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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.