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NATIONAL 24th trans death, HIV lab closing, Biden, asylum brief
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-12-11

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Three years after a trans woman in her Detroit neighborhood was killed, Keanna Mattel became the latest transgender victim of violence, INTO reported. Mattel died two blocks away from the spot where her transgender neighbor Amber Monroe was gunned down in August 2015; Mattel was also shot. Police have arrested and charged 46-year-old Albert Weathers, of Sterling Heights, in connection with her death, Gay Star News added. LesbianPGH.com noted that Mattel is the 24th transgender victim of fatal violence in the country this year.

The National Institutes Health ( NIH ) told the principal investigator of a University of California-San Francisco HIV-research lab that it would not renew the facility's contract for next year, citing a virologist familiar with the matter, according to The Scientist, citing The Washington Post. The investigator is therefore preparing to close the lab. The newspaper is keeping the identity of the lab anonymous because of threats it has received. This is the second contract involving fetal tissue that the federal government has recently canceled.

The Biden Foundation announced it has collected almost 500 stories of family and community acceptance and rejection as part of its "As You Are" campaign, many of which can now be read on a new online story map, a press release noted. In August, the foundation launched "As You Are," a family and community acceptance campaign to raise awareness of the importance of family acceptance in the lives of LGBTQ young people. See https://bidenfoundation.org/stories/.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) filed an amicus brief highlighting the stories of LGBTQ asylum-seekers in a case challenging the Trump Administration's "asylum ban"—the rule and presidential proclamation barring asylum for individuals who enter the United States across the southern border outside of a port of entry, an organizational press release noted. "The Trump administration is attempting to unlawfully and fundamentally change our country's process and protections for refugees literally fleeing for their lives," said NCLR Immigration Project's Margarita Sanchez Morales. "Lives are at stake. Asylum is not only a critical LGBTQ issue; it is an essential part of our nation's character."

Gay former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank—whose 32-year tenure in Congress included the George H.W. Bush administration from 1989 to 1992—told the Washington Blade that the late former president "was bad" on LGBT rights and "wouldn't do anything" to advance them. "I asked him, for example, to rescind the Eisenhower rule that said we couldn't get security clearances," Frank said. "He refused to do it. Bill Clinton did a few years later." Frank also said Bush refused to roll back military's ban on gay service members, which was administrative and not statutory in the days before the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law of 1993.

A gay Florida man filed a lawsuit after he was nearly deported to Jamaica despite law enforcement having evidence of his citizenship, Blavity.com noted. Peter Sean Brown turned himself into the Monroe County Sheriff's Office for a probation violation on April 5 after he tested positive for marijuana, according to The Miami Herald—but remained in custody and was later told he was on his way to an ICE detention center in Miami, even though a judge had otherwise added 12 more months to Brown's probation and ordered his release.

The Trump administration has thrown into doubt a multimillion-dollar research contract to test new treatments for HIV that relies on fetal tissue—work targeted by anti-abortion lawmakers and social conservatives aligned with the president, The Washington Post reported. The turmoil over the National Institutes of Health contract with the University of California at San Francisco is part of a building battle between conservatives opposed to research using fetal tissue and scientists who say the material is vital to developing new therapies for diseases from AIDS to Parkinson's.

OUT has made history with its new executive editor—transgender Black social-justice activist and writer Raquel Willis, the Los Angeles Blade reported. Willis has the background of a mainstream journalist, but has said that "was difficult because I couldn't tell full truths," so she shifted into activism, which also shifted her perspective—including serving as a communications associate for the Transgender Law Center. OUT first started publishing in 1992 with a more long-form life-style approach compared to its news-generating companion, The Advocate.

Time Magazine named a group of journalists which they labeled "The Guardians" as its 2018 Person of the Year, passing on President Trump for a second year in a row as well as a number of more famous names on the list, TheWrap.com noted. Those honored in this year's issue include murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; Filipina reporter Maria Ressa; two Reuters journalists currently imprisoned in Myanmar, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo; and the entire staff at Maryland's Capital Gazette newspaper. Among the runners up this year were Trump—the 2016 Person of the Year—as well as Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Technology companies must take a moral stand against hate speech, said Apple CEO Tim Cook during a speech at the Anti-Defamation League, according to NBC News. "I sometimes say that I worry less about computers that think like people and more about people that think like computers, without values or compassion, without concern for consequences," Cook said, as he accepted the Anti-Defamation League's first-ever "Courage Against Hate" award.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) released a statement regarding President Trump's nomination of William Barr for U.S. attorney general. "From his views around HIV/AIDS during his tenure as attorney general to his more recent writing promoting extreme views around religious exemptions, William Barr looks ill suited to be our country's top law-enforcement officer," HRC Director of Government Affairs David Stacy said, in part.

CLAGS, the Center for LGBTQ Studies at CUNY's Graduate Center, announced scholar-activist Amber Hollibaugh as the winner of the 2018 Kessler Award, a press release noted. Hollibaugh is senior activist fellow emerita at the Barnard Center for Research on Women ( BCRW ), where she directs Queer Survival Economies ( QSE )—a project addressing the intersections of sexuality, poverty, homelessness, labor and the criminalization of survival. The 2018 Kessler Lecture & Reception will take place Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Harold M. Proshansky Auditorium.

Rosa Parks was honored by the Milwaukee County Transit System ( MCTS ) to mark the anniversary of her brave act of civil disobedience in 1955, CBS News reported. Recently, MCTS left an open seat with red rose on it on each city bus to honor Parks, 63 years after her arrest became a milestone in U.S. history. Parks was arrested Dec. 1, 1955 after refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama.

Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, will be honored with a statue in New York City's Prospect Park in 2020, The Hill reported. The former Democratic lawmaker—who was also the first woman to seek the Democratic Party's nomination for president—died in 2005. She Built NYC, a New York City commission aimed at erecting more monuments to women, selected Chisholm as the first figure to be honored, according to The New York Times.

Sherrie Cohen—the daughter of the late Philadelphia Councilman David Cohen and an out lesbian—has declared her candidacy for an at-large seat on Philadelphia's city council because "it's past time for our community to be represented," EPGN.com reported. Cohen, who ran for an at-large Philadelphia City Council seat in 2011 and again in 2015, said the "third time is going to be the charm." All 17 council seats are up for re-election in 2019.

Chick-fil-A's anti-LGBTQ record kept the franchise from being added to a college campus in New Jersey, Project Q noted. Last spring, students wanted the restaurant added to the school, but the school removed the restaurant as an option when they surveyed students again this fall. They said the franchise is "widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community," according to a statement by President Gregory G. Dell'Omo posted on the school's website.

The NIH Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office has announced the publication of a new section of our website, Methods and Measurement in Sexual & Gender Minority Health Research, according to a press release. Information provided includes data sources, examples of sexual orientation and gender identity questions, and related publications. The website is at https://dpcpsi.nih.gov/sgmro/measurement.

Michael Avenatti—the attorney for Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Donald Trump—has decided to pull his hat from the 2020 presidential ring, TheWrap.com noted. In a statement posted to his Twitter account, he said, "I will continue to represent Stormy Daniels and others against Donald Trump and his cronies and will not rest until Trump is removed from office, and our republic and its values are restored."

Miami Beach Pride has announced its 2019 ally marshals, who will be helping kick off Pride's 11th annual celebration on Miami Beach. This year's Ally Marshals will be Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard and founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Coming off of the 20th anniversary of the attack on University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, the Matthew Shepard Foundation has been working to erase hate crimes and foster understanding, compassion and acceptance for the LGBTQ community.

Transgender boxer Patricio Manuel won by unanimous decision, beating Hugo Aguilar in his historic professional debut, Yahoo! Sports noted. After the fight, Manuel said, "I just have to say my opponent, hats off to him. He came to fight. He was fighting me the whole time. He fought me as a man, and I have so much respect for him." Manuel fought for the last time as a female in 2012 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but had to withdraw after one fight due to a shoulder injury.

College-football player and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, of the University of Oklahoma, issued an apology via Twitter for using homophobic slurs in social-media messages that are several years old, Yahoo! Sports reported. "I apologize for the tweets that have come to light tonight from when I was 14 and 15. I used a poor choice of word that doesn't reflect who I am or what I believe. I did not intend to single out any individual or group," Murray said. Number-four Oklahoma plays top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 29.

A lawsuit has revealed a relationship between religious right leader Jerry Falwell Jr., his wife and an attractive young pool boy they met on vacation, LGBTQ Nation noted. The suit alleges that the Rebecca and Jerry Falwell met Giancarlo Granda ( described as a "pool attendant" ) while on vacation in Miami. Shortly after meeting, the the evangelical leader "indicated that he wanted to help Granda establish a new career and build a business," Buzzfeed News reported earlier this year—so they bought him a youth hostel. The lawsuit was filed by two men who say they conceived of the idea, but were cut out of the business.

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission voted to establish a minimum wage for drivers working for companies like Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via, Engadget.com noted. The city is the first in the country to set a minimum pay rate for app-based drivers. Going forward, the minimum pay will be set at $17.22 per hour after expenses—bringing it in line with the city's $15-per- hour minimum wage for typical employees that will take effect at the end of the year.


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