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Miss Universe to allow transgender women in pageants

NEW YORK -- The Miss Universe Organization is close to finalizing an official policy change that will allow women who are transgender to participate in its beauty competitions, according to GLAAD and the pageant competition owned by Donald Trump.

GLAAD first contacted the Miss Universe Organization on Saturday, March 24, after news broke that transgender contestant Jenna Talackova was disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition. GLAAD called on the Miss Universe Organization to review Jenna's case, as well as open the competition to transgender women.

VIDEO: Brigham Young students reach out to young, gay Mormons: “It Gets Better”

PROVO, Utah -- LGBT students and straight allies at Utah’s Brigham Young University on Friday released an “It Gets Better” video, adding their voice to the tens of thousands of video messages aimed at preventing depression and suicide among gay youth.

The video includes several LGBT students discussing the conflict they felt about being gay and Mormon, and how they considered suicide because they couldn’t reconcile their sexual orientation with their faith.

SPLC condemns House Republicans’ intervention in disabled veteran’s case

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Monday condemned efforts by House Republicans to prevent a decorated 12-year U.S. Army veteran and other married gay and lesbian veterans from receiving the same disability benefits provided to their married heterosexual counterparts.

In an effort to deny these veterans their benefits, the group of legislators, who are part of the so-called Bipartisan Legal Advocacy Group (BLAG), moved to intervene Monday in the case filed in February by the SPLC on behalf of Tracey Cooper-Harris and her wife, Maggie.

PFLAG National honors straight allies

NEW YORK -- PFLAG National held its fourth annual "Straight for Equality" Awards Gala last night at the Marriott Marquis Times Square to honor straight allies who advocate for the LGBT community.

Registration open for annual "Bike to Work Day"

SAN DIEGO -- As part of National Bike Month, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) annually organizes "Bike to Work Day," to be held Friday, May 18.

Bike to Work 2012 is organized to support bicycling as a viable, environmentally friendly, cost-saving commute choice. Those who plan to ride their bicycles to work that day are encouraged to register online in advance.

San Diego Pride administers LGBT legal needs survey

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego LGBT Pride is administering a survey to determine what legal needs exist within the local LGBT community. The survey also seeks to find out if those needs are being met.

The organization hopes that community members will take the anonymous survey to share their thoughts on the topic. San Diego Pride officials say that the results of the survey may lead to the creation of a program that will better address those needs.

Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation launches poster contest

LOS ANGELES -- Lady Gaga's recently launched Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) has launched a poster contest to engage supporters in its work.

"We are calling on anyone and everyone with the ability to think creatively to come up with a visual representation for the Born This Way Foundation," Lady Gaga's mother Cynthia Germanotta, who serves as co-founder and president of BTWF, said in an email.

“All Children – All Families” initiative to encourage LGBT fostering and adopting

WASHINGTON – The “All Children – All Families” initiative of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation today announced a new partnership with RaiseAChild.US, a nonprofit with the mission to promote and encourage the LGBT community to build families of their own through fostering and adoption.

The pilot project will produce recruitment events and media campaigns in major cities across the country, raising visibility of LGBT parents and the fostering and adoption process.

VIDEO: Rock the Vote hosts Democracy Day activities nationwide today

WASHINGTON -- Today, March 23, is Rock the Vote's second annual "Democracy Day," a nationwide effort to bring civic lessons to students and help 18-year-olds register to vote.

VIDEO: UN Secretary General says "The time has come" for equal rights

NEW YORK -- It's not every day that a major world figure speaks out forcefully in defense of equality. But earlier this month, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon did just that when he made an incredibly powerful speech at the U.N. in Geneva. But most people didn't even hear about it.

Why? After the speech, the media focused on a handful of delegates who stormed out of meeting in protest. Their story - that gay people should be denied human rights - is the one that dominated the day's news. But with your help, we're going to change that.