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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL Conversion therapy, service members, judge withdrawn
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-07-24

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The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) released two toolkits for child welfare and juvenile justice agency employees on how to protect LGBTQ youth from the serious harm caused by conversion therapy, a press release noted. "Ending Conversion Therapy in Child Welfare" ( www.nclrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Conversion_Therapy-Child_Welfare-July_2018.pdf ) and "Ending Conversion Therapy in Juvenile Justice" ( www.nclrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Conversion_Therapy-Juvenile_Justice-July_2018.pdf ) help state agencies recognize how and when LGBTQ youth may be subjected to conversion therapy while in the care of the state. For more information on NCLR's Born Perfect campaign to end conversion therapy, visit http://www.nclrights.org/our-work/bornperfect/.

An appeals court ruled against the Trump administration and upheld a court order stalling a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, TheHill reported. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a block on the implementation of the ban that President Trump announced last year. In a press release, OutServe-SLDN Legal Director Peter Perkowski said, "The administration has failed to come up with any adequate rationale for the president's ill-conceived tweets of last July that justifies their blatant discriminatory nature, and we are confident it never will." In the lawsuit, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN represent nine individual plaintiffs—six currently serving members of the armed services and three individuals seeking to enlist—and three organizational plaintiffs: the Human Rights Campaign, Seattle-based Gender Justice League and the American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ).

Also, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, along with pro bono counsel from Winston & Strawn LLP, asked a federal court to halt implementation of a new Department of Defense policy resulting in the discharge of HIV-positive service members, a Lambda Legal press release noted. The motion for a preliminary injunction filed in Harrison v. Mattis—a case challenging the military's discriminatory policies governing the enlistment, deployment and promotion of service members living with HIV—follows multiple calls from other service members that plaintiffs' attorneys received after his case was filed in May.

The White House has withdrawn the nomination of Ryan Bounds—who has a history of writings that struck many observers as racist, sexist and anti-LGBT—to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Advocate.com reported. Tim Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, said he would not vote for Bounds, and another Republican, Marco Rubio, also expressed concerns, and as many as 15 or 20 other GOPers indicated they might defect, according to CNN.

Transgender people in Puerto Rico are now able to change the gender marker on their birth certificates, The Washington Blade reported. A federal judge in March ruled the U.S. commonwealth's previous policy—a 2005 decree from the Puerto Rico Supreme Court that said trans people could not amend the gender marker on their birth certificates—was unconstitutional. The ruling took effect July 17.

Equality Florida and GLAAD issued a press release mourning the death of Sasha Garden, a transgender woman of color murdered in Orlando. Garden is the fourth known transgender woman of color brutally murdered in Florida this year. Earlier this year, Celine Walker, Antash'a English and Cathalina Christina James were murdered in the city of Jacksonville.

San Francisco's LGBT+ community has started a fundraising campaign to pay the funeral costs of a transgender man, who reportedly took his own life, because his family are refusing to to claim his body, according to PinkNews. Daine Grey, 22, a student at City College of San Francisco, passed away July 2. The fundraiser has, so far, raised more than $25,000 ( of a $17,000 goal ); the page is at https://www.gofundme.com/final-dignity-for-daine.

In California, a teacher who alleges he was fired in 2013 because he married his gay partner soon has settled his lawsuit against the Catholic high school in Glendora where he worked, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune noted. Lawyers for plaintiff Ken Bencomo of Rancho Cucamonga filed court papers with Judge Monica Bachner stating that his suit against St. Lucy's Priory High School was resolved. ( No terms were revealed. ) Bencomo and husband Christopher Persky were among the first gay couples to marry on July 1, 2013—after a U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled four to two ( along conservative/liberal lines ) that Marquette University must immediately reinstate and pay damages to John McAdams—a political science professor who criticized a graduate-student instructor by name on his personal blog over how she handled a classroom discussion that turned to same-sex marriage, Inside Higher Ed noted. In 2014, the graduate student had told an undergrad ( which the latter secretly recorded ) that a second student didn't "have the right, especially [in an ethics class], to make homophobic comments or racist comments." The first student shared his recording with McAdams, who later wrote a post ( "Marquette Philosophy Instructor: 'Gay Rights' Can't Be Discussed in Class Since Any Disagreement Would Offend Gay Students" ) criticizing the grad student.

In Florida, high-school co-valedictorian Seth Owen is risking his scholarship to Georgetown University—because of a disputed relationship with his parents over the family's church and the teen's sexual orientation, First Coast News reported. Owens moved out in February after refusing to attend the family's conservative church, Pecan Park Baptist, in Jacksonville. ( His father said Owens moved out by choice. ) The teen's scholarship to Georgetown University this fall was based on his parents' income; Owens resubmitted his financial information, asking Georgetown to update his financial status—but the school declined. There is now a GoFundMe page ( www.gofundme.com/hoyaseth ) to raise tuition for the teen.

OutServe-SLDN issued a statment opposing the confirmation of Robert Wilkie as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs ( VA ). According to the organization, Wilkie—previously the undersecretary for personnel and readiness at the Department of Defense ( DoD )—aided in implementing a ban on open transgender service in the military, a policy that is currently being challenged in the courts by OutServe-SLDN and co-counsel Lambda Legal.

After fighting Alzheimer's disease, activist and dance icon Dr. Angela Bowen died in Long Beach, California, earlier this month, according to an Advocate.com item that cited The New York Times. Most recently a professor at California State University-Long Beach, Bowen, 82, taught in the English and the women's, gender and sexuality studies departments. Bowen is survived by wife Jennifer Lynn Abod, two sisters, two daughters, a stepdaughter, a foster daughter and a granddaughter.

The 2018 edition of the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference ( PTWC ) is scheduled for Aug. 2-4 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City Philadelphia, The Rainbow Times noted. PTWC, a program of Mazzoni Center, is the largest trans-specific conference in the world. In addition to approximately 250 workshops that are free and open to the general public, the conference will include plenary speakers, an opening reception and a Resistance Ball, as well as trans youth-focused workshops, spaces and experiences.

For the third year, Greater Fort Lauderdale will host the longest-running transgender conference in the United States, the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference, on Sept. 6-8, a press release noted. The informational forum will welcome hundreds of attendees for a series of workshops, seminars and networking events hosted at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomes an estimated 1.5 million LGBT+ visitors who spend $1.5 billion annually.

A new Care2 petition started by two Maryland-based adoptive dads, Jamie McGonnigal and Sean Carlson, is calling on U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt ( R-Alabama ) and Congress to pull an amendment that punishes states refusing to give funding to religious adoption agencies that won't place children to LGBTQ parents, an organizational press release noted. Since launching, the Care2 petition has gathered more than 25,000 signatures. McGonnigal and Carlson, who are adopting their first baby, started the Care2 petition after Aderholt added it as an amendment to a funding bill for the Departments of Health, Labor and Education. The petitioni is at www.care2.com/go/z/Adoption.

In Ohio, Robert Van Hook, 58—who choked and stabbed to death a gay man he met at a bar in 1985—was executed by lethal injection, Advocate.com noted. During his early trials, attorneys argued that Van Hook murdered Self as a result of "gay panic," a discredited defense that claims unwanted sexual advances from gay or bisexual people can force straight people to commit violent acts, CBS reported. Authorities say Van Hook met his victim, 25-year-old David Self, in 1985 at the Subway Bar in downtown Cincinnati.

Prosecutors are considering filing charges in the fatal overdose of a young African-American man who died in the West Hollywood home of wealthy, gay, 63-year-old Democratic donor Ed Buck, Advocate.com noted. The death of Gemmel Moore, 26, was previously ruled an accident in July 2017, citing an overdose of self-injected methamphetamine. However, after pressure from Moore's family to further investigate the death, authorities have come across evidence that Moore may not have self-administered the overdose.

A 52-year-old man is facing a felony hate-crime charge in Idaho after a cellphone video captured him screaming anti-gay and racist profanities at a teenage church group, Advocate.com reported. The man, Richard Sovenski, also pushed and punched the youth group's adult leader and had to be held back from charging the children. The incident occurred in a parking lot of a McDonald's in the northern Idaho town of Coeur d'Alene, according to Inlander magazine. A group of children from a church youth group in Spokane, Washington, was in the area to hear a preacher speak and then stopped to get ice cream at the fast-food restaurant.

Christian broadcaster and conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles is claiming MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow, an out lesbian, will lead a coup against President Donald Trump, LGBTQ Nation noted. Among other things, he told viewers, "Be prepared for a mob—a leftist mob—to tear down the gates, the fence at the White House and to go into the White House and to drag him out with his family and decapitate them on the lawn of the White House."

In Pennsylvania, Norristown's borough council passed an LGBT-inclusive civil-rights ordinance July 3—even if all its residents are pleased about it, Philadelphia Gay News noted. The ordinance creates a five-member human-relations commission to mediate anti-bias complaints that can be filed under a host of categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity. If mediation isn't successful, an aggrieved party can file a civil action for remedies in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln football team has hired former coach Ron Brown to lead player development and work with the school's Life Skills program for players, Outsports noted. Brown has been very public of his proudly anti-gay beliefs. For example, in 2012, he testified publicly in support of discriminating against gay people. In claiming that his Christian faith demands that he be anti-gay, Brown has also said he is at Nebraska very specifically to "bring honor and glory to God."

California Polytechnic State University ( Cal Poly ) rescinded a scholarship to a wrestler after he was filmed hurling homophobic abuse in a video widely viewed on social media, PinkNews noted. Footage of 18-year-old wrestler Bronson Harmon holding a pro-Donald Trump sign, making an obscene gesture and shouting "f**k off, faggot!" was viewed more than 30,000 times since it was first posted June 30. Harmon was recruited in the Cal Poly wrestling team class of 2023 but confirmed to the local newspaper The Tribune he lost his spot after coach Jon Sioredas saw the video. The recent high school graduate said he regrets the slur but thinks the punishment went too far, saying, "I still feel like my freedom of speech was taken away, and I don't think my scholarship should have been revoked over something like that."

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader will be required to take sensitivity training and participate in the league's diversity and inclusion initiatives after tweets from his past emerged during Tuesday's All-Star Game, ESPN.com reported. After a bumpy outing in his first All-Star appearance, some racist and anti-gay tweets that Hader sent when he was a teenager surfaced; he apologized after the game. The Brewers also issued a statement, criticizing the pitcher for the tweets, but adding that they don't represent who Hader has become.

The Anita Hill-led Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equity in the Workplace has turned to the nonprofit Kapor Center for Social Impact to assist in raising the millions of dollars needed to fund its efforts to stamp out sexual abuse in the entertainment industry, Deadline noted. Founded last December in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the commission is asking Hollywood to fund its mission over the next five years.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg exercised damage control after remarks that seemed to suggest Holocaust deniers have a place on the social-media platform, Deadline noted. Zuckerberg was describing how the social media company makes decisions about what content to remove when he said "I'm Jewish, and there's a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened, ... [A]t the end of the day, I don't believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don't think they're intentionally getting it wrong." Zuckerberg later attempted to clarify his earlier remarks, saying he had no intentions of "defending the intent" of people who deny the Holocaust.

Seven months after Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to 175 years in prison, his victims took the stage at the ESPYs to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, Vogue.com noted. It was the first time that survivors of Nassar's abuse as an athletic doctor, including Olympians Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman, had gathered together since they testified in front of Nassar one by one in January this year. Almost 150 women in attendance, with many others in absentia, received a standing ovation from the crowd.

USA Today dropped columnist Cheri Jacobus after the the political strategist and frequent TV pundit insulted Republican consultant and Trump ally Michael Caputo's daughters and suggested that they be used at "parties" by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, TheWrap noted. In the original tweet from July 19, Jacobus got personal with fellow Republican Caputo: "Are your daughters ugly like you? Or can Trump use them at the Epstein parties so they can survive when you're broke, bitter, [alone] and in prison for treason?"


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