Growing Up Hayden


We’ve named our blog, Growing Up Hayden because we feel it’s a testament to what it is to live in the now, in a world where the LGBT community is fighting for acceptance and equality.  Our content is focused on all aspects of what it is to live, love and thrive in what’s still a very judgmental world.  Growing Up Hayden is a live narrative that we hope will continue to illustrate positive changes and a more and more loving, open and welcoming world.

Mike Hot Pence

Mike Hot Pence

Glen Pannell is a gay man who has a striking resemblance to our Vice President, Mike Pence. Pence has a long history or anti-LGBTQ policies so Pannell decided to use his appearance to raise awareness and money for progressive causes.

Pannell dresses like Pence and struts around Times Square. Pannell calls himself “Mike Hot-Pence” (you can follow him on Twitter at @MikeHotPence). Pannell has collected money for organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Trevor Project. Speaking with The Huffington Post, Pannell said, The Trevor Project “is really close to my heart because I was a questioning teen thirty-five years ago growing up on Long Island before I finally came out as a gay man in my early 20s. LGBTQ young people will need our full support over the next few years given Mike Pence’s record in office. So much of what he’s done in the last 16 years has divided and excluded ― not united.”

“I want to raise dollars and I want to raise awareness. And maybe offer some hope too. Isn’t it nice to imagine a bizarre through-the-looking-glass alternate reality where there’s a Mike Pence who champions women’s health and LGBTQ rights and the environment? Well that’s me!”

A Gay Mike Pence Look-Alike Is Collecting Money For LGBTQ Causes In New York

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Story of An Inclusive Pastor

Story of An Inclusive Pastor

Adam Phillips, an Evangelical pastor, moved to Oregon to start Christ Church: Portland in 2014. Nine months later, the evangelical denomination Phillips worked for kicked him out and pulled two years of funding from the church. What happened? Phillips was promoting full inclusion of LGBT Christians in the church.

Phillips and Christ Church: Portland are now members of new and inclusive congregation affiliated with the Protestant denomination of The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  “Following in the way of Jesus, we hope to be a church that includes all (no matter who we are, what we think or where we come from) while trying to be focused on the things people of faith have been actively pursuing for thousands of years,” the church states on its website.

Phillips’ journey to his new congregation is recorded in a short documentary you can watch here.

Phillips said the journey should not discourage other like-minded pastors and congregants from upholding the values of inclusivity and acceptance. “The experience will humble you ― you’ll likely lose friends and support,” Phillips told HuffPost. “But it’s the worst best thing: your church and community will see a kind of transformation that is like a miracle. Inclusion is not our only ‘issue’ ― but it roots us in being a whole, healthy church for God’s glory and neighbor’s good.”

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The War on Marriage Equality Begins in Texas

After first refusing an appeal, the Texas Supreme Court has agreed to take on a case that appears designed to chip away at marriage equality in Texas. Last year the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear a case in which a lower court affirmed that, under the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling of 2015, cities cannot deny same-gender couples the employee benefits given to opposite-sex couples.

The case, known as Pidgeon v. Turner, is a complicated one but important one. Watch a summary video of the case here.

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Update on Transgender Bathroom Laws

Update on Transgender Bathroom Laws

Progress has been made in overturning North Carolina’s House Bill 2 or commonly known as the transgender “bathroom law”. House Bill 2 states that people must use the bathroom that coincides with the gender listed on their birth certificate. CNN reported on February 11 that a judge ruled that 2 students and 1 faculty member at the University of North Carolina be allowed to used the bathroom that coincides with their gender identity. Until these three plaintiffs go to trial it is a temporary and limited block of this law but is being considered as the first step in the law being repealed.

However while that is good news out of North Carolina, on a federal level the news is not celebratory. The Obama Administration had the the Justice Department and Education Department advised public schools that they must allow transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, as opposed to their birth gender, or face the loss of federal funds. Thirteen states are suing the federal government over this directive. The states are: Texas, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, Georgia, Mississippi and Kentucky.

A hearing was set for February 14 but the Justice Department and the states filed a joint notice saying both sides moved to cancel the hearing. “The parties are currently considering how to best proceed in this appeal,” the motion said. Prior to this hearing these states had won a national injunction, which still stands, preventing that guidance about bathrooms from being disseminated to students. Besides the bathroom access issue, the guidance also covered making sure transgender students’ privacy is protected.

Activists of the LGBT community said the Justice Department move to cancel the hearing is not a good sign and believes it signals a shift in policy. “It is sending a signal they don’t intend to enforce the guidance in any state,” Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, told CNN. “They are fine with their hands being tied.”

This week, sadly, the cancellation of the hearings made sense as the Trump Administration withdrew all protections for transgender students. At the CPAC conference Betsy DeVos responded by saying, “This issue was a very huge example of the Obama administration’s overreach, a one-size-fits-all, top-down approach. These matters should be handled at a “personal and local level.”

Warbelow said she was “extraordinarily disappointed. The DOJ should be a champion for all students’ civil rights and by signaling a willingness to be bound by the injunction nationwide they are certainly signaling they aren’t intending to pursue civil rights for transgender people.”

Warbelow noted transgender students are not prohibited from filing a lawsuit if they experience discrimination.

The Justice Department declined comment on the filing.

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Free Speech vs The Consequences of What We Say

Over President’s Day weekend, it was revealed that Milo Yiannopoulos,  editor of Breitbart News, was invited to give a speech at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the biggest mainstream conservative conference in America.  The online site, highly criticised for reporting “alternative facts” is said to be one of President Trump’s main sources of information.

Yiannopoulos, has a reputation as an internet troll. His method is to say something inflammatory to anger a whole lot of people and get widespread media attention. This time, his words are affecting him where it hurts; his wallet.

Conservative website Reagan Battalion released video footage of Yiannopoulos defending the idea of “thirteen year olds,” having sex with “older men,” referencing his own story that he benefited from a priest molesting him when he was a teenager.  CPAC’s organizers cancelled their invitation for Yiannopoulos to speak and his Simon & Schuster canceled their book deal with him.

Author Roxane Gay who parted ways with publisher Simon & Schuster, when they signed Yiannopoulos, had a strong opinion on her former publisher.

“In canceling Milo’s book contract, Simon & Schuster made a business decision the same way they made a business decision when they decided to publish that man in the first place,” she wrote. “When his comments about pedophilia/pederasty came to light, Simon & Schuster realized it would cost them more money to do business with Milo than he could earn for them. They did not finally ‘do the right thing’ and now we know where their threshold, pun intended, lies. They were fine with his racist and xenophobic and sexist ideologies. They were fine with his transphobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They were fine with how he encourages his followers to harass women and people of color and transgender people online.”

Gay concluded, “There are some who will spin the cancellation of this book contract as a failure of the freedom of speech but such is not the case. This is yet another example of how we are afforded the freedom of speech but there is no freedom from the consequences of what we say.”

Simon & Schuster declined to comment on Gay’s assertions.
Roxane Gay slams Simon & Schuster after publisher drops Milo Yiannopoulos

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Will & Grace Coming Back

Will & Grace Coming Back

“Will & Grace” is coming back to NBC. NBC announced a 10 episode season that will air in the 2017-2018 TV season.

“We’re thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest, and most defining comedies in NBC history is coming back,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. “This groundbreaking series for everything from gay rights to social and political commentary — all disguised as a high-speed train of witty pop culture — is coming back where it belongs.”

The series starred Eric McCormack and Debra Messing as best friends Will and Grace, respectively. They were joined by their quirky friends, Jack (Sean Hayes) and Karen (Megan Mullally). All the stars will return and original series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will act as showrunners and executive producers. And James Burrows, who directed every episode of the show during its initial eight-year run, is on board to direct and executive produce.

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Progress in Texas

Jess Herbst became the first known openly transgender mayor in Texas when she came out to the residents of New Hope in early February. Herbst, a former alderman and mayor pro tem, was appointed mayor in May after the previous mayor died.

Herbst posted an open letter on the North Texas town’s website, telling her more than 600 Collin County constituents, “I am transgender.”

“As your mayor I must tell you about something that has been with me since my earliest memories,” Herbst wrote. “Two years ago, with the support of my wife, daughters and son-in-law, I began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). At the time, I did not imagine I would hold the mayor’s position, but here I am.”

“I love my wife, and she loves me, we have no intention of change,” Herbst wrote in her open letter. “My daughters have been adamant supporters of me and are proud to tell people their father is transgender.”

She invited the residents of New Hope to visit her blog if they had comments or questions.

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