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Second Chance For Trans Representation On Television.


      Interesting read, and a good hope for more awareness of trans issues.

      There are so many great examples of nuanced trans characters on television right now, but only a handful of those are transmasculine. The majority of Americans say they’ve never met a trans person (or at least didn’t realize they had). And when cis actors take on trans roles, it plays into a narrative that trans people are just “dressing up” as a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth, which is why positive representation is so essential.


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      UK Football Team Adopt Rainbow Kit

      Non-league Altrincham showed their support for football's fight against homophobia by wearing a kit based on the LGBT rainbow flag.

      The National League North side - who normally play in red and white stripes - say they are the first club to wear a shirt inspired by the flag's colors.

      Director Bill Waterson said the move was "a big statement" and "a small moment of football history".


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      Interesting Case For LGBT


          Ok...so, as many of you know me...you know that my number one issue with a bang - is employment rights for transgender people.

          I'm sick and tired of the fact that convicted criminals are treated better in America than my people. I am sick and tired of being hated on, demonized, attacked...and essentially given a death sentence just for being trans. But this is how America feels to me right now.

          Those of you who know me may also know that my income comes from a home-based business doing medical billing and coding work, I have only one client...and my income is so pathetic that the Standard deduction this year means I will get everything I paid in back...along with an Earned Income Credit. It simply is not possible to live on what little I make.

          And...I face legal employment discrimination everywhere I go. And even twenty years after my legal name change and sixteen years after my surgery...I exist with an albatross about my neck - an albatross I cannot cut loose...my dead name. (This is what transgender people like myself call our birth names after we have changed them, because we consider that person dead...that was the person who was preventing us from LIVING)

          Now, first, I need to tell you what the albatross is...and how it effects us.

          Every job application asks this one question, and nobody has considered what this question does to transgender people: Please list all former names under which you have worked.

          Well...when Diane applies for a job and must out on the form she was once known as Jack..it does not take a rocket scientist for everyone to know what is going on...and in many states, this knowledge alone is a legal basis for discrimination, because our governments refuse to protect us, as it does all other citizens.

          I know of literally no transgender people my age...who did not obtain a work record in their dead name...and many trans of today still do...because transition in the teens is not something many of us CAN do...and for my generation, it was not possible.

          So this is the albatross. I must experience the dysphoria and pain of acknowledging that dead name...the male that I wish I could kill...FOREVER. I hate him. I want him dead. Twenty plus years and he still haunts me. I must out myself to any potential employer. And in 30 states, this is a basis for legalized employment discrimination.

          Failure to put this name on the form is lying by omission on an application...grounds for termination with cause. Background checks normally go back maybe five years, and can be done with Social Security Numbers. Names are not needed. Our Social Security Numbers do not change when our name and legal gender marker does. Even now, twenty years it has been since I had my formal legal nae change...and 22 years since my informal change of name executed in Pennsylvania. And to do that I had to prove I was using that name exclusively for at least two years.

          So it has been at least 24 years since I last used my dead name for anything. I should not be required to list that name, as it has n significance. I have been Angela at this point longer than I ever was that other person who denied me life.

          But my work as a medical biller/coder has caused me to think of another aspect to this...and possibly a way to fight. HIPAA laws. You know...the laws that allow people to keep their health information protected and private? We transgender people are denied the protection of these laws by that one question on job applications.

          If you are a cancer survivor, or even an AIDS patient...you are not required to reveal this information to a potential employer. But, as it relates to our transgender status, we are denied the right to keep that aspect of our health history and information...protected and private as all other citizens get to.

          I am wondering what possibility, if anyone could give a learned opinion...on what sort of a legal case can be made...in order to drive the sort of change that could allow many of us to cast off the albatross about our necks at last. To finally and forever kill off that dead person...the one that for years deprived us of life.

          And yes, many of us really do feel this extreme with regards to that dead name. It is psychological torture to us to have to wrote and reveal a name we feel never was ours. It is...on a psychological level...almost the equivalent of forcing a battered woman to visit her abuser ever week.

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          Stop The Hate! Hate Leads To Hate Crime.


              [Hate Crime]

              As an artist at heart, and a caring heterosexual, especially, it hurts to hear the news of the unprovoked and violent criminal attack upon the person of actor and singer, Jussie Smollet. Apparently because he is Gay.

              Many sources are reporting that actor, and singer, Jussie Smollett, most known for his character role on the Fox TV Series "Empire" has been brutally assaulted in Chicago.

              The actor, who plays a gay character on the hit show "Empire", came out in 2015.

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                  Carolina Panorama Newspaper


                  Celebrate the Life of Eartha Kitt The Town of North, SC, will celebrate the life of Eartha Kitt on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at the North High School Gymnasium, located at 692 Cromer Ave, North, SC 29112.

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                  Virginia's Rep. Jennifer Wexton Flies Trans Flag At Her Office!!



                      The trans flag is proudly & openly displayed next to the Virginia flag outside @RepWexton’s new office! She said to me, “Did you see the flag?! I think we’re the only office on the Hill with one.” To all her volunteers: the flag is there because of you & for you! Change is here! pic.twitter.com/s0iGgoxOgH

                      — Narissa Rahaman (@MayorBrown) January 3, 2019

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                      Dance Of The Sugar Plum Lesbians


                          Dance Of The Sugar Plum Lesbians

                          From Joe. My. God. --December 24, 2018

                          This story makes its fifteenth annual appearance on JMG…

                          Grand Central Terminal functions as the mechanical heart of midtown New York City, pumping out several thousand workers and tourists on one beat, then sucking in several thousand more on the next.

                          The rhythms of the terminal are fascinating.

                          Beat. Four thousand, inbound from New Haven.

                          Beat. Three thousand, outbound to Westchester.

                          Worlds collide on the main floor.

                          The tourists gawk up at the gloriously ornate ceiling and uselessly flash their digital cameras at objects hundreds of feet away.

                          The commuters rush up to the track displays to determine their track number, then dart across the terminal floor, dodging the milling tourists, heads down, like running backs heading for the end zone.

                          It’s mesmerizing. It’s majestic.

                          And sometimes, like tonight, it’s magical.

                          I’m walking through the massive main room just as the holiday laser show begins on the ceiling. To the tune of Take The “A” Train, the laser depicts two trains arriving from different directions. The trains stop opposite each other and a reindeer leaps out of each one and crosses over to the opposite train.

                          The laser traces the outline of one of the zodiac constellations painted on the ceiling. The Cancer crab leaps to life and becomes the Crab Conductor, waddling down the center aisle of the car, punching the reindeers’ ticket stubs with his claws.

                          I move over to the edge of the room, near the entrance for Track 25, so I can watch the reaction to the show. As usual, I’m more entertained by watching the audience than by watching the actual show.

                          At the ticket windows, standing in front of signs that say “Harlem Line” or “Hudson Line”, commuters tilt their heads painfully back to view the show directly overhead. The tourists cluster in delighted circles, holding each others’ elbows for balance as they nearly bend over backwards.

                          Some people move to the edges of the great hall, as I have, to remove themselves from the traffic flow while they watch. Among those that come to join me on the perimeter of the room is a lesbian couple. They stand quite close to me, the taller woman behind the shorter one, with her arms wrapped around her, supporting her a bit as they both lean back on the marble wall.

                          The shorter woman is stout with a large firm chest. Her hair is short and brushed back into what might have once been called a ducktail. She has an ornate tattoo on her left forearm and she has a leather wallet protruding from the rear pocket of her jeans, attached to her leather belt by a short silver chain. She has more than a passing resemblance to Tony Danza, her big boobs notwithstanding, so naturally (in my head) I name her Toni.

                          Toni’s girlfriend is blond and her short ponytail dangles just above her collar. She is wearing long Christmas tree earrings which nearly brush her shoulders. Her lanky, sinewy limbs are bound in a tight running outfit, over which she is wearing a school athletic jacket. I imagine that she might be a coach at Yale or Harvard, perhaps a girls lacrosse coach, or maybe track and field.

                          Coach is squeezing Toni tightly and they bounce together to the music a bit. Coach looks over at me and catches me smiling. She nudges Toni, who looks over at me too, and we all grin goofily at each other for a moment.

                          Overhead, a new show begins. The familiar opening notes of Tchaikovsky’s Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies ring out as the Empire State and the Chrysler buildings sprout arms, bow to each other, and begin waltzing across the ceiling.

                          I look around the room and it’s as if time was frozen for just a second, every person stopped in mid-stride, eyes cast upward, mouths open in silent joy.

                          Toni pushes away from Coach, turns around and delivers her a bow as deep and as elegant as the one just depicted overheard.

                          “Madame, may I please have this dance?” she asks Coach.

                          Coach looks around a bit awkwardly. “You are TOO much!” And she giggles.

                          “Madame, I must insist!” says Toni, as she takes Coach’s hands into hers.

                          Coach relents and she and Toni begin a beautiful, slow waltz, moving in half-time to the music. As you might have guessed already, Toni leads.

                          As they dance, their eyes remain locked on each other. Toni is giving Coach an intense look, her lips tightly curled into a satisfied smile. Coach is grinning from ear to ear and again, she giggles.

                          All around Coach and Toni, the tourists, the businessmen, the students, the conductors, even the guy with a broom – they’re all watching. Some are expressionless, but more are smiling, and some of them…some of them are frantically fussing with their cameras, eager to capture this magical New York Moment.

                          Serendipity prevails, the tune ends, and Toni dips Coach backwards with a dramatic up-sweep of her free arm as a firestorm of camera flashes erupt around them. Toni pulls Coach up and close to her and they hug. There’s another camera flash and the crowd begins to move along.


                          “Hey, look!”

                          The laser show is being concluded with giant sprigs of mistletoe appearing over our heads. This time it’s Coach who bends down and plants a long tender kiss on Toni’s non-lipsticked mouth. There’s another flash of cameras from the delighted audience.

                          Toni takes Coach’s hand and they begin to move off towards the exit.

                          “Oh, don’t stop!” says a disappointed woman, still rummaging for her camera.

                          Toni looks back over her shoulder and says, “I never will.”

                          Grand Central Terminal, the mechanical heart of New York City, beats again. But this time I hear a different rhythm. This time I hear a double beat.

                          HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!

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                          UMC And Marriage


                              Current Time 3:48
                              Duration 4:00
                              The United Methodist Church is more like the divided Methodist Church as it wages an intradenominational battle over whether to change its rules to allow same-sex weddings and LGBTQ clergy.

                              Just how divided is the United Methodist Church?

                              Many of its 12 million members are engaged in an internal battle that could break up America's second largest Protestant denomination.

                              At issue: Whether or not to change its rules to allow same-sex weddings and LGBTQ clergy.

                              Charlotte pastors, along with their flocks, are taking sides.

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                              The Rev. Val Rosenquist, who defied the rules in 2016 by marrying two male members of her congregation at First United Methodist in uptown Charlotte, said a decision "to continue the exclusion of people who are LGBTQ, to continue closing its doors, would send the message that we as a denomination are ready to die."

                              But the Rev. Talbot Davis of Good Shepherd, a United Methodist church in Steele Creek, suggested the denomination would be turning its back on the Bible if it agreed to anything but traditional marriage: "We are in support of the beautifully biblical picture of marriage as between a man and a woman."

                              Then there's the Rev. James Howell of Myers Park United Methodist, who said his biggest concern is that the denomination stay together, not split up.

                              He and his 5,300-member Charlotte church, Howell said, are "committed to unity and reconciliation between those that are divided on this issue. Our intent is to try to influence the rest of the denomination ... to be with us at that same place."

                              Two years ago, in Portland, Ore., the United Methodist Church narrowly avoided schism — breaking up — during a heated General Conference meeting of 800-plus delegates from around the world.

                              The delegates voted 428-405 to accept a recommendation from their bishops to delay the fiery debate on homosexuality, let a commission study the church's controversial rules on human sexuality and then take up the issue again in 2019 at a special General Conference — the denomination's top legislative body.

                              A lot has happened since then.

                              'One Church Plan'

                              In March, a "Commission for a Way Forward" — co-led by Florida Bishop Ken Carter, formerly pastor at Charlotte's Providence United Methodist Church — offered three very different options:

                              A "One Church Plan" would let individual churches and clergy decide whether to marry same-sex partners. And it would leave it to local conferences — such as the Charlotte-based one for churches in Western North Carolina — to determine who can be ordained.

                              A "Traditionalist Plan" would not only keep the LGBTQ prohibitions in the Book of Discipline — the denomination's governing document — but also strengthen enforcement. The book now says that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching" and that "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

                              A "Connectional-Conference Plan" would let geographical conferences like the one for Western North Carolina align themselves with others of like mind on LGBTQ ministry. They'd do so by joining one of three new connectional-conferences — progressive, traditionalist or allowing various approaches.

                              This month, the denomination's Council of Bishops ended its gathering in Chicago with a decision to recommend the "One Church Plan."

                              But in a sign that the Methodists and their bishops remain deeply divided on the issue, the council will also forward the other two options to that special General Conference, which is scheduled for next February in St. Louis.

                              Ultimately, the delegates at next year's General Conference will decide what the church's law will be going forward. And so far, many activists from both the denomination's conservative and progressive wings appear unhappy with the "One Church Plan."

                              "The bishops propose," said Pastor Davis of Charlotte, "but they don't vote."

                              The Rev. Talbot Davis is pastor of Charlotte's Good Shepherd Church, a United Methodist church in Steele Creek. In the debate within his denomination over same-sex marriage, he takes a traditionalist stand. He says the Bible and longtime Methodist teaching support marriage between a man and a woman only.
                              David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

                              'Polarized culture'

                              Some churches on either side of the fight have threatened to exit the denomination if the vote doesn't go their way. Two conservative megachurches in Mississippi have already bolted, citing the divisive debate over what they consider the sin of homosexuality.

                              Some progressives, meanwhile, have been angered recently by the defrocking of a Chattanooga pastor for marrying a same-sex couple and by the trial of a gay pastor in Cincinnati whose status as an ordained minister came into question after he married his partner.

                              Though the idea of unity still appeals to many Methodists, pastors and churches working for and against change have argued their causes as members of factional groups within Methodism — the Reconciling Ministries Network is for LGBTQ-friendly reform; the Wesleyan Covenant Association is standing by the Book of Discipline.

                              There's a third group — Uniting Methodists — for those who want the denomination to stay together and its members to agree to disagree.

                              Pastor Howell of Charlotte's Myers Park United Methodist is one of the national leaders of Uniting Methodists.

                              With liberal and conservative churches insisting that it has to be their way, Howell's group is suggesting that, for the sake of unity and mission — serving the community and world — "there's a way where we all give up something."

                              Unity matters, he added, "because we live in a severely polarized culture. And if the church winds up as severely polarized as the culture, we don't really have anything to offer the culture. (With a message of) 'We're just like you guys, we're as narrow-minded and divisive as the rest of you,' why would anybody bother with the church?"

                              The Rev. James Howell is pastor of 5,300-member Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte. He's also one of the national leaders of Uniting Methodists, a group that is working to keep the United Methodist Church from breaking apart over the divisive issues of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.
                              David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

                              'A line in the sand'

                              Methodists have been around for centuries, tracing their beginnings to John Wesley, an 18th century Anglican minister in England. Circuit-riding Methodist preachers on horseback helped spread the Gospel in North Carolina, and today the United Methodist Church is the second largest denomination in the state, trailing only Southern Baptists.

                              Nationally, too, Southern Baptists make up the biggest Protestant denomination, followed by the United Methodists.

                              The United Methodist Church as a denomination wasn't founded until 1968. And it seems as if members have been arguing about homosexuality for most of the 50 years since.

                              About 7 million United Methodists live in the United States, where same-sex marriage is now legal. But the other 5 million members of the denomination live overseas — particularly in Africa, where homosexuality is a crime in some places.

                              Though Methodists are still at odds on LGBTQ issues, there's a sense that some action may finally be on the horizon.

                              "It's time," said Pastor Rosenquist of First United Methodist.

                              Other mainline Protestant denominations have also had long histories of jousting on the issue. But The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — two of the biggest — have at least opened the door in recent years to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.

                              They both adopted a kind of local-option approach that's similar to what the United Methodist bishops are now recommending. To try to sweeten the deal for conservatives, the Methodist bishops would also follow the lead of mainline Presbyterians and Lutherans by allowing individual congregations to say no to same-sex weddings in their sanctuaries and respecting the wishes of ministers whose conscience will not permit them to perform such marriages.

                              Still, many conservative Presbyterian and Lutheran congregations left their mainline denominations to protest the change and joined other denominations that do not marry same-sex partners or ordain gays and lesbians.

                              The same thing could happen with the United Methodist Church if conservatives lose. But with many traditionalist delegates from Africa and the South opposed to any change, it's equally possible that progressives could lose the vote.

                              Schism is possible either way.

                              "There are people who have drawn a line in the sand," said Howell. "(Some say) 'If there's any change, we're out of here.' Others say, 'If there's not this change, we're out of here.''"

                              'Love one another'

                              In Charlotte, neither Davis of conservative Good Shepherd nor Rosenquist of progressive First United Methodist expressed any interest in their churches quitting the denomination. At least for now. Exiting the United Methodist Church wouldn't be easy — the denomination owns all church properties and, unlike the situation with Presbyterians and Lutherans, there are no obvious alternative denominations either side could join.

                              Where do the local pastors stand on the three options to be sent to the General Conference next year?

                              Davis said he's "no fan" of the local option recommended by the bishops, which would erase parts of the Book of Discipline and let individual churches decide on weddings.

                              He said he didn't want to say much more until the bishops' full report, including the fine print, is ready July 8. A spokesman for Bishop Paul Leeland, who heads the denomination's Western North Carolina conference, said he also plans to stay publicly mum on the issue until then.

                              But Davis, who heads one of the country's fastest growing United Methodist churches, with 2,000-plus attendees every Sunday, sounds firmly in the traditionalist camp.

                              "We believe what Methodists have always believed about marriage," he said. "We believe this beautiful picture, from beginning of Scripture to end of Scripture, Genesis to Revelation, that marriage is between a man and a woman."

                              Asked why his church, Good Shepherd, has dropped the words "United Methodist" from its outdoor signs, Davis said that "we're inviting all people to a living relationship with Jesus, not with a denomination. ... (But) we don't hide from being Methodist. We love it."

                              Rosenquist, whose 700 congregants include many LGBTQ Christians, said she favors — as a first step — the adoption of the local option plan recommended by the bishops.

                              "It's not ideal by a long shot," she said. "It still allows churches to discriminate against LGBTQ people. And that's not ideal from a Christian perspective."

                              But, she said, "it achieves something for those of us who are progressive and want change."

                              Asked about conservative arguments that such change would amount to a repudiation of Bible passages condemning homosexuality, Rosenquist said, "The conservatives don't own the Bible. Progressives use the Bible as well and take it very seriously. ... There's all kinds of Scripture (passages) in which Jesus commands us to love one another. It doesn't ask us to love only certain types of people and not other types of people."

                              She added that it's time for the United Methodist Church to live up to its motto: "Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors."

                              The Rev. Val Rosenquist is pastor of progressive First United Methodist Church in uptown Charlotte. She and her flock favor changes in the denomination's rules that would allow churches to marry same-sex partners.
                              Diedra Laird dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

                              'All over the place'

                              Pastor Howell of Myers Park United Methodist would also vote for the "One Church," or local option plan, calling it "a middle way to stay together."

                              The change, he said, would offer something to progressives who have found it difficult to remain in a church that's been harsh toward gays and lesbians.

                              And it would also accommodate large churches like his that "are all over the place" on LGBTQ issues and yet remain united as a church.

                              "We're thoughtful, devout people that disagree on the matter," Howell said of Myers Park United Methodist. "We love each other, and we're going to be a church."

                              The "One Church" plan would let clergy at Myers Park United Methodist and other churches make their own decision on whom to marry.

                              Just as Howell believes the issue doesn't have to break up a denomination, he also said it "doesn't have to split a congregation."

                              As a delegate to next year's General Conference, Howell expects to do what he can to sow peace and promote reconciliation and unity.

                              But he acknowledged that chances are slim the meeting, whichever way the vote goes, will end in complete harmony.

                              "It's hard to imagine any scenario," Howell said, "where we all leave St. Louis holding hands, singing hymns."

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