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PHOTOS: DC Vigil for Teen Lesbians Shot in Texas

29 Jun

Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin

Last Friday night as many Americans prepared for a weekend of Pride celebrations, 19 year old Mollie Olgin was taking her girlfriend of 5 months, 18 year old Krissy Chapa to a movie. They had some extra time on their hands, so they stopped by a local park.

What happened between then and roughly 9am on Saturday is still being pieced together by Police.

Authorities were called to the scene after a couple came upon them in the morning. Mollie had died due to a gunshot wound to her neck and Kristene remains in intensive care with a gunshot wound to her head.

The investigation continues and as of 7pm last night, no motives or suspects have been discovered. A witness has come forward and described the shooter as a white male in his 20s, 5 foot 8 inches tall, 140 pounds with dark hair. As of this time, it is unknown whether the girls’ relationship was a motive for the crime. The police also indicated that the women did not know their assailant.

As of right now, there are more than 25 vigils planned across the country for the girls.

We hear from Kristene’s brother that she’s making progress and can now move the right side of her body. In trying to get her to communicate, she’s only been able to write – most of what she’s writing is Mollie’s name. Her family has refrained from telling her Mollie is gone for fear it will impact her recovery. Friends and family had been very supportive of their relationship.

Tonight, we were proud to help organize a twilight vigil in Mollie and Kristene’s honor in Washington D.C.. More than 100 people braved the 104 degree weather and contributed over $300 to help with Kristene’s medical care (as she is uninsured).

Speakers included Maya Rupert , Federal Policy Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights will be Chad Griffin, new Executive Director for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Executive Director of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL), Andrew Barnett and Chair of Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), A.J. Singletary.

Thank you to those who joined us. Please feel free to make a contribution here to help out Kristene’s family.

Bigoted Judge Signs Order Demanding Gay Dad Keeps Kids From Husband

14 Sep

Bigoted Judge Charley E. Prine Jr.

As reported here a few weeks ago, a Houston judge has ordered Texas father William Flowers to keep his children away from his husband.

The order was signed this week by Judge Charley E. Prine, Jr. and forbids William from leaving his twin daughters and 14-year old son with any man not related by blood or adoption. The judge added that his ex-wife may give permission for this rule to be lifted, but it seems very unlikely that she would allow William’s husband to ever be alone with William’s children.

In the custody proceedings, there have been no allegations of abuse either physically or emotionally from the children’s father or his husband, yet the judge has imposed this bigoted rule based solely on his ignorant beliefs that the children would somehow be in harms way.

Additionally, William’s husband has children of his own with no record of abuse or any problems there, so it seems he would be an ideal care provider.

According to Houston Press’ Hair Balls Blog:

“It’s not totally exclusive,” said Jennifer Broussard, Lacey’s attorney. “Lacey can agree to do otherwise. It’s just these unknown people about whom William will not divulge any information to Lacey — that just can’t happen.”

Was she referring to William Flowers’s husband, Jim Evans? Hair Balls asked.

“Well, he doesn’t have a husband in Texas, dear,” Broussard said.

This reference is of course to the fact that Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. This and other state’s laws discrediting out-of-state marriages is in violation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause in the US Constitution.

Either way, it is clear that Judge Charley Prine Jr. is exercising judicial activism and anti-gay bigotry when deciding this case. Charley Prine’s office number is 713-755-6234. Please call and let him know how you feel about pure, unadulterated bigotry being handed down from the bench.

This decision bears no precedence and needs to be challenged. Happily, William is appealing the bigoted judge’s decision. We can only hope that a judge who actually practices fairness in the law is assigned to his appeal. Our thoughts are with William and his children in this difficult time.

Houston Judge Discriminates Against Married Gay Man

22 Aug

Judge Charley E. Prine, Jr.

In a stunning case of bigotry from Houston Judge Charley E. Prine, Jr., a married gay man has been forbidden from ever leaving his children alone with his husband.

According to the Houston Chronicle, William Flowers married Jim Evans last year in Connecticut. At the time, William’s ex-wife had full custody of the children with William getting regular visitation with them. After William married Jim, he sought to change the custody agreement. The jury decided that the custody agreement should remain as-is.

While there were no allegations of abuse or endangerment of the children in any way, the Judge added a ruling applicable only to William. The Judge’s ruling prohibits him from ever leaving his children alone with any man who is not related to the children “by blood or adoption.”

The article goes on to cite interviews with many practicing law in Houston stating they had never heard of such an injunction in cases not involving abuse or neglect. When William’s ex-wife’s lawyer was interviewed about it, she claimed it was common and referred the reporter to Teresa Waldrop, a member the of the Family Law sections of the State Bar of Texas and Houston Bar Association – Waldrop admitted to never having seen an injunction such as this and referred the reporter to Austin Family Law Attorney Jennifer Cochran.

When Cochran was read the injunction she told the Chronicle the provision is “just not reasonable.” The fact that William can’t leave the children alone with any man to whom they aren’t related by blood or adoption “strikes at the very heart of the fact that he’s gay…it’s judicial activism, legislating from the bench,” and has nothing to do with protecting the best interests of the children, said Cochran.

Texas Judge to Void Marriage of Deceased Firefighter and Transgender Woman

26 May

Thomas & Nikki Araguz

This is one of those stories that not only explains precisely why we need equal protections on the Federal level, but it is also one of those stories that many of our friends, relatives and co-workers wouldn’t believe if they heard it.

Texas firefighter Thomas Araguz died on July 3rd, 2010 while fighting a fire on an egg farm in Boling, Texas. His wife, a transgender woman named Nikki Araguz – who changed her name legally in 1996, was devastated. Nikki was out of town when it happened and sadly, not one person in her husband’s family called Nikki to tell her of the tragedy. She learned about her own husband’s death from a posting on a social networking site. When she arrived home, she was treated like a stranger by her husband’s family, blocked from seeing her stepchildren and outcast from what she thought was a loving relationship with her husband’s family.

The day after her husband’s funeral, Nikki learned that there were two separate lawsuits filed against her in attempts to stop her from receiving the benefits a firefighter’s spouse usually receives. Her husband mentioned her in one instance, by name as the beneficiary should anything happen to him. This ensured that she and his two children would be taken care of. Still, Thomas’ mother and ex-wife filed these suits to grab at the money due to Nikki.

The most disgusting part of this whole situation is that the primary argument being used against Nikki is that her marriage should be voided because she was born a man. And a Houston judge is about to do just that. So on top of all the other challenges a transgender woman faces each day in a place like Texas, on top of losing her husband and a family with whom she thought she had a loving and supportive relationship, on top of losing funds which are rightfully due to her following her husband’s death, these shameful bigots are now going to void the marriage she had with Thomas.

Thomas’ ex-wife, Heather Delgado, his mother and the judges who are allowing this horrendous miscarriage of justice – District Judge Randy Clapp and Delgado’s lawyer, Edward Burwell should ALL be ashamed of themselves. This kind of hateful odious treatment of another human being should be reviled. Our thoughts are with Nikki at this tremendously difficult time.

Lesbian Mom Takes Own Life After Losing Custody Battle

3 Jan

A heartbreaking story today about a lesbian mother who has taken her own life because of a custody dispute over her son.

Debie Hackett and her son, from her facebook profile.

The news comes from the Dallas Voice, which had covered the legal battle this summer. In July, Debie Hackett had sued her former partner and the biological mother of their child, Kim Ferris for proper visitation rights with their son. Debie won in an appeals court and the case was remanded to a lower court, where this past month, Debie lost. To explain further: the appeals’ court ruling did not grant Debie visitation, but did allow for the case to continue and not be dismissed as Ferris had hoped.

On Christmas Eve, distraught by the fact that she could may possibly never see her child again, Debie took her own life. The Dallas Voice asks: “Could interpretation of laws to discount a same-sex relationship be the underlying cause of this needless death?”

A sad story to start of 2011, but will hopefully ignite some fire in us to continue creating the change we so desperately need.

 

 

LISTEN: Bigot Radio Host has History of Anti-LGBT Rants

17 Nov

As we reported here last week, KLIF radio personality, Chris Krok made a particularly homophobic and bigoted diatribe against openly-gay city council member Joel Burns.

We all remember Joel from his extraordinarily moving and courageous speech in front of the City Council on bullying and LGBT teen suicide.

This week, GLAAD stepped in and made a phone call to station manager Jeff Catlin, who apologized for Krok’s attacks and assured GLAAD that Krok had been “disciplined.” The nature of that discipline was of course not discussed with GLAAD as Catlin doesn’t believe in discussing employment practices per his note to TAE reader Bob Witeck:

It is corporate policy that we do not share internal disciplinary matters with the general public. I wouldn’t expect your boss to share with me when you get in trouble at work.

Catlin went on to tell GLAAD that Krok has not spoken about the Joel Burns speech since his original bigoted rant. We’re not sure if Catlin just took Krok at his word when he said he hadn’t mentioned Burns since that show aired, or if he actually went back and listened to the tapes, but some of our fantastic TAE readers beg to differ with the account that Krok never mentioned it again.

These following clips are reportedly from the two days following Krok’s bigoted rant against Joel Burns.

Krok Speaking out against Bullying Legislation, referring to a Transgender Girl, Andy Moreno who wanted to participate in the Homecoming Queen contest as a “dancing queen,” and pokes fun at someone who tells a story about the student having books thrown at her. Additionally, he continues a rant against Joel Burns.

Another rant against the Trans teen and Joel Burns

Please continue to contact Jeff Catlin and demand a responsible disciplinary action take place against Krok.

214-526-2400 Is the Main Office number of KLIF

or email the Operations Director, Jeff Catlin at  jeff.catlin@cumulus.com

****************************************

UPDATE FROM GLAAD:

Krok Apologizes on-air

Krok apologized for his rant about Joel Burns, but never mentioned his attacks on the trans teenager he also berated. This level of anger and hyperbole should be met with more than a simple apology where Krok reiterated that his opinion was still correct, but his use of words was too personal.


Bigoted Radio Host Attacks Joel Burns’ Message to Gay Teens

12 Nov

Joel Burns, attacked for message to bullied teens

As we discussed here a few weeks ago, Fort Worth City Council Member Joel Burns has been called a hero for making a brave and impassioned speech at a meeting last month.

Joel has since appeared on talk shows and news programs around the country, introducing his husband to the world and telling his story. He’s inspired thousands by sharing what happened to him and encouraging young people with his own personal “It Gets Better” message.

Today, the Dallas Voice shares with us the backlash that Joel is receiving in

Chris Krok made bigoted attacks against Joel Burns

the form of a hateful, bigoted radio host on KLIF. Chris Krok expounds about how Joel should not have told his story because it was about “me, me, me.” Using a fake lisp, Krok mocks Joel saying “Look at me! I Thuffered!” He goes on to argue that Joel doesn’t have a husband because it’s not legal in Texas. “You’re a man. You do not have a husband” he says.

Krok personifies the intolerance and ignorance that LGBT kids face on a daily basis. Please call and email KLIF and tell them that Chris Krok’s attack on LGBT people was harmful and ignorant and that Krok must answer for his public bigotry. We will be investigating this further and finding out the advertisers associated with this show and asking people to make calls to the show’s supporters as well. If anyone here listens to KLIF from 4-7pm and recognizes the numbers or names of any of the show’s advertisers, please reply here.

214-526-2400 Is the Main Office number of KLIF

or email the Operations Director, Jeff Catlin at  jeff.catlin@cumulus.com

Catlin said in an email to TAE reader, Bob Witeck:

It is corporate policy that we do not share internal disciplinary matters with the general public. I wouldn’t expect your boss to share with me when you get in trouble at work.

I would say I would challenge you or any other complainants to find another incident of Chris Krok addressing this topic or issue after the original airing. It didn’t happen.

Catlin fails to explain whether Krok was dealt with in any way, just notes that he only made the diatribe once and not a second time. He also fails to mention if he or the station believed what their on-air representative said about Joel and the LGBT community.

WARNING: This audio is rather upsetting.

Thanks TAE Reader Jason Kane for the heads-up!

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