Connect with us

News

German lawmaker introduces bill to ban conversion therapy for minors

California among US jurisdictions to prohibit discredited practice

Published

on

German Health Minister Jens Spahn has introduced a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors in his country. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A German lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors in his country.

Reuters on Monday reported the measure that German Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is openly gay, introduced would punish anyone who carry “out conversion therapy on under-18s, or coercing, deceiving or threatening anyone older into such treatment” with up to a year in prison. Anyone who advertises or offers the widely discredited practice would be fined 30,000 euros ($33,383.70) if the bill were to become law.

“Homosexuality is not a disease,” Spahn told Reuters in a statement. “Therefore, even the term therapy is misleading.”

“This supposed therapy makes you sick and not healthy,” added Spahn. “And a ban is also an important social signal to anyone who struggles with their homosexuality: you are okay the way you are.”

The World Psychiatric Association is among the organizations that have publicly condemned conversion therapy.

California and D.C. are among the U.S. jurisdictions that have banned conversion therapy for minors. A federal judge in September dismissed a lawsuit that challenges Maryland’s law that prohibits the widely discredited practice.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Research/Study

Instagram is allowing accounts to spew hate at LGBTQ+ people

Insta claims it has policies against hate speech, bullying & harassment & publicly promotes its platforms as a safe space for LGBTQ users

Published

on

Molly Butler/Media Matters

By Camden Carter & Kayla Gogarty | WASHINGTON – Instagram is allowing accounts with tens of thousands of followers to target the LGBTQ community, even though the platform claims it has policies against hate speech as well as bullying and harassment, and its parent company Meta has been publicly promoting its platforms as a safe space for LGBTQ users. 

Instagram’s guidelines claim the platform wants “to foster a positive, diverse community,” while also noting that it removes content that contains “credible threats or hate speech, content that targets private individuals to degrade or shame them.” During Pride Month, Meta announced it was “celebrating pride” by launching Pride-themed stickers and avatars, a Global LGBTQ+ Cultural Guide, and an LGBTQ+ Safety Hub

Despite Meta’s newly announced resources, Instagram has allowed its users to spread propaganda against the LGBTQ community — and even against the same individuals it’s publicly celebrating. In several cases, these are accounts dedicated to targeting LGBTQ people, while in others, these are accounts of right-wing media outlets and personalities who also push anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Many of these posts seem to violate Meta’s policies.

Recently, right wing media have been ramping up their rhetoric against the LGBTQ community, especially trans people. This increase in anti-LGBTQ hate has coincided with a wave of new legislation aimed at limiting the rights of LGBTQ people. The false narratives right-wing figures are spinning to support these bills are being projected through online platforms and news outlets and have already led to real-world harm

Here are some examples of accounts who push anti-LGBTQ content on Instagram: 

  • One account which goes by the handle Garbage Human has multiple backup accounts, with a total of over 180,000 total followers across all accounts. On its main account, it frequently posts content intended to incite mocking and hateful comments about its subjects, who are often LGBTQ people. Media Matters has reported on this account and other similar accounts in the past, showing that the way they operate allows them to strategically avoid Instagram’s content moderation, while creating a space for the accumulation of hate speech. One of the accounts earned over 1.5 million interactions on 225 posts in the month of June alone — according to data from CrowdTangle.
A picture of a street sign showing various gender identities and sexual orientations was posted by this account. Several users mocked it in the comments.
A post of a screenshot of a post from the New England Patriots, stating that there is not room for hate in their comments. The caption of this posts states that there is room for hate in the comments of this Instagram account.
A post of an article about a transgender paramedic who said patients refuse her help. Users mock the subject of the post in the comments.
A meme claiming that allowing gay marriage was a "slippery slope" to allowing teachers to choose the gender of children
  • Notorious for targeting schoolsPride events, and individuals on Twitter, Libs of TikTok has also gained a large following of nearly 200,000 on Instagram, where it posts much of the same content and plays a large role in driving the false “groomer” narrative. During Pride Month, Libs of TikTok posted 91 times, earning close to 700,000 interactions on Instagram.
Libs of TikTok claims a preschool teaching is showing "grooming behavior"
Libs of TikTok posted a video of a person in a dress singing. Users ridiculed them in the comment section.
  • Gays Against Groomers is a new account that has accumulated over 57,000 followers since it was created on June 6 and has earned just over 140,000 interactions on its 33 Instagram posts in June. This account claims to represent “a coalition of gays against the sexualization and indoctrination of children,” thus far using its platform to post content that demonizes trans people and push far-right narratives. 
A post from Twitter, claiming that "pride month = groomer month"
A post of an article about attempts to shut down a drag queen story hour. The caption of the post refers to this as "attempts to prevent the sexualization of children"
A post from Gays Against Groomers Twitter account claiming that "if the Alphabet mafia encourages it, it's harmful to children"
A post claiming that giving gays the right to get married lead to more trans kids
  • The creator of Gays Against Groomers, Jaimee Michell, has ties to Arsenal Media — a media group that helps conservative politicians “go viral.” She has also built a significant Instagram following of her own by branding herself as an outspoken right-wing lesbian and pushing anti-trans rhetoric. While Michell’s main account has recently gone private, preventing Media Matters from determining her total interactions for June, it appears that she posted at least 24 times.
A post from thegaywhostrayed about a show on discovery plus about drag. She refers to it as "entertainment for groomers by groomers."
A post from Michell which portrays the idea that "gender is a construct" as "logic that literally doesn't even make sense"
A post of an article about Republican lawmakers wanting to make it illegal to bring a child to a drag show. Users agree in the comments.
a post from Michell quoting Allie Stuckey, calling those who teach kids about gender "perverts."
  • David Leatherwood, who also has ties to Arsenal Media, has also used Instagram to attack transgender people, calling them “groomers.” During Pride Month, Leatherwood posted 16 times and earned over 32,000 interactions. In one of the examples below, Leatherwood uses a photo of a cisgender woman at a burlesque show to reinforce this false narrative. LGBTQ Nation has previously reported on the misinformation around the photo and its use by conservatives to fearmonger about drag shows. 
A Story post of a tween from Biden stating that "we have your back" to LGBTQ youth. Leatherwood commented "OK groomer"
A image of a burlesque show with the words "gays against groomers" and "we promise we're not all like this" over it.
An image of a person dressed as a dog holding a firearm, with the words "say my pronouns, bigot".
  • Conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey and The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro and Matt Walsh (who used the platform to promote his anti-trans film What is a Woman?), with over 5 million followers between them, have been permitted to post content containing hate-fueled lies about the LGBTQ community, driving attention and engagement through their often-extreme rhetoric.
A post from Matt Walsh claiming that Target selling binders is the same as Walgreens selling laxatives
Ben Shapiro claims Disney is pushing a "not-at-all-secret gay agenda"
A screenshot of a video posted to Stuckey's Instagram
  • Conservative outlets and organizations such as The Babylon Bee — which was suspended from Twitter for intentionally misgendering U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine — have been allowed to remain on the platform. The Bee’s CEO Seth Dillion also remains on Instagram despite frequent anti-trans posts. Similarly, PragerU, a right-wing propaganda network that also has a history of using social media to spread misinformation about transgender people, uses Instagram to share its anti-LGBTQ content.
A satirical post from the Babylon Bee about Rachel Levine being confirmed as a women by the disinformation board
A post from the Babylon Bee joking that people who bring their kids to drag shows should "yeet himself into the ocean"
Seth Dillion posts about kids who celebrate a parent who is trans on fathers day as being guilty of hateful conduct
Dillion claims that Disney is about dark magic and its trying to "turn little boys into girls and vice versa"
A post from pragerU about a book for children about pronouns, implying that it is inappropriate
PragerU posts an article about how to talk to your kids about pride, claiming that they need to let kids be kids and saying #groomer

While some queer users are profitable for Instagram, especially during the month of June, its ongoing failure to address accounts actively spreading harmful rhetoric against the LGBTQ community make the platform’s “Happy Pride” messaging hollow. Once again, Meta is showing that it will prioritize the engagement that these high-profile right-wing accounts generated through hateful, lie-filled content, even when it leads to real-world harm and the degradation of LGBTQ rights and safety.

*******************

Camden Carter is a researcher at Media Matters.

Kayla is an associate research director at Media Matters, where she has worked since September 2018. She holds a master’s degree in chemistry research from Stony Brook University and has a background in LGBTQ media and advocacy. She previously worked as an LGBTQ opposition researcher at Media Matters and prior to that interned at the Human Rights Campaign

********************

The preceding article was first published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Caribbean

Colonial-era Antigua and Barbuda sodomy law struck down

Unclear whether government will repeal decision

Published

on

Antigua and Barbuda (Image by Allexxandar via Bigstock)

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda — A judge on Tuesday ruled provisions of a law that criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual relations in Antigua and Barbuda are unconstitutional.

High Court Judge Marissa Robertson, who sits on the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, a regional judicial authority, in her ruling said sections 12 and 15 of the country’s Sexual Offenses Act 1995 “are unconstitutional as they contravene” Antigua and Barbuda’s constitution.

“Section 12 of the Sexual Offences Act 1995 offends the right to liberty, protection of the law, freedom of expression, protection of personal privacy and protection from discrimination on the basis of sex, in so far as section 12 of the Sexual Offenses Act 1995 is inconsistent with the rights of persons sixteen (16) years and older to engage in consensual sexual intercourse per anum in private, and to the extent of that inconsistency section 12 of the Sexual Offences Act 1995 is void,” said Robertson.

Robertson in her decision said section 15 of the Sexual Offenses Act 1995 “offends the right to liberty, protection of the law, freedom of expression, protection of personal privacy and protection from discrimination on the basis of sex, in so far as section 15 of the Sexual Offenses Act 1995 is inconsistent with the rights of persons sixteen (16) years and older to engage consensually and in private in the sexual acts described in section 15(3), and to the extent of that inconsistency section 15 of the Sexual Offenses Act 1995 is void.”

Orden David, a gay man who works for the Antigua and Barbuda Health Ministry and is the executive director of Meeting Emotional and Social Needs Historically (MESH) Antigua and Barbuda, a support group for LGBTQ and intersex people in the country, and Women Against Rape, an NGO that works with those who are impacted by gender-based violence, formally challenged the law.

“This judgment is a significant milestone in the history of Antigua and Barbuda,” said Women Against Rape President Alexandrina Wong on Wednesday during a virtual press conference the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE), a regional LGBTQ+ and intersex rights group, organized. 

“Members of the LGBT community and consenting adults who choose to engage in intimacy can now breath a sigh of relief, because at least there is safety under the law,” added Wong.

ECADE Executive Director Kenita Placide, who is based in St. Lucia, during the press conference described the ruling as a “landmark decision.”

“The process of litigation is important, as it underscores how these laws contribute to the stigmatization of LGBTQI people, how they legitimize hate speech, discrimination and violence and tears at the fabric of our society,” said Placide in a statement. “Our governments have sworn to protect and uphold the rights of all and act in a manner that promotes the prosperity and well-being of all. This judgment is in keeping with this commitment.”

Antigua and Barbuda Sen. Aziza Lake also welcomed Tuesday’s ruling.

“It is a long overdue development,” Lake told the Washington Blade. “The government has no business in the bedrooms of consenting adults.”

Colonial-era laws that criminalize homosexuality remain in place in St. Lucia and other former English colonies in the Caribbean.

The Belizean Court of Appeal in late 2019 upheld a ruling that struck down the country’s sodomy law. A judge on the Trinidad and Tobago High Court in 2018 struck down its statute that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations. 

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights last year in a landmark decision said Jamaica must repeal its sodomy law. ECADE noted similar cases have been filed in St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Then-British Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 said she “deeply” regrets colonial-era criminalization laws the U.K. introduced. Nick Herbert, a member of the British House of Lords who currently advises embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson on LGBTQ+ and intersex issues, last December told the Blade during an interview in D.C. that his country has a “historic responsibility for these laws and their legacy.”

“Great news from Antigua and Barbuda as the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court strikes down laws criminalizing consensual same-sex activity,” tweeted Herbert on Wednesday. “[It is a] historic achievement for the people of Antigua and Barbuda and another welcome step forward for LGBT+ rights globally.”

The Associated Press reported the Antigua and Barbuda government has yet to announce whether it will appeal Robertson’s ruling. 

Glenroy Murray, executive director of J-FLAG, a Jamaican LGBTQ+ and intersex rights group, on Wednesday told the Blade he remains hopeful the decision will resonate throughout the region. 

“I am excited to see Antigua and Barbuda have this ruling and I am hopeful for what this will mean for the rest of the eastern Caribbean, given the similarities of their constitutional framework,” said Murray. “The ruling demonstrated how the strategic litigation in other parts of the Caribbean have led to positive impacts and that trend bodes well for LGBTQ+ rights in the region overall.”

Murray further noted the ruling “will not directly impact the current challenge to Jamaica’s anti-sodomy laws, which has lingered far too long in our courts.” Murray added “it definitely sends a positive signal to our legislators that times are changing in the Caribbean.”

Continue Reading

West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Free Document Shredding and Electronic Waste Collection Event, Pickleball Tournament at Plummer Park, Sunday Evening Concert Series Continues

Published

on

Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood will host the SPCA-LA Low-Cost Vaccination Clinic at the West Hollywood Community Center at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard, in the outdoor patio area. 

Pop-Up Clinic will Take Place on Saturday, July 16 and Will Provide Discounted Vaccinations, Microchips, and De-Worming

The clinic will take place on Saturday, July 16, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Masks are not required, but are recommended for COVID-19 health and safety. Stay home if you are feeling ill. Clinic staff will be wearing masks, gloves, and face shields. Exam areas will be sanitized between clients and hand sanitizer will be available.

All dogs must be on a leash or in a carrier; all cats must be in carriers. Participants are advised to bring medical records for dogs and cats, if such documents are in possession. Cash and credit cards are accepted. 

Services offered will include:

  • $30 CIV (Canine Influenza)*** vaccination for dogs
  • $30 Lepto (Leptospirosis)*** vaccination for dogs
  • $25 DHPP vaccination for dogs
  • $25 FeLV vaccination for cats
  • $25 FVRCP vaccination for cats
  • $10 Rabies vaccination for cats and dogs
  • $20 Flea Treatment for cats and dogs
  • $20 Deworming treatment for cats and dogs
  • $30 Microchips** for cats and dogs
  • $60 Kitten Package for kittens 6-12 weeks old. Includes FVRCP, de-wormer, and microchip
  • $70 Puppy Package for puppies 6-12 weeks old. Includes DHPP, Bordetella, de-wormer, and microchip

* Services are available first-come, first-served, while supplies last. ** Registration not included. *** CIV and Lepto vaccines requires boosters. Please make an appointment with your vet for the booster 2-4 weeks after initial vaccine.

Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control Dog and Cat Spay and Neuter Voucher Program is Available to West Hollywood Residents

The Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control Department has also opened eligibility for the Dog and Cat Spay/Neuter Voucher Program to West Hollywood residents. More information, voucher values, and the voucher application is available in PDF format on the County website. Los Angeles County Code §10.20.350 requires all residents of unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County (this includes West Hollywood) to have their dogs and cats older than four months of age spayed or neutered.

For more information about the voucher program email [email protected] or call (562) 345-0321.

For additional information, please contact Dan Mick, the City of West Hollywood’s Code Compliance Supervisor, at (323) 848-6882 or at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood Continues ‘Summer Sounds 2022’
Free Outdoor Sunday Evening Concert Series Continues

The City of West Hollywood is continuing its 2022 Summer Sounds Free Outdoor Concert Series, which takes place on select Sunday evenings at 5 p.m. through Sunday, August 21, 2022 at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard, in West Hollywood. 

The next concert in the series will feature the all-female salsa band, Las Chikas on Sunday, July 3, 2022 at 5 p.m. Las Chikas is comprised of some of the most talented female musicians in Los Angeles. Salsa never looked so good in Southern California; a melting pot of cultures and ethnicity come together to give birth to a multicultural female band that sets the stage on fire! Las Chikas has performed in several Southern California cities and special events, including the San Jose Jazz Festival, for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels, the Los Angeles Latin Jazz Music Festival, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

ARKAI will perform on Sunday, July 17, 2022 at 5 p.m. ARKAI’s genre-bending music fuses classical virtuosity with contemporary technology, forging new possibilities for what a violin and cello can be. Winners of the 2021 Astral Artists National Auditions, their past engagements have included performances at The MET Breuer, Rockwood Music Hall, Juilliard School, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the 92nd Street Y. Letters from COVID, their electronic debut composition, was featured at [email protected] for a global audience of more than 30,000 people from 182 countries. ARKAI is currently creating its debut album, Aurora, in collaboration with seven-time Grammy-nominated producer Joel Hamilton.

Ella Luna performs on Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 5 p.m. Ella Luna is a singer/songwriter from Denver, Colorado, combining intimate vocals, raw instruments, and intricate lyrical work. Denver Thread says, “Ella Luna pairs jazz and dream pop with a sincere & smooth indie lyrical and musical style that recalls up and coming artists like Lucy Dacus or Lindsey Jordan on first blush. But then seasons that mix with vocals that lilt with tired tears just underneath her tongue at times, and with the vigorous power of an Amy Winehouse or a Norah Jones at others, but she always sounds real, and herself.”

The City of West Hollywood’s Summer Sounds Concert Series finale on Sunday, August 21, 2022 at 5 p.m. will feature M&M The Afro-Persian Experience (Mehdi Bagheri & Marcus L. Miller). The Afro-Persian Experience is a duo featuring Persian kamancheh master Mehdi Bagheri and artist/percussionist Marcus L. Miller. Based in Southern California, the group was formed in 2016. The music consists of all original compositions created by Bagheri & Miller. It is deeply rooted in the traditions of ancient Persia and Africa. Their unique sound results from the natural contrast of their individual musical styles as well as the expression of their passion for the music. This concert is presented in partnership with Grand Performances supported by an arts grant from the City of West Hollywood.

The City of West Hollywood’s 2022 Summer Sounds Free Outdoor Concert Series is organized by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division. Summer Sounds concerts are free to attend; RSVPs are not required but are requested. Seating will not be available. Attendees are encouraged to bring picnics, picnic blankets, and low chairs. Masks and social distancing recommended.

For additional information about the performers and to view the series, please visit www.weho.org/summersounds

For more information about WeHo Sounds please contact Joy Tribble, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Technician, at (323) 848-6360 or at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood to Host Free Document Shredding and Electronic Waste Collection Event

The City of West Hollywood will host a free document and electronic waste collection event for residents and businesses. Community members are invited to bring confidential files and unwanted electronics, including hard drives, for shredding and recycling.

E-waste will be handled by certified electronics recycler, Homeboy Recycling, in a way that protects the planet and keeps data safe while creating jobs for people in the region facing serious barriers to employment. All electronics are accepted, with the exception of hazardous materials, large appliances, thermostats, light bulbs, and batteries. 

Event will Take Place on Saturday, July 23 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Employee Parking Lot

The free event will take place on Saturday, July 23, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center employee parking lot, located at 355 N. San Vicente Boulevard. This is a drive-through event. All e-waste and documents must be in the trunk prior to arrival.

This event will adhere to COVID-19 guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and California Department of Public Health. Masks are recommended, but not required.

For more information, please contact Matt Magener, Environmental Programs Coordinator, City of West Hollywood, at (323) 848-6894 or at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood to Host Pride Pickleball Tournament at Plummer Park

The City of West Hollywood is bringing June Pride season into July! In collaboration with Tennacity, the City will host its first Pride Pickleball Tournament at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The Tournament will take place on Saturday, July 9, 2022 and Sunday, July 10, 2022 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The Plummer Park pickleball courts are located at the north end of Plummer Park, closest to Fountain Avenue.

Divisions include beginner, intermediate, and advanced. All categories of men’s and women’s doubles will be played on Saturday, July 9. All categories of men’s and women’s singles, and mixed doubles will be played on Sunday, July 10. Specially designed Pride medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each division. All registered players will receive a gift bag with various Pride inspired items. Registration is $35 for singles, and $20 per person for doubles. To register and for more information, call (323) 848-6546 or send an email to [email protected]

Pickleball courts are now a feature of two public parks in the City of West Hollywood:

1) Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard, has five newly resurfaced and lighted pickleball courts and a small pro-shop where pickleball and tennis-related services are offered to the community; and

2) West Hollywood Park, located 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, has six newly resurfaced and lighted pickleball courts situated on the rooftop of its West Hollywood Park Five-Story Parking Structure. Pickleball play and programming will be coming soon to this location.

Pickleball court reservations are available and can be made in advance. Prices are $8/hour (or $4/half hour) for Plummer Park and reservations can be made utilizing the playbypoint app or at www.playbypoint.com under the name Tennacity at West Hollywood: Plummer Park. Residents may reserve courts up to seven days in advance; non-residents may reserve up to five days in advance.

For more information about the City’s pickleball and tennis courts, please visit www.weho.org/community/recreation-services/pickleball and www.weho.org/community/recreation-services/tennis.

For additional information, please contact Michael Gasca, City of West Hollywood Recreation Coordinator, at (323) 848-6546 or at [email protected].

For more information about Tennacity and pickleball and tennis programming, please visit www.tennacity.com or email [email protected]

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular