LGBT News Update 1/9/17

Bullied student accepts his air force diploma in a red dress and heels

Talles de Oliveira Faira

Talles de Oliveira Faira accepts his diploma while looking fabulous. CEN

After years of homophobic bullying, openly gay student Talles de Oliveira Faira made a bold statement at his graduation from Brazil‘s prestigious and hyper-masculine Aeronautic Technology Institute of the Air Force.

Faira, 24, shared on social media that the environment was a difficult one for him.


“Since I was 12 years old I listened to wonderful things about the Institute,” he said. “I heard that it was the best university in the country and that it could open you several opportunities in the future. The institute was my dream. I did not know that it was going to be the worst deception of my life.”

Faira said the abuse he suffered at the university as an openly gay student came from both staff and his fellow students.

“Since childhood they teach us that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual is a shame and then we take a lot of time to heal those injuries. They insulted me, they laughed at me and tried to make me invisible.”

“There are no sad electrons, there are no electrons with psychological problems, there are no gay electrons,” a lecturer at the school told him, he reports.

Another individual at the school told him, “If I were you I’d kill myself.”

“When I arrived at the institute I decided that it was enough. Either you accept me as I am or you would be exposed for what you really are,” he said.

Talles de Oliveira Faira at his graduation.

Faira walked up to receive his diploma after his name was called and yanked off his robe, revealing his outfit.

Watch the powerful moment in the video below.



Boulder hospital employee quits over gay pride flag screen saver

BOULDER, Colo. — Most employees in the workplace personalize their screen savers to bring a little bit of home to their daily workplace, but one Boulder woman said her choice of a screen saver landed her in hot water with her employer.

Michelle Hurn said was a registered dietitian at Boulder Community Health, where she’s worked for a year and a half.

“It kind of rotates between pictures of me running, my chickens, my dog. The last screen saver I had before this was me and my wife after we went to a wedding,” said Hurn.

Hurn said after the presidential election, she chose to show her support for gay pride with a pride flag on a desktop computer at work.

Hurn said she is openly lesbian and fully supports equality for the LGBTQI community.

“I’m going to put the flag up. It’s a symbol to be of equality and, you know, of pride — especially for people who are marginalized,” said Hurn.

But one complaint from a co-worker prompted a call from her boss insisting that the image be deleted or she would be fired, Hurn said.

“I’m certainly not looking for special treatment or preferential treatment, but to say that a symbol of equality is offensive — I have a real problem with that and I just don’t feel good working for an organization that’s going to stand behind that,” said Hurn.

Hurn claimed to Denver7 she spoke several times with hospital administrators, who each time refused to support her position.

“I was very surprised that HR, my boss, the director of our department, they all told me they like me, they think I’m a good dietitian, they think I do great work, but if I’m going to put the symbol back up, then they’re going to start the discipline process and that I was going to be fired,” said Hurn.

Representatives for Boulder Community Health said management asked the screen saver to be removed from a shared work computer due to a coworker dispute. Rob Vissers, president and CEO of Boulder Community Health, released a statement.

I’m writing today to share my personal feelings on the recent media report implying that Boulder Community Health is not supportive of the LGBTQI community and its allies.

BCH unequivocally supports the right of all employees to be part of a welcoming and safe workplace. We are proud to be a community owned and operated health system that reflects the deeply held values of tolerance and inclusiveness that define Boulder.

While BCH normally would not comment on specific personnel issues, important inaccuracies in a recent media report compel me to vary from that approach. An employee recently resigned from her position related to use of a shared workplace computer and a dispute with a coworker. The employee who resigned was never threatened with termination by any member of the management team or Human Resources Department at BCH. The employee was offered the opportunity to have formal or informal mediation with her coworker but declined that option and chose to resign.

The media report also stated that the gay pride flag was on a list of offensive images that are banned at BCH. There is not and never has been such a list. It is BCH practice that communications and images in shared workspaces be neutral. The purpose of this practice is to maintain a workplace that is focused on patient care.  In this specific situation, the employee resigned rather than accept our content neutrality practice.

Unfortunately, American society is increasingly polarized and we in Boulder are not immune to that divisiveness. I am deeply saddened that this incident has caused members of our community to feel unwelcome at BCH. This is not who we are and does not represent our values.

We at BCH are proud of and deeply value the diversity and inclusiveness of our workforce, but this incident has made us realize we still have much work to do in order to provide the accepting environment our employees and patients deserve and expect. Over the next two weeks, we will hold a series of employee meetings to specifically discuss issues of workplace equality and our internal culture. These meetings represent an opportunity to reinforce the bedrock values that underlie Boulder Community Health and to listen to our community to facilitate healing and understanding. We will use this moment to move forward together.

Conestoga football players admit harassment in ‘No Gay Thursday’ hazing incident

Three former Conestoga High School football players have each admitted to a lone harassment offense in the hazing scandal that cost coach John Vogan his job, Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan announced on Tuesday.

The players — all charged as juveniles — initially were accused of assaulting a freshman player during a weekly hazing ritual dubbed “No Gay Thursday.”

When Hogan announced criminal charges in March, he claimed three senior players penetrated the victim’s rectum with a broomstick after refusing to help other underclassmen clean the team locker room in their underwear. No one came to the freshman’s aid as he screamed in pain, Hogan had said.

But Hogan walked back those claims on Tuesday in a joint statement he issued alongside the three former players’ defense attorneys. Each player admitted to a summary harassment offense, “which makes it a crime to intentionally subject another person to physical contact.”

The three former players – all 17 years old at the time of the October 15, 2015 incident — had been facing criminal charges of assault, conspiracy, possessing an instrument of crime, unlawful restraint and related offenses.

“When the victim refused to clean and attempted to leave the locker room, he was shoved, pushed and briefly held down by the three charged juveniles in an effort to get him to clean the locker room,” the statement reads. “One of the charged juveniles briefly poked the victim with a broom stick in the leg. The intent of the charged juveniles was to scare the victim and coerce him to cooperate with other team members in the joint cleanup of the locker room, and not to do the victim any physical harm.”

The statement says the victim “did not suffer any physical injury,” but only reported the incident to his father after he was charged with a separate juvenile offense several months later. The victim, the three former football players and Hogan are “in full agreement with this disposition,” the statement reads.

The incident allegedly occurred as part of “No Gay Thursday,” a weekly ritual in which actions otherwise deemed as “gay” were permissible, Hogan said last March. The ritual included upperclassmen placing their genitals on other players’ heads, players “grinding” up against other players’ legs and upperclassmen ordering younger players to undress them.

Investigators found evidence that “No Gay Thursday” dated back at least three years, but found no evidence that the team’s coaching staff was aware of it. Hogan previously said the coaches, whose offices were located down the hall, failed to supervise the team locker room.

No coach was present during the incident involving the three charged players.

Vogan resigned about two weeks after charges were filed against the players. The entire varsity and junior varsity coaching staffs were subsequently relieved of any coaching responsibilities through the fall 2016 season.

Because the case is a juvenile matter, all records are sealed. The parties will not make any further public comment, the statement reads.

“The victim, the charged juveniles and their respective families all would like to the opportunity to move on with their lives,” the statement reads. “We all hope never to see an incident like this in Chester County again.”

  Prosecutors drop case over Facebook threats to kill gays

WILTON MANORS, Fla. — A federal judge agreed with prosecutors on Wednesday to drop charges against a man accused of threatening on Facebook to “exterminate” gay people.

District Judge William Zloch dismissed the case against Craig Jungwirth, who had been indicted by a grand jury with interstate transmission of a threatening communication. He had faced a potential sentence of 10 to 16 months in prison.

Prosecutors had requested on Tuesday that the charges be dropped, six weeks after announcing in court that the evidence against Jungwirth was “weak,” according to a report in The Sun-Sentinel ( ).

An FBI affidavit said Jungwirth, 50, of Orlando, posted several threats on Facebook against LGBT people in Wilton Manors, Florida, which has a large gay population. In August 2016, the affidavit said, Jungwirth threatened to launch a Labor Day attack bigger than the Pulse gay nightclub shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people and wounded dozens last June.

The case was based in part on a tipster’s screenshot of the Facebook post. But at a Nov. 15 federal court hearing, prosecutor Marc Anton told a judge that the evidence against Jungwirth was “weak” and circumstantial because investigators had been unable to definitively link the threat to him, even though the affidavit said the FBI was able to show that multiple threats were posted from his mother’s computer.

U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Sarah Schall declined comment.

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