Queer Notes, July-August 2015

by Elise

The Up Stairs Lounge Arson

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities has named The Up Stairs Lounge Arson: Thirty-two Deaths in a New Orleans Gay Bar June 24, 1973 the 2015 Book of the Year. Like the film Upstairs Inferno, in current release, the book relates the worst mass killing in the U.S. of Gay people when, on June 24, 1973, a deliberately set fire raged through the Up Stairs Lounge bar, ending the lives of 32 Gay men. This tragedy sparked the Gay Rights movement in New Orleans.

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Turkey cannot force Transgender people to receive transition surgery or any other Transgender-related medical treatment. The rights organization Transgender Europe points out 20 of the 47 states who signed the ECHR Convention still require Transgender people to be sterilized before undergoing any medical treatment.

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The North Carolina legislature overrode Governor Pat McCrory’s veto of legislation that allows local officials claiming “sincerely-held” religious beliefs to deny marriage to same-sex couples or couples whose race, faith or behavior might offend the public official. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that allows adoption agencies receiving government money to deny same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples from adopting children on the grounds of religious objections.

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ICS, a Ho Chi Minh City-based network for LGBT people launched the “My Body – My Rights” campaign. http://static.thanhniennews.com/ uploaded/minhhung/ 2015_03_29/1a_yhut.jpg?width=840

Ho Chi Minh’s ICS, a network for GLBT people, launched its campaign for Transgender rights in Vietnam: “My Body—My Rights.” The campaign is planned to run for more than a year to provide community and safe space for Transgender people. It is supported by the International “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Support Fund.”

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Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of now-defunct bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa have been ordered to pay $135,000 in fines to a Lesbian couple the Kleins refused to bake a wedding cake for, on the grounds of so-called religious freedom. The Kleins violated the Oregon human rights statute, which bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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