Suspicious material in letters to Straight Pride Parade organizers turned out to be... glitter!

Organizers of the planned "Straight Pride Parade" in Boston next month called police after receiving suspicious envelopes containing a powdery substance. A hazmat team investigated and the mystery material turned out to be... glitter. From The Guardian:

The suspicious envelopes, filled with a “granular substance”, were addressed to three members of “Super Happy Fun America”, a group whose membership have previously organized and attended events, some of which have turned violent and who have links to far-right figures.

One of the recipients, Mark Sahady, is known as the leader of the Boston chapter of a group called Resist Marxism, an organization described by the Daily Beast as the new organization as a “front for [the] far-right group”.

In 2018, Think Progress reported that Resist Marxism had links with white nationalist groups, and that members had expressed antisemitic sentiments in leaked chats.

The sender or senders of the glitter parcels remains unknown.

Read the rest

Kickstarter outlines the ambitious plans of Andrea James' Transphobia project

Kickstarter has a lengthy piece on Medium discussing frequent BB contributor Andrea James's Transphobia project (previously). and the broader issues surrounding transgender reporting, the bias within it, and the lack of transgender representation (and outright exclusion) from reporters on the subject.

James has three foundational goals for The Transphobia Project: “More trans journalists employed full-time at media outlets; coverage of trans issues to include input from trans editors and fact-checkers; and more non-trans journalists to be aware of how to avoid bias in trans coverage. I hope my project will help editors and publishers identify those with a history of fair and accurate coverage on trans topics, [and] those who don’t have that history. Finally, I hope it will help media consumers see when trans coverage contains bias, both pro- and anti-trans.”

At a time when LGBTQ+ tolerance is actually decreasing among youth, holding media to account for both how, and by whom the public receives unbiased reporting on these topics may be even more important than in the past, to stave off what USA Today reports as a "looming social crisis in discrimination." I'm a supporter of her project on Kickstarter, and I hope you will be, too. Read the rest

Microsoft employees want to starve its PAC, which keeps giving money to homophobic, racist, climate-denying Republicans

Microsoft's stated values are "diversity, inclusion, and growth mindset," but the six of the top ten politicians funded by MSPAC -- which derives funding from voluntary contributions from 4,000 of Microsoft's 140,000 employees -- are far-right Republican extremists, including Mitch McConnell, who reliably vote for homophobic, climate-denying and racist policies. Read the rest

It Feels Good to Be Yourself: a sweet, simple picture book about gender identity

Theresa Thorn (co-host of the excellent parenting podcast One Bad Mother and Jesse Thorn (proprietor of the excellent Maximum Fun podcasting network) have a transgender daughter; Theresa has written a beautiful, sweet picture book about gender identity based on her experiences with her trans kid: It Feels Good to Be Yourself. Read the rest

YouTube totally blows it on response to Steven Crowder's hate channel

They demonetized Stephen Crowder for "egregious actions."

Then they said he can re-monetize if he stops selling those SOCIALISM IS FOR FAGS t-shirts.

Canada-based hate personality Steven Crowder won't be able to earn more of Google's money from his YouTube channel after a “continued review” found a “pattern of egregious actions” contrary to YouTube Partner Program policies, YouTube said to one of Crowder's bullying victims today. And then, within an hour or so, they walked it all back. Read the rest

Alabama public television won't air Arthur episode featuring gay wedding

The first episode of the 22nd season of the children's animated show Arthur, titled "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone," premiered last week but Alabama Public Television has refused to air it. Why? Because third grade teacher Mr. Ratburn's special someone is a chocolate maker named Patrick and the two are seen walking down the aisle. In 2005, Arthur spin-off show Postcards from Buster showed a lesbian couple which infuriated then-Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.) From CNN:

The storyline about Mr. Ratburn's marriage conveys a positive message, (programming director Mike McKenzie) said. But while many parents will find it appropriate, many others will disagree, he said -- "either because their children are too young, or because of their beliefs."

"Our broadcast would take away the choice of parents who feel it is inappropriate," McKenzie told CNN in a statement.

PBS Kids programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation," PBS Kids' Maria Vera Whelan told CNN. "We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day."

Read the rest

Bernie Sanders' "Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education" will desegregate schools, defund charters, pay teachers, end the school-to-prison pipeline

Bernie Sanders has released A Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education, a detailed and bold suite of public education reforms reminiscent of the kinds of policy planks being laid down regularly by rival candidate Elizabeth Warren (I'm a donor to both Sanders' and Warren's campaigns). Read the rest

Chicago's first gay, Black, woman mayor won all 50 wards, defeating the machine candidate with an anti-corruption campaign

Lori Lightfoot is Chicago's newest mayor, succeeding the notoriously corrupt establishment figure Rahm Emmanuel (who quit after two terms, triggering a race), and beating out Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who had been anointed by Chicago's legendarily unassailable Democratic machine as the next mayor. Read the rest

Citing transphobic policies, 172+ googlers call for removal of Heritage Foundation from Google's "Advanced Technology External Advisory Council"

The googler uprising continues: after forcing the company to kill its plans to launch a censored Chinese search-engine and its plan to sell AI technology to US drone systems, and forcing out execs who led these projects, and getting the right to sue the company over sexual harassment, more than 170 googlers have signed an open letter demanding that the company reverse its decision to add Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James to its Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), an advisory body that provides moral guidance on AI and other technologies. Read the rest

University dean resigns after school denies Chick-fil-A a location on campus

Cynthia Newman, dean of the college of business administration at Rider University in New Jersey, has resigned from that position after her school denied Chick-fil-A a campus location "based on the company's record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community." (Newman will continue as a tenured professor though.) According to the university administrators, Chick-fil-A's "corporate values have not sufficiently progressed enough to align with those of Rider."

I first suspected Newman stepped down because she loves Chick-fil-A's waffle fries so much, but she says she actually has "a problem with University leadership passing judgement on Chick-fil-A’s values which are reflective with the values of the Christian as well as other faiths.”

“I endeavor every day to do exactly what Chick-fil-A puts forward as its overarching corporate value: to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to me and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with me," Newman said in her resignation speech.

From CNN:

Newman wrote that she asked administrators to apologize for offending Christians, but ultimately decided to step down after the university stuck to its original stance.

"While we respect Dr. Newman's personal decision, we maintain that the decision about choosing an on-campus restaurant franchise was in no way a judgment on religious values," Kristine Brown, a spokeswoman for Rider University, said in a statement to CNN.

"Rather, our intention was to foster a sense of respect and belonging of all members of the campus community, including those who identify as LGBTQ+."

More in the Rider University newspaper: "Dean steps down from position due to religious beliefs" (The Rider News) Read the rest

This was the first US mainstream television commercial featuring a gay couple

In 1994, Ikea ran this television commercial in major East Coast US markets. (Interestingly, the commercial's art director was Patrick O'Neill who went on to be Chief Creative Officer at everyone's favorite Silicon Valley start-up disaster Theranos!)

From a 1994 article in the Los Angeles Times:

A few East Coast Ikea stores have been targeted by angry protesters who have jammed phone lines since last week. One store in Hicksville, N.Y., was briefly evacuated last week after a bomb scare. No bomb was found.

At issue is the homosexual relationship between the two men in the Ikea ad, who talk about how buying the dining room table together shows their commitment to each other. If it becomes clear to other major marketers that Ikea's business is not harmed--and perhaps even helped--by the ad, it could profoundly affect the way major advertisers speak to gays and lesbians.

Read the rest

Karen Pence teaches at school that bans LGBTQ kids and staff: Report

Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, just started a new job this week. She's an art teacher at a Christian school that makes job candidates sign a pledge not to engage in homosexual activity. Gay kids, you're not welcome either. Read the rest

Kyrsten Sinema wins Arizona Senate. Now Dems have 47 seats to GOP's 51.

Kyrsten Sinema, the apparent winner in Arizona's Senate race, is the first Democrat to win that vote for decades. Read the rest

Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, 50+ more firms tell Trump to leave trans people alone

In a letter published online today, 56 of America's largest corporations tell Donald Trump not roll back legal protections for transgender people, as he is threatening to do with the midterm U.S. elections one week away. What he appears to be trying to do, of course, is far more than that. Donald Trump says he wants to be the one who determines your gender. Read the rest

Apple's new parental control: Daily Stormer is in, sex-ed is out

The new parental controls in Ios 12 have all the same problems that all parental controls have: they overblock legit material (with a bias for sex-ed, especially sex-ed targeted at girls and queer kids, including Teen Vogue) and underblock all kinds of other material (neo-Nazi publications like The Daily Stormer and Reddit's pornographic /r/Gonewild are not blocked). Read the rest

Residents of Sydney's gayborhood are getting hate-mail signed by "Jesus"

People who live in the LGBT-identified Sydney neighborhood of Darlinghurst are getting letters through their door signed by "Jesus" that blame queer people for extreme weather (drought, hail); "Jesus" also takes credit for felling the (admittedly horrible) former PM Malcolm Turnbull. Read the rest

Michigan school board members recalled for enacting LGBTQ-friendly policies

John Frost writes, "Four members of the Williamston, Michigan Board of Education are being recalled because they enacted policies that enable schools to treat children with respect regardless of their gender identities." Read the rest

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