5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Criminally Gay in Nigeria, Injustice for Trans Folks, and More Utah Shenanigans.

Russia and Nigeria are fast becoming ideological besties, while Republican leaders from Utah to New Jersey just keep making it worse for LGBT people.
By: Sunnivie Brydum
January 14 2014 7:00 AM

Welcome back to our weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days. While sometimes it's slim-pickings in terms of outrageous stories, this week was a veritable cornucopia of anti-LGBT bullshit. Read on, but expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day.

5. Chris Christie Vetoes Bill Making Birth Certificate Changes Easier for Trans Folks

…And the Governor cited basically all the reasons advocates supported the bill in the first place as his reasoning to reject the legislation. 

"In many instances, the production of a birth certificate is a prerequisite to obtaining other critical identification documents that factor into decisions concerning employment, financial services, education, and travel," Christie's written decision stated Monday. "Birth certificates are often required to complete myriad security-related tasks…" 

Mr. Governor, did you stop to think that perhaps that's exactly why trans activists and their allies were pushing for this bill? Since a birth certificate is, as you noted, a precursor to obtaining accurate state, federal, and sometimes even professional identification, perhaps it would make sense to not have that foundational document inadvertently out transgender people, who already face astronomically high rates of unemployment, homelessness, and hate crime violence?

Despite the fact that the bill passed both chambers of New Jersey's legislature, and the fact that similar legislation has passed in California without any noted uptick in supposed birth certificate fraud, Christie couldn't find it in his heart to make it a little easier for trans people in his state. 

While it seems easy enough to just write this veto off to standard Republican douchebaggery, I can't shake a sneaking suspicion that Christie issued this veto, in part, as a distraction from the ever-unfolding "Bridgegate" scandal. Maybe he was hoping that by harkening back to the tried-and-true GOP standard of being anti-LGBT, his fellow partisans would emerge from the shadows, where they've been notably silent of late, letting Christie twist in the wind in light of the George Washington Bridge scandal. 

4. Orthodox Leader Wants Russians to Vote to Outlaw Homosexuality

Because apparently a nationwide ban on so-called "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" in areas visible to minors isn't repressive enough, a leader in the Russian Orthodox church called for a public referendum on outlawing homosexuality. 

"There is no question that society should discuss this issue since we live in a democracy,”  church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin told Russian-language newspaper Izvestia, reports our sibling publication The Advocate. "For this reason, it is precisely the majority of our people and not some outside powers that should decide what should be a criminal offense and what should not."

Polls indicate that a majority of Russians think homosexuality is either an illness or a crime, Chaplin said, as if that justified his unfettered bigotry. “I am convinced that such sexual contacts should be completely excluded from the life of our society,” he said. If “moral pressure” is not sufficient to discourage homosexuality, enacting a law against it will be necessary, he said.

But the Russian Orthodox Church isn't the only entity calling for the reenactment of the Soviet-era ban on homosexuality. Ivan Okhlobystin, the star of a Russian sitcom loosely based on the American medical comedy Scrubs, wrote an open letter to President Vladimir Putin last this week begging the president to reinstate the criminalization of homosexuality. Okhlobystin, who served as a Russian Orthodox priest until his priesthood was suspended in 2010, said that the mere existence of “societies of homosexuals is by itself a direct advertisement of homosexuality.” Last year, the actor said he wanted gay people to be burned alive in ovens — earning applause from the religious crowd gathered to hear him speak.

This sets a perfect tone for the acceptance and sportsmanship that's supposed to be hallmark of the Olympic Games, right? 

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