Is it Wrong to Prevent Lesbian Babies?

Most people within the LGBT community believe that homosexuality is a result of nature. But what are the implications of that belief? Can homosexuality be cured?

Research to cure homosexuality has been shunned by the LGBT community. When scientists attempted to change the orientation of gay sheep, it resulted in outrage. Should scientists be allowed to conduct research that can so easily be misused?

The controversial nature of this work hasn’t stopped pediatric endocrinologist Maria New. Dr. New, who graduated from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Florida International University, has been treating pregnant women with an experimental hormone in an attempt to prevent the birth of girls who like other girls, have an “abnormal” disinterest in babies, or exhibit behaviors or preferences that are “too masculine.” New claims that heterosexuality is akin to “normal sexual development” and that nothing should stop women from becoming mothers when they have “all the machinery for motherhood.”

New’s philosophy suggests that all women should be heterosexual, feminine, and involved in stereotypically female work. New is intervening with nature and preventing natural diversity by imposing her morality on others.

And she’s doing it at the risk of the health of children. Apparently, preventing homosexuality is more important than children’s health.

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Newlywed Lesbian Denied Name Change

Oftentimes, when two couples get married, one changes their last name to reflect their marriage. But when Traci Turpin from Knoxville married her partner in Washington, D.C., and tried to change her name to reflect her legal marriage, she didn’t predict the discrimination she was about to face.

The couple returned to Tennessee after their marriage in D.C. Turpin successfully had her last name legally changed to that of her partner at Tennessee’s Social Security office. Then, she went to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to change the name on her license. But they refused to honor her name change.

They initially gave her a new license, but she was stopped before leaving and told to return the license. When she wouldn’t return the license, the DMV called highway patrolmen. Defeated, she returned the license and received a new license with her old last name.

In Tennessee, the State Department of Safety requires two documents for a name change: a current license and a certified document showing reason for a name change. Turpin used her marriage license to show the reason for her name change. But since Tennessee doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, the document was considered invalid.

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When Musicals Tackle Transgender Equality and Acceptance

Considering the success of the musicals Rent and Avenue Q, it perhaps isn’t surprising for a musical to have gay or transgender themes. What is surprising is when the musical pops up in the middle of Kentucky. The Kentucky Center, in Louisville, is showing a musical about a transgender woman living as a member of a southern Indiana family.

The musical follows the transition of a transgender woman, Miyia O’Bannon. Miyia felt like a woman from an early age and attempted suicide as a teenager. In The Prodigal, Miyia’s family goes through a journey to understand, accept, and love her.

Miyia’s mother, Sheila O’Bannon, is a church music minister. She wrote the music and script and named the musical after the biblical story of the prodigal son. In that story, the son leaves his family and squanders his inheritance, but is still eventually welcomed back into his father’s home. The older brother, of course, gets upset at his father’s quick forgiveness. In the musical, Sheila was much like the older brother in the biblical story. She didn’t understand Miyia’s identity but eventually grew to accept it through love. The O’Bannon family explains that the story of the prodigal son can apply to anyone, and describes that God loves everyone no matter what.

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Using Artwork to Advocate for LGBT Equality

This month, many supporters of LGBT rights around the country are calling for equality at pride parades. Some advocates are signing petitions to influence legislators, while others are gathering and writing information to spread awareness about LGBT issues. Meanwhile, many artists are using their craft as a way of expressing ideas about LGBT people.

Jeff Sheng, a photographer based in Los Angeles, is almost finished with a huge project portraying LGBT athletes. In his “Fearless” project, he has already photographed over 100 LGBT high school and college athletes from North America. Sheng has had exhibitions at various high schools and colleges, as well as the ESPN headquarters, the 2009 LGBT Human Rights Conference, and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Change.org writer Cristian Asher wrote about Sheng’s more recent “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” project, which is focused on photographing LGBT military personnel.

On the other side of the globe, an arts festival called Gaywise FESTival, which takes place in July, will organize UK artists who support LGBT equality to help address the needs of LGBT artists. The festival is a celebration of LGBT art and culture, and a visible recognition of the contributions of LGBT artists.

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New York State Senate Votes to Eliminate Bullying

Last night the New York State Senate approved a bill that will protect LGBT students from bullying and harassment. The Dignity for All Students Act, approved by an overwhelming 58 to 3 vote, includes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Earlier this year, the bill was approved by the Assembly in a vote of 138 to 4, and now needs to be signed into law by the governor in order to pass. Governor David Paterson, a huge supporter of gay rights, is expected to sign the bill. If he does so, it will take effect July 1, 2012.

The Act would allow bullying that interferes with student safety and learning to be properly addressed by school administrators. Schools will be expected to develop rules to prevent and respond to bullying, harassment, and violence, leading to training guidelines for staff, teachers, and administrators to prevent bullying and will require that schools report any incidents of harassment to the State Education Department. The bill will also call for character education curricula to include discrimination awareness.

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Transgender Woman Granted Equal Pension

Christine Timbrell, a transgender woman from the United Kingdom, had sex change surgery and then changed her name to reflect her gender when she was 59 years old. Timbrell has been married to a woman for over 40 years, starting much before her transition. Timbrell transitioned with the knowledge and consent of her wife and they maintained a happy marriage post-transition.

But their marriage makes the transition process more difficult for Timbrell. UK legislation passed in 2004 allows transgender people to have their gender legally recognized. But it also contains a caveat to prevent gay marriages — married transgender people can only apply to have their gender recognized if their previous marriages are annulled or dissolved.

Timbrell chose to remain with her wife, forfeiting her legal right to be viewed as a woman. That basically meant that Timbrell faced the choice of either losing legal recognition of her marriage, or being unable to have her gender legally recognized.

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Creating a Cultural Center for Queer Youth in Seattle

Queer youth are often forced to stay in the closet by closed-minded parents, schools, friends and communities. Those who come out of the closet often fall victim to teasing and harassment. Some queer youth find themselves with no safe space to go to and no community to turn to.

So it’s almost a no-brainer that queer youth need a space to connect with the LGBT community and get relevant resources. The City of Seattle made an exciting decision that will help out its LGBT youth, providing them with the safe space and resources they need.

Seattle recommended that Queer Youth Space receive almost $100,000 to create a cultural center on Capitol Hill. The cultural center will be created as a part of the Three Wings Proposal. The center will be youth-led and offer a space for cultural arts and activism. The $100,000 is a Large Project Fund, supplied by the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods.

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Remembering Asexuals As a Part of GLBTQAI

If you tell someone that you’re asexual, they’ll probably give you a confused look. If you search the news for asexual, you’ll find gossip related to Lady Gaga or Elena Kagan, scientific research on asexual reproduction in rotifers, or perhaps a study on parents thinking their kids aren’t sexually active. There are only rare articles that actually seriously discuss asexuality. Even in the LGBT community, asexuals are often ignored, invisible, and misunderstood.

But asexuality is a valid sexual orientation, much like homosexuality or bisexuality. Asexuals don’t experience sexual attraction, but their needs and desires are otherwise similar to sexual people. Many asexual people are attracted to others, they just don’t associate attraction to someone with sexual desires. Some asexuals seek nonsexual romantic relationships to fulfill their emotional needs. Asexual people vary in their arousal; some experience little or no arousal, while others are aroused but don’t associate arousal with desire to be sexual with a partner.

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The First Transgender Trial Judge in the United States?

Our judges determine how to interpret the law, ultimately determining what’s legal and illegal. It’s important for a judge to be unbiased and to separate their personal feelings from their interpretations of the law. While some feel this is justification for having primarily white male judges, there is no real reason why judges shouldn’t span a wide group of people, representing the diverse population in the United States.

A transgender woman may make history as the first transgender trial court judge in the United States. Victoria Kolakowski is running for superior court judge in Alameda County, California. She’s up against former district attorney John Creighton in a runoff election scheduled for November 2. In an election held in California earlier this month, Kolakowski beat Creighton by 13 percentage points (45-32), but didn’t win a majority of the vote, necessitating the runoff. If she wins on November 2, she also would be the first LGBT superior court judge and the first openly LGBT person elected in Alameda County.

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Denny’s Problem With Transgender Women

For most people, using a public restroom is simple. But for transgender people, it’s often a dangerous and degrading activity. Transgender people can face anything from awkward stares to full-on physical attacks from prejudiced people in the restroom. Given the difficulties transgender people face in choosing a restroom, it’s especially important that they can use the restroom where they are most comfortable.

A transgender woman in Auburn, Maine was banned from using the women’s restroom at Denny’s and is now suing Denny’s. Brianna Freeman doesn’t want monetary compensation, however; she’s suing just for the right to use the women’s room.

Freeman lives and dresses as a woman, sees a counselor three times a month, and takes daily hormone treatments. She has not yet had gender reassignment surgery, but she lives as a woman. Freeman used the women’s room at Denny’s for up to a year before the restaurant manager asked her to stop in October 2007.

Freeman feels that using the men’s restroom would be dangerous for her. “I would feel too vulnerable and very much at physical risk of being attacked by any of the male patrons,” Freeman says. “I’m not willing to take that chance.”

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