Gay Sex No Longer Punishable by Death in Brunei

Boycotts do, in fact, work, or at least one did. The Sultan of Brunei has agreed to rescind a law permitting gay sex to be punishable by death, thanks in part to a celebrity boycott of his luxury hotels.

Deadline reports that on Sunday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah issued a moratorium on a brutal law that made homosexuality a crime punishable by death by stoning. The law, which went into effect on April 3, was part of Brunei’s new Syariah Penal Code Order, which also criminalized abortion, mandated the amputation of limbs for stealing, and made lesbian sex punishable by “40 lashes with a whip,” according to the Human Rights Watch.

via Gay Sex No Longer Punishable by Death in Brunei

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Kamala Harris at NAACP Rally: Midwest Isn’t Just White People

Many of the 2020 Democratic primary candidates are obsessed with winning the Midwest—and in particular the storied white working-class voter, without whom, the conventional logic goes, they have no chance of taking back the White House. This logic is partly to explain for the front-runner status of Joe Biden, whose central campaign promise is that he can win over blue-collar white voters, as well as the rise of Pete Buttigieg, who regularly emphasizes his Midwestern credentials.

But on Sunday, speaking before a crowd gathered by the NAACP in Detroit, Senator Kamala Harris correctly noted that the Midwest has a sizable population of black voters and voters of color, and argued that winning the heartland will require appealing to these voters as well.

via Kamala Harris at NAACP Rally: Midwest Isn't Just White People

Rumsey Hall Latest Elite Private School to Disclose Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

Last week, the Rumsey Hall School, a coed K-9 boarding and day school in Connecticut, became the most recent private school to disclose the findings of a wide-ranging sexual misconduct investigation. In a letter sent to alumni, parents, and other affiliates, the school’s current leadership described corroborated allegations of abuse levied against three faculty members since the late 1960s.

In the most recent instance, the school admitted to paying confidential insurance settlements to three alumni based on allegations of “inappropriate contact” from one longtime faculty member and administrator. He remained at the school until 2000.

via Rumsey Hall Latest Elite Private School to Disclose Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

The Racist Roots of Denying Incarcerated People Their Right to Vote | American Civil Liberties Union

In the 15 years between 1865 and 1880, at least 13 states — more than a third of the country’s 38 states — enacted broad felony disenfranchisement laws. The theory was simple — convict them of crimes, strip away the right to vote, imprison them, and lease them out as convict labor and Blacks would be returned to a condition as close to slavery as possible.

No one tried to hide the intent of these laws.

In 1894, a white South Carolina newspaper argued that amendments to the voting laws were necessary to avoid whites being swept away at the polls by the Black vote. In 1901, Alabama amended its Constitution to expand disenfranchisement to all crimes involving “moral turpitude” — a vague term that was applied to felonies and misdemeanors. The president of that constitutional convention argued that manipulating the ballot to exclude Blacks was justified because of the need to avoid the “menace of Negro domination,” especially since Blacks were inferior to whites.

via The Racist Roots of Denying Incarcerated People Their Right to Vote | American Civil Liberties Union

What Officer Noor’s Conviction Says About Racism in America | American Civil Liberties Union

The racial aspect of this case speaks volumes about criminal justice and criminal injustice in America today. Noor, who is Black, Muslim, and a Somali immigrant, is believed to be the only police officer in Minnesota ever to have been convicted for killing someone while on duty.

At a crucial moment in the trial, Noor testified that he reacted to Damond as “the threat.” Prosecutors responded by asking him, “The whole blonde hair, pink t-shirt is a threat to you?” This line of questioning was in part about the legal standard required to convict. Under Graham v. Connor, a police officer can use force – including lethal force — if a reasonable officer on the scene would consider the level of force to be “objectively reasonable,” not whether the use of force was actually necessary in light of the various tactics and alternatives available to the officer at the time. Because this standard is so elastic, it is often very difficult to show that an officer violated it.

via What Officer Noor’s Conviction Says About Racism in America | American Civil Liberties Union

Man Who Kept Teen Girl in Sexual Captivity Gets Time Served

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in 2017, now-33-year-old Duluth resident Michael Wysolovski was arrested after FBI agents and police raided his home and discovered a 17-year-old girl who had been missing for over a year. Wysolovski reportedly met the unnamed girl in an online anorexia forum, coerced her into meeting up with him, and then held her captive in residences in Decatur and Duluth.

via Man Who Kept Teen Girl in Sexual Captivity Gets Time Served

UK Police Want Rape Survivors to Hand Over Their Phones

According to the Associated Press, law enforcement will now ask victims of crimes, including rape survivors, to sign a consent form that asks for their permission to seize their electronic devices in order to access mobile data that might be relevant to the investigation.

“If you refuse permission for the police to investigate, or for the prosecution to disclose material which would enable the defendant to have a fair trial then it may not be possible for the investigation or prosecution to continue,” the form states, according to the AP.

via UK Police Want Rape Survivors to Hand Over Their Phones

Swarthmore Students Protest and Want to Transform Fraternities

Students at Swarthmore who arecurrently protesting their college’s two fraternities with a sit-in have an idea. The Washington Post reports that documents were leaked earlier this month from Swarthmore’s chapter of Phi Psi that detailed “graphic descriptions of members’ sexual encounters, including a reference to a ‘rape tunnel’” and a “rape attic” as well as “conversations about women, minority groups and sexual assault that often contained offensive language, such as homophobic and racial slurs.” In response to the leaked information, students demanded the college terminate its housing leases with the frats. When Swarthmore didn’t budge, a group of what eventually became 100 students organized a sit-in at Phi Psi in protest, shortly after which it was announced fraternities would be suspended.

via Swarthmore Students Protest and Want to Transform Fraternities

BFI female film season sparks misogyny row – BBC News

The British Film Institute (BFI) is facing accusations of misogyny over the title of a forthcoming season dedicated to “fierce females”.
The programme includes films featuring “some of the most wickedly compelling female characters on screen”.
But a letter signed by more than 300 academics and critics argued that the title “uncritically parrots” misogyny.
The Playing the Bitch season was programmed by Anna Bogutskaya, who said she hoped to “start a conversation”.
In a blog explaining the project, Ms Bogutskaya said she realised the word had “powerful connotations” that made it “offensive to many”.

via BFI female film season sparks misogyny row – BBC News

Astra Taylor & Natasha Lennard on Anti-Fascism, Women's Protest

It makes a perverse kind of sense that the election of a gleeful, pussy-grabbing misogynist to the highest office in the land would cause a feminist backlash at the grassroots. Since the 2016 presidential election, women have been rising up: marching in the streets, mobilizing their communities, running for office, and winning a whole lot of them. And many have been explicit about their intention to pull this country’s political center to the left. The two democratic socialists to win congressional seats in the 2018 midterm election were not white guys shaped by the old-school mold of Bernie Sanders, but young women of color, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, who defy the alleged division between economics and identity politics with every breath. They, along with Ihlan Omar, point the way toward a forward-looking, appealing, and effective radicalism that we can only hope will continue to catch on.

via Astra Taylor & Natasha Lennard on Anti-Fascism, Women's Protest