Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pushing The Envelop Forward

India Elects First Transgender Mayor

transgender mayor.

Kinnar, who belongs to the Dalit community, or the lower caste, and formerly supported herself by singing and dancing in trains, was overwhelmed by the results of the election. She emphasized the small amount of money that she spent on the campaign and said, “It was the public support that encouraged me to enter the poll fray for the first time and because of their support only, I emerged as the winner.”

Despite the fact that there are many transgender individuals in India, most of them lacked legal recognition until nine months ago when India’s Supreme Court ruled that transgender should be recognized as a third legal gender. This ruling called for equal treatment of transgender individuals.
While this electoral victory is a major advancement for the transgender community, the larger LGBT community in India still faces discrimination as the court recently reinstated a ban on same-sex activity.

Michael Sam to be Honored at HRC’s National Time to THRIVE Conference

HRC announced that Michael Sam, who made history as America’s first openly gay professional football player, will be honored at HRC’s national Time to THRIVE conference in February.
“We are excited and privileged to recognize Michael Sam, and his brave commitment to leading an authentic life in a profession that has been historically unwelcoming to LGBT people,” said Vincent Pompei, chair of Time to THRIVE and director of the HRC Foundation’s Youth Well-Being Project. “By coming out, Michael sent an invaluable message to young LGBT Americans that anything is possible for them - even playing in the NFL.”

Sam, a Texas native, was chosen as an All-American, and shared the title of Southeastern Conference (SEC) Defensive Player of the Year during the final year of his college football career at the University of Missouri. A defensive end, he then became the first openly gay football player picked by an NFL team when the St. Louis Rams chose him during the league’s 2014 draft.

“I know first-hand what it’s like to live and come out in spaces where being LGBTQ isn’t accepted, much less celebrated,” Sam said. “So I understand the challenges that many of today’s LGBTQ youth are facing - from bullying to family rejection, even homelessness. These are heartbreaking problems that no child, no young person should have to face alone, and that people like teachers, counselors and social workers are uniquely positioned to help overcome.”

“I’m honored to be part of such an important conference, where the concerns of LGBTQ youth - particularly youth of color - are being elevated, and where the educators and professionals who serve them have a unique opportunity to learn how to better meet those needs,” he said. “I truly believe that events like Time to THRIVE can help create a better, more hopeful future for LGBTQ youth.”

The acclaimed Time to THRIVE conference, which last year featured actress Ellen Page’s profoundly inspirational coming out speech as well as an appearance by Chelsea Clinton, attracts hundreds of people who play crucial roles in the everyday lives of LGBTQ youth - from teachers, counselors, clergy, and coaches, to staff from youth development organizations including scouting and Boys and Girls Clubs. More than 60 workshops on topics such as creating safe and inclusive schools, and supporting transgender and gender-expansive youth, are available to attendees.

After publicly coming out, Sam, who made his NFL debut in a preseason game last August and is now a free agent, was chosen to receive the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given annually at ESPN’s ESPY awards to a person who shows the fearlessness to stand up for their beliefs no matter the cost. In accepting the Ashe award, Sam said this: "To anyone out there, especially young people feeling like they don't fit in and will never be accepted, please know this, great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself."

Sam was also named one of GQ magazine’s 2014 “Men of the Year,” and was a finalist for Sports Illustrated’s 2014 “Sportsman of the Year” award.

HIV and AIDS In Arkansas to be Re-broadcasted

In recognition of World AIDS Day 2014, AETN ( Arkansas Educational Television Network) produced its yearly edition of  "AIDS in Arkansas," which was shown December 16, 2014. Producer Lashaun Vaughn has announced that the program will be rebroadcast January 28, 6:30 pm. (Check your local listings for your area.)

Also Vaughn shared that programming executives have decided to also include the show in a programming rotation to fill vacant slots on the networks schedule. This scheduling will allow the program to be seen in more day parts while attempting to reach a greater audience for the information. The program featured area experts and advocates involved in addressing this health dilemma in Arkansas.

The show also got an updated title at the suggestion of guest and Executive Producer of COP 24/7, C. Mabin.  "The title was not reflective of the current circumstances or actually speaks to the fact that individuals are living longer with HIV in Arkansas," said Mabin.  Continuing, " the producer agreed once I presented the facts that the title needed to address that fact while also encouraging the tone of program to highlight many of the positive aspects of medical breakthroughs and life affirming services available." Plan are being considered as to host a viewing party with a purpose at a local venue. Additional details will be posted to this forum once confirmed.

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