Showing posts with label Gays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gays. Show all posts

October 23, 2018

Two Men Arrested for Creating a Facebook Page for Gays in Indonesia







JAKARTA, INDONESIA: 
Indonesia has arrested two people in Java island for running a Facebook page for gays, accusing them of publishing pornography, the media reported today.
In 2015, the couple had set up a Facebook page "Gay Bandung Indonesia", with more than 4,000 members.
West Java police spokesperson Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko told Efe news that the two were arrested on Thursday and those investigations by the public prosecutor's office were underway.
Once they are formally charged under the Law on Electronic Information and Transactions (EIT), the two could face a maximum of six years in prison and a fine of up to one billion rupiahs ($66,000) if convicted.
According to Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch Indonesia, this was the first time that the EIT law was being used against the LGBT community.
It was earlier used to crack down on pornography, he added.
Aceh, in Sumatra island, is the only province in Indonesia where homosexuality is illegal.
The arrests are being seen as yet another assault on the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community in the country.

In February, the country's Information Ministry had blocked more than 200 mobile applications and websites with content related to homosexuality.

Indo-Asian News Service 

May 25, 2018

On New Gallup Poll Self Identified LGBT Has Risen 4.5%




                 Not More Gay Babies Born Gay But More LGBT Are Identifying as Such



  • The rise in LGBT identification mostly among millennials
  • LGBT identification is lower among older generations
  • 5.1% of women identify as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of men
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The percentage of American adults identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) increased to 4.5% in 2017, up from 4.1% in 2016 and 3.5% in 2012 when Gallup began tracking the measure. The latest estimate is based on over 340,000 interviews conducted as part of Gallup's daily tracking in 2017. Gallup's LGBT estimates are based on those respondents who say "yes" when asked, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?" Extrapolation to the latest census estimate of adults 18 and older in the U.S. suggests that more than 11 million adults identify as LGBT in the country today.


U.S. Adults Identifying as LGBT, 2012-2017
Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?

201220132014201520162017
%%%%%%
% LGBT3.53.63.73.94.14.5
GALLUP DAILY TRACKING






The expansion in the number of Americans who identify as LGBT is driven primarily by the cohort of millennials, defined as those born between 1980 and 1999. The percentage of millennials who identify as LGBT expanded from 7.3% to 8.1% from 2016 to 2017, and is up from 5.8% in 2012. By contrast, the LGBT percentage in Generation X (those born from 1965 to 1979) was up only .2% from 2016 to 2017. There was no change last year in LGBT percentage among baby boomers (born 1946 through 1964) and traditionalists (born prior to 1946).
LGBT_Generational_2
LGBT identification is lower as age increases, although there is a particularly large jump between millennials and those in the next oldest generation, defined as Generation X. 


The roughly one-percentage-point increase (0.8 points) in LGBT identification among millennials from 2016 to 2017 is the biggest year-to-year increase among any age group since tracking began in 2012. In contrast, the percentage of traditionalists and baby boomers who identify as LGBT has declined slightly since 2012, while the LGBT percentage among Generation X is up slightly. Gender Gap in LGBT Identification Expands
Women continue to be more likely to identify as LGBT than men, and this gender gap expanded last year.
Overall, 5.1% of women in 2017 identified as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of men. The change among men over time has been minimal, with the LGBT percentage edging up from 3.4% in 2012 to 3.7% both last year and this year. On the other hand, the percentage of women identifying as LGBT has risen from 3.5% in 2012 to 5.1% today, with the largest jump occurring between 2016 and 2017.


Percentage of U.S. Adults Identifying as LGBT by Gender and Race/Ethnicity, 2012-2017

201220132014201520162017
%%%%%%
Gender
Male3.43.53.63.73.73.9
Female3.53.63.94.14.45.1
Race/Ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic3.23.33.43.53.64.0
Black, non-Hispanic4.44.04.64.54.65.0
Hispanic4.34.74.95.15.46.1
Asian, non-Hispanic3.53.34.24.94.94.9
GALLUP DAILY TRACKING



The LGBT percentage has risen among all race and ethnic groups since 2012, although not on an equal basis. Hispanics and Asians have seen the greatest increase, thus contributing the most on a relative basis to the uptick in LGBT identification nationwide. Whites and blacks have seen the least change.
The relative rank order of the LGBT percentages among these four race and ethnic groups has remained roughly the same over the last several years. At 6.1%, Hispanics continue to be the single race or ethnic group most likely to identify as LGBT, while the 4.0 % of whites who identify as LGBT remains the lowest. LGBT identification among blacks and Asians, 4.9% and 5.0%, respectively, is essentially midway between the estimates for Hispanics and whites.
LBGT Identification Highest Among Lower Income Groups
LGBT identification is more common among those with lower incomes, as has been the case consistently since 2012. The income gap is larger this year than it has been, with 6.2% of those making less than $36,000 a year in household income identifying as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of those making $90,000 or more. There are no major differences in LGBT identification by educational attainment, although the percentage of postgraduates who self-reported as LGBT is slightly lower than those with less formal education.


Percentage of U.S. Adults Identifying as LGBT by Annual Household Income and Educational Attainment, 2012-2017

201220132014201520162017
%%%%%%
Less than $36,0004.74.54.95.15.56.2
$36,000 to <$90,0003.13.43.53.94.04.7
$90,000 or more3.03.53.63.63.73.9
High school or less3.53.53.94.14.14.5
Some college3.83.93.93.94.14.7
College graduate2.93.33.53.64.14.4
Postgraduate3.33.63.73.93.94.3
GALLUP DAILY TRACKING

Bottom Line
This 2017 update on LGBT identification underscores two significant conclusions. First, the percentage of adults in the U.S. who identify as LGBT has been increasing and is now at its highest point across the six years of Gallup's tracking of this measure. Second, the increase has been driven almost totally by millennials, whose self-reports of being LGBT have risen from 5.2% six years ago to 8.1% today. Baby boomers and traditionalists have actually become slightly less likely to identify as LGBT since 2012, while the LGBT percentage among Gen Xers has risen only marginally.
As LGBT demographic expert Dr. Gary Gates noted in his report on Gallup data last year: "A variety of factors can affect the willingness of adults to identify as LGBT. These can include how comfortable and confident survey respondents feel about the confidentiality and privacy of data collected." Thus, it is possible that those in the younger generation who are LGBT are feeling increasingly comfortable over time with their sexual orientation, and thus are more likely to identify as such. Self-reported LGBT identification among older Americans is much more stable.
Self-identification as LGBT is only one of a number of ways of measuring sexual and gender orientation. The general grouping of these four orientations (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) into one question involves significant simplification and other measurement techniques which ask about each of these categories individually yield different estimates. Additionally, self-identification of sexual orientation can be distinct from other measures which tap into sexual behavior or attraction.
The value of the Gallup data is the use of a constant question wording over time and the largest yearly sample sizes of any effort to measure sexual and gender orientation in the U.S. (the Census does not regularly include such questions in its population updates). Therefore, the upward trajectory in these estimates of the LGBT adult population provides an important social indicator relating to this key aspect of contemporary American society.

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SURVEY METHODS
These 2017 results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 340,604 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, collected from Jan. 2 to Dec. 30, 2017, as part of the Gallup Daily tracking survey and the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index survey. Estimates for years 2013-2016 are based on similar sample sizes, with the estimate for 2012 about half as large. The margin of error for each year of data collection is ±0.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error for population subgroups are larger depending on sample size. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
The 2017 sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within a region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

July 22, 2017

Dirk Bogarde In The Victim Risked Everything to Change How Gays Were Being Treated



     




Introduction

The turn of the 1960s was a time when British cinema revolutionized its attitude: it decided to face up to the issues of the day. Few problems were more controversial in public opinion than the legal status of homosexuality. The producer Michael Relph and director Basil Dearden wanted to make a film on the subject – tellingly called Victim – which would highlight the injustices facing contemporary gay men. 

They had a fight on their hands to get it made. But the film they delivered was such a damning indictment of the status quo that it actively contributed to a change in the law.

Four years earlier, the Wolfenden Report had been published, recommending the decriminalization of gay sex between consenting adults in private, and lighting the first touchpaper for legal change since the Criminal Law Amendment Act in 1885

(Telegraph)  

In this relatively enlightened age, it’s horrifying to consider how gay people were treated by society just half a century ago. Back then, being closeted was not an option but a necessity. As the 1960s dawned, homosexuality was still deemed an illness and a crime across the globe. Those caught and convicted often went to prison, and then were ostracized, their lives ruined.

Some key moments in the struggle for gay rights are well-documented, including 1969’s infamous Stonewall Riots in New York City, where gays rose up angrily to resist police brutality. However, other quieter but no less courageous actions also advanced the cause, in other parts of the world.

Dirk Bogarde, a superb actor and renowned British movie star of the ‘50s and ’60s, performed a little-known act of heroism when he agreed to play a closeted homosexual barrister who’s being blackmailed in Basil Dearden’s gripping drama, “Victim” (1961). This would be the first feature film to address the topic of homosexuality openly, the first film where the word “homosexual” is even uttered. 
What’s more extraordinary about Bogarde’s decision was that unlike several other actors who’d turned down the part (James Mason and Stewart Granger among them), he was actually gay, and many in the industry knew it. Thus he was really putting his livelihood and reputation in peril.

Still, the respect this gifted actor had earned over fifteen years in the film business, combined with a gradual softening in attitudes towards the issue, allowed Bogarde to survive the experience with both his career and dignity intact.

That respect was well-earned. Dirk Bogarde was born into an upper-middle class family in 1921. His father was the art critic for The Times. At first intending to pursue the same line of work, young Derek (as he was then known) studied commercial art before switching over to drama.

 


Dirk seized with relish on the role of Melville Farr, the successful barrister with the beautiful wife, because Victim (1961) had something important to say about a society in which the blackmailing of homosexuals was commonplace. When the film was made, Lord Wolfenden’s Committee had reported on the merits of qualified reform, but the legislature was slow to respond.
Six years later, the Sexual Offences Act was passed, partially decriminalising homosexual acts in private between consenting males aged 21 or over. In 1968 the Earl of Arran, who had introduced the legislation in the House of Lords, wrote to Dirk, acknowledging the part the latter had played in helping to change the climate for the better. The brief but gratifying letter is reproduced on these pages by kind permission of the writer’s son, the 9th Earl.(dickbogarde.co.uk)
The Second World War intervened and very soon Derek was in the thick of it as an intelligence officer. Eventually awarded seven medals and attaining the rank of Major, Bogarde was present at the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen death camp, a horrific experience he likened to “peering into Dante’s Inferno.”

After the war, he returned to acting, and was signed to a long-term contract in 1948 by Britain’s J. Arthur Rank studio. Derek (re-christened Dirk) would make pictures there for a dozen years, most memorably starring in three of their wildly popular “Doctor in The House” comedies, about the wacky goings-on in a dysfunctional hospital.

By the time “Victim” came along, Bogarde was at a crossroads. He had just survived an ill-fated foray in Hollywood, where he made two indifferent features and vowed never to return. His contract at Rank was also wrapping up. It was at this juncture that he resolved to focus on serious art house films going forward. (This decision may actually have emboldened him to do “Victim,” as the fans most likely to be alienated would not flock to the movies he now wanted to do anyhow.) 
Notably, his taking on the role of Melville Farr in “Victim” was not an occasion for him to come out. It would take another quarter century before Bogarde would acknowledge that his relationship with longtime companion and manager Anthony Forwood was more than platonic.

For Bogarde, his private life was just that. Still, he saw no reason not to do “Victim,” because he knew it would make a very good film (he was right), and because it shed light on an injustice that he felt, at long last, needed addressing.

Though its highly controversial subject matter guaranteed a limited release, the film helped spur debate on whether homosexuality should remain a crime in England. It may well have accelerated its decriminalization in 1967. 

Dirk Bogarde would make his most memorable and enduring films over the following decade, in collaboration with directors Joseph Losey (1963’s “The Servant,” 1964’s “King and Country”), John Schlesinger (1965’s “Darling”), and Luchino Visconti ( 1971’s “Death in Venice”).

Having dabbled in poetry years before, Bogarde decided to take up writing in the late ‘70s and became prolific, penning a series of well-received novels, essays and memoirs. On paper, the actor’s innate reserve melted away, and this new career reportedly gave him immense satisfaction.

Sir Dirk Bogarde (he’d been knighted in 1992) died at age 78 in 1999, ten years after Anthony Forwood’s passing. A heavy smoker, he succumbed to a heart attack after previously enduring two strokes.

He deserves to be remembered as a great actor and writer, and also a gallant, principled man who accepted a part other actors were afraid to play, at great risk to himself. In doing so, he helped change the world for the better.
(Best Movies By Farr)


~~~More
A seriously handsome, bona fide star who had made 35 films by the age of 40, Dirk Bogarde was both British and knighted and made more arrestingly bold choices than any actor of his generation, taking name-above-the-title roles in The Servant and Accident with Joseph Losey, Death in Venice and The Damned for Luchino Visconti, The Night Porter for Liliana Cavani, Providence for Alain Resnais and Despair for Rainer Werner Fassbinder. All that from a man who as early as 1958 was the biggest draw at the British box office – pulling bigger audiences than Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley. 

In addition, by the time of his death, in 1999, he had reinvented himself. He published six novels, plus collections of correspondence and criticism, and, crucially, seven best-selling volumes of memoirs throughout which he staunchly claimed to be straight. Actress Glynis Johns, a contemporary most famous as the suffragette mother in Mary Poppins, tartly observed, "I never believed more than one sentence of what Dirk wrote." She should know: she was once married to Tony Forwood who had divorced her and subsequently lived with Bogarde as his "manager" for almost 40 years.

Bogarde's position was, initially, understandable. Born in 1921, for his first 46 years homosexuality was against the law. Any man caught in "homosexual acts" faced imprisonment. That prohibition was ruthlessly policed. In 1955, 2,504 men were arrested for "homosexual offenses", ie, about seven people every day. Even Ian McKellen, 18 years younger, didn't come out until 1988 when he was 49. Bogarde never did.

Although fully entitled to privacy, his blanket denials on television, radio and in print post-1967 legalization became, for me, increasingly hard to stomach. Posthumously, the man behind the painstakingly maintained mask was uncovered in home movies and commentaries from family and friends in a BBC documentary The Private Dirk Bogarde (2001) and John Coldstream's biography. The great irony of Bogarde's position, however, is that no other screen actor has given such affecting and extraordinarily powerful gay performances.

Even now (it's changing somewhat) the industry regards playing gay as being potentially career-damaging, an act so "brave" that your Oscar virtually comes with the contract – step forward William Hurt for Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1985), Tom Hanks for Philadelphia (1993), Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote (2005), Sean Penn for Milk (2008). Probably the only reason Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal didn't win for Brokeback Mountain was that their dual presence canceled one another out.

Regardless of the authenticity – or lack thereof – of those performances by straight actors, they pale beside the still astonishing impact of Bogarde's shockingly truthful performance back in 1961 as a barrister embroiled in a secret gay affair in Victim.

Bogarde plays married barrister Melville Farr who discovers that a blackmailed young man who loved him has hanged himself in police custody rather than reveal their relationship. Realizing Farr's intention to uncover the plot, the blackmailers threaten to expose him. In the central scene – whose dialogue was rewritten to more explicit effect by Bogarde himself – Farr is confronted by his distressed wife (played by Sylvia Syms).

Shot in high-contrast black-and-white, edged with the darkness of a sitting-room at night but trapped in a fierce spotlight, Bogarde is mesmerizing. Crisply suited, dry-voiced and on the edge of tears, he painfully stifles the emotion threatening to destroy him. With the camera locked in close-up, he lifts his chin ever so slightly in defiance, his eyes widening into a glare of triumph that costs him everything.

"You won't be content until I tell you, will you, until you've ripped it out of me. I stopped seeing him because I wanted him. Can you understand – because I WANTED him."

I can still remember being transfixed – and terrified – by that moment when I first saw it by accident on television one night. It was the 1970s, I was a guilt-ridden, fiercely closeted teenager and I had never, ever seen or heard a man on screen or off express such piercing desire for another man. I felt physically torn between an absolute need to keep watching and the cramping fear that my parents would come in and instantly understand why I was watching something so incriminating.

Bogarde always maintained that the camera photographed thought. Nowhere is that more true than in that scene. It wasn't just this teenager who recognized the staggering truth behind that performance and its implications for the actor.

In a television interview to promote the film, he was asked the not-so-veiled question: "You must feel very strongly about this subject to risk losing possibly a large part of your audience by appearing in such a bitterly controversial film?"

With manufactured insouciance, Bogarde counters, "I don't think so, no. This is a marvelous part and in a film I think is tremendously important because it doesn't pull any punches: it's quite honest. I don't have to use any old tricks for the fans, it's a straightforward character performance."

Necessarily disingenuous as that was, in hindsight, it's also seriously unconvincing due to his immensely camp "who me?" manner, his left eyebrow arched, his fingers playing with his ear and chin.

Being able to pinpoint a scene that changed a career is rare, but that's what that Victim scene did. And having just engineered his release from his constraining 14-year-old contract with the Rank Organisation, Bogarde accelerated to an international reputation taking on increasingly complex roles with adventurous directors. Contrarily, the finest of those performances were in roles amplifying his hidden sexuality.

He was memorably vicious as the vicious Barrett, the manservant manipulating imperiled, upper-class James Fox into sex-and-power games in Losey's superbly elliptical (and Pinter-scripted) The Servant. And, in 1971, he crowned his career with Death in Venice, playing a man who falls fatally in love with the ideal of beauty exemplified by a beautiful boy. With almost no dialogue, the film amounts to a 125-minute reaction shot. As casting director Michelle Guish observed of Helen Mirren the day after the first Prime Suspect aired, no other British actor could have played that role that well because no one else had that depth of screen experience.

Was it arrogance that pushed the controlled Bogarde to the brink of self-exposure in this and other defining roles? He destroyed almost all of his personal papers, so we'll never know. Whatever conclusion we try to draw, the screen evidence survives.

Independent

April 15, 2017

Joe Biden Calls Trump to Condemn Abductions of Gays in Chechnya




Joe Biden is "disgusted and appalled" by reports of authorities in Chechnya torturing and killing men who are believed to be gay or bisexual. 
On Friday, the former Vice President responded to growing concerns among international governments and human rights groups who have been pressuring the U.S. to take action and address the Chechen crisis with Russia. 

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Joe Biden speaks at an event on March 16, 2017 in New York City. Brad Barket / WireImage

"When faced with such crimes of hate and inhumanity, it is the responsibility of every person of conscience to speak out — to oppose this campaign of violence before it continues further," Biden said in a statement released Friday afternoon. 
The reports of a violent, state-sponsored campaign targeting local LGBTQ men in Chechnya first arose on April 1, when the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a story revealing details of a prison-like facility near the Chechen town of Argun. 
Novaya Gazeta spoke with Chechen men who reported being arrested and subsequently tortured with beatings and electric shocks, as well as being forced to supply authorities with the names and phone numbers of other LGBTQ people. 
A St. Petersburg advocacy group, Russian LGBT Network, set up an emergency hotline to take calls from Chechnya — and now says it has received about 50 calls from people who were targeted or are trying to escape the region. As many as 100 men were believed to have been arrested for suspected homosexuality. Russian LGBT Network told NBC News it believes around 20 men have been killed by authorities as part of the roundups. 
"People are very intimidated and not eager to talk. They are hesitant to even talk to us," Natalia Poplevskaia, the network's International Advocacy Officer and Monitoring Program Coordinator, told NBC News on Tuesday. "The people who have been targeted by the campaign need some time to get back to normal life." 
The Russian LGBT Network said it is helping to evacuate Chechens who have been tortured or are currently in danger. 
But on Friday morning, the group's website briefly stopped functioning. Communications manager Svetlana Zakharova told NBC News that an IT investigation revealed the Russian LGBT Network website had been the target of a DDoS attack — a tactic used by hackers to crash a website by overwhelming it with traffic. 
On Thursday, Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper that first reported the Chechen atrocities, was also hit with a DDoS attack. The paper also published an open letter stating that it had been threatened by Chechen leaders, who referred to reporters as "the enemies of our faith and our homeland" and promised that "retribution will overtake the true instigators ... without a statute of limitations." 
In response to a growing international outcry about the reported LGBTQ torture campaign, Chechen leaders mocked concerns by claiming there are no gay people in the region and even encouraging citizens to "hunt down" anyone they believe to be LGBTQ. 
Russian authorities have largely taken a hands-off approach, though Chechnya is technically under Kremlin rule. 
On Thursday, Vladimir Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said he had been informed of the threats against Novaya Gazeta reporters and said, "If in someone's opinion, there were slanderous materials, there are legal methods of challenging prescribed by the law. Obviously, we are strongly opposed to any other methods of influence. Especially against actions that could pose a threat to the security and life of journalists." 
Biden called for further action on Friday. His calls joined previous statements by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the U.S. Department of State and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, among others. 
"Unfortunately, the human rights abuses perpetrated by Chechen authorities and the culture of impunity that surrounds them means that these hate crimes are unlikely to ever be properly investigated or that the perpetrators will see justice," Biden said on Friday. “But that does not mean that we should fail to defend basic human rights, fundamental freedoms, and universal values."

April 11, 2017

Gays Being Purged Out of Trump WHouse Just Like in Bush Days




 

It was one of the uglier scandals of the Bush administration: Top officials at an agency dedicated to protecting whistleblowers launched a campaign against their own employees based on suspected sexual orientation, according to an inspector general report.
Staffers were abruptly reassigned from Washington, D.C., to a new office 500 miles away in Detroit in what the head of the office reportedly described as an effort to “ship [them] out.” Staffers who refused were fired.
Crude anti-gay emails were found in the agency chief’s account.
Now one of the major players in the scandal has a new assignment: He works in the Trump administration.
In December, James Renne was appointed to the Trump “landing team” at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as part of the transition effort between the election and the inauguration. He was then hired Jan. 30 in a senior role at the Department of Agriculture, though his exact job duties are not clear.
Renne was part of the wave of early political appointees on so-called “beachhead teams,” whose role is to lay the groundwork for the new administration’s policies. (We published details on hundreds of beachhead hires, obtained through public records requests.)
In the Bush administration, Renne was hired in 2004 as deputy special counsel of the Office of Special Counsel, the small federal agency that is supposed to protect employees across the government from retaliation for whistleblowing. The tenures of Renne and his boss, Special Counsel Scott Bloch, were almost immediately mired in controversy after career employees said they were improperly fired. Language stating that job discrimination protections extend to sexual orientation also disappeared from the agency website.
A little-noticed inspector general report, released in 2013, depicts Renne as a central player in the efforts. Bloch and Renne, it found, hatched the plan to abruptly open a new “Midwest Field Office” in Detroit and reassign career staff there. Employees who declined to move lost their jobs.
The report found that the employees were targeted for no legitimate reason, pointing to “facts which reflect that Mr. Bloch and Mr. Renne may have been motivated in their actions by a negative personal attitude toward homosexuality and individuals whose orientation is homosexual.”
One evening shortly after he was hired in 2004, Renne took the lead in removing the language from the agency’s website about how job protections cover sexual orientation, the report says.
From the report: “Mr. Renne was depicted as intently searching the OSC website with the assistance of a senior career official to identify passages which interpreted [the nondiscrimination law] as extending protection to employees on the basis of their sexual orientation. According to this account, Mr. Renne demanded that OSC’s information technology manager remove these materials from the website immediately.”

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That change was later the subject of congressional hearings.
Renne did not respond to requests for comment. The Department of Agriculture, which hired him, declined to comment.
The scandal at the Office of Special Counsel dragged on for years, spawning congressional and criminal investigations.
In a formal complaint filed at the time, the employees who were reassigned to Detroit pointed to a “Concerned Catholic Attorneys” letter Renne had signed in 2000 that is a broadside against a range of gay rights efforts. It warns that the “homosexual lobby’s power has grown exponentially.”
The inspector general report found that Renne played a central role in the plan to open a Detroit office, noting that “the reorganization was formulated by Mr. Bloch and Mr. Renne very early in their tenure.” An outside consultant they hired to help with the plan told investigators that “it appeared that Mr. Bloch may have been heavily influenced by Mr. Renne.”
That consultant, retired Lt. Gen. Richard Trefry, told investigators:
Mr. Bloch indicated to General Trefry that there was a sizeable group of homosexuals employed by OSC, which had developed during the years prior to his taking office, that he “had a license” to get rid of homosexual employees, and that he intended to “ship them out.”
The report continues:
Further, in the portions of Mr. Bloch’s official e-mail account that were available to the investigative team, there were crude and vulgar messages containing anti-homosexual themes that appeared to have been forwarded from his personal email. … Similarly, Mr. Bloch’s public media references to [his predecessor as Special Counsel, Elaine] Kaplan contained repeated, negatively-phrased assertions regarding her sexual orientation. For example, in interviews he granted during 2007, Mr. Bloch described her as a “lesbian activist,” a “public lesbian,” a “well-known gay activist”, and similar depictions.
Now in private practice, Bloch told ProPublica the report is “filled with untruth, outright falsehoods, and innuendo.” When the report was released, Bloch denied that he ever talked about targeting gay employees.
The inspector general report says it was based on interviews with more than 60 people and examination of over 100,000 emails.
The affected employees ultimately came to a settlement with the government. The terms were not released.
During the investigation into his tenure, Bloch’s home and office were raided by the FBI and he ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge arising from his hiring the company Geeks on Call to do a “seven-level wipe” on his government computers. Years later, Bloch later unsuccessfully sued the government over his firing.
There’s little public record of what Renne has been doing since his time working with Bloch. The Trump landing team announcement identified him as working for Renne Law. A fellow member of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence landing team said that Renne had worked at the ODNI inspector general office. And Bloch said he also heard that Renne had gotten a job in the intelligence community after their work together. An ODNI spokesman declined to comment.

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