Monday, 27 June 2016

Trans Person Attacked After Orlando Vigil

A Seattle trans advocate was attacked and beaten after leaving the 'Let Your Love Shine' fundraiser event for the victims of the Orlando Pulse Massacre.

Michael Volz, who uses the pronouns they and them, was returning to their vehicle when they were approached by a stranger.  The man reportedly said 'Happy Pride' before chocking and beating Michael to the floor before kicking them in the abdomen.

The attacker reportedly also said 'Show me your tits you tranny cunt' whilst he attacked them.

After the attacker left the scene Michael managed to drive themselves home, where friends insisted that they go to the ER.  Michael was treated for cuts, abrasions and bruising as well as having several stitches.  They are also reporting injured teeth and vision impairment due to the attack.

Seattle Police Department have spoken out about the incident and are treating it as a hate crime.  'I'm disgusted by this hateful attack,' Chief Kathleen O'Toole said.  'I want to assure the victim and the community that the SPD will leverage  every resource to identify the suspect and bring him to justice.'

Michael's friends set up a GoFundMe page to raise awareness and support.  'The emotional devastation and the injuries they have endured is so deep there are no words to describe,' the GoFundMe described.  'Michael wants us to attach pictures because this is what transphobia looks like.'  So far the page has raised over $35,000.

Michael has spoken out about the incident, saying 'This is not an isolated incident....this is something that happens in our community frequently, and we won't stand for it.'


Friday, 24 June 2016

Canada's New Blood Policy Transphobic

Canada has introduced a new policy for blood donation that has come under heavy criticism for being transphobic.  The new policy will determine that if a transgender donor has not had genital surgery they will be treated as the sex they were assigned at birth.

This news comes just days after the Blood Services announced that they would be loosening restrictions on gay and bisexual men who donate blood.  They are planning to drop the wait time for men who have sex with men from five year to one, but have also announced that they are planning to introduce a 'new screening process for trans donors (will take) into consideration the assigned sex of the donor and whether they have had genital surgery.'

The Canadian Blood Service has said, 'We recognise their assigned birth sex may be different than the gender with which they identify', acknowledging the fact that they are aware that transgender people do not live their lives as the gender they were assigned at birth.

Dr Mindy Goldman spoke on behalf of the CBS, 'We felt that it would be better to have a standardised procedure that way an individual trying to donate in Vancouver would be treated the same way as someone in Newfoundland or Ontario.

'It would be more respectful of donors because they would not know what the policy was.

'Where this leaves us with trans donors is that they're not an easy population for us to screen because they're transitioning often, they don't fit neatly into a category.'

In addition to being described as not  being able to 'fit neatly into a category' over their gender, trans people are also being told that they are also going to be treated as homosexual individuals if they are straight.  Transgender women are being told that if they have not had genital surgery and have been intimate with a cisgender man they will be treated as being a gay man.

Whilst cisgender women who sleep with cisgender men are free to donate blood, transgender women who sleep cisgender men will have to have a period of 12 months abstinence before donating.  The CBS have not commented on how this new policy will affect gay trans men.

Not only are these new regulations horribly transphobic in the way that they reduce the notion of trans women to simply being gay men, but the fact that it comes from an official body sends a message of anti-trans sentiment to the general population.


Farage Referendum Victory Speech Insults Memory of Jo Cox

As the EU Referendum results look to be finalised the leader of the right wing political party UKIP, Nigel Farage, took to the stage to make a speech to celebrate the UK's decision to leave the European Union, a speech that not only congratulated isolationist and xenophobic voters, but also insulted the memory of Jo Cox.

Speaking at a rally in central London Mr Farage said, 'This, if the predictions now are right, this will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people.

'We have fought against multinationals, we have fought against big merchant banks, we have fought against big politics, we have fought against lies, corruption and deceit.  And today honesty, decency and belief in nation, I think is going to win.

'And we have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired, we'd have done it by damn hard work on the ground.'

Farage's comments about victory without having had a single bullet fired have come under a massive backlash as less than a week ago MP Jo Cox was brutally murdered in the street by a pro-Brexit supporter.

Whilst some have denied any connection between her killer and the Leave campaign Thomas Mair, the man who took Jo Cox's life, was witnessed shouting 'put Britain first' whilst performing the attack, and gave his name in court as 'Death to traitors, freedom for Britain'.  Leaving many to make the natural conclusion that the crime was motivated by politics.

Even if there turns out to be no connection between the debate over Britain leaving the EU and a pro-leave campaigner murdering a minister campaigning to stay in the EU the timing of the events and the comments made by the killer make Farage's speech incredibly insensitive and even downright insulting.

It is also worth noting, however, that Farage has in the build up to the EU Referendum advocated for people to turn to violence if they feel that the UK should leave the European Union, so forgetting to respect the memory of someone who lost their life to such violence is hardly beyond him.

With the value of the pound already plummeting to the lowest point it has ever been at since its inception and known homophobes, racists, sexists and xenophobes such as Nigel Farage celebrating the results of the vote, today is already proving to be an incredibly dark day for rational minded citizens of Britain.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

200,000 Hits!

After only reaching 100,000 hits three months ago I'm amazed and proud to report that Trans-Scribe has now reached 200,000 hits.

Thank you so, so much to everyone for your continued support and patronage.  I couldn't keep doing what I'm doing without you all.

Thank you all.


Police Investigate Alleged Shooting At British Gay Bar

Police have locked down a street in Canterbury following an alleged shooting at a gay bar on Saturday night.

Limes bar reported an incident that occurred around 10pm on Saturday night, where a pair of youths were seen shooting in the LGBT+ bar.  The incident resulted in damage to the window of the bar, but thankfully no one was reported as being injured.

A representative of Kent Police, Sally Smith, has said 'No injuries were reported and the investigation into the incident continues.  A window was broken and the cause of damage remains under investigation.  No weapons were reported to have been seen.'

An 18-year-old man from Dover and a 17-year-old girl from Hythe have been arrested, but since released on bail.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

'Brexit Bad For Trans Rights' Says Young Trans Activist

A young transgender rights activist from the UK, Charlie Craggs, has warned that Britain choosing to leave the European Union during the 'Brexit' vote could lead to marginalised communities finding themselves in worse situations.

Charlie, who has become well known for her Nail Transphobia campaign where she travels around the UK advocating for trans rights, has urged students around the UK to vote to remain within the EU in Thursday's referendum or face the possibility of Boris Johnson as prime minister.

'If we leave, the ramifications on marginalised communities is going to be so great.'  She said when speaking on the subject.  'Boris Johnson could be our prime minister.  A man who has said things like 'tank-top wearing bum boys' and said gay marriage might lead to men marrying their dogs.

'People vote for him because the think he's a lol and a laugh, but he's dangerous.

'The EU has helped produce legislation to protect us but it also means we are all involved in social dialogue in the EU.  We are able to bring our voice to the table.  The UK is quite good at LGBT rights so I think it's important we remain in the EU so our voice remains prevalent in that conversation.

'Brexit would be bad for trans rights, gay rights, lesbian rights, bi rights, intersex, literally all of us.'


Monday, 20 June 2016

Actor Anton Yelchin Dies In Accident Aged 27

The 27 year old actor, best known for playing Pavel Chekov in the recent Star Trek reboot films, has died after an accident at his Los Angeles home.

The actor was found struck by his own car that had reportedly rolled down his driveway and pinned him against a brick postbox pillar, killing the young man.

Despite being best known for his role in the new Star Trek films, the third of which is due for release next month, he has also appeared in a host of well received films, including Green Room, the Smurfs series, Terminator Salvation, Hearts in Atlantis and Fright Night.

Outpourings of condolences have already been made for the actor from colleagues and friends.

'You were kind.  You were funny as hell, and supremely talented.  And you weren't here nearly long enough.  Missing you.'  -  J.J. Abrams

'Still in shock.  Rest in peace, Anton.  Your passion and enthusiasm will live on with everyone that had the pleasure of knowing you.'  -  Justin Lin.

'Sad news for such a talented young man.'  -  William Shatner

'A rare and beautiful soul with his unstoppable passion for life.'  -  Jodie Foster

'I'm devastated.  A world without Anton is a lesser place.  He touched everyone he met with honesty and humanity.  We have lost a unique and powerful soul.'  -  Felicity Jones

'Our dear friend.  Our comrade.  Our Anton.  One of the most open and intellectually curious people I have ever had the pleasure to know.  So enormously talented and generous of heart, wise beyond his years, and gone before his time.  All love and strength to his family at this impossible time of grief.'  -  Zachary Quinto

'Anton Yelchin was one of my best friends.  I can't say anything that conveys what this feels like.'  -  Kat Dennings

'The sweetest, most humble, delightful, talented guy you'd ever meet.'  Guillermo del Toro


Gay Actor Rupert Everett Urges Parents Not To Let Trans Children Receive Treatment

Openly gay actor Rupert Everett has spoken out to 'warn' parents against the dangers of allowing transgender children to seek help and treatment towards transitioning, claiming that parents who do so are 'wrong' during an interview with The Sunday Times.

The actor has said that when he was a child he wanted to be a girl, and whilst growing up dressed in female clothing often.  'I really wanted to be a girl.  Thank God the world of now wasn't then, because I'd be on hormones and I'd be a woman.  After I was 15 I never wanted to be a woman again'.  

Projecting his single cisgender viewpoint onto the entire transgender and gender variant community he has said that it is wrong for parents of transgender children to 'get medical'.  

'It's nice to be allowed to express yourself,' he said, 'but the hormone thing, very young, is a big step.  I think a lot of children have an ambivalence when they're very young to what sex they are or what they feel about everyone.  And there should be a way of embracing it'.

Everett also went on to say that he went on to suggest that Caitlyn Jenner had made a mistake in her decision to transition, claiming that she has 'no clue what being a trassexual involved' as well as saying 'I don't think she's a woman.  She's a cross-dressing man'.

In the past Everett has 'advised' LGBT+ actors to keep their sexual orientation a secret in order to help their careers, as well as saying he couldn't imagine 'anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads'.

Whilst I'm sure as a cisgender man who has never had to experience being trans his viewpoint is a valid one on this topic (actually, it's not!) it's worth noting that dozens of experts on transgender youth have repeatedly stated that not allowing trans children to receive help is massively harmful to their physical and emotional well being.  

In some extreme cases where parents refuse to help their transgender children lives have been lost to suicide, most famously in recent memory with Leelah Alcorn, whose parents refusal to help her led to her taking her own life.

The comments being made by Rupert Everett are not only massively misinformed and based on no physical evidence or studies at all but purely his own experience as a cisgender person, but lead to an environment where it becomes harder and harder for vulnerable transgender children to receive the help they desperately need.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Florida State Attorney Suspended For Anti-Orlando Rant

Florida Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis has been suspended from his position following an anti-Orlando rant posted to his social media feed less than 24 hours after the Pulse massacre that claimed 49 lives just a week ago today.

Lewis posted to his Facebook page, 'Downtown Orlando has no bottom.  The entire city should be levelled.  It is void of a single redeeming quality.

'It is a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs.  It is void of culture.  If you live down there you do it at your own risk and your own peril.  If you go down there after dark there is something seriously wrong with you.  Disney does everything that it can to shield visitors of Disney from its northern blight.

'That does not change reality.  Disney may be the happiest place on earth but Orlando is a national embarrassment.  If this is an act of domestic terrorism it is so important that we do not publish the religion, name , or motive of the terrorist as not to offend anyone.'

In a second post Lewis wrote, 'All Orlando night clubs should be permanently closed.  Without or without gunmen they are zoo's, utter cesspools of debauchery.'

The announcement of his suspension came on Friday 17th June, along with the following statement;

'Kenneth Lewis, an Assistant State Attorney in the Office of State Attorney Ninth Judicial Circuit, was suspended today pending further review.  Mr Lewis violated the SA09 social media policy.  The social media policy was adopted and implemented on February 2015, as part of SA09's code of conduct.  Every employee is required to sign the policy.  Failure to comply can result in discipline up to and including termination.'

It is currently unclear if Mr Lewis will be facing termination at this point, though it is not the first time he has been found in breach of the social media policy, having previously been reassigned after writing a post about 'crack hoes'.


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

British Protesters Call For Trans Bathroom Ban

As a parliamentary equalities conference gathered today to discuss trans issues protesters gathered outside, carrying signs calling for a ban on transgender women using public bathrooms in a similar manner to many of the anti-trans protests taking place in America.

The meeting today at the Westminster Social Policy Forum building in London was hosted by Labour MP Ruth Cadbury and Lib Dem peer Baroness Barker and came together to discuss 'how transgender equality issues are dealt with by Whitehall departments and agencies, as well as how they are treated by schools, the NHS and the criminal justice system'.  The meeting was also designed to discuss 'steps for achieving transgender equality, and how legislation - including the Gender Recognition Act, the Equality Act 2010 and the Marriage Act - is working for trans people'.

Despite this meeting being called to try to establish how the UK can be made safer and fairer for transgender people, a crowd of protesters gathered outside the building.

The protesters carried signs that read 'No trans in women's toilets', 'no trans in women's changing rooms', 'you cannot change your biological sex, fact!' and 'lesbian rights are women's rights.  We are not trans'.

Whilst those involved have said that the event went well, and that they discussed many issues that may affect trans and non binary people the fact that some people chose to try to disrupt the event with hateful anti-trans rhetoric highlights the fact that whilst the UK seems to be further ahead in the fight for trans rights than other countries there is still a great deal of hatred towards the trans community.  Something that most trans people are fully aware of.


Missouri County Refused To Fly Flags At Half Mast For Orlando Victims

Following the tragic shooting in Orlando this weekend President Obama ordered that all American flags being flown on public buildings and grounds across the country be lowered to half mast 'as a mark of respect for the victims' until the end of the day on Thursday.  Officials in Cole County, Missouri have chosen to disobey this order and refuse to lower their flags.

According to report the three person commission that governs the county voted 2-1 against lowering the flag, despite it being a direct order from the president.  Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher said, 'We still have control over how the flags are displayed.  Lowering it too much takes away from the honour.  I feel for the victims and their families, but I don't feel this was a time for the flag to be lowered.'

Commissioner Kris Scheperle also spoke on the matter, stating 'I want to honour those who have served our country but we can't lower it for every event like this that occurs.  I do feel for those who were gunned down, but I don't think it warrants lowering the flag.'

Following a public backlash over the refusal to show respect to the victims of the Orlando massacre the commission reversed its decision and lowered the flags on Tuesday evening.

Personally I'm shocked and disgusted that following the worst mass shooting in America for over 100 years, one of the worst acts of terrorism since 9/11 public officials would refuse to lower a flag to show respect.  Not only does this show people's lack of respect for their nation's leader and the laws of the land, but their complete hatred for the LGBT+ community.

In the wake of such tragedies people ask themselves how something like that could have happened, which is a perfectly good question.  I mean, where would someone get the idea that it would be good to murder dozens of LGBT+ people in a country where people fight to take rights away from LGBT+ people, where people are legally allowed to discriminate against LGBT+ people, where religious leaders advocate for the deaths of LGBT+ people, or where people refuse to even lower a flag as a sign of respect for the loss of the LGBT+ community?  It's really hard to get your head around that one.


Resident Evil 7 Demo Review

Yesterday saw the announcement of a new Resident Evil game, one that fans have been anticipating for a while now.  But what not many were expecting was the new approach the latest instalment would take.

The series began as survival horror, and helped birth the genre, but over subsequent games shifted more towards an action bent, especially Resident Evil 6, which felt more like a Call of Duty entry with monsters armed with machine guns.

Resident Evil 6 received a lot of criticism for the style the game took, and rightly so in my opinion, and it would seem that the makers have taken this criticism on board and chosen to embrace the horror element of the series in what could be the biggest departure the series has taken yet.

The latest game in the series takes a first person approach, something that has not been done yet, and feels like it has taken it's inspiration from games such as Outlast and Amnesia over the rest of the Resident Evil series.

Having played the demo myself now I can confirm that whilst this approach is very, very good and delivers an extremely unnerving game play experience it feels very separated from the rest of the series from what I've seen so far.

Whilst the main game may eventually move into territory that is closer to the rest of the series, possibly connecting to the events and characters of the other games in some way, the demo seems to feature no apparent 'monsters'.

The demo does feature an enemy that you encounter a few times as you sneak your way through an abandoned farm house it's not fully clear whether they're human or something more.  You only see this antagonist briefly, and in not a great deal of light, so it's hard to tell at this point.

Though the demo is brief, I finished it in around 30 minutes, there are moments that ramp up tension, and even a few that made me scream out loud.  The environment is built to be creepy and off-putting, and the twist of adding a second play through the environment as you take control of a film crew investigating the property on an old video cassette that you find.

It's certainly a brave new approach for the series to take, and possibly something of a gamble for a game that has always involved action of some degree of another.  Again, it's still too early to say definitively whether or not the new game will be like the demo throughout or whether at some point you will have a gun and be fighting monsters, but it would appear doubtful at this point.

Thanks to the popularity of games series like Outlast, Slender and Amnesia first person horror games where you cannot defend yourself this could be the start of a major change for the franchise.  Though some may not like this new approach it is sure to please many fans.  Add into this the fact that the series will still continue to produce side games like the Revelations series to continue the franchise's action element there will be enough Resident Evil to keep everyone happy.


American Family Association Uses Orlando Attack To Support Anti-Trans Boycott

The Christian hate group The American Family Association has been exploiting the tragedy of the Orlando massacre to try and gain support for their anti-trans boycott of Target stores.

Despite the attack on Pulse being a blatant attack on the LGBT+ community, the right-wing Christian group have chosen to use the tragedy to promote their boycott and push for anti-trans hatred.

A newsletter released by the group says 'The nation continues to mourn over the senseless violence and loss of life in the Orlando shooting.  This is a time when a nation must come together, reminding that God loves all people, and all are His creations, made in his own image.

'We know there are millions praying for the families and friends of the victims, and we ask all to join together with them and for those who are wounded, that a healing of both the body and the community will be a reality.

'In April, Target publicised its corporate policy which allows men to frequent the female rest rooms and changing facilities.  We view this policy as a danger to women and children because it provides a possible gateway for sexual predators to gain access to their victims.

'Since Target announced this dangerous policy in late April over 1.3 million people have signed the boycott Target pledge.  This doesn't include the millions of Americans who didn't sign the pledge but feel the same way about Target.

'This week we are announcing a new initiative to the #Boycott Target pledge called Target Isn't Listening.  This initiative seeks to add 50,000 potential Target shoppers to our boycott Target pledge this week, June 13-17.

'While we are grateful for the over a million that have pledged to boycott Target, we know there are millions more that have the same sympathy but haven't signed the pledge.'

The American Family Association has a history of anti-LGBT+ sentiment and action, including having blamed the LGBT+ community for the Holocaust.  The latest attempt to use the tragedy in Orlando to further their own attacks on the LGBT+ community are sickening beyond belief.

For all those people who are blaming 'radical Islam' for the attack on Pulse and the massive loss of life, perhaps after seeing this you'll begin to look a little closer to home and realise that American hate groups are contributing to the creation of a society that ends in the mass murder of LGBT+ people.


Doctor Who Spin-Off To Have Gay Lead

Upcoming Doctor Who spin-off show 'Class' will be featuring a gay lead character.  The news has come from show producers, who were planning on keeping the characters sexuality a non-issue until the show aired, but have chosen to make the announcement following the Orlando shooting.

Author Patrick Ness, who is helming the upcoming series, has described the series, which will feature teenage students at Coal Hill School, as a British take on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', and like Buffy will feature an LGBT+ character amongst its main cast.

Ness has tweeted, 'Been asked if Class will have LGBT representation in it.  Will a lead character with a boyfriend who he kisses and sleeps with and loves do?  We were keeping that secret, but today that secret doesn't seem very important.  #LoveWins'.

'Kind of astounded that having a gay lead on Class has been such big news.'  Ness added.  'One day it won't be, one day soon.  Because it's not a big deal.  One way to change the world is to act as if it's already changed.  That's how I roll, that's how Class rolls.

'Class has five leads.  There are lots and lots of stories to tell, lots of room for everyone, lot of heartache to spread around democratically.  Because I am nothing if not an even-handed stomper of hearts, no?

'Except of course it is a big deal, I know; 15 year old me never got to see himself; that won't happen again, not on my watch.'

The Doctor Who universe is not a stranger to featuring LGBT+ characters in prominent positions, such as Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, and an inter species lesbian marriage.  The Doctor Who spin-off series 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' was due to feature a story that would have revealed that Sarah Jane's son Luke was gay.  Sadly this story never came to pass as the series was cut short following the sudden and tragic death of Elizabeth Sladen.

'Class' will air on BBC Three Online and BBC One later this year.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Marvel & DC Pledge Support For Orlando Victims

Major comic book publishers DC and Marvel have tweeted their support to the LGBT+ community and the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting.

DC tweeted an image of the classic Superman #14 cover with a new rainbow coloured background to show their support, whilst Marvel have shared the cover for 2012's Avengers Assemble #1 on a rainbow background.  Both images were tweeted alongside the hashtag #OrlandoUnited.

As well as tweeting messages of support Marvel and their parent company Disney have donated $1 million to the fund established by Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor, to support the victims of the shooting.


Three More Pokemon Revealed At E3

With E3 in full swing the Internet is abuzz with new video game news, including some exciting new developments for Pokemon fans.  With some exciting new gameplay being demonstrated, including an exciting new battle mode, Nintendo have also given us a sneak peak at three more brand new Pokemon.

Yungoos is a normal type loitering Pokemon with the abilities Stakeout and Strong Jaw that appears to be based on a mongoose.

Pikipek is a normal/flying type woodpecker Pokemon with the abilities Keen Eye and Skill Link.

Grubbin is a bug type larva Pokemon with the ability Swarm that looks to be based on a Witchetty Grub.

With all regions featured in the series so far being populated by bird Pokemon, normal Pokemon and bug Pokemon in it's earliest stages are these three going to be filling those roles as some of the first Pokemon in the Alola?  I hope so, especially as Grubbin is surprisingly cute for a creature based on a larva.

Despite only being revealed in the last two hours the three new creatures have already ignited fans imaginations online, in some cases with bizarre results.


Owen Jones Storms Off Sky News Interview Over Orlando Shooting

Journalist Owen Jones stormed out of a live Sky News interview Sunday night after fellow panelists failed to acknowledge that homophobia was a factor in the Orlando Pulse shooting.

The openly gay journalists reaction came after having his point that the attack on the Pulse LGBT+ night club was an LGBT+ issue, as well as a terrorist issue, repeatedly shut down, instead being told that it was an attack against all 'human beings' and being shouted down when trying to explain his point.

Whilst his reaction to walk out may be seen as extreme, under the circumstances I found it admirable that Jones was able to maintain a level of calm in the face of blatant refusal to see this as a homophobic crime.

The presenter, Mark Longhurst, kept referring to the attack as being an attack on 'human beings' rather than a targeted attack on the LGBT+ community, saying that it was an attack on people 'trying to enjoy themselves, whatever their sexuality'.

This kind of 'straightsplaining' was backed up by fellow journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer, who suggested that the killer was not just motivated by homophobia and even suggested that the shooter would have been equally angered by her as 'a gobby woman'.

Jones tried to point out to the two of them that if it was another community targeted they would be labelling it as that kind of crime rather than just washing over it,  'I'm sorry, I just find this the most astonishing thing I've ever been involved in on television.  If he'd walked into a synagogue and massacred dozens of Jewish people, you wouldn't be saying what you're saying now.  You would have been talking about it as an anti-semitic attack.  This was a deliberate attack on LGBT people.'

Unable to stand the blatant denial that the Orlando shooting was connected to homophobia Jones removed his microphone and stormed out of the studio.

Following the interview many members of the LGBT+ community and their supporters and allies took to social media to condemn the behaviour of both Mr Longhurst and Ms Hartley-Brewer, including MP Dianne Abbott, who accused Ms Hartley-Brewer of not 'realising how in denial about the homophobic nature of the attack' she appeared to be during the interview.

Whilst Owen Jones has spoken out to try to encourage people not to strike out against Longhurst and Hartley-Barnes and has called for people to be respectful towards both of them, they have received a lot of angry and hurtful messages on social media.

In response to these outbursts Ms Hartley-Barnes has written a very long article that not only repeatedly refuses that she in any way denied that this incident was an attack on LGBT+ people, but also has an attack on Owen Jones for being upset about the issue, trying to make him out to be out of order and herself to be the victim.

Whilst it is disappointing that members of the press are acting this way it is of very little surprise that the LGBT+ community is still being the target of back handed attacks like Hartley-Brewer's article even in the face of such shocking events like the Orlando attack.


Theresa May Says Pride Events Should Go Forward

The British Home Secretary Theresa May has spoken out in the wake of the tragic Orlando shooting to say that Pride events across the UK should still go ahead.

Speaking in the Commons yesterday the Home Secretary said, 'The attacks in Orlando on Saturday night were utterly evil and the government condemns them completely.  At least 49 people were murdered and a further 53 people were injured seriously.

'These people were enjoying a night out when an attack took place - our hearts go out to them, their families and their friends.  This is the deadliest mass shooting in US history.  It was an outrage committed to spread fear and born out of hatred.

'It is clear that this attack has its roots in a warped ideology, which counts homophobia as a cornerstone of its warped worldview.  This was not just an act of terror but an act of homophobic hatred.

'I want to make clear to all LGBT people in Britain and around the world that we will not tolerate such bigotry and violence.'

She went on to say that there are currently no plans to cancel Pride events around the UK in the wake of the Orlando shooting.  'The police's position at the moment is that they have no plans to cancel or postpone any LGBT event due to take place over the coming days or weeks.

'They will constantly assess that position, and if they need to give additional advice or take additional action, they will of course do so.  Local police forces work very closely with Pride organisers to ensure that there is appropriate and proper security for Pride events.

'It's right that police consider security arrangements for the various Pride events that take place, and they will also assess at local level any other event that takes place, or particular venues that are frequented by large numbers of people from the LGBT community.  If additional action is necessary, they will of course take it.

'There are many ways in which people can show their solidarity with member of the LGBT community, and I would encourage them to do so.'


Resident Evil 7 Announced

Sony have revealed the upcoming release of a brand new entry in the hugely popular Resident Evil series, 'Resident Evil 7: Biohazard'.

Following the mixed reactions to 'Resident Evil 6' and the series shift into a more action orientated approach Capcom tried to moved back towards the horror origins of the series in 'Resident Evil Revelations 2', that married the two types of gameplay together.

Now it appears that 'Resident Evil 7' will be embracing horror in a first trailer that is full of scares and tension.  The new game appears to be set in a first person view, something the series has avoided in the past and is reportedly fully compatible with PlayStation VR.

The game will be released January 24th 2017 on PlayStation4, Box One and PC.


The Pulse LGBT+ Massacre

This isn't really a news piece, I'm not here to report on what happened in Orlando on Sunday morning, we all know what happened at Pulse, and me reporting on it will not be adding much to the masses of news coverage already happening.  The thing is, I couldn't just let this event pass by and not acknowledge it, to ignore that it happened.

Instead, I guess this is just a ramble, an article where I'm just going to write and put down my thoughts on what happened, how I feel and what I think this means for the LGBT+ community.

The first and most simple thing to say at a time like this is that my thoughts and my heart go out to those who were so brutally taken away from the world, and for their friends, families and loved ones left behind.

Sometimes when events like this happens it's easy to think of things in the form of numbers, the number of dead, the number of wounded.  It's the easy way to try and distance yourself from the real horrors of what happens.  When it's numbers it's easy to talk about, to try and get your head around what has happened, even if that number is staggeringly high.

But events like these aren't just numbers.  It's not 50 killed and 50 wounded.  It's 50 people killed, 50 people wounded.  It's not just numbers, it's lives.  Not just lives lost, but the countless other lives destroyed by his horrible act that spin out of it.  The friends and families of those killed, of those wounded, of those who escaped unharmed, of those who frequent Pulse.  There are so many more people than those simple numbers who have been affected.

You can see that in the way that the whole world has reacted to this tragedy, to the hundreds of thousands that have sent messages of love and sympathy, to the vigils and gatherings of those speaking out against hate and violence, the moments of silence and the buildings around the world flying the rainbow flag or illuminated in the colours of our community.

Sadly, times like this not only highlight the support and love that people have for the LGBT+ community, for those lost and those lives left behind but forever changed, but they give opportunity to those who hate us to feel a moment of victory.

It's a sad fact that whenever great tragedy like this happens, whenever there is a great loss of life at the hands of other human beings there is invariably someone, somewhere who benefits from this.  In this case it is those people who hate the LGBT+ community, those who feel that our existence is in someway 'wrong' or 'unnatural' that are revelling in this horrific moment.

Whilst the media is quick to blame people of Islamic faith for the tragic event at Pulse it is people of many faiths, and no faiths, that are voicing their delight at the massacre that our community endured.  The hatred for the LGBT+ community is one that appears to be one that transcends religious boundaries, one that can strangely bring together extremist people of religions that despise each other together in a shared hatred of a group that has done nothing to them.

Since this tragedy I have seen outpourings of love and support, but also those of hate, from those people who find the events at Pulse something that should be enjoyed and encouraged rather than condemned.  Some of these messages, many in fact, do not come from Islamic extremists, but rather from people who would consider themselves Christians.

There are people who are calling for more LGBT+ lives to be taken, who are trying to spread hate and oppression in the wake of these events, but then this isn't something new.  This has been happening for too long a time in America.  The debates about transgender bathroom laws, the anti-LGBT+ laws being introduced in states, violent conversion therapies, vicious assaults and murders, all of these and more have been a part of American society for a long time now.

Sadly, I think it is this very culture that has been allowed to grow in a country that considers itself 'the greatest nation on earth' that created this tragedy more than any Islamic extremism.  A country that allows people to buy and own assault rifles, weapons of war, whilst sending messages that LGBT+ should be hated, that their rights and freedoms should be taken away, that they should be reduced to less than human.

The tragedy at Pulse is the result of the culture that America has made for itself, one where people with extreme religious views and hate are allowed to shape laws and legislation, where personal prejudice allows politicians to deny the lives of others, to be willing to sue their countries own leader rather an accept that people should be treated equally.

The events at Pulse were horrific, they should never have happened, but they were brought about by the culture of glorified violence and hatred for the LGBT+ community that America has made.  It is not by blaming Islam or by pointing fingers at terrorists that something like this can be prevented from happening again, but by looking closer to home.  America itself needs to change in order to make a better world where LGBT+ people don't need to be fearful of being massacred when they should be enjoying their lives.


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Two New Pokemon Revealed For Sun & Moon

As we get closer to the release of the new Pokemon games 'Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon' the slow trickle of information continues on as we receive information on two brand new creatures, Iwanko and Nekkoala.

The two new Pokemon were revealed in the latest issue of CoroCoro magazine in Japan.

Iwanko is a rock type dog Pokemon, with the abilities Keen Eye or Vital Spirit.  According to CoroCoro the name is a combination of 'iwa', rock, and 'wanko', doggy.  The article says that Iwanko greets its trainers by rubbing against you with it's rocky neck.  'It's painful but cute'.

The article also claims that 'There is a secret hidden in that little body.  In fact, there are also surprising secrets about the starter Pokemon too...!?'

The second new Pokemon is a Koala Bear Pokemon (about time!) named Nekkoala.  Nekkoala is a 'Half-Awake' Normal-type Pokemon with the ability Absolute Sleep which makes it immune to all status changes except Sleep.

It's name comes from 'Neru', to sleep, 'Nekko' which means stump and Koala.

Hopefully more news will begin to emerge soon, with a whole new host of Pokemon on their way.  Whilst Iwanko is a cool looking new edition to the host of Pokemon available Nekkoala certainly stands out as the first instance of a Koala inspired Pokemon, a trend I hope continues as the creators look to more animals that haven't been used before as inspiration.  Personally I'm hoping for a Hummingbird Pokemon.


Friday, 10 June 2016

Prominent Lesbian Activist Banned From Pride For Transphobic Comments

A leading lesbian activist Miriam Ben-Shalom, was originally invited to serve as grand marshall for the upcoming Milwaukee Pride Parade, but has had the invitation rescinded after even organisers became aware of her vocal opposition to transgender rights.

Despite having a history of fighting for gay rights, including making history as the first gay military service member to be reinstated after having been discharged for being gay, as well as having twice chained herself to the White House fence to protest 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' rules, Ben-Shalom has expressed criticism of the transgender community, having claimed that transgender women are not 'real' women and a threat in bathrooms.

The invitation to lead the upcoming Pride parade was revoked when it was brought to the attention of the event organisers that Ben-Shalom had posted several messages on her social media accounts condemning trans-rights, as well as making accusations that trans-women could pose a threat to 'women born women' and girls if given access to women's bathrooms.

The Milwaukee Pride organisers wrote to her to inform her of their decision.  'It was brought to our attention that your Facebook page contains a number of posts asserting that transwomen are a danger to young girls in public bathrooms and locker rooms.  We cannot have a Grand Marshal who has publically and repeatedly denigrated trans women.'

Ben-Shalom responded by referring to the organisers as a 'bunch of moral reprobates' as well as stating that she believes that 'women born women have the right to safe spaces of their own'.

'I see that Milwaukee Pride cares more about men than it does about women,' she said, further insulting transgender women by denying their gender.  'My fight is ensuring that women are safe from the pretenders who might use the trans issue to get in and hurt somebody.'

'If trans women were real women, they would get it!'

This is not the first incident in which Ben-Shalom has made a point of ignoring or excluding the trans community, having been a co-founder of the 'Gay, Lesbian and Bi-Sexual Vetrans of America' group, a group that from the very name excludes transgender servicemen and women.

She has invoked women's safety as her primary reason for trans-exclusion, referring to herself as a PERF, penis exclusionary radical feminist.  Launching into a tirade she claims that trans women threaten to kill cis women over trans issues and cites that as her reasons for condemning trans people.

'When I consider what the trans community did to the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and the threats that were made there that I personally saw and heard and when I consider the threats directed at women who stand up to speak out about women's safety, I became firmer in my estimation of who these people really are and what trans means to - it appears - a great many people.  No woman I know would threaten to kill another woman because of an opinion  No woman I know would call others who differ in opinions the nastiest words in the English language.

'Therefor, Pride Parade Committee:  You are no better than those who threaten to hurt women born women simply because they wished to be in a nurturing environment with others who were likeminded.  One may hope you take the so-called Trans community to task for all of the threats and nastiness heaped on women as you took me.'

Various transphobic individuals have shown their support for Ben-Shalom, sharing similar views as her in articles filled with transphobic language, misgendering and denials of transgender identity.


Homemade Bomb Detonated In Target Store Bathroom

An explosion has taken place inside a women's bathroom at a Target store in Evanston, Illinois.  Following anti-LGBT+ protests and boycotts at target stores around the country over the store chains stance on transgender it would seem that the latest action from the extreme right elements standing against equality is to turn to terrorist style actions in order to reach their goals.

Whilst no one was harmed in the explosion, police are reporting that the device was a homemade improvised explosive device constructed from from a plastic bottle.  They have also reported that no projectiles, such as nails or metal shards, were used in the construction of the device.

Yesterday police took an as yet unidentified 44-yer-old woman into custody over the incident.

Despite obvious connections to the recent protests and anger over Target allowing transgender people to use the bathroom and changing room facilities that they are most comfortable with, police are not not treating the incident as connected.

'The detectives are not currently looking for any known additional suspects, and at this point there is no indication that the incident is related to any policies that the Target store has in place.'  A police press report stated.

To overlook the link between the protests and harassment that Target has been subject to over the last few months as a motivation for the bombing incident is frankly astounding.  The fact that a homemade explosive device was detonated inside a women's bathroom inside a Target store must mean that it is automatically looked at with a connection to anti-trans sentiment.

The American Family Association, a prominent 'Christian' anti-LGBT+ hate group, have been leading the charge in the fight against Target and LGBT+ equality, launching an online petition to boycott the retailer that has received more then 1.6 million signatures.

The group have also been sending preachers into Target stores around the country where they have been quoting bible verse and shouting harassment at both staff and shoppers over the choice to allow trans people to be given equal rights.  These preachers have been equating LGBT+ rights to child abuse, paedophillia, rape and 'demonic possession'.

The AFA have made claims that these boycotts and targeted harassment has led to the loss of $10 billion for the company, something that Target vehemently denies.


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Trans Man Settles Case After Being Held in Women's Prison

A transgender man who was forced to wear female prison attire and out into a women's cell has settled his case with Toronto Police after the treatment he received at their hands.

Boyd Kodak was arrested in 2012 for harassment charges, which were soon dropped, but filed a lawsuit against Toronto Police in 2014 after the treatment he received led to him filing a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

After being arrested the 56 year-old man was stripped of his clothing and his prosthetic penis and forced to wear clothing usually assigned to female inmates, as well as being placed into a woman's holding cell.

Whilst in police custody Boyd Kodak says he was harassed and tormented by other prisoners because of his gender identity and the way he was treated by officers.  Having spoken out about the treatment, Mr Kodak condemned the fact that his prosthetic was removed, 'To me, that's my body part.  If someone, God forbid, loses a limb and they have a replacement  - that's their body part.  It's not an inanimate object.  I told them, you're stripping me of my identity.'

Since the incident Mr Kodak has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD.  He is reporting that sirens trigger anxiety attacks, resulting in him shaking uncontrollably when he hears them.

'The number of years it took me to discover myself, to have the strength to go ahead and make the change, for them to just change that by just wiping the slate.'  He said.  'It's an experience that's never going to leave me.'

Mr Kodak's legal team have petitioned for the better treatment of transgender people in the criminal justice system, and new policies have been brought into place as a result of this.  The police department who arrested Mr Kodak have up to 18 months to enforce new policies, including banning the withholding prostheses.


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Vixen to Join 'Legends of Tomorrow' in Season Two

One of the best things about 'Legends of Tomorrow' is that the very premise of the show allows the creators to introduce new cast members and to change the shows team to give new characters and new stories a chance to shine.  With season one saying goodbye to Captain Cold and both Hawkman and Hawkgirl we've been left with a few spaces free aboard the Waverider for new crew members.

It looks set that Hourman will be joining the group, at least for the initial episodes of the season, with the introduction of other members of the Justice Society of America sure to come as the show progresses.  Now the CW have also revealed one of the rumoured new cast members is a character that viewers will already be familiar with in the form of Vixen.

Surprisingly, however, Megalyn Echikunwoke will not be returning to the role following her time voicing the character in the animated series and appearing as the live action counterpart in Arrow, due to filming commitments.

Rather than recasting the role series producers have taken the interesting approach to introduce a version of Vixen from another point in time, possibly even being related to the modern day version in some way (mother perhaps?).

The good news with this announcement is that it not only allows the series to use the character of Vixen, but it also means that Megalyn Echikunwoke is still able to voice the character in the animated series as well as being able to return to the DC television universe at some point in the future.


Transgender Woman Refused Airbnb Booking For Being Trans

Professional writer and television producer Shadi Petosky has spoken out after she was refused accommodation due to her being a transgender woman.

Ms Petosky, who produces the animated television series 'Danger & Eggs' for Amazon, shared the incident on social media following the incident.

After applying to stay at one of the homes that Airbnb had on offer she made her trans status known to the host, wanting to be as honest as possible.  She then received a response from the host telling her that she would not be welcome to stay, with the host citing the comfort of her teenage son as a factor in this decision.

Ms Petosky has said that she is used to people trying to use their children as a shield to hide their transphobia, with the apparent fear of children's safety being a major argument in many of the anti-trans bathroom bills that are being enforced in America.

'I think that she's using some kind of coded language that is really affecting trans people right now.'  She said.  'The idea that we're negatively impacting kids or hurting children is a really hard thing for trans people.  They don't realise we're parents too.'

Ms Petosky filed a complaint with Airbnb about the incident, but she received no response from the company.  What she did notice after her contact with them, however, was that the host was upgraded to 'super host' status, which awards the host with multiple five star reviews.  Whether this was due to happen anyway or not, the timing does unfortunately make it appear that Airbnb rewarded the host for their discrimination of Ms Petosky.

Only after the issue was made public on social media and numerous people have spoken out about incident and the lack of response from Airbnb was any action apparently taken, with the host in question being removed from their website.

The Public Affairs Director for Airbnb, Nick Pappas, has said, 'Discrimination has no place in the Airbnb community.  We are conducting a comprehensive review and examining what can be done to ensure we resolve these kinds of issues quickly and help make sure everyone is treated fairly.'

Whilst some people have been quick to defend the Airbnb host, claiming that as this is a person's private property that is being offered as accommodation, and should be allowed to deny access to anyone that they wish.  However, this is not the case when someone signs up to become an Airbnb host.  As they are providing a paid service they must provide that service without discriminating against people, which was not done in this case.

Sadly Ms Petosky is not a stranger to discrimination, last year she went public about the discrimination she faced as a transgender woman when she was held for questioning by the TSA after she was identified as trans by one of their body scanners, an scenario that many trans people have experienced.