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2 hours ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 0 replies · +1 points

Waiting for Scottie to fix the software may not be very productive. The "Recent Comments" section on the home page has been broken for probably over a year now, with no indication that it will ever be fixed.

Scottie's technical skills also seem to be limited. Why he keeps fiddling with the software is quite difficult to understand.

In contrast, your (VIRick's) linguistic & cultural skills are very impressive.

2 hours ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 0 replies · +1 points

Apparently, the last two steps were omitted:


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13 hours ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 0 replies · 0 points

Ohio School District With Non-Discrimination Policy Abruptly Cancels Tony-Award-Winning High School Play Because Some 'Karen' Complained That Two Of Its Characters Are Gay

Middlefield, Ohio - Already several months - and hundreds of dollars - into the production, students and parents are already expressing their frustrations. The district, meanwhile, has stood behind its decision, asserting that anyone alleging discrimination is 'mistaken.'

'When we found out it was canceled, everybody was just heartbroken,' said Riley Matchinga, a senior who was playing a lead role in the musical comedy told local affiliate Fox 8 of the school's decision.

'Honestly, it was terrible. Everyone was just crying,' the teen said, appearing alongside her mother Mandi Matchinga, the musical's assistant director.

Awarded a Tony in 2005, the play is centered around a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous middle school, with two of the students' parents being gay men.

The school district said it had 'received a complaint from a resident on January 11.'

School policy states: 'In all aspects of its operations, the district vigorously enforces its prohibition against discriminatory harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, age, religion, ancestry, or genetic information.'

Matchinga, meanwhile, has said $1,700 has already been spent on the production, and that it’s too late in the school year to obtain the necessary licensing to put on another show since it would require 10 to 17 weeks of rehearsing.

'Theater is about making you think about things and making you question things and thinking critically,' she added, arguing that theater is not only meant to serve as entertainment but as social commentary as well.



14 hours ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 0 replies · +3 points

It's Scottie fiddling with the site's software again. Links used to automatically format themselves. Now you have to substitute your link for LINK in the text below:

<a href="LINK"

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target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

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21 hours ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 0 replies · +2 points

College Board Strips Down Its A.P. Curriculum for African American Studies

After heavy criticism from [Florida] Gov. Ron DeSantis, the College Board released on Wednesday an official curriculum for its new Advanced Placement course in African American Studies — stripped of much of the subject matter that had angered the governor and other conservatives.

The College Board purged the names of many Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, the queer experience and Black feminism. It ushered out some politically fraught topics, like Black Lives Matter, from the formal curriculum.

And it added something new: “Black conservatism” is now offered as an idea for a research project.

In its revised 234-page curriculum framework, the content on Africa, slavery, reconstruction and the civil rights movement remains largely the same. But the study of contemporary topics — including Black Lives Matter, affirmative action, queer life and the debate over reparations — is downgraded. The subjects are no longer part of the exam, and are simply offered on a list of options for a required research project.

And even that list, in a nod to local laws, “can be refined by local states and districts.”

More than 200 faculty members in African American studies condemned Governor DeSantis’s interference in the A.P. course in a letter published in Medium on Tuesday. They accused him of censorship and of trying “to intimidate the College Board into appeasement.”



1 day ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 0 replies · +3 points

Ukraine to Host its First Ever Queer Film Festival: ‘We Are Here, We Are Queer, and We Are Defending This Country’

Ukraine is to host its first ever queer film festival, it was announced at Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam.

Sunny Bunny – named after Kyiv-based Molodist Film Fest’s non-competition section, established in 2001 – is eyeing a summer slot.

“Maybe it’s a bit stereotypical to do it in June, as it’s Pride Month, but it will give us more time to prepare,” programmer Bohdan Zhuk revealed to Variety on Tuesday.

Inspired by Berlinale’s Teddy Award, Sunny Bunny will try to properly represent queer communities in all their diversity, assured Zhuk. It will also try to reflect ongoing wartime struggles.

“It’s essential to talk about queer people in the army. They are out there, fighting. Lately, especially since the start of the invasion, many military volunteers and others [involved in the fight] have been publicly coming out. As queer, gay, bisexual, trans,” he said, also mentioning Ukraine’s association LGBT Military, established in 2018 by Viktor Pylypenko, an openly gay veteran of the Donbas volunteer battalion.

“I think this has been the main factor which has contributed to a major change in our society. There is a greater acceptance now.”

“During the Maidan revolution, there were many queer activists discussing whether we should be visible, whether we should bring rainbow flags to the protests. I was a part of this discussion as well, but most people decided against it. I think it was a major mistake,” noted Zhuk.

“Later, there were voices – mostly on the far-right – claiming that we weren’t a part of this struggle. Which is why now, we are finally saying: ‘We are here, we are queer and we are defending this country as much as anyone else.’”

“As a country that has been colonized, Ukraine had its culture repressed. And the first culture that’s usually repressed is the queer culture. You don’t know a lot about queer culture in Ukraine, right? Not because it didn’t exist, but because it was erased,” he said to the audience.

“Everyone knows Sergei Parajanov, who lived and worked in Ukraine. He made ‘Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors,’ voted the best Ukrainian film of all time. Even though it wasn’t explicitly queer, he was queer himself and you can see it in his later films. Or take Kira Muratova, whose work is queer on a deep-rooted level.”

While big festivals, such as IFFR, offer a slew of queer titles these days – from “Blue Jean” to “Bodyshop,” “Captain Faggotron Saves the Universe,” South Africa’s “Stiekyt” and more – as pointed out by Yi Wang, “it’s important to create even more spaces for queer communities.”

“I feel so much joy when I watch films that don’t follow this conventional narrative of what a queer character should be,” he stated, with West championing the work of young creators, trying to look for new cinematic languages: “How do we start to touch on these individuals, identities, existences that aren’t even named yet? And maybe will remain happily unnamed? For me, that’s the exciting part.”

“We want to see a lot of diversity and just… a lot of everything. The more the better,” summed up Zhuk.

“It’s an ongoing conversation among queer film festivals, because we are tired of all these coming-out films, of stories revolving around the acceptance of the queer character by somebody else. We want other things: we want fun. We don’t want tragedy. We are done with that.”


1 day ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 1 reply · +3 points

Florida Megachurch Moves to Expel LGBTQ Members: Jacksonville First Baptist Church is requiring members to sign an anti-LGBTQ pledge, vowing adherence to “biblical sexuality"

The pledge compels members to renounce LGBTQ sexual- and gender- expression in favor or “God’s standard for human sexuality,” which the Florida church insists means there are only two genders, as well as that the only morally acceptable sexual “desire and expression” occurs within a marriage between one man and one woman. Unveiled last week, the mandatory pledge reads:

"As a member of First Baptist Church, I believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female, and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice. I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression."

In information accompanying the pledge, the church warns: “Your signature and updated contact information on this document is required by March 19, 2023, and will ensure your membership at First Baptist Church continues without any interruption.”

The new anti-LGTBQ document has been in development for months. Teasing it in a YouTube video last year, [Senior Pastor Heath] Lambert couched it as a reaction against “the secular warriors of our culture’s sexual revolution” whom he blamed for bringing “confusion and pain brought into our society” by “destroying lives and families with their false teaching on gender and sexuality.”

In the video, Lambert targeted the mainstreaming of trans rights in particular. He railed against a legal system he alleged was sentencing fathers “to jail for failing to support the sex change operation of their teenage daughters.” He also blasted pediatricians he claimed are pushing “hormone-suppressing drugs to grade-schoolers”; schools that “allow men to undercut women by competing against them in sports”; and city councils that “victimize women by allowing men into their restrooms.”

Lambert insisted the pledge doesn’t just target queer church members. “It does rule out the LGBTQ array of sins,” he says, but insists the impact is even broader: “Rape, incest, polygamy — all sorts of things are ruled out just as much as homosexuality.”

Why has First Baptist made “biblical sexuality” a litmus test? Lambert has described it, in part, as a legal strategy — to lay down a marker that “our biblical beliefs about gender are a core conviction” and thereby “protect against those who would take us to court to require us to change our policies.”

Lambert tells Rolling Stone he views a 2017 Jacksonville city “bathroom ordinance” as a threat. That law gives trans individuals the right to use the bathroom of their choice — though it presently exempts churches. “We wanted to be on record,” Lambert says. “We want to be able to say, ‘Hey, everybody in our church believes that male is a biological reality; female is a biological reality.’ And that has to do with decisions we make about who uses the bathrooms, and who gets fired, and who can serve as a pastor,” he adds. “We want to function as an authentically Christian organization.”


1 month ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 0 replies · +1 points

FL: Broward School Board to revise sex ed policy to comply with “Don’t Say Gay”

School district officials said that sections of the Family Life and Human Sexuality policy, or Policy 5315, will likely need to be changed in order to align with the section of the state law that forbids instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3 or “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, officials pointed to sections of the district policy that reference K-4 and K-12 education, as well as the National Sexuality Education Standards, a guide that sets minimum standards for sex education across the United States, as examples of what they believe may violate the bill, officially titled House Bill 1557.


4 days ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 0 replies · +2 points

Veteran librarian says locals in a small Michigan town erected signs calling her a 'pedophile' amid fierce book-banning wars over the promotion of racial and LGBTQ issues

Jean Reicher, who became a librarian at Patmos Library in the Jamestown Township two and a half years ago, went viral in December 2022 following her appearance at a library board meeting.

She said in her impassioned speech that in recent months signs have been erected in the town calling her a 'pedophile.' Reicher added that she has been photographed by strangers and received threatening phone calls.

Reicher told the board, 'I moved to this town 2-1/2 years ago, and I regret it every day for the last year. This has been horrible.'

Peter Bromberg, a board member for the library resource center EveryLibrary, told the Los Angeles Times this week that librarians nationwide are under a great degree of stress amid the book banning furor as 'neighbors talk about them being an arm of Satan.'

Donald Trump won 60 percent of the vote in Ottawa County, where Jamestown is located, in 2016 and 2020.

Reicher said at the meeting in December, 'We have been threatened. We have been cursed. How dare you people. You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. You have said I’ve sexualized your children. I’m grooming your children.'

According to her LinkedIn page, Reicher previously worked at the Woodridge Public Library in Woodridge, Illinois.

She told the board, 'I wasn’t raised this way. I believe in God. I’m a Catholic. I’m a Christian. I’m everything you are.'

Reicher is far from alone.

Conservative attacks against schools and libraries have proliferated nationwide over the past two years, and librarians themselves have been harassed and even driven out of their jobs.

A middle school librarian in Denham Springs, Louisiana, has filed a legal complaint against a Facebook page which labeled her a 'criminal and a pedophile.'

The American Library Association documented 681 challenges to books through the first eight months of 2022, involving 1,651 different titles.

In all of 2021, the ALA listed 729 challenges, directed at 1,579 books. Because the ALA relies on media accounts and reports from libraries, the actual number of challenges is likely far higher, the library association believes.

The number of books banned in the first nine months of 2022 was higher than the amount of books banned during 2021, which was the highest number in decades.

Texas accounted for the most bans, with 801 in 22 districts, followed by Florida and Pennsylvania.

Just this week, a Florida school board made headlines when it became the latest to remove a book by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison from its classrooms and libraries after a mom slammed it for 'exposing kids to pedophilia' and running 'Marxist indoctrination camps'.


5 days ago @ Equality on Trial - 1/8 open thread · 0 replies · +2 points

FDA proposes new guidelines for blood donations

In response to a blood donor shortage during the Covid pandemic, the FDA further eased restrictions in April 2020 to allow gay and bisexual men who had not had sex in the past three months to donate.

Under the guidelines proposed on Friday, gay and bisexual men who are in monogamous relationships would be allowed to donate blood. But individuals, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, who have recently had anal sex with a new or multiple partners would have to wait three months before donating.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights, said the FDA proposal is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to to remove restrictions.

“We urge the Biden administration to prioritize removing remaining barriers and ask the FDA to move expeditiously while ensuring the safety of the blood supply and a blood donation policy in-line with the science,” said HRC President Kelley Robinson in a statement.

People who are taking oral medications to prevent HIV infection would not be allowed to donate blood for the three months following their most recent dose. Those taking injections to prevent HIV would not be allowed to donate blood for two years following their most recent injection.

These medications, called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, can result in false negatives on HIV tests, according to the FDA.

Under the proposed FDA policy, anyone who has tested positive for HIV or taken medicine to treat an HIV infection would be banned from donating blood. People who have engaged in sex work or used illicit intravenous drugs recently would have to wait three months to donate.

Blood banks would still be required to test all donations for HIV as well hepatitis C and B, according to FDA.