November 7, 2011
"Those religions that are oppressive to women are also against democracy, human rights and freedom of expression."

— Taslima Nasrin

November 6, 2011
"Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to the ideals of humanism which the Nobel Peace Prize encapsulates. Let the strivings of us all, prove Martin Luther King Jr. to have been correct, when he said that humanity can no longer be tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war."

— Nelson Mandela

November 5, 2011
"We discovered that peace at any price is no peace at all. We discovered that life at any price has no value whatever; that life is nothing without the privileges, the prides, the rights, the joys which make it worth living, and also worth giving. And we also discovered that there is something more hideous, more atrocious than war or than death; and that is to live in fear."

— Nelson Mandela

November 4, 2011
"The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved."

— Emma Goldman

November 3, 2011
"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain."

— Emily Dickinson

November 2, 2011
"Whenever there is a conflict between human rights and property rights, human rights must prevail."

— Abraham Lincoln

November 2, 2011
"

In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.

In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.

In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.

I realized, through it all, that…

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

"

— Albert Camus (via f0x)

(via omaleviathan)

November 2, 2011
USAID Encourages Federal Contractors to Adopt Inclusive Non-discrimination Policies

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) issued an executive message earlier this month encouraging companies contracting with them to adopt non-discrimination employment policies protecting LGBT employees and other workers. This policy is the first of its kind to encourage contractors to adopt an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policy based on their connection to the federal government. The new policy encourages all organizations performing under USAID contracts to apply the existing standards of non-discrimination in place for other classes to sexual orientation and gender identity. 

This is a hopeful first step in combating federally funded discrimination by contractors and will serve as a model and incentive for prospective contractors.  However, the policy is not mandatory, leaving USAID without the ability to enforce the it and leaving employees who experience discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity without formal recourse.

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November 2, 2011
"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood."

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

November 1, 2011
Conan O'Brien To Officiate Gay Wedding On Air

Conan O’Brien is set to commemorate his one-year anniversary at TBS in a groundbreaking way — by officiating an on-air wedding between two men.

As New York Magazine's Vulture blog is reporting, the talk show host will be marrying one of his show’s longtime staff members and his partner when Conan tapes at New York’s Beacon Theater, though producers have yet to determine when the actual nuptials will air.

Although O’Brien’s previous NBC show, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” taped in Manhattan for 16 years, such a wedding would not have been possible during that earlier run. New York became the sixth — and largest — U.S. state to legalize gay marriage last June, with Governor Andrew Cuomo being highly praised among LGBT advocacy groups for the legislation.

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November 1, 2011
"If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace."

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

November 1, 2011
British Prime Minister Threatens To Withdraw Aid From Anti-Gay Nations

Britain has threatened countries that ban homosexuality with losing aid payments unless they reform, David Cameron has said.

But he conceded that “deep prejudices” in some countries meant the problem would persist for years.

The prime minister said he had raised the issue with leaders of some of the states involved when he attended the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Australia.

Britain was “putting the pressure on”, he said. But it was not a problem that would be solved by the time Commonwealth leaders are next due to meet, in Sri Lanka in 2013.

Cameron warned Sri Lanka to improve its human rights record or face boycotts of the 2013 summit. He declined to discuss whether the UK could stay away but said he shared a “similar view” to that of the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, who has said he will not attend.

Ending bans on homosexuality was one of the recommendations of a highly critical internal report on the future relevance of the Commonwealth, written by experts from across the member nations.

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November 1, 2011
Sex Change Surgery, Expenses Are Tax Deductible, Tax Court Rules

BOSTON — The U.S. Tax Court ruled Tuesday that a Massachusetts woman should be allowed to deduct the costs of her sex-change operation, a decision that could have broad implications for transgender people.

Rhiannon O’Donnabhain (oh-DON’-oh-vin), who was born a man, sued the Internal Revenue Service after the agency rejected a $5,000 deduction for approximately $25,000 in medical expenses associated with the sex-change surgery.

The IRS said the surgery was cosmetic and not medically necessary.

In its decision Tuesday, the tax court said the IRS position was “at best a superficial characterization of the circumstances” that is “thoroughly rebutted by the medical evidence.”

The legal group Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which represented O’Donnabhain, said the ruling could potentially affect thousands of people a year in the U.S. who undergo similar operations.

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November 1, 2011
"All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured … We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights … for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that."

— The Dalai Lama

November 1, 2011
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand To Introduce LGBT Adoption Bill In US Senate

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has announced that she will introduce the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” (ECDF) in the U.S. Senate reports FamilyEquality.org. The announcement comes just days before National Adoption Month which begins on November 1.

The bill, if passed, will eliminate state laws, policies, practices, and procedures that “exclude potential adoptive and foster parents because marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The House version of this bill, introduced by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) in May of 2011, currently has bi-partisan support.

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