February 10, 2011 | by Staff reports
National news in brief

Shia LaBeouf got in an epithet-inspired bar brawl in California last weekend. (Photo courtesy of wikimedia)

Actor Shia LaBeouf in bar brawl over gay slur

LOS ANGELES — “Transformers” star Shia LaBeouf, who’s straight, was detained last weekend after a bar fight in which a patron called him a “faggot,” several media outlets reported. The incident happened at Mad Bull Tavern in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Mark Mastro told Radar the incident started when LaBeouf brushed off a friendly overture from Mastro’s friend. Mastro said, “Don’t worry, he’s just a fucking faggot anyway,” the Associated Press reported. A fight ensued with Mastro allegedly punching LeBeouf. Both were handcuffed but neither pressed charges. In 2008, video surfaced of LaBeouf using the word faggot while goofing around with a friend. He apologized.

Transgender study reports disturbing findings

NEW YORK — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality last week released a comprehensive new report, “Injustice at Every Turn,” revealing the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in a wide range of areas, including education, health care, employment and housing.

The study, based on the results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, was based on responses from more than 6,450 participants. The survey is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date. Among the key findings from “Injustice at Every Turn”: respondents were nearly four times more likely to live in extreme poverty with household incomes of less than $10,000, residents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole, half reported harassment at work and one in four were fired because of their gender identity or expression, black transgender workers fared worse than their white counterparts, 19 percent reported being refused a home or apartment, 41 percent reported attempting suicide and 19 percent reported being refused health care.

Utah gays fear proposed bills could be harmful

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — An anti-gay Utah state legislator and architect of that state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, has filed three bills that activists there say could have far-reaching impacts, from gutting city and county anti-discrimination ordinances to nullifying medical directives between same-sex partners, according to media reports.

Rep. LaVar Christensen, a Republican from Draper, Utah, says the proposed bills simply codify existing public policy and case law and that none is targeted at unraveling existing protections. Still, Equality Utah, the state’s largest advocacy group for gay and transgender Utahans, worries that HB109, the “Religious Liberty Recognition and Protection Act,” would undo ordinances adopted by 11 Utah cities and counties to prevent housing and employment discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In Salt Lake City, the anti-discrimination measures received a landmark endorsement from the LDS Church. And 65 percent of Utahans support expanding the laws statewide, according to a recent Salt Lake Tribune poll.

N.C. arson fire may not have been hate crime

JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — A fire that torched a gay couple’s home early on the morning of Feb. 4 in North Carolina is under investigation as arson. However, Monday, the Johnston County’s sheriff told WRAL-TV, that there’s not enough evidence to rule it as a gay hate crime.

Sheriff Steve Bizzell told the station that as they continue to investigate the case, the status could change if evidence supports it being a hate crime. Other agents have joined the investigation including, the State Bureau of Investigation and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. A search warrant obtain by WRAL on Monday indicates that the blaze was set from within the home but does not state exactly how it started. The couple refused media requests for an interview, but neighbors said the men have been harassed on several occasions over the past year. An incident in December, involved a note in the mailbox saying “move sinners” and a second incident was in November involving a homophobic slur left on the back of the house.

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