Mississippi Segregation Schools Ban Pregnant and LGBTQ Students

Yes, you read that right. In Mississippi, there are schools that ban pregnant and LGBTQ students from attending, according to Huffington Post.  

Mississippi senator Cindy Hyde-Smith recently revealed that she attended a segregation academy in the past and then later sent her daughter to one. Segregation academies were and still are, private schools found in Mississippi and the surrounding areas that allow people to pay in order to keep students segregated so that race mixing (which for some reason is still a problem for some people) does not occur. These schools came about after the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education in which the Supreme Court declared segregation to be unconstitutional. Many white families felt that the ruling was unjust and thus paid schools, often with government grants, to keep segregation in education. 

Luckily these schools cannot legally discriminate against students of color but they do still exist and have recently received a rush of public funding. At least six schools in Mississippi ban pregnant students from attending and one bans both pregnant and LGBTQ students. All of the six schools' handbooks say that any female student who is pregnant and any male students responsible for pregnancies will be expelled and will not be allowed re-admission. The handbook of Hillcrest Christian School in Jackson, MS, says that female students may be asked to take a pregnancy test. Does anyone else think that that is a huge invasion of privacy? Students who terminate their pregnancy will also be expelled and denied re-admission.  

Northpoint Christian School's handbook says that homosexuality is grounds for dismissal and that any applicant “who promotes, engages in, or identifies himself/herself with such activity through any action” will not be admitted.

Madison-Ridgeland Academy's dress code has racial undertones, as it bans hairstyles including cornrows, twists, and dreadlocks. Do they know that subtle racism is still racism?

Some of the schools' websites advertise their bigotry online without actually mentioning segregation; Magnolia Heights School in Senatobia brands their discrimination as "alternative education," while on Northpoint Christian School's website it says that the school was founded because people had a "vision for a Christian school in the Whitehaven, Tennessee community."

Segregated schools still, unfortunately, exist across the entire country which is a grim reminder that the Jim Crow laws were not too far in the past and that the effects of such laws still permeate throughout American society and take form in the shape of racism and bigotry towards minority and marginalized groups. People can't change their race or sexuality and by schools being legally allowed to discriminate against someone based on an inherent trait should be met with great scorn. Until we see people as just people and not their race or sexuality, these problems will continue to exist. 

h/t: Huffington Post, Washington Post

College Student Banned From Having Same-Sex Guests In Dorm

Maybe Austin isn't as progressive as we thought?

A University of Texas (UT) student living in a private dormitory is accusing the residence of discriminating against her. The Scottish Rite Dormitory (SRD) is private all-female home for more than 300 women. The UT freshman, Kaj Baker, says she’s the only one at SRD not allowed to have ANY guests.

Apparently there have been complaints about her and her female friend using the study lounge too much.  Without the school speaking up, we do not know if the complaints highlight poor activity, but apparently the couple fell asleep once in the lounge.

CBSAustin reports on the issue.



“They told me that girls need to feel safe here, and I asked her if we made people feel unsafe. She said, ‘I'm not going there. I'm not going there just yet,’” Baker recalls. Baker recorded a half-hour meeting with SRD officials. She shared those recordings with CBS Austin. In one clip Baker asks what rules she’s broken but does not receive an answer.

Scottish Rite Dormitory strives to create an environment which allows our residents to focus on completing their higher education goals while meeting our Parent's expectation of creating an atmosphere that fosters the growth and well being of their daughters while attending the University. We have no further comment. Thank you.

- Email response from SRD director Mary Mazurek

“If this guest ban was simply about the rules then us being gay or me being gay should have never been brought into it at all,” Baker says.

Of course this does not speak ill of Austin, but it does point a finger at a private business that has allegedly chosen to discriminate against one of its tenants.

Have any of our college readers dealt with a similar case of discrimination?

h/t: CBSAustin

Malaysia's Next Potential Prime Minister Seeks to Abolish Anti-Gay Laws

Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's forthcoming Prime Minister, is adamant in dismantling antiquated anti-gay laws, according to Into More.

Malaysia has not had the best track record in regard to LGBT rights, with the country's government not being able to accept LGBTQ people as it goes against the dominant religion of Islam. Gay sex is also illegal in Malaysia and people who are charged and found guilty of having gay sex can find themselves imprisoned for years up to twenty years.

One such person is Anwar Ibrahim, who was found guilty of having gay sex in both 1998 and 2008 and has spent a total of eleven years in jail. This is, I presume, partially why Ibrahim wants to do away with the archaic laws. Ibrahim has repeatedly denied the charges against him.

He has called the sodomy laws "unjust" and said that "Not only [am I a] victim, but many others can be victims." Frequently when Ibrahim when imprisoned he was placed in solitary confinement. His response to being denied seeing anyone is quite poetic. He said: "when it is denied to you, freedom is a torture and also a reason for survival." He also said that being in a small cell for a decade is "a tough experience" and that "You need to be strong-willed, you have a strong sense of conviction of what you believe in... if you understand that this is against the system, which is blatantly unjust, you realize that it's not going to be easy." 

Malaysia's current Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has said that LGBT rights are western values and another Malaysian politician, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, announced that the government will be releasing Guide to Self Migration, a "self-help" book that is basically a how-to manual for conversion therapy. It is currently available in the Google Play store but I don't recommend any Android users download it.

During a meeting, Ibrahim said in regard to the sodomy laws: "I've called publicly for the revision of the laws because I consider them archaic and they could be used against people." Some people in the meeting believe that he is talking around the question, saying that he's more concerned about protecting innocent people than protecting the rights of LGBTQ Malaysians. Anwar's wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has said that gay and trans people can coexist in Malaysia as long as they don't promote their "lifestyle." Despite this, both he and his wife strongly condemned the whipping of two women who were "attempting to have sex."

Ibrahim has also promised to reform Malaysia's socioeconomic and political inequality against the marginalized, as a staggering 99.7% of Malaysian children who live in low-income housing in Kuala Lumpur are impoverished, 7% are living in complete poverty, and 22% have stunted growth due to malnutrition. 

It seems to me that LGBTQ rights in Malaysia are slowly coming into light with more people accepting non-heterosexual identities, but there is still a great deal of homophobia among the Malaysian population. It's nice to see that a potential politician is taking steps to increase LGBTQ rights, but is he really doing it for the sake of LGBTQ people? Let's hope so.

h/t: Into More

Hong Kong's Parliament Refuses To Consider Marriage Equality

Currently no countries in Asia offer any form of legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

And, for the moment, that’s how it will remain after Hong Kong’s Parliament voted down a measure that would have considered granting ‘equal rights’ to same-sex couples by a margin of 27 to 24, according to The Guardian.

“The government keeps avoiding studying policies for homosexual groups,” openly gay lawmaker Raymond Chan told the South Morning Post.

As the official who proposed the legislation, he demanded, “Opponents of this motion have to explain why they reject even such a small step forward.”

A socially-conservative region of the world, no countries in Asia offer same-sex marriage or civil unions. Opponents of such legal actions say any recognition of gay or lesbian relationships could negatively impact society.

Hong Kong has been slightly more liberal on LGBTQ issues having decriminalized homosexuality in 1991, as well as agreeing to recognize same-sex relationships when considering visas for visiting dependents.

The motion by Chan wasn’t even a move to make marriage equality legal. It would have simply asked the government  “to study the formulation of policies for homosexual couples to enter into a union so that they can enjoy equal rights as heterosexual couples.”

In related news, citizens of Taiwan will vote on a referendum this Saturday on the question of whether the island nation should recognize same-sex marriages, as well as whether homosexuality should be included in educational curriculum. 

In 2017, Taiwan’s high court ruled that gay and lesbian couples should have the right to marry and gave the country’s legislative body two years to make marriage equality legal.

The most socially liberal nation in the Asia region, over 130,000 attended Taiwan's Pride Parade this year.

(h/t The Guardian)

Australia's 'White Magazine' Shuts Down After Denying Same-Sex Wedding Inclusion

White Magazine, an Australian wedding magazine, has shuttered after facing backlash for not including same-sex couples in the publication.

Founders Luke and Carla Burrell announced in a blog post that White Magazine would be shutting down after 12 years due to pressures following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia at the beginning of the year.


Celebrating love and relationships – rather than selling products – has always been White’s message.

Last year the Australian law was changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. Since then we have been asked repeatedly why our magazine had not yet featured all couples.

Like many people, we have had to reflect on our beliefs, not to judge ourselves or others, but to intentionally make space for new conversations. It’s a long and continuing journey, it’s not black and white, there are so many grey areas that need to be explored. Our greatest mandate is to love and the biggest question we’ve continued to ask ourselves throughout it is, how do we best love?


Interestingly, the Burrell's version of 'best love' was to not allow same-sex weddings to be included in their publication.

Writing they have "no desire but to love," the Burrells say they had hoped to have "space to work through our thoughts and feelings."

But they claim a campaign was launched against them and they've lost sponsors due to their one-sided position on the issue.

"We hope that one day soon our society can learn to accept people’s differences and different points of view and love each other no matter what," they write in closing. "That’s where real positive change begins."

The irony here for me, as an LGBTQ advocate, is the Burrells continue to pretend they didn't 'take a side' when clearly they did. They chose to not accept people's differences.

Instead, they made the decision to ignore those same-sex couples who celebrated the happiest day of their lives.

And regarding losing sponsors, this would seem to me to be the free market at work. Folks don't like ugly.

Lara Hotz, a gay photographer who had shot three covers for the magazines, was one of those who chose to boycott the publication.

“It appears they are happy to take money, content and photographs from LGBTQI advertisers and contributors, but are yet to support and represent us in the same way as heterosexual couples are represented in the magazine,” Hotz told BBC News.

The Facebook post drew mixed results for the publishers. 

Some expressed concern for the magazine's freedom of speech. But others saw the Burrells' position as not too loving.

"It doesn't seem to me that your agenda is just to love, it seems like your agenda is just to love straight people," read one comment.

In the end, statements of "How do we best love?" and "We’re not about sides, we’re about love, patience and kindness," ring false for people running an admittedly secular publication who ultimately chose discrimination over equality.

This post represents the opinions of the author and not those of Instinct or other contributors.

(h/t Washington Blade)

Tanzania Just Lost $10 Million in Funding Over Homophobic Comments

Developmental Minister Ulla Tørnæs of Denmark showed that actions have consequences when she decided to withhold about what translates to $10 million in foreign aid to Tanzania following homophobic comments made by a Tanzanian official, according to LGBTQ Nation. Denmark is one of Tanzania's largest donors.

Recently, Paul Makonda, governor of Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam, announced what could be called a witch hunt in which suspected gay people will be arrested on the basis of their sexuality. Makonda, a (misguided) Christian said that homosexuality is immoral and does not belong in Tanzania as he sees it as an affront to the Christian and Islamic values that are in place. He asked citizens to report anyone who they suspect is gay so that his ad-hoc team can arrest and persecute them.

Tørnæs expressed disappointment with the Tanzanian government for doing nothing about these comments as they have much wider implications. Recently, two men were arrested at a same-sex wedding and were forced to undergo anal examinations to prove their homosexuality. Amnesty International condemned the Tanzanian government for its indifference towards Makonda's comments as well as the anal examinations, saying that they are a form of torture. 

By refusing to give foreign aid to Tanzania, Tørnæs is showing the world that homophobia is unacceptable (although I guess we all kind of knew that anyway) and that if one tries to humiliate and incarcerate people based on an immutable characteristic, they should expect consequences. 

h/t: LGBTQ Nation 

Dedicated Church Member Kicked Out for Being Gay and is Asked to Repent

Kimberley Mills was once a dedicated member of Calvary Baptist Church in Oshawa, Ontario until she made the mistake of coming out as a lesbian to a few members of the church because she was tired of hiding her sexuality and her partner. The word got out to the higher-ups in the church and she was given a letter that dismissed her position in the church and said that she had to repent for her sins in order to regain her place in the clergy, according to Gay Star News.

Mills was involved in the church for about three years, acting as a youth pastor who frequently attended small fellowship groups within the church until she received the fateful letter telling her that she has been terminated from her position. In the letter, written by Deacon Chairman Dr. Tim Wagner,  Kim was informed that because she lives in disobedience of the scriptures her membership with the church was removed. They mentioned specifically that she did not heed the warning in 1 Corinthians 6-9, which says

"Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality."

The letter also states that the church hopes that Mills will see the error of her ways and that her "heart will respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit that comes with our obedience to this Scripture and that" she "will repent and be restored to your church family who love you deeply." Ignoring the subject-verb disagreement at the end of that statement, what was written was basically telling Mills that the church sees her as damaged and only through denial of her true self can she be given her position back. Wagner also states that the church will continue to pray for Mills' "restoration," as in the members of the church hope she converts to heterosexuality.

Mills was always gay but the church did not know and they allowed her to work as a clergywoman, while also being a lesbian. So if she wanted to keep her position as a youth pastor, she should have stayed closeted. But is that really any way to live? There are more progressive churches that accept that some people can be gay and also Christian. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. However, they did say that Mills will still be able to attend church services, but she cannot work for the church for as long as she is a lesbian.

So I suggest she finds a new church.

h/t: Gay Star News

LGBTQ Employees in Kansas Will Have Protections Again

In many states across the US, LGBTQ employees face workplace discrimination because of their sexuality daily, and Kansas is one state that does not have protections in place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. Laura Kelly, who defeated Kris Kobach for the position of governor in the midterm elections, said that she will provide LGBTQ employees with protections in the workplace, according to The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas did at one point have protections, as from 2007 to 2015, LGBTQ people were protected from firing, harassment, and discrimination based on sexuality. In 2015, however, former governor Sam Brownback removed those protections after same-sex marriage became legal nationwide, as be felt that the order created a new protected class through executive action rather than legislative. 

Laura Kelly, in a news conference that touched upon issues such as foster care, LGBTQ rights, and her approach to filling the new administration, claimed that she would bring back protections for LGBTQ people, which was one her campaign promises. According to the Human Rights Campaign, only a minority of states have full protections for LGBTQ in employment and in the middle of the country, ranging from North Dakota to Texas, there are no protections in place. However, things are changing in Kansas as two LGBTQ people, Brandon Woodard and Susan Ruiz, both won seats for the Kansas House of Representatives and as Sharice Davids, a Native-American lesbian won a seat in Kansas' third congressional district. 

As well as workplace discrimination, Kelly wants to require adoption agencies with state contracts not to discriminate against LGBTQ couples who want to adopt, as a policy that was instated allowed adoption agencies to turn away same-sec couples due to conflicts with religious beliefs. Groups who support this policy, such as the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas says that Kelly is "an enemy of life, family and religious freedom" and that her campaign promises are inconsistent with the values that the people of Kansas hold dear.

But judging by the results of the midterm election, do Kansans really hold those beliefs dearly?

h/t: The Wichita Eagle 

Trans Activists Booted from Pence Rally

At a Mike Pence rally that took place in Savannah, Georgia that took place on November 1, four transgender activists were told by a state trooper that they had to leave the public event that they had registered to attend because they were trespassing, according to LGBTQ Nation.

Rainé Eliza, who is the person who recorded the video below, and three other transgender activists recently attended a rally held for Representative Buddy Carter, who has a history of being anti-LGBTQ and also wants transgender people to be prohibited from serving in the military. Mike Pence was scheduled to speak at the event. 

Buddy Carter recognized the activists from a campaign barbecue that they attended. Upon recognizing them, Carter spoke jovially to them and asked them if they enjoyed the barbecue and said that he enjoyed having them there. Rainé asked him how he felt about trans people and Carter said that he had no comment and then walked away. In my (albeit anecdotal) experience, many political candidates simply don't care about LGBTQ rights. 

Moments later a state trooper appeared in front of them to escort the activists out of the premises or they would face arrest for trespassing. At a public event. That they registered for. I can't see how they were trespassing... something tells me their escort was much more sinister... How ridiculous. 

As they were leaving, Rainé chanted "You cannot erase trans people!" While leaving, a man wearing a "Gays for Trump" shirt said, "I'd love to, though." Now I am not going to go into the infighting regarding transgender people within the LGBTQ community right now because this would be a much longer post. What I can say is that people aren't shy about their transphobia and now actively display it to the world. It's a sad state of affairs when the literal President of the United States is attempting to erase trans identities and someone from the group that transgender people belong to agrees with him. What a shame.




h/t: LGBTQ Nation, Facebook

Anti-Trans Ads Pulled From Spotify After Backlash

As many people may know, on ballots across the country there are questions that pertain to certain social topics. In the upcoming midterm elections, Massachusetts ballots have three questions, one about nurse-patient ratios, one related to campaign finances, and one that would repeal a law that bans discrimination against transgender people in public places. Spotify was recently under hot water for airing advertisements that urge Massachusetts voters to vote "no" on Question 3, reversing the progress made for transgender people, according to Into More

The popular music streaming service has since removed the ads because of backlash that they received by multiple people. Spotify was not shy in admitting that they aired the "No on 3" campaign, which would help Massachusetts residents to roll back protections for transgender people, namely for bathroom access, which, as everyone knows, is a hotly-debated topic nationwide. 

The company said that they pride themselves in displaying a variety of voices and do not discriminate in their advertising, but they noted that these anti-trans ads were in violation of their advertising policy. They did not say who was responsible for purchasing the ad. The company's advertisement policy prohibits “content that promotes stereotypes or inaccurately portrays or attacks an individual or group on the basis of age, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or handicap.”

Renew MA Coalition and the Massachusetts Family Institute are the primary donors of the ad and are connected to the anti-LGBTQ law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, which was designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Center.

It's sad to hear about a company that is so widely-used would run such a hateful ad that is in clear violation of their advertisement policy, as it very obviously attacks a group. It is good that they removed the ad, but it is suspicious that they won't release who purchased the ad in the first place and the fact that they only removed the ad after people threatened to stop using the streaming service. 

h/t: Into More, Boston.com