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Boston mayor rejects Chick-fil-A; trans woman $70K to mimic Britney
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2012-07-25

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Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wants the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A banned from his city, Advocate.com reported. The corporation—whose officers admitted to maintaining anti-gay positions—is looking for locations in the city. However, Menino says Boston isn't the right city for a business with such policies: "You can't have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We're an open city, we're a city that's at the forefront of inclusion."

Transgender woman Kara Nicole Hays, 26, has spent $70,000 to look like her idol, Britney Spears, according to the New York Daily News. Hays estimated that her surgeries cost around $30,000 in 2002; the rest went toward therapy, hormones, clothing, cosmetics and miscellaneous items. However, she's insisted that she's "never had any facial reconstruction to look like a certain celebrity." However, there's no denying how much Hays admires Spears; when the singer shaved her head several years ago, Hays did as well.

In Texas, Tarrant County College administrators agreed to pay lesbian ex-professor Jacqueline "Jackie" Gill more than $160,000 as part of a settlement in a federal discrimination lawsuit, according to the Dallas Voice. Gill filed a complaint last year, stating she was not allowed to interview for a permanent position in the English department at the northeast campus of Tarrant County College after her yearlong temporary position expired. The college also added a written policy (not part of the settlement) banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray appointed Dr. Saul Levin—senior deputy director at the D.C. Department of Health (DOH)—as director, according to the Washington Blade. This makes Levin the first known out gay person to serve as head of a city department of that size. Gray said Levin would fill in for DOH Director Dr. Mohammad Akhter, who the mayor said is taking a leave of absence to become a member of the executive board of the city's new Health Benefit Exchange Authority.

The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles has found a new home: the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, a press release stated. The partnership began when the group of 220 men held its inaugural performance, entitled "Mighty Pipes," at the church in March. (Out Tony winner Levi Kreis sang with the group.)

Marriage Equality USA has announced that Brian Silva, who helped lead efforts in New York, will become executive director in August, according to Advocate.com . Silva became executive director of Marriage Equality New York last year after a measure passed the state legislature. Silva will become the first full-time executive director of the organization in five years.

In Kentucky, a young Louisville lesbian suffered a broken jaw and other injuries after a group of adults attacked her while shouting anti-gay slurs, Queerty.com reported. Family friend Brenda Hickerson told a news outlet that the young woman's "jaw is broken in several places and she has to have a plate put in her jaw." Hickerson added she believes the incident was a hate crime because "there were hate slurs and this was not a robbery… They didn't take anything."

In Colorado, state personnel board judge Mary McClatchey ruled that the Colorado State Patrol harbors a homophobic culture, the Denver Post reported. McClatchey made the conclusion upon ruling that the patrol denied re-employment to former high-ranking officer Brett Williams after agency leaders learned he is gay. Colorado Department of Public Safety Director James Davis said the agency plans to appeal McClatchey's findings but would improve its training programs.

In Idaho, the Waha Bar & Grill in Lewiston is boycotting PepsiCo and MillerCoors products because of their involvement with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), according to Advocate.com . On the restaurant's website, owners Mike and Mari Fuller wrote, in part, "We are Christians who do not believe in supporting the goals and the politicians who support the goals of the NGLCC." Waha will still serve Coca-Cola products, however, although that company has scored a perfect score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign's Buyer's Guide for the past six years.

Architects at Studio a+i have released a new design for the upcoming AIDS memorial in New York City's Greenwich Village, according to the Huffington Post. The original design, "Infinite Forest," which featured mirrored glasses and trees, was revealed in January; however, architects were forced to come up with a new model that occupied less space.

The U.S. Department of Education will host the third annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit Monday-Tuesday, Aug. 6-7, in Washington, D.C., according to a press release. The summit will focus on ensuring that anti-bullying efforts are coordinated and based on the best available research. Keynote speakers will include U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the First Lady of Maryland Katie O'Malley. In addition, there will be a special discussion between White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Cynthia Germanotta, mother of musician and staunch LGBT ally Lady Gaga.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association apparently used the recent Aurora, Colo., shooting tragedy to vilify gays, according to an Advocate.com item. Reacting to news that the Aurora Chick-fil-A was providing free food to police and other emergency personnel on the scene, Fischer tweeted, "Chick-fil-A provides free meals to first responders in CO. Let's see Big Gay demonize that." Fischer and other religious conservatives are saying the crime resulted from the country turning away from traditional Judeo-Christian values.

At San Diego's gay-pride parade, active-duty troops marched in uniform—the first time U.S. service members have participated in such an event while in full military dress, according to the Huffington Post. Soldiers, sailors and Marines marched alongside an old Army truck decorated with a rainbow flag and a "Freedom to Serve" banner. Spectators waved signs that read, "Thank you for your service."

Freedom to Marry and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) released an online video featuring Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Charlie Morgan and her wife, Karen, according to a press release. Morgan, who is battling incurable stage four breast cancer, recently returned from a deployment to the Middle East. Should she not survive, her wife would not receive the survivors' benefits. The Morgans are plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by SLDN in October 2011 challenging DOMA and three other federal statutes that prevent the military from providing equal recognition and support to same-sex military spouses.

In an alleged hate crime that took place in Lincoln, Neb., three masked men attacked a woman by breaking into her home, binding her with zip ties, carving anti-gay slurs into her skin, pouring gas on her floor and lighting it, according to a Huffington Post item. Erin Thompson, a friend of the unnamed victim, confirmed that the woman who was attacked is lesbian. Thompson also said that three anti-gay epithets (such as the word "dyke") were carved on the woman's arms and stomach. Investigators said it was too early to determine if the attack was a hate crime.

Physicist Sally Ride, 61, a pioneering woman in space, died of pancreatic cancer at age 61 on July 23. NASA chose Ride as an astronaut candidate in January 1978, and was a mission specialist on her historic ride on STS-7, which launched June 18, 1983—when she was 32 years old. (Two Soviet women beat her to space.) Ride is survived by her female partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy.

The newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, is replacing the diagnostic term "gender-identity disorder" with the term "gender dysphoria," according to an Advocate.com item. Advocates had urged the American Psychological Association to change or remove categories labeling transgender people in a psychiatric manual, arguing that terms like "gender-identity disorder" characterize all transgender people as mentally ill.

The University of Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) has included a LGBT minor-studies course to its curriculum; however, some alumni are less than supportive, according to LGBTQ Nation. U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, an alumnus of the university, has asked for the school to reverse its decision. The conservative group the Louisiana Family Forum released a statement calling the study "a degree in immorality." ULL President Joseph Savoie released a statement defending the program and correcting inaccurate information.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is demanding that Virginia Republican Eugene Delgaudio "immediately cease and desist" his use of a gay couple's engagement photo in anti-gay materials in Colorado, the Huffington Post reported. Delgaudio's group, Public Advocate of the United States, mailed anti-gay flyers showing an altered version of New Jersey residents Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere's engagement photo, which shows the two kissing in front of the New York City skyline.

A new report from the Black AIDS Institute states that gay and bisexual Black men are at the highest risk for HIV and AIDS despite being a vast minority, according to IScienceTimes.com . While only one in 500 Americans is Black and gay or bisexual, the group accounts for one in four new HIV infections. The report, "Back of the Line: The State of AIDS Among Gay Black Men in America 2012," also found that a Black gay male has a one-in-eight chance of becoming infected with HIV by age 20; by age 40, the likelihood is 60 percent.

In Washington, D.C., a hate-crime investigation is under way after a gay couple's night out ended in a brutal attack, LGBTQ Nation reported. One of the victims, 29-year-old Michael Hall Jr., suffered a broken jaw and fractured cheekbone in the beating. Five teenagers ambushed Hall, a local yoga instructor, and boyfriend Michael Roike.

The Florida Family Association, led by David Caton, is upset over the new partnership between Office Depot and Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, LGBTQ Nation reported. Caton argued that Gaga is tricking some kids into being gay: "Born this Way sends an irresponsible message to many teens who would have eventually chose to be straight. The [$1-] million pledge from Office Depot to the Lady Gaga Born this Way Foundation will influence many teens to embrace homosexuality for their lifetime who may have otherwise worked through their crisis with straight results."

Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, met with Sir Elton John, Annie Lennox and UNAIDS Director Michel Sidibe, who were in town for the International AIDS Conference, according to a press release from Kerry's office. During the meeting, they discussed current investments in research, policies and next steps for fighting the AIDS epidemic. They also discussed options for strengthening the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund programs.

A year after New York state passed the Marriage Equality Act, a new report reveals the law has generated $259 million in economic impact in New York City alone, the Huffington Post reported. Included in the figure is revenue stemming from marriage-license applications, money spent by out-of-town guests on hotel rooms and the wedding industry in general. Before the law was enacted, a report from the state Senate's Independent Democratic Conference predicted same-sex marriages would rake in $391 million in economic activity for the state during the first three years after going into effect.

Fox News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has announced on his Facebook page that Aug. 1 will be "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," according to the Huffington Post. The former presidential candidate is upset that the fast-food chain has been the target of criticism after company president Dan Cathy said that his business supports "the biblical definition of the family unit."


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