September 15, 2011 | by Staff reports
National news in brief: September 16

Lesbian student forced out by Conn. school

HARTFORD, Conn. — A top-ranked high school senior at a prestigious Connecticut private school was asked to leave when administrators learned she is a lesbian, according to the Hartford Courant.

Rachel Aviles — who is now completing her senior year in a nearby school — was well known at the Christian school known as The Master’s School for being outgoing, a good student, a good athlete and very involved in extra curricular activities. Several former teachers called her a “stand-out” and a “fantastic kid.”

However, after Aviles and a straight classmate pretended to be married on a class trip, administrators questioned her, and when she told them she is a lesbian, they asked her to leave before she was expelled.

Change.org has initiated a petition to have Aviles reinstated and to cease forcing out gay and lesbian students.

NBC orders lesbian buddy comedy

NEW YORK — NBC has ordered a pilot for a comedy tentatively titled ‘My Best Friend is a Lesbo,’ about two roommates — one straight girl and one lesbian — living in Los Angeles together.

The story is loosely based on the real-life experience of roommate comedy writers Sascha Rothchild and Randi Barnes who will pen the show together. The show will be produced by Warner Brothers’ Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage with Len Goldstein, according to show-business blog Deadline Hollywood.

The show — the first co-written by the longtime roommates — will show the two helping one another “navigate life, love and dating in Los Angeles.”

LA Times: Calif. should hire lawyer to defend Prop 8

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board has riled many LGBT activists in California, calling on the state to hire a lawyer to defend the state’s anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, known as ‘Proposition 8.’

“California should be required to hire an attorney to defend Proposition 8 on appeal,” the editorial states. “The anti-gay-marriage measure’s constitutionality is for the courts to decide, not state officials.”

However, Chris Stoll and Shannon Minter of LGBT legal organization National Center for Lesbian Rights counter that the amendment had “already had its day in court” and lost.

“Despite hiring a large team of experienced lawyers and putting on the best case they were able to muster, the supporters of Prop 8 were unable to present any good reasons to uphold it,” the lawyers responded in a statement released this week. After ample opportunity to defend Prop 8, “Judge Walker issued a carefully reasoned decision overturning the measure.”

Walmart staff rob store to fund gender reassignment

PHOENIX — Two Arizona Walmart workers distracted co-workers while they took $45,000 from a cash office, allegedly to purchase a car and pay for the gender reassignment surgery for one of the pair.

According to Yahoo News, Spencer Cullen, 23, and Adriano Altiveros, 19, were arrested last week in Prescott Arizona after being caught on surveillance video. Police say Cullen had already begun the process of transitioning. At the time of their arrest, Altiveros had used $22,000 of the stash to purchase a Toyota Supra.

New NCAA policy benefits trans athletes

INDIANAPOLIS — The National College Athletic Association, which governs sports at more than 1,200 colleges, clarified its policies last week allowing transgender students to participate in sports in accordance with their gender identity.

In part, the decision “will allow a transgender student athlete to participate in sex-separated sports activities so long as the athlete’s use of hormone therapy is consistent with the NCAA policies and current medical standards.”

Transgender women would be required to be on testosterone suppression therapy for at least one year, and transgender men would not be eligible to play for women’s teams.

Advocates at the National Center for Lesbian Rights were pleased with the decision.

“I commend the NCAA’s commitment to creating and supporting an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student athletes,” said NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll. “That core value is strengthened as the NCAA unveils this new policy that will not only allow, but encourage transgender student athletes to participate on athletic teams.”

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