Callum Hodge’s family has lived in a small village south of Bristol, England for nearly a century, so naturally he wanted to marry his fiancé, Ashley Jenkins, at his ancestral home. The couple married in late August but as The Daily Mail reveals, month earlier his family was sent a “poison pen” letter – by an anonymous coward – telling him and his family he “won’t go to heaven” if he marries a man.
Months before the wedding reception, Callum’s mother was the one who unfortunately opened the letter.
“Callum should be ashamed of himself for putting his grandparents through this. He won’t go to heaven,” the letter read.
“You need to lead him down a new path in life. The wedding should take place far, far away from the village. This is the consensus of the village,” the writer claimed.
The couple ignored the unsolicited, hateful “advice,” as this photo from Ashley’s Facebook page shows:
The family decided to Callum and Ashley by publishing a response in the local newsletter, believing the “cowardly” letter writer was likely one of the village’s 232 residents.
His father “described the letter as an ‘evil, homophobic attack’ which he suspects was written by a ‘bigoted individual’ who the family knows.”
“If we find out who it was, I want them named and shamed,” his mother adds.
Callum posted his own response to Facebook, saying, in part, “I’m not the sort of person that lets everyone know that I am gay, because of people like you I spent so many years in denial and lost and still struggle to open up, because of people like you so many people commit suicide all over the world because they can’t face admitting who they are and that’s because of bigoted people like you!”
“Well,” he concluded, “here’s a 🖕up to you and I guess I’ll see you in hell.”
Image via Facebook
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Louisville, Kentucky becomes the 82nd U.S. city to ban ex-gay conversion therapy
Louisville, Kentucky Mayor Greg Fischer has signed a law banning so-called conversion therapy for minors. The “therapy” purports to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. As such, Louisville is now the 82nd U.S. municipality to ban the practice. 40 percent of all U.S. states also have such bans.
Fischer said, “Our LGBTQ kids, they don’t need to be converted or repaired. They need to be loved, supported, and accepted for who they are.”
Anti-LGBTQ groups have argued that ex-gay therapy bans violate their rights to “free speech” and “religious freedom,” but so far the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear cases challenging these bans. However, the increasingly conservative tilt of the court however could possibly help overturn these bans.
Both a majority of Americans oppose conversion therapy. Every major American psychological and medical association has disavowed conversion therapy as a pseudoscientific form of psychological torture.
The actual methods of the so-called therapy are quackery. People are told to avoid masturbation, not shake hands with any one of the same sex, not listen to music, to rigorously exercise and study the bible. Practitioners also use “covert aversion” (making LGBTQ identity seem dangerous, unhealthy and repulsive) or “reframing of desire” onto opposite-sex partners.
About 84 percent of former patients say it inflicts lasting shame and emotional harm. Many conversion therapy practitioners have subsequently come out as still gay and apologized for the harm they’ve caused.
The U.S. Marine Corps Will No Longer Allow Racist Confederate Flags at Their Bases
On Friday evening, the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) released guidelines banning the Confederate Flag at any of its domestic or foreign military installations, including bases, training, operating, and storage facilities.
In an image explaining the new guidelines published on Twitter, the USMC wrote, “The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our corps. Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society. This presents a threat to our core values.”
The USMC now forbids any display of the flag on bumper stickers, clothing, mugs, posters, flags and in any other forms.
Today, the Marine Corps released guidance on the removal of public displays of the Confederate battle flag.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) June 6, 2020
Since confederate flags are hate symbols flown by states that fought for the right to own black people as slaves. While some people claim that the confederate flag is merely a symbol of southern “heritage, not hate,” it was re-popularized in the U.S. by white southerners who opposed racial integration.
The USMC’s decision comes alongside decisions by leaders across the U.S. to scrap similar monuments dedicated to racist confederates in light of the ongoing protests against racism in policing and the judicial system.
Transgender Teen Student Who Sued School Board Gets Major Federal Court Win – Years After He Graduated
Gavin Grimm became a household name overnight, it seemed. The transgender teenage high school boy – now 20 years old – sued the Gloucester County, Virginia School Board in 2015, when he was a junior. One of his first wins came the following year, and another after he had already graduated, although he later had a setback at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Friday afternoon, Grimm won another major victory. A federal court ruled the Gloucester County School Board acted in a discriminatory manner and was wrong to ban him from using the boys’ restrooms in his high school, and was wrong to not have changed his school records to indicate he is a boy, and will have to pay his attorneys’ fees.
“The court ruled the board’s policies violated Grimm’s rights under both the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,” WAVY reports.
BREAKING: A federal court just agreed with us that Gloucester High School was wrong to deny Gavin Grimm access to the boys’ restrooms and an accurate transcript identifying him as a boy.
🗣 Trans people belong in schools. Trans people belong EVERYWHERE https://t.co/WfmZEBAWXo
— ACLU (@ACLU) August 9, 2019
Perhaps it was his comment to the press that he just wanted to be able to use the restroom like any other student, that struck a chord with many people across the country – just not with the Gloucester County School Board, who forced him to use a specially-devised “boys room” that had been converted from a janitor’s closet.
“The issue remains far from settled. A patchwork of differing policies governs the nation’s schools,” the AP reports Friday. And today’s “ruling will likely strengthen similar claims made by students in eastern Virginia. It could have a greater impact if the case goes to an appeals court that oversees Maryland, West Virginia and the Carolinas.”
In 2017 Grimm became the youngest person to make TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.
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