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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Barbara Gittings Way in Philly; Jane Lynch asks Atlanta Pride a favor
National RoundUp: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2012-09-18

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A dedication ceremony for Barbara Gittings Way will be held in Philadelphia Oct. 1 at the intersection of Locust and 13th Streets, according to a press release. Known as the "Mother of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement," Gittings (July 31, 1932-Feb. 18, 2007) lived in Philadelphia, and was the editor of the first lesbian publication. Barbara Gittings Way will be located on Locust Street between 12th and 13th Streets in the heart of the gayborhood. The dedication will kick off Equality Forum's LGBT History Month in October, celebrating 31 LGBT icons.

Jane Lynch is calling on the organizers of Atlanta Pride to move its kickoff party, scheduled to take over the Georgia Aquarium, Queerty.com is reporting. The Glee star wrote to Buck Cooke of Atlanta Pride and asked him to reconsider the venue for the sake of the aquarium's many sound-sensitive marine mammals.

In New Hampshire, David Pierce has become the first openly gay person in the state to be elected as a legislator, according to GayPolitics.com . Pierce, running as a state rep, won his primary Sept. 11 and faces no opponent in November. Two other gay state senators came out while in office, but none are currently serving.

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.—one of only four out gay members of Congress—won his Democratic primary Sept. 11 against Anthony Gemma, GayPolitics.com reported. In November, he will face Brendan Doherty, a Republican who opposes marriage equality. Cicilline, who has the support of such individuals as former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, also defeated Gemma in 2010 when he was first elected to the House.

Also on the political front, two gay candidates for the Delaware legislature won their primaries Sept. 11 as well, the Washington Blade reported. Rehoboth Beach realtor Andy Staton easily won the Democratic primary for the 6th Senate District with 58.1 percent of the vote, while Marie Mayor won the Democratic primary in the 20th House District. Victory Fund President Chuck Wolfe said, "Delaware could finally get its first openly gay state lawmakers, and that's an important step toward achieving full equality."

Greater Palm Springs Pride announced that retired Staff Sgt. Eric Alva—the first U.S. soldier wounded in the Iraq War—will be the 2012 grand marshal in the 26th annual Pride Parade, scheduled for Nov. 4, according to a press release. Alva is recognized as an LGBT-rights activist and a national spokesman for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

LGBT leaders and organizations have raised more than $75,000 to help young LGBT undocumented immigrants pay for work-permit applications made possible through President Obama's new "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) program, according to a press release. Under current law, Dreamers cannot obtain lawful employment, making the DACA application fees of nearly $470 largely out of reach. Applicants can apply for the fund at www.LibertyHill.org/LGBTDreamersFund, while contributions can be made at www.LibertyHill.org/LGBTDreamersContribute.

The Justice Department and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania have reached a settlement with the Milton Hershey School of Hershey, Pa., to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to a department press release. The agreement resolves allegations that the school violated the ADA by refusing to consider an HIV-positive child, known by the pseudonym Abraham Smith, for enrollment. Under the settlement agreement, the school is required to pay $700,000 to Smith and his mother; adopt and enforce a policy prohibiting discrimination and requiring equal opportunity for students with disabilities, including those with HIV, in the school's programs and services; and to provide training to staff and administrators on the requirements of the ADA. The school must also pay a $15,000 civil penalty to the United States.

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) will honor Family Acceptance Project (FAP) Director Dr. Caitlin Ryan, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLMA Founding President Dennis J. McShane, among others, with its Achievement Awards at its Sept. 22 gala dinner, according to a press release. (FAP is a community research, intervention and education initiative that studies the impact of family acceptance and rejection on the physical health, mental health and well-being of LGBT youth.) The Achievement Awards are part of GLMA's 30th Annual Conference, running Sept. 19-23 in San Francisco.

Florida resident Andrew Koch has been recommended for discharge from the U.S. Navy ROTC program for doing gay porn, according to SouthFloridaGayNews.com . Koch, a FabScout model known as Patrick Hunter, is in the third year of a four-year scholarship service contract with the Navy. Koch is appealing the decision, writing that he "never meant to disrespect the Navy, never appeared in uniform, and never associated his private work in pornography with the Navy in any way."

Also in Florida, the investigation into the murder of Sam Del Brocco has stalled, according to SouthFloridaGayNews.com . Jackson and Sandy Bain, friends of Del Brocco, announced that the $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his killer will be extended another year. The Broward County sheriff's department speculated that Del Brocco's killer was another male, who the victim may have invited home for a late-night get-together.

Nine Latin American activists toured the United States on a State Department-sponsored trip that is part of its ongoing efforts to promote human rights for LGBT people around the world, the Washington Blade reported. The group—who includes individuals from Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and other nations—began their trip to D.C. Sept. 4, where they met with former HRC President Elizabeth Birch and gay Maryland state Del. Luke Clippinger, among others. They also visited New York City; San Francisco; and Louisville, Ky., and are slated to stop by Miami before leaving the country Sept. 22.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the organization, announced the formation of a health and aging program, according to a press release. The release says that "the new program will address both the health concerns of all LGBT Americans and the particular challenges faced by LGBT elders, including discrimination, mistreatment and isolation." The program will include HRC's health initiative, the Healthcare Equality Index, which showcases U.S. healthcare facilities that have demonstrated a commitment to LGBT equity and inclusion.

To mark its 25th anniversary, the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) is bringing the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA), the largest annual AIDS-related gathering in the country, to Las Vegas Sept. 30-Oct. 3, according to a press release. The program will address, among other things, ways that the Affordable Care Act will improve access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS and the future of the Ryan White Program. Presenters will include high-level government officials and leaders from the national HIV/AIDS community, including Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Pam Hyde.

The Boy Scouts of America did not report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police from 1970 to 1991, according to an L.A. Times investigation. Moreover, a review of 1,600 confidential files showed that the organization often hid the allegations from parents and the public. Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign—and helped many cover their tracks by letting them cite false reasons such as business obligations and even "chronic brain dysfunction."

A southeastern Texas school is under fire after its principal allegedly cancelled an adult cosmetology class to avoid admitting a gay student, according to the Examiner. Beaumont Independent School District's Taylor Career and Technology Center has discontinued the course because Principal Thomas Amons did not want to admit a gay prospective student he met Sept. 10, the course's instructor told The Examiner. The paper reported that officials said the class was discontinued due to budgetary constraints and lack of enrollment.

According to the Bay Area Reporter, San Francisco officials are considering a ban on public nudity as an increasing number of men are strutting the Castro naked and sporting cock rings. District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener told the paper that his office has received complaints all summer about the practice.

Washington, D.C., has revealed a series of ads aimed at fostering respect for transgender people in the city, according to the D.C. Office of Human Rights' Facebook page. The campaign is believed to be the first of its kind in the country, featuring images of transgender individuals, with facts about their lives, followed by a call for treating the individuals with courtesy and respect. D.C. has reported high rates of anti-transgender murders in recent years.

LGBTQ Nation reports that West Hollywood is making rainbow crosswalks, installed in June for Pride month, permanent. The West Hollywood City Council has approved the $67,364 project, which involves the purchase of custom pride flag paint colors. The project is scheduled to be completed by Halloween.

Former Minnesota governor and pro wrester Jesse Ventura is urging Minnesotans not to back a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state. Ventura and his wife, Terry, appear in a new Minnesotans United for All Families video, expressing their support for marriage equality. "Love is by far bigger than government can ever be," Ventura says in the video.

The Washington Capitals will become the latest National Hockey League team franchise to support the "You Can Play" equality project, which aims to foster equality, respect and safety for all athletes, regardless of sexual orientation, according to LGBTQ Nation. A spokesperson for the Caps said that Capitals forward Matt Hendricks deserves the credit for pushing the team to join.

A recent interview by out gay CNN reporter Anderson Cooper has transgender activists fired up. Cooper interviewed a transgender woman named Mandi who argued that Propecia, a drug to treat hair loss, had made her transgender. Cooper repeatedly questioned Mandi on the validity of her claims, which the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) denounced as dangerous and sensational. NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, in a statement, called the interview "just another case of sensationalizing an already marginalized population plain and simple."

Plans are underway at Dartmouth College to open an LGBT affinity house, according the college's newspaper. The house, expected to open in 2013 or 2014 will serve as both a center for students and a residence hall, housing 15.

Co-founder of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Robyn Few died Sept. 13 after years of battle cancer, SheWired.com reported. SWOP, an anti-violence organization with chapters throughout the country, is the largest of its kind.

The ultra-conservative Values Voters Summit held in Washington last week got a few visits from pro-LGBT hecklers. According to The Advocate, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was taunted by two members from HIV activist group ACT UP. Activists from GetEQUAL also stormed the summit, according to a statement from Truth Wins Out's Wayne Besen.

Right-wing author Jerome Corsi published a piece on WorldNetWeekly claiming that President Obama is gay and frequented Chicago's bathhouses during his days as an Illinois senator. According to Corsi's Sept. 11 report, the president's homosexuality is common knowledge among gay Chicagoans. According to Chicago's gay newspaper, however, it is not.

In Florida, a lesbian couple has won a $10-million jackpot, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Coral Springs resident Tara Tuttle, 35—who is married to wife Cary Tullis—claimed the top prize in the Billion Dollar Blockbust Scratch-off game at Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee. Tuttle chose the one-time, lump-sum payment option of $6.5 million.

In Pennsylvania, death-row inmate Terrance "Terry" Williams hopes to avoid being the first person executed in the state in 13 years, according to the Associated Press. However, he suffered a setback when a divided Pennsylvania Board of Pardons rejected his plea for clemency Sept. 17, according to Philly.com . Williams, 46, is on death row for fatally beating Amos Norwood with a tire iron in 1984; however, federal public defender Shawn Nolan wrote in a petition that "Williams and the victim ... were involved in a conflicted sexual relationship in which Norwood paid teenaged Terry for sex. Norwood escalated the violence of their sexual encounters, despite Terry's attempts to stop [it]."

In New York, Nathan Schaefer has been named executive director of the LGBT group the Empire State Pride Agenda, according to Gay City News. Schaefer, 31, will assume his new post Oct. 15, four days after the group's Manhattan fall dinner. He succeeds Ross Levi, who was abruptly fired in March. Schaefer most recently served as the director of public policy at the Gay Men's Health Crisis, New York City's oldest and largest AIDS services and advocacy group.

Also in New York City, Tokes Osubu has resigned as executive director of Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) following reports of the organization's financial woes, Gay City News reported. Vaughn Taylor-Akutagawa, the current deputy executive director, is expected to head the group at least temporarily. GMAD lost some city resources and cash this year because the city's health department felt the agency was not identifying enough HIV-positive clients; also the worth of some its programs came into question.

More than 2,000 people have joined a new campaign on Change.org urging the Kentucky-based Lincoln Heritage Boy Scouts Council to reinstate former assistant scoutmaster Greg Bourke and reject the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy, according to a press release. Bourke, who has been partnered for 30 years and has two children involved in scouting, launched his campaign on Change.org after he was removed from his role because of his sexual orientation.

Styx bass player Chuck Panozzo, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and Diego Sanchez of U.S. Rep. Barney Frank's office (the first openly trans person to work on Capitol Hill) were named the judges for the "A Day with HIV" photo shoot, according to a PR release. On Sept. 21, Positively Aware is asking people to take a digital photograph to record a moment of their day that will focus the world's attention on the daily trials and triumphs of people living with HIV. See www.adaywithhiv.com for more info.

More than 130,000 people have joined a campaign on Change.org calling on Universal Health Services, Inc.—a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest hospital management companies in the United States—to enforce new federal regulations granting visitation and medical decision-making rights to same-sex couples, a press release stated. Terri-Ann Simonelli launched her campaign on Change.org after being denied the right to make medical decisions for her legal domestic partner of six years, Brittney Leon, while visiting Spring Valley Hospital in Las Vegas.

In the last days of his unsuccessful primary run for the New York state Senate, GOP candidate Juan Reyes sent out campaign literature accusing his opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich, of being hypocritical regarding marriage equality, according to Politicker.com . The flyer criticized Ulrich for hiring gay staff members and eating dinner with a gay colleague—charges even some Republicans stepped over the line. Following his loss, Reyes stated on his website that he had not personally reviewed the mailing and apologized for offending anyone.

A Democracy for America poll has lesbian Tammy Baldwin with a three-point lead over GOP challenger Tommy Thompson in her bid to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate, according to Advocate.com . The poll also showed Thompson's favorability numbers dropping, with 53 percent of voters viewing him negatively. Should she win, Baldwin would be the first out LGBT member in that legislative body.

Some African-American clergy members are urging their congregations to stay home on Election Day because of President Obama's stance in favor of same-sex marriage, the New York Daily News reported. The pastors say their congregants are asking how a true Christian could back marriage equality. Four years ago, Obama won 95 percent of Black voters.

In Massachusetts, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf has ordered that the state pay the legal fees for transgender inmate Michelle Kosilek—and that sum is estimated to be half a million dollars, according to Advocate.com . Earlier this month, Wolf, in a landmark decision, granted Kosilek's request for gender-reassignment surgery. Kosilek is serving a life sentence without parole for killing her wife in 1990.

A group of San Francisco Gold's Gym franchises has cut ties with its parent company to protest the CEO's substantial 2010 donation to a conservative organization with anti-LGBT connections, according to the Huffington Post. The group is privately owned, and includes four gyms in Oakland, Marin, and San Francisco's SoMa and Castro districts; Gold's Gym CEO Robert Rowling gave $2 million in 2010 to American Crossroads, a conservative political group that former Bush advisor Karl Rove founded.

In Delaware, Wilmington's Silverside Church has severed ties with the Boy Scouts over the organizations' anti-gay stance, according to Advocate.com . The church, which has provided a meeting place for the local Boy Scout troop for four decades, will allow Troop 70 (also known as the Peacemakers) to convene until it finds a new spot. Bruce Smith, leader of Silverside's lay Church Council, told USA Today, "When you're a sponsor, somebody is saying, 'We agree with the other's belief system and values'—and that isn't the case anymore."

In New York City, Amber Restaurant refused to host a same-sex couple's wedding-rehearsal dinner because the owner's son said gay parties are bad for "feng shui," according to the Huffington Post. Newlyweds Barrett Greene and Thomas Eng claim Amber, an Asian-fusion eatery in the city's LGBT-friendly West Village, stopped the dinner in late March when a manger found out about the couple's sexual orientation. Amber Village manager Fong Lin told the New York Post that the reservation was cancelled because the restaurant was moving to a new location on Christopher Street.

Alberto Leguina has filed a lawsuit against Columbia University, claiming the Ivy League school mishandled his complaints of sexual harassment by lab supervisor Qais Al-Awqati, according to the Columbia Spectator. Leguina claimed Al-Awqati harassed him (even contacting him on the app Grindr) after Leguina began working as a staff associate in the nephrology division in the department of medicine. Leguina then said that people either did not help him or became hostile when he sought more assistance, and he was eventually fired.

—Additional reporting: Kate Sosin


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