Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Theresa May Meets With Anti-LGBT+ Church In Run Up To General Election

On Sunday Prime Minister Theresa May visited London's Jesus House church, a part of the Redeemed Christian Church of God movement, which has a long history of anti-LGBT+ conduct.

May, who has a record of voting against LGBT+ rights, described the visit as 'fantastic' and the church as 'one of the most lively growing churches in the UK'.

Jesus House has publicly expressed extremist views on sexuality, marriage equality and abortion rights, even going so far as to liking homosexuality and transgenderism to bestiality. Their website even included a section dedicated to anti-abortion propaganda.

The church has also been accused to have links to gay conversion therapy and and to have allegedly performed exorcisms on gay people.

Whilst this 'fantastic' visit itself is troubling when added to the news this week that a Tory candidate has stood by her choice to accept an intern from a Christian hate group that advocated gay conversion therapy it begins to paint a worrying picture of the Conservative Party less than two weeks before the election.

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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Cast Confirmed

Following the events of the second season of Legends of Tomorrow it seemed pretty certain that most of the main cast would return for season 3. However, once the official synopsis was released it became clear that one particular character was not mentioned, resulting in fans speculating that they would no longer be part of the team.

'After the defeat of Eobard Thawne and his equally nefarious Legion of Doom, the Legends face a new threat created by their actions at the end of the last season. In revisiting a moment in time that they had already participated in, they had essentially fractured the timeline and created anachronisms - a scattering of people, animals, and objects all across time!

'Our team must find a way to return all of the anachronisms to their original timelines before the time stream falls apart. But before our Legends can jump back into action, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and his newly appointed Time Bureau call their methods into question. With the Time Bureau effectively the new sheriffs in town, the Legends disband - until Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) discovers one of them in the middle of his well-deserved vacation in Aruba.

'Seeing this as am opportunity to continue their time travelling heroics, Sara (Caity Lotz) wastes no time in getting the Legends back together. We reunite with billionaire inventor Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), the unconventional historian-turned-superhero Nick Heywood (Nick Zano), and Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson 'Jax' Jackson (Franz Drameh), who together form the meta-human Firestorm.

'Once reunited the Legends will challenge the Time Bureau's authority over the timeline and insist that however messy their methods may be, some problems are beyond the Bureau's capabilities. Some problems can only be fixed by Legends.'

Thanks to a tweet from Brandon Routh it's been revealed that the Amaya Jiwe version of Vixen from the Justice Society of America (played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers) will also be returning despite not being mentioned in the previous press release.

Legends of Tomorrow will return on the CW this autumn.

Go to Amy's Blog

Universal Reveals The Dark Universe

As the release of The Mummy from Universal Pictures fast approaches the studio has once again been discussing their plans for a shared monster universe, this time with a title, the next film in the series announced and an image of the current principal cast.

The series of films will be known as the Dark Universe, and The Bride of Frankenstein will follow as the next film in the franchise on February 14th 2019. The film will star Javier Badem as Frankenstein's monster, however, no casting has been announced regarding the titular bride.

Some of the other films in the series will include the already announced The Mummy, which stars Tom Cruise as Nick Morton, Russell Crowe as Doctor Jekyll/Mr Hyde and Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet; The Invisible Man starring Johnny Depp. No news regarding other classic Universal monsters such as Dracula, the Wolf-Man or the Creature from the Black Lagoon have yet been announced, however their inclusion does seem to be hinted at in the Dark Universe teaser.

The Mummy is set for release on June 9th.

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Woman Who Sued Her Transgender Daughter Loses Case

In November 2016 Annmarie Calgaro began legal proceedings to sue her daughter for transitioning from male to female. Along with her daughter Calgaro took legal action against two non-profit healthcare providers, the St Louis School Board, the principal at her daughter's school, Saint Louis County, and the director of the county's Health and Human services agency, This week a judge called the case 'meritless' and dismissed the lawsuit.

Calgaro began the lawsuit after learning that her daughter was transgender and was undergoing treatment to transition. She learnt that members of her daughters school staff and other organisations had helped her daughter to begin this process, something that she claimed violated her rights as a parent.

Whilst Calgaro's daughter is considered a minor, she had been officially emancipated with help from a local aid group. Calgaro's daughter had moved away from her family home and was living alone, which the school argued allowed the teenager to make her own medical decisions.

The judge in the case, Paul Magnuson, concluded that teenager was not in fact emancipated as it 'did not act under color of state law' as Minnesota law does not allow a minor to become emancipated for their parents unless a state court makes the decision, which did not happen. Despite this, Calgaro's case was dismissed on Tuesday.

Calgaro's lawyer, Erick Kaardal of the Thomas More Society, has stated that she may consider appealing the decision.

'It was brought to my knowledge that my son began receiving hormone replacement treatment from Park Nicollet Health Services to transition from male to female, with medical assistance paying for this. I was not consulted or informed in any way,' Calgaro told journalists, claiming that her daughter's actions had violated her rights under the 14th Amendment.

The Thomas More Society is an anti-abortion law firm who are currently also in a legal case where they are representing a Texan activist who has attempted to frame Planned Parenthood for buying and selling organs.

Calgaro's daughter, who turns 18 in a few months time, has stated that those who helped her did not pressure her into transitioning or to exclude her mother from the process, but that both decisions were her own.

'My providers had no involvement in my decision not to involve my mother in my healthcare decisions,' she said in court documents. 'I was not pressured in any way by my providers to consent to this treatment.'

It is currently unknown if Annmarie Calgaro intends to appeal the ruling.

Go to Amy's Blog

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Dragon Ball Super To Introduce First Female Super Saiyan

After sixteen years of Super Saiyans Dragon Ball Super will finally be introducing the Dragon Ball saga to the first ever female Super Saiyan.

The latest episode of Dragon Ball Super the Saiyan warrior from Universe 6, Caulifa, will transform into a Super Saiyan for the very first time in preparation for the Multiverse Tournament. The preview for the upcoming episode shows the transformation as she trains with Cabba, her fellow Universe 6 Saiyan.

As Caulifa transforms she's watched by yet another Universe 6 Saiyan, Kale, who we know from promotional images will soon be following Caulifa to become a Super Saiyan, though one who bears a striking resemblance to the Legendary Super Saiyan Brolly.

Go to Amy's Blog

Birmingham Pride To Go Ahead Following Manchester Bombing

Following the tragic nail-bomb attack on the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena last night police and event organisers have assured the public that Birmingham Pride will go ahead this coming weekend.

Organisers are currently in talks with West Midlands Police to review the security of the event, but state that they will not allow the tragedy in Manchester to stop the event.

Assistant Chief Constable Alex Murray of the West Midlands Police told the press; 'Birmingham plays host to Pride this weekend, and we're expecting tens of thousands of visitors to the city. This is an annual event with a parade, music and festivities that are enjoyed by many.

'I appreciate that people planning to attend may feel a sense of nervousness - I would like to take this opportunity to give you some reassurance that a full policing operation is in place and subject to ongoing review.

'Tragic events like last night's explosion in Manchester remind us that attack can occur at any time or place without warning. Everyone needs to be vigilant - be alert not alarmed. As ever, we ask the public to be our eyes and ears. If something doesn't feel right, call us.

Headline acts at this years event include Charlotte Church, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Basement Jaxx and Gabrielle to name just a few.

You can visit Birmingham Pride's website below to learn more about the event.

Go to Amy's Blog

Monday, 22 May 2017

Image Comics Reveals Pride Month Variant Covers

Image Comics is celebrating it's 25th anniversary by making each month of the year themed for variant covers, and this June they're celebrating Pride.

June will see the release of elven variant covers that the company say are 'to celebrate the LGBTQ community and the progress made by the Gay Liberation Movement in promoting inclusivity and support for all'.

So far Image have revealed six of the covers, the proceeds of which will go towards the Human Rights Campaign.

Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson released a statement saying, 'We are so thankful to support the LGBTQ community during Pride Month later this year by partnering once again with the Human Rights Campaign.'

'It's never been a secret that Image Comics is supportive of creative freedom, but it's important that we also make it clear that we stand for inclusivity, diversity and equality, now more than ever. We hope these variants will serve as a positive display of that ongoing commitment.'

The first of the Pride Month variant covers will go on sale on 7th June.

Go to Amy's Blog

Sunday, 21 May 2017

First Trailer For CW's Black Lightning Arrives

The first trailer for the CW's latest addition to their DC television universe, Black Lightning, has been released following months of speculation.

The series will follow Jefferson Pierce, the retired superhero known as Black Lightning who quit crime fighting for his family. Since then Jefferson has gone on to become a high school principal and fights to help his students in a different way.

When Jeffersons daughter Jennifer is recruited by a local gang, however, Black Lightning comes out of retirement to clean up the streets once again.

Black Lightning is scheduled to air as CW's midseason show this coming winter.

Go to Amy's Blog

An Apology

If you're a regular reader of this blog then you'll know that I haven't been writing nearly as many articles as I have in the past. Last year I managed to produce just shy of 300 pieces, now five months into this year and I've made barely more than a dozen.

I want to apologise for this lack f dedication to this site, and to those who have supported me so much over the years.

Part of the reason for this change has been an increase in the amount I've been working in my day to day job, and the launch of my podcast, but it's also because I've not been well.

I've been suffering from a currently undiagnosed medical condition in my leg, one that's been gradually getting worse and more painful. The result of this is a great deal of pain and fatigue, and I've found myself lacking motivation for most of my ordinary tasks, let alone writing articles.

I've been selfish and for that I want to say sorry. I'm going to be trying to do more on this site again, and hope that I can get things back to the way that they were before.

I hope that you'll be as kind and understanding as you've always been, and I hope that you'll bear with me during these ups and downs. Thank you.

Go to Amy's Blog

Six Of The Best - Children's Shows

The first of my contributions to the Smorgasbored websites Six Of The Best articles, here's six of my favourite children's shows.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Whilst the prequel trilogy of Star Wars films were not the best received this new era of the franchise did give birth to one of the best parts of the whole Star Wars saga, The Clone Wars. The films glossed over the Clone War conflict, something that was first mentioned way back in A New Hope, but the series was able to explore this so far untold story.

The series showed us why Anakin Skywalker was considered a great warrior, why he was respected by many. It showed us how awesome a fighter and tactician Obi-Wan was. Most importantly, however, it gave us some of the best characters in the franchise.

The Clone Wars introduced Ahsoka Tano, Anakin's apprentice who would go on to be not only an incredibly important character in the Clone Wars itself, but to be one of the most popular new characters in the Star Wars universe. Along with Ahsoka we we given Captain Rex, one of the coolest clone troopers around, and Asaaj Ventress, the deadly sith assassin.

The show had some dull moments yes, three episode stories following C-3PO and R2-D2 could often become quite dull, but when you had epic lightsaber duels between Obi-Wan and General Grievous, hordes of battle droids fighting clones, and even the surprise return of Darth Maul the high points definitely outweighed them.

The Clone Wars is a must watch for any Star Wars fan, especially if you want Revenge of The Sith to feel like a better film, because this show will make you actually care about what happens in it.

Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z rocks. That's pretty much the main argument for why this is on my list.

Dragon Ball began the franchise as a whacky adventure series that was loosely based off the Legend of the Monkey King, as was a great show. But when the series evolved into Dragon Ball Z things went from good to amazing.

The action ramped up to such a degree that it bordered on the ridiculous (the third season DVD set is a whole season for one fight!), but even at it's most ridiculous there were moments that kept you glued to the screen and made your draw drop with awe.

There have been a number of follow-ups to Z, with Dragon Ball GT having now been erased from continuity to make room for Dragon Ball Super, but none have managed to capture the fanbase in the way that Dragon Ball Z did.

Despite having finished airing in 1996 the show has remained on the air since in reruns, with video games based on the series released every year, and enough merchandise to fill a museum there's no sign of the series popularity fading any time soon.

Gravity Falls

Gravity Falls is the show on this list that I've discovered most recently, and it's one that I fell in love with almost instantly. The show follows twins Mabel and Dipper as they spend their summer staying with their great uncle Stan at his mystery shack in the town of Gravity Falls when they discover that the town may hold the secret to many supernatural and bizarre mysteries.

The best way to describe Gravity Falls would be by mixing Twin Peaks, the X-Files, Stephen King and Doctor Who all together into a blender and animating the results. It's got a great mystery that plays out slowly over the two seasons, but leaves enough hints and clues at the early stages that avid viewers are still finding easter eggs and connections.

The show might be a cartoon aimed at kids but it's easily a masterclass in how to balance character development and plot, humour and horror, and to create a mythology that at times feels wacky and random but makes complete sense.

Out of all the shows on this list Gravity Falls is the one that I will recommend every time someone asks for a good show to watch, even if they don't watch cartoons.

Star Wars: Rebels

Okay, so yes there is a second Star Wars series on this list, but it is my list and I think Rebels is worthy of a place on it. Star Wars Rebels covers four years in the expanse between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and follows a misfit group of freedom fighters who eventually become a part in the creation of the Rebel Alliance as we see them in the later films.

Rebels takes a lot of design queues from the original concept art for the first film and as such has a look and style very much its own yet in keeping with the feel of the larger Star Wars saga. The series also uses its position as a middle stage in the saga to continue on the stories of several prequel/Clone Wars characters whilst also putting into place things that we see play out in Rogue One, A New Hope and even further beyond.

The series has just completed its third season and will soon be beginning its third and final year, so now's a great time to catch up.

Whilst the series is made for kids any adult fan of Star Wars is going to get a whole lot out of it too, and with the final season looking like it's going to end very dark and with probably more than one death (remember, there were no Jedi other than Luke in the rebellion come Episode IV) its sure to offer a satisfying and impactful ending.


With video games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty dominating a great deal of shelf space in stores and being the franchises of choice for 'hardcore' gamer it may be easy for people to overlook how much of a force the Pokemon franchise is, it's the third biggest selling game series of all time behind Super Mario and Sonic.

A part of the success of Pokemon is down to the animated series, which began in 19197 and hasn't been out of production since. With close to 1000 episodes (it's going to be 962 as of 18th May) there's a lot to this series, and with no sign of this monster franchise going anywhere anytime soon there may be another 1000 by the time you get up to date with where the show is now.

I'm a long, long, long way from being up to date with this series, but it holds a very special place in my heart, as I'm sure it does for a lot of people who were the target age when the show started. Whether it's the amazing original theme tune, the bumbling misadventures of Team Rocket or what is still the fantastic Pokemon The First Movie this is a series that is sure to have something for everyone.

Doctor Who

It might be easy for people to forget but Doctor Who started as a show principally designed to appeal to children, albeit one that adults could also watch. The show might not have as many episodes as Pokemon, only 832 so far, but its reach is just a huge.

One of the longest running genre shows of all time the series has been on the air for over 50 year, though with a few decades gap in the middle. It might not be to everyone's tastes, some episodes are very silly and childish, some are very dark and have some high concept sci-fi, but of all the shows on this list it's probably the one with the broadest appeal.

The current series is seeing the final year from both the current show-runner Steven Moffatt and current Doctor Peter Capaldi, so now may be the time to give the series a go if you've not watched it before or if you've not watched the show in a while.

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more like it you can always head over to the Smorgasbored website for loads more! : www.smorgasboredpod.wordpress.com

Go to Amy's Blog

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Trailer Revealed

The trailer for the fourth season of Star Wars Rebels was revealed this weekend at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando.

The new trailer came with the sad news that the season would be the last, and that the show would be coming to an end next year.  Executive producer Dave Filoni announced that the season would conclude the story of the Ghost crew as originally planned and that the time wa right to bring the series to a close.

Disney has confirmed that the final season of the show will consist of fifteen episodes and will begin to air later this year.

Whilst Star Wars Rebels is coming to an end Dave Filoni did tease the audience at the Rebels Panel that another series will begin once Rebels ends, but refused to offer any hints.

Go to Amy's Blog

Everything Left Episode 11 - The Big Coming Out Episode

After an unscheduled break we’re back with a brand new episode with a new intro and new features!  In this episode I’m joined by Adi Anhang whilst we discuss Australian TV, a poorly thought through advert (though probably not the one you’re thinking of) and more than one coming out.

To learn more about Autism awareness you can visit the following sites;

The National Autistic Society

Autism Women’s Network

Twitter: @_EverythingLeft
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EverythingLeftPodcast
Acast: http://www.acast.com/everythingleft
iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/everything-left-podcast/id1159488919?mt=2
Worpress: http://www.everythingleftpodcast.wordpress.com
Blogger: http://www.everythingleftpodcast.blogspot.co.uk

Everything Left is a Trans-Scribe Production
Hosted by Amy Walker
Theme music http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

Parent Protests Gender Neutral Pronouns Used By Brown University

A parent has expressed outrage over the acceptance letter they have received for their daughters application to Brown University in America.  The reason for this, the use of gender neutral pronouns.

News of this matter surfaced after an article by James Freeman was published in the Wall Street Journal in which he ranted against the university.  Freeman said that he received a letter from the parent of a newly accepted Brown student who was angry at the way their daughter was addressed.

The unnamed parent said that they received a letter from the university addressed to the 'parent/guardian' of the student.  The letter welcomed the student to the university and commended them for 'their' contribution and hard work.

The article also reported that the university also left a voicemail message that used gender neutral language.

Whilst most people would be fine with the use of gender neutral language, or perhaps not even notice it, this parent has now refused to allow their daughter to attend Brown University, claiming that 'only left-wing extremists are welcome'.

Wall Street Journal writer James Freeman supported the parents stance and even went as far as to insult the Dean of Admissions at Brown, Logan Powell claiming that he's not 'familiar with pronouns.'

'We've read about the literacy crisis in the U.S. but would not have guessed that that the problem extends to Ivy League administrators.'

Brown University responded to this criticism by explaining that their admissions office 'typically refers to applicants by first name or by using they/their pronouns.  While the grammatical construction may read as unfamiliar to some, it has been adopted by many newsrooms and other organisations as a gender-inclusive option.'

The parent of the student cited the use of gender neutral language as unnecessary as their daughter 'has always been clear what her biological gender and identity is - she's a woman.'

Go to Amy's Blog

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Trans Athlete Wins Australian Weightlifting Event

Transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard has been the focus of international debate following her win at the Australian International in Melbourne on Sunday.

The weightlifter won over her fellow competitors by lifting 19kg more than her closest runner up, something that has some of the other athletes have claimed is due to an unfair advantage due to her being transgender.

The claims have been made by some of the athletes that lost to Hubbard on Sunday, despite the International Olympic Committee disagreeing that she had any form of advantage due to being transgender.

Deborah Acason, one of the other competitors, has spoken out on the matter.  'We all deserve to be on an even playing field.  It's difficult when you believe you are not.  If it's not even, why are we doing the sport?'

Not all of Hubbard's fellow athletes have been expressing such views however.  Bronze medal winner Kaitlyn Fassina stood by Hubbards win and showed her support, 'She is who she is.  That's the way the politics and New Zealanders have decided.  I can't say much more than that.  She is seen as female and that's the way it is.'

Unfortunately, many people seem to be sharing the same opinion as Acason, claiming that Hubbard, and trans athletes in general, have an unfair advantage over fellow competitors.

This outrage over a trans woman winning against other female athletes seems to be the exact opposite of Mack Beggs who recently won a girls wrestling title despite being a trans man.  With people complaining when trans people win in the gender they conform to and winning when they're made to compete in the gender they were assigned to at birth it begs the question, will trans people ever be able to win any event without it being a 'controversy'.

Go to Amy's Blog

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Transphobic Sign Owner Resigns From City Council Presidency

Jay Linn, the owner of Northridge Auto Parts and Repair, has resigned from his position as president of Olmstead Falls city council following complaints about a sign outside of his business.

The sign was erected in early February, and contained the message 'If you don't know who you identify as, pull down your pants and look'.  The business, and Linn himself, quickly attracted complaints on social media, with people labelling the message as being transphobic in nature.

At the time Linn replied by saying, 'There's no malice in the sign.  It's just making the point why does everybody want to be someone else and draw attention to them, be who you are and be happy with who you are.

'I'm a believer that when god put you here, he put you here as what you are.'

Over the following weekend a number of people stood outside of Linn's business in protest, holding their own signs that condemned the message.

Linn announced on Thursday 9th February that he would be resigning from his position on the local city council due to the reaction he had received over the sign.  

'I resigned because the major and I don't share the same views.'  He told local news stations.  Linn has claimed that since placing the sign he has been attacked by LGBT+ groups, received death threats towards himself and his family, and been told that his business will be blown up.  Linn has not, however, filed any police reports regarding any of these claims.

'I haven't filed police reports.  The police are going to do absolutely nothing,'  He complained.  'I shut my Facebook page down.  I'm not going to respond to any more comments.  I serves for 30 years on three different boards and commissions.  I won't bend to any special group.

'My sign meant, why can't these people be satisfied with what god put them on earth as?  Why do they have to re-identify?  Why can't they be satisfied with what they are truly brought into the world as?

'You're looking at non-political correctness right here, I am non-political correctness because I don't give a rats rear end about political correctness.'

When speaking about the matter to a number of news sources Linn was questioned about the sign by trans woman Rissa Trent, who said; 'I questioned him on his position on the City Council.  I said, you're supposed to represent everyone in your city, how can you be impartial when you hate a portion of your community?  He started screaming on the air with, how dare I bring it up.'

Linn has now resigned from his council position, saying that he and the mayor do not share the same views and that he does not agree with the agendas that she is currently pushing forward.

'I've turned in my resignation letter due to you evil sick people.'  He posted on his Facebook page.  'I'm done serving the community that includes you after 30 years.  The mayor has my resignation letter, why don't you email her and ask her for a copy of it.  Once again, you are a sick bunch to try and desecrate a person that serves the community for 30 years that includes you.'

Go to Amy's Blog

Manga Creator Jiro Taniguchi Dies Aged 69

One of the best known and most popular manga artists, Jiro Taniguchi, has passed away aged 69, his publisher has announced.

Mr Taniguchi was born in Tattori City in 1947 and moved to Tokyo to become a manga creator, with his first work, 'Kareta Heya', being published in 1970.  Taniguchi was well known and loved for his signature fine line drawing style and shading without ink.

He published many works aimed at an adult audience, with stories depicting the everyday lives of ordinary people.

Taniguchi's work was popular outside of Japan, possibly due to his western influenced art style, and he received a number of awards for his work, including several Eisner Awards and an Ignatz Award.  His work proved to be very popular in France, where he was even knighted as a chevalier in France's Ordre des Arts et des letters in 2011.

His publisher described him as an 'extraordinarily kind and gentle' man.  'The humanism that imbued all his work is familiar with readers, but the man himself is less well-known, naturally reserved in character and more inclined to let his work speak on his behalf.'

Go to Amy's Blog

Saturday, 11 February 2017

School Cancels Visit From Trans Author Calling It 'Inappropriate'

The multi-award winning author Juno Dawson has had her visit to a Catholic school cancelled because she's transgender.

Dawson has been visiting schools across the UK to promote her latest book, 'Margot and Me', and was due to visit Brownedge St. Mary's Catholic High School in Preston, Lancashire.  However, just 48 hours before her visit Dawson received news that the event had been cancelled.

Speaking to BuzzFeed news, the author has said that a member of the school staff informed the company that had organised the visit that the event had been deemed 'inappropriate', stating that the 'subject matter' meant that 'they didn't think it was suitable'.

'It's a perfectly appropriate book for that audience,' Dawson said.  'All week I've been speaking to year seven and eights with no problems - in a mixture of grammar schools, private schools, faith schools, all sorts of different schools.'

Dawsons latest book, 'Margot and Me', is aimed at teenage readers and follows a teenage girl named Fliss, who is staying with her grandmother in Wales whilst her mother recuperates from chemotherapy, and the diary she finds made by her grandmother in the 1940's.

The visit would have consisted with a discussion about the book and its historical context, including the role of women in the 20th century.  After the visit was cancelled one of the event organisers contacted the school to try to make other arrangements for the visit, including speaking to an older year group.  However, a member of the school staff informed them that the senior staff had 'forbidden' Dawson's visit.

Dawson has said that she was deeply upset by the school's position.  'I went through stages - the first was I felt personally attacked and quite mortified.  But then I became angry as I very quickly realised that you can't do that - you can't discriminate against people because of their gender.'

'There will be young people at Brownedge who will be LGBT.  Those kids knew I was coming and now I'm not.  It beggars belief.  One does wonder what kind of support those kids are getting.'

Since the publication of the original BuzzFeed article the school has removed their tweet to Juno Dawson to say that they were looking forward to her coming visit.

The headteacher of Brownedge, Martin Reynolds, has denied that the event has been cancelled, claiming that they had instead requested that it be rescheduled until later in the year, denying any allegations of discrimination.

Dawson and the event organisers have said that the school's response in untrue, as they have not requested the event to be held at a different time, and that they have turned away all attempts to reorganise the visit.  Reynolds' response has been labelled as 'back-peddling'.

'I won't be the only person this is happening to, and historically trans people have really struggled with employment, because we feel we can't survive in the workplace.'  Dawson has said.  'I consider myself very privileged in that I'm freelance and work within the arts, but this was a brutal reminder that for trans people employment is really hard and that's why I couldn't let it go.'

Dawson is planning to write to the head of the school and is considering taking legal advice.

Go to Amy's Blog

Republican Lawmaker Mocks Trans Violence

During a recent panel discussion hosted by the Texas Tribune on 7th February Texas Republican state representative Briscoe Cain made comments that reduced violence against transgender people as 'dudes walking around in dresses getting beat up'.

Cain made the comments when asked by moderator Evan Smith to defend Senate Bill 6, one of a number of new anti-transgender bills that target bathroom use currently proposed in state legislator.  The bill, if passed, would require people to use the restrooms that match the gender assigned to them on their birth certificate rather than the gender they live as, similar to the North Carolina HB2 bill.

'We shouldn't be penalising [people who discriminate],' Cain responded, 'it wasn't a problem when I was a child.  Was it a problem when you were a kid?  I don't remember dudes walking around in dresses getting beat up.  It wasn't a thing, and now I think we're encouraging it.'

Cain went on to cite the bill as being about private businesses being 'forced to make accommodations for people who want to use bathrooms that have nothing to do with them'.  He went on to add; 'Men need to use men's restrooms'.

He explained that he and other Republicans were 'emboldened' to pursue Senate Bill 6 after the defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which would have provided protection for LGBT+ people from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

'That's when we really began to be emboldened.  We realised that it wasn't just a political thing.  That parents, grandparents, everybody's concerned about men and women's bathrooms, shower rooms and locker rooms.'

The entire discussion can be viewed in the video below, with the comments regarding Senate Bill 6 beginning around 27 minute mark.

Go to Amy's Blog

Friday, 10 February 2017

Teacher Suspended For Showing LGBT+ Anti-Bullying Video

Kimberly Fernetti, a school teacher from North Carolina's North Lincoln High School, was suspended from her position after showing her class a video that highlights the harm of LGBT+ bullying.

Ms Fernetti showed her class the popular video 'Love is All You Need', which follows a young girl in a world where homosexuaity is seen as the norm who falls in love with someone of the opposite gender.  The film shows the girl bullied and harassed for liking a boy to the point where she takes her own life at the end.

The film has attracted huge amounts of praise for its portrayal of homophobic bullying and the effect that it can have on people.  The short has also been praised for doing so by using the simple method of flipping the scenario to have hetrosexual people abused for their sexuality to show the ridiculousness of homophobic bullying.

Unfortunately, a number of the parents of Ms Fernetti's students complained about the video being shown in her class, resulting in the school suspending her whilst they launched an investigation into the incident.

A number of the parents cited the depiction of the girl taking her own life as the reason for the complaints, though several people involved in the matter have speculated that the complaints may have originated with the fact that the film sends the message that homosexuality is okay, and that it should be treated the same as heterosexuality.

Whilst parents have complained about the film, students from Ms Fernetti's class have praised it.  One student told news station WSOC-TV, 'I think it's a great message to get out in the school.  I personally have dealt with bullying, so I think it's good to get the point across that 'Hey, it's not okay to pick on somebody'.'

Ms Fernetti's suspension has since ended, however, no official comment has yet been made regarding the incident.

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Author Defends Book From Anti-Trans Criticism and Hate

A new book, 'Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?', has received criticism from politicians and right wing newspapers such as the Daily Mail.

The book, which has already been introduced to some primary schools as a learning resource to students, parents and teachers, follows the character of Kit, who was assigned female at birth but wishes to transition and live as male.

'My name is Kit and I'm 12 years old.  I live in a house with my mum and dad, and our dog, Pickle.  When I was born, the doctors told my mum and dad that they had a baby girl, and for the first few years of my life that's how my parents raised me.  This is called being assigned female at birth.  I was never happy that way.'

Despite not being fully published and available to the general public yet, the book has received huge amounts of criticism from anti-trans opponents.  Former Chairman of the Conservative Party, Lord Tebbit, has said that the book is 'damaging to children to introduce uncertainty in their minds'.

Right wing newspaper The Daily Mail has also attacked the book as journalist Sarah Vine claims the 'target audience is children not even old enough to choose their A-Level subjects, let alone challenge their own biology.'  Vine also went on to say, 'In attempting to improve the lives of a vanishingly small minority, we are threatening the sanity of - and yes I'm going to say it - normal children.  It's time to put an end to this nonsense.'

Former Conservative Home Office Minister Ann Widdecombe has also called the book 'nonsense'.  'You can't expect children to say that's not a boy when it obviously is.  At the age of seven, you know if someone is a boy or if they are a girl.  It's normal.  It's like they're trying to do away with one of the basic pieces of childhood understanding.  All I can say is that it's dotty to think it as made up but for the fact that it's paid for by the taxpayer.'

'This is political correctness gone mad'.  Ukip West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour claimed.  'We should let our children be children.  The government and schools should not be wasting tax payers money on this.'

The books author, LGBT+ activist CJ Atkinson, has spoken out regarding the level of hate the book has received, and the misleading media coverage.

'We call it trans-panic,' they said,  speaking to The Guardian.  'This mud slinging needs to stop.  It causes active harm.  When you have a group of transgender young people, one in two will consider suicide, one in three will attempt it.'

Many of the media articles on the book have claimed that Atkinson has called for schools to stop calling pupils boys and girls, something that they have vehemently denied.  'I would not go to a seven-year-old and say 'you can't call yourself anything'.  That's not what I've written.

'If you identify as a girl, assigned female at birth, and you like the colour pink, you like wearing dresses and sparkly things, that's awesome.  But if you're a boy who likes pink sparkly things that's also awesome.

'It's not a case of saying, let's break everything down until there's nothing, there's no meaning to anything.  It's a case of opening up so everybody can have access to everything.

'Writing the book, I had joked about the fact that I knew there would be some people who would not read it but still have a lot to say about it.  I'm not naive.  Lord Tebbit said it's the worst thing on earth - he's opposed to the idea of the book.  Ann Widdecombe said it was dotty.  In this particular case, quite literally, they don't know what they're talking about.  They have not read the book.'

You can read the full interview with CJ Atkinson here:  www.theguardian.com


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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Part 2 Trailer Reveals Movie Connections

The trailer for the second half of the third season of Star Wars Rebels has arrived, and it looks like the show is set to continue to deliver some great universe building and connections to the existing franchise.

The show has already featured heavy connections to The Clone Wars with the inclusion of Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex and Darth Maul to name but a few characters, and appearances from original trilogy stalwarts such as R2-D2, C3-PO, Darth Vader and Princess Leia.  It's also been connected to the latest film release Rogue One in blink and you'll miss them cameos from Hera, Chopper and even the Ghost itself.

More connections appear to be on their way going into the final half of the season as the latest trailer reveals appearances from Rebellion leaders Senator Organa, General Dondonna and Mon Mothma.  These three feature heavily in Rogue One, with Dondonna and Mothma also playing large leadership roles on A New Hope and Return of the Jedi respectively, as such it's no surprise to see them featuring as the series further explores the formation of the rebellion as the larger group we know in the feature films.

One of the extra benefits of having these characters in the later half of the season is not just that it shows more of the rebellion, bringing it more in line with that of the original trilogy, but with the inclusion of Saw Gerrera we may also get to see the 'disagreement' between him and the rebellion that was hinted at in Rogue One.

Speaking of Saw Gerrera, not only is the Clone Wars/Rogue One character due to make an appearance in the opening two-part story 'Ghosts of Geonosis', but will also be voiced by Forest Whitaker.

Sticking with the Rogue One connections, it would appear that Grand Admiral Thrawn is going to be getting his hands dirty in the second half of the season, with an all out assault on the rebellion with the aim of destroying everyone involved.  Joining him to provide body-guard duties are the Death Troopers.

Having previously been seen in the latest film installment acting as an elite squad under the command of Death Star creator Director Krennic, the black clad troopers will continue their role as guards for high ranking Imperial Navy officers.

Perhaps most exciting in the trailer, however, is the reveal of the anticipated, possibly final, confrontation between Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tattooine.   Since featured in the very first episode of the show fans have been hoping for the return of the Jedi General, and with Maul back in the galaxy and in possession of the knowledge of his location this became a certainty.

The final scenes of the trailer begin feature an old 'Ben' Kenobi sitting by a fire and the figure of Maul approaches, with a voice eerily similar to Alec Guinness telling him 'you're in the wrong place'.  Maul ignites his sabre and Obi-Wan takes his classic fighting stance.

Not only are fans getting to see these long time adversaries facing each other for the first time since the Clone Wars, some 15 years for the two of them, but it raises some hugely exciting questions for the Star Wars universe.  If Kanan and Ezra follow Maul to Tattooine, which they likely will, how will this affect the original trilogy?  Will Obi-Wan meet the two Jedi?  Will he leave Tattooine for a short time and take a larger role in the war against the Empire?

However this moment will play out, it's sure to be one of the most exciting and far reaching moments of the series, easily on par with the season two finale that saw Ahsoka and Darth Vader finally face each other in battle.

Star Wars Rebels is set to return on 7 January.


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Mass Effect Andromeda Release Date Announced

After months of waiting and speculation the release date for Mass Effect Andromeda, the latest installment of the hugely popular video game series, has finally been announced, with release set for 21 March in North America and 23 March in Europe.

The news was tweeted on the game's official Twitter page, and announced in a blog post by BioWare vice president Aaryn Flynn.

Flynn also goes on to talk about the game's use of the new Frostbite engine to deliver a 'tremendous graphical jump' in comparison to the series previous installment.

Mass Effect Andromeda is due for release on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.


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Chinese Transgender Man Wins First Ever Dismissal Case

A transgender man in China, identified only as Chen, has won a landmark discrimination legal case against his former employers, in what has been described as the first such case in Chinese history.

The court ruled that Chen was illegally fired from his job at a medical centre in south-west China after having been employed for only a week.

Despite being found guilty of illegal dismissal, the company was not ordered to apologise to Chen by the judge, who has claimed that there is not enough evidence to say that he was dismissed due to his gender identity.  Chen was awarded 2,000 yuan (£234), which equates to a months wage.

Chen has spoken out regarding the outcome of the case, saying 'I have always said that this case was never about the money.  This lawsuit was about three things, dignity, raising awareness of transgender  and other sexual minorities, and pushing for anti-discrimination legislation.'

Chen has said that he was 'quite happy' with the ruling; 'It is the first case in China where a sexual minority wins, it's also good news for the community.'

Although he has a positive attitude regarding the outcome, Chen has said that he will continue legal challenges against his former employer to force for an official apology.

Sadly, Chen has said that this is not the first case of discrimination that he has had to face in his life.  Despite having caring and accepting parents, he claims that he was often bullied at school by both classmates and teaching staff due to his gender identity.

'I was bullied by classmates and teachers would just ignore my existence.  When I first started looking for work I often felt discrimination and was never promoted.'

China remains a deeply conservative country in regards to both gender identity and sexual orientation, with homosexuality only being decrimilised in 1997, and being anything other than straight being classed as a mental illness until 2001.  In 2016 authorities within China banned all depictions of LGBT+ people on Chinese television, as part of a cultural clampdown aimed at 'vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content'.


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