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Franken drums up support for pro-LGBT Student Non-Discrimination Act

Minnesota Senator Al Franken

Al Franken, the former funnyman turned senator from Minnesota, released a video this week calling for voters to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act. If passed, the bill would forbid discrimination against students based on sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools.

The bill would also prohibit schools from discriminating against LGBT students or ignoring reports of harassment.

Democratic Rep. Jared Polis from Colorado's 2nd Congressional District first introduced the legislation in the House in 2010 during the 111th Congress.

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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.