Wisconsin prison warden posts memes comparing rainbow flag to Confederate flag, Muslims to garbage

By : Wire Report
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Richard Schneiter, deputy warden. (Photo from Wisconsin Department of Corrections)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) | A Wisconsin prison official has been posting Facebook memes comparing Muslim children to garbage and flying the LGBTQ rainbow flag with flying the Confederate flag.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Deputy Warden Richard Schneiter in June posted a meme of two black garbage bags next to a Muslim woman and child in black burqas and a caption saying the woman had three beautiful children.

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Human Rights Watch reports new wave of Chechnya gay abuse

By : wire report
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MOSCOW (AP) | Human Rights Watch is reporting a new wave of gay men being detained and tortured in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

The group said it interviewed four gay men who had fled the conservative, predominantly Muslim region saying they were harshly abused by police, who they said used electric shocks and beat them while they were strung up by the legs. It said their accounts were consistent with a complaint filed by an LGBT activist in January.

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Aceh region bans unmarried couples at same table in cafes

By : wire report
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BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) |A district in Indonesia’s deeply conservative Aceh province has banned unmarried couples from sitting at the same table in restaurants, cafes or coffee shops, an official said Wednesday.

The head of Bireuen district’s Islamic affairs office, Jufliwan, said the measure also forbids restaurants, cafes and coffee shops from serving female customers after 9 p.m. if they are not accompanied by their husbands, fathers, brothers, or other close relatives.

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How Central Florida’s Middle Eastern and Muslim LGBTQ community has found their voice post-Pulse

By : Holly V. Kapherr
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Recall two seminal moments from our recent history: Most—if not all—of us nearing our mid-thirties and beyond remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center fell to the ground. Similarly, thousands will never forget the morning they woke up and heard about the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016.

For many, these two events may share very little in common: the scope of the terror, the size of the cities in which they occurred, the generality or specificity of their victims, how removed or close-to-home the impact.

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07.26.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As we head into the final summer month of 2018, I have been thinking a lot about the summer season from two years ago. All eyes were turned to Orlando as we were trying to make sense of a senseless act that left 49 people dead at Pulse. It was also a time when one of my college professors, Ken Carpenter, was battling for his life after a cancer diagnoses earlier in the year.

Ken was the journalism professor at Valencia College, and as I enrolled in more and more journalism classes he became a person that I started to see every single day. He became more than just a teacher to me. He became a friend and mentor, and not just to me. I can’t think of a single student who walked through those glass doors at Valencia College’s West Campus, passing by the mannequin wearing a suit made entirely out of newspaper, into the newsroom, who didn’t feel a connection with Ken that surpassed the word teacher.

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07.26.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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There are moments in our lives that stick with us—defining who we were, who we are or who we want to be.

Among my list of essentials are a summer with my grandmother, probably my favorite person that I’ve ever known. The two of us would take turns telling one another stories we’d make up on the spot, finishing each other’s dangling plot threads well into the wee hours of the night. She also helped cement my role as a night owl.

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LGBTQ groups condemn Supreme Court travel ban ruling

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBTQ advocacy groups on Tuesday condemned the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the Trump administration’s policy that effectively bans the citizens of five Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

Lambda Legal Executive Director Rachel B. Tiven in a statement said the ruling is “as shameful as the internment of Japanese Americans and the doors slammed shut to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany.”

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‘Nurse Jackie’ star Haaz Sleiman comes out as gay

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“Nurse Jackie” star Haaz Sleiman has publicly come out as gay after denying his sexuality for years.

Sleiman, 41, is known for playing gay character “Mo Mo” De La Cruz on “Nurse Jackie.” While his character was out and proud, Sleiman had kept his private life a secret until he posted a Facebook video announcing his sexuality.

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Malaysia, Indonesia Muslim groups call for Starbucks boycott

By : Wire Report
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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Muslim groups in Malaysia and Indonesia have called for a boycott of Starbucks because of the coffee chain’s support for LGBT rights.

Malaysian group Perkasa, which supports a hard-line form of Islam and nationalism, this week called on its more than 500,000 members to stay away from Starbucks coffee shops. This week and last, leaders of Indonesia’s second largest mainstream Muslim group, Muhammadiyah, with an estimated 29 million members, denounced the chain.

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Gay men in Indonesia’s Aceh province face 100 lashes

By : Maximilian Sycamore of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Sharia police in Indonesia’s Aceh province on March 29 arrested two men for having sex.

The men, aged 23 and 30, will each receive 100 lashes under sharia law.

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Evidence leaks out about anti-LGBTQ executive order as Trump vows to bring religion to the ballot box

By : Billy Manes
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Over the past few days there has been extensive talk about an executive order by President Donald Trump that would roll back LGBTQ rights obtained under the Obama administration. First came the quiet chirps of hidden intelligence, received here at Watermark Jan. 30 verbatim via Facebook, Twitter and email. There were many corroborating reports with much of the same verbiage.

We reported that with due outrage, because… well, that’s what communities do. The following day, Jan. 31, reports surfaced from major sources proclaiming that the whole thing was a lie and Trump would support LGBTQ interests, at least on the federal employment level, as laid out by his predecessor, Barack Obama. All over the nation, people proclaimed once again that the media was making things up. The term “gaslighting” juxtaposed with “fascism” seemed a bit much for the modern populace, and so it was. Trump wasn’t ever intending to come after us. Commenters roiled, “George Soros is paying for all of this.” It was a mess that seemed to clean itself up in one news cycle.

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Op-Ed: Orlando Democratic Chair Wes Hodge on privilege and patriotism in the face of the new administration

By : Wes Hodge
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wes-hodgeIt’s clear that life in the U.S. is changing at a rapid pace. With pen strokes, centuries of policy and progress are being erased. No longer is America the country open to the world’s huddled masses. A land made up almost entirely of immigrants has suddenly slammed the door shut! Communities which have struggled for decades to gain recognition and equality are almost immediately having them stripped away.

This is a new America. No longer are we the land of the free and the home of the brave. But as described in a dark inauguration speech, “from this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first.” Donald Trump, listen to me loud and clear, this is NOT my America.

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