thedailybeast.com
President Obama Credits Ellen DeGeneres With Turning the Tide on LGBT Equality
During his visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday, President Obama nearly brought tears to the host’s eyes when he credited her for “changing hearts and minds” on LGBT issues.

“There was no dancing for Obama this time. No Whip/Nae Nae or games of “Heads Up!”as Clinton has eagerly done on the show in the past few months. Instead, Obama’s conversation with Ellen DeGeneres was mostly a heartfelt reflection on his presidency. And he surprised the host by giving her credit for what has been perhaps the biggest social sea change of the last eight years.

“I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for the gay community,” DeGeneres told the president to cheers from her studio audience.

Calling nationwide marriage equality and the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” some of his “proudest” achievements, Obama quickly turned the praise around on DeGeneres. As much as he has been able to do with laws, he said, “Changing hearts and minds, I don’t think anyone has been as influential as you on that. I really mean it. That’s true.”

“Your courage — and you’re just really likable,” Obama continued as DeGeneres visibly took a deep breath to compose herself. “You being willing to claim who you were, that suddenly empowers other people and then suddenly it’s your brother, it’s your uncle, it’s your best friend, it’s your co-workers and then attitudes shift. And the laws followed, but it started with folks like you. I’m so proud of you.”

Read the full piece and watch the video here

winnipeg.ctvnews.ca
Canada swears in first transgender judge
Kael McKenzie was appointed to the bench in December 2015, and will become Canada’s first transgender judge.

On Friday, Kael McKenzie made history when he was sworn in at the Winnipeg law courts as a judge, becoming the first transgender judge in Canada. He was officially designated a judge in December. 

He is noted by the Manitoba Bar Association for his dedication to community involvement, including as a member of various LGBTQ organizations and law organizations.

The new judge told the crowd at the ceremony he received support from across Canada shortly after his appointment was announced.

He took time to specially thank his family that flew in from across Canada for the event.

McKenzie’s spouse and two sons sat in the front row for the ceremony. “This day would not be complete without (my sons),” said McKenzie.

What a milestone! Congratulations, sir. 

thinkprogress.org
Bills protecting LGBT people from discrimination rejected in Florida and Georgia
There actually was a chance Florida and Georgia might try to protect LGBT people, but they quickly faltered.

This week, two separate bills that would have protected LGBT citizens from discrimination – one in Georgia and one in Florida – were rejected by legislators.

Here’s what happened in Georgia, from ThinkProgress: 

In Georgia, there is no state law establishing public accommodation protections for any protected class. Lawmakers are considering HB 849, a bill that would create the same protections that exist on the federal level. Though there are limitations in the bill’s definition of public accommodations, it would protect against discrimination by any place of lodging (inn, hotel, motel, etc.), any restaurant (food-serving place), any gas station, and any event space (movie theatre, concert hall, stadium, etc.).

The bill currently only offers protections based on race, color, nationality, and religion, but on Tuesday, Democrats tried to add sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability with an amendment. Rep. Tom Weldon ® opposed the change, claiming, “Those who get bullied usually are the ones that end up doing well on down the road in life.” The House subcommittee considering the measure rejected the amendment 6-4 vote, and the bill advanced to the House Judiciary Committee without any LGBT protections.

And in Florida:

Florida lawmakers have similarly considered a bill that explicitly creates new protections for LGBT people. The bill, SB 120, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes in employment, housing, and public accommodations, along with new language guaranteeing that the law would “not limit the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the State Constitution.”

In the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, conversation got wrapped up in conversations about which restrooms transgender people would be allowed to use. Sen. Wilton Simpson ® expressed concerns about “weirdos doing weird things in public bathrooms with men or women,” but Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) wryly mused, “My guess is the transgender community has used the bathroom before.” Though the bill has the support of several big business interests in Florida, including AT&T, Disney, Office Depot, Home Shopping Network, Marriott, and Wells Fargo, it failed to advance in a 5-5 vote.

Sigh. This fight isn’t over, friends. Keep going. 

queerasl.com
Queer ASL
Queer ASL is a queer & transgender positive environment with a focus on creating a more accessible, affordable, and safer space for folks who want to learn ASL in Vancouver, BC.

Queer ASL focuses on introducing basic American Sign Language and Deaf culture to queer & transgender learners in Vancouver, BC. This involves learning the alphabet, finger-spelling, facial expressions, vocabulary, and grammar structures. At home, students access homework videos that feature the local queer signing community and a collection of Deaf culture information such as identity politics, cultural norms, history, current topics and issues, etc. The courses have a voice-off policy in order to both be respectful of signing spaces and to immerse ourselves in a signing environment. People who complete Queer ASL classes are able to carry basic conversations with signing queer folks and have a better understanding of the deaf/signing community.

The courses are taught through using powerpoints, videos, demonstrations, dialogue practice via partners and groups. All instructors are deaf and queer. Deaf queer guests (often folks featured in the homework videos) at times visit to provide additional perspectives and show students how we all have different signing styles. By having guests, this allows both signing queers and Queer ASL students become familiar with each other, thus building a bridge.

We generally have 3-4 cycles of classes per year. To keep an eye on upcoming classes, email us at queerasl@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list. Also, liking our facebook and keeping an eye on our events can be helpful.

I honestly think love is more complicated than ‘I love you’ and 'I don’t love you’. I think there’s so many different types of love and each one is totally unique. I don’t think it’s possible to make a judgment on someone’s love, because you never really know how people feel. I think love never happens the same way twice, nor does it feel the same to any one person. We all give and receive love in different ways and have different experience. And because of this I think that it’s not just as simple as being in love or not being in love. Love is much too complicated for our brains to understand

npr.org
The 'Black, Queer, Feminist' Legal Trailblazer You've Never Heard Of
Pauli Murray championed the fight for gender equality, achieved sainthood and helped desegregate schools, all while pushing against Mad Men-era social norms.

Dr. Pauli Murray is hardly the household name that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is, but a recent profile in Salon argues she should be. As Salon’s Brittney Cooper explains, Murray, who graduated from the Howard University School of Law in 1944, was one of the first lawyers to argue that the Equal Protection Clause’s approach to racial discrimination should apply equally to gender-based discrimination. Ginsburg credits Murray’s work as the inspiration for her 1971 brief in Reed v. Reed, which ruled that women could not be excluded as administrators of personal estates based on their gender. The Supreme Court case marked the first time that the Equal Protection Clause was applied to sex discrimination, and has served as precedent for many arguments in the decades since then. Ginsburg found Murray’s prior arguments so important to her own that she elected to put Murray down as an honorary co-author on the milestone brief.

CLICK THE HEADER LINK TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

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To People in the Closet on Valentines… | DaniSurname

It can be tough not being out when you see all the commercialised love around Valentines Day. But fear not! Here’s some love from a stranger on the internet <3