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Biden on trans rights; Romney's first choice for VP was…
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2012-11-07

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In Sarasota, Fla., Vice President Joe Biden told a woman at a campaign event that transgender-related discrimination is the "civil-rights issue of our time," Advocate.com reported. The woman turned out to be Linda Carragher Bourne, the mother of Miss Trans New England, and she had asked Biden if he would help. Bourne later told reporters, "A lot of my friends are being killed, and they don't have the civil rights yet. These guys are gonna make it happen."

Politico.com has published that, according to insiders, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was Mitt Romney's first choice for vice president. Romney was reportedly so close to picking Christie that some top advisers at the campaign's Boston headquarters believed the governor had been offered the job. "Mitt liked him because he saw him as a street fighter," a Romney official said. "It's the kind of political mentality that Romney doesn't have, but admires."

Gay commentator and radio talk-show host Michelangelo Signorile has apologized for making an analogy between voting for Mitt Romney and committing suicide, Advocate.com reported. A gay man from Utah called into Signorile's show and told him he cast his ballot for Romney in early voting. Signorile said (regarding voting for Romney), "It would have been much easier to go to the store and buy some arsenic and make a potion and take it. … That would have been much easier than, you know, waiting for the slow, painful death that Mitt Romney will bring." Signorile later apologized to the caller and to his listeners.

At a debate against Democratic challenger Jim Graves Oct. 30, antigay Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann made the crowd laugh out loud when she said she doesn't take part in political speech, according to Advocate.com . "It's insulting to say that these are political speech," said Bachmann. "Because that's one thing I do not do, is political speech."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department updated its field-operations instructions for handling complaints of lewd conduct, Advocate.com noted. Lewd conduct is a charge that often involves gay men caught having sex in semi-public spaces in "vice" or undercover stings, West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang said. The directive was revised to place more of a focus on environmental factors that can reduce lewd conduct, such as increased lighting.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation debuted a personality quiz on facebook.com/visitgayphilly that will help LGBT visitors figure out which Philadelphia neighborhood best suits them and give them a chance to win a weekend stay in Philadelphia, including tickets to a Lady Gaga concert. To take the quiz and enter the sweepstakes, participants must "like" facebook.com/visitgayphilly. Participants may take the quiz as many times as they like, but they're permitted jut one contest entry throughout the sweepstakes.

In Michigan, a boy (known only as John Doe) claims that after a pastor at Antioch Baptist Academy repeatedly raped him, the church called the boy a liar and the "instigator of his own rape," Courthouse News Service reported. Doe claims he was younger than 14 when he was the victim of repeated rapes and sodomy in 2009-10 by defendant Christopher Settlemoir, a "29-year-old serial pedophile who was posing as a man of God." Doe also is suing Settlemoir's wife and others who he said knew about the molestations but failed to stop them.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate mass spam texts that are taking aim at President Obama, marriage equality and a number of other progressive issues, according to a press release. Recently, HRC supporters have received unsolicited anti-gay text messages such as: "Obama endorses the legality of same-sex marriage. Say No to Obama at the polls on Nov 6."

In Texas, LGBT-rights advocates and allies are praising a Dallas measure that will allow same-sex domestic partners to be eligible for a medical-insurance subsidy, the Huffington Post reported. The Dallas County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 along party lines (Democrats being the majority) to approve a subsidy for same- and opposite-sex couples who can prove they have lived together for at least six months. Local LGBT-rights activist Oliver Blumer called the development a "simple business model that takes Dallas County into the 21st century."

National gay men's fraternity Delta Lambda Phi filed a trademark-infringement and unlawful-trade suit against Delta Lambda Psi, a "gender-neutral frarority" with a location at the University of Oregon, according to WWeek.com . The suit claims that Psi—founded in 2005 in Santa Cruz, Calif.—is trading on the name of the larger, older Phi, which was founded in Washington, D.C., in 1986. It also claims that Psi chose the name to "deceive the public" for its gain.

In California, Ronald Baker claims gay-porn companies forced him to inject models' penises with a prescription enhancement drug—and fired him after he poked his thumb with a syringe during a shoot, according to Courthouse News Service. He also claims that Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network and others did not screen models for HIV, STDs or hepatitis prior to the injections; he tested negative for HIV and hepatitis C after the incident. Baker says he suffered severe emotional distress and will need to be rechecked for diseases.

At the 14th annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Baltimore, Md., five people and businesses received the Outie Awards, according to an organizational press release. Google received the Workplace Excellence Award that "recognizes an employer that has an ongoing commitment to workplace equality, demonstrated by unquestioned leadership, dedication and innovation on behalf of LGBT employees everywhere." Other winners included Lance Freedman of Lockheed Martin (Trailblazer Award), IBM's Harry van Dorenmalen (Champion Award), the U.S. Department of Defense's OutServe (LGBT Employee Resource Group of the Year Award) and Out & Equal's NY Fingerlakes Regional Affiliate.

A political ad that the National Republican Congressional Committee sponsored linked openly gay U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., to a convicted pedophile and murderer he represented as a defense attorney 20 years ago, according to LGBTQ Nation. The ad was designed to boost the chances of Republican challenger Brendan Doherty, the former head of the Rhode Island state police. Former Democratic congressman Bob Weygand called the ad "one of the harshest I've ever seen in Rhode Island politics."

In New York City, a Madison Square Garden ad meant to promote the basketball team the New York Knicks has been seen by some as homophobic, LGBTQ Nation noted. The ad reads, "It's Friday night. You can either see a Broadway harness malfunction or you can watch real men fly." Jamie McGonnigal wrote, "As a kid who grew up doing musicals, seeing an ad like this would have hurt me."

Hurricane Sandy, as most know, devastated most of New York City—including the gay mecca Fire Island, according to Queerty.com . Eighty percent of the homes facing the ocean have been damaged to some extent, while a dozen were either destroyed or simply washed out to sea. According to Ocean Beach Fire Chief Ian Levine, floods swept through Fire Island's streets and structures. "It'll take years to rebuild everything," he said.

In Wisconsin, a man who has been volunteering in the campaign for a GOP House candidate is recanting his story that he was physically assaulted at his home last week because he is gay and a Republican, according to SouthFloridaGayNews.com . Kyle Wood claimed he was beaten a week after his car was vandalized with "traitor" and "house trained republican faggot." However, he later admitted he lied about the hate crime and that he faked the attack against himself. Wood is supporting Chad Lee, a straight man who's running against openly gay Democrat Marc Pocan for Tammy Baldwin's U.S. House seat.

The Family Equality Council, a pro-LGBT organization, released a statement about the National Adoption Month Proclamation that President Obama issued. Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler said, in part, that "earlier this year, the president endorsed the principles of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act—federal legislation that would prevent discrimination in foster care and adoption based on sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status. ... We look forward to the day when it becomes law and every child finds a forever home."

Mission America President Linda Harvey hosted ex-gay therapist Floyd Godfrey, who describes his own path to "healing" his homosexuality by befriending more men, going to the gym and getting a job at a gas station as a mechanic, according to LGBTQ Nation. Harvey and Godfrey claimed gays and lesbians were most likely abused as children or envy their same-sex peers so much they develop sexual feelings for them—just like cannibals who eat their own leaders.

The highest judicial commission of the Presbyterian Church (USA) published a final decision this week in an internal disciplinary case, holding that the Rev. Laurie McNeill did not commit any offense by "marrying" her same-sex partner, according to ChristianNewswire.com . Despite stipulated evidence that McNeill had "married" her same-sex partner and was living with her in New York, court officials determined that because there was no direct evidence of sexual activity (pictures or a witness), there was no proof of a sexual relationship.

A professor from the UK who was selected for a fellowship at the University of San Diego has been disinvited from the Catholic institution after administrators discovered she supports marriage equality, Advocate.com reported. Tina Beattie, a theology professor at Roehampton University, signed a letter published in the Times of London newspaper with 27 other Catholics saying that it was "perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples." University President Mary Lyons subsequently sent a letter to Beattie rescinding the fellowship.

In Minnesota, Benson's Swift County Monitor-News has lost a few subscribers after the publication endorsed marriage equality, Advocate.com noted. Even though only five people ended their subscriptions out of a base of 3,000, publisher Reed Anfinson said that Swift County's population decline makes each subscriber even more crucial.

An Illinois court ruled in favor of adult-entertainment company Flava Works, awarding it $3 million against a Virginia man (Kywan Fisher) and a Delaware man (Cormelian Brown), according to Forbes.com . Fisher and Brown used their paid memberships on Miami-based Flava Works—which specializes in ethnic gay porn—to download movies and distribute them for free on BitTorrent sites, allowing downloaders to see the films for no charge.

In Washington state, Evergreen State College's non-discrimination policy is being tested, as the mother of a 17-year-old girl who used the swimming facilities filed an incident report about 45-year-old transgender woman Colleen Francis, who walked nude around the locker room, Jezebel.com noted. A female swim coach confronted Francis and told her her presence might make children uncomfortable. The school decided to put the girls' sports teams were placed in a smaller ancillary locker room space to change while Francis was given the run of the main locker room.

A Change.org petition claims that the city of Miami fired a young firefighter for reporting that a colleague sexually assaulted him (via teabagging), according to the Miami New Times. Brian Gentles, 26, said that a fellow cadet, Daniel Fiorito, routinely harassed him, doing things like whipping out his testicles and hanging them in Gentles' face. Fiorito—whom Gentles also claimed called him the N-word—is now a firefighter for the city.

Outspoken pro-football player Chris Kluwe—a supporter of marriage equality—has quit his post as a contributor to Minnesota's St. Paul Pioneer Press of an editorial on same-sex marriage, according to On Top Magazine. The newspaper gave a lukewarm nod to a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as a strictly heterosexual union. Kluwe, who plays for the Minnesota Vikings, tweeted, "Sent my email to the @PioneerPress informing them I will no longer contribute to their blog network. It will be my last post on the site."

In Texas, the Black Tie Dinner—the nation's largest LGBT fundraiser—attracted more than 3,000 people to the Sheraton Dallas hotel Nov. 3, according to KHOU.com . The 31st annual event featured Chaz Bono, who accepted the 2012 Elizabeth Birch Equality Award. Lesbian TV actress Meredith Baxter gave the keynote address. The event has raised more than $15 million over three decades.

GLAAD announced Dave Montez as the organization's new chief of staff, according to a press release. Montez will be working closely with GLAAD President Herndon Graddick on the organization's development, operations and programs departments. Montez will be based in the New York office and is scheduled to start work with the organization in January 2013.

Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Law Enforcement Gays and Lesbians (LEGAL) and four of its statewide and regional chapters in support of Kelly D. Glossip, the partner of deceased Missouri State Trooper Dennis Engelhard, according to a press release. Engelhard died in the line of duty Christmas Day 2009 and the Missouri Department of Transportation and Retirement System is denying Glossip, Engelhard's partner of 15 years, spousal benefits.

Chuck Smith has been named the new executive director of Equality Texas, the Dallas Voice reported. Smith has served as interim executive director since August, when former ED Dennis Coleman resigned. Prior to that, Smith served as deputy executive director since 2005.

The 25th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change will be in Atlanta, Ga., and the Hilton Atlanta, Jan. 23—27, 2013, according to its website. Creating Change advertises itself as the "only the premier annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies." Among the slated plenary speakers and performers are comedian Kate Clinton, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey, Center for Community Change Executive Director Deepak Bhargava and singer Frenchie Davis. See www.creatingchange.org .

The San Francisco Health Commission, the governing and policy-making body of the Department of Public Health, unanimously voted to implement the recommendations set forth in a resolution authored by Supervisor Scott Wiener and passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last month that would remove transgender exclusions from the Healthy San Francisco (Healthy SF) health access program, according to a Transgender Law Center press release. Transgender Law Center Executive Director Masen Davis said, "Removing these exclusions will make a real difference in the lives of transgender San Franciscans, especially those who struggle to make ends meet."


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