July 31, 2012

Federal Judge in Massachusetts Ruled Against DOMA Today


“Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest,’’ he wrote.
“To conclude,” he added, “many Americans believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and most Americans live in states where that is the law today. One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage.’’
While saying that gays and lesbians have been victims of chronic discrimination, Boudin also said the push for the law was not mainly motivated by anti-homosexual fervor.
“As with the women, the poor and the mentally impaired, gays and lesbians have long been the subject of discrimination,’’ he wrote. “In reaching our judgment, we do not rely upon the charge that DOMA’s hidden but dominant purpose was hostility to homosexuality. The many legislators who supported DOMA acted from a variety of motives, one central and expressed aim being to preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization.’’
The court issued its ruling in two related cases. In the first, a lawsuit was brought by seven same-sex couples married in Massachusetts and three surviving spouses of those marriages. The state brought a companion case, arguing that the federal government had historically left the definition of marriage to the states, even when the states disagreed on controversial issues such as interracial marriage.
A federal judge in Boston ruled in 2010 in favor of both Massachusetts and the same-sex couple plaintiffs.The Obama administration has said it will not defend DOMA in the courts. But the Republican-led US House of Representatives stepped in to press the Circuit Court appeal. And it is now likely to take the case to the US Supreme Court, said GLAD’s Bonauto.
Paul Clement, an attorney for the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which the House set up to defend DOMA, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Jonathan Knight and Marlin Nabors, two of the GLAD plaintiffs in the case, who have been married for the past five years, said in a telephone conference call organized by the organization that they were happy with the decision.
“Marlin and I have been together for seven years and married for five years,’’ said Knight. “We do our very best to live our lives together in truth and authenticity and we know that our relationship is full of the same kind of hopes, struggles, and dynamics as all other couples.’’
He added, “We are thrilled to learn that the law is on the same page, and that we fall into the same class as everyone else. We are no longer second-class citizens.’’

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Chick-Fil-A takes Dive with Fast Food Eaters

Chick-Fil-A takes perception dive with fast food eaters


 Chick-Fil-A's perception with fast food eaters nationwide has taken a significant hit in most regions of the US, including the South where most of its restaurants are located, since president and COO Dan Cathy's perceived anti-gay remarks on July 16th.
In the Midwest, Chick-Fil-A's perception jumped up for a week and has tapered off to where it was before the interview was published.
As the controversy has snowballed, the company's overall consumer brand health with fast food eaters has dropped to its lowest levels since at least mid-August 2010.
It is also the first time Chick-Fil-A has sunk below the fast food consumer perception average of the top QSR restaurant chains.
Chick-Fil-A was one of the top five best perceived QSR restaurant chains in the U.S. over the first half of this year, according to YouGov BrandIndex data.
Chick-Fil-A and the Top National QSR Sector were measured with YouGov BrandIndex's Index score, the company's flagship brand health measurement. The Index score is an average of key scores measuring quality, impression, value, reputation, satisfaction and willingness to recommend. All measurements were filtered for adults 18+ who have eaten fast food in the past month. The Top National QSR sector average includes such brands as Pizza Hut, Arby's, Papa John's, Domino's, Taco Bell, KFC, McDonald's, Burger King, and Long John Silver's.
YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
On July 16th, the day the Baptist Press published its Dan Cathy interview, Chick-Fil-A's Index score was 65, a very substantial 19 points above the Top National QSR Sector average score that day of 46.
Four days later, Chick-Fil-A had fallen to 47 score, three points below the Top National QSR Sector average score of 50. This past Wednesday, Chick-Fil-A had a 39 score compared to the Top National QSR Sector average score of 43.
YouGov BrandIndex respondents in the South took Chick-Fil-A from an Index score of 80 on July 16th to its current 44. Chick-Fil-A's biggest drop took place in the Northeast, where it went from 76 to 35, a difference of 41 points.
Fast food eaters in the Midwest was the only part of the country which drove Chick-Fil-A's perception higher, moving from a 45 score on July 16th to a 70 two days later, staying elevated, and the dropping back to where it was before the interview was published.
Chick-Fil-A-Top QSR (Index fast food)

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“Even the blunder-prone George W. Bush avoided messing-up the U.S. role” Like Romney’s Done

Mitt Romney has proposed turning back the clock on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, actions that analysts say would almost certainly lead to new terrorist attacks against American and Israeli interests, strain relationships with allies and require a major financial investment.
WorldTVNews.com consultants montoring Romney’s visit to Israel pointed out the U.S. and much of the international community do not officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital, because Palestinians claim it, too.
“Personally, I think the embassy should be moved,” said one WorldTVNews.com consultant who supports international recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.  “But what will the ramifications be in terms of the financial cost and human life?  What’s going to happen is you’re going to have to find a building or build one in Jerusalem.  It’s going to come under attack.”
Logistically, the WorldTVNews.com analyst said, it makes more sense to have an embassy in Tel Aviv than Jerusalem because of proximity to the international airport and other factors.
“How much money and how many lives are you willing to spend (to relocate to Jerusalem)?” he proposed as a question for Romney.
“Fewer Israelis were killed during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama than during the first four years of George W. Bush,” he added.
Another WorldTVNews.com consultant suggested Romney might have no real intention of moving the embassy to Jerusalem but made the comments to raise large amounts of campaign money while in Israel and pander to certain groups of voters in the U.S.
“Romney’s statement about moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, if elected, is particularly significant. That’s red meat for, among others, political conservatives in the American Jewish community,” the WorldTVNews.com consultant said Sunday.  “The consequences of a London gaffe are little more than a tabloid row which has already been overshadowed by the Olympics. The degree of difficulty goes up significantly when diving into Israel’s political waters, and one can quickly wind up at the bottom of the deep end.”
James Clarke
In Europe, WorldTVNews.com consultant James Clarke said a CNN interview in which Romney declared “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital” caught his attention, because Romney appeared to offer turning over some decisions about the U.S. embassy to Israeli officials.
“I think it’s long been the policy to ultimately have our embassy in the nation’s capital of Jerusalem,” Romney told CNN.  “I would follow the same policy we have had in the past.  Our embassy would be in the capital, and the timing of that is something I would want to work out with the government.”
“It is nothing short of dumbfounding that any serious U.S. politician should place an important decision of State in the hands of a foreign government,” Clarke told WorldTVNews.com in a statement from Ireland.  “It has been a long-standing policy of all U.S. administrations since the 1967 conquest of East Jerusalem by Israel’s IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) in the valiant Six Day War not to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  Romney’s break with that long-standing cross-party policy smacks of desperation and political opportunism at the expense of a balanced and well thought-out foreign policy based on the pursuit of a just and durable peace in the Middle East and between Israel and Palestine in particular.”
Clarke has written about what he describes as Romney’s “many gaffes and ill-considered foreign policy statements” over the past few days, including an adviser’s suggestion that Romney supports Israel launching a war against Iran.
“Even the blunder-prone George W. Bush avoided messing-up the U.S. role in trying to achieve a peace settlement there,” Clarke said.  “In fact, it was Romney’s predecessor Bush who railed against the then-Israeli government’s plan to pepper the Palestinian West Bank with so many Jewish settlements that it looked like a Swiss cheese, so making it a non-viable state. One must wonder at a Romney administration’s attitude to this same issue were he to be elected in the November presidential elections.”
WorldTVNews.com provides news forecasting, media consulting and crisis communications services to its clients.  To put our experience to work for you, email news@WorldTVNews.com.

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Dragons, Flying Horses and Gay Marriage? } Japanese Video Game is Coming Back


Dragons And Flying Horses Okay In Fire Emblem Game, Just Not Gay Marriage

Fire Emblem, a fantasy role-playing game developed by Intelligent Systems, released its 11th iteration in Japan earlier this year and is slated to hit U.S. stores in 2013.

While plenty of new features have been added, several old ones have returned, including the opportunity for players to get married—an option that was removed from the game in 1995. Getting hitched in Fire Emblem results in stat bonuses and children—as long as the pairing is heterosexual.

Explicit same-sex romance in video games is a fairly recent phenomenon but homoerotic dialogue and storylines have been around for quite some time, including in Fire Emblem. From suspiciously campy villains to intimate conversations between male “friends,” Intelligent Systems has probably bruised their eyelids with all the winking they’ve been doing.

Which makes it all the more irritating that after 18 years of Fire Emblem without marriage, early reports indicate Intelligent Systems has revived the feature as if the world hasn’t changed since 1995. Some gamers have already registered their dismay—and, in some cases, bewilderment, that same-sex characters can’t wed:

On NeoGAF, BigJiantRobut commented how female characters Lyn and Florina “were pretty much engaged anyway.” Meanwhile, a poster on Nintendo3DSBlog made it clear he was voting with his wallet: “If a game offers marriage options and leaves another group out of the equation then, yes, I am not paying money for it. Try walking a few steps in my boots and you will be enlightened.”

You could argue that same-sex unions would be anachronistic given the game’s medieval setting—but the flying horses and pet dragons kind of undermine that theory.

You could argue that Japan isn’t one of the 11 countries that recognize marriage equality, but Fire Emblem is about as far removed from modern real-world Japan as Game of Thrones is from, say, Germany.

You might even argue that LGBT gamers are reading things into Fire Emblem that just aren’t there. But you’d have to ignore dialogue like this conversation between two male characters.

Perhaps next time Intelligent Systems will live up to its name and, instead of just having same-sex characters talk about how they can’t live without each other (wink wink), it’ll just let them get married and be done with it.


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July 30, 2012

1 Yr Opposition to Russian Gay Pride is Dropped by Russians From 82%-61%

21 September 2010 - Activists of GayRussia organized a protest "Luzhkov - Faggot" in front of Moscow's City Hall. The protest aimed to denounce the Court decision to drop the activist's case against the Mayor who said that Gays are faggots. On the photo Nikolai Alekseev and Alxandr Hodt are bing arrested after attempting to chain themslves to the fence of the City Hall.
53% of Russians (75 million people) heard about our attempt to conduct a Gay Pride in Moscow according to a National Poll conducted by FOM in June 2011.
No one disputes the essential role played by GayRussia on the issue of for freedom of assembly in Russia, not only for LGBT people but also for all citizens, whether they be human rights activists, those who oppose them, or individuals.
GayRussia’s campaign for Moscow Pride is the most emblematic and mediatized initiative of its campaign for freedom of assembly, which over the years included numerous public actions in Moscow, Ryazan, Tambov, and St Petersburg.
It has led to more than 200 events being banned by officials of these cities, and all those bans were upheld by local and appeal Courts—and all the way to the Supreme Court in the case of the first Moscow Pride.
“We can see the positive outcomes of our tireless efforts to make Russia respect article 31 of the Constitution. It is only a few days after we won at the European Court of Human Rights against Russia for banning several Moscow Pride that Moscow authorities allowed for the first time the “Strategy 31 rally” of opposition and human right activists that was banned for 18 months and only a month later, the first ever public action for Equal rights of LGBT people was authorized in St Petersburg”… Nikolai Alekseev
In July 2005 and 2006, a rally in front of the Embassy of Iran to denounce the execution of minors was allowed. In 2007 and 2008, the rally was banned after the application was redrafted to specify that the minors were executed for being gay in the application. In 2008, after Moscow Courts upheld the ban of the rally, GayRussia took the case to the Human Rights Committee of the UN for violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This is the first case brought to the UN against Russia on a LGBT issue. The case has been communicated, and both the applicant and Russia have presented their arguments. The Committee is now expected to announce a decision in the future. Although the decisions of the Committee are not obligatory for Russia, a positive outcome would lead to the first condemnation of Russia by the UN on a LGBT case. It would also set a precedent over the issue of freedom of assembly for citizens of other countries that ratified this UN treaty.
Since 2005, GayRussia’s activists have been banned from conducting over 200 rallies for the rights of LGBT equalities based on various fallacious excuses, such as the impossibility of providing security, and Russian Courts have consistently upheld these bans. In October 2009, GayRussia lobbied the Human Rights Committee while taking part in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Russia, held in Geneva. Activists obtained from the committee the inclusion in their final report that discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation is “systematic.” GayRussia added this finding in its pending cases before the European Court and the United Nations.
GayRussia’s campaign for the rights of freedom of assembly reached beyond Russia’s borders as well, with protests organized by its activists in February 2008 in Strasbourg, at the European Court of Human Rights and in Geneva, at the UN. Rallies in front of the Russian Embassies in London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Stockholm, and Vienna as well as Russian diplomatic missions in New York, San Francisco, Geneva, and Strasbourg were organized in 2006 by GayRussia’s international partners to support the cause of Moscow Pride.
In October 2010, the Prefecture of Moscow allowed for the first time a picket in front of the office of Swiss Air Lines. Although the protest was not in support of LGBT equality in general, it denounced the role the airline played in the incident that Nikolai Alekseev personally faced at Domodedov Airport a few days before.
GayRussia’s efforts to recourse at the European Court of Human Rights ended successfully in October 2010 when the Court said, in its first decision on a LGBT issue against Russia, that the country violated articles 11, 13 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights by banning Moscow Pride in 2006, 2007 and 2008. This decision is historical for all human rights defenders in Russia, as it is the first judgment on the Law of 2005 on Public demonstration. The Court declared that the law does not offer legal remedy. GayRussia’s activists are now taking the case further—to the Constitutional Court of Russia—with the aim to make the Law of 2005 deemed unconstitutional.
GayRussia’s campaign for Freedom of Assembly was not limited to Moscow. Activists also attempted to organize actions in Tambov and Ryazan. GayRussia’s activists, through the launching of the Slavic Gay Pride movement—the union of Russian and Belarusian Pride organizers—also campaigned in Minsk and in St Petersburg. It is in St Petersburg where GayRussia’s lawyer Dmitri Bartnev won the first-ever case on Freedom of Assembly in Russian Courts against the city hall, who banned a public action connected with the first attempt to hold a Pride in St Petersburg in June 2010. The first-ever public action to be authorized in Russia for LGBT Equality took place in November 2010 with activists of Equality and GayRussia.
Activists of GayRussia have six cases pending at the European Court of Human Rights on the issue of Freedom of Assembly and one case at the UN Human Rights Committee. GayRussia is the most active Russian group in Court on the issue of freedom of assembly in Russia.
As of today, GayRussia’s activists consider their campaign on freedom of assembly successful not only due to the historic decision of the European Court but also because of the positive decisions in St Petersburg and the first action to ever be allowed in the city recently. Of course, a major success would be seen with the authorization of the first Moscow Pride in 2012.
In one year, between April 2010 and June 2011, the opposition to Gay Pride among Russian people went from 82% to 61%.


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American Psychiatric Ass. No Longer Lists Transgender as Mental Illness

Great news for our trans friends: the American Psychiatric Association
no longer considers you "disordered" or "mentally ill," according to a long-awaited change that'll take place in the fifth edition of its DSM manual.
In a move that activists have lobbied hard and long for, the APA has
deleted the mental illness "gender identity disorder" from its new
DSM manual. Instead, the APA will use "gender dysphoria" as its
 term denoting "a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/
expressed gender and assigned gender.”
“It no longer matters what your body looks like, what you want to do to it,
 all of that is irrelevant as far as the APA goes,” said Dana Beyer, a retired surgeon who helped the Washington Psychiatric Society propose the change. 
The declassification will have far-reaching impact, from legal cases (trans parents are often classified as "mentally ill" to have their children taken from them) to insurance benefits (the declassification means insurance may no longer pay for hormones, surgery or other treatments). 
(Source: Dot429)

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Cloud Atlas and Matrix Director Finishes his Sex Transformation to Female } Trailer and Vid

larry wachowski
The Matrix's transgender director, formerly known as Larry Wachowski, has unveiled the final stages of her transformation as Lana.
Lana, providing director's commentary for the hotly anticipated Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Susan Sarandon among others, revealed a pretty kick-ass head of hot pink dreads, and introduced herself  saying, ‘Hi, I’m Lana."
Pic and the Cloud Atlas trailer, plus the director's commentary after the jump.

lana wachowski
Do you, Lana!! Be proud.
According to the International Business Times, Lana has been undergoing hormone therapy as part of his sex-change treatment for nearly a decade.
And how crazy does this trailer for Cloud Atlas look?
Trailer: Cloud Atlas
Image Source

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Romney Interviewed in Israel } If you paid over your taxes you should be disqualified for the Presidency…what??

PHOTO: ABC's David Muir interviews presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Israel. 
Mitt Romney: Thank you David
Muir: As we sit here in beautiful Jerusalem 100 da 

 Romney’s interviewed in Israel. The main questions is wether he paid the taxes in the USA. One of  his responses is that if he had pay more taxes than due, that should disqualify him for being president. Stranger I never heard that, usually a politician would say than paying  less than his taxes should should have disqualified the candidate:
 Romney: You know, I'm not talking politics right here today but obviously I'm encouraged by the campaign but today being in the holy city my thoughts are on the great promises that have been made here, the people who gather here of multiple faiths and my desire to see those people see each other as being brothers and sisters and come together in peace.
Muir: Let's talk about the news that came out of Israel today on Iran, some strong words expected from you in that speech. One of your advisors said of you today that you would respect Israel's decision to strike Iran on its own. Would you support an Israeli strike on Iran?
Romney: I think I'll use my own terms in that regard and that is that I recognize the right of Israel to defend itself. At the same time we are two nations, both committed to employing every means we have to keep Iran from pursuing their nuclear folly and that means every diplomatic course, economic forces as well, sanctions are beginning to have a greater impact on Iran we want to execute all of these elements of soft power if you will but of course we maintain all options. If all of our political and economic options fail we of course retain military options as well.
Muir: What about the option of the Israeli strike, unilaterally, would you support that?
Romney: Again, I think I've said what I wanted to say on that front which is I respect the right of Israel to defend itself and America always on the side of Israel but I'm not going to be more specific than that with regards to the actions Israel might take but we have a full range of options to dissuade Iran from doing something which is unimaginable and unacceptable.
Muir: You talk about some of those options, diplomacy, tough sanctions, it sounds a lot like what we hear from the Obama administration.
Romney: You know I gave an address five years ago at the Herizleya conference in Tel Aviv and laid out 7 steps that I thought needed to be taken to dissuade Iran from becoming nuclear. It's taken a long time for some of those steps to be executed some are still not yet executed. Being on foreign soil, I simply don't want to attack the president or his policies and nor make new foreign policy but I indicated a number of things that I thought were important at that point, the fact that we have sanctions now three and a half years into the president's term is in my estimation a positive thing I would have liked to see them earlier as my speech at Herzliya indicated.
Muir: You've talked about back in the states, I know that you are on foreign soil but you have been critical before with the presidents timetable to pull US troops out of Afghanistan and in your recent speech before the VFW you said you wanted to complete the transition by 2014 is that the same time frame?
Romney: It's the same time frame the president is speaking of with regards to the transition of the afghan forces, I also indicated that I want to make sure that we have had consultation with the commanders on the ground. The place where the president and I have had a difference with regards to time table is with withdrawal of our surge troops. Commanders were looking at December 2012 withdrawal point the president moves that up to September 2012 which is still during fighting season I sided with the commanders and felt the 2012 decision, the September 2012 decision was premature.
Muir: 2012
Romney: We're talking about the search troops.
Muir: Ok, wanted to confirm for the audience. If those commanders on the ground in Afghanistan tell you that we need US troops to stay longer would you keep them there beyond that 2014?
Romney: I don't want to go into hypothetical's but we recognize the circumstances may change on the ground either for the better or for the worse. I don't think you set hard and fast deadlines without recognizing that there is the potential for conditions to change.
Muir: You are open to it depending on what the commanders might tell you?
Romney: I will consider the council if I'm president I would consider the input of the commanders on the ground as an important element in the plans for our military.
Muir: You are here on what some have termed your world audition and democrats, not surprisingly, continue to hammer you back home on taxes, you remain firm two years and two years only. So from what you have released and from what we have seen we know that there was one year when you paid about 13.9% tax rate. Can we clear this up by asking a simple yes or no question? Was there ever any year when you paid lower than 13.9%?
Romney: I haven't calculated that. I'm happy to go back and look but my view is I've paid all the taxes required by law. From time to time I've been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares y taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due. I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president. I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.
Muir: You said you would go back and look, would you look for us?
Romney: I haven't looked at the tax rate paid year by year. I know that I pay a very substantial amount of taxes and every year since the beginning of my career so far as I can recall.
Muir: Let's talk about London for a moment, we saw the photo ops with you and Ann at the Olympics, it must have been amazing to return to the Olympics as you often do. On your barrage of negative headlines there in London I wanted to read you something that Karl Rove said, he said: "you have to shake your head, it was a great opportunity instead he got stuck making comments the Brits took as an insult". I'm curious, did you know when you sent that that the British people might be a little offended given how excited they were about their own games?

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Miranda Johnson Fights to Allow Her Son To Be a Girl

Whether it’s the fact that her skirt is too short, her heels too high or her make-up too liberally applied, 16-year-old Ashlyn Parram looks a typical teenage girl — keen to push the boundaries of what is acceptable to her parents and elders.
But while Ashlyn may seem, on the surface, to be just like her friends and classmates, there is one profound difference between her and them.
Ashlyn is genetically male, having lived as a boy by the name of Lewis for the first 15 years of her life. Only in the past year did Lewis become Ashlyn, after changing her name by deed poll. 
Big decision: Teenager Ashlyn Parram - who lived as a boy called Lewis - wants to wear make up and women's clothes and has begun hormone treatmenteBig decision: teenager Ashlyn Parram - who lived as a boy called Lewis - wants to wear make up and women's clothes and has begun hormone treatment
Big decision: Teenager Ashlyn Parram - who lived as a boy called Lewis - wants to wear make up and women's clothes and has begun hormone treatment
She is now on the waiting list to undergo gender reassignment treatment, which will begin with her taking hormones to suppress male characteristics such as a deep voice and excess body hair. Not until she’s 18 will she be eligible for full-blown  gender reassignment surgery.
In the meantime, she is doing everything she can to ensure that people assume she’s a girl. She wears long brown hair extensions and spends many hours in the bathroom waxing her body hair.
The rows of cosmetics in her bedroom would put a beauty salon to shame, and her bedroom walls are covered in posters of male heart-throbs such as film star Orlando Bloom.
Ashlyn’s parents have had to come to terms with the fact that their biological son now lives as a girl — a situation most mothers and fathers would find utterly confounding.
It has also caused problems outside of family life. As the Mail reported last week, Ashlyn and her mother, Miranda Johnson, claim she’s been victimised by staff at her school, Giles Academy in  Boston, Lincolnshire, who told her she could not sit her GCSE exams because she was wearing a skirt.
Ashlyn was allowed to sit her exams after citing equality laws, but was seated in an isolated section of the room away from fellow pupils.
Defending her child: Miranda Johnson says Ashlyn cannot help how she feels and the world needs to accept it
It is not an enormous surprise, in this day and age, to learn that the family considers this a violation of Ashlyn’s rights. Indeed, they say that unless the headmaster, Chris Walls, makes a full apology, they will consider legal action — a move Miranda claims is to protect other transgender teenagers.
‘Ashlyn is a girl in everything but a certain part of her body — and since when is that the most important part of a person?’ she says.
‘People need to understand this is not a choice that Ashlyn has made: it is the way she is. It is a condition, and one the world needs to confront and accept.’
Nonetheless, many people will have serious misgivings about the family’s defiant stance — and be surprised by Miranda’s unflinching acceptance of Ashlyn’s way of life.
When I meet them at their comfortable home in Boston, Ashlyn, who is tall and slim, is wearing skinny jeans and several bangles. Throughout our interview, she fiddles self-consciously with her long hair and stares at herself in the living room mirror.
Only a slightly protruding Adam’s apple and broader-than-average shoulders hint at her true nature.
Until recently, Ashlyn’s could have been any ordinary, hard-working  family. Miranda is married to her second husband, chartered surveyor Graham, after having three children with her first: daughter Yasmine, 21, Ashlyn and 13-year-old son Joby.
Miranda seems to have accepted Ashlyn’s changing gender with such incredible alacrity that even her memories of Ashlyn’s babyhood sound as if they have been modified.
‘She was so easy. She was incredibly smiley — one of those babies everyone wanted to cuddle.
‘She was never interested in boys’ toys. Our son Joby liked getting muddy, whereas Ashlyn preferred to stay inside and play with dolls. ’
By the time Lewis was ten, his effeminate traits — reading quietly indoors rather than engaging in rough-and-tumble with other boys; watching American soaps such as Hannah  Montana — were so pronounced that Miranda and her then-husband David wondered if he might be gay.
‘He wasn’t like other boys. He didn’t want to be out exploring. It didn’t bother me, though as a mother you worry about your child facing difficulty and prejudice in later life.’
Ashlyn says she knew from a young age that she was different.
‘I was most comfortable hanging out with girls, and at primary school no one seemed to mind,’ she explains. 
That changed, however, when  Ashlyn was 11 and started at Giles Academy, the local secondary school. She says she was bullied from day one.
‘At first it was just name-calling — “gay boy” was one. Then it became more physical, like my bag being snatched and its contents emptied on the ground. Sometimes I was pushed and shoved around.’
Miranda says she complained to the school on numerous occasions, only to be told the matter was in hand.
Ashlyn as a school boy aged 11. She tried to wear a skirt to school but her headmaster made her sit away from the other pupilsAshlyn as a young boy aged 4. She tried to wear a skirt to school but her headmaster made her sit away from the other pupils
Ashlyn as a school boy aged 11. She tried to wear a skirt to school but her headmaster made her sit away from the other pupils
By the age of 12, Ashlyn had taken to wearing girls’ clothes at home, as well as on occasional ‘dressing-up’ days at school. On one of these days she wore a tutu and patterned tights. Of course, Miranda worried that this flamboyance would exacerbate the bullying.
She says: ‘But I realised this was part of who Ashlyn was, and whenever I talked to her about it, she told me it was what she wanted.
‘I didn’t want her to feel she was being rejected by my forbidding her to do what she wanted.’
Ashlyn found this a confusing time in her life, her instincts seemingly at odds with what was expected of her.
So she did some research online and found a description of ‘gender dysphoria’ — a condition described as a feeling of mismatch between anatomical sex and gender identity.
‘It made absolute sense to me,’ she says. So much so that, one evening last summer, she gave her mother an article on the subject, at the top of which she’d written ‘that’s me’.
Surely a shocking moment for any parent — but Miranda insists not.
‘I’d felt Ashlyn was different for so many years that it wasn’t a bolt from the blue,’ she says.
‘If anything, it made sense. Mostly I worried about how upsetting it must be for Ashlyn to feel she was trapped in someone else’s body.
‘As a mother your instinct is to try to smooth your child’s path through life, and I knew Ashlyn was going to face some difficult hurdles ahead. I wanted to do everything I could to help.’
There were Ashlyn’s siblings to  consider, too. At first they thought she was seeking attention, and felt embarrassed by her.
Miranda says: ‘But we talked to them over a long period, explaining what Ashlyn was going through, and they’ve come to accept things now.’
The NHS claims that around one in 4,000 people living in the UK is seeking help with gender dysphoria.
Many are not diagnosed until they are over 18, but one clinic, the Tavistock And Portman Centre in London, deals exclusively with teenage cases.
United: Miranda Parram fully supports her daughter Ashlyn and is outraged at people's treatment of the teenager
It was here, following extensive  consultations and psychiatric assessments, that Ashlyn was referred  earlier this year, after being formally diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Miranda says: ‘There are countless assessments to ensure that this is a case of true gender dysphoria rather than just attention-seeking or a factor of a troubled adolescence.’
Ashlyn told her mother this spring that she wanted to change her name by deed poll. This, however, was one change her family did struggle with.
‘It took a while for us all to get used to,’ says Miranda. ‘I still sometimes find myself saying “the boys”.
‘But Ashlyn’s father and step-father have coped well and my parents are very accepting, though her paternal grandparents have found it harder.
‘It’s been tough for Joby, too. It’s a lot for him to take in. He is at a  vulnerable age and has been  teased at school, so I keep a close eye on him.’

'The headmaster told me that  I couldn’t sit the paper because I wasn’t wearing boys’ uniform’

Ashlyn’s transition has continued to cause problems at school. Earlier this year, she started wearing the ‘skinny’ trousers popular among female pupils, who have the option to wear trousers or skirts under school uniform rules, as well as make-up and jewellery.
She claims that the bullying  worsened, and her unorthodox way of dressing also led to repeated altercations with staff.
Miranda says: ‘She kept being called to the school office and told to remove her make-up and jewellery, which was unfair as it wasn’t happening to other girls.
‘Ashlyn would be asked to take off her make-up while sitting next to someone in the classroom with it plastered an inch thick across their face. I have no issue with strict rules, but they need to be applied across the board.’
As far as the school was concerned, however, Ashlyn was still Lewis — a boy — which made the situation rather more complex.
Would it not have been more  sensible to encourage Ashlyn to conform within school hours, at least?
‘This isn’t about self-expression,’ Miranda says. ‘Ashlyn has a medical condition; she can’t help how  she feels.’
Looking to change: Despite the hostility she receives, Ashlyn wants to go ahead with her medication
And so, on her final day at school before her GCSE exams last month, Ashlyn attended wearing a skirt —the first time she had done so.
She claims she was removed from the classroom and put into another room on her own.
‘It was the last day so lots of girls were breaking the rules,’ says  Ashlyn. ‘Some had dyed their hair blue, others were wearing 6in heels. I was probably the most conservative-looking one, yet I was the one who was targeted.’
The same thing happened a week later, Ashlyn claims, when she arrived at school to sit her first exam wearing a skirt.
‘The headmaster told me that  I couldn’t sit the paper because I wasn’t wearing boys’ uniform,’  she says.
But this time Ashlyn had arrived at school prepared for such a rebuke by printing off and carrying with her a copy of the Equality Act.

When Miranda heard what had happened, she was outraged. ‘I was astonished. Children are always going to point out differences, but teachers should know better.‘When I showed the headmaster a copy, he realised he had to back down — but that’s when he put me at the back of the room away from everyone else. It was very upsetting. I’d done nothing wrong, and yet it felt as if I was being punished.’
‘I don’t understand why they felt the need to do what they did. I’m not trying to create a fuss and I’m not speaking out to embarrass the school, which is in many ways an excellent school.
‘But I would like them to take responsibility for their behaviour for Ashlyn’s sake, and for other people going through what she is going through.’
A spokesman for Giles Academy denied that Ashlyn had been treated improperly and said the school dealt with any complaint in a professional manner.
But so committed is Miranda to her cause that she may take  Ashlyn’s case to court to try to force schools to accommodate and accept transgender pupils.
After the summer holidays, Ashlyn will be attending a sixth-form  college, where she hopes for a happy new beginning to her school life.
In the meantime she is hoping to start hormone treatment soon, and to have reassignment surgery when she is 18. Both are available on the NHS, but with long waiting lists.
‘As far as I am concerned, I am a girl,’ she says firmly. ‘All I want is for people to accept me as one.’
Her mother agrees: ‘The most important thing in life is family. Mine might be unusual, but it is my family. Ashlyn is my daughter. The fact that she used to be my son is neither here nor there.’

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