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Posted on Sep 18, 2014

After trans teen Jane Doe briefly escapes custody, #JusticeForJane campaign to hold rally for her release

Jane Doe representation by Molly Crabapple http://mollycrabapple.com/

On Tuesday, the transgender teenager known as Jane Doe, who was imprisoned by order of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) in May without criminal charges against her, briefly escaped from custody at a juvenile center for delinquent boys before being found by police hours later. Since April, Jane Doe has been held largely in isolation from her peers by order of the DCF, despite the organization's claims that she was not in solitary confinement.

The #JusticeForJane campaign, and followers using the hashtag #JusticeForJane, has continued to demand Jane Doe's release from prison and from the custody of the DCF. They have urged people to take action through tweeting at the DCF in Connecticut and taking photos with a sign displaying the hashtag. The campaign will be holding a rally and march for Jane starting at the DCF Headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut, and ending at the State Capitol building on September 27. Find out more about the rally here.

Jane Doe was placed at the York Correctional Facility, an adult prison, in April after a judge granted a request from the DCF, citing a rarely used Connecticut law. In May, the DCF announced that Jane Doe had been moved to a "private cottage" on the prison grounds, but her lawyer, Aaron J. Romano, criticized the announcement as a distraction from the teen girl's suffering.

“She is not in a 'cottage.' That word creates the illusion of Mother Goose," Romano said in May, according to the New Haven Register. "She’s in prison! It’s a disgrace to see DCF again attempting to distance themselves from what they’ve done: putting a child in jail. They’re trying to cover it up with their use of language.”

Earlier this year, trans activist and writer Janet Mock wrote a moving open letter to Jane Doe, and trans activist and writer Reina Gossett wrote a powerful essay framing Jane Doe's imprisonment as part of "a system that punishes the resilience that it takes to survive a lifetime of trauma." Attorney Chase Strangio detailed his experience meeting Jane Doe, and urged readers not to forget her humanity.

In June, artist Molly Crabapple shared a representative portrait of Jane Doe on social media as part of an effort to humanize the teen whose name and image have been kept anonymous by the DCF. That same month, Jane Doe was moved to a psychiatric facility in Massachusetts, and then in July was transferred to the center for delinquent boys where she has been since. GLAAD's own Tiq Milan spoke out about the situation at that time, saying:

"It's heartbreaking to learn that this young girl is still being shuffled around the system and misgendered by those who are charged with taking care of her. Placing Jane in an all-male facility will not stabilize her situation. If anything it may cause more harm. She deserves the basic right of being acknowledged and respected as the gender she identifies with before any forward progress can actually happen."

GLAAD will continue following this story and the work of the #JusticeForJane campaign, and report any updates. 

September 18, 2014
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Posted on Sep 16, 2014

New Yorker Festival hosts panel discussion on LGBTQ TV with Jill Soloway, Jenji Kohan, and more

The 15th annual New Yorker Festival, held October 10th – 12th, will feature a panel about the portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on television.

"LGBTQ TV" will be moderated by the magazine's Emily Nussbaum, and include panelists Brad Falchuk, executive producer of the Fox comedy series Glee; Jenji Kohan, creator and executive producer of the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black; Michael Lannan, creator and co-executive producer of the HBO series Looking; Peter Paige, co-creator and executive producer of the ABC Family drama series The Fosters; and Jill Soloway, creator of the new Amazon series Transparent.

Every year, the New Yorker Festival brings together a group of writers, thinkers, artists and other luminaries from a wide range of fields including film, music, television, politics, food, sports, literature, and technology. The "LGBTQ TV" panel will be held at 1pm on Saturday, October 11th, at SIR Theater37 in Manhattan. Tickets are now available for the festival at www.newyorker.com/festival

September 17, 2014
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Posted on Sep 15, 2014

“She’s perfect the way she is': Students show support for transgender homecoming princess in Colorado

A transgender high school student in Colorado was crowned her high school's homecoming princess on Friday, according to the Associated Press. Scarlett Lenh, a 16-year-old junior at Sand Creek High School Colorado Springs, said she didn't expect to be nominated in the first place.

"One of my friends mentioned it, and I didn't think anything of it because I didn't think I'd be nominated. But, now, it really matters to me," Lenh told the Gazette of Colorado Springs. "This is something I've wanted to do since my freshman year. I want people to be themselves and not feel uncomfortable in their own body and mind."

Lenh said two of her fellow students nominated for the honor were "extremely supportive," while another was "really upset." Overall, Lenh is overwhelmed by the support she has received, despite the hurtful, anti-transgender comments from some in her community. “For every one person that does not like what I'm doing, I know that there's 100 that support me,” she told KDRO.

Sand Creek High School is in Falcon School District 49 and shares a city with the anti-LGBT group, Focus on the Family. However, district spokesperson Matt Meister said in a statement:

"The leaders at Sand Creek High School and in District 49 respect the decision of the Scorpion student body in electing their homecoming court. Our board policy sets the standard that we do not exclude any person from participating in any program or activity on the basis of gender identity and gender expression."

One student at Sand Creek High, Shana Berhite, spoke out in support of Lenh and the school district's acceptance of her, saying:

"I think you should be your own person and it's awesome they are letting Scarlett be her. It's inspiring to other kids. Be yourself. Don't be anything but yourself."

Another student added:

"I'm fine with it. She can do whatever she wants. She's perfect the way she is."

Last year, transgender teenager Cassidy Lynn Campbell was elected homecoming queen at her high school in Huntington Beach, California. As schools around the country begin classes again, GLAAD urges the media to continue highlighting stories of LGBT students. 

September 15, 2014
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NC State Branding Bar