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LGBT groups respond to police shooting

Express solidarity with victim’s family

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Ferguson, Missouri, gay news, Washington Blade
Ferguson, Missouri, gay news, Washington Blade

Ferguson, Mo. (Photo by Paul Sableman; courtesy Creative Commons)

FERGUSON, Mo. — A group of LGBT advocacy organizations on Aug. 12 expressed their support for the family of a black Missouri teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer.

The National Black Justice Coalition, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Transgender Equality are among the groups that signed onto the letter in response to Michael Brown’s death in a predominantly black St. Louis suburb on Aug. 8.

“The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community cannot be silent at this moment, because LGBT people come from all races, creeds, faiths and backgrounds and because all movements of equality are deeply connected,” the letter reads. “We are all part of the fabric of this nation and the promise of liberty and justice for all is yet to be fulfilled.”

Reports indicate Brown was unarmed when an officer with the Ferguson Police Department fatally shot him.

The shooting has sparked widespread protests in the city.

Local authorities have arrested dozens of people in connection with setting stores on fire, vandalism and even assaulting reporters as the Associated Press reported.

The AP reported the officer, whose identity has not been released, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

The FBI and the St. Louis County Police Department continue to investigate the incident.

“The LGBT community stands with the family of Michael Brown, who was gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri,” reads the statement from the LGBT advocacy groups. “We stand with the mothers and fathers of young black men and women who fear for the safety of their children each time they leave their homes.”

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. brians ions

    August 18, 2014 at 10:40 am

    It should go without saying that this civil rights homicide by a Ferguson police officer should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted by USDOJ. That includes every aspect of what appears to be a coverup by the Ferguson PD and its police chief.
     
    Longer term, community civil rights groups have to drill-down deeper. Solidarity sloganeering is not enough. All civil rights groups should try to better understand both the art and science of local policing– especially Community Policing.
     
    Community Policing is the method by which local police departments are able to partner, proactively with the communities they are supposed to serve and protect. Sustained Community Policing can never be effectively achieved with a police force too small to accomplish that mission.
     
    Local governments and politicians are penny wise and pound foolish to blindly accept the short-term, blue smoke-and-mirrors promises of overpaid police ‘experts’ or chiefs who claim ‘smarter’ tactics and strategy can achieve crime reduction with a sustainable level of peaceful, cooperative community/police interaction.
     
    When our civil rights organizations and news media understand that, they will not be so quick to accept the excuses of high-ranking police officials and/or mayors and council members. Then real change can occur.

    • Rick Mangus

      August 20, 2014 at 3:49 am

      ” Civil Rights Homicide “, what an ignorant statement.

      • brians ions

        August 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        Huh? Don’t you really mean, “ignorant reference”??? If so, I am happy to make it more clear for you, Rick.
         
        I was using a bit of rhetorical shorthand for the federal crime of *violation of civil rights under color of authority* (or ‘law’ as U.S. Code Title 18, Section 232 calls it).

        As USDOJ explains 18 U.S. Code § 242 on their website…
        **
        Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
         
        For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.
         
        The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
        **
         
        Taking note of your subsequent comment (below), Rick…
         
        In addition to 18 U.S. Code § 242, you might also try reading the Constitution of the United States.
         
        There you will find it is well within the rights of all Americans — whether ‘self proclaimed LGBT groups’ or not — to criticize their government(s) on any issue, even those being investigated by a grand jury or juries.
         
        Accordingly, what happens in Ferguson, can very much be the “business” of any concerned American.

  2. Rick Mangus

    August 20, 2014 at 3:41 am

    It’s none of our business what happen in Ferguson, because it’s a investigation that has just started to be investigated by a grand jury and these self proclaimed LGBT groups need to mind there own business with there ignorant jump to judgement’s, like the team members did at the Redskins game on Monday night.

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More Americans personally know someone who’s transgender, non-binary: survey

42% know a trans person, 26% know someone using gender-neutral pronouns

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More Americans personally know a transgender person or someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, according to new data from the non-partisan Pew Research Center.

A survey found 42 percent of Americans know someone who’s transgender, who is up from 37 percent who said so in 2017. Although most Americans, 57 percent, still say they don’t know anyone who’s transgender, that’s down from 63 percent five years ago.

Similarly, 26 percent of Americans say they know someone who uses non-binary gender pronouns compared to the 18 percent in 2018 who said they knew someone uses pronouns such as “they” as opposed to “he” or “she.”

At the same time, comfort levels with using gender-neutral pronouns – as well as their opinions on whether someone’s gender can differ from the sex they were assigned at birth – has remained about the same. Half of Americans say they would be either very or somewhat comfortable using a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to someone if asked to do so, compared to 48 percent who say they would not be comfortable. The numbers, according to Pew Research, are basically unchanged since 2018.

The survey found profound differences by age, party, and education in knowing a transgender person or someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, although in both parties growing shares of Americans report knowing a person who’s transgender.

For Americans under age 30, some 53 percent say they know a transgender person, which is up from 44 percent in 2017. In the same age group, 46 percent of younger U.S. adults know someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, compared to 32 percent in 2018.

The Pew Research Center conducted the survey of 10,606 U.S. adults between June 14 and June 17. The survey is weighted to reflect the U.S. adult population in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, and other categories, according to Pew Research.

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Louisiana lawmakers fail to overturn Edwards veto of Trans sports bill

Edwards further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.”

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Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards (Photo Credit: Official state portrait)

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana lawmakers failed to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto last month of a bill that would have barred trans girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools.

The measure, Senate Bill 156 authored by Sen. Beth Mizell titled the ‘the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,’ in the Governor’s eyes, “was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” Edwards said in his veto statement;

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue. 

The Republican majority state House chamber failed to override the Governor’s veto after voting 68-30 to override it, according to the state legislature’s website.

The vote narrowly missed the 70-vote threshold needed in the lower chamber to override the veto.

Two-thirds of both the House and Senate must vote to override a governor’s veto, according to the local Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate.

The Governor reacted to the news that his veto withstood Republican efforts to overturn it in a press conference Wednesday.

Edwards noted that in his view he had “rejected a play” that had no place in Louisiana. 

“I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best. We rejected a play out of a national playbook that just had no place in Louisiana. That bill wasn’t crafted for our state, I mean go read it and look at the arguments that were made. None of that applies here,” Edwards said.

He further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.” 

“We have to be better than that,” Edwards said. “We have to be better than that.” 

 

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Federal court blocks West Virginia Law banning Trans youth sports

“It hurt that the State of West Virginia would try to block me from pursuing my dreams. I just want to play.”

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Becky Pepper-Jackson (Photo credit: ACLU/Raymond Thompson)


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A judge of the United States District Court, Southern District of West Virginia ruled Wednesday that 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson must be allowed to try out for the girls’ cross-country and track teams at her school, blocking West Virginia from enforcing a law that bans transgender girls and women from participating in school sports. 

The ruling came in the lawsuit challenging the ban filed by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of West Virginia, and Cooley LLP.

“I am excited to know that I will be able to try out for the girls’ cross-country team and follow in the running shoes of my family,” said Becky Pepper-Jackson, the plaintiff in the lawsuit. “It hurt that the State of West Virginia would try to block me from pursuing my dreams. I just want to play.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed H.B. 3293 into law at the end of April. It was one of hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills pushed in state legislatures across the country in 2021. During legislative debate, it was not endorsed by any mainstream sporting or health organizations. A similar law in Idaho was blocked by a federal court in 2020, and a federal court in Connecticut recently dismissed a challenge to policies that allow all girls, including girls who are transgender, to participate on girls’ sports teams. Legal challenges are underway against similar laws passed in other states.

The Supreme Court recently refused to disturb Gavin Grimm’s victory at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where he prevailed in challenging his school’s anti-transgender discrimination against him. This decision — which is binding precedent in West Virginia federal court — said that federal law protects transgender students from discrimination in schools.

“This is great news for Becky, and while our work is not done yet, today’s ruling jibes with similar rulings in other courts across the country,” said Avatara Smith-Carrington, Tyron Garner Memorial Law Fellow, Lambda Legal. “It is our hope that courts recognize and address discrimination when they see it, and nowhere is it more visible than in these stark attacks against trans youth.”

“Becky — like all students — should have the opportunity to try out for a sports team and play with her peers,” said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project. “We hope this also sends a message to other states to stop demonizing trans kids to score political points and to let these kids live their lives in peace.” 

“We’ve said all along this cruel legislation would not survive a legal challenge, and we’re encouraged by the court’s decision today,” said ACLU-WV Legal Director Loree Stark. “We hope trans kids throughout West Virginia who felt attacked and wronged by the passage of this legislation are feeling empowered by today’s news.”

“We are extremely gratified — for Becky, and for all trans youth — at the court’s recognition that the law and the facts clearly support treating people who are transgender fairly and equally. Discrimination has no place in schools or anywhere else,” said Kathleen Hartnett of Cooley LLP.

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