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NATIONAL Anti-LGBT attacks, N.J. education law, Gen. Pulaski a woman?
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-02-06

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A violent attack outside a bar in Center City Philadelphia is under investigation, and police are trying to figure out if the victim was specifically targeted, 6ABC.com reported. Bartender Josh Schonewolf said he witnessed "a car full of guys" jumping a patron in front of the spot—but then retracted his statement after admitting he was inside the bar and didn't see the attack. However, police said the 50-year-old victim was jumped by four men and a woman.

In Florida, police announced they have arrested a man who they believe murdered a transgender woman from Port Charlotte in September 2018. Juan Salazar-Diaz, 21, was the last person Tyren Anthony Kinard called before she was killed, police said. Salazar-Diaz, who is from Punta Gorda, was arrested for second-degree murder, grand theft auto and possession of a firearm by a felon.

On April 8, Smithsonian Channel plans to air "The General Was a Woman?," an episode from the network's series America's Hidden Secrets ( which begins March 4 ), a press release noted. The episode goes behind Polish-born General Casimir Pulaski ( for whom a day in Chicago is named ), who was George Washington's most charismatic cavalry commander—and delves into the possibility that Pulaski was intersex. Other episodes look into a 1982 Siberian explosion, the infamous spy Benedict Arnold, the flu pandemic of 1918 and more.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law requiring boards of education to include instruction, and adopt instructional materials, that accurately portray political, economic and social contributions of persons with disabilities and LGBT individuals, InsiderNJ.com reported. This law would bring classroom materials into alignment with Core Curriculum Content Standards by ensuring that students receive diverse instruction in history and the social sciences, which will cultivate respect towards minority groups, allow students to appreciate differences, and acquire the skills and knowledge needed to function effectively with people of various backgrounds.

The federal government agreed to allow federally funded foster care agencies in South Carolina to deny services to same-sex or non-Christian couples, Fox10Phoenix.com reported. The waiver issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow Greenville's Miracle Hill Ministries to continue as a state-supported foster care agency. Gay-rights groups and non-Christian religious organizations opposed the waiver, saying it would cut down on the number of people willing to be foster parents and allows public money to take away rights.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the city of Fayetteville could not enforce its ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, NewNowNext.com reported. The high court said it had already determined the measure was in violation of state law that prevents cities from passing non-discrimination ordinances that offer protections not already offered by the state, which does not include the LGBTQ community.

A federal magistrate is stopping the enforcement of a portion of Tampa's ordinance prohibiting same-sex conversion therapy for minors, U.S. News & World Report noted. The injunction stops the city of Tampa from banning conversion therapy involving talking, but it would allow the ban to be applied to techniques like electroshock therapy. "The fact remains that LGBTQ minors are at risk of fraudulent and dangerous so-called 'conversion therapy,'" said Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer in a statement. "Equality Florida will not be deterred from protecting LGBTQ youth, and we applaud the City of Tampa's leadership for taking a stand to do the same."

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is saying that former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis should pay more than $222,000 in legal fees for the gay and straight couples who sued, not taxpayers, The Huffington Post noted. "Only Davis refused to comply with the law as was her obligation and as required by the oath of office she took," Bevin attorney Palmer G. Vance II wrote in a brief filed with the court. Bevin had been a staunch supporter of Davis, who spent five days in jail for refusing a court order to issue marriage licenses following the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage.

Pressure is mounting on Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to resign in the wake of his med-school photo scandal/Michael Jackson confession, CNN.com noted. Statements from the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, the Virginia House and Senate Democrats and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe—who was governor when Northam was lieutenant governor—ratcheted up the tension, as they all announced they believed the governor must step aside. In addition, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, "Northam must resign immediately. The right path forward is for Justin Fairfax to become the next Governor of Virginia."

The National LGBTQ Task Force issued a press release demanding that Delta Airlines apologize to two deaf Creating Change Conference attendees for preventing them from traveling home. According to NBC News, Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia said they were traveling from Detroit to Los Angeles and were initially told by a Delta agent at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport that they would be seated together on the flight—but that didn't happen. Garcia then tried to write a reply, but the agent allegedly crumbled up the paper and threw it in the garbage—and then reportedly pushed Garcia. The Task Force said, in part, "No one should have to fear that Delta will call the police on them for simply being deaf, blind, or disabled. Delta should take immediate steps to prevent future incidents from occurring." Delta said it is reviewing the situation "to better understand what transpired."

A Utah therapist has apologized for his work with conversion therapy among the LGBTQ community after coming out as a gay man, KSL.com reported. In his work as a therapist, David Matheson worked for years to convert gay men into becoming heterosexual. Matheson, though, said he is now looking for a gay partner—with the news causing outcry around the world, especially among critics who are calling him a fraud. Almost 700,000 LGBTQ adults in the United States have received conversion therapy.

Legislators are expected to begin the lengthy process of amending Vermont's constitution soon with the aim of codifying greater equality and a women's right to abortion, MyChamplainValley.com reported. Democratic Sen. Ginny Lyons of Williston said at a panel held by the Champlain Valley League of Women Voters that the state needs to do more to protect the "underrepresented" and underprotected." The earliest the amendments could take effect would be 2022. The state legislature must approve the measure for two consecutive sessions and pass a majority vote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is among the vanguards who will be recognized at this year's VH1 Trailblazer Honors, NewNowNext.com noted. Kicking off Women's History Month, the hourlong television special will air on International Women's Day, March 8. Pelosi joins previously announced honoree Ava DuVernay, the Oscar-nominated director best known for Selma, A Wrinkle in Time, and OWN's Queen Sugar.

Instagram recently banned Tom Bianchi—a longtime male erotic photographer and HIV activist whose photographs have helped document gay men's sexual history on Fire Island and elsewhere, LGBTQ Nation noted. The shot that got Bianchi banned was called "Untitled, 457," a picture from his collection entitled Fire Island Pines: Polaroids 1975-1983. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform has a habit of deleting supposedly risque homoerotic content, including tasteful pictures of nude athletes, an image of Queer Eye food guy Antoni Porowski in his underwear and even an image of a lesbian couple cuddling in bed with their child.

The American Society of Journalists and Authors ( ASJA ) has honored 11 young writers, between 14 and 25, for essays submitted in the organization's call for personal stories from gay and transgender youth, a press release touted. The essay competition was made possible as part of a $35,000 national reporting project on the topic of "Gender Identity: What's the Cost?" Among writers honored for their essays are first place winners: Hannah Good of Bowling Green, Kentucky; Lara Danger Detrick of Westerville, Ohio; and Isabella, an anonymous writer who attends college in Washington, D.C.

The police department in Wilton Manors, Florida, unveiled its new squad car—and, in a clear display of support for the local LGBTI community, it bears a huge rainbow design, Gay Star News noted. The Broward County city is one of the most LGBTI-friendly places in the United States. Police officer Jennifer Bickhardt Graziose said, "Each Wilton Manors police officer is sworn under oath to "protect and serve" and to "police with pride"—pride toward themselves and each other, pride toward the badge and pride for our community."

Following three years of advocacy from students and litigation against the state of Connecticut, Yale Law School introduced two new multi-stall gender-neutral restrooms recently, according to Yale Daily News. The new bathrooms, two multi-stall units located in the basement of the Sterling Law Building, bring the count of gender-neutral stalls throughout the school to 20. OutLaws —an organization for LGBTQ members of the law-school community—held an event to celebrate the multiyear effort coming to fruition.

Michael Avenatti will not be charged by the Los Angeles City Attorney "at this time" in an incident of domestic violence last year, TheWrap.com noted. The city attorney's office said it has declined to file charges, but has left open the option to do so at a later date, should anything change.


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