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Survey finds rampant homophobia in Ga. schools

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network released a "snapshot" today of what life is like for LGBT students in Georgia schools, and it's not a pretty picture.

Some 92 percent of Georgia middle and high school students surveyed reported "regularly" hearing homophobic slurs like "fag," while more than 40 percent said they had been physically harassed and more than 20 percent had been physically assaulted based on sexual orientation.

“While we have seen some progress nationally in the 14 years since we started our National School Climate Survey, much work remains to ensure that all Georgia schools are safe and affirming environments for LGBT students,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN executive director, in a press release. “We look forward to working with our Georgia partners to ensure that every LGBT student has equal access to a quality education.” 

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School funding anti-discrimination bill introduced in Ga. House

A bill to prohibit state tax dollars from going to private schools that discriminate against students, including LGBT students, has been introduced in the Georgia House by lesbian state Reps. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) and Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur).

House Bill 456 was introduced Feb. 22. State Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) was an original co-sponsor of the bill with Rep. Bell. He said while he is no longer a co-sponsor he still supports the bill "100 percent."

"I was assigned another bill by House leadership but that doesn't mean in any way I don't fully support the bill," Frye said.

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Parent wants rural Ga. school to let trans elementary student use boys’ restroom

More than 2,300 people have signed a petition on Change.org calling on the McIntosh County Public School system to allow a seven-year-old transgender child the right to use the boys' restroom.

The petition was created by Tommy Theollyn, a 28-year-old transgender man from Townsend, Ga., after he said he was told by McIntosh County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. William Hunter that his child, D., would not be allowed to use the boy's restroom at Todd Grant Elementary School.

"My child is transgender; put simply this means he looks like and identifies as a boy, but has the body parts assigned to girls," Theollyn states in the petition. "Forcing him to use a bathroom that does not match his presentation effectively discloses his status as a transgender child and thus endangers him."

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Advocacy groups face off over Gwinnett schools filtering LGBT websites

Alliance Defense Fund

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian organization with the mission of defending “traditional family values,” is taking on the ACLU in its battle to mandate the Gwinnett County School System remove LGBT filters from its computers.

On Aug. 1, the ADF sent a letter via email to Gwinnett Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks urging him and the school system to not allow the ACLU to “bully” the system with its request.

“School districts shouldn’t be bullied into exposing students to sexually explicit materials,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman in a statement. “This latest scare tactic — under the façade of illegal censorship — is just another act of intimidation designed to forward the ACLU’s radical sexual agenda for children.”

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Emory University receives $26 million to study AIDS vaccine

Emory University shines in new LGBT campus indexEmory University has received a $26 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, according to a media release issued today by the university. The Emory Consortium for AIDS Vaccine Research in Nonhuman Primates will focus on preventing the earliest stages of infection in the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a disease similar to AIDS found only in primates, in a 5-year study.

Most SIV infections occur via mucous membranes through sexual contact. The study will attempt to develop an effective vaccine to block such infections at mucosal sites, according to the university.

The study will be led by Eric Hunter, PhD, co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research.

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Emory University shines in LGBT Friendly Campus Climate Index

Emory University shines in new LGBT campus indexAtlanta's Emory University has received a 5-star rating in the latest LGBT Friendly Campus Climate Index, according to a media release issued by the university earlier today.

From Emory's Office of LGBT Life: “True to the institution’s commitment to diversity in all its forms, Emory University established a number of policies and procedures that create more access for students of all sexual and gender identities. To better communicate this commitment, President James Wagner was featured in an It Gets Better Project video last spring with a message of strength and hope on behalf of the entire university.”

Emory is also home to some 10 LGBT student and faculty organizations and regularly hosts events specific to the LGBT community.

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Lesbians having sex in Columbus State library are arrested

CSU students charged

Two women at Columbus State University are facing charges of public indecency after being caught having sex in the campus library, according to TV station WRBL.

The station reports that Nakita Holt, 21, and Jessica Bass, 18, both made bond from the Muscogee County Jail. They are both students at the university.

Columbus is located approximately 100 miles southeast of Atlanta.

According to the news report, a CSU officer saw the two women having sex in a study carroll at the library. Bass is also facing a charge of bribery after she allegedly offered the officer $100 to not say anything, according to campus police.

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Lambda Legal: Augusta counseling student could hurt LGBT youth

Augusta State University student Jennifer Keeton

Lambda Legal has filed a friend-of-the-court brief opposing an Augusta State University graduate student’s claim that her constitutional rights were violated when the school threatened to expel her because of her Christian belief that being gay or transgender is immoral.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court Southern Division in Augusta, argues counseling graduate student Jennifer Keeton’s First Amendment rights were violated by the university because it stated her biblical opposition to homosexuality — that she would state in class and to other students — went against the professional code for being an ethical counselor.

Keeton, who wants to be a secondary school counselor, is represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian organization dedicated to defending “traditional family values.”

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Clay Aiken to Congress: Stop anti-gay bullying

American Idol alum Clay Aiken calls on Congress to address anti-gay bullying

“American Idol” singer Clay Aiken and two mothers whose sons committed suicide because of anti-gay bullying at their schools appeared at a Capitol Hill briefing Nov. 18 to urge Congress to pass two bills that would require schools to address bullying and harassment targeting LGBT students.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network organized the briefing as a means of drawing public attention to the two pending bills, the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

“Like many kids now in middle schools and high schools, I was bullied,” said Aiken, who came out as gay in 2008 after winning the runner up title of best singer on the widely viewed television show “American Idol.”