Scouts force mom out
BRIDGEPORT, Ohio — Lesbian mom Jennifer Tyrrell (pictured) learned April 10 that she would no longer be able to serve as a den leader of her son’s Cub Scout troop because of her sexual orientation. In response, parents and scouts from the troop held a peaceful protest outside of the local BSA chapter the following week to show their support for Tyrrell. At press time, the district council is refusing to back away from the Scout’s official policy of discriminating against LGBT members and leaders.
On her Change.org petition calling on the BSA to repeal their anti-gay policy, Tyrrell noted, “Shortly after registering my son for Cub Scouts, I was asked to assume the role of den leader and was persuaded by a platform of tolerance, acceptance and support. Throughout the year, my cubs performed volunteer service at a local soup kitchen, collected canned goods for area churches to distribute in food baskets, participated in bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, and, at the time of my removal, were working on a conservation project for a state park.”
Dana Rudolph, founder and publisher of popular LGBT parenting blog Mombian, said, “Lesbian and gay parents have proven themselves time and time again to be dedicated, caring and trustworthy Scout leaders and volunteers, as evidenced by Jennifer and many others who have served in welcoming local Scout groups.”
— David Stout
Trans woman trumps DMV
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In early 2011, the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles stopped changing the sex on transgender citizens’ licenses without proof of surgical transition, risky and expensive surgery that is unnecessary for, and unwanted by, many trans people. On March 12, a Superior Court ruling held that this practice is unconstitutional.
Since 2009, plaintiff K.L., who was designated male at birth, has lived and presented full-time as a woman. She makes her living as a pilot and her employer and co-workers have supported her transition and accept her as a woman. As part of her transition, she changed the sex on her airman certificate, work identification and passport. She also asked the DMV to change the sex designation on her license. After a new one was issued, she received a letter telling her to return it or prove that she had undergone certain surgeries. Her subsequent legal appeal led to the decision.
The court concluded that the DMV’s policy violated K.L.’s privacy by forcing her to reveal private information every time she shows her license. According to the ACLU, this is the only time a U.S. court has recognized a trans person’s constitutionally protected privacy interests in having the sex designation on her driver’s license match her “lived gender expression of identity.”
— David Stout
Video challenge announced
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pride Month “Champions of Change” Video Challenge has been announced by President Barak Obama’s administration.
The series “spotlights everyday heroes who are demonstrating commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or the lives of their fellow citizens,” the White House website stated.
Submissions are due online by May 4. They will be reviewed by a panel where semi-finalists will be chosen. In early June, the public will be able to vote on their favorite.
Categories include: storytelling; culture and identity; unsung heroes; the arts; social entrepreneurship and innovation; community solutions; and friends and allies.
Videos will be accepted in any form (i.e., music video, PSA, short film, video blog, interview) and must be no longer than three minutes. Essays should be no longer than 750 words if video production is not possible.
For more information or to submit, visit whitehouse.gov/webform/pride-month-champions-change-video-challenge.
— Lainey Millen
Marriage a low voter concern
WASHINGTON, D.C. — New data from the Pew Research Center shows marriage equality ranks last among the top concerns of voters ahead of the 2012 elections. “Americans care about job creation and providing for their families. This latest data reinforces the fact that supporting LGBT equality is not a divisive wedge issue, but rather just common sense,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
The Pew poll identified the economy, jobs and the budget deficit as weighing most heavily on voters’ minds. Other issues of importance include healthcare, education, energy, taxes, terrorism, and the environment.
The poll is just the latest piece of evidence pointing to Americans’ increasing support for LGBT equality. A 2011 Gallup poll found 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage rights; in addition, a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll recently found that an astounding 85 percent of people of faith say their religious beliefs lead them to the conclusion that LGBT people should be treated equally under the law.
— David Stout
Second service member reinstated
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Staff Sergeant Anthony Loverde, discharged in 2008 under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” will be reinstated in the U.S. Air Force and return to active duty next month. He will take the oath in Sacramento in May and be assigned to the 19th Operations Squadron at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas. The reinstatement will make Loverde the second service member reinstated following the repeal of DADT in September 2011.
“I am honored and humbled to return to the service of my country and the job I love. I am grateful to my legal team and all of those in the armed forces who helped to facilitate this reinstatement. I am eager to take the oath and get to work,” said Loverde.
Loverde’s reinstatement is the result of a resolution on his behalf in the historic case, Almy v. U.S., filed in 2010, which challenges the constitutionality of three plaintiffs’ discharges under DADT. A resolution was reached in December 2011 on behalf of Petty Officer 2nd Class Jase Daniels, who was reinstated in the U.S. Navy as a linguist. A resolution on behalf of the third plaintiff in the case, former Air Force Major Mike Almy, is expected soon.
— David Stout
Queer history conference set
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands — The International Archives, Libraries, Museums and Special Collections Conference on the Future of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Histories (LGBTI ALMS 2012) will be held here Aug. 1-3. The conference, hosted by IHLIA, the International Gay and Lesbian Archive and Information Center, aims to bring together institutions from around the globe to make the history of LGBTI people visible and accessible to all.
A press release for the conference states, “We envision that by 2020 the heritage of LGBTI individuals and the LGBTI community is collected and recognized in Europe and globally as part of the cultural wealth of society.”
Organizers say they hope the conference will help: consolidate our knowledge of archiving as a tool in building democratic and free societies; strengthen the global network of LGBTI organizations that collect our histories and make them available to the public; and, advance the practice of collecting oral histories, an invaluable way of recording the life stories of LGBTI people.
— David Stout