Showing posts with label Gay Children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Children. Show all posts

February 14, 2020

"My Teacher Told Me I had a Disease" LGBT School Children in Vietnam


(Bangkok) – Pervasive myths about sexual orientation and gender identity in Vietnam contribute to violence and discrimination which is felt strongly among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 65-page report, “‘My Teacher Said I Had a Disease’: Barriers to the Right to Education for LGBT Youth in Vietnam,” documents how LGBT youth in Vietnam face stigma and discrimination at home and at school over myths such as the false belief that same-sex attraction is a diagnosable, treatable, and curable mental health condition. Many experience verbal harassment and bullying, which in some cases leads to physical violence. Teachers are often untrained and ill-equipped to handle cases of anti-LGBT discrimination, and their lessons frequently uphold the widespread myth in Vietnam that same-sex attraction is a disease, Human Rights Watch found. The government of Vietnam should fulfill its pledges to protect the rights of LGBT people.
“The government of Vietnam has indicated support for the rights of LGBT people in recent years, but the tangible policy change has lagged,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch. “LGBT youth are especially vulnerable due to inadequate legal protection and widespread misinformation about sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The report is based on in-depth interviews with 52 LGBT youth as well as teachers and other school staff in Vietnam. It analyzes existing government policy and planning documents and pledges the Vietnamese government has made to improve the situation of LGBT people.
Inaccurate information about sexual orientation and gender identity is pervasive in Vietnam and has a particularly harsh impact on youth. While Vietnam has several laws that prohibit discrimination and uphold the right to education for all children, the current national curriculum and sex education policy fall short of international standards and do not include mandatory discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity. While some teachers and schools take it upon themselves to include such lessons, the lack of national-level inclusion leaves the majority of students in Vietnam without the basic facts about sexual orientation and gender identity, Human Rights Watch found.
Thuong, 23

When Thuong was a teenager, she wondered why she felt attracted to other girls. She searched for information online, asking “why does a girl like another girl?” and found a website that said it was possible for boys to love boys and girls to love girls. She was relieved. Then in college, she told another girl for the first time that she liked her. The girl told their classmates what Thuong had said, and they started telling Thuong she was “sick.”
© 2020 Sally Deng for Human Rights Watch
“I’ve never been taught about LGBT,” Tuyen, a 20-year-old bisexual woman, told Human Rights Watch. “There are very few people who think that this is normal.” A school counselor said “There’s a lot of pressure on kids to be straight. It’s constantly referenced that being attracted to someone of the same sex is something that can and should be changed and fixed.”
In a promising step in 2019, the education ministry, with the assistance of United Nations agencies, produced guidelines for an LGBT-inclusive comprehensive sexuality education curriculum, but such a curriculum it has not yet been created.
Human Rights Watch found that verbal harassment of LGBT students is common in Vietnamese schools. Students in various types of schools – rural and urban, public and private – said that students and teachers commonly use derogatory words to refer to LGBT people, sometimes targeted directly at them and coupled with threats of violence.
Other studies, including research by UN agencies and Vietnamese groups, have included similar evidence. In a 2014 report, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) noted: “[E]ducation institutions are not safe for LGBT students due to the lack of anti-bullying and non-discrimination policies. Furthermore, sex and sexual orientation and gender identity education is still limited in Viet Nam and are considered sensitive topics that teachers usually avoid.”
While it appears to be less common, some LGBT youth report physical violence as well. “[The bullying] was mostly verbal but there was one time when I was beaten up by five or six guys in eighth grade just because they didn’t like how I looked,” one person interviewed said.
In cases of both verbal and physical abuse, the school staff responds inconsistently. The majority of the LGBT youth interviewed who had experienced bullying at school said they did not feel comfortable reporting the incidents. This was sometimes because of overt, prejudiced behavior by the staff. In other cases, students assumed that it was unsafe to turn to the adults around them for help.
Even in cases in which students did not face verbal or physical abuse, many reported that their families, peers, and teachers implicitly and explicitly alienate and exclude them. This occurs in classrooms, where teachers refer to anything other than procreative heterosexual relationships as “unnatural,” as well as at home, where parents threaten their children with violence, expulsion, or medical treatment if they are gay or lesbian.
In 2016, while serving on the UN Human Rights Council, Vietnam voted in favor of a resolution on protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, saying “The reason for Vietnam’s yes vote lay in changes both in domestic as well as international policy with respect to LGBT rights.” Other governments in Asia have recently changed their policies to include and protect LGBT youth, including JapanCambodia, and the Philippines.
“The government’s stated alignment with a global shift toward respecting the rights of LGBT people signals some political will to make much-needed law and policy changes,” Reid said. “Protecting young people from violence and discrimination and ensuring their education is based in fact instead of prejudice is an important first step.”

March 13, 2019

11 Yr Old Performs in Drag At Bars~ Blogger Wanted it Stopped But Mom Cleared


By Doug Mainwaring
NEW YORK,(LifeSiteNews) — 
Drag kid “Desmond Is Amazing’s” mom has taken to social media to vindicate herself after state and local agencies determined that she has not committed child abuse by allowing her young son to perform in gay bars.
A barrage of allegations of abuse and exploitation were triggered when a video of Desmond performing in drag at the “3 Dollar Bill,” a gay club in Brooklyn, New York, was released last December. The internet and social media quickly erupted with calls for child welfare authorities to intervene.
Child Protective Services (CPS) investigated Desmond’s family, as did the New York City Administration for Child Services (ACS), the New York Police Department (NYPD), the Child Advocacy Center, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Department of Labor, and the District Attorney’s Office. 
“Because of the number of reports they received, our case went all the way to the Governor's office,” said Wendy Napoles, Desmond’s mom. “We had announced visits & unannounced visits to our home nearly daily & at all hours & Desmond’s school. Our family was probed more intensely than any other case before.”
This past weekend, Napoles posted on Instagram a series of ten photos of the exonerating letters she has received from the concerned agencies, showing that the assertions of child abuse were “unfounded.” 
“We have been accused of child abuse, exploitation & maltreatment to the point that we have been backed into a corner trying to defend ourselves,” she said in the Instagram posting. “We have been under a microscope since early December. I never thought I would have to breach my own privacy & confidentiality to provide proof that has been demanded of us out of malice.”   
Within the law versus the best interest of children
While Desmond’s mom dismisses the public’s concern as harassment because no crime has been committed, some suggest that what is legal might not necessarily be in her son’s best interest. 
Earlier this year, blogger Elizabeth Johnston, better known as The Activist Mommy, urged updating laws to protect children like Desmond.  
Johnston asserted that laws protecting children from sexual exploitation are not being applied to the LGBT community, saying, “It's 2019 when apparently it’s not only okay to be gay but also okay for grown gay men to pay little boys for dances in bars.” 
“Parents can get away with it because they are members of the all-protected LGBT community,” she said. “The double standard needs to end. And children in the LGBT community need to be protected as much as those outside.”
Desmond’s mom defends, says “times are changing” 
“Desmond is never allowed into the bar area of any club, nor the main floor. He stays backstage with me, in the dressing room, or on stage only. It must be noted, however, that it is not against the law in New York City for a minor to be in an establishment that serves alcohol as long as they are accompanied by an adult. 
“Desmond was the sole performer for the performance at the center of this controversy and he performed three numbers. The venue took measures to make sure it would be age appropriate and audience members that attended were respectful and in good conduct.
“I know a lot of drag fans/drag queens do not want to see kids in what they consider an adult form of entertainment or venue, but drag is changing and becoming more widespread and popular with people of all ages, genders, identities, races, abilities, and disabilities.m“My son is a professional drag performer, not a stripper,” said Napoles in an early January Facebook posting. “No one forces him to perform, performing is what he loves to do and has always loved to do.” 
“He was a ballet dancer for four years and is currently earning an A+ grade in drama at his school,” she continued. “He is extremely talented in his celebrity and character impersonations.”
“His costumes are less revealing than a dancer’s or cheerleader’s uniform and are always age appropriate. While he dances, he does not move in a sexual manner,” she asserted.  “He often collects tips, as drag queens sometimes do, which we allow him to keep and he uses to buy clothing and the toys he wants.” 
“His engagements are contracted and booked by his management agency,” she added. “All of his performances are conducted in accordance with the Dept of Labor's regulations for child performers.”
Even some drag queens, gays, and liberals object to Desmond’s adult club performances
At the same time, Napoles admitted via Facebook that some in the “drag community” had negative reactions to Desmond’s gay club performance.  
“I left after seeing a child dance on stage for money at nighttime. This was on Saturday night and I have been feeling disturbed ever since,” said a patron on Yelpshortly after Desmond’s drag dance act at the 3 Dollar Bill in December.
Another said the club “exploits children and sexualizes them in the wee hours of the morning” and then warned that it “has provided just the ammunition to homophobic everywhere and endangered the community.”
“11-year-olds are too young to be performing at bars. This should not be legal,” declared “God is not Real” on Twitter, adding, “I'm a liberal democrat.”
Note from the publisher(Adam): I have seen plenty of boys her age performing in bars as cowboy and dancers in Texas, just not in drag and I think that is what some hypocrites can't swallow. Putin will not agree with this! if we were in Russia but people forget that even though the president is close to Putin, still this is the USA

February 12, 2019

11 Yr Old Sixth Grader Savannah Tirre, Targeted and Assaulted Left With Scary Anti Gay Threats

Algernon D'Ammassa, Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES - Social media threats targeting a sixth-grader at Zia Middle School over the weekend led to a brief "shelter in place" order at the school Monday morning.
Despite the threats, and a violent encounter on school grounds Friday, 11-year-old Savannah Tirre returned to school Monday, arriving with a group of friends and family members. 
The student's mother, Chelsea Tirre, told the Sun-news her daughter was being escorted between classes Monday by the school resource officer, a Mesilla town marshal regularly assigned to the school.  
Tirre said her daughter has been the target of bullying since October, when her daughter came out as gay. She said the bullying began "right off the bat" when Savannah started attending Picacho Middle School, ultimately moving the family to transfer her to Zia where the bullying continued.  
On Friday, Savannah was involved in a fight with an unidentified student at school. A mobile phone video published on Facebook shows Tirre on the ground being punched at least six times by a student standing over her before Tirre attempts to push her off with her foot, as recess monitors are heard blowing whistles.
Tirre said her daughter reported the other student punched her from behind. When she saw the video of the encounter later, Tirre said, "My heart just dropped," and she filed a police report.
The video does not show how the encounter began or whether it was instigated over the student's sexual orientation. However, social media comments included threats of further violence toward the student and referred to her being gay.
One example, shared as a screenshot on Facebook by the student's aunt, included a threat with the poster's name obscured that stated, "This little girl is about to get jumped Monday again so get your phones out," describing Tirre as "a little lesbian."
An additional social media threat by an unnamed male, currently under investigation by police, led to security measures Monday which the Las Cruces Public Schools said it took "out of an abundance of caution."
The shelter-in-place order was lifted sometime before 9 a.m., according to the district.
"Savannah is doing surprisingly well," Tirre said of her daughter Monday morning. "She's had a lot of people reach out to her, lots of support. Her adrenaline is still going really strong so it really hasn't hit yet ... Savannah has gone through a lot." 
Mom says attack was preventable
Tirre said that her daughter came out to her as gay the summer after graduating from fifth grade at Mesilla Elementary School.
Tirre recalled hugging her daughter, who was in tears. "We said, 'We don't care, we just want you happy.' It's never been an issue in this family."
Soon after enrolling at Picacho Middle School, however, Tirre said intense bullying began, and she ultimately decided to move Savannah and her brother to Zia because she was not satisfied with the school administration's response. 
Picacho Middle School Principal Fred Montalvo referred the Sun-News to the school district's central office.
LCPS spokesman Damien Willis responded, "While we are unable to comment on matters pertaining to specific students, we take all reports of bullying very seriously and address them in accordance with the district’s policies and regulations. The safety and well-being of all students is our top concern.”
The bullying was so intense, Tirre said, that in October Savannah began experiencing seizures that required treatment in the pediatric intensive care unit at Memorial Medical Center. 
"The bullying has never stopped, although she has more friends at Zia who have protected her from this sort of thing," Tirre said. "It's one group of girls that's doing this, along with two boys." 
Tirre praised Zia Middle School Principal Joel Aguilar for being responsive to the bullying and for his communication with Savannah's family. She said that following Savannah's hospital stay, all of her teachers participated in an action plan to monitor the bullying as well Savannah's physical and emotional health.
"She went to a dark place," Tirre said, "and has worked really, really hard to love herself, respect herself, and reach out to me when she needs me." Savannah has also restricted her time with certain peers along with mobile phone use, "so she could let herself be 11 and not grow up so quickly."
While expressing confidence in Zia's staff, Tirre believes Friday's attack could have been prevented.
"Savannah found out she would be jumped (Friday) morning," Tirre said. "I'm very disappointed the (recess) monitors were not informed of this situation." 
She said meetings were scheduled later Monday to decide the next steps for Savannah, but that she had been told her daughter will not face suspension for the fight, the school having told her "she did not try to do anything but cover herself and defend herself." 
Disciplinary measures for the other student had not been determined, but Tirre said she hoped for a constructive intervention. 
"Middle school, for girls, is tough, I get that, but I think this little girl needs to be set on the right path," Tirre said. "I think she needs to be in some sort of program that can help redirect her. I don't think she should be locked and put away. I hope her parents guide her in the right direction." 
Otherwise, Tirre said, "My focus is on my daughter only ... My daughter is being threatened for her life because she's gay." 
Algernon D'Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, or @AlgernonActor on Twitter.

September 17, 2018

New Findings from SDSU on Gay and Transgender Identities Finds They Begin As Early as 9 and 10

By La Monica Everett-Haynes

As early as ages 9 and 10, about one percent of children self-identify as potentially gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a national study of the sexual orientation and gender identity development of thousands of youth across the nation. 

With the majority of previous studies indicating that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) self-identification generally occurs during the mid-adolescent years, the report by San Diego State University  researchers Jerel P. Calzo and Aaron J. Blashill is providing new insights into early identity development.

“This is such an important stage, biologically and socially,” said Calzo, an associate professor in SDSU’s School of Public Health and lead author of the study. “At 9 and 10, youth—whether through their peers, media or parents—are beginning to be exposed to more information about relationships and interacting in the world. They may not see any of this as sexual, but they are beginning to experience strong feelings.”

The team’s findings were derived from datasets of computer-assisted interviews with more than 4,500 9- and 10-year-old children for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. Protocols for the overall ABCD study were approved by the institutional review board at the University of California, San Diego, one of 21 institutions recruiting families for the study, and home for its data collection hub. All interviews were conducted with the consent of the parents. 

The findings were published in the current issue of JAMA Pediatrics.

Calzo and Blashill utilized 2016-17 data collected from the ABCD Study dataset. The study asked children, “Are you gay or bisexual?” In response, 0.2 percent said “yes” and 0.7 percent said “maybe.” About 75 percent said "no," and 23.7 percent said they didn’t understand the question.

To the question, “Are you transgender?” 0.1 percent said “yes” and 0.4 percent said “maybe.” Some 38 percent said they didn’t understand the question; the rest responded “no.”

“One percent is sizable, given that they are so young,” said Blashill, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. 

“For so long, social scientists have assumed that there is no point in asking kids at this age about their sexual orientation, believing they do not have the cognitive ability to understand,” he said. “This is the first study to actually ask children about their sexual orientation this young. It is important to have a baseline to understand how sexuality develops and how it may change over time.” 

Blashill and Calzo also investigated identity-related stress and how parents perceived their children’s sexual and gender identities. 

More than 13 percent of parents, when asked about the sexual identity of their children, reported their child might be gay and 1.2 percent reported that their child might be transgender, the team found. 

Another finding was that the 9- and 10-year-olds in the study who identified as gay, bisexual or transgender overwhelmingly reported no problems at home or school related to their minority sexual orientation or gender identity, while 7 percent of parents reported gender identity-based problems. 

As sexual and gender minorities experience higher rates of physical and mental health issues than do their heterosexual counterparts, the research may provide crucial insights into resiliency development within the LGBT community. It could also help lead to improved programs and policies to better serve the community, Calzo said.

“If we can understand identity development earlier and can track development using large datasets, we can begin improving research and prevention around risk and protective factors,” Calzo said, adding that he and Blashill purposefully set out to study sexual identity issues among youth at earlier ages than previous research. 

Another key finding is that researchers must identify better ways to explore identity issues among younger populations, as 23.7 percent of those surveyed indicated they did not understand questions about sexual orientation. This will be crucial as researchers seek to explore other issues, such as same-gender attraction and gender expression, in young children. 

“ABCD does plan to include more measures, and other researchers are studying sexual orientation and gender expression,” said Calzo. “We know from other studies that these identities can change over time. This research helps us to understand sexual and gender identity younger, so that we can have a much better understanding of these identities over time.”

The project is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


July 12, 2018

LGBTI Calls for Hong Kong to Reverse Its Decision to Hide 10 (LGBT-Theme) Children's Books

An international human rights group has called on Hong Kong’s government to immediately reverse its decision to hide 10 children’s books with LGBT themes from public view in libraries, warning the move sent a discriminatory message. 

In a letter to the head of the Home Affairs Bureau and its Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch criticised the move to place the books in the “closed stacks” sections of local libraries. It said the arrangement limited citizens’ access to information about homosexuality and discriminated against LGBT youth based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Discriminatory placement of LGBT content in libraries not only sends a stigmatizing message that LGBT content is inherently inappropriate, but deprives people of their right to access information that could be important to their development, health, and safety,” wrote the group’s LGBT rights advocacy director Boris Dittrich.
Last month, Hong Kong public libraries removed children’s book And Tango Makes Three and nine other titles with LGBT themes to the closed stacks of the children’s section, meaning readers would need to file a request to borrow them.
They did so after an anti-LGBT group, the Family School Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance Concern Group, complained to the LCSD in April about the books’ easy visibility. A gay-rights activist has applied for a judicial review of the decision.

Singapore’s public libraries similarly covered up LGBT-themed books – also including And Tango Makes Three – in 2014, but that was reversed following public outcry. However, the titles intended for children were still kept in the adult section.
Dittrich warned Hong Kong’s move could violate its international obligation to protect equality.
It would also contradict the spirit of Unesco’s public library manifesto, which states it should provide services “on the basis of equality of access for all”, he said.
The LCSD previously said it adhered to the manifesto, but would not use library materials to promote a specific belief or view.
Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu, who sat on the government-appointed Public Library Advisory Committee, said it was alarming for a public library to limit certain books, and that doing so was against the norms of an open society.
He added that public libraries were about to begin buying a new batch of books after the summer and that he hoped the same policy would not be evident in the procurement.

July 6, 2018

Life As A Gay Teenager and Pushed Into Gay Conversion Therapy by His Baptist Parents

Detailing his time in Love in Action, a “gay conversion therapy organization”, for Boy Erased: A Memoir was no easy task for Garrad Conley. Released in 2016, the book begins with a disclaimer that “trauma has made dark what was once painfully clear”, before describing his struggle with his sexuality in a Baptist household in Arkansas, being raped during college – and after he was outed by the perpetrator, the manner in which the intensive intervention tried to turn him straight.
“I hadn’t yet visited Dr. Julie to check my testosterone levels for deficiencies,” he writes at the start of his involvement with Love in Action (LIA). “But I already knew after my first session that I was diseased, possibly incurable.”
Two years on, it pains him to even recall writing the book.
I went into college cranky and mad because I was in that dark world again. To keep myself sane I had to stick to a strict schedule of writing, teaching and running 
“To have to reconstruct all of that . . .” he trails away as we meet in London. “I was teaching in an American college in Bulgaria at the time, and doing writing in the morning then going into work was the hardest thing in the world. I went into college cranky and mad because I was in that dark world again. And my boyfriend at the time had to put up with so much too; to keep myself sane I had to stick to a strict schedule of writing, teaching and running. It was a tough time.”
So when the book was heralded for shining a light on being a gay teenager in America’s bible belt, and director Joel Edgerton (also famed for acting in Red Sparrow and The Great Gatsby) brought it to Focus Films, not even the promise of an all-star cast like Russell CroweNicole Kidman and breakthrough actor Lucas Hedges (Lady BirdManchester by the Sea) could tempt Conley to return to that intense state. 

Nicole Kidman stars as Nancy and Russell Crowe stars as Marshall in Joel Edgerton’s ‘Boy Erased’, a Focus Features release.
Nicole Kidman stars as Nancy and Russell Crowe stars as Marshall in Joel Edgerton’s ‘Boy Erased’, a Focus Features release. 

“I was asked to write the script but I turned it down because I didn’t need to go there again,” he says, shaking the idea away. “I also felt that dramatizing my story in another medium might feel odd, especially as it would be a more fictional account. But I gave feedback on every draft of the script, and I went to visit the set a number of times. My mom, my husband and I were all extras in it. I saw the finished film last week, and it was beautiful.
“People might have a problem with it being told by a straight director, but Joel’s the one who came knocking at my door. He’s the one who completely took the time to understand the story, and it’s in really good hands.”

Happy and confident

We meet over a drink in an upscale bar, and Conley, now 33, looks happy, vivacious and confident enough to turn heads regardless of one’s persuasion. Which is proof enough that his Love in Action “therapy” didn’t work, even without the mention of his husband in New York, or the historical fiction book he’s soon to release (only approved, fundamentalist Christian literature was allowed at LIA). 
His ending is a mostly happy one, though he’s aware that his father, a missionary Baptist minister who prompted Conley to attend LIA, is left in a difficult position. 
“After the book came out, I got some emails that were negative but my dad got the worst of it,” he says, with a soft southern accent. “His work involves going to a lot of churches to energize the crowd, but he’s been rejected from several churches because of me. A good friend of the family stood up in a meeting at one of the churches he used to attend and wanted him out because I was saying all this stuff. 

Garrad Conley and his father at graduation dinner in 2003.
Garrad Conley and his father at graduation dinner in 2003. 

“They’ve faced a lot of scrutinies,” he says. “Randomly, Russell Crowe decided to visit my dad’s church for research for the film. There was no warning, he just took his private jet and his entourage, and went to the church and then talked to my dad for a few hours.
“After that the local media was all over my dad, asking him if they supported his son. That puts him in an awkward position because yes, he supports my career but he still disagrees with me. That’s not a good place for him to be. Especially because he takes care of my mom. She has health issues and the only pay cheque they have is from the church, so I don’t want to jeopardize that.”
It’s a testament to both father and son that they maintain a relationship despite their divergent beliefs, not least as Conley has stepped up to the role of spokesperson against conversion therapy.
I almost killed myself, and a lot of people have killed themselves, and I’m going to speak out in hope that no one else does 
“Some of my family don’t talk to me anymore because they think I shouldn’t share these secrets. It’s a southern thing. Like a lot of rape victims get blamed there, because they’re the ones speaking out,” he says. “They wonder why I’m telling my story and I can’t give my dad an easy life. But it’s because I almost killed myself, and a lot of people have killed themselves, and I’m going to speak out in hope that no one else does.” 
Built on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, conversion therapy treats homosexuality like a disorder, and aims to “cure” patients in-house or, in Conley’s case, while staying in approved hotels under lockdown (“every part of the city was forbidden except for places with the word ‘Christ’ in it, really”.)  
LIA began operating in Memphis in 1994, 20 years before Conley passed through its doors. Nowadays, it operates under the guise of Restoration Path, though the therapy was discredited even before its former director, John Smid, entered a same-sex marriage.

Garrad Conley and his father at graduation dinner in 2003.
Garrad Conley and his father at graduation dinner in 2003. 

Conversion therapy is now partially banned in Canada, Australia and 10 states of America, and fully banned in Malta, Argentina, and Brazil. In Ireland, a prohibition bill passed the second reading in the Seanad in May, with cross-party support. 
“Nice, liberal people are incredulous that it’s happening in 2018, but it’s everywhere.” Has he found his own terms with that too?
The Bible is a strong inspirational text; it’s where I got most of my morality from. It’s a good story 
“When the ‘thought police’ told me that God didn’t love me because of who I was, that was really painful and now I can’t feel comfortable in a church. 
“I still pray. The Bible is a strong inspirational text; it’s where I got most of my morality from. It’s a good story.”
It’s a good story. An innocuous comment, but one which splits him from missionary Baptists, who take a literal interpretation of the Bible – including Leviticus, which says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind”. But Conley believes that Baptists can change their views towards the queer community. 
“The Bible also says that you can’t eat shrimp, and slavery is in the Bible too. The Baptists used verses to justify slavery and the Jim Crow laws. They’ve since renounced slavery, so why are they incapable of changing this?”
“The really sad part is that LGBTQ issues are ripping the church apart,” he says. “They’re not dealing with it; they’ve farmed it out to places like LIA and trust organizations like Focus on the Family, which was funded by among others Mike Pence, our vice-president, who also supported conversion therapy. 
“But their congregation deal with LGBTQ issues away from church every day because more people are open about it. Now other denominations like the Episcopal Church and the Unitarians are swooping in and accepting people as they are, so people are flocking to them.”
Even Pope Francis seems to have softened his stance towards the LGBT community.
“And you know when the dinosaurs are saying it, you’re doing pretty well,” grins Conley. 
The film, he hopes, will continue adding pressure for reform when it’s released in September. 
“Regardless of how it does, it’s a huge platform to talk about the issues I’ve been trying to highlight,” he says. “It’s a cliché to say it, but even if it helps one person, it will all be worth it.” 
  • Boy Erased: A Memoir is out now. The film adaptation is released on September 28th

July 2, 2018

Mother of 10 Yr Old Who Came Out as Gay Charged with Murder of Her Kid

This is a follow up on this story:


The mother of a 10-year-old Lancaster, California, boy who came out as gay weeks before his death has been arrested and charged with his murder.
Heather Maxine Barron, 28, was charged with one count of murder and one count of torture for the death of her son, Anthony Avalos, by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Friday, according to a press release by the office.
She also faces one count of child abuse. Barron’s bail was set to $2 million, online jail records show.
Her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva, 32, was arrested and charged with Anthony’s murder and torture on Wednesday.
He faces one additional count of assault on a child causing death. His bail was also set to $2 million.
Barron has not yet entered a plea. Her arrangement was postponed to Monday, while Leiva, who is being treated for a laceration in his upper chest, will be arraigned after he is medically cleared, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Anthony died on June 21 after being found unresponsive a day earlier at his family’s apartment.

View photos

Barron initially told police he was injured in a fall, authorities say.
An autopsy is not yet complete that would reveal the exact cause and manner of Anthony’s death, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Wednesday at a news conference announcing Leiva’s arrest.
Officials with the county’s Department of Children and Family Services, which investigated 13 prior allegations of child abuse at the boy’s residence between February 2013 and April 2016, initially raised homophobia as a thread they wanted to investigate in Anthony’s death, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Anthony recently “said he liked boys,” according to DCFS Deputy Director Brandon Nichols, and Anthony’s aunt said it would have been a brave move for him to come out as gay in his home, the newspaper reported.

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But when asked Wednesday if homophobia may have been a motivation in the boy’s death, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Bergner told reporters, “That has not come up in our investigation as motivation at this time, no.”
Sheriff McDonnell added: “We wouldn’t discuss motive at this point [in the investigation]. Too early.”

View photos

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