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Transgender Military Ban Went Into Effect At Midnight In America, Potentially Putting Thousands of Trans Soldiers At Risk Of Discharge



A memo from the Department of Defense was obtained by reporters outlining how the ban will be put into effect. Under its terms, the military will discharge or deny enlistment to anyone who won’t serve in the gender to which they were assigned at birth, or who are undergoing hormone therapy or other gender-confirmation procedures, the Associated Press reports.

“The order says the military services must implement the new policy in 30 days [by April 12], giving some individuals a short window of time to qualify for gender transition if needed,” according to the AP. “And it allows service secretaries to waive the policy on a case-by-case basis.”

Signed by David L. Norquist, who is serving as deputy defense secretary, the document appears to be largely in keeping with the memo prepared by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis last year and approved by the White House. It says service members can be discharged due to a diagnosis of gender dysphoria if they are “unable or unwilling to adhere to all applicable standards, including the standards associated with his or her biological sex, or seeks transition to another gender.”

The Mattis memo came several months after Donald Trump announced, via Twitter, his intention to bar transgender people from military service, reversing the Obama administration’s decision to allow trans people to serve openly. The Trump policy is the subject of four court challenges, and judges had issued injunctions in these lawsuits to block the policy from going into effect while the suits are heard.

The ban’s implementation would mean the discharge of an estimated 13,700 transgender service members (out of an estimated 15,000 serving), the largest single layoff of trans people in history. And it would come despite testimony from service chiefs that “they had seen no discipline, morale or unit readiness problems with transgender troops serving openly in the military,” the AP reports.


Morehouse College To Take Transgender Students




ATLANTA, Ga. (AP) –The country’s only all-male historically black college will begin admitting transgender men next year, marking a major shift for the school at a time when higher education institutions around the nation are adopting more welcoming policies toward LGBT students.

Leaders of Morehouse College told The Associated Press that its board of trustees approved the policy on Saturday.

Transgender men will be allowed to enroll in the school for the first time in 2020. Students who identify as women but were born male cannot enroll, however, and anyone who transitions from male to female will not be automatically eligible to receive a degree from the institution.

Morehouse officials hailed the move as an important step toward a more inclusive campus while affirming its mission to educate and develop men.

“I think Morehouse having the courage to speak to issues of masculinity in today’s environment is important,” Morehouse College President David Thomas told The Associated Press. “For 152 years, the world has, in some way, seen Morehouse as the West Point of black male development.”

Morehouse is an iconic college that counts the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., filmmaker Spike Lee and former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson as its alumni. It bills itself as the “college of choice for black men” that has instilled leadership skills in generations of African American men.

More than 1,000 colleges and universities around the country have adopted some form of a transgender policy, including about two dozen historically black colleges. An increasing number of schools are updating admissions guidelines to ensure that transgender students have a welcoming experience, said Human Rights Commission spokeswoman Sarah McBride.

“Young people are incredibly supportive of LGBT equality, including transgender,” McBride said. “Schools are responding in kind. In many ways, our college campuses look like the country we’ll have in 10 or 15 years. There are a lot of reasons for hope.”

Morehouse becomes the first standalone all-male college in the country to adopt a transgender policy. Nationwide, there are only two other all-male colleges, Wabash College in Indiana and Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Minnesota’s St. John’s University, which enrolls only men but shares a co-ed academic program with the College of St. Benedict, also has a transgender policy.

Morehouse has had challenges around LGBT issues, most notably the 2002 attack of a 19-year-old student accused of beating a fellow student with a baseball bat who he mistakenly thought was making a sexual advance.

Gregory Love’s skull was fractured in the beating. Aaron Price was found guilty of assault and initially sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The incident was widely seen as reflective of a larger and pervasive attitude toward the LGBT community among African Americans.

Thomas acknowledged that historically black colleges and universities – mainly established after the Civil War with the help of religious institutions like the Baptist and Methodist churches – face added challenges in addressing issues of gender and sexuality because of opposition in black churches.

“I can’t speak for all HBCUs, but we know in the black church there has largely been silence on this issue,” Thomas said. “I can imagine there may be people who would say, ‘Why would you even raise this?’ I say to those people we live in an era now where silence on these issues is actually not helpful. For us, as a school for men, it’s important for us to set clear expectations about what that means. That’s what we’re trying to do with this policy.”

In 2009, the college updated its dress code, in part to address a handful of students who were wearing women’s clothing on campus. The following year, Morehouse held its first Gay Pride. Morehouse offered its first LGBT course in 2013 and has a scholars program named for civil and gay rights icon Bayard Rustin.

Spelman College, an all-woman HBCU next door to Morehouse, adopted a transgender policy in 2017, and the first transgender woman graduated in 2018.

Other HBCUs with transgender policies include Tuskegee University, Howard University, Florida A&M University, Southern University in Louisiana, North Carolina Central University and Morgan State University in Maryland.

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Conversion Therapy

Massachusetts Becomes 16th State To Outlaw Conversion Therapy For Minors




BOSTON (MassLive) — Massachusetts therapists can no longer use a type of therapy that tries to alter a teenager’s sexual orientation.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday signed into law a bill banning licensed health care professionals from providing conversion therapy to anyone under 18.

Conversion therapy tries to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It can be done through talk or through a practice where a therapist causes pain when someone has a sexual reaction to someone of the same sex.

Most professional medical organizations have said conversion therapy is not a legitimate form of medical treatment.

Supporters of the ban say conversion therapy has the potential to harm vulnerable young people who are gay or are dealing with issues related to their sexual identity, by shaming them and potentially driving them to depression or drug use.

The ban does not address conversion therapy performed on adults, nor does it apply to pastoral counseling by a religious leader.

Fifteen states and Washington, D.C., have already banned conversion therapy, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Baker, a Republican, signed the bill despite concerns by Republicans in the state Senate over whether the ban infringed on parents’ rights to control their children or on therapists’ free speech rights.

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Same-Sex Marriage Legalised In Cayman Islands




Chantelle Day, left, and Vickie Bodden Bush, with their legal team outside court last month.

(CNS) — In an historic, landmark ruling for the Cayman Islands, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie has legalised same-sex marriage. In his judgment delivered on Friday in the human rights case filed by Chantelle Day and Vicky Bodden, who had been refused a marriage licence because they are a same-sex couple, the country’s senior judge found in their favour regarding all of their claims and made the decision not to allow, “the violation of the petitioners rights to continue” and for the “indignities” that they and their daughter have been subjected to be “put to an immediate end”. As a result he ordered the modification of the law instantly legalising gay marriage in Cayman.

Developing story, more to come…

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