Watch This What you need to know about undocumented LGBTQ+ people
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Speaking Of… My gay cousin taught me how to be a better civil rights lawyer
Reginald J. Clyne is a Miami trial lawyer who has practiced in some of the largest law firms in the United States.
I grew up in a household that was very much about promoting civil rights, and as a child in the 1960s, civil rights was only about racial equality between Blacks and whites.
As I have grown older, and hopefully wiser, I realize that civil rights pertains to many groups, peoples and sexual orientations. When I was a teenager, the worst insult you could call another male was “gay” or “queer.” Back then, I did not know of one person in my high school who was openly gay. It came as a shock at subsequent reunions how many of my peers were gay as times changed and they became public.
The pain of being “gay” was brought into sharp focus by my cousin, Peter Seegobin. During Christmas and summer breaks, I would visit Trinidad & Tobago, the homeland of my mother. She came from a large family, and I had roughly 40 or so first cousins, all about 1-2 years older or younger than me. The MacFarlane Clan traveled together, partied together and generally had a good time. Peter was quiet, somewhat depressed and did not speak with gusto when the rest of his male cousins discussed various young ladies of interest.
At the age of 15 or 16, Peter dressed in all black and laid down on a main highway at night with the hope that a car would hit him and end his life. He secretly knew that he was not attracted to women, but God forbid other males. He wanted to end his life, because he knew he was “different” and that socially he would be an outcast if he announced that he was gay. His biggest fear was that his mother and the rest of the family would not accept him as he was and shun him.
After his attempted suicide, he gathered up the courage and told his mother, my aunt Cynthia, that he was gay – unhappy and afraid that she would not love him. To his astonishment, his mother grabbed him and gave him a big hug and told him that she loved him. From that moment, like a beautiful butterfly coming out of a cocoon, Peter emerged. He became the life of every party, radiating love and happiness.
His life was not roses – he was beaten, a common practice in the Caribbean against homosexuals. The police were indifferent to his pleas for help. Peter explained this to me one night and my life was transformed. I came to the realization that civil rights were meant for everyone.
Read the story on Miami Times
Say it Louder I am a trans kid who fought for years in Court for my basic rights. It shouldn’t have been this hard.
Gavin Grimm graduated from Gloucester High School in Virginia in 2017.
I was a high school freshman when I first spoke at the Gloucester County School Board and said, “I deserve the rights of every other human being.”
It was 2014. The year when I first told my mom I was transgender, when I first used the boys’ restroom at school, and when the school board voted to deny me the right to use the same restroom as any other boy.
My school initially had no problems with my living as a boy. I was promised by administrators that I’d be referred to exclusively as “he” and “him,” and by my name, Gavin. At first, I avoided the boys’ restroom — I was too scared my peers might harass me or reject my presence. Instead, I used the bathroom in the nurse’s office. But my school was big, and having to book it from one side of the school to the other and back every time I needed to use the restroom quickly became unrealistic.
So I got the green light from my principal to use the boys’ restroom. That was when word started to spread. My peers began treating me differently, putting an uncomfortable distance between us, getting up from the lunch table when I sat down next to them. Within two months I became a top agenda item at the school board meeting, where parents directed vitriol at me and constantly misgendered me.
Now, over six years and several court decisions later, the Supreme Court has finally affirmed what should have been a simple request to live like any other kid, rejecting an appeal by the school board and allowing a lower-court decision in my favor to stand. It’s the third time in recent years the court has refused to take up a challenge to a legal triumph by trans youth whose constitutional rights were violated.
At last, my victory feels final. But I shouldn’t have had to fight this hard.
Read the story on Washington Post
Less of This What prison steals from kids tried as adults
The following is an interview with JS, a 19 year old five years into their prison sentence. Their real name has been concealed.
Ko Bragg: What is it like spending your childhood in prison?
JS: I was 14 when I first got arrested, and a month before I turned 15, I was in prison. It's really emotional watching everyone you grew up with do the things you wanted to do without you, and it's very hard to continue living a happy life when you are young and don't know what all that time means. Because I really wasn't even mature enough to make decisions that would be for better or worse.
KB: Do you think prisons should exist? Should police exist?
JS: I feel as if prison should be held but only for rehabilitating reasons, because the way it's set up is hard for us to mentally stay focused from all the trials and tribulations we face daily. Police should exist because they are supposed to be a sense of protection, but law enforcement should have certain requirements, because our own kind is more scared rather than feeling protected whenever their presence is around.
Instead of police overwhelming kids, I think kids should have a gathering center where they have counseling, recreational time, and numerous learning experiences so they could embrace the feeling of actually being a child—and to know the proper steps of becoming a successful adult.
KB: What do you think about kids being charged as adults in the first place?
JS: The thing with charging teens as adults [should be] to rehabilitate us and expand our minds. But the amount of time that they even approach a teenager with is more than we even lived on earth. I understand wrong is wrong, but when you actually lived your whole teenage years incarcerated it really makes you think that there's no understanding with the system. Because who would want their child to miss everything that really matters at that early age? Some children might not be mentally ready for those situations that they have to adapt to, so I feel as if teens shouldn't be charged as adults.
Read the story on Scalawag
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