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March 8, 2013

News Briefs

Fraternity raises money for TG pledge’s surgery

Boston--Members of Phi Alpha Tau at Emerson College have taken to an online crowd-funding website to disprove the stereotype of fraternity brothers being homophobic, collecting money to pay for their new member’s breast removal.

Donnie Collins, a sophomore pledging the fraternity, is transgender, but his health insurance will not cover his top surgery. He paid for his hormone therapy himself.

The campaign has raised over $20,000 with another month left for donations. Any excess money donated will be donated to the Jim Collins Foundation, which provides financial assistance for gender transition surgeries for transgender people.

“It’s been such a long road, and it has been life-altering to find support and brotherhood,” said Collins, who came out while going to an all-girls school. “From my time in the transgender youth group, which introduced me to some of my best friends, to my brothers at Emerson and everyone who has given to this fundraising campaign, the support I have received has made such a difference in my life.”

Puerto Rico court upholds adoption ban

San Juan, Puerto Rico--The commonwealth’s high court on February 20 upheld its ban on adoption by gay men and lesbians.

The case revolved around a woman who wanted to legally adopt her partner’s child, conceived through assisted fertilization. The island, which voted in favor of seeking American statehood in the 2012 general election, has been criticized for its failure to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination and violence.

Singer Ricky Martin, openly gay and perhaps the most famous Puerto Rican on the planet, took to Twitter, pointing out how many children are waiting to be adopted into a loving home.

The ruling came a day after LGBT advocated met with Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla to discuss anti-gay violence and other issues. It has been proposed that domestic violence protections on the island should be expanded to include LGBT people, and the police department in December agreed to more aggressively pursue hate crime investigations.

AP relents on ‘husband’ and ‘wife’

Cleveland--The Associated Press quickly reversed course on what to call married same-sex couples, and the Plain Dealer will follow suit.

In mid-February, the AP issued an internal memo directing reporters to use the words husband and wife only for opposite-sex couples, precluding their use for same-sex couples, even those legally married.

A week later, the news organization relented, adding an entry to their stylebook saying that husband and wife could be used for any person in a legally-recognized marriage.

The AP Stylebook is followed by hundreds of newspapers and other publications across the country.

Plain Dealer reader representative Ted Diadiun quoted managing editor Thom Fladung in a March 3 article: “AP style mavens are very careful and exacting in making style rules, which are based on logic and an effort to keep matters clear and consistent for readers. Making it better and easier for readers is the whole point of style, right?”

The AP came under fire earlier this year for telling reporters not to use the word “homophobic,” saying that it was a clinical term and should not be applied to social issues.

Mayoral candidate murdered

Jackson, Miss.--Police have arrested 22-year-old Lawrence Reed and charged him with the murder of Marco McMillian, a candidate for mayor of Clarksdale.

On February 26, McMillian’s car hit another vehicle on a local highway. Reed was driving it and McMillian was not in the car.

His body was found the next day on a levee near the Mississippi River.

Police have not released a possible motive for the killing. McMillian, 34, was considered to be the first viable black, gay candidate in Mississippi history.

His godfather said a county coroner told him McMillion was beaten and burned. A source who did not wish to be named said there were some bruises and burns on at least one part of the body. A cause of death has not been released pending toxicology results.







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