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Midwest College Conference for LGBT students and allies February 2nd, 2013
Midwest College Conference for LGBT students and allies

Next week is a conference that if you're within driving distance of Michigan, you're going to want to attend.  It is MBLGTACC, or the Midwest Bi Lesbian Gay Trans Ally College Conference.  It's the 21st annual meeting, and it is hosted at a different midwestern college or university every year. There are going to be about 1,700 college kids there and over 90 sessions you can participate in.  According to the event website, "workshop topics are about the intersections of LGBTA identities and race; religion; gender; sex; disability; history; education and schools; health; politics; allyship; homelessness; professionalism; leadership; HIV/AIDS; and more."  This year's event theme is "Mosaic: Putting the Pieces Together." You don't have to be from the midwest to attend (although it is easier, since Michigan at this time of year is covered with snow.)  Next year's conference is in Missouri - definitely plan ahead so you can be there.  Often, the college groups that organize the event also help people find a place to crash while in town, so don't let cost be an object. Why attend MBLGTACC?  "Many people in the LGBTA community do not have families that are similarly-identified, so we learn about ourselves primarily from our peers and the ...

Gay and into sports? February 2nd, 2013
Gay and into sports?

We wanted to post something today for all the gay, bi, and questioning sports-minded guys that read BornLikeThis.  There's so many guys that don't live a stereotypic gay life, but because our schools, sports organizations, and communities aren't always gay-friendly, it's hard for athletes to buck the norm and be fully, openly who they are.  Part of the work ahead is to change how sports, fraternities, and schools see and value gay-identifying people.  Part of the work is building ourselves up so that we can be up to the challenge of coming out, whenever we choose to do it.  To reach that second goal, here are some resources for inspiration or to find support.  You will feel a lot less alone after spending some time with these websites. OutSports: OutSports is an online magazine and community site about gay athletes and athletics.  They cover national sports, Olympic sports (you must check out diver Matt Mitcham!), hot straight athletes, opinion pieces, and personal stories from GLBT athletes on their struggles with coming out and coming into their own.  There are blogs, podcasts, photo galleries, member profiles, and forums to take in. GLSEN: This organization works hard at bringing progress to schools, advocating for ...

From Prop 8 to DOMA, Same-Sex Marriage Is on the Move February 22nd, 2012
From Prop 8 to DOMA, Same-Sex Marriage Is on the Move

Same-sex marriage has had quite the eventful past few weeks. On February 7, the infamous Proposition 8 in California was ruled unconstitutional in a federal appeals court. To the great surprise of no one, supporters of Prop 8 (making marriage solely between a man and a woman) have contested the decision to repeal, and the decision is now facing appeal. On February 13, Washington state governor Chris Gregoire signed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage in her state. A referendum has been filed, and if the amount of needed signatures is reached, the issue will be put on the ballot in the fall. On February 17, Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey vetoed a bill that would legalize gay marriage in his state. He believes an issue this large should be decided by the people. I do not stand alone when I say that the rights of the minority should never be left to the tyranny of the majority, but then again I am not an elected official. In even more recent news, A U.S. District Court in California just decided Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in the case Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management. Karen Golinski fought for the ...

Washington Looks to Join the Ranks February 11th, 2012
Washington Looks to Join the Ranks

Although gay marriage is not the necessarily the be-all end-all of the queer community, many regard it as a very important stepping stone in the equal rights process. Just last week one state came one step closer to becoming the 7th state to recognize same-sex marriage. The state senate of Washington voted through legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, and this past Wednesday the House did as well. Same-sex marriage is already legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia, with debate coming up this year for New Jersey and Maryland. Same-sex marriage could quite also possibly find itself on the ballot this fall in Maine. Washington state currently recognizes an “everything but marriage law” that was sustained by voters after opponents filed a referendum (to put it on the ballot for direct vote) to challenge it. From 2007 to 2009, Washington recognized domestic partnerships,. If the law is passed, opponents have already announced a challenge will be filed to put the issue on the November ballot. This measure requires 120,577 signatures, and will postpone gay and lesbian couples the ability to wed to November after the election results, if they are favorable. If the signatures are not ...

The Gay Man Behind Martin Luther King Jr. January 16th, 2012
The Gay Man Behind Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., a man whom we memorialize for his non-violent activism and tireless dedication to the rights of African Americans. There is no denying MLK Jr.'s contribution to the advancement of civil rights, but I want to draw your attention to the man behind Martin Luther King Jr you may not have heard of. A man who so happened to be gay. Bayard Rustin, a black civil rights pacifist, recognized Martin Luther King, Jr.'s leadership early on, and helped to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to strengthen King's leadership. Rustin was also the chief organizer for the March on Washington, where Dr. King uttered those famous words: "I have a dream". After the passage of the civil-rights legislation of 1964–1965, Rustin focused attention on the economic problems of working-class and unemployed African Americans. Rustin was gay during a time in history when homosexuality was criminalized and stigmatized. From the 1950s through the 1970s, Rustin was attacked as a "pervert" or for his "immoral influence" by political opponents, fellow civil-rights leaders, segregationists and Black power militants. For this very reason, Rustin operated behind the scenes and only rarely served as a public spokesperson. ...

Codebreaker Alan Turing gets “stamp of approval” January 4th, 2012
Codebreaker Alan Turing gets “stamp of approval”

Alan Turing, the English gay mathematician who helped break the Nazi's Enigma code in WWII, is to be honored on a stamp in the United Kingdom - exactly 100 years after his birth. Turing, despite his great contribution to WWII, was convicted of "gross indecency" in 1952, when homosexual acts were illegal in the UK, and sentenced to chemical castration. It shouldn't come as a surprise that he committed suicide two years later. In 2009, the then prime minister Gordon Brown issued an unequivocal apology on behalf of the government to Turing, describing his treatment as "horrifying" and "utterly unfair". Brown said the country owed him a huge debt. No Shit. But, hey, having a stamp dedicated to you totally makes it all alright, right? Right? Turing is also credited with helping to create the world's first modern day computer.

Marriage Equality causes record marriage spike in NYC. January 3rd, 2012
Marriage Equality causes record marriage spike in NYC.

The numbers are in on marriage licenses issued in New York City during 2011—and the results are inspiring. More than 4,000 additional licenses were handed out this year, which marks a 14% increase from 2010. While there's no way of knowing for certain, since the city doesn't require couples to disclose their gender on the marriage application, officials have credited LGBT couples as the main reason for the jump. Considering Marriage Equality only passed a few months ago, I wonder how big of an increase we should expect in 2012? On a somewhat related note, check out the Year in Review of Marriage Equality in 2011 below:

ACLU Releases tips on how to start a GSA November 20th, 2011
ACLU Releases tips on how to start a GSA

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently created a video guide to help public school students who are interested in starting a Gay-Straight Alliance get their club off the ground. Check out the video here or look at this page for additional help and support. Also, consider naming your GSA something more inclusive like a QSA (Queer-Straight Alliance) to create a truly welcoming and safe space for all students.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves DOMA Repeal November 13th, 2011
Senate Judiciary Committee Approves DOMA Repeal

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the Respect for Marriage Act by a 10 – 8 vote along party lines. While the Obama Administration has already stated their feelings on DOMA and the bill is currently making its way through our court system, this vote marks the first time that any part of Congress has voted to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Respect for Marriage Act wouldn’t require states to recognize marriage equality. However, the bill would enable federal benefits to continue to flow to same-sex couples if they marry in one jurisdiction and move to another state within the country that doesn’t recognize their union. Don't start celebrating just yet. Considering the bill repealing DOMA only has about 31 Senate votes and no realistic chance of passing in the Republican-led house, we still have a ways to go before DOMA is stricken from the books. That being said, Don't Ask Don't Tell's eleventh hour repeal earlier this year does give us some hope that DOMA could be stricken down sooner than we think. President Obama released a statement shortly after the hearing. “President Obama applauds today’s vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide a legislative ...

Call to Action: Help root out homophobia in schools October 15th, 2011
Call to Action: Help root out homophobia in schools

Last night, my partner and I watched Anderson Cooper's special Bullying: It stops here and I was amazed by the amount of inaction teachers and administrators displayed when they witnessed one youth tormenting another. This morning, I go on the computer and find that teachers and whole administrations are just as guilty of discriminating against students as their peers are. I am referring to two separate incidents - on in New Jersey and one in Texas. In both cases, we can take direct action to make sure that LGBTQ youth can live out loud. New Jersey As a native New Jerseyan, I was outraged when I heard that Union Township teacher Viki Knox posted comments on her public Facebook account criticizing a school display recognizing Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender History Month. A parent in Union Township copied the comments and sent them to the The Star Ledger, which published excerpts earlier in the week. Knox referred to homosexuality as "a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation," and a "sin" that "breeds like cancer." She later went on to say, "Why parade your unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us? I DO NOT HAVE TO TOLERATE ANYTHING OTHERS WISH TO ...