Posts tagged with "Love is Love"

LGBT flag illustration by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine

Netflix’s Pray Away Reveals Horrors of Conversion Therapy

By: Skyler Johnson

Edited By: Andrew Shibuya

Conversion therapy, or the pseudoscientific practice of changing someone’s sexual orientation, has been considered and practiced for over a century now. Dubious to many of its’ creators’ contemporaries, conversion therapy’s capacity for change has long been contested and considered futile. The practice itself is scientifically baseless and detrimental, and what is essentially man’s foolish and ineffectual attempt to change human nature. In recent Netflix documentary Pray Away, the effects and harms of this “therapy” are explored and uncovered throughout investigation of its century-long practice.

Pray Away follows ex-leaders and survivors of the “pray the gay away” movement, focusing on Exodus International, a conversion therapy organization that only ended eight years ago in 2013. The film follows several people as they detail their horrific experiences and the consequences of their both voluntary and involuntary participation in the practice.

Conversion therapy was publicly started in the 1890s, when Albert von Schrenck-Notzing stated in a conference that he was able to turn a gay man straight through hypnosis. Decades later, Eugen Steinach would later transplant the testicles of a straight man onto a gay man to “cure” homosexuality. Lobotomies, chemical castration, and aversion therapies became popular as “therapeutic” techniques. This lasted throughout the earlier half of the 20th century into the 1960s and 1970s, during the rise of the LGBT Rights Movement, when psychiatrists began to shy away from the practice. In 1973 the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM. Unfortunately, conversion therapy did not stop but was instead utilized by faith-based groups, including Exodus International.    

Talk therapy now makes up the bulk of all current conversion therapy procedures. While this may seem a lot less intimidating, the effects of this talk therapy can be powerful, especially when utilized by the wrong people. The film exposed how many ex-gay leaders weren’t licensed professionals, and how, if they believed someone were gay, it was because they had a poor relationship with their parents. And if not, they must have been sexually abused even if they were unable to recall any abuse. To a lot of young people, this thought process made sense, as many were too young to truly understand its flaws.

The film also displayed how the people involved in this movement were dishonest about the “progress” they were making. They included the story of John Paulk, once claiming to have become a straight man through the therapy. John later admits that the entire time he was consumed with gay thoughts and was mendacious about his reformation.

The documentary exhibited that there are a lot of people that still hold their beliefs. Organizations still exist that enforce conversion therapy. It’s not a thing of the past. This was highlighted by the film’s portrayal of the leader of the Freedom March, Jeffrey McCall, an ex-transgender woman living as a man with the belief that being trans is a sin. The organization’s Facebook page now has 10,000 followers and is still growing.

While the film primarily covers people that were able to escape the movement and live better lives, there remains great struggle that many people experience. The film’s director, Kristine Stolakis, decided to make Pray Away when her uncle, who had gone through conversion therapy, committed suicide. Julie Rodgers talked about self-harm, which is something that’s incredibly common, most notably in people who have undergone conversion therapy. Participants have been 8.4x more likely to commit suicide and 5.9x more likely to undergo severe depression. It’s also been connected deeply to an overall sense of hopelessness and an increase in self-hatred.

Conversion therapy is a practice that causes pain for the many people that were subjected to it. But the film did also evince that there is, at least somewhat, a way out. Many of the film’s subjects were able to enter into healthy homosexual relationships. On the film’s website, they list a variety of resources for those anguished by conversion therapy. These can be found HERE.

PrideHouseLA Image via Jessica Katz and Melanie Du Pont at Katz Public Relations for use by 360 Magazine

PrideHouseLA Q×A

PrideHouseLA has created major buzz this June during pride month. The accepting, rainbow-emblazoned content house supports the LGBTQIA+ community and is a judgement free zone for all. The content house’s members consist of Mollee Gray, Jeka Jane, Kent Boyd, and Garrett Clayton. Together, the Pride House collective looks to spread tolerance and supports everyone being the most authentic version of themselves. We spoke with the members of the house about their coming out stories, advice for those who may be afraid to come out, and how PrideHouse fosters queer expression.

What was the original concept for PrideHouseLA?

PrideHouseLA was always intended to be an inclusive platform for people in the LGBTQ+ community and our allies! We wanted to create a positive space that radiates acceptance and love, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity!

If you’re comfortable saying so, how does everyone in the house identify and what are their pronouns?

Of course!

Mollee Gray: I’m queer and my pronouns are She/Her.

Jeka Jane: I’m straight and my pronouns are He/Him.

Kent Boyd: I’m gay and my pronouns are He/Him.

Garrett Clayton: I’m gay and my pronouns are He/Him.

Besides PrideHouseLA members being part of the LGBT community, in what ways does the PrideHouse foster and feature queer expression?

We truly feel that queer expression is what makes us PrideHouseLA! Whether it be “gender bending” how we identify, or simply just being, we represent our community in all facets! The community is really big on self-expression. Through the arts, makeup and creative collaborations, PrideHouseLA is extremely vibrant and loud with how we choose to showcase our life!

What are the biggest ways in which PrideHouseLA is contributing to the LGBT community?

PrideHouseLA is very involved with GLAAD and is openly supporting The Trevor Project as our charity on social media. Apart from being an advocate for big organizations, we personally take the time to respond to our DM’s, support small LGBTQ+ businesses, and always make sure to be extremely active in elections to make sure our community is being fought for and to demand that our rights be as important as others!

If they’re comfortable answering, what were all of your coming out experiences like?

Mollee: I grew up Mormon in Utah, so I was extremely nervous to come out. I do believe it was a shock to some people and others responded with, “I’ve been waiting for you to tell me.” I had to be okay with it being a process for everyone and not just myself. I didn’t come out until I was about 20, so I know it was a change for others! I gave people who needed time, time and they were able to witness my relationships and see that love is love! They realized that who I love is just as valid as who they love.

Garrett: When I came out to my mom, I accidentally dramatized it by saying I had something really important to tell her…she got nervous and thought I was doing drugs! I immediately told her no, and that I just needed her to know I was gay. Right away, she said she knew and that she loved me so much. The response was the same with my step dad! The relationship with my brother is very different. Ever since I came out, our relationship has been estranged. He does not believe I should have the right to get married, which is obviously very hurtful and unacceptable, so we have not spoken in years.

Jeka: My coming out story is pretty crazy, and I feel like a lot of trans people can relate. In elementary school I had my first realization that I wasn’t a girl, but back then transgender wasn’t a big topic so my feelings just fell away. I always knew I was attracted to girls and the only label, and I use that lightly, that made sense was lesbian. Something about that didn’t sit right. My mom was very accepting but some other family member weren’t so inviting. They told me it was a phase. I didn’t let that affect me! I lived with this mask on for years. Then, one of my really good friends came out as transgender a few years back and my gut just sank. I remember the feeling of being weirdly jealous. Not in a bad way, but in a way that he was living his truth and I was stuck wearing this mask. First came top surgery, which was a slow filter into what I was really feeling without actually realizing it. After some time with this internal battle I told my wife “I am transgender.” Oh the weight that I felt lift off my shoulders. Since then, I’ve been educating myself on trans issues and really connecting with my community. I want people to know that there’s no timeline for coming out. So do it at your own pace and safely.

Kent: I actually was very lucky, being from Ohio. I came out to each of my family members, and gratefully enough, they were all so supportive. My sister was the first one I told, and she was so sweet and accepting. She later wrote me a letter explaining that she was just sad that I hadn’t let her in sooner, but she was so happy I finally did.

What advice would you have for fans of PrideHouseLA who are afraid to come out?

Coming out is YOUR process and YOU deserve the right to handle it how you want. Please know that you always have a safe space with PrideHouseLA, and we will love you unconditionally!

 PrideHouseLA has already collaborated with internet personalities such as Todrick, Jojo Siwa, and Ruba. Can fans expect any other internet collaborations to come?

Yes! We have some really fun ones coming up, so follow us on TikTok and Instagram to stay up to date!

 Does PrideHouseLA have any exciting, upcoming plans for Pride Month?

Most definitely! We will be hosting our own event as well as teaming up with our community to bring you all the joy and excitement this month!

LGBTQ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Ten Anti-LGBTQ Bills Sit on Governors’ Desks

Ten Anti-LGBTQ Bills Sit on Governors’ Desks, Poised to Undermine Rights Across the Country

As a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states continues to intensify, ten anti-LGBTQ bills currently sit on the desks of governors across the country waiting to be signed into law. These bills are only the latest examples of a concerted effort in state legislatures to undermine LGBTQ rights that has already resulted in the passage of several anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation in recent months.

“State legislators across the country were elected to represent all of us, not just some of us and yet they continue to send hateful and discriminatory anti-LGBTQ bills to the desks of governors to sign into law, threatening the well-being, health, and fundamental rights of thousands of LGBTQ Americans in states from coast to coast,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “From anti-transgender sports bans to erasing LGBTQ people from school curriculum, these bills are driven by fear and would have a significant negative impact on the lives of so many LGBTQ people. The governors of these states are responsible for protecting their citizens, and they must refuse to sign these baseless and unconscionable cruel bills into law.  Otherwise, they should and will be held accountable for the consequences.”

These bills include blatant attacks on transgender youth, including prohibiting transgender kids from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity, allow student organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ students under the guise of free speech, erase LGBTQ people from history books, and add substantial hurdles for transgender people who want to change the gender on their birth certificate by first requiring gender-affirming surgery.

Below is a roundup of the ten anti-LGBTQ bills currently sitting on the desks of governors:

  • ALABAMA
    • House Bill 391 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The Alabama Senate and House passed House Bill 391, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender youth from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. The bill now heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for signature or veto.
  • ARIZONA
    • Senate Bill 1456 – SEX ED PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BILL
      • The Arizona State House passed Senate Bill 1456 – discriminatory legislation that affects not only sexual education material, but all learning materials in the classroom and makes it harder for LGBTQ kids to see themselves in school curriculum.
      • The bill, which would make Arizona’s sex education laws some of the strictest in the nation when it comes to teaching about LGBTQ issues, now heads to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk for consideration.
  • ARKANSAS
    • Senate Bill 389 – SEX ED PARENTAL NOTIFICATON BILL
      • The Arkansas Senate passed Senate Bill 389, a bill which would require a school district to notify parents before “providing a sexual orientation curriculum or gender identity curriculum” in any kind of instruction, including but not limited to education on sexuality.
      • In addition to making it harder for students kids to access sex education, it could also preclude discussion about sexuality more broadly, including in literature and history classes, for example. A district could be forced to notify parents, provide curriculum materials, and allow parents to opt students out of learning about important modern and historical events, from the A.I.D.S. epidemic to the Stonewall riots to even Supreme Court jurisprudence. This bill disproportionately disadvantages LGBTQ youth who may not have supportive families and put children at greater risk of health consequences.
  • KANSAS
    • Kansas Senate Bill 55 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The Kansas Senate passed Senate Bill 55, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.
  • MONTANA
    • Senate Bill 280    – BIRTH CERTIFICATE BILL
      • The Montana Senate passed SB 280, a bill that adds substantial hurdles for transgender people who want to change the gender on their birth certificate by first requiring gender-affirming surgery.
    • Senate Bill 215 – RELIGIOUS REFUSAL BILL
      • The Montana House passed SB 215, an expansive religious refusal bill that could grant a license to discriminate against Montanans and visitors, including LGBTQ people, people of faith, and women, across a wide range of goods and services in the state.
  • NORTH DAKOTA
    • House Bill 1503 – ANTI-ALL COMERS BILL
      • Many public colleges and universities have long had “all-comers” policies that require student organizations receiving financial and other support from the institution not to discriminate against students based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
      • These policies allow all members of the student body to participate in student organizations and prevent such organizations from discriminating against students with state funding. The Supreme Court upheld these all-comers policies as constitutional in the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez decision in 2010.
      • North Dakota HB 1503, in part, undermines inclusive “all-comers” policies at North Dakota public colleges and universities, by allowing student organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ students under the guise of free speech.
    • House Bill 1298 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The North Dakota Senate passed House Bill 1298, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.
  • TENNESSEE
    • Senate Bill 1229 – SEX ED PARENTAL NOTIFICATION
      • The Tennessee Senate passed Senate Bill 1229, a bill which would require a school district to notify parents before “providing a sexual orientation curriculum or gender identity curriculum” in any kind of instruction, including but not limited to education on sexuality.
      • In addition to making it harder for students kids to access sex education, it could also preclude discussion about sexuality more broadly, including in literature and history classes, for example. A district could be forced to notify parents, provide curriculum materials, and allow parents to opt students out of learning about important modern and historical events, from the A.I.D.S. epidemic to the Stonewall riots to even Supreme Court jurisprudence.
      • SB 389 also disproportionately disadvantages LGBTQ youth who may not have supportive families and puts children at greater risk of health consequences.
  • WEST VIRGINIA
    • House Bill 3293 – ANTI-TRANS SPORTS BILL
      • The West Virginia Senate passed House Bill 3293, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

Wide range of businesses and advocacy groups oppose anti-trans legislation

  • More than 65 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoken out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

The NCAA opposes efforts to limit participation of transgender students

The NCAA Board of Governors released a public letter making clear that it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.” Moreover, “When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.” This puts the 30 states with discriminatory anti-transgender legislation under consideration on notice that their actions will have repercussions for their states.

A fight driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or public concern

These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — dangerous anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.

  • For example, Montana’s HB 112, the first anti-transgender sports bill to be passed through a legislative chamber in any state, was worked on by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters

A new PBS/NPR/Marist poll states that 67% of Americans, including 66% of Republicans, oppose the anti-transgender sports ban legislation proliferating across 30 states.

In a 10-swing-state poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:

  • At least 60% of Trump voters across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly.
  • At least 87% of respondents across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should have equal access to medical care, with many states breaking 90% support
  • When respondents were asked about how they prioritized the importance of banning transgender people from participating in sports as compared to other policy issues, the issue came in dead last, with between 1% and 3% prioritizing the issue.

Another more recent poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group revealed that, with respect to transgender youth participation in sports, the public’s strong inclination is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sports are important in young people’s lives. Young transgender people should be allowed opportunities to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.”

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • The Idaho anti-transgender sports bill that passed was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

LGBTQ Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Opposing Anti-LGBTQ Legislations

Major Health, Education, and Child Welfare Organizations Oppose Anti-LGBTQ State-Based Legislation

 

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular. In too many states, lawmakers are focusing on passing bills that attack our nation’s most vulnerable, instead of focusing on how to help the American people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The signers note: “As organizations committed to serving the best interests of all youth, we are deeply alarmed at the torrent of bills introduced in state legislatures around the country this year that would directly harm transgender people and particularly transgender youth. These appalling proposals would compromise the safety and well-­being of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect. All of our nation’s children deserve equal protection and treatment when accessing health care, and when attending school. These anti-­transgender bills promote discrimination and do harm to students, their families, and their communities.”

“While states should be focusing on finding ways to ensure that every young person has a chance to succeed, we are instead seeing a majority of states introducing harmful legislation that excludes, discriminates against, and outright harms transgender youth who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David“Anti-transgender sports bills are in search of a problem that does not exist and just the latest iteration of a years-long losing fight against equality.  In fact, anti-equality legislators when challenged are unable to name any instances of alleged cheating in their states to gain a competitive edge. That is because there are none. The notion is preposterous, nonsensical, and impractical. Other legislation is attempting to deny medically necessary gender-affirming care that helps to mitigate the life-threatening anxiety, depression, and dysphoria that are disproportionately experienced by transgender youth. Amidst an epidemic of fatal violence against transgender people, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to foster a more inclusive, less discriminatory society that guarantees acceptance of and equality to all. I thank every child health and welfare organization for stepping up and speaking out against the anti-transgender legislation that would have a profound effect on our young people.”

As organizations committed to serving the best interests of all youth, we are deeply alarmed at the torrent of bills introduced in state legislatures and in Congress this year that would directly harm transgender people and particularly transgender youth.  These appalling proposals would compromise the safety and well-being of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect.

All of our nation’s young people deserve equal protection and treatment when accessing health care, and when attending school and participating in extracurricular activities, including sports. These anti-transgender bills promote discrimination and do harm to students, their families, and their communities.

Since state legislatures began meeting this year, we have already seen more than 65 bills introduced seeking to deny transgender youths’ access to gender-affirming medical treatment, preventing them from participating in sports teams consistent with their gender identity, and denying access to sex-segregated spaces that include restrooms and locker rooms. Similar legislation is even being pushed in the U.S. Congress.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality, is alarmed by the spate of anti-transgender legislation proposed across the country. We have found that less than a quarter of transgender and gender-expansive youth can definitely be themselves at school and only sixteen percent of transgender and gender-expansive youth feel safe at school. Every child deserves equal access to education, academic success, and a future in which they are empowered to fulfill their true potential, and these laws contravene that fundamental principle, which has long guided our nation’s education policy.

Transgender youth are already at a heightened risk for violence, bullying, and harassment. In addition, students who would be affected by these bills are among our most vulnerable to experiencing depression and engaging in self-harm, including suicide. These bills exacerbate those risks by creating an unwelcoming and hostile environment in places where students should feel the safest and most supported. Research has shown that when transgender youth have access to gender-affirming services, competent care, and affirmation, their risk of depression, anxiety, and other negative mental health outcomes is greatly reduced.

We stand in opposition to proposals that harm transgender youth, including limiting access to medically necessary, best-practice care, forbidding students from using the restroom at school consistent with their gender identity, and preventing transgender youth from playing sports alongside their peers. On behalf of our members and communities, we call on legislators across the country to reject these harmful measures.

Sincerely,

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

American Counseling Association

American School Counselor Association 

Association of Title IX Administrators 

Child Welfare League of America 

Mental Health America

National Association for College Admission Counseling 

National Association of School Psychologists 

National Association of Secondary School Principals  

National Association of Social Workers  

National Education Association 

National PTA

HIP HOP + HEALTH

SMART RHYMES

VeganSmart uses music to entertain and educate on benefits of a Vegan lifestyle

In the Hip-Hop industry “beefs” among industry heavy weights are quite common and usually addressed in the studio with a diss track. The brand that has successfully built a bridge between hip-hop and health, VeganSmart, is addressing their “beef” with…well…beef and other factors that lead to diet related illness such as diabetes, hyper tension and heart disease with in a new track titled “Wise Words.”

The single features John Lewis, better known as The Bad Ass Vegan, who drops his dope rhymes, combined with his knowledge, on living a plant-based lifestyle. Lyrics such as “No, it’s not your fault/there’s education out that nobody taught from the time you were born. They got you ready for GMO pork, as a kid when they introduced you to a spork. Man, they’ll put anything together because they know you’ll eat anything they tell ya,” are used not to shame or judge, but encourage people to pay attention to what they are putting in their bodies. Hip-Hop influencers Styles P, DJ Envy, Angela Yee, Lil Cease and even Moby make appearances in the video that accompanies the track.

VeganSmart is focused on addressing nutrition-related chronic diseases in underserved communities through education and by offering plant-based solutions to satisfy hunger and improve overall health. Their efforts to spread this message have been successful thanks to a partnership with rapper Styles P and his chain of Juices for Life juice bars. The team has also garnered support in bringing health education to underserved communities from Kappa Alpha Psi® Fraternity Inc.

Link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCaeNxES_pE
“Wise Words” is available for purchase on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Music.

Claude Tellis and Kareem Cook, VeganSmart co-founders and college friends, have always sought to educate and provide consumers with healthy food choices that would prevent them from diet related illness and poor health. They were responsible for having the state of California ban junk food from vending machines in every Los Angeles public high school and middle school. While banning junk foods in schools across LA is a tremendous accomplishment the men were unsatisfied. They wanted a larger platform to help Americans prevent common illnesses that plague the United States. Both Kareem and Claude’s families and many Americans across the country suffer from hypertension and diabetes, diseases that can be prevented or managed primarily based on diet. This passion lead them to launch of VeganSmart, a line of all-in-one, nutritional shakes. Co-developed with Health and Wellness Expert and Partner, John Lewis, the brand continues to motivate other health and wellness advocates.

With no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, preservatives, dairy, eggs, gluten or soy, VeganSmart shakes go beyond classic flavors like chocolate and vanilla, with delicious varieties including Wild Berries, Chai, and their newest line, Love is Love that includes flavors like Cookies N’ Cream and Chocolate Raspberry.