Every weekend we bring you a round up of either the best LGBT moments from the week before -- our Something To Celebrate series -- or, as you'll see below, the worst anti-LGBT stories from the last seven days in our Know Thine Enemy feature.
You can think of Know Thine Enemy as a primer filled with the anti-LGBT rhetoric being leveled against us, as a reminder of how far we still have to go, and maybe even as a chance to have a laugh (because let's be honest, some of this stuff is so ridiculous it's pretty hilarious).
Check out the stories we covered this week below -- all in one convenient slideshow -- and let us know who you think the biggest enemy of the LGBT community was in the comments section.
Walt Disney World's unofficial "Gay Day" tradition is coming under fire yet again from a rightwing Florida-based group. The Florida Family Association (FFA), which has previously claimed that gays and lesbians lead "immoral lifestyles," claims to have raised $4,100 to hire an aircraft company to fly a banner warning families about the June 2 event at the Orlando resort. At present, the banner can be flown for 10 hours, although organizers are aiming to have it flown for 20, which will cost $8,400. Read the full story here.
A Boy Scouts den mother is speaking out after being ousted from her role because she is a lesbian. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is speaking out in support of Ohio resident Jennifer Tyrrell, who was forced to resign last week as den leader of her son's Tiger Scout chapter due to her sexual orientation. Tyrrell says she assumed the role of den leader -- a post she held for over a year -- after registering her son for the Boy Scouts last year. "Throughout the year, my cubs performed volunteer service at a local soup kitchen, collected canned goods for area churches to distribute in food baskets, participated in bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, and, at the time of my removal, were working on a conservation project for a state park," she said in a GLAAD statement. "The revocation of my membership came shortly after I was elected treasurer of my pack and uncovered some inconsistencies in the pack's finances." Read the full story here.
A bill in Missouri meant to eliminate any mention of sexual orientation in the state's public schools advanced to committee on Thursday after a first reading. The brief wording of HB 2051 gets right to the point:
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school.Read the full story here.
Bill O'Reilly called out "Glee" for encouraging teenagers to experiment with "alternative lifestyles" on Thursday night. The Fox News host was discussing the show's message with guests Gretchen Carlson and Jeanine Pirro. He began by saying that "Glee" was a "good show" with "lots of talent" and "positive messages." However, he took issue with what he said was the program's "recurring theme that alternative lifestyles may be a big positive." After watching a clip of one character cross-dressing, guest Gretchen Carlson heaved a huge sigh. "Here we go again, pandering to .3% of the American population that considers themselves transgender," she said. "Now I get to explain this to my 8-year-old, if i want her to see a nice family show with some nice music." She also took issue with a storyline about two cheerleaders who are lesbians, and two seniors who are engaged to be married. "[The show seems] to have a positive message about hopes and dreams and taking risks," Carlson opined. "But why do they have to come up with these wild story lines to prove their point? I don't get it." Read the full story here.
Gwen Ifill, the author and "PBS News Hour" correspondent, is under fire from a conservative media outlet over her decision to serve as emcee at Thursday's annual fundraiser for Whitman-Walker Health, a nonprofit community health clinic in Washington. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will receive an award at the event. Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, which runs the website Newsbusters, wrote on Thursday that Ifill was crossing an "Obama line" by emceeing the event, where Sebelius is being honored for her work in implementing the Affordable Care Act. Read the full story here.
Heather Wilson, a Republican running for U.S. Senate in New Mexico, came out against Sen. Al Franken's (D-Minn.) anti-LGBT bullying legislation last week, claiming it would criminalize teasing and "punish children." Last year, Franken introduced SB 555, known as the Student Non-Discrimination Act. Right now, federal civil rights laws make clear it is illegal to discriminate against individuals based on their race, color, sex, religion, disability and national origin. Franken's bill would expand those categories to prohibit discrimination and bullying in public schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity as well. Read the full story here.
A transgender woman has been found apparently murdered in West Garfield Park, Chicago, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Paige Clay, 23, was found in an alley was found in an alley on the 4500 block of West Jackson on Monday at 3:52 a.m. Police did not identify Clay. Rather, several community members confirmed her identity to Windy City Times. According to reports, Clay received services at local LGBT agencies and was known in Chicago's ball scene. Read the full story here.
A number of rightwing groups plan to combat a youth-run lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) event held in schools across the country with a series of conservative protests this week. Organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the national "Day of Silence" aims to draw attention to anti-gay bullying, harassment and name-calling in schools. In an effort to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior in middle schools, high schools and college campuses, students will take a "vow of silence" on April 20 to illustrate "the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT," according to GLSEN's website. As a counterpart, Focus on the Family has organized the so-called "Day of Dialogue" (formerly "Day of Truth"), set for April 19, which encourages students "to express their Biblical viewpoint in a loving and Christ-centered way -- especially when sensitive issues, like bullying and sexual identity, are addressed in their schools," HuffPost Gay Voices reported in February. Read the full story here.
Turns out right-wing Western pundits aren't the only ones spouting horrific remarks when it comes to homosexuality. As The Guardian is reporting, Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli, an influential cleric and an Islamic scholar based in Iran's holy city of Qom, referred to homosexuals as inferior to dogs and pigs in a new speech. "If a society commits a new sin, it will face a new punishment," Javadi-Amoli said, according to The Guardian's translation of a report by the Iranian news website Khabaronline. "Problems like AIDS did not exist before." Read the full story here.
oignant details about Kenneth Weishuhn, the gay Iowa teen who took his own life after friends and family say his classmates sent him death threats on his cell phone and made him the subject of a Facebook hate group, are continuing to emerge. Numerous media outlets are pointing to the 14-year-old's Pinterest page. One section, titled "When I get married," features photos of vintage menswear, candle centerpieces and wedding cake toppers depicting two grooms. Another section, titled "Inspiration," includes a number of anti-bullying sentiments, along with a quote attributed to "Glee" actor Chris Colfer: "There's nothing wrong with you, there's a lot wrong with the world you live in." Sister Kayla Weishuhn said Kenneth was actually quite popular before he came out last month. "He had a lot of friends but once they found out he was gay a lot of them turned on him." Kayla, a sophomore, told ABC 9 KCAUTV, before noting that many of her classmates also bullied her brother: "I was just really mad because those guys were supposed to be my friends and they were making fun of my brother. I tried to stick up for him a couple of times but I guess it wasn't enough." Read the full story here.
This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly's The Snitch. By Erika Maldonado If the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's Hunky Jesus Contest on Easter just wasn't enough to piss-off the Catholics, next Sunday's world premiere of the documentary "Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption" at the Castro Theatre probably will. The film follows 108 Productions' revival of Terrence Mcnally's play Corpus Christi, a retelling of the story of Jesus with the messiah depicted as a gay man in 1950s Texas. Since the play's New York debut in 1998, it has garnered much protest and controversy. And for those of you homophobes who are too lazy to leave the house to protest the film, a Catholic group, America Needs Fatima, has made it easy for you. Go to this website, and you will find a form letter protesting the "blasphemous homosexual play." Just type in your own name and hit send, as some 13,000 people so far have done. Read the full story here.
Taiwan may be considered relatively accepting of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) residents, but a new study suggests many in the community continue to feel heavily stigmatized. A new survey co-sponsored by the Gender/Sexuality Rights Association of Taiwan found that 18 percent of the nation's gay population has attempted suicide due to discrimination, while 30 percent have considered taking their own lives, according to the AFP. Read the full story here.
HALIFAX - Police in Halifax are investigating the beating death Tuesday of a prominent activist in the city's gay community and haven't excluded the possibility that it could have been motivated by hate.Investigators say Raymond Taavel, 49, was attacked when he tried to break up a fight between two men at 2:30 a.m. in the city's downtown. "There has been speculation online and in the community that this was a hate crime," Const. Brian Palmeter, a spokesman for Halifax Regional Police, said in a statement. Read the full story here.
Seemingly undeterred by the failure of its much-publicized objection to Ellen DeGeneres' new JCPenney spokeswoman role, One Million Moms is back in the headlines. This time, members of the anti-gay group are targeting Urban Outfitters after the clothing retailer featured a photo depicting a steamy kiss between two female models in its latest catalog. "The April 2012 catalog from Urban Outfitters has begun arriving in home mailboxes the last couple of days," the group writes on its website. "On page two of this catalog is a picture of two women kissing in a face holding embrace! The ad and catalog are clearly geared toward teenagers." The alert concludes, "The content is offensive and inappropriate for a teen who is the company's target customer." Read the full story here.
A Tea Party tax day protest and counter-demonstration in Boston got testy over the weekend, with the confrontation reportedly leading to a speaker telling a group of LGBT activists that they wouldn't be "silenced by faggots." Scott Wooledge relays the supposed slur in a lengthy post at Daily Kos breaking down the encounter between Tea Partyers, counter-protesters from numerous progressive groups and police officers.
Reports from attendees were that in response to disturbances by protestors, one of the speakers said from the podium, broadcast across the loud speakers at the Commons, "We will not be silenced by faggots."Read the full story here.
An Arizona teen is crying foul after his high school barred him from running for prom queen. As CBS 5 is reporting, McClintock High School student River Flanary, who says he is straight, claims he wants to run for queen in an effort to stand up "for those who maybe weren't bold enough to stand up before and maybe putting that courage in their hearts a little." By that, he says he means the school's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. "It's just about a perfect fitting dress and everyone says it looks flattering on me," Flanary, 17, said. "I jerry-rigged some rope to it so that it's not strapless and so it's compliant with the school dress code." Read the full story here.
A new report released this morning states that Saudi Arabia has asked its Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice to begin enforcing the banishment of gay and "tom boy" students from schools and universities in an attempt to further thwart homosexuality in the country, where it is already considered a capital offense. Emirates247.com quotes the Arabic language newspaper Sharq which states "Instructions have been issued to all public schools and universities to ban the entry of gays and tom boys and to intensify their efforts to fight this phenomenon, which has been promoted by some websites." Read the full story here.