Bullied student barred from schools

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Dynasty Young (pictured), a gay, gender non-conforming 17-year-old, will not be allowed to return to his former high school officials for Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) have decided. Young, a former Arsenal Technical High School student, was expelled in the Spring 2012 semester of his junior year for incidents arising from the relentless anti-gay bullying he endured.

In a letter signed by Chief of Staff Dexter Suggs, the district said Young could not return to Arsenal Tech or attend any traditional high school in the district. Instead, he was assigned to the New Horizons Alternative School, which describes itself as a school for “students who cannot adjust to a traditional school setting.”

Rather than attend New Horizons, Young has recently enrolled in Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a charter school not affiliated with IPS. He said, “As excited as I am to be starting school, I am worried about all the kids who are still in IPS schools and experiencing the same type of daily verbal and physical attacks that I experienced with no help from school leaders. No one should be treated the way I was treated, and the district needs to do something to keep all students safe.”

— David Stout

Guide to keep DNC attendees in know

WASHINGTON — Organizers of a new online guide say they will assist attendees of this year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, Sept. 4-6.

The online resource provides a guide to parties and other events during the convention.

“The Convention brings together 40,000 of the country’s most influential political, policy and industry leaders, as well as media, delegates and party activists. DemList is meant to reach, and be a resource to, not only those who are attending the Convention, but the thousands of political junkies nationwide who want to check out the action,” founder Kimberly Scott said in a release.

DemList provides users with information like the type of event, date, place and time, as well as ticketing requirements and sponsoring organization information. DemList says they will cover a wide variety of events, ranging from celebrity parties to state delegation events to the official floor schedule, policy forums, privately-sponsored events and concerts. All items submitted to the calendar are vetted prior to publication, according to the group.

For more information, visit demlist.com.

— Lainey Millen

Obama, Romney support gay scouts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have announced their opposition to the Boy Scouts of America’s policy of banning LGBT scouts and scout leaders. White House spokesperson Shin Inouye offered the president’s position in a statement to The Washington Blade while a Romney aide confirmed the candidate’s stance in an Associated Press story.

Inouye told the Blade: “The president believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century. He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.”

President Obama currently serves as Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America, as is the tradition for sitting presidents. Romney is a former member of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board.

— David Stout

Gay workers fight for equality

DETROIT, Mich. — The American Civil Liberties Union is representing five gay and lesbian public employees in a federal court challenge of a new state law that bans many public entities from providing domestic partner health insurance benefits. The plaintiffs’ long-term partners have already lost their health insurance or will shortly as a result of the discriminatory law.

The measure only bars domestic partners from receiving health care coverage, while allowing government employers to offer these benefits to all other family members, including parents, siblings, uncles and cousins. The ACLU has asked the judge to block the ban until a decision is issued.

“The governor tried to pass this unfair statute off as a cost-cutting measure,” said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. “Yet, this law will have no impact on state spending, but will have a huge impact on families who have lost the security of caring for their loved ones.”

— David Stout

HRC ponies up for ballot battles

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign has established a special ballot measure PAC to aid funding in the four states facing marriage-related popular votes in November — Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. A recent $1 million cash infusion brings HRC’s contributions to legislative and electoral marriage issues in the 2011-2012 cycle to $4.8 million.

In Maine, voters will be asked for the first time in the country to legalize marriage for gays and lesbians at the ballot box. Voters in Maryland and Washington are being asked to affirm legislatively passed marriage equality laws. In Minnesota, voters will consider a constitutional amendment to ban gay and lesbian couples from marriage.

Public polls in Maine, Maryland and Washington show majorities of voters favoring marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples and polls in Minnesota also show voters there opposing the discriminatory constitutional amendment.

— David Stout

Madonna challenges biased law

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Iconic popstar Madonna reasserted her decades-long support for the LGBT community by asking fans and concert attendees to “Go Pink for St. Petersburg” during her recent concert in the city. The campaign, which advocated wearing a pink wristband to show LGBT support, is illegal under the “Gay Gag Rule” law that originated here and has now spread to five other regions in the Russian Federation.

“We salute Madonna and celebrate her courage to stand up to St. Petersburg’s outrageous and homophobic censorship law. Her music and message have provided solace for isolated and marginalized gay men and women across the Russian Federation,” said LGBT rights activist Polina Savchenko. She added that “people around the world have already taken a stand with us against this law. This kind of international scrutiny ensures Russian authorities know that the world is watching them. For Madonna to reassert her ideals of love and expression live and in-person is an inspiration to us all.”

— David Stout