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NATIONAL AIDS memorial, HIV news, Texas A&M, Nancy Pelosi
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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As people from around the world come together on Saturday, Dec. 1, to commemorate World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Memorial ( in San Francisco ) will bring together more than 1,600 supporters, friends and loved ones for two days of events to pay tribute to the lives lost and convey an important message of hope for the future, a press release noted. The two days of tributes will focus on "Voices of Hope," with the memorial honoring people who have helped capture and curate the voices of the epidemic by telling the personal stories by survivors. Also, underscoring "Voices of Hope," the National AIDS Memorial will award $50,000 in scholarships to the next generation of leaders in the AIDS movement as part of the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship Program.

Florida fails to deliver basic HIV services to many transgender women—endangering their health and contributing to an HIV epidemic in the state, according to a report from Human Rights Watch. The 88-page report, "'Living at Risk': Transgender Women, HIV, and Human Rights in South Florida," documents the impact of state and federal policies on transgender women in two Florida counties—Miami-Dade and Broward—that have the highest rates of new HIV infection in the United States. Many women interviewed said they experience disrespect, mistreatment, and in some cases, denial of services from government-funded clinics. See

HealthHIV, HealthHCV and the National Coalition for LGBT Health have issued a call for abstracts for original research, innovative projects and/or novel programs related to HIV, HCV, STI and LGBT health to be considered for presentation at the SYNChronicity 2019 national conference, to be held April 14-16, 2019, in Washington, D.C., a press release noted. Visit

A continuing surge in newly diagnosed HIV cases in the Cincinnati area recently prompted health authorities to call in a specialized team of epidemiologists to investigate, reported. The "Epi-Aid" team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) assisted local health authorities in their continuing investigation of HIV clusters in the area. Ohio, Kentucky, Hamilton County and northern Kentucky health officials issued a joint statement about the team's arrival.

Philadelphia sees about 700 new cases of HIV each year—and these are just the ones being reported, according to the most recent City of Philadelphia Surveillance Report, reported. Two Planned Parenthood locations in the region ( one in Center City and the other in Norristown ) have begun offering PrEP ( also known as a pre-exposure prophylaxis, and by its brand name, Truvada ) to clients most at risk for contracting HIV.

Texas A&M University—once on The Princeton Review's list of "Unfriendly schools for LGBT students"—recently passed two pro-LGBT resolutions, LGBTQ Nation reported. The first resolution expresses support for the school's new LGBTQ resource center, acknowledged past students who advocated for improved student equality and "recognizes Texas A&M for sponsoring, for the first time, an appearance at the 2017 Houston Pride Parade." The second resolution encourages the university to create more gender-inclusive restrooms on campus.

Amid uncertainty over whether House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ( D-California ) will be elected speaker next year despite a Democratic majority in the House, a group of 102 LGBT leaders have come out to "enthusiastically endorse" her to become presiding officer of the chamber, The Washington Blade noted. Among the signers of the statement are Annise Parker, CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and former mayor of Houston; Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign; and Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015 for same-sex marriage nationwide.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation welcomed student activists from historically black colleges and universities ( HBCUs ) for a three-day leadership summit designed to foster campus environments that are welcoming and affirming to LGBTQ people, a press release noted. Karamo Brown, co-host of the hit Netflix series Queer Eye, helped launch a partnership between HRC and HBCU Buzz—the premier news site covering HBCUs—dedicated to creating the first-ever LGBTQ HBCU Alumni Network. For more information about HRC's HBCU Project, visit

A new study on gun ownership and attitudes by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law revealed that approximately 18.8 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual ( LGB ) adults in the United States have guns in their home, compared to 35.1 pervcent of heterosexuals, a press release noted. Researchers also found that LGB adults are more likely than heterosexuals to support gun control measures, such as background checks. The complete study is at

Lambda Legal and the Southern Poverty Law Center ( SPLC ) sued the U.S. Department of Justice ( DoJ ) and the Federal Bureau of Prisons ( BoP ) to compel the federal agencies to produce all documents and communications connected to the Trump administration's decision six months ago to alter its Transgender Offender Manual, including communications with outside advocacy groups, a press release noted. The lawsuit comes after DoJ and BoP refused to honor a Freedom of Information Act request for the relevant records Lambda Legal and SPLC filed this past June.

Equality Florida's TransAction Network hosted a vigil in the Florida State Capitol to recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance and Visibility, a press release noted. The TransAction Network joins thousands around the world and across Florida to mourn transgender and gender non-conforming lives taken due to transphobia and trans-related violence. Florida has the highest murder rate of transgender people in the country this year, with five individuals having been killed so far.

The Trevor Project released a report that reviews California's school districts' suicide-prevention policies, checking if they included high-risk populations, including LGBTQ youth, as well as prevention, intervention and postvention policies, a Trevor Project press statement noted. Among the findings were that nearly 90 percent of the suicide prevention policies met the requirement of addressing all three elements of prevention, intervention and postvention— but only about 75 percent of suicide-prevention policies specifically address LGBTQ youth. The full report is at

Christian Fuscarino and Aaron Williams exchanged wedding vows Nov. 11 in Trinity Episcopal Church, Asbury park, New Jersey, before a gathering of friends, families and supporters that included Gov. Phil Murphy, a press release noted. Fuscarino—the 28-year-old executive director of Garden State Equality, New Jersey's leading advocacy group for LGBT people—and Williams, a 30-year-old U.S. Marine corporal, had a traditional military ceremony.

In Arizona, a lawsuit filed in Tucson says that same-sex couples shouldn't be held to Social Security's nine-month marriage requirement for receiving spousal survivor benefits if they were legally prevented from marrying during that period, noted. Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit against the Social Security Administration on behalf of 65-year-old Michael Ely—a gay Tucson resident who is seeking spousal survivor's benefits based on his 43-year relationship with the man he eventually married.

A teen has been accused of making threatening phone calls to two Boston gay nightspots ( dbar and the Alley Bar ), Instinct Magazine noted. The police were able to trace the phone calls to a landline number, but were still seeking out a suspect—and now it appears they found one. A 16-year-old—a repeat offender from Hampton, New Hampshire, whose identity is being withheld due to his age—was arrested by Seabrook, New Hampshire, police.

An openly gay former councilman in a small Southeast Texas town is suing after he was defeated in a recall election—an effort that surfaced when nude photos of him on a gay dating app were anonymously sent to city hall, a item noted. Cross Coburn—ousted as a councilmember in Groves, Texas—filed a lawsuit in a state court asking the court to declare the election invalid due to "deficiencies, fraud and forgery" in the recall petition. Coburn claims the recall effort targeted him because of his sexuality.

Louisville Tourism was recognized at the Kentucky Travel Industry Association's ( KTIA ) annual conference for creating one of the top PR campaigns in the state—and it was for the city's Pride initiatives, a press release announced. The award was presented during the conference's annual Traverse Awards Gala, which was held Nov. 13-15 in Owensboro, and attended by hundreds of tourism leaders from across the state.

On Nov. 19, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, in San Francisco, blocked new rules put into place by President Donald Trump that limit the ability of migrants to request asylum—a legal blow to the administration's efforts to curb legal immigration that opens the door for more members of the migrant caravan to request asylum in the United States, USA Today reported. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act states that any foreigner who arrives in the USA, "whether or not at a designated port of arrival," may apply for asylum. However, on Nov. 9, Trump tried to overrule that law, signing a presidential proclamation ending the ability of migrants to request asylum if they enter the country illegally.

In a rare public statement, Chief Justice John Roberts rebutted President Donald Trump's statement that a ruling against the administration was made by "an Obama judge," NBC News reported. Asked Wednesday by the Associated Press about the president's comment, Roberts said, "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."

A Northern California vice mayor who was heavily criticized earlier this year after writing a newspaper column that many people viewed as homophobic lost his city council seat by a landslide vote in early November, The Sacramento Bee reported. Ted Hickman was defeated for Dixon City Council District 2 by the city's planning commissioner, Jim Ernest, who garnered 72 percent of the vote. In the June 29 column, Hickman called for July to be known as "Straight Pride American Month," referred to gay men as "faries," ( sic ) and said gay people have an "[inferiority] complex."

A federal judge in Michigan has dropped most of the charges against a Detroit doctor accused of female genital mutilation, concluding that Congress "overstepped its bounds" when it passed a law banning the practice, NPR reported. That 1996 law violates the Constitution and is unenforceable, the judge concluded, because in general, criminal law is left to the states—and female genital mutilation should be no exception.

Florida State President John Thrasher condemned a racist social-media post involving head coach Willie Taggart and said the Florida state attorney is investigating, reported. A screenshot of a meme posted to Facebook showed Taggart's head edited onto an image of a man being lynched with the words "Believe in Something Even If It Means Sacrificing Your Rep." The image started making the rounds on social media Nov. 24 after Florida State closed a disappointing 2018 season with a 41-14 loss to rival Florida.

Richmond, Virginia, will be the site of Compete Magazine's first-ever Sports Diversity Jubilee in 2019, noted. The event, announced at the Nov. 10 Petey Awards ceremony in Tempe, Arizona, will take place May 17-19 in Richmond. It will feature dodgeball and softball competition, as well as a variety of other sporting events featuring LGBTQ athletes from around the world. Compete was founded in 2007 by Eric Carlyle and David Riach, then teammates on the Phoenix Storm gay rugby team.

Andora Te'Tee ( Miss Gay New York America ) was crowned Miss Gay America 2019 recently in St. Louis—the new host city for the annual competition, noted. Runners-up were first alternate Dessie Love Blake ( Miss Gay New York America 2018 alternate ), second alternate Sofia Anderson ( Miss Gay Nevada America 2018 ), third alternate Janessa Highland ( Miss Gay Missouri America 2018 ) and fourth alternate Alexis Mateo ( Miss Gay Florida America 2018 ).

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