More American churches are becoming accepting of gays and lesbians, according to a new study by Duke University. According to The Advocate, The data from the university's ongoing study showed a notable increase in acceptance of gays and lesbians from 2006 to 2012.
"In 2012, 48 percent of the congregational leaders surveyed said a gay or lesbian couple in a committed relationship would be welcomed as full-fledged members, up from 37.4 percent in 2006. The proportion of congregations that open all volunteer positions to out gays and lesbians increased from 17.7 percent to 26.4 percent. “The increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians is a well-known trend in America,” said study director Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology at Duke, in a press release. “Churches are no exception.”
The greatest increase in acceptance came from black Protestant churches, white liberal churches and non-Christian congregations, while Catholic congregations saw a decrease (ironic when you think about Pope Francis' public statements about gays). Meanwhile conservative white Protestant congregations saw a mixed response, embracing gays and lesbians as members but not volunteer leaders.
I know I'm more than a little late on this, but better late than never. Cece's story is an important one and needs to be told. For those who don't know, Cece McDonald, was sent to a men's prison after defending herself during an attack that happened while she and a group of friends were walking to a grocery store. Now Cece is the subject of a documentary produced by Orange Is The New Black star and transgender activist Laverne Cox and producer/director Jacquline Gares.
The documentary, titled FREE Cece, features Cox's interview with Cece during her incarceration at St. Cloud Correctional Facility in Minnesota, and followed her on her first GLAAD media tour following her release in January. According to the official website, the film will also feature interviews done in California, Minneapolis and New York.
As of June, the production has raised $57, 308, covering much of their budget for the year but not enough to meet their total feature documentary budget of $465,000, despite the crew's continued efforts via writing and submitting grant proposals. You can help by the crew meet its goal by making a tax deductible donation to the IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Page.
Cox and Gares hope to have the film completed in 2016. Watch the trailer below. And read Sabrina Rubin Erdely's excellent Rolling Stone feature story about Cece HERE.
The Navy has discharged Jessica Sims (pictured above), a sailor for 12 years after she refused to cut her natural hair style. The decision comes after months of discussion about protocol related to black women's hair in the armed forces.
Sims, "who wears her hair in tightly twisted locks pulled back in a bun," says her record is unblemished and she received no complaints about her hair until she taught at a Navy boot camp in Illinois. Once there, she was ordered to cut her hair or wear a wig; she refused, and was written up for "serious misconduct."
"For the past couple weeks, not knowing what the Navy was going to do, if they were going to move forward with the discharge or keep me in, had me in a little limbo," Sims said in a phone interview Wednesday with USA Today. "In the back of my head, I knew that they weren't going to change, so it was more of just waiting for the date."
Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello, spokesman for the chief of naval personnel, told USA Today that Sims was discharged for "disobeying a lawful order," claiming her bun was too bulky to fit under a gas mask. Sims however, says her hairstyle didn't violate regulations and didn't believe she should have to "be told that I have to straighten my hair in order to be within what they think the regulations are, and I don't think I should have to cover it up with a wig."
Sims says she had no regrets about her decision. "I still stand by it," she told Think Progress. "I would do it again if I had to."
A Louisiana man who state police say shot and killed himself in March while in police custody, died of a gunshot wound to the chest, not to the back, as police had initially reported, according to an autopsy report.
The Root reports that "The shooting occurred in the backseat of a patrol car after Victor White III was arrested for drug possession, KLFY notes. White’s hands were apparently cuffed behind his back as he was transported to jail. Once there, the 22-year-old reportedly did not want to get out of the patrol car. At some point, a gun that he was allegedly hiding in his pants appeared and he shot himself in the back, according to police reports. However, according to KATC, the first page of the autopsy report, released by the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office, details how White was shot in the chest, completely contradicting earlier police reports made after the fateful night in early March. The bullet entered the young man’s chest and pierced his left lung and his heart before exiting around his armpit, according to the autopsy, which also called White’s death a “suicide.”'
State Police Master Trooper Brooks David states the investigation into White's death is still open, according to KATC.