Champions of LGBTQ life and culture in Rochester, NY since 1973.
Sunday May 24th 2015



Illinois House bans “reparative therapy”

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb08317ca8970d-300wiA bipartisan Illinois House majority yesterday approved House Bill 217 which aims to protect LGBT youth from “ex-gay” therapy, reports Equality Illinois.

The bill – which was passed 68-43, with support from 61 Democrats and seven Republicans – prohibits licensed mental health care providers from engaging in “reparative therapy” with anyone under the age of 18.

Equality Illinois (EI) has now called on the state Senate to approve the Illinois Youth Mental Health Protection Act before the scheduled May 31 adjournment of the General Assembly.

EI CEO Bernard Cherkasov said:

“Ending conversion therapy is our top priority in the legislature right now. Trying to change the unchangeable, our innate sexual orientation and gender identity, should not be attempted because it risks the health of LGBT youth.”

However, although every major Illinois mental health organization supports the bill – including the Illinois Psychological Association, Illinois Psychiatric Society, American Psychoanalytic Association, Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics – the legislation does not apply to religious leaders and would not impact the ability of clergy to practice their religion.

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu introduced a federal bill that would explicitly prohibit therapy to change people’s gender identity.
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Louisiana’s Jindal issues “religious liberty” executive order

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d116c182970c-300wiMaking good on his promise declared just hours ago, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has issued an executive order intended to protect the “religious liberty” of objectors to same-sex marriage in the state of Louisiana. The anti-gay order takes the place of House Bill 707 which had been rejected two hours before by a Louisiana House panel in a 10-2 vote.

Jindal’s decision to go through with the executive order, bypassing the legislature, comes just one day after Jindal announced that he formed an exploratory committee to seek the GOP’s nomination for President.

BuzzFeed reports:

Jindal outlined the order in a statement: “This Executive Order will prohibit the state from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.” [...]

The legislation was a priority for Jindal, he said at the beginning of the year’s legislative session. He said he would “fight” to pass it amid an uproar over religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas that critics said would allow LGBT discrimination. He authored an op-ed published in the New York Times in defense of his support, declaring, “As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.”

Jindal defended the bill at home as well, “All this bill does is provide necessary protections for individuals to prevent adverse treatment from the state based on religious beliefs regarding marriage. This legislation does not allow a restaurant or industry to refuse service to a gay or lesbian person.”

Equality Louisiana, an LGBT rights group, and Louisiana Progress Action, denounced the order and suggested that Jindal’s actions are squarely to do with his intended presidential bid. Via The Times-Picayune:

“It is shameful that Gov. Jindal has decided that abusing his executive power to accomplish the goals of House Bill 707, even after it was tabled indefinitely by our legislature today, is worth more effort than fixing our disastrous state budget. In his time in Iowa, he may have forgotten what everyday Louisianians value, but the testimony today against HB 707 should have reminded him. Discrimination is not a Louisiana value.

“Gov. Jindal is clearly trying to leave the biggest mess possible, as he readies himself to spend even less time in Louisiana and to launch his presidential campaign. In the end, his extreme ideology is only making the state a worse place for those of us who actually plan to live here past his last day in office.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) had a similar assessment:

“This executive order falls into category of unnecessary, gratuitous and discriminatory,” Sainz told BuzzFeed News. “On the same day that Louisiana legislators had the good sense to turn back discrimination, Governor Jindal, who’s facing one of the lowest approval ratings in state history, decided to promote his presidential fortunes by championing ignorance. He’s on the wrong side of this issue and will no doubt be on the wrong side of history.”
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NYPD releases name of Chelsea bashing suspect

NYPDSuspectPhotoThe NYPD has released the name of the still-at-large suspect in the chair-smashing incident that happened earlier this month in a Chelsea restaurant. Via Gawker:

The man who hit another man over the head with a chair at the Chelsea Dallas BBQ earlier this month in a supposedly anti-gay attack that was captured on video and went viral has been identified by the NYPD as Bayna El-Amin. “I have him identified, we are seeking him now. He’s been identified for about a week. We will see if we can get him in,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. “He is a career criminal. We believe he has fled the state.” A cursory internet search reveals several clues into El-Amin’s criminal past. In 2005, he was arrested for violating probation and for failure to appear in court. In 2006, he was locked up for about three months on a forgery charge, according to, which also lists invasion of privacy, credit card fraud, a violation of Georgia Controlled Substance Act, and a miscellaneous misdemeanor. That site lists his height at 6’6” and his weight at 325 lbs.

The day after the fracas went viral, New York City-based blogger Waddie G claimed to know that El-Amin is gay himself, casting doubts on whether the attack was an anti-gay hate crime. El-Amin’s Facebook page has apparently been deleted, but Gawker found a YouTube comment attributed to his name on a video about competitive vogueing. That’s certainly not conclusive proof, but it does jibe with Waddie G’s claim that El-Amin is well-known in the “Harlem ballroom scene.”

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