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NATIONAL Athlete/ex-servicemember dies, Stonewall Inn, Pride attendees arrested
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-06-29

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Angela Madsen—a member of the LGBTQ community whose remarkable life included a spell in the Marines, several medals ( including a bronze in the shot put at the 2012 Paralympics in London ) and record-setting rowing journeys—died at age 60 while attempting a solo journey from California to Hawaii, The Guardian reported. The death was confirmed by her wife, Deb Madsen, in a Facebook post. Madsen was also active away from the sporting arena; she was a campaigner for LGBTQ rights and was a grand marshal for the Long Beach ( California ) Pride Parade in 2015.

The historic Stonewall Inn is teetering on closure after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close for months, LGBTQ Nation reported. The owners have launched a crowdfunding initiative ( at www.gofundme.com/f/support-the-stonewall-inn ) to save the bar and community landmark. ( The Gill Foundation announced it will match contributions of up to $250,000 to protect the business from closure, The Washington Blade noted. ) Site of the eponymous Stonewall Riots that are frequently cited as "the birth of the modern LGBTQ rights movement," the bar was designated a national monument to LGBTQ rights in 2016.

Witnesses said NYPD officers arrested and pepper-sprayed protesters at the Queer Liberation March on June 28 while attempting to arrest two people for graffiti, Gothamist noted. Numerous videos shared on social media show a crowd of officers shoving outraged protesters while arrests were being made near New York City's Washington Square Park. As two were being arrested for graffiti, protesters intervened in an attempt to free them, at which point police responded with pepper spray, multiple witnesses told Gothamist. A legal observer said at least four people were arrested and 10 others pepper sprayed—including someone running a fruit stand nearby protesters.

Mondaire Jones won the Democratic primary for New York's 17th Congressional District and is on track to become one of the first openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress, an LGBTQ Victory Fund press release noted. If Jones and Ritchie Torres ( New York's 15th District ) both win in November, they will become the first two openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress in U.S. history. LGBTQ Victory Fund President & CEO Mayor Annise Parker said, "Mondaire's unique experiences and perspectives as well as his work in criminal justice reform makes him an essential voice for this moment."

Harry Britt—a gay man who succeeded Harvey Milk on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors—died June 24 at age 82, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Britt was appointed to the Board of Supervisors in 1979 by then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein following the November 1978 assassination of Milk and then-Mayor George Moscone. He was subsequently elected to the board in November 1979, 1980, 1984 and 1988.

Online real-estate company Zillow announced it will start showing local nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people on all listings, according to LGBTQ Nation. Only 22 states and the District of Columbia have laws against housing discrimination that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Listings will now show information for housing, employment, and public accommodations. The information is broken out into sexual orientation and gender identity since some locales only cover gay, bisexual, and lesbian residents.

MTV's +1 the Vote and Logo have joined forces with non-profit organization Trans Lifeline to develop a new youth microgrant program to support trans youth in changing their government ID documents to appropriately reflect their gender identity, a press release noted. To showcase the importance of voter access for the LGBTQ+ community, MTV's +1 the Vote, Logo and Trans Lifeline created an animated short that follows the journeys of three transgender and non-binary young people from across the United States as they reflect on the experiences of updating their government IDs in order to easily and safely participate in the upcoming election. Kim Petras—an international pop singer-songwriter and outspoken advocate for the transgender community—serves as a narrator of the introduction and closing. The video is at www.youtube.com/watch; to register to vote, people should go to translifeline.mtv.com or translifeline.logotv.com .

On June 26, Pride Live held its third annual Stonewall Day—a global campaign to elevate awareness and support for the Stonewall legacy and the continuing fight for full LGBTQ+ equality, a press release noted. The virtual event, on Logo's YouTube and Facebook pages, included a special message to the LGBTQ+ community from President Barack Obama. Also, there were appearances from Taylor Swift, Ellen DeGeneres, Cynthia Erivo, Kesha, Hayley Kiyoko, Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, Christian Siriano, George Takei, Donatella Versace, Lilly Wachowski, Sir Richard Branson, Jonny Beauchamp and many others.

On June 22-26, Lesbians Who Tech & Allies held its ( Not IRL ) Pride Summit—an event called "the largest LGBTQ+ technology event in history," a press release noted. The group said that "20,000 LGBTQ women, non-binary and trans folks, and allies from around the world" participated. Among the speakers were actress/Trans Tech founder Angelica Ross, soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, U.S. Rep. and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Times Up CEO Tina Tchen, WNBA player Sue Bird, the cast of The L-Word and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza.

The Trevor Project published a new research brief, "LGBTQ Youth Sports Participation," that examines sports participation among LGBTQ youth ages 13—18 using preliminary data from its upcoming 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, a press release noted. Among the key findings were that sports participation was more common among LGBTQ youth who were less "out" about their LGBTQ identity; and, regardless of outness, transgender and nonbinary youth reported significantly lower rates of sports participation than their cisgender LGBQ peers. The full report is at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/2020/06/23/research-brief-lgbtq-youth-sports-participation/.

Eric Gonzaba, a Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of American studies, is the co-primary investigator and content manager of the newly launched Mapping the Gay Guides project, which plots gay spaces listed in Bob Damron's Address Books on a digital map, a press release noted. Damron's series of guides for gay and queer travelers dates back to the 1960s; his listings included queer-friendly restaurants, bars, cocktail lounges, bookstores, bathhouses, cinemas and other businesses—many which no longer exist. More about the project is at http://news.fullerton.edu/2020sp/mapping-the-gay-guides.aspx.

At the beginning of June, the Marine Corps issued a forcewide message in recognition of Pride Month, the Marine Corps Times noted. "During the month, we take the opportunity to recognize our LGBT Service Members and reflect upon the past," the MARADMIN ( Marine Administrative Message ) stated. The message came as the military neared the 10th anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"—a policy that eased the restriction on gay and lesbian service members, but required them to hide their sexual orientation or risk being kicked out of the military.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that state veterans who were denied honorable discharges due to their LGBTQ identity can begin submitting applications under The Restoration of Honor Act, the state government website noted. This development will allow veterans who were denied an honorable discharge because of their sexual orientation or gender identity to have their New York State veterans' benefits restored. Cuomo also announced an action by the New York State Department of Financial Services to further protect LGBTQ New Yorkers from discrimination in healthcare as the federal government continues to remove or erode these protections.

More than 200 Carnegie Mellon University ( CMU ) faculty, staff and students signed on to an open letter rebuffing the appointment of Trump administration cabinet member and former Ambassador Richard Grenell as a senior fellow at the university's Institute for Politics and Strategy, TribLive.com reported. Grenell, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany who served briefly this year as acting director of national intelligence, was tapped recently as a senior fellow of the CMU program. The letter to CMU President Farnam Jahanian and his top administrators cites allegations of sexism and xenophobia against Grenell ( one of Trump's few openly gay appointees ), pointing specifically to a 2012 Huffington Post piece that detailed hundreds of now-deleted tweets that disparaged the appearance of women in the media and in politics.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 29 that Louisiana's tough restriction on abortion violates the Constitution—a surprising victory for pro-choice advocates from an increasingly conservative court, NBC News noted. The ruling struck down a law passed by Louisiana's legislature in 2014 that required any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

In Pennsylvania, Trafford Councilman Zack Cole was criticized for making a comment he deemed a joke about Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine's gender on Gov. Tom Wolf's Facebook page, TribLive.com reported. Wolf, on his Facebook page, recently wished a happy Father's Day to all state dads—to which Cole ( a Republican ) replied, "Happy Father's Day to Richard Levine as well." Levine is a transgender woman with two children from a previous marriage. After getting blowback, Cole attempted to defend himself, saying, "[People] just can't appreciate humor anymore."

The Colorado National Guard has its first female—and openly LGBTQ—leader in Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan, Colorado Public Radio noted. Gov. Jared Polis appointed Clellan to adjunct general of the guard, and she is scheduled to take command around the beginning of August. Clellan will replace U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mike Loh, who is waiting for Senate confirmation to become the next director of the U.S. Air National Guard.

More than a dozen New York City Department of Correction officers will be disciplined for their conduct surrounding the death of Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco, 27, a transgender woman who died last year while in solitary confinement at Rikers Island jail, NBC News reported. The announcement comes several weeks after Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark declined to file charges following a six-month investigation into the circumstances of Cubilette-Polanco's death. After an "in-depth investigation," Clark's office determined that it would unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that officers committed a crime that caused Cubilette-Polanco's death.

Amazon ejected an anti-LGBTQ hate group out of its charity program, and Christian conservatives are criticizing the corporation's "bias against conservatives," LGBTQ Nation noted. Until earlier in June, customers could choose to have Amazon give a portion of their purchases to the Family Research Council ( FRC ), an organization dedicated to opposing LGBTQ rights. However, the Washington Times reported that FRC has been removed from the list of charities customers can choose, stating that all hate groups are banned from AmazonSmile.

The Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber has partnered with the Tampa Downtown Partnership for Pride Month to reveal the permanent intersection mural located in the historic Tampa Heights neighborhood of Tampa's Downtown, a press release noted. The vision of the painting is to signify unity and to showcase our diverse community.

As COVID-19 surges in Southern California, some Palm Springs gay bars have chosen to close their doors after employees at two bars tested positive for coronavirus in a move intended to protect patrons and other employees from being infected, the Los Angeles Blade reported. Hunters Nightclub ( 302 E. Arenas Rd. ) and Streetbar ( 224 E. Arenas Rd. ) announced they would close for at least two weeks; a third bar, Chill Bar Palm Springs ( 217 E. Arenas Rd. ) has closed in solidarity.

The managers of Night Shift 2.0—the East Baltimore club created last summer by former staffers of the Baltimore Eagle—decided to close the business permanently, The Washington Blade reported. A Facebook message read, in part, "The reasons are not important, what is important is that thanks to our supporters, patrons, regulars, performers, hosts, DJ's, producers, dancers, bartenders, staff and managers, we experienced 6 months of unbelievable fun and excitement that made memories to last a lifetime. For that, we're forever grateful."

Bratz dolls delivered their own Pride message on Twitter. The company posted two photos of Nevra and Roxxi with the caption, "Steppin' out and coming out! Nevra & Roxxi are sharing their super stylin' pride! Happy Pride Month from the whole Bratz Pack [flag, rainbow and kiss emojis] #pride #pridemonth #bratz."

NASA is renaming its headquarters after Mary W. Jackson—the agency's first African American female engineer who helped inspire the story behind the book and film Hidden Figures, WCVB.com reported. "Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in the agency's announcement. Jackson retired from NASA in 1985 and passed away in 2005 at age 83.

One of the co-founders of Cards Against Humanity—which boasts itself as "a game for horrible people"—resigned from the company after several former workers alleged he fostered a toxic workplace that hurt employees of color and the LGBTQ community, Business Insider reported. Cards Against Humanity said in a statement that Max Temkin, the cof-ounder who ran operations in the Chicago office, had stepped down from his position. Many allegations of companies harboring sexist and racist cultures have emerged from former and current employees at fitness brands like CrossFit and Adidas, tech companies such as Snapchat and Pinterest, media publishers such as Refinery29 and Bon Appetit, and dozens of other businesses.

Princeton University's board voted to remove the name of former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson from the university's prestigious School of Public and International Affairs due to his "racist thinking and policies," NBC News noted. "Wilson's racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time. He segregated the federal civil service after it had been racially integrated for decades, thereby taking America backward in its pursuit of justice," Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote, in part.


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