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From Over The Pond: LGBT Reflections On A Recent Visit To America



UK psychologist and professor Ian Rivers discusses his recent trip to America’s Heartland and how, as an anti-gay bullying researcher, he was received.

Editor’s note: This is Ian Rivers’ first column at The New Civil Rights Movement. We welcome him and are very grateful to have such an esteemed advocate for the LGBT community on board as a regular contributor.

This year I have visited America three times – once to Washington, D.C., once to Atlanta, Georgia, and, most recently, I visited Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. In Washington, D.C., and Georgia, my sexual orientation was not a problem. No one noticed. Why would they? Occasionally the odd server noticed I was British, but that was about it. To all intents and purposes I was, on those occasions, a private citizen and not someone who is going to have a significant effect upon anyone else’s life or family.

However in Nebraska it was a different story; I was there in a different context. Now, before I begin to describe my experience let me be clear on one point, I was never subjected to homophobia of any description. I was met with warmth and respect, and for this I am truly grateful. The people I met in Nebraska were giving, supportive and willing to listen. Why were they listening to me? Well, I was an invited speaker at conference on bullying behavior and later I was an attendee at a think tank held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

For those of you who have no idea who Ian Rivers is, I am a psychologist. I am also professor of human development at Brunel University London, and a visiting professor of education at Anglia Ruskin University. I was one of the very first people to study the phenomenon that we now call “homophobic bullying.” My research was neither profound nor ground-breaking, but it did unravel some of the dynamics of this phenomenon which is now seen in many of our schools.

In Omaha, I spoke about the lessons we have learned from two decades of research on homophobic bullying, and also on understanding bystanders’ experiences when they observe bullying taking place.

However, it was the first topic, homophobic bullying, that had clearly caused some consternation. I learned just before I was about to give my speech that at least one Roman Catholic organisation had felt it necessary to withdraw its support for the conference because the line-up of speeches included those that dealt with “sensitive issues.” This was an important lesson for me, and indeed for another colleague, also gay, who was presenting his research. Sensitive issues are those for which, seemingly, there is a desire to ignore or, at the very least, leave unacknowledged.

In the case of homophobic bullying, the organisation clearly felt that by supporting the conference, it would support my standpoint. And what was my standpoint? In a state with the motto “Equality before the Law,” my point was simple: all children and young people should be safe at school.

As a researcher on this issue, I had also taken solace from the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s pronouncement in 1986 that, “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.” This statement, which was contained within a letter to all bishops and authorised by the then pope, John Paul II, made it clear that while the Church considered homosexuality to be “instrinsically disordered” (a term that is, in itself, instrinically challenging), the persecution of those who are or are perceived to be gay, lesbian or bisexual, should be condemned “wherever it occurs.” Doctrine suggests that good and faithful followers should condemn such discrimination, but practice seems to infer that the message from 1986 has yet to filter down to many local congregations.

At the end of the day, I spoke, I was listened to, and even a local news channel thought I had something to say, and I was happy to oblige. My visit to Omaha and then to Lincoln was a remarkable experience. I met some wonderful researchers, but I also met some very interesting Nebraskans. Along with other keynote speakers, we spoke at a local Masonic lodge and while one of my more adventurous colleagues asked members of the lodge if they would accept gay initiates (the answer was a definitive “no,” by the way), there was never any disrespect shown to me personally.

Back in the U.K., I am surrounded by Nebraska memorabilia, a book bag with a huge white “N” in a sea of scarlet, t-shirts that I hope my personal trainer will one day sculpt me into, and finally the memory of my visit to Memorial Stadium and the great sense of pride Nebraskans have in football.

(image: Ian Rivers’ Nebraska baseball cap and coffee mug, and his books.)


Ian Rivers is Professor of Human Development at Brunel University, London. He is the author of ‘Homophobic Bullying: Research and Theoretical Perspectives’ (Oxford, 2011), and has researched issues of discrimination in LGBT communities, particularly among children and young people, for nearly two decades.

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‘I Feel a Little Bit Dumber for What You Say’: The Nine Worst Moments of the GOP Presidential Debate



The second Republican presidential debate was mired in in-fighting and personal attacks by the candidates,  a vow to wage physical war against Mexico, hate against LGBTQ people, an insistence the U.S. Constitution doesn’t actually mean what the words on the page say, and a fight over curtains.

Here are nine of the worst moments from Wednesday night’s debate.

The debate itself got off to a rough start right from the beginning.

Multiple times candidate cross-talk made it impossible for anyone to make a point, like this moment when nearly half the candidates talked over each other during a nearly two minute segment as the moderators struggled to take control.

READ MORE: ‘I Don’t Think So’: As GOP Debate Kicks Off Trump Teases Out the Chances of Any Candidate Becoming His Running Mate

Vivek Ramasway got into a heated argument with Nikki Haley, leading the former Trump UN Ambassador to tell him, “Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say.”

Ramaswamy launched an attack on transgender children.

Moments after Ramaswamy attacked transgender children, so did Mike Pence, calling supporting transgender children’s rights “crazy.”

He promised “a federal ban on transgender chemical or surgical surgery anywhere in the country,” and said: “We’ve got to protect our kids from this radical gender ideology agenda.”

Former New Jersey Governor Cris Christie described the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, who has dedicated her life to teaching, as the person President Biden is “sleeping with.”

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, as CNN’s Manu Raju noted were “one-time allies,” after “Haley appointed Scott to his Senate seat,” until they started “going at it at [the] debate.”

“Talk about someone who has never seen a federal dollar she doesn’t like,” Scott charged. “Bring it, Tim,” Haley replied before they got into a fight about curtains.

Senator Scott declared, “Black families survived slavery, we survived poll taxes and literacy tests, we survived discrimination being woven into the laws of our country. What was hard to survive was [President] Johnson’s Great Society, where they decided to take the Black father out of the household to get a check in the mail.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, currently leading over everyone on stage, said practically nothing for the first 15 minutes. He may have said the least of all the candidates on stage Wednesday night. But he denounced Donald Trump for being “missing in action.”

Watch all the videos above or at this link.




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‘I Don’t Think So’: As GOP Debate Kicks Off Trump Teases Out the Chances of Any Candidate Becoming His Running Mate



Donald Trump, again refusing to participate in a GOP debate, teased out the fate of every candidate on stage Wednesday night: he will choose none of them as his vice presidential running mate.

The ex-president who is facing 91 felony charges in four criminal cases across three jurisdictions and is now also facing the dissolution of his business empire, brought up the running mate question around the same time the debate on Fox News was kicking off.

“It’s all over television, this speech,” Trump falsely claimed, referring to his live remarks at a non-union shop one day after President Joe Biden stood on the picket line with UAW workers.

READ MORE: ‘Apparently You’ll Never Believe Us’: House Republican Melts Down After Reporter Questions His ‘Evidence’ Against Biden

“You know, we’re competing with the job candidates,” Trump said, mocking his fellow Republican presidential candidates after he scheduled an event opposite the debate he refused to attend.

“They’re all running for a job,” he continued, as the audience began to boo.

“They want to be in the, they’ll do anything,” he continued. “Secretary of something.”

“They even say VP, I don’t know,” Trump said. “Does anybody see any VP in the group? I don’t think so.”

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Careening’ Toward ‘Risk of Political Violence’: Experts Sound Alarm After Trump Floats Executing His Former General


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‘Apparently You’ll Never Believe Us’: House Republican Melts Down After Reporter Questions His ‘Evidence’ Against Biden



Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) became defensive and accusatory after repeatedly being unable to answer a reporter’s questions in a press conference Wednesday, held to announce what House Republicans claim is “evidence” against President Joe Biden.

A shortened version of the video posted by the news organization Heartland Signal went viral, garnering nearly one million views in under three hours on the social media platform X.

“Mr. Chairman, question about the timing of all of this,” began an NBC News reporter identified by Mediaite as Ryan Nobles. “You’re talking about a two-tiered system of justice. If I’m not mistaken, on August 7, 2020 Bill Barr was the attorney general and Donald Trump was the president, so explain to me where the two-tiered system of justice comes into play. And then the WhatsApp message you have, I believe, is dated June 6, 2017. Joe Biden is not vice president or even a candidate for president at that time. So where is the direct connection to some sort of criminal malfeasance within these two pieces of evidence?”

RELATED: ‘Everybody Has Seen That’: Fox News Host Smacks Down Republican Pushing Biden ‘Burismo’ Video People ‘Not Talking About’

Chairman Smith could not only not answer any part of those questions, he appeared to forget a portion of them.

“Well, I think the facts speak for themselves,” Smith replied. “There’s over 700 pages of examples of, where people should be very concerned, when you’re talking about um, ah, – what was your first question?”

Smith went on to say, “It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House,” after being reminded them President at that time was Donald Trump. “We need to make sure that the Department of Justice works for all people and doesn’t treat those who are politically connected or wealthy much differently. And unfortunately, we have several examples that came forward by the two IRS whistleblowers, that proves that people are treated differently because they’re politically connected.”

“Are you suggesting that Joe Biden being the president now, is unfairly treating Donald Trump in his indictment?” Nobles asked.

Again, Smith did not answer the question.

“What I’m talking about is the 700 pages that we have before us, which is all the information that came from the IRS whistleblowers, and that’s what we’re releasing right now,” Smith replied, again not answering Nobles’ question. “And I’ll tell you, I would encourage everyone in this room to look at those 700 pages. If you think it’s okay, with what’s in it, then we live on two different planets.”

RELATED: ‘You F**ked Me – I Know It Was You’: Top House Republican ‘Exploded’ at McCarthy After Losing Chairmanship

“Can you explain the timing of the August 6 WhatsApp message? Why is that evidence of some wrongdoing?” Nobles continued..

“I’m not an expert on the timeline,” Smith admitted, before pivoting to say, “I would love to have President Biden and his family to tell us about all the timelines, because it’s really, really unfortunate that we see so many meetings and so many phone calls that involved around official activity that the Vice President has been participating in, and then big sums of money follows later –”

“But he’s not the president or the vice president at that time. Where, where’s the wrongdoing? He wasn’t even a candidate for president,” Nobles pointed out.

“He was a candidate – ” Smith claimed.

“On August 6 –” Nobles began before Smith interrupted him.

“So apparently apparent – what source are you with?” Chairman Smith asked Noble.

“I’m with NBC,” the reporter replied.

“So apparently, you’ll never believe us,” Smith charged.

“I’m asking you a very direct question,” Nobles explained. “You presented a piece of evidence that you say came on August 6, 2017, that demonstrates that Joe Biden was using political influence to help his son. He wasn’t a political figure at that time. The first WhatsApp message you put up, where yo talk about the brand,” Nobles explained. “I’m completely open minded about this. I’m asking you specifically, how does that demonstrate that there was some sort of political influence being put over him, if at that time, he is not a political – he’s not an elected official?”

“I’m definitely not going to pinpoint one item,” Chairman Smith said defensively.

READ MORE: ‘Jaw Dropping’: Democratic Senator Slams Tuberville’s ‘Open’ Talk About ‘White Supremacy’

“You presented it!” Nobles acclaimed. “It was the first thing that you brought up.”

“So apparently, you don’t agree with that. So report that you disagree with it. I’ll take the next question. Yes?” Smith said, refusing to answer any of Nobles’ questions.

Watch below or at this link.


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