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NATIONAL Anti-LGBTQ crimes, Richard Grenell, two-spirit marriage, Adam Rippon
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-01-07

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A transgender man driving a taxi in McAlester, Oklahoma, was fatally shot early New Year's Day, Advocate.com reported. Dustin Parker, 25, leaves a wife, Regina, and four children, was a founding member of the McAlester chapter of Oklahomans for Equality, an LGBTQ-rights group. The statewide organization posted a remembrance on its Facebook page, saying it has lowered its transgender flag to "honor his memory and contributions to the LGBTQIA+ movement in Oklahoma." His death is the first known homicide of a transgender person in 2020.

D.C. police say they are investigating a Dec. 29 incident in which a private security guard is believed to have fatally shot a transgender woman in a vacant apartment building after the woman allegedly began to shoot at the guard and another guard with him, The Washington Blade reported. District Police Chief Peter Newsham said that the woman's body was found in the vacant building on Dec. 30—one day after an exchange of gunfire between an unidentified suspect and one of two security guards employed by the Metropolitan Tactical Elite Protective Services security company. Trans-rights advocate Earline Budd, who works for the D.C. sex worker advocacy and support group HIPS, told the Washington Blade sex workers are believed to sometimes engage with clients at the vacant building where the trans woman's body was found.

The mother of 18-year-old Abu Conteh—a Bronx teen arrested for the fatal Christmas Eve beating of a 60-year-old man robbed of $1—admitted her son was caught on video but insisted he is innocent, The New York Daily News reported. ( Authorities also identified Conteh's accomplices and were working to track them down. ) Juan Fresnada, a 60-year-old gay Latinx man, was beaten to death in New York City by several men who are still being sought by police, LGBTQ Nation noted. The attack happened as Fresnada exited a McDonald's restaurant with his 29-year-old partner, Byron Caceres. Caceres said that a man walked up to Fresnada, repeatedly demanded money from him, and then followed them into the street before several other men began attacking the couple. Caceres says the attackers took the single dollar Fresnada had on him.

Amid speculation Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will leave his position to pursue his old job as U.S. senator in Kansas, President Trump is considering one of his top ambassadors who's also the highest-ranking openly gay person in his administration as a replacement, The Washington Blade noted, citing The Washington Post. Trump has reportedly "asked people what they think" about U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell for the role. If nominated and confirmed, Grenell would be the first-ever openly gay person to serve in a Cabinet-level role for any administration.

Monique "Muffie" Mousseau and Felipa De Leon are going tribe to tribe in South Dakota to advocate for protections and marriage equality for those who are "two spirit"—the modern term often used in Indigenous communities to define those who identify as LGBTQ, Grand Forks Herald reported. The two women have been married for 15 years—legally for four after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. However, their own tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota didn't recognize their marriage or even protect their sexual orientation from hate crimes until 2019.

On Jan. 5, out gay figure skater Adam Rippon was slated to campaign for Elizabeth Warren in Las Vegas, a press release noted. Rippon was helping to kick off Nevada for Warren's latest field office opening event, and was scheduled to host a house party. ( Lesbian soccer star Megan Rapinoe has also expressed her support of Warren. ) This is the Warren campaign's eleventh announced office opening across Nevada. The Democratic Party will hold a nominating caucus in Nevada on Feb. 22.

Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith claimed that while walking the hallowed grounds of Saint Peter's Square, he was stopped by Vatican officials for holding hands with his husband, Jerick Mediavilla, Orlando Weekly reported. The two were pulled aside, according to a Facebook post by Smith, and warned that their hand-holding could be punished with a fine "or worse." Homosexuality is not illegal, technically; however, the city-state still primarily follows the same penal code in place during the 1929 split, which banned homosexuality. That same old code sets the legal age of sexual consent at 12.

Gavin Grimm—s transgender man who challenged his Virginia school district's bathroom policy—was elected to the American Civil Liberties Union's ( ACLU's ) board of directors, The Washington Blade reported. "I am elated, and I will work hard to do this position justice," said Grimm on Twitter. "Thank you to the ACLU and to everyone who has supported me through my fight." Grimm was a sophomore at Gloucester County High School in 2015 when he filed a federal lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board's policy that prohibited students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that did not correspond with their "biological gender." Last year, a federal judge ruled in Grimm's favor; the ACLU represented him.

In Georgia, a gay candidate for East Point City Council sued the chair of the Fulton County Elections Board and asked her to reveal the vote totals in the race, Project Q reported. Mike Herring, a civic activist who ran as a write-in candidate for the Ward A seat in the November election, sued Mary Carole Cooney in Fulton Superior Court in November. He claimed that the election was "erroneously certified" and that the winner, Lance Robertson, did not meet the qualifications to run.

Also in Georgia, a Republican state lawmaker from Sharpsburg introduced a bill that would ban transgender youth from competing in athletic events at public facilities, according to Project Q. State Rep. Philip Singleton filed House Bill 747, which he called the "Student Athlete Protection Act." Trans athletes would be banned from participating in sporting events at public high schools, according to the bill. Trans youth of any age would also be banned from participating in sports events in public athletic facilities.

On Dec. 26, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ( ATF ) issued a 60-day notice seeking public comment on the new revision of the Form 4473: Firearms Transaction Record—with changes that now include a non-binary category added to the "Sex" box for firearm purchase, OrchidAdvisors.com noted. The draft is available at ATF.gov/sites/default/files/f_4473_5300._9_pt._1_revision_09-18-2019_with_watermark.pdf.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia announced a gay man who sued a Virginia town after officials effectively banned him from opening a tarot card reading business has reached a settlement, The Washington Blade noted. Mark Mullins, owner of Mountain Magic and Tarot Reading, alleged Richlands officials violated his right to speech and religious freedom when they denied him a business license and zoning permit that would have allowed him from opening his business in the town.

Conservative radio host Bryan Fischer claimed that the Nazi Party started in "a gay bar in Munich" and only "hardcore homosexual" officers advanced through the ranks of Adolf Hitler's regime, according to a GLAAD press release. A GLAAD spokesperson said, "Any listeners, especially those who may have LGBTQ children, family, or coworkers, should recognize that Fischer is someone who earns a paycheck for spouting anger about the existence of LGBTQ people and that he's willing to say anything to get attention in a world that is growing tired of his fringe commentary about LGBTQ families."

A Dunkin' Donuts shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, asked a federal judge to dismiss the anti-bias lawsuit of a trans woman of color who claimed a hostile work environment prevented her from doing her job properly and resulted in her illegal firing, Philadelphia Gay News noted. Jane Doe's Nov. 8 federal lawsuit claims she was subjected to anti-LGBT slurs shortly after she began working at the donut shop. Slurs hurled at her by coworkers and customers include "f—king fa—ot," "tr—-y," "dude," "b—-h," and "n—-a." In a Dec. 20 motion to dismiss, Dunkin' Donuts maintained it didn't unlawfully discriminate against Doe, and that Doe didn't work in a hostile environment.

An office manager at a New Jersey church became concerned after a man in his 60s began asking whether the church permitted "gays," Metro Weekly reported. The man entered the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Glen Rock, New Jersey, on Christmas Eve; the person then began to question the office manager about whether the church permitted gays to be part of the church and began making several anti-gay comments. Upon leaving, the man left a box full of religious pamphlets near the front door. Police investigated this matter to determine if the man was involved in a similar incident at the Sikh Temple in Glen Rock on Dec. 21.

Students at the University of Michigan published the first issue of The Michigan Gayly: LGBTQ+ Issues, a newspaper dedicated to running articles related to the LGBTQ+ community, the publication announced. Established in October, the organization consists of about 20 undergraduate and graduate students and publishes an issue each month. According to the University of Michigan Maize Pages, The Michigan Gayly is the only newspaper on campus that publishes stories solely dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community.

With San Francisco's Pride parade marking its golden ( 50th ) anniversary in 2020, the city's library branch in the LGBT Castro district will be hosting a monthly program featuring LGBTQ artists and leaders, The Bay Area Reporter noted. For example, in February, the branch library will present an author talk with Toni Newman, a transgender woman who is executive director of the St. James Infirmary—a health clinic for sex workers in San Francisco—and who penned the 2011 memoir I Rise: The Transformation of Toni Newman. Officially known as the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library, the outpost of the city's public library system has long had strong ties to the LGBT neighborhood it calls home.

A biography of cable news pundit Rachel Maddow ( titled Rachel Maddow: A Biography ) delves into her lifelong battle with depression, Page Six noted. In the book, author Lisa Rogak quotes the former Rhodes scholar saying she suffers from cyclical depression. Maddow said she is fortunate long-term partner Susan Mikula "both knows and understands it and pays attention to me on those grounds. … If it ever becomes permanent, I'll need to treat it medically, but right now I don't."

The L-Fund will honor several women trailblazers at its Gala 2020, to be held Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Renaissance Hotel in Palm Springs, California, a press release noted. Honorees will include Kate Kendell ( Bobreta Franklin Community Service Award ), Andera Meyerson ( Visionary of the Year Award ), Robin Tyler ( Visionary of the Year Award ) and Elizabeth Wholihan ( Ambassador of the Year Award ). See L-Fund.org/gala-2020.

Point Source Youth's 4th Annual National Symposium on Solutions to End Youth Homelessness will take place June 1-3 at New York University, a press release noted. The youth-led conference will bring together 1,000+ youth advocates, service providers, activists and thought-leaders from across the country. Visit PointSourceYouth.org .

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has filed to run for president as a libertarian in what appears to be a new long-shot White House bid following his failed campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2016, CNN.com noted. Chafee filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form the Lincoln Chafee for President campaign committee based in Wyoming.

After spending over $600,000 to look like a human Ken doll, Rodrigo Alves has just come out as a transgender woman, Queerty noted. Alves—who now goes by Roddy and uses the pronouns "she" and "her"—said, "I'm known as Ken but inside I've always felt like Barbie." Over the years, Roddy has had over 100 cosmetic surgeries, including liposuction, gel fillers, facelifts and 11 rhinoplasties—and she's not done yet.

A Catholic diocese in North Carolina published a list of 14 clergy who it says have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse in the nearly 50 years since the diocese was established, the National Catholic Reporter noted. The Diocese of Charlotte also listed six clergy members who served the area before the diocese was formed in 1972, and 23 clergy members from the diocese who were accused of misconduct while working for the church in other places. Of the 14, nine are dead, according to the diocese's list; of the remaining five, two were convicted, while the others were removed, dismissed or left the ministry.

Rutgers women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer offered condolences to the family of late radio personality Don Imus, who used a racial slur to describe the Scarlet Knights in 2007 after the team lost the national championship game to Tennessee, ESPN.com noted. "The Rutgers family has found peace through the years, and we are proud of our response to hateful words spoken years ago," according to a statement Stringer read. "We are proud of the positive change it has brought about and the lesson that came with it—women and African Americans should be treated with respect, not only in the media, but in all walks of life."

American Girl started the new year by unveiling its first hearing-impaired doll and 2020 Girl of the Year, CNN.com noted. The popular doll line, owned by Mattel, introduced Joss Kendrick, with the help of Olympic surfing hopeful Caroline Marks. The doll has brown hair and brown eyes, and comes with a removable hearing aid.


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