LGBT Rights in Mississippi | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

LGBT Rights in Mississippi

A collection of JFP's stories on the state LGBT rights in Mississippi

State

LGBTQ-Affirming Churches Should Be Celebrated, Not Demonized

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"There is no inside or outside, but one community in which we are all sisters and brothers."

Health Care

Report: LGBT Men Need Quality Sexual Health Standards in Jackson, Beyond

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LGBT men have limited access to quality sexual health care, a new report finds. In the capital city, it is an especially serious problem: The Jackson metro has the fourth-highest rate of HIV diagnosis per 100,000 residents among the nation's metropolitan areas, with about 40 percent of LGBT men infected with HIV here in 2014.

Editor's Note

Pride Month Is Over, But the Fight Isn’t

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It is interesting that the three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which lifted the injunction blocking HB 1523, did so in June during the last week of Pride month.

Cover

Still Fighting at Home: Transgender Veterans Caught in the Flux

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Some top-down changes coming soon to the VA could help alleviate inadvertent or purposeful discrimination against LGBT veterans. Due to a recent change, all VA medical centers now have the ability for the first time to change a part of a veteran's medical record digitally.

LGBT

Pride and Prejudice: A Life-Long Battle from Civil Rights to LGBT Rights

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It was 1962 in Jackson, and Dee Smathers lived in an apartment on State Street with her first college roommate turned lover. Dee's family was living out of the state, so she did not worry about their judgment. Her partner, on the other hand, was living a secret life.

LGBT

Mississippi Pride

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It saddens me that so much hate has taken root in the state where I grew up, but I am also proud to have overcome it. I am proud of the brave LGBT people and allies in Mississippi who are standing up against it.

LGBT

Still Separate After Orlando Massacre

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Where is our compassion, when because it happened at an LGBT nightclub and not a Presbyterian church, we choose whether to help or not? The idea is that although I am me and you are you, we share in each other's pain and glory as a people.

LGBT

To Fetch a Pail of Water

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This summer marks 25 years since I came out of the closet. Today, coming out happens so often in the world of the Hollywood A-listers, athletes, journalists and elected officials that it hardly makes news. Harvey Milk said we must come out and, while not everyone can right now, plenty visible folks are twirling out of the closet, wire hangers and all.

Editor's Note

Of Love and Orlando

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The day before a gunman massacred 49 mostly Latino men and women at the gay club, Pulse, in Orlando, I was wandering through the Brooklyn Pride festival in New York City. It was right around the corner from my rented apartment in Park Slope where I stayed to do more crime-solutions reporting.

Civil Rights

The American Dream?

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It is silly to walk around this planet consumed with the idea that you are the only one who matters, but it is equally foolish not to think about your own needs and desires.


Editor's Note

In Tough Times, Be Grateful

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A few things have made me realize that it's important to give thanks every day—not just one day of the year.

Editorial

Politicizing Tragedy

The nation woke up Sunday to a horrific shock—the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history—that at least for now appears to be part terror, part hate crime.

LGBT

Local LGBT Vigil In Orlando's Wake: 'We Shouldn't Have to Be Afraid'

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A chorus of more than 100 voices rose outside JC's, one of Jackson's longest-standing gay bars, Sunday night in vigil for victims in the Orlando mass shooting that left 49 people dead early Sunday morning, when a man entered a gay club in Orlando with an assault rifle and started shooting.

Education

Trans Children in the Balance in Mississippi

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On Tuesday, May 24, the nine-member Mississippi Board of Education decided unanimously to disregard the federal government's Title IX guidelines to protect transgender students from discrimination just days after the state superintendent had said the state would follow t hem.

LGBT

Governor Will Join Multi-State Transgender Bathroom Lawsuit Even If State Won't

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Attorney General Jim Hood said he will not add the State of Mississippi to the Texas lawsuit against the federal government over President Barack Obama's directive to public schools, telling them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identities.

State

AG Hood: Mississippi Will Not Join Transgender Bathrooms Lawsuit

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Attorney General Jim Hood issued the following statement today regarding the lawsuit by Texas and 10 other states.

Editorial

Lawmakers: Stop Using Transgender Citizens as Political Pawns

In a state where lawmakers couldn't make domestic violence grounds for divorce, the same group of legislators claim that the protection of girls and women informs their decision to demand the state superintendent of education to resign from her job for "risking the safety" of girls in classrooms.

Jacksonian

Katherine Day

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Katherine Day came home to Jackson on a train last fall; it had been six years since she had last lived in the city. Day grew up in Jackson, but when she was 24 years old, she made a break for it and left in 2006.

LGBT

Resisting the Tide: Trans Mississippians Speak Out

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Title IX is usually associated with sex-based equity in athletics, but advocates say it actually applies much more broadly.

Justice

Mississippi GOP Reps: Superintendent Should Oppose Transgender Rules or Step Down

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A group of Mississippi House Republicans emailed a letter today directly to state Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright, asking her to step down unless the Mississippi Department of Education swiftly reverses its decision to follow the president’s guidelines on protecting transgender students’ rights.

LGBT

UPDATED: Obama Tells Schools How to Protect Transgender Students' Civil Rights

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Today the Obama administration issued a directive offering "significant guidance" to school districts on curbing sex-based discrimination in schools, specifically against students who do not identify with the gender commonly linked to their biological sex.

LGBT

GOP's Social, Fiscal Conservatives at Odds Over Gay Rights

Republican lawmakers upset about the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage have advanced measures in about a dozen states this year that could strengthen protections for those who refuse on religious grounds to provide services to same-sex couples.

LGBT

Judge Blocks Mississippi Ban on Adoption by Same-Sex Couples

A federal judge has overturned Mississippi's ban on allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

LGBT

Mississippi Clerks Issuing Same-Sex Licenses with AG Hood's Approval

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Some Mississippi county clerks started issuing marriage licenses to all couples on Monday morning, after Attorney General Jim Hood wrote them promising no "adverse action" in response this morning.

LGBT

Elation, Vows for State’s Same-Sex Couples

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The party room in Julep restaurant in northeast Jackson was filled with relief Monday night as a group of about 30 people, new and old friends, gathered to celebrate four same-sex couples who were finally issued marriage licenses that morning.

LGBT

What’s It Like Living LGBT in Mississippi?

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When I say that some LGBT Mississippians are afraid to come out of the closet and live authentic lives, it's not theoretical or an intellectual decision—they are genuinely afraid for their lives and livelihoods.

LGBT

Mississippi's Marriage Equality Fight is Over—Or is it?

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"It's over." That was the message from Roberta Kaplan, the attorney who represented lesbian couples in a case to strike down Mississippi's same-sex marriage ban, to an Associated Press reporter on Wednesday evening.

LGBT

‘Not No, But Hell No’: Fighting for Same-Sex Adoption

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Roberta Kaplan is challenging the provision in Mississippi adoption law that states, "Adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited."

Editorial

State Should End Costly, Embarrassing Legal Challenges

Last week, the state—via the Democratic-led Mississippi attorney general's office—again stood on the wrong side of a federal judge in an individual-rights case.

Civil Rights

Jackson: An LGBT Sanctuary?

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Chokwe Lumumba, the late mayor of Jackson, once described Jackson as a new justice frontier, one that acknowledges that the city's diversity is its strength.

City & County

HRC Campaign Seeks to Bridge Faith and LGBT Advancement

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The Human Rights Campaign has started an initiative to advance public education and engagement of LGBT issues through advertisements, door-to-door efforts, and communication through mail and phone calls.

LGBT

Transgender Man Sues Tower Loan

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On April 13, 2015, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Altshuler Berzon LLP, and Delaney & Robb filed suit against Tower Loan for discrimination on behalf of Tristan Broussard.

LGBT

Mississippi Locals Celebrate SCOTUS Decision but Wait for Marriage Licenses

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in a 5-4 ruling on Friday. In Mississippi, small celebrations broke out on the steps of Hinds County Courthouse, as other couples went to the basement to try to get their marriage licenses.

LGBT

I Don’t Feel Welcome in Mississippi

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Having lived in Mississippi my whole life, a lot of things have been not cool. Add being gay to that, and you have the formula for a whole bunch of uncoolness.

LGBT

Anti-Gay Push Setback in Miss., Ariz.

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A House subcommittee may take the wind out of the sails of a so-called religious-freedom proposal that civil-liberties groups feared would lead to legalized discrimination.

LGBT

Supreme Court Rules: Same-Sex Marriage Legal Nationwide

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The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Business

Building LGBT Teen, Business Alliances

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When a Magnolia Junior High School teacher conducted a math exercise by dividing the classroom into two teams based on gender, Destin Holmes was forced to sit in the middle of the room. This, according to the teacher, was because the teenage girl was "an in-between it."

Cover

‘Justice, Justice, Thou Shalt Pursue’: The JFP Interview with Roberta Kaplan

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Like many LGBTQ couples, New York attorney Roberta Kaplan and her wife, Rachel Lavine, have enjoyed federal marriage rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal restrictions against same-sex marriage in 2013.

Books

Outside of Celebrity

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In 2007, Kevin Sessums' "Mississippi Sissy" (St. Martin's Press, $24.95) became a best seller. The book opened our eyes to the life of a boy touched by tragedy, feeling like an outsider in an ultra-conservative southern state, and his molestation at the hands of a trusted minister.

Cover

Excerpts from Judge Carlton Reeves’ Ruling

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Even an abbreviated history shows that millions of Americans were once deemed ineligible for full Fourteenth Amendment protection.

LGBT

Rhetoric Muddles Effects of 'Anti-Gay' 'Religious Rights' Bill

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Does Senate Bill 2681, which the Mississippi Legislature approved, protect religious freedoms or open the door to legal discrimination?

LGBT

Running the Marriage-Equality Gauntlet

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The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' hearing on same-sex marriage included three cases from three different states—Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

LGBT

Looking Way, Way Into Gay Marriage's Future in Mississippi

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Predictably, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves—as most federal judges appointed by Presidents Clinton and Obama did before him—last night ruled that same-sex couples in Mississippi should be allowed to marry.

Business

Casinos, LGBTs Still Allied in Face of SB 2681

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To say that Mississippi, where citizens passed a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage in 2004, has been slow to cash in on the economic potential of embracing LGBT people and their money would be an understatement.

Cover

‘Personhood’ May Be Back

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The anti-abortion organization  Personhood Mississippi  filed paperwork for Initiative 41 on March 5, 2013. If supporters gather 107,216 signatures by May 14, 2014, the bill will appear on the ballot in November 2015.

LGBT

A Legal Marriage Under Attack

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Nick and Jessica Fulgham, who married Sept. 18, received a wave of public backlash when American Family Radio, an anti-gay organization based in Tupelo, broadcast news of their marriage after it happened.

Cover

Nowhere to Go: LGBT Youth on the Move, Without a Home

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A 2015 Williams Institute survey of homeless-youth service providers found that the most widely selected reason for homelessness among LGBT youth (as reported to service providers) was "forced out of their homes or running away from home because of their sexual orientation."

LGBT

History Repeats Itself in Mississippi After Marriage Decision

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While it may not be the only sign of bigotry, discrimination is a clear, 10-million-watt, Vegas-strip, see-it-from-space sign of bigotry for anyone except for the willfully blind.

Civil Rights

Controversial ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Moves Forward

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After a week of ups and downs for a measure that civil-liberties groups say could lead to legalized discrimination of LGBTQ people, a modified version now goes to the House of Representatives for debate.

Cover

Inside the AFA: How One ‘Hate Group’ Is Fighting the ‘Gay Agenda’

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At the American Family Association headquarters in Tupelo, Miss., a staff of about 130 produces radio programs and other media to promote its Christian ideology.

Cover

Lance Bass on God, Being Gay and Loving His Sweet Mama

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Two years after I graduated from high school in 2004, Lance Bass came out of the closet on the cover of People Magazine. His revelation struck a chord for me not just because he was a celebrity, as one-fifth of the world-famous pop group 'N Sync, but because he was from Clinton, Miss. As far as I knew growing up, there were no gay people in Clinton.

LGBT

Marriage Equality and Beyond for LGBTs

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Failure to protect LGBT people extends beyond shutting off the marriage, and a sobering new report sheds light on the economic and social effects of denying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people equal protection under the law.

Business

As SB2681 Passes, A Gay Mississippi Businessman Talks Back to the Far Right

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"I don't have to look back very far in my lived experience to recall a time when I was afraid to live openly. I once thought the very best I could hope for was to get a job, fall in love, and keep that part of my life hidden from family and clients."

Justice

Magnolia, Miss., Passes Pro-LGBT Resolution; 4th in State to Support Gay Residents

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Magnolia, Miss., passed a resolution 3-2 recognizing the dignity and worth of all city residents - including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

Editor's Note

Tigers of a Different Stripe

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Each of us, regardless of age, matters in the quest to end hatred.

City & County

Jackson Passes Pro-LGBT Resolution

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Mississippi's largest city and state capital finally passed a resolution affirming equality for all citizens, including the LGBT community.

City & County

And LGBTQ Rights March On: The Who, What, How in Mississippi

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Although there is growing support for equal rights in both Jackson and the state, legislation like SB 2681 has the potential to encourage and legalize discrimination, harking back to Jim Crow legislation.

Editor's Note

Discrimination Isn’t ‘Religious Freedom’

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You do not have religious freedom if every single American doesn't have it, too, including those you believe are heathens and sinners.

Justice

Judge Promises Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Quickly

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While a federal district judge in Mississippi may rule same-sex marriage is a constitutional right as soon as this week, the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state is in the hands of the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals and, ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court.

LGBT

Straight, LGBT Teens Fight to Support Each Other

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Presley McCord, who is a board member of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Brandon High School, said she hopes the group helps to make a difference and improve the high school experience for LGBT students.

LGBT

Mississippi Supreme Court Says Same-Sex Divorce is Legal

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The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled Lauren Czekala-Chatham's divorce legal in concurrence with the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Civil Rights

HRC Targets LGBT African Americans in 'Freedom Summer' Conference

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The fight for freedom of both African Americans and LGBT people, and those who are both, is the focus of the Human Rights Campaign's Freedom Summer Conference this week.

LGBT

Mississippi's LGBT Community Awaits Supreme Court Decision

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The Mississippi LGBT community is anxiously awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could federally legalize same-sex marriage, which would make it legal in the state.

LGBT

Campaigns Put Mississippi on LGBT-Rights Front Line

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Next week, the Human Rights Campaign kicks off its latest endeavor, Project One America, in Jackson. The Mississippi stop is one of three HRC will make during a tour that also goes through Alabama and Arkansas.

Health Care

With Open Arms

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With the fight for LGBT equality and a lack of Medicaid expansion at the forefront of the Mississippi politics, Open Arms Healthcare Center could not have been created at a better time.

City & County

LGBTers Rally in Jackson to Demand Respect

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Advocates have injected new energy into the push for LGBT rights with a flurry of recent activity in Jackson and throughout Mississippi. This afternoon, several organizations from around the state rallied in Jackson's Smith Park to urge policymakers to affirm the human rights of LGBT people.

LGBT

SCOTUS Ruled on Marriage—Not Discrimination

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While the U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling was monumental in American legal history and a cause for celebration by LGBT citizens, the reality is that the court ruled on same-sex marriage and nothing more, legal experts say.

LGBT

A Long, Long LGBT Road

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Cameron Stewart and Amber Cameron have been together five and a half years. About a year ago, the couple had a backyard wedding ceremony with vows and commitments—but because they live in Mississippi they could not get a license.