Diversity Headlines

The Top 5 LGBT Issues for 2015

Colorlines - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 10:32
The Top 5 LGBT Issues for 2015

This year promises to be an important one for LGBT communities. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is poised to strike down same-sex marriage bans in the South, one of the last bastions of such legislation in the country. And a wave of change has swept through American pop culture. Lee Daniels' black evening soap opera, "Empire," focuses on the backstory and current struggles of Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett), the gay son of music executive Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard). At the 2015 Golden Globe Awards, the Amazon scripted series "Transparent" took home the prize for best television comedy. And just last year, a picture of actress Laverne Cox famously appeared on the cover of Time above the bold declaration that the United States has reached a "transgender tipping point."

Of course this doesn't mean that everything is great for LGBT folks. Underneath these headline-grabbing stories lay decades of systemic inequity that shape the lives of queer and transgender people of color. Here are five issues to follow in 2015:

Safety and violence. Will 2015 be any safer for transgender women of color than last year? Between June and December of 2014, at least 12 trans women of color were killed in brutal incidents that police are investigating as hate crimes. The slayings underscore the dangers that trans women of color face, even in cities that are supposedly LGBT-friendly. A 2013 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that LGBT people of color were nearly twice as likely to experience physical violence than their white counterparts. Transgender women made up 67 percent of anti-LGBT homicides in 2013, according to the Anti-Violence Project.

Marriage equality. Same-sex marriage is now legal in 36 states, where roughly 60 percent of the country's entire population live. As mentioned above, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just heard oral arguments in three challenges to bans in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 59 percent of African-Americans say they support same-sex marriage, which goes against the misconception that black communities are more homophobic than others.

LGBT youth homelessness. According to Jai Dulani, co-executive director of the New York City-based advocacy organization FIERCE, youth homelessness is a key issue for 2015. Queer youth make up an estimated 40 percent of homeless young people in the United States. The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that roughly 550,000 people up to 24 years old are homeless over the course of a year. Racial inequity shapes who becomes homeless in this country: According to the Congressional Research Center, 32 percent of homeless youth are black, a number that's more than double the proportion of black youth in the total population. 

"Quality of life" laws. Once they're on the street, queer youth face stiff punishment for often petty crimes. In most states, a minor running away from home is by itself considered a criminal offense. Police also use condom possession as evidence of prostitution for transgender women at higher rates than other groups. Roughly 300,000 gay and transgender youth are arrested or detained each year, of which more than 60 percent are black or Latino. While queer and transgender youth make up only 5 to 7 percent of the country's overall youth population, they make up 13 to 15 percent of young people who are either detained or imprisoned.

Conversion therapy. The National Center for Lesbian Rights kicked off the new year by holding a Twitter townhall called #BornPerfect on the harmful effects of "conversion therapy," a process designed to turn queer folks straight. These techniques which include hypnosis, electric shock therapy and inducing vomiting at the sight of homoerotic images. While they have been discredited by nearly every professional medical and psychological organization in the country, ultra-conservative groups like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality are thriving. Just recently TLC began airing "My Husband Is Not Gay," a reality TV show that follows three men in heterosexual relationships who struggle with what they call "same-sex attraction." But recipients of conversion therapy report higher rates of depression, anxiety, and lower self-esteem, and the practice seems especially strong in deeply Christian communities that are prevalent in the South. Statistics that look at conversion therapy by race are hard to find, but advocates say that it is practiced among all races, especially in smaller rural towns. 

"What we know about the South is that it's the Bible Belt," says Caitlin Breedlove, co-executive director of Southerners On New Ground, an LGBT rights group based in North Carolina. "We can't say for sure that it's a hotbed of conversion therapy, but we do deal with conservative churches that are particularly powerful."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Kamala Harris: Are We Looking at the Next US Sen. From Calif.?

New America Media - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 10:31
 You might be dreading 2016 because it will be the last year of the first black president.But all is not lost, fam. Chances are you’ll get your first African-American female senator in over 15 years.With Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) retiring,... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Margaret Cho Mocks North Korea at the Golden Globe

New America Media - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 10:27
 Tina Fey and Amy Poehler kicked off last night’s Golden Globes with jokes about the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, calling the room full of celebrities “spoiled, minimally talented brats,” a reference to Scott Rudin’s leaked comment about Angelina Jolie.After calling... Koream Journal http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Tips for 'Moderate Muslims' Who Want to Make Mainstream America Feel Safe

Colorlines - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 10:21
Tips for 'Moderate Muslims' Who Want to Make Mainstream America Feel Safe

Over at Salon, Al Jazeera America's Wajahat Ali put together a tongue-and-cheek checklist for what he calls "moderate Muslims" who want to reassure the world (read: non-Muslims) that they aren't terrorists. Some tips:

1. Use excessive, inflammatory language in sensitive, volatile situations. This is your first step in becoming a Moderate.

2. Generalize! Generalize! Generalize!

3. Callously exploit a tragedy to advance divisive political agendas.

4. When asked for no reason if you support ISIS, say, "No."

5. Taylor Swift -- Learn her. Love her. Embrace her. When confronted with bigotry and fear-mongering, simply recite "Haters gonna' hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Shake it off! Shake it off!"

6. Invite representatives of minority communities to have a civil conversation, but then cut them off when they begin to speak.

7. Don't wear keffiyahs. (Unless you are Rachael Ray or white hipsters.)

8. Don't wear long beards. (Unless you are a cast member of "Duck Dynasty" or, again, white hipsters.)

9. Don't eat halal food. (Unless you live in Manhattan.)

10. Don't have an ethnic accent -- America will be unable to understand or empathize with you. (Unless you are Arianna Huffington or Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

Read more at Salon.

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Fresno's Hmong New Year Fest Draws International Crowd

New America Media - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 09:45
Editor’s Note: Each year, over a hundred thousand people gather at two locations in Fresno to celebrate Hmong New Year, a multi-day festival that features music performances, traditional Hmong clothing, dancing and performances, courtship games, and authentic food. The... The kNow http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Margaret Cho Isn't Apologizing for That Golden Globes North Korea Skit

Colorlines - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 08:40
Margaret Cho Isn't Apologizing for That Golden Globes North Korea Skit

Margaret Cho isn't apologizing for her North Korea bit at this year's Golden Globes. The comedian had a recurring character named Cho Young-Ja, a humorless North Korean Army general with a stereotypically "Asian" accent who was also a contributor to the fictional to Movies Wow! magazine.

E. Alex Young wrote over at Vulture that the bit was plainly racist, and falls in line with a long line of problematic comedy in Cho's history:

Margaret Cho's comedy has always relied on utilizing a brand of Orientalism. For instance, in her HBO comedy special from 1994, she does a sketch where she plays a "sponsored child" for Star magazine. She dons a rice paddy hat and "Asian" accent as she shares her weight-loss secret: contracting malaria. On the face of it, this could be just another instance of yellowface, but Cho introduces the sketch with a story of when her brother sent her a clipping from Starmagazine that featured her on the cover with the headline "Chow Like Cho Diet" and a fake interview. "When I was young, I was raised on rice and fish, so when I get heavy I go back to that natural Asian way of eating," Cho relays. "That's so racist you can almost hear the choppers overhead."

But Cho defending her actions on Twitter:

I'm of mixed North/South Korean descent - you imprison, starve and brainwash my people you get made fun of by me #hatersgonhate #FreeSpeech

-- Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) January 12, 2015

She also spoke to BuzzFeed and added, "I'm of North and South Korean descent, and I do impressions of my family and my work all the time, and this is just another example of that," she said. "I am from this culture. I am from this tribe. And so I'm able to comment on it.

I can do whatever I want when it comes to Koreans -- North Koreans, South Korean. I'm not playing the race card, I'm playing the rice card. I'm the only person in the world, probably, that can make these jokes and not be placed in a labor camp."

I'm not playing the race card. I'm playing the rice card. #hatersgonwait #winnersgonpun

-- Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) January 12, 2015
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Europe's Muslims Under Attack, Green Card Bias, Keystone XL Moving Forward

Colorlines - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 07:26
Europe's Muslims Under Attack, Green Card Bias, Keystone XL Moving Forward

Here's what I'm reading up on this morning:

  • At least 16 mosques in France have been attacked--including by firebombs--since the Charlie Hebdo attack. 
  • A 66 year-old man with a history of PTSD and mental illness, Andrew Brannan, is set to be executed by the state of Georgia today. 
  • Oil may fall as low as $20 a barrel (it's under $50 a barrel already). 
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If Supreme Court Rules Against Health Subsidies, States Will Lose Billions

New America Media - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 00:05
Editor’s Note: What happens if the U.S. Supreme Court invalidates the federal tax subsidies that allow over 4 million low- and middle-income people to buy health under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? The Urban Institute estimates that the 37 states... Viji Sundaram http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=68
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Villages Offer Services and Community for Bay Area Seniors

New America Media - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 14:25
 Photo: Members of NEXT Village San Francisco at monthly Scrabble and Lunch event. (Jen Chien/KALW)SAN FRANCISCO--Many older Americans today want to age in place. According to a recent AARP survey, 90 percent of seniors say they want to stay in... Jen Chien http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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More Police in Schools Means More Student Arrests [Infographic]

Colorlines - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 13:50
More Police in Schools Means More Student Arrests [Infographic] It ought not come as a surprise by now. Institutions with school resource officers--that is, school-based law enforcement personnel--report student arrests for disorderly conduct at nearly five times the rate of schools without similar personnel on campus, according to an infographic released by Boston University. The graphic examines the unequal toll that zero-tolerance policies and discipline have on black and Latino students, and the long chain of consequences that harsh discipline can trigger for young people--including lockup, expensive court-related fees and fines, and a cycle of arrest and jail time. The takeaway is that harsh discipline not only doesn't benefit its targeted students, it also sets them on a path that's dangerous and difficult to correct.
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New Program Offers Model of Success for English Learners

New America Media - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 13:02
(Spanish Only) Parents and teachers at Hoover Elementary School, located about 30 miles south of San Francisco in Redwood City, are praising a new program there aimed at enhancing the academic performance of pre-K through 3rd grade English Learner... Melissa Hernandez http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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'Selma' Wins Golden Globe for Song 'Glory'

Colorlines - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 11:05
'Selma' Wins Golden Globe for Song 'Glory'

Common and John Legend's song "Glory" won last night's Golden Globe award for best original song in a motion picture. The award, presented by Prince, was the film's first, but probably won't be its last.

"The first day I stepped on the set of 'Selma' I began to feel like this was bigger than a movie," Common said during his acceptance speech. "As I got to know the people of the Civil Rights Movement, I realized I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote. I am the caring white supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand, but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. 'Selma' has awakened my humanity."

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Paris Rally, Low Gas Prices and Golden Globes

Colorlines - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 08:40
Paris Rally, Low Gas Prices and Golden Globes

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • John Kerry says he’ll soon be in Paris, which was the site of a massive rally attended by nearly 4 million people in support of France’s 17 slain police officers, journalists and other civilians.* Attendees included heads of state who coincidentally routinely imprison and kill journalists. 
  • Bionic implants may allow people paralyzed from spinal cord injuries to walk again. 

*An earlier version of this post read that 17 journalists were killed in France; the post has been amended to reflect that 17 people, including journalists, were killed. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Climate Change Will Create More Environmental Refugees

Colorlines - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 08:32
Climate Change Will Create More Environmental Refugees

Natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan--which devastated the Philippines in 2013--displace more people than war, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center in Geneva. And as climate change sets off increasingly lethal natural disasters, so will the numbers of environmental refugees increase, Reuters reported.

It is a reality that governments must prepare themselves for. In 2013, some 22 million people were displaced by extreme natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis, a number three times the number of those who were forced to migrate because of war, according to the IDMC. 

"Many more people in a growing population live more exposed to extreme weather," Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which runs the IDMC, said this week at a conference in Oslo, Norway.

Climate change, rising sea levels, and extreme weather are decimating people's homes and access to safe food and water. In 2011, experts predicted that by the year 2020, just five years from now, some 50 million people will be forced to migrate because of environmental degredation. Earlier this summer, New Zealand accepted a family Grist called the world's first official environmental refugees, who cited climate change as the reason why they had to flee their homeland.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch Gina Rodriguez's Tearful Golden Globe Speech

Colorlines - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 08:28
Watch Gina Rodriguez's Tearful Golden Globe Speech

"Jane the Virgin's" Gina Rodriguez won the award for best actress in a comedy. In her acceptance speech, she said that the award meant the world to her Latino community. "This award is so much bigger than myself. It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes," Rodriguez said through tears while accepting her award. "My dad used to tell me, 'Today's a great day, you can and you will,'" she said. "Well, dad, today's a great day, and I can and I did!"

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Aziz Ansari Trolls Rupert Murdoch Over Anti-Muslim Tweets

Colorlines - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 08:24
Aziz Ansari Trolls Rupert Murdoch Over Anti-Muslim Tweets

In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Rupert Murdoch thinks that all Muslims should be held responsible for what he calls the "growing jihadist cancer."

Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.

-- Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) January 10, 2015

Comedian Aziz Ansari thinks that's ridiculous, and tweeted as much:

.@rupertmurdoch Rups can we get a step by step guide? How can my 60 year old parents in NC help destroy terrorist groups? Plz advise.

-- Aziz Ansari (@azizansari) January 12, 2015

.@rupertmudoch Are you responsible for the evil shit all Christians do or just the insane amount of evil you yourself contribute to?

-- Aziz Ansari (@azizansari) January 12, 2015

.@rupertmurdoch, you're already a vaguely evil media conglomerate guy and THEN you're ALSO racist? FOR REAL?! You're an evil overachiever!

-- Aziz Ansari (@azizansari) January 12, 2015

Then Ansari started the hashtag #RupertsFault:

@azizansari 'Rupert Murdoch: Pedo-Hunter!' is a show I would watch.

-- Alex Boivin (@Boivin) January 12, 2015

(h/t BuzzFeed)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

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Diversity at Work - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 00:54
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Nuevo programa combina Medicare y Medi-Cal

New America Media - Sun, 01/11/2015 - 03:30
EnglishSAN JOSE, Calif.-— El condado de Santa Clara es uno de siete condados en California que participará en Cal MediConnect, que busca ayudar a personas de edad avanzada y/o con discapacidades, que son elegibles para los programas de cobertura de... Gerardo Fernández http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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New Program Combines Medicare and Medi-Cal in Santa Clara County

New America Media - Sun, 01/11/2015 - 03:20
In SpanishSAN JOSE, Calif.--Santa Clara County is one of seven California counties participating in Cal MediConnect, a three-year pilot program that aims to help seniors and people with disabilities, who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California)... Gerardo Fernandez http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Texas Researchers Seek World War II Vets for Study on Memory, Identity

New America Media - Sat, 01/10/2015 - 00:40
 Photo: World War II veteran Joe Berger visits with Cadet Third Class Garrett Goldstone of the University of Texas, Austin, Air Force ROTC. (Veronica Zaragovia/KUT-FM)AUSTIN, Texas--A team of researchers, led by a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas... Veronica Zaragovia http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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