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Posted on Aug 28, 2014

In Chile, a Navy Officer comes out challenging institutional homophobia

24 year old Navy Officer, Mauricio Ruiz held a press conference with Movilh, a gay rights organization in Chile to come out.

In a video shared by Towelroad, Ruiz says "It doesn't make sense to be gay and to hide. It's not worth it. It's not a life. I think you have to be who you are and do what you like." Oscar Rementeria, the spokesperson for Movilh said "I think today Mauricio has become an icon in the armed forces. Now time will be divided into before he came out and after he came out, it will mark a change in terms of the struggle against the culture homophobia that is so strong in the country's institutions."

Chile has been marked by hate crimes, such as the murder of Daniel Zamudio, and the attendant calls for hate crimes legislation led by his family, friends and the LGBT community. The legislation was finally passed in 2012. This year Chile's Todo Mejora (It Gets Better) organization and other groups have worked to advance messages of acceptance especially in support of LGBT youth to combat the high rate of suicide. Recently GLAAD's Director of Spanish-language media, Monica Trasandes conducted media trainings with the group and supported their efforts.

Hopefully Ruiz' strong confident message and the support he is receiving from his superiors and society will be followed by the changes in policy needed to ensure that all people can live, work and love safely and happily in the country.

 

August 28, 2014
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Posted on Aug 9, 2014

GLAAD signs on to The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force letter to the President on Immigration

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has released a letter that GLAAD and other LGBT advocacy groups have signed on to appealing to the President to provide administrative relief for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, 267,000 of them estimated to be LGBT, in the US. The measures would impact communities that are currently plagued by fear of deportation, unsafe detention, separation of families, lack of access to healthcare and deportations back to countries that in many cases have laws and policies that enshrine discrimination against LGBT people. Although these actions would do much to improve the lives of immigrants and their communities, they are stopgaps that would be put in place until comprehensive, humane immigration reform legislation is passed in Congress.

The letter defines the immigrant population based on estimates, noting that according to Heartland Alliance's Rainbow Welcome Initiative 5,000 LGBT refugees came to the US in 2010. This number is probably higher because some LGBT immigrants do not disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity for fear of persecution, many as a result miss the one year filing deadline for asylum. The Williams Institute estimates that there are 267,000 LGBT immigrants in the US.

In 2012, the President created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which potentially impacts 1.9 million eligible youth, some of them LGBT, allowing them to pay fees and fill out forms that permit them to come out of the shadows although it does not permanently fix their status. These youth are not alone and the letter asks the President to extend DACA to their siblings, spouses, parents and family members thus easing the fear of deportation and keeping families together so that they can continue to contribute to our communities.

Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) works with local police authorities to identify undocumented immigrants in many states. As a result of the 34,000 bed quota in place since 2007, undocumented immigrants working, going to school and otherwise forming a part of our communities are targeted for detention and deportation, making them less likely to report abuses, or crimes. Many of the detainees are placed in the private detention system that has been developed to fulfill the quota. This system has been accused of 1) not providing HIV positive detainees with medication, 2) placing pregnant women and LGBT detainees in solitary confinement-increasingly shown to be problematic and traumatizing, 3) failing to protect detainees from sexual assault, especially transgender women and gay men, 4) failing to provide transgender detainees with medication, and 5) assigning transgender women to men's prison populations. Many detainees face these conditions without representation, because there is no guarantee. The letter asks the President to ensure that ICE use alternatives to detention especially for vulnerable populations such as LGBT immigrants and pregnant women, end solitary confinement and issue a guidance to judges that would advise them to use discretion ensuring that those immigrants that are eligible can be paroled if they are eligible.

These changes would positively impact the lives of immigrants, many of them LGBT, their families and our communities.

Here is the list of the current signatories:

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Alliance of Multicultural Bisexuals of DC (AMBi DC)

American Civil Liberties Union

Bisexual Resource Center

Centerlink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

Equality Federation

Family Equality Council

GetEQUAL

GLAAD

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality

GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis)

Harvey Milk Foundation

Human Rights Campaign

Immigration Equality

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)

Lambda Legal

Marriage Equality USA

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Coalition of Anti?Violence Programs

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

National Minority AIDS Council

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Nehirim

Pride At Work, AFL?CIO

The BiCast

The Trevor Project

Transgender Education Network of Texas

August 9, 2014
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Posted on Aug 6, 2014

Advocates call for the release of transgender immigrant, Marichuy Leal Gamino

As reported yesterday on GLAAD's blog, advocates across the country are rallying to support the immediate release of Marichuy Leal Gamino. Gamino, a 23 year old transgender woman, reported that she was  sexually assaulted while in immigration custody at a detention center in Arizona. In an article in the Huffington Post, Francisco Luna, a member of the Arcoiris Liberation Team calls for her release:

"We see no other solution than for ICE to immediately release her, where her community can take measures to ... help her heal."

More than 50  groups have signed on to this call, including the Transgender Law Center and these groups are organizing rallies in support of Gamino's release. Supporters point out that 1) she was housed with men, 2) staff ignored her complaints of harassment and 3) she was pressured to sign a statement saying the rape was consensual.

The Center for American Progress and other groups have outlined the ways that immigration detention centers have failed to protect LGBT inmates, especially transgender women in the past. For some time advocates have been calling for 1) alternatives to detention, 2) an end to the 34,000 bed quota at detention centers, 3) and relief for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, an estimated 267,000 of whom are LGBT amongst other reforms.

Migrants come to the US fleeing violence and abuse at home only to encounter a system that has been repeatedly called to account for its inability to protect LGBT detainees.

The Los Angeles rally will be on Thursday, August 7th at 10 AM in front the Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) offices.

August 6, 2014
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NC State Branding Bar