National

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LGBT youth suicides spark calls for change

Gabriel Haggray was the victim of high school bullying

When Gabriel Haggray was a ninth grader at Salem High School in Conyers, Ga., he said he was bullied incessantly and would often go home after school and sit in his bedroom sobbing alone, feeling worthless.

“It was horrible. In gym class they would take my gym shorts or when I was in my gym clothes they would steal my street clothes,” he remembered. “One guy would always take my lunch, call me a fag and ask why I was still around.”

At first, Haggray said he “just took it” — he just put up with the bullying. Eventually he got tired of it and sought someone to listen to him as he dealt with the insecurity of being gay as well as finding a way to stop being bullied.

Fortunately, Haggray was able to find an empathetic counselor who presided over peer mediation with two of the boys who were bullying him, he said.

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By the numbers: Gay marriage in America

48 Percent of Americans who say they oppose gay marriage; the first time in 15 years of polling that fewer than half are opposed. 54 Percent of Americans who said in 2009 they are opposed to gay marriage. 53 Pe...
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By the numbers: HIV in America

19

Percent of gay men who have HIV in 21 major American cities

44

Percent of those gay men with HIV who do not know it

28

Percent of black gay and bi men who are HIV positive, compared to 18 percent of Hispanic and 16 percent of white men

63

Percent of HIV-positive men under 30 in the study who did not know their status

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Chambliss’ office responsible for anti-gay slur

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss admitted an anti-gay blog comment originated from his Atlanta office

Georgia LGBT groups were up in arms this week after an anti-gay death threat in an online forum was tracked back to the office of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBT political group, organized supporters to call Chambliss’ local offices around the state, while the upstart Queer Justice League demanded that Chambliss apologize.

“We want an official, contrite apology for Senator Chambliss, to the LGBT community and to all Georgians,” QJL’s Art Izzard said in a press release. “We also want Sen. Chambliss to commit to engaging his employees in sensitivity training, to equip them to better handle the concerns of his constituents.”

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‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal stalls in U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator John McCain (AZ-R) voted against the cloture measure effectively blocking a Congressional repeal of DADT

Efforts to allow gays to serve openly in the U.S. military received a serious setback Sept. 21, when the U.S. Senate rejected a motion to break a Republican-led filibuster against an annual defense spending bill that includes language aimed at ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The vote was 56 to 43 — four votes short of ending the filibuster. Georgia’s two U.S. senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both Republicans, voted in the majority to stymie the repeal.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, called the vote a “frustrating blow.”

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Defense Authorization cloture vote fails in Senate, stalling ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

The Senate Tuesday afternoon rejected a motion to break a Republican-led filibuster against an annual defense spending bill that includes language aimed at ending the military’s "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law banning out gays. The vote was 56 to 43.

The vote was uncertain all the way up to the vote, started at 2:30 eastern time, as Democratic leaders were reportedly trying to negotiate an agreement with one or two senators to reach the 60 votes they needed to proceed. But Republicans stood united in their contention that a procedural restriction placed on consideration of the annual defense spending bill was politically motivated to win the votes of LGBT people and Latinos for the mid-term elections in November.

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DADT debate pushed back

The United States Senate was unable to move forward with the 2011 Defense Authorization bill that included an amendment that would have allowed President Barack Obama to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy after the completion of a Pentagon review. There were 56 votes to bring the bill to the floor and 43 votes against. 60 votes were required.

The failure to bring the bill to the full Senate is a defeat, albeit temporary, for those advocating the repeal of DADT.

Republicans, led by Arizona Senator John McCain, argued that the majority was trying to include non-relevant amendments to the legislation and accused Democrats of using the Defense Authorization bill to push through a liberal social agenda.