News Briefs: Senseless 8

8. Hate crimes on the rise
Of the total hate crimes reported last year in America, 1,076 were based on sexual orientation bias and 124 were based on gender identity bias — a two percent and nine percent increase, respectively. Of the incidents motivated by gender identity, 105 targeted transgender people, an increase of 44 percent from 2015.

7. Turkey ban on all LGBT events
Authorities in Ankara, Turkey imposed a ban on all LGBT cultural events yesterday, citing threats to public order and fear of “provoking reactions within certain segments of society.” Days earlier, they banned a festival of German-language gay films in the capital. Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said empowering gay people was “against the values of our nation,” echoing a sentiment he expressed earlier in the year after cancelling Istanbul’s gay pride parade for a third year in a row.

6. A call-to-action ending conversion therapy
Suicide attempts following conversion-therapy treatments are common for gay people from Nigeria to China to the United States, said LGBT activists on Thursday, calling for global action to end this kind of treatment. Despite gains in LGBT rights, many gay people are still forced to undergo so-called conversion therapy, involving psychoanalysis, injections and electric shocks, based on the idea homosexuality is a mental disorder or medical condition.

5. Conservative Wesley Goodman resigns seat following outing of ‘inappropriate behavior’
Pro-family and anti-LGBT Ohio legislator Wesley Goodman resigned last week after House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger was alerted to Goodman’s involvement in “inappropriate behavior” with a man in his state office in Columbus. 

4. Research shows surge in hate crimes in Russia, too
Hate crimes against LGBT people in Russia have doubled since the country instituted a law banning “gay propaganda,” researchers told Reuters last weekThe banning resulted in an increase of sentences for crimes against LGBT people from 18 in 2010 to 65 in 2015, according to St. Petersburg-based researchers. Out of the 250 hate crimes analyzed, murders accounted for almost 200 of them, according to the Center for Independent Research. The surge is attributed to the 2013 ban on spreading “propaganda for nontraditional sexual relations.”

3. Not losing my religion to LGBT people
Since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, religious right groups have increased their activism around religious exemption laws to legalize discrimination against LGBT people, and to see the appointment of anti-LGBT judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court will help them prevail.

2. Montana ‘bathroom predator’ bill lawsuit tabled
Helena City Commission voted Nov. 20 to table a resolution for the city to join a lawsuit aimed at blocking an anti-trans ballot initiative. The Montana Locker Room Privacy Act (I-183) is an anti-trans “bathroom bill” pushed by the anti-LGBT Montana Family Foundation that would prohibit people to use restrooms and locker rooms in state and local facilities in accordance with their gender identities. MFF has claimed that the bill will protect the safety of women and children, part of the debunked “bathroom predator” myth that the anti-LGBT right uses to promote anti-trans bathroom legislation.

1. Rallying around cake
The Alliance Defending Freedom’s lawsuit against the state of Colorado in the matter of Masterpiece Cake Shop will be heard Dec. 5. Anti-LGBT groups are planning actions around it. Hard right anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and anti-choice group Concerned Women for America sent out an email Nov. 20 alerting readers to a rally they’re holding at the Supreme Court building the day the case is heard: “I would like to invite you to join Concerned Women for America and other pro-religious freedom organizations at the Supreme Court for a religious freedom rally in support of Jack Phillips. Our friends at The Radiance Foundation are sponsoring this event, and people are flying in from across the United States to show their support. We do not want you to miss out on this opportunity!”

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