TIME LGBT

Hillary Clinton Comments On Viral ‘Humans of New York’ Photo

The former Secretary of State tells gay child: "Your future is going to be amazing"

Street photographer Brandon Stanton — better known as the creator of Humans of New York — posted a picture Friday of a tearful boy with the caption, “I’m homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me.”

The post garnered 498,000 ‘Likes’, about standard for a HONY post, but what Stanton may not have expected was a comment from Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton wrote, “Prediction from a grown-up: Your future is going to be amazing. You will surprise yourself with what you’re capable of and the incredible things you go on to do. Find the people who love and believe in you – there will be lots of them.”

The photo initially became the subject of controversy when Stanton claimed Facebook had removed it from the site. But a Facebook spokesperson said Saturday the photo had not been intentionally deleted, but had been temporarily unavailable due to a bug. The photo is now available to be seen online, along with Clinton’s comment signed with her distinctive “-H.”

Humans of New York features photographs of ordinary people on the street along with quotes from the subjects, who typically do not identify themselves.

TIME Courts

Kentucky Clerk Sued for Not Issuing Gay-Marriage Licenses

Gay Marriage Clerks kentucky lawsuit
Timothy D. Easley—AP Beth Barnes-Bass waves the United States flag, and the Rainbow flag, during a protest of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis on the lawn of the Rowan County Judicial Center on June 30, 2015, in Morehead, Ky.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of four couples

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.)—Four Kentucky couples are suing a clerk who is refusing to issue gay-marriage licenses — or any marriage licenses at all — following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis on Thursday afternoon on behalf of two homosexual and two heterosexual couples, all of whom were turned away when they tried to get marriage licenses from Davis’ office this week.

Davis had told The Associated Press that her Christian beliefs prevented her from complying with the Supreme Court decision, so she decided to issue no more marriage licenses to any couple, gay or straight. She is among a handful of judges and clerks across the South who have defied the high court’s order, maintaining that the right to “religious freedom” protects them from having to comply.

Hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling last Friday, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear ordered all clerks to fall in line. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway followed up with a warning that failing to do so might open them up to civil liability.

Officials have also warned that the defiant clerks could be risking criminal charges. Warren County Attorney Ann Milliken, president of the Kentucky County Attorneys Association, said clerks could be charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Some Kentucky clerks who at first resisted issuing same-sex marriage licenses changed course this week and agreed to sign them. But a few, Davis included, stood firm, despite the dozens of protesters outside her office in Morehead earlier this week.

She pledged to never issue a marriage license to a gay couple.

“It’s a deep-rooted conviction; my conscience won’t allow me to do that,” Davis said Tuesday. “It goes against everything I hold dear, everything sacred in my life.”

David could not be reached Thursday after the lawsuit was filed. Her office was already closed and she did not respond to an email.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court in Ashland, Kentucky, requests an injunction ordering Davis to begin issuing licenses. It alleges that her policy is unconstitutional and asks for punitive damages for violating the four couples’ rights.

April Miller and Karen Roberts, a couple for 11 years who live in Morehead, told The Associated Press that they asked for a license Tuesday and were told to try another county.

Another gay couple, L. Aaron Skaggs and Barry Spartman, called the Rowan County clerk’s office Tuesday and asked to apply for a license. An employee on the phone said, “Don’t bother coming down here,” according to the lawsuit, and told them the clerk was refusing to issue licenses.

Two opposite-sex couples also tried to get licenses and were told by staff that none would be issued, the lawsuit alleges.

The clerks have argued that if they issue a license to no one, they cannot be accused of discrimination. Kentucky state law allows adult couples seeking marriage licenses to get them from any county. If a marriage involves minors, however, they must get their license in the county where they live.

The four couples who filed suit say that because they live, work, vote and pay taxes in Rowan County, they have a right to file for a marriage license there.

In the lawsuit, ACLU legal director William Sharp wrote that Davis’ religious conviction “is not a compelling, important or legitimate government interest.”

One of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, Laura Landenwich, wrote Davis “has the absolute right to believe whatever she wants about God, faith, and religion, but as a government official who swore an oath to uphold the law, she cannot pick and choose who she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs.”

TIME celebrities

Cynthia Nixon: Don’t Get Complacent About LGBT Rights

The Sex and the City star argues that there's still work to be done

Cynthia Nixon, star of Sex in the City, wrote an op-ed in Variety urging LGBT activists to continue to fight for marriage equality.

Even though the Friday Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage in every state may seem like the ultimate victory, Nixon argued in the op-ed that the work is not done yet. The reason the LGBT movement has come so far is constant perseverance both in the face of adversity and after achieving community goals, she said.

“Equality proponents knew they were going to win, but didn’t take it for granted for a moment; they worked, they organized, leaving no stone unturned. And to have the vote come from the general population was absolutely game-changing,” the star wrote.

“The important thing to remember going forward, though, is no outcome is ever 100% assured. We have to keep organizing like our lives depend on it.”

Nixon has been active in the fight for marriage equality and married a woman herself in 2012. But she has also drawn controversy: in 2012 she came under fire for saying that “homosexuality can be a choice” and was for her in an interview with the New York Times Magazine. Other LGBT celebrities like Perez Hilton fired back that millions of people around the world were born gay.

[Variety]

TIME faith

Episcopalians Vote to Allow Gay Marriage in Churches

Clergy can now perform religious weddings for same-sex couples

(SALT LAKE CITY)—Episcopalians have voted to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

The vote came Wednesday in Salt Lake City at the denomination’s national assembly. The measure passed by an overwhelming margin in the House of Deputies, the voting body of clergy and lay people at the meeting. The day before, the House of Bishops had approved the resolution, 129-26 with five abstaining.

The New York-based church of nearly 1.9 million members is known for electing the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in 2003. Since then, many dioceses have allowed priests to perform civil same-sex weddings.

Still, the church hadn’t changed its own laws on marriage until Wednesday.

Under the new rules, clergy can decline to perform the ceremonies.

TIME

Federal Judge Orders Alabama to Comply With Gay Marriage Ruling

Yes, you too, Alabama.

The one third of Alabama counties which have continued to refuse same-sex couples marriage licenses in spite of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling were issued a federal mandate on Wednesday morning: cut it out.

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade issued the order from Mobile, Alabama, the Associated Press reports, saying that probate judges were not permitted to begrudge same-sex couples their marriage licenses now that the Supreme Court has deemed prohibitions on gay marriage unconstitutional. The order came as an update to Granade’s January 2015 ruling that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Still, it will not force counties who aren’t issuing marriage licenses at all in light of the Supreme Court ruling to begin doing so; the order specifically pertains to discrimination.

As of Tuesday, 22 counties in Alabama were not complying with the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide. Meanwhile, clerks in Arkansas and Mississippi resigned altogether earlier this week rather than sign gay marriage licenses.

TIME LGBT

Girl Scouts Chapter Raises $250K After Rejecting Anti-Transgender Gift

More than 5,000 donors have contributed to the campaign so far

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington has raised more than $250,000 on a crowdfunding site after rejecting a six-figure donation when the donor stipulated it could not benefit transgender girls.

Earlier this year the chapter accepted a $100,000 donation from a donor—about a third of its annual financial aid program—but later returned the money. In May, the national organization Girl Scouts of the USA wrote in a blog post that said any child living “culturally as a girl” was welcome. To make up for the returned donation, Girl Scouts of Western Washington started a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo on Monday and raised more than two times its goal by Wednesday.

More than 5,000 donors have contributed to the “Girl Scouts is #ForEVERYGirl” campaign, which still has about a month left to go. The almost $260,000 raised so far will benefit 1,000 girls, the organization said in an update late Tuesday.

“Girl Scouts is for every girl. It always has been and always will be,” Megan Ferland, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western Washington, told BuzzFeed. “I could not be put in a position where I would have to turn girls away.”

TIME Photojournalism Links

The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month

A compilation of the 10 most interesting photo essays published online in June, as curated by Mikko Takkunen

This month’s Photojournalism Links collection highlights 10 excellent photo essays from across the world, including Tomas Munita’s powerful work on Burma’s persecuted Rohingya minority. The photographs, made on assignment for The New York Times, capture a camp in Sittwe, Burma, where some 140,000 Rohingya live in bamboo huts without electricity, in conditions that partly explain why thousands of the Muslim ethnic group have tried to migrate across Asia these past few months.

Tomas Munita: For the Rohingya of Burma, a Hardscrabble Existence (The New York Times)

James Nachtwey: The Plight of the Rohingya (TIME LightBox) TIME’s contract photographer travelled to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, to document the plight of Asia’s newest boat people.

Pete Muller: Seeking the Source of Ebola (National Geographic) World Press Photo winner Muller’s excellent pictures track the Ebola outbreak from Democratic Republic of Congo to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ivory Coast.

Rena Effendi: In the Footsteps of Gandhi (National Geographic) Effendi’s beautiful color photographs look at the great Indian leader’s impact, past and present.

Robin Hammond: Chronicling the Struggles of LGBT People Around the World (TIME LightBox) Moving portraits series on survivors of discrimination

David Guttenfelder: Illuminating North Korea (The New York Times) Yet another fascinating look at the hermit kingdom by the National Geographic Society Fellow.

Matt Black: Geography of Poverty (MSNBC) The new Magnum nominee is expanding his project documenting poverty from California to rest of the U.S.

Philip Montgomery: Scott Walker and the Fate of the Union (The New York Times Magazine) Stunning black and white pictures document the fight to protect workers’ rights in Wisconsin.

Arnau Bach: Stranded in Marseille (The New Yorker Photo Booth) Bach won the Pierre and Alexandra Boulat grant in 2013 and used the funds to make a portrait of one of the poorest French cities.

Charles Ommanney: The Black Route to Europe (The Washington Post) These photographs track one Syrian family’s journey from Aleppo to Austria| More on the Washington Post In Sight blog: Pt.1 and Pt. 2.

TIME College Sports

Meet the First Openly Transgender Swimmer to Compete in the NCAA

transgender harvard swimmer Schuyler Bailer
Marvin Joseph—The Washington Post/Getty Images Schuyler Bailer is the first openly transgender collegiate athlete.

Incoming Harvard freshman Schuyler Bailar will compete on the men's team after coming out as transgender

An incoming Harvard University freshman will become what is believed to be the first openly transgender student to compete as a swimmer in the NCAA.

Schuyler Bailar was initially recruited for the women’s team but was torn about his participation after coming out as a transgender man this year—until Bailar’s coach coordinated an offer from the university to join either the men’s team or the women’s team.

“It’s half terrifying and half exciting,” Bailar told the Associated Press. “I’m just kind of embracing it with open arms.”

Harvard men’s swimming coach Kevin Tyrrell said the rest of the team was immediately in favor of extending an invite to Bailar.

“Through high school I grew my hair out, I conformed, I dressed in the high heels to prom — and I was miserable,” Bailar said. “I did succeed in swimming because that was really my only outlet.”

[AP]

TIME sexuality

What It’s Like to Be a Lesbian in Love With a Man

xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

For now, I am just trying to be true to myself

xojane

When I commit to something, I go all in. I didn’t just become a vegetarian, I became a vegan. I didn’t just cut back on alcohol when it became too much, I got sober for keeps. When I became a runner, I signed up for a half marathon, the most difficult one in the world. When I started dating a woman, I became a lesbian.

The year I came out, much to the dismay of my girlfriend who loved my long girly blond hair, I went full lesbian with a faux hawk and shaved steps. I loooooved it.

Of course, I didn’t just “become a lesbian.” I knew that I was bisexual since probably the age of six or seven when I started kissing my girlfriends on sleepovers. We would play house, and one of us would have to pretend to be the husband and the other the wife. This was the only acceptable premise of course for them, but I was kissing girls, so I didn’t care what story they were telling themselves. Sure, yes, this time you can be the girl, sweetheart.

When I had casual relationships with girls in college, I never seriously considered ever coming out because I never seriously considered it to be an option. Girl stuff was for fun, but not very serious. Since I liked boys too, I assumed that eventually there would be a serious boy-girl scenario in my future. I never imagined it any other way.

When I met my girlfriend at 24, and it became serious, I confronted my sexuality in a real way for the first time. I had never felt guilt, shame, or fear about my sexuality at any point in my life until I needed to confront it in a social and public way.

I had never once considered what it would be like to walk down the street holding a girl’s hand, or coming out to grand-parents or raising a child in a same-sex relationship. This is the lovely state most heteros get to inhabit for their entire existences, god bless them. I know it was bliss when I was there. (I can only imagine that this is something even remotely close to the blissful ignorance I enjoy as a white, first-world, employed, able-bodied cis gendered person.)

There were many sleepless nights as I came face to face with the reality of the heternormativity of my world and with the homophobia I had only ever scarcely considered a reality of my family and community. I had benefited my whole life from cis and straight privilege and never considered a time when I wouldn’t either benefit from both, or what it was like for people who didn’t.

The process maybe took about two years; I never in that time even considered the option of coming out as bisexual, though. I was in a committed relationship with a woman, we thought we were deeply in love and I thought it was forever. We talked about forever, and babies, and growing old together.

To me, in that place, there was no point in not going all in. What was the point in telling people I was also attracted to men if I had only the intention of living in a lesbian relationship for the rest of my life? I didn’t feel that it was fair to benefit from even the privileged status bisexuals maintain (objects of male desire, and perceived as existing for and within the hetero dynamic) and/or from presumed straightness. I went all in.

I got a “lesbian haircut.” I joined activist and political organizations that were fighting homophobia and transphobia. I marched in pride parades and dyke marches and became a spokesperson in public schools where I told my coming out story to kids. I started a gay blog, and I talked about LGBT issues on national television.

I did it all as a lesbian, because once I confronted the reality of heternormativity and my cis/gender privilege and straight privilege (as someone who walks around in the world often perceived as cisgendered and straight and benefits from it greatly), I felt like lesbianism was a social and political issue that mattered.

I believed that for the rest of my life, I would have to come out over and over again at new jobs, to new friends, to teachers, to my kid’s friends’ parents, to new neighbours and to authorities.

Living in a lesbian relationship meant that I would be treated like a lesbian for the rest of my life and it mattered that I not live in fear of prejudice and that I use my other class, race and gender privilege to join this battle.

Ironically or tragically, my relationship suffered from the pain of both real and internalized homophobia. For eight years, I almost never enjoyed even simple public affection like hand holding, a light touch or gesture from someone I loved when the moment might have called for it. We never had a romantic slow dance at a wedding or a romantic kiss on a beach at sunset. Things that give me butterflies, that make me blush, that make me feel blissfully desired and loved. It was a behind-closed-doors relationship and it suffered because of it.

When my relationship did end (I am sure you saw that coming!), I once again found myself in a strangely precarious situation: I wasn’t personally confused about my sexuality, but I have been feeling deep social uneasiness.

If I date a man, do I need to come out again? What will the gay community think? Will I lose all of my gay friends? Will I lose my identity? Do I want to lose that identity? What does it mean for “the cause”? How do I explain it to people? It was all about the social and not at all about the personal.

When I recently met a wildly lovely man who has made my heart burst out of my chest with passion and vulnerability and kindness and sincerity and intelligence, I resisted. How did this fit with my identity? Reverse coming out felt anxiety-inducing.

I didn’t prepare myself for was the guilt. The first time we walked hand in hand around my neighborhood, my heart was racing. When we kissed on a busy public street, I felt the heat rise up into my face. When we cuddled in the park, I felt eyes burning into me from all directions.

People were looking, but I was terribly aware that I was not a freakshow. I wasn’t been ogled. I didn’t need to be afraid of someone yelling at me, of someone being offended or someone offending me, or of violence and threats or being objectified by men. Little old ladies smiled at us as we walked by. Straight couples did little knowing straight couple exchanges.

I felt for the first time in a very long time that I could be present and be in the moment and be light-hearted and enjoy the newness of the romance, of the exchange of a smile, or the feeling of my hand in his. For the first time in a long time, the palms of my hands weren’t sweaty from anxiety and fear while holding hands in public. It was a relief.

In that relief, in that ease however, I felt overshadowed by guilt.

I am not sure how to shake it off yet. I don’t know how to not feel like I am abandoning my people and my cause, how to continue to fight the fight that is still being fought around the world and in my community for the right to walk down the street and not feel fear of retaliation, of disgust and of hatred.

For now, I am just trying to follow my heart and to listen deeply to my mind and body. And be true to myself.

Erika Jahn wrote this article for xoJane

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME LGBT

Americans Are Using a U.S. Flag Photo Filter to Protest the Gay Marriage Ruling

The posts come in direct response to Facebook's "Celebrate Pride" rainbow filter

Some Americans are using a web service by Rightwingnews.com to add an American flag filter to their Facebook profile photos as part of the backlash against the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S.

The move is a direct response to Facebook’s “Celebrate Pride” rainbow filter, which allows users to show their support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage on June 26. Over 26 million people implemented Facebook’s filter in the days after the ruling.

However, one Twitter user, featured in the Independent, pointed out that the Rainbow flag and the American flag are not mutually exclusive symbols.

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