In a pamphlet for parents, Christian conservative group Focus on the Family advises parents to teach their children that being gay is a sin and to pray for their gay friends.
In How To Talk To Your Children About Homosexuality, Jeff Johnston argues the importance of sharing this message with children as early as possible.
“Before your children are even aware of homosexuality, begin by giving them a biblical view of the world,” Johnston wrote. “In other words, you are framing the issue for them by teaching them about God and His redemptive plan [for] humankind.”
Being gay, according to the author, is a “non-biblical, human-centered view” that separates sexual activity from “marriage and procreation, and even from being a male-female union.”
“It becomes more about seeking pleasure or self-fulfillment,” he wrote.
“Sin has confused them, and they need God's help to follow Him,” is the suggested response.
In a second scenario, a mother tells her daughter to pray for her gay friend.
“We are praying for God to move in Bradley's life so he will know God's love and follow Jesus,” the mother says. “Can we pray together for Bradley?”
Camille Beredjick notes at the Friendly Atheist blog: “Children whose parents abide by this guide will learn literally nothing. It's a grab-bag of mixed messages, hate speech, and general inanity that teaches kids to hate before they know what hate means.”
The National Association of Basketball Coaches has formally included "sexual orientation" as a protected group in their anti-discrimination and anti-bullying policies. The NABC is the nation's largest network of men's high school and college basketball coaches.
One part of the NABC's statement on the policies really jumped out at me:
The NABC opposes any action or inaction that has a tendency to cause or is intended to cause emotional or physical harm, an unequal or disproportionate effect, or unreasonable requirement because of any particular trait.
"Action or inaction." That holds coaches responsible for not taking proactive steps to stop discrimination or harassment on their teams. "I didn't know" isn't enough for the NABC, and that's a great step in the right direction.
With more and more gay men coming out in basketball, the inclusion of their protection was an increasingly important step.
"To have the NABC put out such a powerful statement on inclusion shows the importance of the issue," said Anthony Nicodemo, head basketball coach at Saunders High School in New York, where he came out publicly last year. Nicodemo had been in contact with the NABC about implementing a more inclusive policy.
"I have been a member for over 15 years and the organization was so supportive with the concerns. So many coaches will receive the statement and I hop it continues to promote a change in athletics overall. It really makes me proud to be a member."
India's first transgender news anchor is already a star.
Lotus News, a news station based out of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, first featured Padmini Prakash on the air less than a month ago and she has already been promoted to anchor the 7 p.m. nightly broadcast.
"We are supportive of Padmini because she is very hard-working," Lotus News Channel chairman GKS Selvakumar told the Times Of India. "After initial trials, we were convinced that she had the potential to be an excellent news anchor."
While the new anchor has been vocal about the discrimination she's faced, which included being disowned by her own family, she continues to receive approbation for her journalistic capabilities.
"Padmini now anchors better than many others. We get very good feedback from viewers," an official at the news channel told India TV News. "Offices of companies do not encourage transgenders. We want to change that and motivate them. We would give [an] opportunity for many other qualified transgenders too."
When a transgender student in Brazil was recently fined for wearing a skirt to school, a group of male classmates rose to support her in spectacular fashion — by all showing up at school wearing skirts themselves.
According to the U.K.’s Orange News, 17-year-old Maria Muniz, a student at Rio de Janeiro’s Colégio Pedro II, was fined by school officials who said that she was breaking a school rule that states that male students must wear trousers.
After the punishment, Muniz reportedly agreed to change out of the skirt. Little did she know, however, that a few of her classmates would soon put up a fight on her behalf.
Brazilian news outlet R7 reports that a group of about 15 boys showed up to Colégio Pedro II wearing skirts on Sept. 2 to support Muniz and her clothing choice. A photograph of the boys posing in their skirts has gone viral in recent weeks:
"I am really happy about the way my classmates supported me and I hope it serves as an example to others to feel encouraged to do the right thing. I was always taught at school to accept who you are, I am only trying to live that,” she said, per Orange News.
On their part, school officials say that they are absolutely against “intolerance and discrimination,” and have said that they are open to discussing a change in their uniform policy, R7 reports.
"The sexual orientation is not important for us, all our students are equal," the principal of the school said, according to Orange News. "However, the uniform determines male and female clothing, but we will study a new manual of coexistence."
As the story of Muniz and her classmates goes viral, netizens everywhere have been showing their support for the teens with the hashtag #VouDeSaia, meaning "I'm going in a skirt" or "wearing a skirt."
“Such a beautiful display of working together to beat transphobia,” wrote one Twitter user Monday.
“Faith in humanity: RESTORED,” declared another.
Right after I first came out, I went with some friends to Fire Island, the homo party-Mecca of Long Island. At the time I weighed 185 pounds, a standard weight for my five-foot-eleven frame. Several hours into the evening, my good friend's date pulled me aside and declared he had the hots for me. Stammering with disbelief, I reminded him that he was on a date with my friend, not me. He ignored this statement, put his hand on mine and leaned in declaring these words that I've carried with me ever since; "You have such a pretty face, if only you'd lose some weight." It was my official introduction to the world of gay body images and the enormous pressure to look perfect.
While on the one hand this man was complimenting me, it was a back-handed statement that outlined the twink-versus-bear mentality that is used in the gay community to label and categorize appearances, and hence people, with dismissive ease. I politely rejected his advances, but his words resonated in my head for the rest of the night. When I woke up the next day, I immediately began limiting my food intake to orange juice and pretzels, believing that I clearly would need to lose some weight if I ever wanted a serious gay relationship.
Several weeks later, I was out at a club when a sexy man followed me to the bathroom and started chatting me up. We went home together and began what was a tumultuous two-year affair. About a week in, my new boyfriend, who was incredibly athletic, suggested we join a gym together. Remembering my Fire Island admirer's statement, I quickly agreed. The next eighteen months I proceeded to diligently visit the gym six days a week, whittling myself down to a lithe 158 pounds. Friends and family became concerned as I was slowly wasting away, but the attention I received from my man and the boys in the bars more than made up for their worries and validated the importance of being skinny.
Reveling in the shape of my new body, I went out dancing one night with my boyfriend, where I saw a heavy-set guy tearing it up on the floor. I was so surprised by his carefree attitude that I smiled and clapped along while he boogied away. After all, I couldn't look in the mirror without seeing a few more pounds to lose or an inch to tone, while this guy was confident in letting it all jiggle and hang out. As I stood there joyfully clapping away, a cute and fit dude dancing nearby turned to me and chuckled, "If you just want sex, fatties are the best aren't they? You can treat 'em like shit and they don't care." Disgusted, I left the floor.
A few weeks later, I learned that my boyfriend had been cheating on me for months. Rather than leaving him immediately, I somehow convinced myself that he never would have gone astray if I was in even better shape. Thus, I worked harder at the gym than before. However, as our relationship continued to deteriorate, I became exhausted keeping up with the gay-Joneses at the gym. It was too much work, and I resented denying myself the things I enjoyed in an effort to stay some horny man's wandering eye. Thus, I started quietly sneaking junk food in private when no one was looking. It was ridiculous because I'd sup on grilled chicken and salad while we were together, but I'd hide a stash of chips or cookies that I'd inhale the second my boyfriend left the apartment. Needless to say the relationship eventually collapsed. I moved out, ate myself into gleeful oblivion, and slowly ballooned to over 225 pounds in a period of a few years.
After a while, I began seeing another guy, but when this new relationship appeared to be stuck in neutral, I asked my new love where we were headed. He then leveled me with hauntingly familiar words, stating "You have no idea how beautiful you could be if you just lost some weight, but I don't see this going further until you do." Devastated, I bought a treadmill online that very night.
One evening while toiling away on the equipment, I picked up my cell phone to answer a call from this current boyfriend where he proceeded to tell me, through my panting and gasps, that he was leaving the country the next day on business and wouldn't be back for a few weeks. He suggested that when he returned we should pursue a more casual relationship by just hooking up for sex on occasion with no strings attached. I replied by stepping off the treadmill and politely telling him to kiss my fat ass.
After that, when I went online to meet people, and I was particularly cognizant of guys writing "no chubs" in their posts or letting me know up front that being overweight was a definite non-negotiable. I also began to explore parties that catered to bears or chubbies and their chasers. However, I couldn't help but be annoyed by the idea that I had to be regulated to a label or group. That's not to say there isn't great empowerment in these groups, but I just personally didn't feel like I needed to officially belong to any particular clique or cater to fetish-like admirers in order to find a partner. Thus, I kept it moving and stopped putting energy into worrying about what anyone saw me as on the outside, as eventually all beauty fades.
At last, I knew I had stumbled on the man of my dreams when out on a first date he asked me if I wanted to order dessert. When I said I couldn't decide between two items, he ordered both of them for us to share! Many years and ice cream sundaes later, I am fully confident that letting go of the insane expectations of weight and shape have led me to a more fulfilled life. By first focusing on the value of my own inner worth, I was able to secure a relationship that was not based on my girth, which has fluctuated greatly through the years. My fabulousness, however, has not!
Neil Patrick Harris says he and new husband David Burtka were "not trying to elicit any kind of reaction from anyone" when they decided to tie the knot in Italy earlier this month.
The Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor spoke at length about his destination wedding in an interview on "The View" last week, saying the nuptials were "less about a proclamation and more about a declaration that I was able to share in front of our kids, and that he could do back for me."
"We've been together over 10 years and I think when our kids got to the age they were having reasonable conversations, when they are asking lots of 'why' questions, then it seemed [important] to be able to have a real clear-cut explanation of who their daddy is, I think is great — that he’s my husband, it was easier than 'partner' or 'boyfriend' or something like that."
The intimate ceremony, which took place at a rented Italian castle, was an emotional moment for Harris and Burtka, and included their two children, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace.
"It was so crazy, because when you watch other people say their vows and get all chocked up, you say 'Come on! Pull it together, man,'" he added. "Then when you are standing there and it's you and you have this piece of paper in your hand and it's shaking...you can't help but just get super-duper chocked up."
Watch a video clip of the segment here.