Gay rights pioneer, who held 'sip-in' protest, dies at 83

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Sunday, 24 June 2018 17:24
  • Written by NBC News

julius bar protestDick Leitsch, a titan of the early gay rights movement who led "sip-in" protests in the 1960s, died in New York City on Friday, Ken Lustbader, the co-director of NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project confirmed to NBC News. He was 83.

Leitsch became an icon of the LGBTQ movement after leading protests that pre-dated the Stonewall Inn uprising, increasing the momentum of the gay rights movement.

"Without Dick and people like him who are brave, courageous and risked so much when being out was so dangerous, we wouldn’t be here today," Lustbader said.

Born on May 11, 1935, Leitsch moved to New York City in 1959 from his home state of Kentucky.

He went on to lead the the New York City chapter of the Mattachine Society, one of the oldest gay rights organizations in the country. It was during his time at the Mattachine Society that he came up with the idea for "sip-ins."

Continue reading at NBC News

Community Realtor faces sexual battery charge

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Monday, 30 April 2018 12:54
  • Written by The Fresno Bee

Realtor Tom DeBeyA prominent Tower District real estate agent is facing a misdemeanor sexual battery charge from an incident at a gay nightclub in early February.

Fresno County District Attorney's Office filed charges against Tom DeBey, 49, earlier this month after a Fresno Police Department investigation. DeBey has not entered a plea and is scheduled to be arraigned in June.

The alleged incident occurred Feb. 9 at FAB, a gay nightclub on Olive Avenue, the main thoroughfare in Fresno's Tower District. Jessica D. Thomas, a 31-year-old artist and performer who lives and works in the Tower District, told police DeBey grabbed her hair and yanked her back as he rubbed his groin on her.

"I just wanted to go hang out with my friends after work one day, and then I got assaulted by a gay guy — which is the craziest thing to say as a woman," she said. "These gay guys think they have some type of entitled view of a woman’s body because they’re gay. It's appalling behavior. It's a bigger shame for me because we’re trying to fight that view that the gay community is just a bunch of drunken perverts. We’re trying to police this."

One of FAB's owners, Terry Story, said DeBey was escorted out of the club by security and is not allowed to return.

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Ashjian out as FUSD President

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Thursday, 14 December 2017 16:06
  • Written by Fresno Bee

Jonasson RosasTrustee Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas is the new president of the Fresno Unified school board, replacing embattled Brooke Ashjian, who will continue to serve as a trustee.

Ashjian – who outlasted months of criticism and community appeals for his ouster – was eligible to serve as president for another year, but Jonasson Rosas was the only trustee nominated at Wednesday night’s board meeting.

Ashjian did not return requests for comment, but during a radio interview on Thursday showed his support for Jonnason Rosas. “It was my idea to rotate (who serves as president),” he said. “It should change every year.”

Also during the KMJ interview, Ashjian stood by the words that got him in hot water. “The truth of the matter is I didn’t kneel to the pagan god,” Ashjian said. “I stood for what I believed in.”

Continue reading at The Fresno Bee

Trans Lifeline now available

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Saturday, 31 March 2018 14:37
  • Written by Jason Scott

Trans LifelineTrans Lifeline operators are available 18 hours a day every day of the week. 8am to 2am at 1 (877) 565-8860

Trans Lifeline is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the well being of transgender people. We run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of our community might have.

This line is primarily for transgender people experiencing a crisis. This includes people who may be struggling with their gender identity and are not sure that they are transgender. While our goal is to prevent self harm, we welcome the call of any transgender person in need. We will do our very best to connect them with services that can help them meet that need. If you are not sure whether you should call or not, then please call us.

Our hotline is staffed by the true experts on transgender experience, transgender people themselves. Our volunteers are all trans identified and educated in the range of difficulties transgender people experience. Our volunteers are dedicated to improving the lives of transgender people.

Additionally, our operators will only call emergency services with your expressed consent.

A Time To Act

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Wednesday, 13 December 2017 12:25
  • Written by HRC

trans violenceHRC Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) released A Time to Act: Fatal Violence Against Transgender People in America in 2017, a heartbreaking report documenting the often deadly violence faced by transgender people and exploring factors that have made this year the deadliest on record for the transgender community. The report came in advance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors transgender people who lost their lives during the previous year, and amidst reports of a surge in hate-based violence and harassment that began during Donald Trump's campaign, and continues under the Trump-Pence administration. "The epidemic of violence against transgender people is an urgent crisis that demands the nations immediate attention,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The unique and tragic stories featured in this report reflect the obstacles that many transgender Americans — especially trans women of color — face in their daily lives. It is crucial that we know these stories in order to combat the transphobia, misogyny and racism fueling this violence so that we can end this epidemic before it takes any more lives." Since the start of the year, at least 25 transgender people have been killed in the U.S. the most on record. Eighty-four percent were people of color and 80 percent were women. Since January 2013 HRC has documented at least 102 transgender people who were victims of fatal violence: at least 87 were transgender people of color and these disturbing numbers likely underreport deadly violence targeting transgender people, who may not be properly identified as transgender. "Each of the stories featured in this report is unique, tragic and devastating.” said TPOCC Executive Director Kylar Broadus. “Unpacking these stories is a difficult but necessary process if we as a society want to protect the most vulnerable and address the root causes for their unjust and premature deaths." The report explores many of the factors that can contribute to or facilitate fatal violence. In many instances, the violence is fueled by anti-LGBTQ prejudice, racism, easy access to guns and increasing political attacks on the transgender community at both the state and federal level. There are a number of actions lawmakers can take to address the violence, including enhancing law enforcement response and training; improving data collection and reporting; passing non-discrimination protections; and adopting common-sense gun violence protections. Since the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, there has been a notable increase in the vitriol and anti-transgender rhetoric - from the top levels of government down through the rest of American society. Seventy percent of respondents to HRC’s post-2016 election youth survey reported witnessing bullying and harassment during or since the 2016 election, and almost half of LGBTQ youth said they have taken steps to hide who they are since the election. FBI data released earlier this week recorded an overall increase in hate crimes in 2016, including a rise in bias-motivated violence based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The release of A Time to Acc Fatal Violence Against Transgender People in America 2017 marks the conclusion of Transgender Awareness Week, which is dedicated to the progress and unfinished work in the fight for transgender equality. Earlier this week, HRC announced that more than 1,400 parents of transgender young people have signed a National Declaration of Rights in response to continued attacks on transgender equality.Throughout the week, HRC has been highlighting areas of focus and continued challenges for the transgender community, from workplace equality to access to inclusive and respectful health care.