LGBT

Issues ››› LGBT
  • The Do's And Don’ts On Reporting On Anti-Bullying And Nondiscrimination Protections For LGBT Students

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Thanks to several recent legal rulings about protections for transgender students, nondiscrimination and anti-bullying measures for LGBT students are more visible than ever. As kids head back to school, journalists have the opportunity to break from the sensationalist, fearmongering coverage that often accompanies these stories and instead follow journalistic best practices in reporting on LGBT student equality.

    In the past few weeks, there have been two high-profile legal rulings directly affecting transgender students. On August 22, a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s recent guidance directing all public schools to provide transgender students with access to sex-segregated facilities that are consistent with a student’s gender identity. On August 3, the Supreme Court granted an emergency appeal from a Virginia school board to prevent a transgender boy from using the boys bathroom at his high school. The two August decisions come on the heels of this spring’s high-profile national debate over transgender equality, which centered largely around access to restrooms and other public accommodations.

    As both of these cases continue to make their way through the legal system, the discussion about LGBT student equality isn’t going away. In the past, journalists have often stumbled when reporting on measures geared toward making schools more accepting for LGBT students, particularly transgender students. Right-wing media have a long history of sensationalizing and fearmongering over basic anti-bullying measures and nondiscrimination protections for LGBT students. As students head back to school, here are a few reminders for media outlets that want to avoid making some of the most common mistakes when covering stories about LGBT students:

    DO Accurately Identify Anti-LGBT Commentators

    Mainstream media outlets often fail to give their audiences relevant information about guests they ask to comment on LGBT equality, particularly when the topic is transgender equality. If a guest represents an organization that has been designated as an anti-LGBT hate group for its history of spreading known falsehoods about LGBT people, then properly identifying the person as such is essential to providing audiences the context they need to assess that guest's point of view. Journalists should be especially wary of hate groups, like the American College of Pediatricians, that use legitimate-sounding names to peddle harmful, debunked lies.

    Outlets should also be careful of using hate groups as reliable sources for stories about LGBT students. Fox has twice been caught uncritically repeating made-up stories meant to oppose LGBT student equality, peddled to the network by one of California’s most notorious anti-LGBT hate groups.

    DON’T Fearmonger Over Access To Bathrooms And Locker Rooms

    Conservative media have a long history of fearmongering over nondiscrimination protections for transgender kids. In 2014, when California passed a new law allowing transgender public school students to use the restroom facilities that correspond to their gender identity, right-wing media figures issued apoplectic predictions of bathroom harassment and inappropriate behavior, warning that students would pretend to be transgender in order to sneak into opposite-sex bathrooms.

    While mainstream media might not offer the same doomsday type predictions, outlets often uncritically repeat the right-wing myth that nondiscrimination protections will cause students to pretend to be transgender to sneak into bathrooms and locker rooms.

    DO Rely On Empirical Data

    When discussing the potential impact of providing nondiscrimination protections for LGBT students, journalists should cite empirical data from schools that have protected LGBT students for years.

    Nationwide, school administrators from 23 school districts and four universities across the country, serving an estimated 1.5 million students, have reported that they allowed transgender students to use school facilities that correspond with their gender identity without incident.

    Additionally, reporters should be sure to provide meaningful context about anti-bullying initiatives for LGBT students by highlighting the high rates of violence and discrimination against LGBT kids. Recently, the first nationally representative study asking high school students about their sexuality confirmed what smaller studies have suggested for years -- that LGB teens are at far greater risk for depression, bullying and many types of violence than their straight peers, with nearly 40 percent having seriously considered suicide. Similar studies of transgender students have found that nearly 80 percent of transgender or gender-nonconforming kids have experienced harassment in schools, with over 30 percent experiencing harassment by teachers or staff. 

    Journalists should also point out that efforts by school staff to create welcoming and accommodating environments for transgender youth can dramatically improve the conditions experienced by these students. Given the empirical evidence available, it’s no surprise that national organizations like the National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, and the American Federation of Teachers all support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT students.

    DON’T Sensationalize Training Materials Out Of Context

    Conservative outlets like Fox News have a long history of seizing on small details of LGBT-inclusion trainings -- like a suggestion to use the classroom nickname “purple penguins” instead of gendered terms -- to gin up controversy and trivialize the importance of diversity trainings. Recently, both conservative and local media reported on a cartoon “gender unicorn” illustration being used in a diversity training in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, which a local parent called “friendly looking and deceitful” because the unicorn “represents the religion of sex.” 

    This type of sensationalist reporting can have a chilling effect on schools considering adopting similar inclusion measures. Joel Baum, director of education at Gender Spectrum, has criticized the sensational media coverage surrounding the organization’s gender-inclusive trainings for creating “a tremendous amount of work for school leaders who are overburdened and do not have time, quite honestly, to be responding to misinformation about what's happening in their schools."

    DO Be Familiar With And Follow Journalistic Best Practices When Reporting On Transgender People

    With much of the media attention surrounding LGBT student equality focused on transgender youth, reporters should be sure to educate themselves on journalistic best practices in reporting on transgender people. GLAAD’s media reference guide has clear guidelines for reporters covering the transgender community, key points of which are:

    • Use accurate terminology, including the correct pronouns, and avoid offensive terms (see GLAAD’s list).
    • Avoid focusing on medical issues, and remember that it is inappropriate to ask transgender people (including children) about their genitals or surgeries they have had.
    • Transgender people “are the experts to talk about transgender people.” Reporters should prioritize transgender voices in stories about the transgender community.

    Similar guidelines have been adopted by The New York Times and The Associated Press, and they should be common practice for news outlets.

     

  • Federal Judge Smacks Down Right-Wing Media's Anti-LGBT "Bathroom Predator" Myth

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    A recent ruling by a federal judge shut down right-wing media’s anti-LGBT “bathroom predator” myth, writing that there is “no indication” that a sexual predator could “claim transgender status” as a “defense against prosecution” for sneaking into a women’s restroom to commit a crime.

    On August 26, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued a preliminary ruling barring the University of North Carolina from enforcing a portion of North Carolina’s discriminatory "bathroom bill" against three transgender people who sued the state after the bill’s passage this spring. The law, known as HB 2, bans transgender people from using public bathrooms that do not match the sex listed on their birth certificate. Schroeder’s injunction prevents the University of North Carolina from banning the three transgender plaintiffs -- two university students and one professor -- from using facilities that match their gender identity, rather than their sex assigned at birth. LGBT advocates are currently pushing to have the injunction expanded from the three plaintiffs to include all transgender people in North Carolina.

    In the limited preliminary ruling, Schroeder dismissed the claim, often peddled by right-wing media outlets, that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people would allow male predators to sneak into women’s bathrooms and commit sexual assault by pretending to be transgender. As Schroeder wrote, the “bathroom predator” myth has been repeatedly debunked by experts, and there is no evidence that allowing transgender people to use restrooms that match their gender identity leads to an increase in crime (emphasis added):

    North Carolina’s peeping and indecent exposure statutes continue to protect the privacy of citizens regardless of Part I, and there is no indication that a sexual predator could successfully claim transgender status as a defense against prosecution under these statutes.

    [...]

    As for safety, Defendants argue that separating facility users by biological sex serves prophylactically to avoid the opportunity for sexual predators to prey on persons in vulnerable places. However, the individual transgender Plaintiffs have used facilities corresponding with their gender identity for over a year without posing a safety threat to anyone. (See Doc. 22-4 ¶¶ 15, 30; Doc. 22-8 ¶¶ 19, 25; Doc. 22-9 ¶¶ 15, 19–20.) Moreover, on the current record, there is no evidence that transgender individuals overall are any more likely to engage in predatory behaviors than other segments of the population. In light of this, there is little reason to believe that allowing the individual transgender Plaintiffs to use partitioned, multiple occupancy bathrooms corresponding with their gender identities, as well as UNC to seek to accommodate use of similar showers and changing facilities, will pose any threat to public safety, which will continue to be protected by the sustained validity of peeping, indecent exposure, and trespass laws. And although Defendants argue that a preliminary injunction will thwart enforcement of such safety laws by allowing non-transgender predators to exploit the opportunity to cross-dress and prey on others (Doc. 55 at 4–5), the unrefuted evidence in the current record suggests that jurisdictions that have adopted accommodating bathroom access policies have not observed subsequent increases in crime.

  • Media Should Note Common Denominator In Recent Wave Of Anti-LGBT Court Battles

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    In the last week, two courts have decided against the rights of LGBT people and their families in major equality battles, and Texas’ attorney general has filed a third lawsuit regarding LGBT Americans. As the media cover these cases, they should connect the dots that lead back to one nefarious organization: the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an extremist group leading the national fight against LGBT equality.

    Alliance Defending Freedom is a right-wing legal powerhouse that’s linked to nearly every recent legal attack on LGBT equality in the United States -- as well as attacks on women’s reproductive health. ADF is behind the national push for both anti-LGBT “religious freedom” legislation that seeks to legalize discrimination against LGBT people and so-called bathroom bills that aim to prohibit transgender people, including public school students, from using facilities that align with their gender identity. ADF also works internationally to attack LGBT equality, including by helping defend laws in Belize and Jamaica that would put people in prison for engaging in gay sex.

     

     

    EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. A U.S. District Judge issued a summary judgement on August 19 in favor of Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan, which fired an employee, Aimee Stephens, after she told her employers of her plans to transition from male to female. ADF lawyers are now representing the chain of funeral homes, and they lauded last week’s decision, highlighting the court’s language about company owner Thomas Rost:

    Rost sincerely believes that it would be violating God’s commands if he were to permit an employee who was born a biological male to dress in a traditionally female skirt-suit at the funeral home because doing so would support the idea that sex is a changeable social construct rather than an immutable God-given gift.

    State of Texas v. United States of America. On August 21, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against a joint guidance released by the departments of Education and Justice that explained school administrators’ obligations to ensure that transgender students can attend school without facing discrimination based on sex. It built off previous court decisions and guidance stating that discrimination against transgender students constitutes illegal sex discrimination under federal law. The injunction was sought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed a lawsuit against the the federal government along with several other states in response to the guidance. The lead counsel on this case is Austin Nimocks, who works for Paxton’s office but previously served as senior counsel at ADF.

    State of Texas v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On the heels of the above court ruling in its favor, Paxton’s office filed a new lawsuit on August 23 against the Department of Health and Human Services over nondiscrimination protections and expanded medical care for transgender people included in the Affordable Care Act. This case was also assigned to Judge Reed O’Connor, the same judge who granted the injunction against transgender students. The recent actions of Paxton’s office drew swift condemnation from the editorial board at The New York Times:

    These legal assaults on equal protection for transgender Americans are based on bigotry and the specious claim that they pose a threat to the safety of others. The toll exacted on this vulnerable population is heavy and will remain so as these cases and other litigation involving transgender laws move through the courts.

    As these cases continue to move through the court system, journalists should expose the extremist legal group behind the coordinated assault on LGBT equality. 

  • Wash. Post Investigates If Rare Trump Gift It Can Confirm Is The One Tied To Anti-LGBT Hate Group

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Continuing its reporting on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s charitable giving practices, The Washington Post found that Trump has promised to donate $100,000 of his personal money to a church in Louisiana temporarily run by an anti-LGBT hate group leader.

    In April, the Post first reported that there was no record of Trump donating any of his own money to charity in the last five years, despite his repeated suggestions to the contrary. After contacting over 250 charities, the Post’s further investigation into Trump’s personal giving practices was “mostly [] unsuccessful” at discovering proof of this supposed generosity, and only found one instance of Trump giving a personal gift from his own pocket between 2008 and May 2016.

    After Trump toured areas of Louisiana devastated by recent flooding, however, CNN reporter Ashley Killough tweeted that according to a spokeswoman, Trump donated $100,000 to the Greenwell Spring Baptist Church. The interim pastor of the church, Tony Perkins, is also president of the Family Research Council (FRC) -- an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as an anti-LGBT “hate group” due to the organization's known propagation of extreme falsehoods about LGBT people.

    In an August 24 article, the Post investigated the reports that Trump had donated $100,000 to the hate-group leader’s church, as well as a truckload of supplies. Trump’s campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks told the Post that Trump intends to send a personal check to the Church by this coming Friday. Hicks also said that Trump was “responsible” for “donating a truckload of supplies” for the town of St. Amant, Louisiana -- though the Post was unable to independently verify that Trump was behind the truck delivery. The Post was able to confirm that Trump chose Perkins’ church over “a specific fund: the Louisiana Flood Relief Fund, run by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.”

    While the Post did not label FRC a “hate group,” it did highlight FRC’s role in condemning “homosexuality” and “what it calls ‘transgenderism.’” A Media Matters study recently documented that leading newspapers like the Post still have room to improve when describing identified anti-LGBT hate groups.   

  • NY Times Editorial Board Calls Out Texas Attorney General’s “Legal Assaults” On Transgender Equality

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    The New York Times' editorial board criticized Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s recent “bigot[ed]” attacks on transgender people that are based on the “specious” right-wing myth that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people threaten others’ safety.

    On August 23, Paxton filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services seeking to overturn a section of the Affordable Care Act that bars discrimination against transgender people in health insurance and by health providers accepting federal funds. In May, Paxton led another lawsuit challenging the education and justice departments’ joint guidance directing all public schools to provide transgender students with access to sex-segregated facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms, that are consistent with a student’s gender identity.

    In an August 24 editorial, the Times’ editorial board slammed Paxton for his continued attacks on transgender equality. The board noted that Paxton’s team actively “encouraged” a school district to adopt an anti-transgender policy -- even though “there was no controversy surrounding transgender students” in the district-- because the state’s lawyers knew a case there would be assigned to a favorable judge. The board called out Paxton’s lawsuits for being “based on bigotry” and the “specious claim that” transgender protections “pose a threat to the safety of others,” a debunked talking point peddled by anti-LGBT extremists and right-wing media outlets and figures that the Times’ editorial board has repeatedly called out.

    From the editorial:

    Just days after the federal Department of Education in May issued sensible antidiscrimination guidelines for accommodating transgender students, Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, set out to challenge them.

    His team reached out to tiny school districts in North Texas to persuade them to adopt policies that would require transgender students to use bathrooms according to the gender on their birth certificates — which would put them at odds with the Education Department’s new transgender guidelines. Those guidelines direct educators to investigate harassment of transgender students promptly; to use pronouns and names consistent with a student’s gender identity; and to allow transgender students to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

    [...]

    Zeroing in on North Texas, the attorney general’s office encouraged the Harrold Independent School District to adopt an anti-transgender bathroom policy. The choice of district was no accident. Though there was no controversy surrounding transgender students in Harrold, the state’s lawyers knew that any case challenging the federal policy brought there would be assigned to Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

    [...]

    Judge O’Connor on Sunday issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits the Education Department from enforcing its guidelines nationwide. In a 38-page order, he barred the federal government from taking enforcement action against discriminatory policies or practices.

    The ruling, which the Justice Department is expected to appeal, may lead educators around the country to question whether they need to follow the Education Department’s transgender guidelines as the new school year starts. They would be wrong not to; the rules provide a common-sense approach that makes harassment and stigmatization of transgender students less likely.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Paxton is determined to block another important protection for transgender people. On Tuesday, his office filed a new lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services over a regulatory change that sought to expand access to medical care for transgender Americans. This case, too, has been assigned to Judge O’Connor.

    These legal assaults on equal protection for transgender Americans are based on bigotry and the specious claim that they pose a threat to the safety of others. The toll exacted on this vulnerable population is heavy and will remain so as these cases and other litigation involving transgender laws move through the courts.

  • Right-Wing Media: “Lesbian And Transgender Hillbillies” Are The Latest Threat to Conservatism

    ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Right-wing media attacked the Iowa LGBT Rural Summit as possibly the “dumbest” “waste” of taxpayer money to date. Conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh even suggested the summit was a “scam” by the “Obama regime” to “bust up” conservative voting areas of the country by convincing lesbians to become farmers with government subsidies. Iowa’s summit, which was held on August 18, was the 15th in the nationwide LGBT Rural Summit Series, which aims to share information to protect and strengthen LGBT communities in rural areas. 

  • New Research Counters Myth That Banning Discrimination Against LGBT People Is “Economically Harmful”

    Researchers Found Innovators Flock To States That Prevent Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    Recently published research highlighted by the Harvard Business Review found that states with laws that ban employment discrimination against LGBT Americans saw a direct increase in business innovation -- counter to right-wing media myths that such laws result in negative interference in the market.

    According to a study published on June 15 by the journal Management Science, “state-level employment nondiscrimination acts (ENDAs) -- laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity -- spur innovation” among firms headquartered in those states. The study’s authors -- finance professor Huasheng Gao and economist Wei Zhang -- published an op-ed on August 17 in the Harvard Business Review highlighting their findings that states that protect employees with ENDAs see an increase in innovators moving to those states and a boost in business productivity. The research found that “firms headquartered in states that passed ENDAs experienced an 8% increase in the number of patents and an 11% increase in the number of patent citations, relative to firms headquartered in states that did not pass such a law.” The researchers concluded that this change was a result of individuals moving based on their approval or disapproval of the change in the law and theorized that “pro-LGBT individuals are likely to be more creative than the anti-LGBT ones” leading to companies in states that prohibit workplace discrimination having broader access to more creative talent:

    We looked at data for thousands of firms — almost all U.S. public firms that actively filed patents — from 1976 to 2008. We found that the adoption of ENDAs led to a significant increase in innovation output. On average, firms headquartered in states that passed ENDAs experienced an 8% increase in the number of patents and an 11% increase in the number of patent citations, relative to firms headquartered in states that did not pass such a law. These results start to show up two years after the adoption of ENDAs and largely are driven by firms that previously did not implement non-discrimination policies, by firms that operate in human-capital-intensive industries, and by firms in states with large lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations.

    These findings contradict years of right-wing media myths falsely claiming that protecting LGBT people from discrimination curbs free market innovation and hurts business. Daily Signal commentator and Heritage Foundation fellow Ryan Anderson claimed that the passage of nondiscrimination laws for LGBT Americans would “foster economically harmful government interference” and that this interference could result in “potentially discouraging job creation.” In an op-ed for CNN, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council -- an extremist organization designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- pushed the myth that banning discrimination would be be tantamount to “federal government interference in the free market.”

    Right-wing claims that banning employment discrimination against LGBT people would hurt business are often followed with the myth that nondiscrimination laws are unnecessary. The Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby misleadingly argued that, save for “occasional incidents of bigotry … there is no urgent crisis in the treatment of gay and lesbian employees,” because “free markets” have already rooted out systematic discrimination.”

    Contrary to myths promoted by right-wing outlets that ENDAs are unwarranted, the Williams Institute found that “widespread discrimination” against LGBT employees remains a problem in American workplaces. American workers still face discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the results outlined in the Harvard Business Review show that laws prohibiting such discrimination are beneficial to both workers and businesses, regardless of right-wing media claims.

  • After Media Spends Months Pretending Trump Is LGBT Friendly, He Hires Head Of Bigoted Website To Run His Campaign

    New Campaign Chief's Website Breitbart News Regularly Uses Anti-LGBT Slurs, Pedals Anti-Gay Conspiracy Theories, And Features Articles By Anti-LGBT Hate Group Leaders

    ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY & ERIN FITZGERALD

    The Trump presidential campaign’s newest hires, Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon and conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway, further prove Trump’s opposition to LGBT equality even as media whitewash Trump’s record on LGBT issues. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News regularly used anti-LGBT slurs, peddled anti-gay conspiracy theories, and featured articles by anti-LGBT hate group leaders.

  • The “Vital” Findings From The Justice Department’s Baltimore Investigation You May Not Have Heard
     

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    The Baltimore Police Department routinely mistreated and harassed transgender people, confirming what many in the community have been reporting for years, according to a Justice Department report highlighted by the Baltimore City Paper.

    The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an investigation of the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) after Freddie Gray died in police custody 14 months ago. The findings were released in an August 10 report which concluded that the BPD engaged in unconstitutional stop and frisks, racially-biased policing, and use of excessive force, which are enabled by “systemic deficiencies” and lack of accountability. During the investigation, there were “allegations of BPD officers’ mistreatment of transgender individuals” and “concerns that BPD’s interactions with transgender individuals reflect underlying unlawful gender bias.”

    Baltimore City Paper highlighted the importance of the findings and confirmation of BPD’s anti-transgender bias in an August 11 blog post. In the report, members of the transgender community described a pattern of dehumanizing and degrading interactions with the BPD, including inappropriate searches. For example, during a traffic stop a trans woman was intentionally misgendered by an officer:

    Specifically, it details a December 2015 traffic stop wherein a transgender woman was misgendered and then harassed in police custody. During the stop, she was asked about her pronoun and told the officer that her pronoun was "she," and the officer still referred to her as "him." When this woman arrived at intake the report goes on, a supervisor (who was a woman) said, "I am not here for this shit. I am not searching that." When the woman objected to be talked to like that, the supervisor told her, "like I said, I don’t know you. I don’t know if you’re a boy or a girl. And I really don’t care, I am not searching you."

    City Paper goes on to explain that the DOJ report is especially important for LGBT people because it confirms the reports and anecdotal evidence of targeted policing, particularly of trans women of color:

    What the DOJ report does not mention but is frequently mentioned by the trans community is the amount of searches performed by police simply because someone is trans, especially a trans woman, and even more so if they are a trans woman of color. Moreover, there is a particular kind of harassment by police endured by trans sex workers or even those assumed to be sex workers, which it seems, is any trans woman the police decide could be a sex worker. Being trans appears to be enough evidence that you should be searched and often, possessing condoms and being trans is enough to get you arrested, as many publications have reported over the years.

    […]

    The DOJ's look at how the Baltimore Police consistently mistreats the trans community is vital. It is also, like most of the DOJ report, nothing new to those enduring police abuse and harassment. What was well-known within the LGBTQ community and what has been an impossible-to-ignore accumulation of anecdotes ABOUT this kind of police misconduct is now even more clear thanks to the DOJ report.

  • Orlando Sentinel Highlights Trump, Rubio Headlining Rally With “Anti-LGBT Extremist” Groups

    Blog ››› ››› ABBY BLACHMAN & MARLEE PITTMAN

    The Orlando Sentinel highlighted the “anti-LGBT extremist[s]” speaking with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at a two day event in Orlando, FL, this week. The Sentinel elevated the voices of LGBT rights advocates protesting the event, which comes just two-months after a gunman killed 49 people at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando.

    The “Rediscovering God in America Renew Project” event is being held on August 11-12 and coincides with the two-month anniversary of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. Trump and Rubio are headlining the event alongside several anti-LGBT speakers, including a pseudo historian who claims that God is preventing scientists from finding a cure for HIV/AIDS as a “consequence” of “homosexual behavior.” The anti-LGBT rally is financed by the American Family Association and promoted by the Liberty Counsel -- both designated as anti-LGBT hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

    While many Florida outlets initially failed to report on the event’s ties to anti-LGBT speakers and the rally’s insensitive timing, Florida newspapers have recently called out the event’s extremism. In an August 11 report, the Orlando Sentinel spotlighted the anti-LGBT activists speaking at the event and included perspectives from LGBT advocates and family members of victims of the tragedy in Orlando. Celia Ruiz, who lost her brother at the Pulse massacre, called the event a “slap in the face to me, to my family, to the 49 other families, to the 53 survivors, to all of the people that were there [and] to the Orlando community.” The Sentinel added that event speaker Mat Staver is the founder of an SPLC-designated “anti-LGBT extremist group.”

    From the August 11 edition of the Orlando Sentinel:

    Faith leaders and gay rights activists led a protest Thursday morning, denouncing a gathering of evangelical pastors in Orlando where U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are expected to speak.

    "This conference and all of its speakers are fueling the fires of homegrown bigotry," said Carlos Guillermo Smith, of Equality Florida. "It's a bigotry that dehumanizes LGBT people and paves the way for discrimination and violence."

    The two-day event, entitled "Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project," began Thursday at the Hyatt Regency on International Drive, sponsored by the Florida Renewal Project.

    Among those announced to speak at the conference was Mat Staver, founder of Maitland-based Liberty Counsel, which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers an anti-LGBT extremist group, though Liberty Counsel denies that label.

    [...]

    After Rubio was announced as the conference's featured speaker, Florida Democrats called for him to apologize to the gay community in a statement describing the event as "an anti-LGBT rally." Rubio responded that it was "nothing of the sort."

    "The event I will be speaking at in Orlando is a gathering of local pastors and faith leaders," he said in a statement.

    However, local gay-rights activists were not convinced.

    They were joined Thursday by Celia Ruiz, whose brother Juan Ramon Guerrero was among those killed at Pulse. Rubio and Trump, she said, are "attending this conference that promotes hate and intolerance to the LGBT people."

    "This is a slap in the face to me, to my family, to the 49 other families, to the 53 survivors, to all of the people that were there [and] to the Orlando community," she said.

    Said Smith: "Our message to Donald Trump and Marco Rubio is simple: If you care about the LGBT community, help us disarm hate and uproot bigotry with action, or you're going to have a hell of a wake-up call come November."

  • Radio Host Steve Deace Attacks "LGBTWTF" For Not Supporting Incest

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Influential radio host and frequent MSNBC guest Steve Deace wrote a blog attacking the “rainbow jihad” and “LGBTWTF gender-bending train” for not supporting incest.

    In a August 10 blog post for the Conservative Review, Steve Deace, a radio host and former Ted Cruz surrogate, criticized what he calls the “LGBTWTF” community for not supporting “a mom and her son who like to get busy with one another.” Deace frequently appears as a guest commentator on MSNBC, despite having mocked the network in commentary pieces for conservative newspapers and blogs.

    Deace, who recently called transgender right activist Sarah McBride “freak show” and “the cross-dressing dude” after her historic Democratic convention speech, has a long history of anti-LGBT extremism. Deace has called being gay a "death sentence unto itself," described gay activists as "homo-fascists," argued that gay people should be disqualified from serving as judges, praised laws that criminalized gay sex, and even promoted an article that accused Obama of being secretly gay.

    In his latest letter to the “rainbow jihad,” Deace asked “precious snowflakes/social justice warriors” to explain why the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution applies to “the homosexual couple recently ‘married’ by Vice President Joe Biden” but not to an incestuous relationship. In the blog, Deace also referred to transgender women as “men in skirts and lipstick fulfilling their fantasies in the girls’ bathroom” and misgendered reality TV star and former olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner as “Bruce”:

    Dear Rainbow Jihad,

    Why isn’t there any room at the end of your LGBTQWTF gender-bending train for a mom and her son who like to get busy with one another? Where do you get off denying consenting adults their feelings?

    After all, “love is love” and “same love” and all that, right?

    If the government has no power to discriminate against relationships involving two consenting adults of the same gender, then why does it have the power to discriminate against two consenting adults at all?

    Comments on at least one progressive website are calling this incestuous New Mexico hook up icky and gross. Um, why, pray tell? Whatever happened to “love wins?”

    Or have you been lying to us this whole time?

    Because it seems to me poor Monica Mares, 36, and her son Caleb Peterson, 19 — who Mares didn’t raise and offered up for adoption after she had him as a teenager — are cruel victims of a terrible double standard. They face up to 18 months in prison if found guilty of incest at a trial next month. But all they have done since they reunited with each other last Christmas is love each other. They lived happily together in Mares' mobile home with her two youngest children, and Mares' youngest son even began calling Peterson (his brother) 'dad'.

    A little strange perhaps, but in a world of ‘my two daddies’ and Bruce Jenner winning ‘woman of the year’ honors, I would have thought ‘who am I to judge’ was standard-issue moralizing by now.

    [...]

    I sincerely hope you precious snowflakes/social justice warriors aren’t just as guilty of “discrimination” as those bitterly clinging to their guns and their Bibles. Where is your sense of diversity? Your desire for tolerance? Where is your ‘get your government out of my bedroom and my ovaries now? Where is your sense of justice here?

    [...]

    You’ve already heroically shut down businesses for not participating in homosexuality, as well as moved the NBA all-star game because North Carolina dared to deny men in skirts and lipstick fulfilling their fantasies in the girls’ bathroom. So what on earth are you waiting for? Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

    Not to mention fair is fair. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    So get equal already. If this applies to the homosexual couple recently “married” by Vice President Joe Biden, please explain why it doesn’t apply to Mares-Peterson. And no, crickets chirping isn’t an answer. Let freedom ring!

  • Texas Outlet Willfully Misgenders Transgender Murder Victim And Calls Her By The Wrong Name

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    ABC El Paso affiliate KVIA ignored widely accepted journalistic standards in its report on the homicide of a transgender woman of color, misgendering the victim as a “man” named “Eric,” despite reporting that her neighbors and family called her “Erykah.” The article is part of a widespread problem of local news reports misgendering transgender victims of violence.

    Erykah Tijerina, a 36-year-old transgender woman of color, was found dead in her El Paso, TX, apartment on August 8. While police haven’t yet released all the details of the case, they said they are investigating Tijerina’s death as a homicide and that they found “obvious signs of foul play” in her apartment. Tijerina’s friends and family members told El Paso outlet KFOX that they fear Tijerina was targeted because she was transgender.

    In its August 9 report on Tijerina’s murder, El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA repeatedly misgendered Erykah and referred to her “Eric/Erykah” in the article’s headline. Despite mentioning online posts in which Tijerina’s sister declared her love for her “sis Erykah” and noting that Tijerina “went by ‘Erykah,’” KVIA called Tijerina a “man” named “Eric” who “dressed in women’s clothing”:

    Before releasing furthers details, police are waiting for the Medical Examiner to say what killed a 36-year-old man whose body was found inside a unit of a South-Central El Paso housing complex.

    A witness spotted the body of Eric Tijerina about 8:25 p.m. Monday at the Rio Grande Community apartments on the 200 block of Lisbon Street, police said. The witness waved down an officer, who according to a police news release, immediately suspected foul play.

    ABC-7 spoke to Tijerina's next-door neighbor, who said Tijerina often dressed in women's clothing. According to viewers, Tijerina went by "Erykah."

    In a Facebook post, a woman who identified herself as Tijerina's sister said she was shocked to learn her sister "Erykah Monroe," had been murdered.

    [...]

    "I hope we can get justice for that one man who killed her she didn't deserve that," Tijerina Gonzalez wrote. "She is now in heaven with my mom they are together in peace their [sic] my angels rip I will always miss you and I'll always remember you taught me to love my self. I love sis Erykah Monroe."

    Misgendering a transgender person violates journalistic guidelines established by the Associated Press, The New York Times, GLAAD, and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, which all instruct journalists to refer to transgender people by their chosen names and pronouns. Yet some local and national outlets continue to violate these standards, sometimes even defending the practice with shoddy appeals to journalistic integrity.

    An unprecedented number of transgender women were murdered in 2015, and this year the continuing wave of anti-trans violence is on track to be just as deadly, if not more so. Given the context, it’s more important than ever for reporters to accurately and responsibly identify transgender people -- especially victims of violence.