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17-Year Old Gay Teen Commits Suicide — Father Blames Anti-Gay Bullying

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An openly-gay 17-year old boy committed suicide in Rochester, Minnesota on Sunday, and his father is blaming anti-gay bullying as “a big part” of the cause of his son’s death. Jay ‘Corey’ Jones, also known as Corey Jay Jonestrader on his Facebook page, was a student at Century High School, and was bullied for years his father, JayBocka Strader, says.

“He said all of his life they always picked on him. He’d still try to keep his head up at school, but then he’d come home and be really sad about it,” Strader says, in a report at the Post Bulletin:

Jones, a member of Century’s gay-straight alliance, had an image on his Facebook page that said, “Gay & Proud.” He was open about his sexuality and occasionally wore tight, colorful tank tops and short-shorts to school, Strader said.

“He just got really depressed about it because the guys weren’t accepting him,” Strader said.

Jones jumped from a pedestrian bridge near Century High School on Sunday, according to police.

In response to an inquiry from the Post-Bulletin, schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz issued a statement acknowledging there are issues related to bullying in the district. He did not directly address Jones’ situation.

The district is in the planning stages of providing training and support for students, staff and families, Muñoz said, and will continue anti-bullying collaborations with Gov. Mark Dayton’s recently formed anti-bullying task force, Rochester police and others in the community.

“I want everyone to have on pink shirts and remember the Corey that tried to get the rights,” Strader said. Pink was one of Jones’ favorite colors, his dad said.

“When I saw him in pink, I really liked him in pink, and he was really happy,” Strader said. “I just told him that pink looked good on him.”

A report on Minnesota Public Radio yesterday added:

Last year, Jones told his dad, Jay Strader, he was gay. Strader immediately noticed a change.

“I just saw a difference in him I saw a smile, I saw a little more energy than actually being down and out and depressed-looking,” Strader said. “To me he felt a sign of relief, like, ‘Yeah I got over the hard part, right,’ you know.”

But coming out exposed Jones to other pressures, Strader said, primarily from bullies at school. Jones moved to Minnesota from Chicago two years ago. He lived in Minneapolis for a year before moving down to Rochester.

Strader said his son was comfortable with his sexual orientation. But the teasing Jones encountered at school turned into a constant struggle for him and he was diagnosed with depression.

“I wanted him to let me know what was going on with him. I didn’t get a chance to get that,” Strader. “I didn’t get a chance to find out what was going on inside his head.”

Strader said his son’s death Sunday has not sunk in yet. It’s been an emotional week for his family and him, as well as for many high school students in southeastern Minnesota.

Minnesota is currently the stage for a contentious battle for an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The funeral for Jay ‘Corey’ Jones will be held in Chicago on Saturday.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Image: Facebook

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‘No Question’: Former Top FBI Official Says Trump World Statements Are ‘An Attempt to Intimidate a Witness’

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Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi says the messages shared by Vice-Chair Liz Cheney during Tuesday’s bombshell hearing of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack are “witness tampering.”

“There is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it,” Figliuzzi said on MSNBC Friday afternoon about statements now reportedly sent or said to Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide and advisor to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Parts of those statements read: “He wants me to let you know he’s thinking about you,” “As long as you stay on the team and do the right thing, you’ll stay in good graces,” and, “He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing.”

Figliuzzi said “there’s little doubt here” that those are examples of witness tampering.

“This is law school first year 101 Criminal Procedure. At the very least, DOJ now has enough to open a witness tampering investigation. We can talk about whether they would win or not, who did it or not, reasonable doubt or not, but there is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it. When you then add that to the fact that it appears that they provided, her initial attorney to her, Cassidy Hutchinson, you now have a without a doubt, predication to open a federal witness tampering investigation.”

RELATED: Trump Declares Hutchinson ‘Totally Discredited’ as Former Aide Says Someone in His Orbit Tried to Influence Her Testimony

The Committee did not reveal who made those statements, but later reporting indicates Hutchinson conveyed both those messages to the Committee, suggesting she was the recipient.

On Thursday Politico reported that “Hutchinson told the committee she was contacted by an intermediary for Mark Meadows, according to a person familiar with her final deposition.” Meadows has since denied the allegation.

Pointing to that Politico article on Twitter, Figliuzzi on Thursday wrote: “This is witness tampering. Cassidy Hutchinson was the target. They picked the wrong young woman.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Newsmax Host Says Pride Month Makes Heterosexuals ‘Feel Marginalized,’ LGBTQ People Are No Longer ‘Persecuted’

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A Newsmax host on Thursday celebrated the end of Pride Month, declaring anti-LGBTQ attacks, marginalization, discrimination, and bullying in the past, claiming Americans were required to display the LGBTQ Pride flag or risk getting “in trouble,” while lamenting the concept of “pride” as exclusionary and “a negative thing.”

“It’s June 30. I gotta say, I’m glad that June is over. The flag, pride, whatever. What was it, Gay Pride Month, right? I mean, it was, it was too much,” said Greg Kelly, a host on the far-right-wing network.

“It was just too much, everywhere. If you had a business, if you had a building, if you had a house, if you had a dog house, you had to put a flag, a gay pride flag up, or else you could be in trouble,” he said falsely.

RELATED: Texas Attorney General Says He’s ‘Willing and Able’ to Defend Law Banning Sodomy if Supreme Court Reverses Ruling

Kelly then denounced the “relentless programming,” and the “celebration.”

“You see, this has gotten so big, that those of us who happen to be heterosexual feel excluded, feel marginalized,” Kelly insisted.

“Now, I don’t want anybody to feel that way. And I do know that gay people were persecuted unfairly, they could be targeted and canceled. But that’s not America anymore. That’s long ago,” he claimed, literally days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a civil right to privacy, with one Justice warning specifically that the constitutional right of same-sex couples to engage in intimate contact and to marry should be reviewed and the “error” corrected.

RELATED: Ron DeSantis’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Goes Into Effect Today as Schools Scramble to Avoid Parental Lawsuits

In mid-June Kelly claimed, “this Pride month is borderline out-of-control.”

On Thursday Kelly closed his commentary by saying, “when it comes to gay pride, it’s not the gay part. But frankly, it’s the pride part. Pride is actually a negative thing, isn’t it?”

Watch video below or at this link:

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Ron DeSantis’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Goes Into Effect Today as Schools Scramble to Avoid Parental Lawsuits

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Even before Republicans in Florida passed Governor Ron DeSantis‘ “Don’t Say Gay” bill some defenders of the anti-LGBTQ legislation insisted it applied only to kindergarten through third grade, and that anyone who opposed the bill – as the governor’s official spokesperson charged – was “probably a groomer.

But LGBTQ advocates, activists, and supporters made clear the purposefully broad and vague language in the bill and the threat inserted into the legislation allowing parents to sue for perceived violations would have a chilling effect.

They were right.

The “Don’t Say Gay” law, officially the “Parental Rights in Education” law, goes into effect today, July 1, after DeSantis, at an event held at a charter school exempt from the legislation in March, surrounded by young children, talked about the bill and signed it into law.

Educators across the state’s 67 school districts are seeing just how extensive it is being interpreted and implemented, given the near-total lack of guidance from the DeSantis administration.

In March, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a warning to Florida, saying “The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported,” he said.

But aside from that broadside, the federal government appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach.

Meanwhile, reports from across Florida say districts’ legal counsel have warned that teachers should remove LGBTQ supportive materials, including rainbow and pride stickers, and even stickers denoting a particular classroom is a “safe space,” They have warned teachers should not wear anything with a rainbow and should remove any family photos if they include a same-sex spouse or partner. That same warning did not go to teachers with different-sex spouses or partners, leading some legal experts to warn of constitutional violations.

LGBTQ teachers, especially those who teach students in grades K-3, have also been warned to not discuss their family lives or even mention same-sex spouses or partners. And teachers and other school officials have been directed to look for anything LGBTQ-related, including books in school libraries.

But it hasn’t stopped there. Teachers have been told they are required to report – “out” – any student who comes out as LGBTQ.

Spectrum News reports Florida’s Orange County Public Schools “held a legal camp for 600 principals, vice-principals, and junior administrators,” specifically telling them, “Teachers must notify parents if a student comes out as gay to them.” Not an administrator, but a teacher.

ABC affiliate WFTV reports that Orange County Teachers’ Association (CTA) says “teachers will have to report to parents if a student ‘comes out’ to them and they must use pronouns assigned at birth, regardless of what the parents allow.”

Elsewhere in Florida, if there are questions about a student’s gender identity before or during overnight school trips that student will be outed not only to their own parents but to the parents of all the students in their class.

NBC News reports on Tuesday “the Leon County School Board unanimously approved its “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide,” which includes a provision to alert parents if a student who is ‘open about their gender identity’ is in their child’s physical education class or with them on an overnight school trip.”

“Upon notification or determination of a student who is open about their gender identity, parents of the affected students will be notified of reasonable accommodation options available,” NBC reports the guidelines read. “Parents or students who have concerns about rooming assignments for their student’s upcoming overnight event based on religious or privacy concerns may request an accommodation.”

NBC also reports that in late May, “the School District of Palm Beach County sent out a questionnaire asking its teachers to review all course material and flag any books with references to sexual orientation, gender identity or race, said a Palm Beach County high school special education teacher, Michael Woods. Several weeks previously, the district removed two books — ‘I Am Jazz’ and ‘Call Me Max’ — that touch upon gender identity, he said.”

 

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