Thursday, June 30, 2016

NEWS: Trans Military Ban Lifted; Trump Supporters Are Racist; HPV Vaccine; Gay Utopia; Psych Course Omits LGBT Content

Pentagon Lifts Trans Military Ban ‘Effective Immediately’
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday has lifted “effectively immediately” the ban on openly transgender people from serving in the U.S. armed forces. Carter announced the change today at a news briefing at the Pentagon in addition to a nine-month long implementation plan that includes providing transgender service members with all transition-related care, including gender reassignment surgery, and adding transgender status to the military’s non-discrimination policy. “As a result of this year-long study, I’m announcing today that we are ending the ban on transgender Americans in the United States military,” Carter said. “Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender.” Transgender activists who had called upon the Pentagon to lift its ban prohibiting openly transgender people from serving in the U.S. military hailed the changes as historic. READ MORE

'Everybody's Racist but Donald Trump Supporters Are Especially Racist': Poll
According to Reuters, nearly half of Trump’s supporters described African Americans as more “violent” and more “criminal” than whites, while 40 percent described them as being more “lazy.” Only 36 percent of Trump supporters agreed with the statement, “I prefer to live in a community with people who come from diverse cultures,” compared to 46 percent of Cruz supporters, 55 percent of Kasich supporters and 70 percent of Clinton supporters. About 31 percent of Trump supporters said they “strongly agree” that “social policies, such as affirmative action, discriminate unfairly against white people,” compared with 16 percent of Clinton supporters. READ MORE

Ontario Expands HPV Vaccine Program to Gay, Bisexual men
(CANADA) Ontario is expanding its free vaccine for the human papillomavirus or HPV to people aged 26 or younger who identify as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, including some transgender people. Health Minister Eric Hoskins says men who have sex with men are at increased risk of HPV infection, which can lead to penile and anal cancer. Hoskins says HPV is a very common virus that is blamed for an estimated 254 deaths and over 1,000 cases of cancer in Ontario every year. READ MORE

The Radical Plan to Turn One California Town into a Gay Utopia 
In December 1969, just months after the Stonewall Riots that sparked the gay liberation movement, activist Don Jackson declared that the queer community needed a territory of its own. To a symposium in Berkeley, California, Jackson asked his audience to “imagine a place where… there is no job discrimination, police harassment or prejudice… a place where a gay government can build the base for a flourishing gay counter-culture”—a place with a population so small that just a few hundred queer activists could move in and outvote the current residents. This place was Alpine County, California. Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Alpine County was home to an amalgamation of mountaineers, fishermen, and Washoe Native Americans—and only 384 of them were registered voters. In fact, to Jackson’s delight, the county had recently changed its residency requirements to allow newcomers to register after only 90 days. In effect, if just 400 queer activists moved in, within three months Alpine County could become a gay utopia, complete with a gay mayor, a gay sheriff, gay judges, and a gay board of supervisors.

Liberty Psychology Course Omits LGBT Content
Liberty University special-ordered a psychology textbook to omit a section on sexual motivation and orientation, raising concerns among some students that the decision perpetuates a bias toward the gay community. The Liberty instructor teaching the online class told students by email that the content was deleted only for the Psychology 101 course “due to our inability to scaffold learning and discussion on this section given the format of this course.” The news office for the university, an evangelical institution in Lynchburg, issued “a general statement” that said textbook customization “creates significant savings for students and creates a course designed specifically to meet the predetermined course and program outcomes” as part of the accreditation process. Deleted content is reviewed to ensure that it is covered by other courses “which provide more in-depth content on the topic of human sexuality,” the statement said. However, a Liberty student in the class said leaving out the entire section on sexual motivation discounts the role sexuality plays in behavior, including heterosexual behavior, and undermines the value of a psychology course. Concerns about the omission arose before Sunday’s attack on the LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Fla., but the massacre speaks to why the censorship is so troubling, she said. “The only way to garner empathy for anybody we come in contact with who we may not understand is to know more about them,” the student, who asked not be identified, said. “Knowledge helps create empathy.” READ MORE