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Congressional forum on violence against transgender community

Top stories (Week of 11/19/15)

Why Money Didn’t Dry Up for LGBT Organizations
By Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate

“Marriage has also been unusual; philanthropists generally tend to be more apolitical in their giving, and same-sex marriage has always been viewed as a politicized issue. The fact that marriage equality was able to attract foundation funding at all is a very good sign for what’s possible in the future on other LGBT issues.”

“Whereas marriage giving has mostly leveled out in recent years, overall LGBT foundation funding has grown quite rapidly over the past decade, from about $30 million in the early ’00s to $130 million in 2013.”

“The flip side is that there’s still plenty of room for growth, since LGBT funding still represents only about a quarter of 1 percent of total foundation giving in the U.S., which is closer to $50 billion a year.”

VA opens first health clinic for transgender veterans
By Mary Brophy Marcus, CBS News

“Transgender veterans will be able to receive primary care, hormonal therapy, mental health care and other services at The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, starting this month.”

“Dr. Megan McNamara, a primary care and women’s health doctor who began working with transgender patients a couple of years ago, will head up the clinic. Her team will be made up of other VA staffers including a nurse, psychologist and social worker.”

“McNamara said studies show that the number of transgender veterans seeking services at the VA is five times higher than it is in the non-veteran population.”

“‘I feel there are a lot of transgender patients in the veteran population who haven’t been able to find the care they need,’ she said. ‘I really want to be able to provide comprehensive, one-stop care for those patients in a welcoming environment.'”

Congressional Forum to Investigate ‘Epidemic of Violence’ Against Transgender People
By Dawn Ennis, The Advocate

“As the transgender community prepares to mark one of its darkest days on the calendar — the Transgender Day of Remembrance — members of the House LGBT Equality Caucus announced this morning they will hold the first-ever congressional forum on violence against  transgender people next week.”

“Rep. Mike Honda of California — whose granddaughter is trans — said in a statement he will chair this effort to raise awareness of the issues facing the transgender community.”

“’This week, as we seek to raise awareness of the issues facing the trans community, it is important to renew our commitment to help trans individuals be free of the fear of violence or bullying just for being who they are,’ said Congressman Honda. ‘It is my hope that by launching this workforce and holding a first-ever forum, we will reach some of my colleagues and encourage them to stand with the trans community. It is only through social change that we can truly elevate the conversation in this country and reach a place of true understanding and embrace all people for who they are.’”

Transgender woman wins victory in Atlanta immigration courts
By Patrick Saunders, The Georgia Voice

“A transgender woman’s longtime quest to live in the United States after fearing for her life in her native Honduras is finally over. On Oct. 22, the Atlanta Immigration Court granted a withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture, ruling that Marisela Castro would “more likely than not” suffer persecution if she returned to her home country.”

“The case dates back to early 2012, when the Georgia Asylum Immigration Network referred the matter to the law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, who agreed to take it on pro bono. But Castro’s journey to escape Honduras and live in America began long before the matter ever landed in a courtroom.”

New powerful documentary examines LGBTQ life inside the Black church
By Trina Zongker, LGBTQ Nation

“’I believe that the enemy has invaded them. I just don’t think they were born that way.”’

“This commentary is the opening line of ‘Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church’, a new movie which frames the stories and problems young African American LGTBQ lives of the Black Church.”

“In the realm of humanity and LGTBQ rights, slow strides are being made in regards of awareness of the amount of physical and mental abuse faced by black youth. Many continuously endure the tribulations of devout faith, religion, and their own sexual identities.”

“’The church is a root of African American culture…’ said Clay Cane, the documentary’s developer and producer. ‘What happens to a person when they are taught they are an abomination? How can someone value their life when they are told that their existence is a sin?’”

WNC school suspends all clubs after parents question LGBT group
By The Associated Press, Asheville Citizen-Times (North Carolina)

“After parents complained about a newly formed Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Club at Rutherford County K-12 public charter school, the school’s board of directors suspended all clubs’ activities.”

“Parents, teachers, pastors and concerned citizens voiced a mix of opinions to the club during Lake Lure Classical Academy’s regular board of directors meeting Thursday.”

“The board voted 5-3 to suspend all club activity until it can seek legal counsel on club protocol.”

“Visual arts teacher Layne Long said she allowed a female student to hold the club’s meetings in her classroom and gave the student a poster from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to display. One grandmother complained that the poster meant she had to explain the meaning of “gay” and “lesbian” to her elementary school grandchild.”

“’This is not a religious club. This is a human rights club,’ Long said. ‘My father is a Christian and I’ve been brought up to understand that God is love. Jesus wants to help people.’”

Duke student threatened with death speaks out
By Steven Petrow, The Washington Post

“At about 3 a.m. on Nov. 5, someone scrawled graffiti in a Duke University freshman dorm. It read, “Death to all fags @Jack.” “Jack” is Jack Donahue, 18, a gay first-year student at the elite Southern university that has witnessed multiple episodes of well-publicized racism in recent months and now this anti-LGBT hatred. “What this tells me is that it’s still not okay to be queer [at Duke]. To talk gay, to dress gay or be gay,” said Tyler Nelson, president of the LGBT student group Blue Devils United, at a rally in support of Donahue. “

Read of the Week

Hating Queerness without Hating the Queer
By Emma Green, The Atlantic

“It’s a somewhat novel approach to being an evangelical in public life: engaging debates about sexuality on their own terms. As [Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president, Albert] Mohler himself admits, this hasn’t always been the case. “While Christians were secure in a cultural consensus that was negative toward same-sex acts and same-sex relationships, we didn’t have to worry too much about understanding our neighbors,” he said. “We did horribly oversimplify the issue.” Now that norms around LGBT issues are changing, evangelicals can no longer afford that kind of glibness, but it’s tricky to balance civility with steadfastness. Mohler said he’s not “trying to launch Culture War II,” but he also doesn’t want evangelicals to back down on their beliefs. ‘Christians have not had to demonstrate patience, culturally speaking, in a very long time. The kind of work and witness we’re called to—it could take a very long time to show effects.’”

“The cultural project he’s proposing is complicated, both intellectually and politically. But it’s most complicated because it’s uncomfortable. For so long, evangelical Christians implicitly owned American culture. Now, Mohler and co. are asking to be taken seriously by the new moral majority, whose lifestyles, marriages, and families they deeply oppose.”

In this weekly newsletter, the Campaign for Southern Equality highlights the voices and experiences of LGBT people living in the South. Send feedback and story tips to

TDOR 2015 in Asheville

Our community’s observance of the 17th International Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held in downtown Asheville, at Pritchard Park at 7:00 pm on Saturday, November 21, 2015.

Organized by Tranzmission with support from The Campaign for Southern Equality, LGBTJew, and Umbrella Tree Records, this local event will be among of many observances around the world.

The 17th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance will honor and memorialize transgender and gender variant victims of transphobic violence in the previous 12 months. The event was first held in 1999 to memorialize the death of Massachusetts trans woman Rita Hester, whose murder remains unsolved. It has since grown into an international event to draw attention to the issue of anti-transgender violence.

The Facebook event page is at

For more information about The Transgender Day of Remembrance and Tranzmission, please contact Brynn Estelle by email at

What Hattiesburg’s First Pride Parade Means for the LGBT South

Post-marriage we have a lot of work to do. We’ve all known that our work in the South wasn’t going to end with one court ruling, no matter how historically significant and validating it was. Our next phase of work is more nuanced and and more particular to each local community we work in.

For example why is it so important and so vital to celebrate the first ever Pride parade in Hattiesburg? On the surface, that’s an easy question to answer.

What is not awesome about a Pride parade in Mississippi?

But what happens behind the scenes is often more telling, more dynamic. For a glimpse into our travels across the Deep South please read this new article by our Executive Director, Rev. Jasmine beach-Ferrara.

This is the South right now. Bias nakedly expressed rather than hidden, a spring loaded tension in public life. People and communities that are full of promise, full of hope. New leaders doing incredible work, changing this place, starting new public conversations. The change that is possible will come from the South, from Southern leaders who know and understand this place, who call it home, who have no plans to leave.

If we believe that our public lives matter, that the ghosts of the past co-mingle with the new realities we create, then Hattiesburg changed on October 10. LGBT people became, in a new way, part of the the city’s public life.

It gets at the heart of the work ahead of us in the LGBT South.

White House endorses Equality Act, Miss. adoption hearing

Top stories (Week of 11/12/15)

White House Endorses LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill By Ruby Mellen, Huffington Post

“The White House has endorsed historic legislation that would give lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals full federal protection from discrimination, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.”

“‘It is now clear that the administration strongly supports the Equality Act,’ Earnest said at a briefing. ‘That bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans’.”

“The Equality Act of 2015, which was introduced to Congress in July, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity as federally protected categories. The amended law would ban the discrimination of LGBT individuals from areas such as housing, public accommodations and some employment.”

Mormons Sharpen Stand Against Same-Sex Marriage By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

“Children of same-sex couples will not be able to join the Mormon Church until they turn 18 — and only if they move out of their parents’ homes, disavow all same-sex relationships and receive approval from the church’s top leadership as part of a new policy adopted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

“In addition, Mormons in same-sex marriages will be considered apostates and ordered to undergo church disciplinary hearings that could lead to excommunication, a more rigid approach than the church has taken in the past.”

“The new policies are an effort by the church, which has long opposed same-sex marriage, to reinforce and even harden its doctrinal boundaries for its members at a time when small but increasing numbers of Mormons are coming out as gay or supportive of same-sex marriage.”

What Hattiesburg’s First . . . → Read More: White House endorses Equality Act, Miss. adoption hearing

Registration open for the 2016 LGBT* in the South conference

Registration is now open for the 2016 LGBT* in the South conference taking place March 18-20 in Asheville, North Carolina!

Each year at the LGBT* in the South conference, hundreds have gathered in Asheville to learn, share skills, build strategy and connect with others. The fight for full LGBT* equality in the South is far from over, but together we can get there.

The registration fee ranges from $20 to $250 depending on whether you’re a student, non-profit professional, organizer or an attorney.

Through workshops, grassroots caucuses and other coordinated events, the annual LGBT* in the South conference offers an opportunity for dialogue, analysis and strategy sharing about emerging LGBT* issues in the South; as well as direct training, networking opportunities and support to LGBT* Southern grassroots leaders and to practitioners across disciplines who serve the LGBT* community, and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) sessions for attorneys on topics of LGBT* law.

The annual LGBT* in the South conference is a project of the Campaign for Southern Equality and is planned in partnership with a conference Advisory Committee representative of the diverse Southern LGBT* community.