Georgia: Special Session Call to Override Veto

State Sen. Mike Crane is calling on his fellow lawmakers to meet for a special session to override the governor's veto of the antigay "religious liberty" bill.

State Sen. Mike Crane is calling on his fellow lawmakers to meet for a special session to override the governor’s veto of the antigay “religious liberty” bill.

Right-wing Georgia politicians are seeking a special session in an attempt to override Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a controversial antigay “religious freedom” bill today.

Only minutes after Deal announced the veto in a press conference, Republican State Sen. Mike Crane called for the special session , reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Crane, currently running for Congress, released a statement on his website,  saying, “Our government needs committed conservatives who never stop fighting to protect the constitution.”

He also made a statement that appeared to refer to business opposition to House Bill 757 and threats from entertainment companies to boycott Georgia if the bill became law. “The announcement by Governor Deal is another example of how the political class is bought and paid for by corporations and lobbyists,” Crane said. [Except for when those corporations and lobbyists are doing something in their favour, then it’s just dandy!]


But lawmakers who supported the measure are not giving up yet. The Journal-Constitution reports that Sen. Josh McKoon told Boston NPR station WBUR, “The question we have to resolve is whether or not government is going to be used to punish people with a particular point of view [Oh how I wish irony poisoning was a real thing]. … I fully expect we’ll be back next year debating this again.”

Full Story.

NC may lose federal funding


Governor Pat McCrory

North Carolina has faced intense pressure to repeal House Bill 2 from major businesses such as Apple and Facebook, but now, they may lose billions of dollars in federal funding for passing the anti-LGBT bill.

The Obama administration is in the process of considering whether HB2 makes the state ineligible for federal funding for schools, highways, and housing, reports The New York Times. House Bill 2 bans transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, eliminates all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in the state, and prohibits cities from adopting any new ones.

The Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development all told the paper that they are currently reviewing the law to determine whether the state will continue to be eligible for federal funding.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Education told The Times on Friday that they “will not hesitate to act if students’ civil rights are being violated.” Last year, they provided the state with $4.3 billion dollars in funding for kindergarden through 12th grade, and for colleges, reports The Times.

If states are going to insist on legislating hate and bigotry, I think it’s a fine idea for them to lose all federal funding. Then they can see how much it is worth to them to continue embracing their hate. The full story is at The Advocate.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

On the Mississippi bill, considered to the be the worst one yet, passed the senate and is now poised to hit the governor’s desk:

Mississippi’s sweeping anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill is now headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who has indicated his potential support for the legislation.

A final concurrence vote took place in the state’s House of Representatives this morning, following a final Senate vote Thursday in favor House Bill 1523, reports BuzzFeed News. Full story:

Bisexual Support is Crucial

Nicole Kristal, founder of the #StillBisexual campaign, in front of the White House

Nicole Kristal, founder of the #StillBisexual campaign, in front of the White House

A December 2015 study in the Journal of Bisexuality found that gays and lesbians had nearly identical prejudice against bisexuals as heterosexuals1. But most bisexuals don’t need a study to affirm that fact, and failure to acknowledge biphobia from within and outside LGBT communities is extremely harmful.

Failure to acknowledge and address biphobia has had a powerful impact on bisexual health, forcing our risk factors to skyrocket past those of gay and lesbian people.

Nearly half of bisexual women have considered or attempted suicide2. They have higher rates of mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, compared to lesbians or heterosexual women3. One in two bisexual women has experienced severe violence by an intimate partner as opposed to one in three lesbians and one in four heterosexual women4. Bisexual women are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as lesbians5, are less likely to be out to their doctors,6 and are more likely to smoke and have substance abuse issues7.

The stats for bisexual men aren’t much better. One in three bisexual men has considered or attempted suicide8. They are 50 percent more likely to live in poverty than gay men9. Nearly half of all bisexual men suffer from mood disorders10, while one in three has experienced rape, violence, or stalking by an intimate partner as opposed to one in four gay men.11 According to the CDC, half of black bisexual men and a quarter of bisexual Hispanic men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes—the same as gay men.


On April 16, the #StillBisexual campaign will join the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 360, the health and wellness fair for LBTQ women, to help educate attendees about the unique health needs of our community. I hope that through raising awareness about the campaign and the abysmal bisexual health statistics, our community as a whole will finally get funding and policies in place to address our health disparities. But that will only come through raising awareness and empathy about the bisexual experience—and gaining allies to help us put an end to the prejudice against us.

A community is only as strong as its weakest members. And though it may be hard for gays and lesbians to relate to what it’s like to be attracted to more than one gender, it is crucial that they try to accept and support the needs of all LGBT members. For the past 40 years, bisexual people have tried to address the needs of our community on our own. We failed. Why? Because every community needs allies. Without straight allies, the larger LGBT community never would have achieved the right to same-sex marriage and the resources to combat the AIDS crisis. Without LGT allies, the bisexual community will never have the opportunity to face a future without stigma, poverty, and illness. And given that bisexuals comprise the largest population within the LGBT community, that right is long overdue.

Full article is here:

What May Be Worst Anti-LGBT Bill Yet

Rev. Chris Donald calls for the Senate to defeat HB 1523 on March 23.

Rev. Chris Donald calls for the Senate to defeat HB 1523 on March 23.

Mississippi is one vote and one signature away from enacting what may be the strictest anti-LGBT law yet.

The state Senate passed House Bill 1523, the so-called Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, Wednesday by a vote of 32-17, The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson reports. Thursday morning the Senate took a second vote, sending the bill on to the House for concurrence, as the version passed by the Senate differs slightly from the one adopted by the House in February, reports BuzzFeed. If the House votes to concur, which is expected next week, the bill will go to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature.

The act states that the government cannot penalize an individual, organization, or business for acting according to the following “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions”: that “marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman”; that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage”; and that “male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

The bill would therefore allow businesses to turn away customers or prospective employees by citing such beliefs, without repercussions. It would allow employees of county circuit clerks’ offices, which issue marriage licenses in the state, to refuse service to same-sex couples if they object to the marriage on religious grounds, also without repercussions. It could be used to discriminate against single parents and even conceivably allow employers to fire female workers for wearing pants, as it protects employers’ and schools’ right to maintain “sex-specific standards or policies concerning employee or student dress or grooming.”

Sen. Jenifer Branning, a supporter of the bill, argued to her colleagues Wednesday that the measure was designed to protect providers of wedding goods and services who oppose same-sex marriage, and denied that it had broader implications.

There’s more on this monstrosity of a legislation at Buzzfeed.


Today is the Transgender Day of Visibility.


What is the Transgender Day of Visibility?
TDOV is a day to show your support for the trans community. It aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe while fighting cissexism and transphobia by spreading knowledge of the trans community. Unlike Transgender Day of Remembrance, this is not a day for mourning: this is a day of empowerment and getting the recognition we deserve!

When is TDOV?
TDoV is on March 31st every year!

Where is TDOV?
Everywhere! We encourage you to create panels, talk to friends, and spread knowledge about the trans community no matter where you are! You can also join our Facebook event and use hashtag #tdov on social media. We also have a list of events on our website.

What is this year’s theme?
More Than Visibility (#MoreThanVisibility). This recognizes that while visibility is important, we must take direct action against transphobia around the world. Visibility is not enough alone to bring transgender liberation. Some people experience violence due to their visibility and some others don’t want to be visible. However, we can use visibility as a vital tool for transgender justice.


‘Trans Pose’ exhibition a study of transgender women and their journeys

“Transgender women are often the subject of prejudice and violence, and (can) lead shorter lives due to suicide and their struggle with employment, housing and acceptance from their families,” said Sarah Chaffee of McGowan Fine Art in her blog

“‘Trans Pose’ is portraits of transgender women exploring their unique experiences.”

“Trans Pose,” an exhibition running through April 22 at McGowan Fine Art, 10 Hills Ave., Concord. Gallery hours are Tuesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment. For more information go to

Two Bangladeshi Artists Are Giving Transgender Issues a Global Spotlight

In March 2015, on the streets of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, a blogger was murdered. It was but one killing in a spate of bloody attacks in the country by Islamist radicals on writers who mocked and criticized extremist elements of the religion. Predictably, the combination of brutality and religion attracted the fickle attention of the West. But the story was remarkable for another reason that has been less examined in the media: Two of the three assailants were caught thanks to the actions of Labannya Hijra, a transgender woman who witnessed the killing and retrieved the shirts of the blogger’s fleeing murderers.

In Bangladesh, members of the transgender community—some of whom go by “hijra,” the South Asian word for those born male but who identify as female—are thought to number somewhere between 10,000 and 500,000. They are roundly marginalized, facing poverty and legal and societal discrimination, though they recently won the right to officially identify as a third gender. But, notes British-Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam in her sobering op-ed in the New York Times, “it would be premature, to say the least, to pronounce the troubles of the hijras over.”

Mahbubur Rahman, Transformation (ongoing performance 2004-2014), 2004. Photo by Tayeba Begum Lipi. Courtesy of the artist.

The Resurgence of Women-Only Art Shows

The Resurgence of Women-Only Art Shows

Clockwise from top left: Sonia Gomes; Shinique Smith; Perle Fine; and Eva Hesse. Credit Clockwise from top left: Ana Valadares; Gary Pennock; Maurice Berezov/AE Artworks; Henry Groskinsky/Time & Life Pictures, via Getty Images

Clockwise from top left: Sonia Gomes; Shinique Smith; Perle Fine; and Eva Hesse. Credit Clockwise from top left: Ana Valadares; Gary Pennock; Maurice Berezov/AE Artworks; Henry Groskinsky/Time & Life Pictures, via Getty Images

While some artists are ambivalent about being viewed through the lens of gender, the all-women’s group show, which fell out of favor in the ’80s and ’90s, is flourishing again. At least a dozen galleries and museums are featuring women-themed surveys, a surge curators and gallerists say is shining a light on neglected artists, resuscitating some careers and raising the commercial potential of others.

These shows are “playing catch-up after centuries of women’s marginality and invisibility,” said the artist Barbara Kruger, who has both declined and agreed to participate in all-women shows. Galleries looking for fresh names to promote and sell have more than altruism in mind: They are sensing opportunity “to cultivate a new market,” Ms. Kruger said.



In Ms. Reilly’s 2015 Artnews article “Taking the Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures and Fixes,” she showed statistically a vast gender imbalance in terms of museum exhibitions and permanent collections, prices, gallery representation and press coverage. Last year, just seven percent of the artists on view in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection galleries were women. “Obviously great women artists have emerged, but unfortunately those are still token achievers,” Ms. Reilly said.

If these shows don’t close the gender divide, they at least provide substantial investment and rigorous scholarship to illuminate narratives that have slipped from the art historical record. The intergenerational lineup of 34 sculptors at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel includes younger artists like Kaari Upson and Shinique Smith alongside modernist forerunners like Louise Bourgeois, Claire Falkenstein, Eva Hesse and Lynda Benglis.

An excellent article, and some great shows coming up.

Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project

The most rewarding thing about this photography project is getting emails from LGBTQ Muslims from around the world who are finding out about the exhibitions via this Tumblr. It’s really, really restoring my faith in social media. Trying not to get too emotional about this but it’s hard not to.

The idea of doing a photography exhibition featuring queer Muslims came to me a couple of years ago. I wanted to show everyone the creative and brilliant LGBTQ Muslims I identified with the most and would hang out with at art shows, queer dance parties and Jumu’ah prayer. So I picked up my camera and decided to photograph what I was witnessing. In the words of the brilliant Dali (who I shot for this project), “we have always been here, it’s just that the world wasn’t ready for us yet.” I hope you love the photographs as much as I loved taking them.


Photography and interview by Samra Habib Who: Samira, Toronto

I was born in Tehran, Iran. I have very faint memories from that time, some I would like to erase and some are irretrievable. I can tell you however that there were always people over at our house and there were always lively debates happening, usually centred around world affairs and politics. My parents ingrained in me a deep appreciation for social and political justice; from a very young age. …

Virgenes de la Puerta and Fatherland

TW: descriptions of vicious, horrible violence below. Take care. Also, links are NSFW.

Andrew Mroczek and JuanJose Barboza-Gubo

© Andrew Mroczek and JuanJose Barboza-Gubo

Today we are featuring two series by collaborative artists Juan Jose Barboza-Gubo and Andrew Mroczek. With these projects, the artists hope to increase dialog and promote awareness and positive change for LGBTQ communities, especially in Peru, where transwomen are targets for violence, rape, and murder, and have been forced to lead lives on the fringe of Peru’s society with minimal opportunities, limited access to education and healthcare, and no laws to protect them.

For the first series, Virgenes de la Puerta, many of the images in the series were captured with an 8×10 view camera.

The second series, Fatherland, examines haunting spaces and landscapes throughout Peru, both rural and urban, where murders or violence against LGBTQ people have occurred.

Joel Arquímedes Molero Sánchez, 19 (Gay, Murdered, 2013) Joel was tortured by having his genitals, fingers, and toes cut from his body. He was beheaded and burned on a straw mattress beside a landfill. His body was identified by the bracelet he wore on his right hand. Rodriguez de Mendoza, Chachapoyas, Amazons, Peru, 2015

Joel Arquímedes Molero Sánchez, 19 (Gay, Murdered, 2013)
Joel was tortured by having his genitals, fingers, and toes cut from his body. He was beheaded and burned on a straw mattress beside a landfill. His body was identified by the bracelet he wore on his right hand. Rodriguez de Mendoza, Chachapoyas, Amazons, Peru, 2015

The McClain Gallery in Houston, Texas is presenting both series in an exhibition titled, Canon, which will be in conjunction with the FotoFest 2016 Biennial, opening March 19 and running through May 14, 2016.

This work has also been featured in The Advocate. The images at the links are not safe for work. NSFW.