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Atlanta Braves Foundation awards grant for anti-bullying campaign

Atlanta Braves stadium Turner Field

The Atlanta Braves Foundation announced today $150,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations. The Braves Foundation, the charitable arm of the Major League Baseball team, will present the grants to representatives from each of the organizations at tonight's game, the penultimate of the 2011 season, against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Among the recipients is the Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region, which will use the funds in an ongoing anti-bullying campaign called “No Place for Hate,” according to a representative of the Braves.

The "No Place for Hate" campaign connects the Anti-Defamation League with local schools and provides tools and training necessary to combat youth bullying.

Several Braves players are also featured in an anti-bullying video currently being shown at Turner Field on game days.

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ACLU steps in to aid transgender Ga. elementary student

Tommy Theollyn, the father of a seven-year old transgender son, is trying to get his son, D., access to the boy's restroom at Todd Grant Elementary school in Townsend, Ga., after being told by the district's superintendent that the child must use the girl's restroom. Theollyn presented his case before the McIntosh County School Board on Sept. 15, and also gained support from the ACLU last week.

Theollyn claims that before the new school year began last month, he met with D.'s teacher about his son's transgender status. Theollyn says that the teacher was understanding of his son's unique situation and offered support, but when the new school year began, Theollyn said he was told his son would be required to use the girl's restroom.

Theollyn, a transgender man who transitioned after giving birth to D., claimed that Superintendent William Hunter refused to allow his child, who was labeled a girl at birth but started identifying as a boy last year, access to the boy's restroom and threatened to call Child Services during a heated meeting in August.

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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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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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DOJ: California school district must properly deal with bullying after student’s suicide

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education reached a settlement today with a California school district after one of its middle school students, Seth Walsh, committed suicide in the wake of years worth of bullying and harassment based on the student's non-conformity with gender roles, according to the ACLU of Southern California.

Walsh, who was 13 at the time of his suicide, killed himself in September of last year. After his death, the Department of Education received a complaint that the school district did not fulfill its responsibility in keeping Walsh safe from threats, bullying and harassment.

According to The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), incidents were reported to school officials but the district failed to adequately respond or deal with the offending students.

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Survey: Homophobic remarks, harassment common in Ga. schools

Virtually all LGBT students from Georgia who participated in a recent School Climate survey reported hearing homophobic slurs like "dyke" and "fag," and almost half said they had been pushed or shoved because of their sexual orientation.

The Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network surveyed some 7,261 LGBT students across the country for the 2009 National School Climate Survey. The survey — conducted every two years — included 175 high school and middle school students from Georgia. GLSEN released the Georgia-specific results today.

“LGBT students face disturbing levels of victimization in Georgia. We hope this new research will be a wake-up call to Georgia leaders that more needs to be done to ensure that LGBT students are safe and have an equal opportunity to learn,” said Dr. Joseph Kosciw, GLSEN Senior Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives, in a June 27 press release. “Students are clearly saying educators and policymakers are not doing enough to stop anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.”

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Spelman hosts historic summit on black LGBT students

Spelman College hosted historic LGBT summit

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College, jump-started the Audre Lorde Historically Black Colleges & Universities Summit with a compelling bit of trivia.

“As we celebrate our 130th anniversary and founding by two women who lived, themselves, in life-long partnership, it seems appropriate that [Spelman] should be a leader in creating more inclusive environments for our LGBT students,” Tatum said.

That public acknowledgement that Sophia Packard and Harriett Giles, co-organizers of the acclaimed all women’s college, lived as domestic partners set the stage to explore the complex relationships LGBT people share in both attending and working for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Fast forward in time and it is clear how highly publicized incidents like the 2002 beating of a Morehouse student allegedly motivated by homophobia, combined with greater media attention surrounding suicide-related deaths among LGBT youth, have sparked much needed dialogue regarding issues of gender and sexuality at HBCU campuses.

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By the numbers: Tyler Clementi

18

Age of Tyler Clementi when he committed suicide last fall by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after learning that fellow Rutgers University students filmed him having sex with a man and webcast it.

3

Years of a pre-trial intervention program that Molly Wei, 19, accepted when she pleaded not guilty May 6 for her role in the webcast. If she completes the program, charges against her will be dropped.

300

Hours of community service Molly Wei must also complete, in a deal accepted by Clementi’s parents. She must also testify against Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, who faces 15 counts of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.

10

The length of the hearing, in minutes.

5

Maximum years in prison under New Jersey law for a count of secretly collecting images of nudity or sexual contact, then distributing them.

 

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Spelman College offers summit focused on LGBT issues at historically black colleges

Beverly Daniel Tatum, President of Spelman College

Spelman College will host a summit this Friday, April 29, examining gender and sexual politics at historically black colleges. The summit is being organized by the university's Women's Research and Resource Center.

“The summit is the culminating activity of a three-year advocacy project that engaged 11 HBCUs on the particular experiences of LGBT students, faculty and staff in an attempt to facilitate institutional change that acknowledges, values and respects difference,” Spelman noted on a web page for the summit.

The goal, according to organizers, is to present findings of the advocacy project and discuss strategies for creating inclusive campus environments. There will be four panel discussions, as well as a screening of the film “Bursting With Light” made by Spelman graduate Taryn Lee Crenshaw.

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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.