LGBTQ

This week, Mississippi lawmakers approved a bill called the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act."

Supporters describe it as a bill protecting religious freedom. Critics call it a sweeping bill giving state sanction to open discrimination against LGBT people.

The legislation, now sitting on the governor's desk, allows state employees to refuse to issue same-sex-marriage licenses and protects private companies and religious groups from being punished for denying a range of services to LGBT people.

It's now legal for couples in all U.S. states to adopt children — regardless of the couple's gender — after a federal judge struck down Mississippi's ban on same-sex adoption late Thursday.

Overturning a law that had stood since 2000, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel P. Jordan III said the ban violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause. Mississippi's ban was the last of its kind in the U.S.

Suzanne Adams during her visit to KUOW.
KUOW Photo/Jenna Montgomery

Bill Radke speaks with Suzanne Adams about how her experiences as a former police chief and a transgender woman have helped her train Seattle Police Department officers on how to properly interact with the trans community.  

Betu Allami (left) and Nayyef Hrebid (right) met in 2004, during the seige of Ramadi. Hrebid was a translator with the U.S. Marines, and Allami was an Iraqi soldier. "I saw him," says Hrebid, 'and I was like, oh my God, he is so handsome. He is perfect.'
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

This is a story about love and war; love lost and love found again.

In 2004, Nayyef Hrebid was an interpreter for the U.S. Marines in Iraq, and Betu Allami was a soldier with the Iraqi Army.

Ramadi General Hospital had been taken over by insurgents, and Hrebid and Allami were part of a mission to reclaim the hospital. It was a dangerous mission, in a dangerous city, at a dangerous time in the war. 

Bill Radke talks with Danni Askini about why she's running for an open seat in the 43rd legislative district of the Washington state House of Representatives. Askini is currently the executive director of the Gender Justice League.

The U.S. Supreme Court, without hearing oral argument, has unanimously reversed an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that denied parental rights to a lesbian adoptive mother who had split with her partner. The decision is a direct repudiation of an Alabama Supreme Court decision that refused to recognize a Georgia adoption.

Flickr Photo/Elephant Gun Studios (CC BY-NC-ND)

Bathrooms in Seattle's public facilities must have gender-neutral signage by this Wednesday.

That's to fulfill a city law in support of transgender people.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray plans to further that cause this week with an executive order that city staff must be trained on how to support transgender people. 

Bill Radke talks with Jade Gee, a trans woman who invited anybody to come have coffee with "a real, live trans person" in Tacoma over the weekend and ask questions about being transgender.

Some churches have become inclusive of gays and lesbians, but for transgender people, church can still feel extremely unwelcoming. A congregation in Phoenix is working to change that by focusing on the everyday needs of its members — many of whom are homeless trans youth.

It starts with a free dinner every Sunday night with donated homemade and store-bought dishes.

Ben Nakamura, right, with his mother at an assisted living facility in West Seattle. He keeps coming out to his mother, but that information doesn't appear to register.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

My friend Ben Nakamura has known he was gay since 7th grade.

He came out early on, but he put off telling his parents.

Michael Shiosaki and Mayor Ed Murray at a 'StoryCorps' booth in Seattle.
Courtesy of StoryCorps

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and his husband  Michael Shiosaki recount how their relationship parallels the many changes in the laws on same-sex couples. 

Murray decided to run for an office in the state legislature because a good friend asked him to do it: Washington's first openly gay politican, Cal Anderson. At a StoryCorps booth in Seattle's New Holly neighborhood, Murray and Shiosaki talked about making the decision to enter public life.  

Allowing transgender people access to the restroom or locker room of their choice stirs strong feelings. Advocates on both sides of that debate packed a hearing room in Olympia Wednesday.

The Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability said Monday Judge Vance Day should be removed from office after refusing to perform same-sex weddings. Day's spokesperson said in a statement that the judge would vigorously defend his innocence and his rights at the state's highest court.

A drawing by a child in Professor Kristina Olson's study. Olson has found that transgender and non-trans girls have an equally deep sense of their gender identity.
Courtesy of Marlo Mack

When Kristina Olson, a psychology professor at the University of Washington, started looking into research on transgender children, she was surprised. It was thin at best.

Data from decades ago said that 80 percent of transgender kids revert to their born gender, but Olson was skeptical.

So she started the TransYouth Project to track transgender children to adulthood. The project has worked with 65 children across the U.S. and Canada – so far. Some are as young as 3.

Jonathan Porretta was the only boy in his dance class in Totowa, New Jersey. Dance was his refuge, where he could shine. He ended up at School of American Ballet in New York City, where he was scouted by Kent Stowell of Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Courtesy Jane D'Annunzio

A dancer stands alone on the stage. He is dressed in black tights only; his bare chest is broad and muscular.

As the bassoonist plays the first plaintive notes of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” the lights come up and the dancer’s body undulates like a stalk of wheat in the wind. Slowly, he lifts his shoulders, and his extended arms drift up like wings of a bird.

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