Indonesia urges app to remove LGBT content amidst social media backlash

By : Wire Report
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Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) – Indonesia’s government has demanded that instant messaging apps remove stickers featuring same-sex couples, in the latest high-profile attempt to discourage visible homosexuality in the socially conservative country.

The government move comes after a social media backlash against the popular smartphone messaging app Line for having stickers, which are an elaborate type of emoticon, with gay themes in its online store.

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Everybody knows his name: Brian Longstreth was Grand Central’s go to guy in 2015

By : Jeremy Williams
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Brian Longstreth, 54, has been one of the most visible faces in St. Pete’s LGBT community since moving to the vibrant beach town 32 years ago. He has also been a driving force in LGBT business.

Longstreth started Your Neighborhood Realty in 1999, opened Gay St. Pete House in 2008 and was one of the original organizers of St. Pete Pride.

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Reform Jews approve most trans-supportive resolution of any major religion

By : Wire Report
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Orlando (AP) – The largest movement of Judaism in the U.S. passed the most far-reaching resolution in support of transgender rights of any major religious organization, saying it’s a continuation of a tradition of inclusion in the Reform Jewish movement.

Members of the Union for Reform Judaism attending its biennial meeting in Orlando Nov. 5 approved on a voice vote the resolution, which calls for congregations and camps to have gender-neutral bathrooms and encourages gender-neutral language at Reform Jewish institutions. It also suggests training on gender issues for religious school staff and encourages advocating on behalf of the transgender community. There was no opposition.

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Reform Jews poised to pass transgender resolution

By : Wire Report
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – When Rabbi Elliot Kukla became the first out transgender rabbi ordained in the Reform Jewish movement almost a decade ago, he would get questions from other rabbis along the lines of “There’s a transgender congregant coming to services. What should I do?” He would tell the other rabbis to greet them with, “Shabbat shalom,” the traditional welcome for anybody.

Now, other rabbis ask more sophisticated questions and lack the discomfort of the earlier ones: Is there a ritual for a trans man who is converting to Judaism but doesn’t have a penis for a traditional circumcision? How can we celebrate a 12-year-old trans girl’s name change at her Bat Mitzvah?

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TSA working on better policies for transgender travelers

By : Jamie Hyman
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The TSA wants to do better by transgender airline passengers.

Transportation Security Administration officials told The Advocate that they are improving both training and standard protocol for agents who encounter transgender individuals. Most importantly, they’ll stop calling it an “anomaly” when there are perceived gender inconsistencies visible when a person goes through the body scanner.

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Uprisings: September 24 – October 7

By : Billy Manes
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Once upon a time, it felt like a public duty to witness the beads of sweat lining Richard Nixon’s lips while the glowing complexion of John F. Kennedy burned visible anxiety into said grumble face made for print media and the quotes that come with it. Once upon a time, there was the underlying sense that gentlemen (now women, too!) standing atop a stage in front of tens of millions of people to discuss the fate of our still-young nation was a piece of this, our great democracy, a piece not to be missed. And then 2015 happened: The debates had to be split into kids’ table and grown-ups’ table by dint of polling percentages, and all of American life turned into a reality show based around a pageant based around hate and ignorance based around what the hell life has turned into.

By no means does this column mean to discourage public communication by those who would like their finger on the imaginary red button or desire to have their private lives ravaged by the altitude of overexpression. Heavens, no. We’re all spectators out here. Bring on the dancing horses.

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“The Grandmother of our movement”: The NYT gives trans hero Judge Phyllis Frye her due

By : Billy Manes
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Photo via New York Times

Over the weekend, New York Times journalist Deborah Sontag penned an impressive – OK, inspiring – piece about Phyllis Randolph Frye, a transgender judge with a sharp tongue and an even sharper history. Frye, who scraped her way to acceptance after years of abuse, occupies a slightly more intellectual profile than that of the current crop of trans celebrity. Her path was not one of Karadashians and Barbara Walters interviews, but just the same (and perhaps because of the notice to the issue of transgender acceptance lately), Frye’s fight for justice echoes that much more evidently. Kicked out of home by her father, attempting suicide, fighting for her life, Frye is an unsung hero who we can all admire. And when she came out, so did the worst parts of society, the Times reports.

“In response, she got her house egged, her tires slashed, and her driveway spray-painted with obscenities. Teenagers openly mocked her, the engineering profession blackballed her and the federal government rejected her for a job because of her “desire to impersonate the opposite sex.”

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Texas AG no longer facing contempt for refusal to honor same sex marriage

By : Wire Report
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The possibility of Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton being held in contempt of court for impeding gay rights diminished Aug. 10 after a lawyer said the state agreed to update vital records policies for same-sex couples.

Word of a resolution came only hours after Paxton told U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, who had ordered Paxton to appear before him later this week, that no “high-ranking government official” should be compelled to personally show up in court barring extraordinary circumstances.

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LGBT Jamaicans holding first gay pride celebration on island

By : Wire Report
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KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaica’s LGBT community is holding its first gay pride celebration, a weeklong observance that was previously almost unthinkable in a Caribbean country long described as the one of the globe’s most hostile places to homosexuality.

Events in the capital of Kingston have included a flash mob gathering in a park, an art exhibit and performances featuring songs and poems by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jamaicans. A dance party was set for Wednesday.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Melissa “Missy” Guad and Sondra Rae Valentino

By : Jeremy Williams
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Do you believe in love at first sight? Missy and Rae do, and if you spend any time with them together they have an energy that can make the coldest heart feel the same way.

“I know some people don’t believe in love at first sight, but ever since I first met her I knew I needed her in my life. I crave her,” Rae said. “I don’t know what it was and then as I got to know her I was like we can be best friends, a.k.a. lovers.”

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Dell urges Texas lawmakers to stop anti-gay marriage bill

By : Wire Report
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Dell Inc. has joined opposition to a Texas bill that would attempt to defy the U.S. Supreme Court if gay marriage is legalized.

The computer maker released a statement May 13 saying it has let Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott know that the Round Rock-based company considers diversity a “business imperative.”

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LGBT Welcome Center to finish renovating kitchen as MLK Day project

By : Staff Report
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St. Petersburg – The LGBT Welcome Center will celebrate MLK Day of Service by putting the finishing touches on its newly renovated kitchen. Wells Fargo volunteers will help complete the kitchen in the newly open space run by Metro Wellness and Community Centers on Monday, Jan. 19.

Volunteers will paint and help in other ways to make sure the job is completed by the end of the holiday.

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