prison where she says she’ll be less vulnerable to the kinds of sexual assault, taunting and beatings she’s been subjected to in male prisons.

Deon “Strawberry” Hampton describes in a lawsuit filed last year asking for the transfer how guards and fellow inmates would regularly single her out for brutal treatment at the high-security prison in southern Illinois, Menard Correctional Center, and earlier at Pinckneyville Correctional Center.

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Activists to copy Illinois ‘gay panic defense’ ban elsewhere

By : wire report
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CHICAGO (AP) — Starting in January, Illinois will bar a rare criminal defense allowing the use of a victim’s sexual orientation as justification for violent crime, a ban gay rights advocates say they will attempt to replicate in about half a dozen states next year.

Defense attorneys will no longer be able to mount the so-called “gay panic defense” in Illinois, the second state after California to prohibit the tactic. It isn’t common, but one study shows it has surfaced in about half of all U.S. states and has been used with some success. Advocates say bans are necessary because crimes against gay and transgender people are on the rise, but some attorneys remain skeptical, calling the ban politically motivated and unnecessary because the old-fashioned defense wouldn’t hold up in court today.

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Illinois governor signs 2 criminal justice measures into law including ban on “gay panic” defenses

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) _ Illinois will allow authorities to prosecute out-of-state drug dealers for deaths caused by their sales under a measure signed recently by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The new law is named after Evan Rushing, a southwestern Illinois man the bill’s sponsor says died of an overdose after buying drugs from a St. Louis dealer.

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