Showing posts with label Discrimination LGBT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discrimination LGBT. Show all posts

March 26, 2020

Hope Fades For End of LGBTQ Violence in Uzbekistan




        Image result for Uzbekistan



Uzbek activists say that police often blackmail victims and rarely investigate crimes even when videos are posted online. Uzbekistan is not ready to accept people that don’t fit with mainstream notions of gender and sexuality, LGBTI activist Luiza Atabaeva said :

“The economic situation of society doesn’t allow us to think of sexual freedom. Who cares about discrimination against LGBTI in Uzbekistan when people cannot meet their basic needs?”

Activists hoped for reform when Shavkat Mirziyoyev assumed the presidency in 2016, but routine anti-LGBTI violence and discrimination continue.

The previous head of state, Islam Karimov, who ruled the country for 27 years, did not address the issue of LGBTI rights. In a rare comment on this issue before his death in 2016, he said that such sexual minorities “had some deviation in their heads”.

When Mirziyoyev came to power, international rights organisations including HRW as well as diaspora LGBTI groups called on him to address discrimination against the community. So far, he has also made no public statements on LGBTI rights.


 Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. (Map courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin)
         
Observers say that not only does violence against LGBT people often meet with public approval in Uzbekistan, but local human rights activists show little solidarity with those discriminated against for their sexual orientation.

Following the collapse of the USSR, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were the only Central Asian states not to decriminalise homosexuality.

Although the constitution of Uzbekistan mandates that the government must “create a humane democratic law-governed state that seeks to provide a decent life to all the citizens of the republic,” LGBTI people remain isolated and discriminated against.

In their 2019 index, a gay travel website Spartacus ranked Uzbekistan 159 out of 197 countries for their level of tolerance towards sexual minorities. Acts of violence are not only rarely investigated, but often meet with public approval.

In September 2019, 25-year-old Shokir Shavkatov was murdered by unknown assailants in Tashkent after he came out as gay on his Instagram account.

A local gay man said that the LGBTI community had been shocked not only by the murder, but the public reaction. He described numerous comments on social approving the actions of the perpetrators and calling for other LGBTI people to be killed.

IWPR asked the prosecutor general’s office and the ombudsman for human rights for a comment on the Shavkatov murder. Neither of them responded.

In 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee received an official reply from Uzbekistan regarding its criticism of the treatment of LGBTI people, denying any discrimination and noting that they had no record of any formal complaint about discrimination or abuse from LGBTI people.

“The attitude to LGBT people in Uzbekistan is similar to the situation in Chechnya, where the head of the country, Ramzan Kadyrov, says that there are no gays in Chechnya in response to all the claims of human rights activists about the murders of gays,” said a Tashkent-based lawyer who asked to remain anonymous.

He told IWPR that LGBTI people rarely sought help from human rights activists, who he said tended to be conservative, middle aged people who viewed homosexual relations as unacceptable. There are no dedicated LGBTI rights organisations inside Uzbekistan.

“Uzbek society has a negative attitude towards gays. Therefore, we have to live a double life,” said another gay man who asked to remain anonymous. “Some get married for show, even have kids.”

He explained that gay men were frequent targets of intimidation and extortion but knew that they could expect no help from the authorities if they made a formal complaint.

“Law enforcement officers blackmail the victims and extort money,” he continued. “Otherwise, they threaten to open a criminal case or tell the truth to the family. So, gays don’t complain about the police if they face blackmail and extortion.”

It was not unknown for police officers to pose as gay men on dating websites in oreder to lure victims into a meeting.

“Then they blackmail, threaten to disclose their identities in public. Sometimes, they don’t stop at extortion. They beat and humiliate the young people,” said Abbosali Abbosov, a LGBTI activist from Samarkand, now living in the United States.

Yelena Urlaeva, chair of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan, also said that public sympathy was with perpetrators of violence against LGBTI people rather than the victims of abuse.

This article is based on coverage in UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes news briefs and the IWPR Web site. For more information, read the full IWPR article “Uzbekistan: LGBT Rights Neglected.”

The London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting seeks to foster peace and reconciliation in conflict zones around the world by strengthening the ability of media and civil society to speak out.

76 Crimes



February 27, 2020

The Teacher Penalized For Being Gay Gets $100,000 From School District


Stacy Bailey, left, has sued Mansfield Independent School District alleging that it discriminated against her based on her sexual orientation.
 Stacy Bailey left has sued Mansfield Independent School District alleging that it discriminated against her sexual orientation.
Arlington art teacher Stacy Bailey was placed on administrative leave in August 2017 after showing her students a picture of her soon-to-be wife. On Monday, Mansfield ISD awarded Bailey $100,000 after a federal judge ruled her suspension was unconstitutional.

As part of the settlement, the school district agreed to provide mandatory training to human resources and counseling staff on LGBTQ issues in schools and to require the Mansfield ISD board of trustees to vote on whether to add protections for sexual orientation into its policies, according to a representative for Bailey.

At a Tuesday press conference in Fort Worth, Bailey thanked Mansfield ISD President Karen Marcucci for showing leadership in going beyond a traditional monetary settlement to pursue training and policy changes. 

But Mansfield ISD still denies any wrongdoing and maintains that Bailey was not placed on leave for showing family pictures, according to a statement from Donald Williams, the district's associate superintendent of communications and marketing.

"All parties deny any wrongdoing or liability, but wish to resolve their disputes to avoid the time, expense, stress and other impacts of continuing litigation, which would interfere with the mission of educating the students of MISD," the statement reads.

The school district also agreed to withdraw the "administrative leave" designation from the eight-month period that Bailey was suspended and provide her with a letter of recommendation.

Before her suspension, Bailey worked at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School for a decade and was named teacher of the year twice. When a parent complained that she was "promoting the homosexual agenda" by showing students a picture of her partner, Julie Vazquez, Bailey was abruptly placed on leave. 

"What happened to me is most gay teachers' worst nightmare," Bailey said Tuesday. "Why aren't straight teachers afraid to talk about their families? Why do they feel comfortable to have a picture of their family on their desk without questioning their safety?"

Because Texas has no law that explicitly protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation — only that based on sex, race, religion, and disability — Bailey sought relief through the federal court system. After two years of litigation, Judge Sam Lindsay of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled in her favor in October.

The Mansfield Equality Coalition has championed the issue of LGBTQ-specific protections in the school district since 2018. The vote to include LGBT protections in the school district has been delayed while it waited for a U.S. Supreme Court decision on a related case, according to Bailey's attorney Jason Smith. The court heard the case, which called into question whether the sex discrimination protections in Title XII of the Civil Rights Act also encompasses sexual orientation and gender identity, in October. Ultimately, multiple justices said it was a matter for Congress, not the courts.

Smith said he doubts the Supreme Court will decide that discrimination based on sexual orientation falls under sex discrimination and that the school district "could just pass the sexual orientation policy and make sure that everyone's protected." 

Bailey and her wife will donate $10,000 to "a non-profit addressing LGBTQ student issues," according to the statement. Smith will donate $10,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the country.

Now Bailey teaches at Lake Ridge, a high school in the district. She said she's promised her students she won't leave before they graduate. But she said she misses her former students and doesn't know what the future holds.

"If you are a school district who thinks you can bully and shame a gay teacher out of their job, I hope you remember my name," Bailey said, "and I hope you think twice."


November 10, 2019

24 Yr Old Turkmenistanian Doctor Who Disappeared After Coming Out Gay is Back



        



A 24-year-old doctor from Turkmenistan who admitted he was gay and went missing on October 24 after obeying a police summons has reappeared at his home and has recanted his comments.
Kasymberdy Garayev -- whose mother and father and siblings had also disappeared -- on November 6 denied ever having previously contacted RFE/RL about his plight during a video call on a messenger application.

He furthermore said that everything that was reported on him -- he spoke to RFE/RL last month about the problems he faced as a homosexual in his country, where being gay is a crime -- was false.
WATCH: The missing Turkmen man recorded a farewell video message for his family.
Garayev said a farewell video message that he sent to RFE/RL in which he apologized to his family for any problems he may have caused them for publicly announcing his homosexuality was recorded for a different purpose.

The recording, he said, was sent to RFE/RL by mistake.
After detailing his tormented life being gay in the conservative country on October 21, Garayev three days later was called into a police station, which is the last time he and his family were heard from. 
Gays face prison sentences of up to 2 years in Turkmenistan.

The prestigious clinic in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, where Garayev worked told RFE/RL that the trained cardiologist “no longer works here.”

Attempts to find Garayev’s family also failed after discovering that the family was no longer living in their home in Ashgabat and the neighbors didn’t know what had happened to them.

Then on November 6, a man claiming to be Garayev’s father, Maksat Garayev, called RFE/RL asking it to inform all the organizations that we're concerned about his son’s fate that he and his family members are doing fine.

Kasymberdy Garayev later told RFE/RL the same evening that he is at home and had never spoken to RFE/RL, adding that everything that was published about him earlier was not true.

The father also said that the reports about his son were wrong. He did not specify what exactly was inaccurate in the reports.

Earlier, on November 6, an Italian Senator Monica Cirinna issued a statement, calling on the Italian government to challenge Turkmenistan’s official delegation, led by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, which was expected to visit Rome, regarding the disappearance of Garayev.

Several LGBT rights groups have started a campaign to protect Garayev.

Human Rights Watch, on November 1, urged Ashgabat to give detailed information about the whereabouts of Garayev and members of his family.

October 19, 2019

Most States in The U.S. Do Not Have Laws Protecting LGBTQ







Rumors started circulating around the fire station in Byron, Georgia, within a year after the medical treatments began. The fire chief’s once-crewcut hair was growing longer, and other physical changes were becoming noticeable. Keeping quiet was no longer an option.  

The chief said that once members of the tiny Fire Department were told, word spread “faster than a nuclear explosion” through Byron — a city of about 4,500 in a farming region outside Macon known for growing Georgia’s famous peaches. The fire chief was undergoing a gender transition and would continue to run the department as Rachel Mosby. A City Hall staffer told Mosby many were stunned because “I was the manliest man anyone had met in their lives.”  

“They initially took it very well, much to my surprise,” Mosby said. “I heard a lot of comments like, ‘Chief, you don’t have anything to worry about. We’ve got your back.’”n

It didn’t last. As a man, Mosby served as Byron’s fire chief for a decade until the beginning of 2018. Then Mosby started coming to work as a woman, and the city fired her less than 18 months later. Her June 4 termination letter cited a “lack of performance.” Mosby insists the only thing that changed was her gender. 

“They didn’t want somebody like me in that position,” she said, “or any position with the city.”   It’s not illegal under Georgia state law to fire someone for being gay or transgender. Twenty-eight U.S. states have adopted no laws that prohibit workplace discrimination targeting LGBT employees. Only a small percentage of cities and counties offer protection at the local level. So Mosby, like thousands of other LGBT Americans, has sought recourse under the federal law that makes sex discrimination illegal at work. 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has treated LGBT-based job discrimination cases as sex discrimination since 2013. But that could soon end, depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in cases it heard Oct. 8 that deal with the firings of gay men in Georgia and New York state and a transgender woman in Michigan. 

The key question: Do firings and harassment based on a worker’s sexual orientation or gender identity qualify as sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act? 

A ruling that says the federal law doesn’t protect workers targeted because they’re gay or transgender could leave millions vulnerable in more than half of U.S. states, an Associated Press analysis found.  

Only 21 states have their own laws prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Wisconsin outlaws discrimination because of sexual orientation but doesn’t protect transgender workers. And fewer than 300 cities and counties have local ordinances protecting LGBT workers, according to an advocacy group. 

That patchwork of state and local laws leaves large gaps where LGBT workers have no job protection beyond federal claims under Title VII. About half of the nation’s estimated 8.1 million LGBT employees live in states where job discrimination laws don’t cover them, according to the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute. 

“If the Supreme Court sides against LGBT employees, it means they have to be really cautious and careful about living their lives openly and proudly,” said Jillian Weiss, a New York attorney who focuses on LGBT discrimination cases. “They may encounter a lot of discrimination, and there may not be anything they can do about it.” 

The AP found workers are particularly vulnerable in the South, home to an estimated 35% of LGBT adults. Out of 16 states the U.S. Census Bureau defines as the South, only Maryland and Delaware prohibit discrimination against gay and transgender workers. Protection at the local level is sparse, with most Southern states having five or fewer cities or counties that shield private-sector LGBT workers. 

South Carolina offers no protection at the state or local level. And Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee each passed laws blocking local governments from having their own anti-discrimination ordinances that cover LGBT workers. 

Those large gaps mean only about 18% of adults in the South are protected against LGBT-based job discrimination, compared with about 89% in the Northeast, according to Naomi Goldberg of the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBT-rights think tank that tracks anti-discrimination laws. 

The Supreme Court’s upcoming decision, not expected until next year, could make or break Lonnie Billard’s discrimination lawsuit in North Carolina against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and an affiliated high school. A federal judge put Billard’s case on hold until the high court rules. 

Billard, a substitute teacher and longtime employee at Charlotte Catholic High School, was fired after announcing on Facebook in 2014 that he was marrying his male partner. 

Attorneys for the diocese said Billard was let go for “advocacy in favor of same-sex marriage in violation of the Catholic Church’s fundamental beliefs.” They said the school could legally fire him in part because of its religious affiliation. 

Billard’s case illustrates a dilemma that advocates say more gay couples could face if the Supreme Court, which declared same-sex marriage legal in 2015, decides federal law doesn’t protect them from harassment at work for being openly married. 

“You get married on Saturday and fired on Monday, and there’s no protection,” said Luke Largess, one of Billard’s attorneys. 

Advocates say the EEOC’s involvement is making a difference. The commission reports it received more than 8,600 LGBT-based discrimination complaints in the six-year period through September 2018. More than 1,300 cases ended with the workers who filed claims receiving some benefit. 

Brandi Branson, a transgender woman who was fired by a Florida eye clinic in 2011, got a $150,000 settlement from her former employer after the EEOC sued on her behalf. 

“It meant a lot. It meant somebody heard me,” Branson said. “I felt validated in myself as a person and also in my claims that I was wronged.” 

Critics say the EEOC overreached by extending Title VII protections to LGBT workers. The federal law doesn’t mention sexual orientation or gender identity. While it prohibits job discrimination based on sex, Congress didn’t consider that to include LGBT discrimination when the law was passed in 1964, said attorney John Bursch of the Alliance Defending Freedom. 

Bursch represents a Michigan funeral home that fired transgender woman Aimee Stephens in 2013 in one of the cases before the Supreme Court. Bursch argues Congress would need to change the law for it to cover LGBT discrimination. 

“No matter what you feel about the substantive issue of LGBT employment protections, everyone should be upset that a government agency ... could punish someone based on a change in law they could not have anticipated based on its plain text and its interpretation for 50 years,” Bursch said. 

In Georgia, Mosby is still waiting to hear whether the EEOC will pursue her case against the city of Byron — and whether the Supreme Court’s ruling might upend it. 

After making her transition public last year, Mosby said, she was ordered to start wearing a uniform the first day she came to work in a skirt. Previously, Mosby often wore suits and ties. When Mosby fired a reserve firefighter who called the chief a slur to her face, the firefighter appealed and was reinstated by the city. 

Meanwhile, Byron’s City Council in January changed its personnel policy to eliminate appeals for any department heads the city fires. Still, Mosby said she was surprised when Derick Hayes, Byron’s city administrator, fired her months later. 

Hayes cited three reasons for Mosby’s firing in her termination letter: that she was responsible for a backlog of business licenses awaiting approval; that she attended only five classes at a recent fire chief’s conference, wasting the city’s money; and that she failed to maintain certification as an arson investigator. 

Hayes didn’t return a phone message seeking comment. Byron Mayor Lawrence Collins denied Mosby was fired because she’s transgender. 

“The quick answer on that is no. I think the records reflect that,” Collins said, declining to comment further. 

Mosby said being jobless left her in financial straits. The public humiliation of her firing further strained relationships with her family already stressed following her transition. 

“I’ve lost my family, I’ve lost my house,” Mosby said. “Now I’m living with friends that keep a roof over my head and food in my stomach, so I’m not having to live in my car. It’s been utterly devastating.” 
___



Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia. Kastanis reported from Los Angeles. AP

August 31, 2019

The Rejection of Gay Asylum Seekers Claims Shows The Anti Gay Attitudes in England



                                       Image result for homophobic england



An immigration judge in the United Kingdom has caused a storm amongst LGBT rights activists after he rejected an asylum seeker’s claims that he was gay. Whilst full details of the case have not been revealed, the asylum seeker, according to reporting from the Guardian newspaper, claimed he was fleeing his country due to fears for his own safety. The judge denied the application for asylum in the first-tier immigration tribunal in London because the man did not have a gay “demeanor.” The claimant’s barrister compared the ruling to “something from the 16th century,” with LGBT activists voicing their disapproval. But what does this case tell us of the treatment of LGBT asylum seekers, and is it indicative of the Brexit-torn country’s future immigration stance?
The stereotyping of gay men during the 1980s and 1990s, fuelled by homophobic government legislation and media coverage, resulted in a societal fear of gay men and the broader LGBT community.

Hadley Stewart 
Writer, broadcaster, and journalist
Gay men face the death penalty in 14 countries across the world. The European Union is comparatively accepting of LGBT people on the global stage, yet lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-Europeans continue to face other forms of prejudice and discrimination in their daily lives. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, the UK is ranked eighth in the EU in terms of LGBT rights. The country remains a popular place for LGBT people to settle from continental Europe and further afield. So it is perhaps unsurprising that such an outdated view of LGBT people being expressed in a court of law has caused a stir amongst activists and human rights defenders. 
The judge exemplified why he thought the claimant was lying about his sexuality. The claimant’s witness - also a gay man - wore lipstick to court. The judge commented on this, suggesting that claimant’s appearance did not mirror that of other gay men. Moreover, the judge said that the witness had an “effeminate way of looking around the room” and that he was able to demonstrate his sexuality by his membership of an LGBT organization.
It is baffling that a judge would make such comments, which are deep-rooted in stigma towards gay men. These comments have no place in a court of law, nor in our society, and suggesting that somebody should “prove” their sexuality is nonsensical. In fact, I would argue that it mirrors practices in countries where homosexuality is illegal. Only a few years have passed since the United Nations called on the government of Tunisia to ban doctors practicing forced anal examinations of men who were “suspected” of being gay; practices that were deemed by the intergovernmental organization as a human rights infringement. There is no medical evidence to support claims that such examinations enable authorities to determine somebody’s sexuality.
Whilst the judge’s comments do not equate to these kinds of barbaric practices in countries where it is illegal to be gay, they do set the UK down a slippery slope. The stereotyping of gay men during the 1980s and 1990s, fuelled by homophobic government legislation and media coverage, resulting in a societal fear of gay men and the broader LGBT community. The discourse surrounding the HIV crisis, and the insinuation from Margaret Thatcher that gay men threatened the values of her country, caused the isolation of this group within society. Poor mental health amongst LGBT people is often cited alongside discrimination and societal stigma, demonstrating the negative consequences such comments can have on those who hear them. These views belong in the past and have no place in today’s society.
What’s more, the judge’s comments also raise questions about the attitudes of authorities towards LGBT people. If a judge felt so at ease by making such offensive remarks, it begs the question of the extent to which homophobia can creep into immigration rulings and other Home Office matters. Arguably Prime Minster Johnson calling gay men “tank-topped bumboys” has the potential to give the green light to senior officials to make future comments of this nature, or use offensive views towards minorities to defend everything from court rulings to immigration policies.
The UK is currently going through a challenging time in its history as it attempts to divorce the EU. Whilst I am not suggesting that everybody who voted for Brexit is prejudiced, Brexit certainly caused a seismic shift of the political landscape, with offensive comments oozing through the fault lines. Racist and xenophobic comments seem to have found a rebirth amongst the general public, elected representatives and the media. Global politics, namely the throw-away comments made by President Donald Trump about immigrants, have further galvanized a once quiet minority within British society.
Such discriminatory views about immigration have also spilled across all aspects of society, perhaps in part demonstrated by the number of homophobic hate crimes doubling since 2014, with transphobic hate crimes trebling. This immigration case might be indicative of the need for reform, such as building bridges between courts and LGBT organizations, to ensure LGBT people are being treated fairly by the Home Office.
It is clear that the judge, in this case, lost all objectivity and prioritized his own archaic homophobic views when passing a judgment, which has the potential for devastating consequences for the claimant. Whilst the comments he made raises further questions about the influence of outmoded stigma creeping its way into future rulings, I would argue that they are symptomatic of broader societal unrest. At a time when the UK has never been more divided and lacking in empathy for minority groups, the country is in need of a unifying force to carry it through the next chapter of its history. I fear that the views expressed by the country’s current leadership are only validating such stigmatizing comments.
Hadley Stewart is a London-based writer, broadcaster and journalist.

August 16, 2019

Trump Wants New Rule to Fire Gays Over Religious Objections



                                    Image result for religion fires gays


A new rule proposed by President Trump’s administration would allow businesses that receive federal contracts to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals according to employers’ religious beliefs, critics say.

According to the Department of Labor, the role of the proposal, which was announced Wednesday, is to “clarify the scope and application of the religious exemption.”

It’s "intended to clarify the longstanding civil rights protections afforded to religious organizations that contract with the federal government,” one official said, according to Bloomberg Law. “The proposal would ensure the “religious protections are given the same federal recognition as all other civil rights.”

But critics say that the rule would essentially let federal contractors use religious objection excuses as a defense for discriminating against workers on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics, such as sex, race, color, ethnicity or national origin.

The 46-page proposal “would allow federal contractors to apply for broad exemptions to civil rights law after engaging in discriminatory behavior,” The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) said in a statement. That behavior includes “firing or refusing to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It could also lead to federal contractors refusing to hire women or unmarried workers who are pregnant or parents, or even discrimination on the basis of race,” the statement continued. With the new rule, businesses that claim a “religious purpose” can benefit from the protection. However, the proposal expands on the meaning of a religious corporation: “The contractor must be organized for a religious purpose, meaning that it was conceived with a self-identified religious purpose. This need not be the contractor’s only purpose.”

The proposal wants to make clear that “religious exemption covers not just churches but employers that are organized for a religious purpose, hold themselves out to the public as carrying out a religious purpose, and engage in exercise of religion consistent with, and in furtherance of, a religious purpose.”

The proposed rule frustrates human rights advocates, who see it as the latest move by Trump to undermine the rights of LGBTQ individuals in the name of religious freedom. “Once again, the Trump administration is shamefully working to license taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion. Nearly one-quarter of the employees in the U.S. work for an employer that has a contract with the federal government,” Ian Thompson, senior legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said in a statement. “We will work to stop this rule that seeks to undermine our civil rights protections and encourages discrimination in the workplace.”

Mara Keisling, NCTE’s founder executive director echoed that message. “Religious freedom must be a shield to protect the marginalized, not a sword to attack them. There are few values more sacred to the equality of all in this nation than the belief that nobody should be judged by an employer because of who they are or who they love, yet this administration continually seeks to undermine that value,” she said.

“Whether it’s our right to health care, our right to housing, or our right to equal employment, we are committed to fighting every action this administration takes against us," added Keisling.

June 15, 2019

ExDeputy NowPastor Got His Pants on Fire For Calling GayBiTrans People as 'Freaks Deserving of Execution'




  

KNOXVILLE, TN (WBIR) A veteran Tennessee sheriff’s office detective and Baptist pastor are under fire for calling gay, bisexual and transgender people “freaks” and “reprobates” who deserved to be executed by the government.

Grayson Fritts, a 20-year Knox County Sheriff’s Office veteran, delivered his remarks after having already quietly decided to accept a buyout from his police job.

Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen issued a statement, saying she found the speech ‘personally offensive and reprehensible.’

“As District Attorney, my constitutional obligation is to protect the integrity of the justice system. When any potential witness in a criminal proceeding expresses an opinion of hatred and/or bias towards a class of citizens, I am ethically bound to explore that witness’ credibility,” she said.

Allen said she will be reviewing all pending cases involving Fritts and scrutinize them for potential bias. 

Along with being an investigator, Fritts pastors the All Scripture Baptist Church, which identifies itself as an “independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, soul-winning church.”

In a June 2 sermon at the church, Fritts said gay people “were worthy of death” and should be tried and executed by the government. Policemen, he said, had a duty to carry out their roles in seeing that gay people are prosecuted.

Sheriff Tom Spangler issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.

It reads: “Detective Fritts turned in his request for The Knox County Voluntary Workforce Reduction Buy Out approximately two weeks ago. I accepted his request. Detective Fritts is no longer on active duty with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, he is currently on paid sick leave until the effective date of the workforce reduction which will be July 19, 2019.

“I want to be very clear that it is my responsibility to ensure equal protection to ALL citizens of Knox County, Tennessee under the law, my oath and the United States Constitution without discrimination or hesitation. Rest assured that I have and will continue to do so.”

NBC4i



March 22, 2019

Fewer People Think LGBT Face Discrimination But Is That True?



 Over the past decade, the gay rights movement has had a lot to celebrate. Within a single generation, a politically divided country appeared to reach a consensus in support of same-sex marriage and acceptance of gay and lesbian people. Today, two-thirds of Americans support allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, nearly the mirror opposite of where things stood in 1996, the first year Gallup polled on the question.
But the rapid rise in support and the corresponding changes in American culture have led to a growing disconnect between public perceptions and the actual experiences of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the U.S.
Perceptions of discrimination against gay and lesbian people have plummeted over the past few years, particularly among young people. Only 55 percent of Americans believe that gay and lesbian people face a lot of discrimination in the U.S., down from 68 percent in 2013. Among young adults, historically some of the strongest supporters of gay rights, perceptions of discrimination against gay and lesbian people dropped by 16 points. What’s more, a Pew Research Center study suggests that Americans surveyed by phone may be overstating the extent to which they believe gay and lesbian people face discrimination. A 2014 report found that Americans were 14 points less likely to say gays and lesbians experience a lot of discrimination when responding to an online survey than when a pollster called them.
The drop in perceptions of discrimination against gay and lesbian people has not coincided with a broader shift in the public’s thinking about discrimination in society. Over the same time period, Americans have not become notably less inclined to say Muslims, women, Jews or blacks are facing less discrimination. In fact, Americans are somewhat more likely to say black people are experiencing a lot of discrimination than they were in the past.1
Mounting evidence suggests that around half of Americans believe the fight for gay rights is increasingly unnecessary. A 2019 Gallup survey found that a majority (54 percent) of the public feel satisfied with the level of acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the country. In a Gallup survey conducted a couple years earlier, just under half (46 percent) of the public said new laws are not necessary to reduce discrimination against gay and lesbian people. This is largely consistent with a more recent PRRI survey, which found that nearly half (49 percent) of Americans — including 81 percent of Republicans — believe the country has made the changes needed to give gay and lesbian people equal rights.
Gay rights has never been the most important issue for the average voter. Even during the intense debate over same-sex marriage, few ranked it as a critical concern. And now, gay rights has largely fallen off the public radar. On a list of 16 issues, a Pew poll found that the treatment of LGBT people ranked dead last in the percentage of people who said it was important to their vote in the 2018 election.
This stands starkly at odds with the actual experiences of LGBT people. A 2017 Harvard study found that a majority of self-identified LGBT people reported facing slurs or offensive comments. Experiences of being threatened and subjected to sexual harassment were also widely reported in the study. The results of the Harvard study are remarkably similar to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey that found a nearly identical number (58 percent) of LGBT people who said they had been subjected to slurs or jokes based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
These findings suggest that the pervasiveness of discrimination experienced by LGBT people is, at best, largely unchanged over the past few years, and government data shows violence against LGBT people is increasing.
How has this happened? It’s difficult to point to any definite cause, but there are a few potential explanations. One is the high-profile accomplishments of the LGBT fight for equality. The movement’s milestones and accomplishments were meticulously documented and dramatized in real time. Media outlets have eagerly covered each historic step and shift in public opinion, which may have left an increasing number of Americans with the impression that the public has reached a comfortable consensus on the issue of gay rights.
Kasey Suffredini, president of strategy at Freedom for All Americans, says winning on same-sex marriage came with a cost. “[It] may have led some Americans to believe that LGBTQ Americans now have all the protections they need. Some people I meet out on the campaign trail are really surprised to learn how much discrimination LGBTQ Americans still face.”
Another possible explanation may be that despite the increasing visibility of the lives, experiences and perspectives of gay and lesbian people, Americans are receiving a picture of LGBT life that doesn’t always match reality. Gay, lesbian and transgender characters are featured widely in television shows, and the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity have become common themes in many of these programs. But although a number of gay and lesbian actors and entertainers have achieved national popularity, the experiences of LGBT people vary widely depending on where they live. As New York Times columnist Frank Bruni notes, “There is no such thing as LGBT life in America.”
Simply having a gay or lesbian friend may not change those misconceptions either. Seventy percent of Americans report having a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian, but this doesn’t necessarily mean Americans are getting an honest accounting of what life is like for gay and lesbian people. A 2017 survey of LGBT people found that nearly one-third avoided talking about LGBT issues in social situations to avoid facing possible discrimination.
Perhaps the sustained focus by activists and the media on same-sex marriage — both the legal fight and the shifting public support — overly simplified the more complex and nuanced public views Americans have about LGBT issues. For years, support for same-sex marriage served as a proxy for the views about how gay and lesbian people should be treated in society. But it is unclear how committed Americans will remain to the entire set of issues that fall under the umbrella of LGBT equality. Polling on transgender issues shows a far more divided public, for example.
Lastly, public perceptions about LGBT rights in the U.S. may be affected by the decreasing prominence of critical opinions in the media. Opposition to gay rights remains entrenched in two important institutions — the Republican Party and many churches — but these perspectives are increasingly absent from popular culture.
Only one of the country’s two major political parties — the Democratic Party — currently affirms that gay and lesbian people have a right to marry. The Republican Party remains steadfast in its opposition to same-sex marriage. The 2016 Republican platform offered an emphatic denunciation of the recently-enshrined right, which had been ushered in at the federal level by a court ruling the year before. “We … condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a ‘judicial Putsch’ — full of ‘silly extravagances.’” Given how important conservative religious voters are in Republican politics, this state affairs is not likely to change in the near term.
Meanwhile, many of country’s largest religious denominations still prohibit same-sex marriage. The issue of homosexuality still appears in Sunday sermons around the country. Forty-two percent of Americans who regularly attend religious services report that their clergy discusses the issue. And the messages are usually critical, according to those who have heard them. Today, nearly one in three Americans believe that gay and lesbian relations are morally wrong.
The social media sphere was set atwitter after it was reported thatKaren Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, would teach at a Christian schoolthat bans gay and lesbian students and teachers. But this practice is not uncommon at many Christian secondary schools, where openly gay and lesbian teachers face disciplinary actions and can be fired.
The truth is that a large number of Americans express a deeply-felt discomfort with gay and lesbian people, but it’s becoming less likely that their perspectives will show up on “House Hunters,” in your Facebook feed or at your office happy hour. They do show up in state party platforms, in laws governing child welfare agencies and even in trade deals. They are held by a substantial number of Americans.
The challenge for the gay rights movement is convincing Americans that while the legalization of same-sex marriage was a major accomplishment, it’s not the only metric that matters.
Daniel Cox a research fellow for polling and public opinion at the American Enterprise Institute.

March 13, 2019

Muslims Pull Students From School Open To LGBT~ What Happens When Others Do The Same to Them??


"Don't cry discrimination when others do to you what you are doing to others. Is fairness part of religion? I know not but it is in the minds of decent people not animal behaving lot"


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Muslim students joined their parents in chanting against a gay assistant head teacher who had started a program to inform children about same-sex relationships.
Some parents at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, U.K., have objected to the LGBT program called "No Outsiders" that had been set up by Andrew Moffat, who won an an Order of the British Empire in 2017 for his efforts to promote equality and diversity in education.
In a video, an unnamed speaker could be seen issuing a rallying cry outside the school to children and parents holding up placards.
He said that the inclusiveness program was "not just about telling people there are other families and other types of lifestyles that exist, it is actually aggressively promoting them. Giving a positive spin and telling people that it is OK for you to be Muslim and for you to be gay," The Sun reported.

The protester then chants: “Mr Moffat. Shame, shame, shame,” and schoolchildren and parents start to join in, before lambasting the assistant head teacher for trying “to reinterpret our religious scripture.
"Our beliefs are not here to be changed. This is an aggressive indoctrination that we are against. If it was not aggressive promotion then you would not have had all these parents come out on the street.
"As I have said to you this program is very toxic. Not only are we going to have it abolished at this school but in every school in Birmingham and every school in the country." 
West Midlands Police are investigating to see if the speech broke any laws. The force said no formal complaints had been made, although it was investigating homophobic graffiti on the school premises.
Earlier in March, Muslim parents withdrew about 600 children from the school over the lessons, Birmingham Live reported.
Mariam Ahmed, whose 4-year-old daughter is among the pupils at the school, launched a petition that has signed by around 300 parents, to stop children in the school from receiving the lessons.
“I started a petition, because it’s just not the right age. We’re getting children confused. I’m not saying we don’t need to tell our children about it, but we want to tell them when we feel it’s appropriate,” she told the I news website. 
Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for social inclusion, John Cotton, said the local authority was “appalled to see attempts to divide the people of our city by using insulting and incendiary language targeting the LGBT community," the BBC reported
Ezra Stripe of charity Hidayah, which provides support for LGBT members of the Muslim community, told The Sun that the protests came from a sense of "misplaced Muslim pride."

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