Here’s some news for you!
+ Keyshia Blige, a black transgender woman, has become the 19th DMAB trans person murdered in the US this year. She was killed in March, shot while in a moving car, but the details of her true gender were reported only recently. She is joined in this terrible respect by Jasmine Collins, the 18th, killed in a motel parking lot, in Kansas City; Collins was killed in June, but again her gender was only recently reported accurately. It’s hard to find anything to say that will truly honor the deep grief that these deaths deserve from the living and also really communicate the degree of extreme violence against TWOC that these murders represent. We can, however, take action to support and protect TWOC while they’re still alive.
+ At a press conference, Donald Trump refused to answer a question about his immigration plan (“immigration plan”) from Jorge Ramos, a longtime anchor of Noticiero Univision.
When Ramos tried to ask a question about the feasibility of Trump’s ludicrous and harmful proposed policies around immigration, which include ending birthright citizenship, Trump told him he couldn’t speak because he wasn’t called on, and had him escorted out of the the press conference — a press conference, an event which is designed specifically around the phenomenon of journalists asking questions. Ramos was eventually invited back, “where he sparred with Trump over the Republican candidate’s immigration proposals” according to the LA Times.
Jorge Ramos has anchored Noticiero Univision for almost thirty years, which more than 2 million people watch nightly according to Nielsen ratings. In 2012, Ramos wrote an open letter to the GOP, which told them “Unless your party changes its unreasonable anti-immigrant stance, your party will likely be shut out of the White House for generations… We will never forget that the GOP supported the passage of terrible anti-immigrant laws in Arizona, Alabama and Georgia, nor that you backed the actions of Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., who is now being sued by the Justice Department for allegedly engaging in policing practices that singled out Hispanics.”
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, who is great, has a piece about Ramos and why his objectivity and commitment to ethical journalism should be respected, and why dismissing his coverage of Trump, any other candidate, or immigration reform because he’s an immigrant from Mexico is racist and flawed. I would recommend reading it.
+ A study from the University of Notre Dame finds that women are more likely to shift their sexual orientation over time, and also more likely to self-identify as bisexual.
+ Rentboy.com, a website upon which male full-service sex workers (often providing services to other men) advertised, has been shut down by the Department of Homeland Security; the charge seems to be “conspiring to promote prostitution.” Many have noted that while criminal prosecution of activities related to sex work is often justified by concerns about sex trafficking, no one seems to have brought up that concern here (even though it’s certainly not inconceivable for men to be trafficked for sex), which may suggest that concerns about sex trafficking aren’t universally sincere and are more often invoked as a reason to control female sex workers.
+ Lauren Brown, a highly-regarded employee at St. Mary’s prep school in Portland OR, appears to have been fired for being gay. Brown was thought highly of when she was offered a job as a guidance counselor at St. Mary’s, but when she asked a school official what would happen if she were to marry her girlfriend, the job offer was withdrawn and she was asked to sign paperwork stating that “her “intent to enter into a same-sex marriage” was why she lost her job.”
St. Mary’s sent her a contract in July. On July 22, Brown received an email from an administrator, asking her to complete a biography. “Tell us about your spouse,” says the email Brown showed WW. “Tell us about your children. Talk to us about YOU! It’s your choice as to what you would like to share!” The next day, Brown says, Clark called to encourage Brown to consider applying for an even more prominent job, director of admissions.
Brown says she asked Clark in that phone call what she should say in her biography, since she has a girlfriend. Brown also asked: Would she be allowed to bring her girlfriend to school events? What if she got married? She says Clark told her that was uncharted territory, but that Clark would support her.
Brown says Clark called back July 30 with a different message: “It may not work out.” Brown met with Clark and Friedhoff at St. Mary’s on Aug. 4. She says the meeting lasted more than three hours, with both women pressuring her to sign a separation agreement that offered her six months’ salary in return for a promise not to sue the school or talk about why she lost the job.
Late last night, the school rescinded the policy it quoted to Brown and has added sexual orientation to its equal employment opportunity policy.
“This evening the board of St. Mary’s Academy voted unanimously to support the administration’s recommendation to amend and broaden St. Mary’s policy on equal employment, bringing our employment policies in line with our mission and beliefs. Effective immediately, St. Mary’s has added sexual orientation to its equal employment opportunity policy. St. Mary’s is a diverse community that welcomes and includes gay and lesbian students, faculty, alumnae, parents and friends, including those that are married. We are proud of our work preparing the next generation of women leaders for service and leadership. We are still deeply committed to our Catholic identity.”
+ A street near Prairie View A&M University, where Sandra Bland had recently accepted a job, will be named after her.
+ Feministing has a piece on Cecilia Pineda and her infographic #FloodTheSystem, which illustrates the links between climate change and the prison system.
+ In Saudi Arabia, two women were registered to vote for the first time; a royal decree in 2011 allowed that women could vote and run in municipal elections starting in 2015. (Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, so no one can vote on national leaders or issues, but local/municipal ones.) Women there still cannot drive, nor can they travel, work outside the home or access other privileges without explicit male permission.
+ Walmart will no longer be selling assault weapons, the high-powered firearms often used in mass shootings in the US, when it restocks its fall merchandise. Walmart says this decision has nothing to do with mass shootings, but is a strictly business-related one.
+ In the ongoing saga of Kim Davis, an appeals court has upheld the original Kentucky court decision and required the Kentucky county clerk to issue marriage licenses, even to same-sex couples. Kim Davis had previously stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage for religious reasons.
+ Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro, previously featured in this column for his effort to ban children’s books featuring same-sex families, says there will never be a gay pride parade in Venice.
“Venice is not his city. At the moment he is governing it, but he won’t last long given the fool he is making of himself,” said [Italy’s rights group] Arcigay’s president, Flavio Romani. “He is becoming obsessive about this. Venice does not deserve it.”
+ Two gay men from Syria and Iraq respectively, Subhi Nahas and “Adnan,” who used a pseudonym for his own safety, testified in front of the UN this week on the danger that LGBT people face in ISIS-held areas.
Nahas described how attacks on gay people in Syria ramped up in 2011 as rebel militias and armed groups, as well as Syrian government troops, arrested and beat gay men in bars, parks and other locations known for being frequented by LGBT people. In 2012, Nahas was arrested along with 11 others at a government checkpoint while on his way to university. He said he was held longer than the others as soldiers mocked him for being gay before letting him go after a few hours.
After his detention, Nahas went back home. His father became increasingly violent toward him and he was afraid to go out.
A few months later Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian militant group linked to Al-Qaeda, took control of Nahas’s hometown, Idlib, and vowed to cleanse the city “of everyone who was involved in sodomy,” Nahas said. “I was terrified that would be my fate,” Nahas told Newsweek on Tuesday.
+ A girls’ high school in New South Wales, Australia had planned on showing its students a documentary about same-sex parenting called Gayby Baby for Wear It Purple Day, which has been celebrated in schools for years. Although no parents of any pupils complained, the Daily Telegraph covered the screening of the documentary with the claim that there was a “backlash from parents” and that “gay push should be kept out of schools. Thanks to the Daily Telegraph, NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has banned the showing of the film during school hours.
+ Also in Australia, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she supports same-sex marriage and does not support having a voter referendum on the issue, which is
what current Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to have. Unfortunately, Gillard’s stance on these issues is less than super useful now that she is no longer in office.
+ Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson passed away on Wednesday at the age of 104. Boynton Robinson was in attendance at the march to Selma across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and was among those brutally beaten in 1965. She passed away in Montgomery, Alabama, surrounded by loved ones.