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NATIONAL Bayard Rustin, new airline policy, Colorado bills, Fort Lauderdale
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-02-27

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Out civil-rights leader Bayard Rustin died in 1987, but his silenced voice was recently resurrected in previously unaired audio from an interview with the Washington Blade in the mid-1980s—and the audio aired on an episode of the podcast Making Gay History, NPR.org reported. Rustin was the target of homophobic attacks, and as he discusses in the interview, he was sidelined by other Black leaders at key moments during a movement he helped steer. The rare tape was provided by Rustin's surviving partner, Walter Naegle, who preserved a library of backup recordings.

United States airline passengers who don't identify as "male" or "female" will soon have more gender options to choose when booking tickets, CNN.com noted. The new gender options to be added include "unspecified" and "undisclosed." Airlines for America ( A4A ) made the announcement that A4A and International Air Transport Association members recently approved a new international standard for non-binary passengers effective June 1.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) praised the Colorado House of Representatives for passing two measures, including HB 1129, legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from so-called "conversion therapy," a press release noted. Also, the Colorado House passed HB 1039, legislation that would allow transgender Coloradans to update the gender marker on their birth certificate without surgical requirements. "We thank the Representatives who voted to advance these measures and affirm the equal dignity of all Coloradans—including LGBTQ people," said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. Both bills now head to the Colorado Senate for consideration.

The LGBTQ-friendly enclave of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hosted its first-ever gay Pride Parade on Feb. 23, Local10.com reported. More than 120,000 people were expected to attend. Among the celebrities expected to perform at the Pride Festival were Todrick Hall and American Idol finalist Ada Vox.

Two Tennessee state legislators introduced a bill that would attempt to outlaw same-sex marriage in the stat, KGUN9.com reported. Sen. Mark Pody ( R-Lebanon ) and Rep. Jerry Sexton ( R-Bean Station ) introduced the bill in the State Senate and State House of Representatives, respectively. If it were to be passed and signed into law, the bill would undoubtedly face legal challenges, considering it stands in direct contradiction to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The influential blog TransGriot was abruptly taken offline twice last week within a 24-hour span, NewNowNext.com reported. Viewers who attempted to access the website—which has chronicles transgender lives and deaths since 2006—were met with a 404 page Feb. 19 that stated TransGriot "has been removed." After followers of TransGriot began tweeting about the page's removal, it was restored within hours before vanishing from the web once more. Monica Roberts tweeted, "Just tried into sign into TransGriot and getting a message my blog has been removed.... WTF." Roberts has received little explanation from Google.

Drag queens gathered at Brownsville, Texas, to protest President Trump's border wall with Mexico, according to a Gay Star News item that cited NBC News. The "No Border Wall Drag Protest" also raised money for LGBTI asylum-seekers. Organizers wanted to dispel myths of a crisis on the border with Mexico.

Twitter accidentally allowed the creation of a "No Homo" emoji—and then banned a prominent gay Twitter user for using it, TooFab.com noted. LGBTQ influencer Jovan Hill then issued a sarcastic tweet, posting "GAYS ARE CANCELLED SIS" flanked by several of the offending icons. He was then banned for spreading hate speech.

The Southern Poverty Law Center ( SPLC ) recently released its annual Year in Hate and Extremism report, finding an increase in hate groups for the fourth year in a row, Advocate.com reported. The findings revealed a 30-percent increase in U.S. bias-motivated groups in just four years and a 7-percent increase in 2018 alone—a record high during 20 years of tracking. SPLC found 1,020 organization in just the last year that meet this definition of hate.

The Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health ECHO Center at IUPUI ( Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis ) has launched its first program focusing on HIV education, prevention and treatment in Indiana, a press release noted. The school uses the ECHO ( Extension for Community Healthcare Outcome ) model to create a network of clinical practice and faculty expertise to help clinicians provide evidence-based, culturally competent and comprehensive care to a diverse patient population. The program is free and open to all members of the medical profession.

The Mormon church won't stand in the way of a proposal to ban gay conversion therapy for minors in its home base of Utah—a position that advocates heralded as a milestone in the conservative state, NBC News reported. The announcement is key, in part, because LGBT members have historically reported that church leaders encouraged them to attend therapy aimed at changing their sexual orientation, said Equality Utah's Troy Williams. On Feb. 21, state Sen. Daniel McCay and Representative Craig Hall—both Republicans—introduced Utah's first-ever bill to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy, a Trevor Project press release noted.

In Indiana, Carter Tax Services turned away Samantha and Bailey Brazzel—with owner Nancy Fivecoate claiming justification based on religious grounds, according to a Business Insider item that cited IndyStar. Bailey had filed her taxes with the Indiana business for the last four years, Samantha said. The previous year, Bailey introduced Samantha to Fivecoate as her girlfriend, and there was no issue. Fivecoate told IndyStar that she believes that she, too, is being discriminated against because of her religious beliefs.

New Arizona Superintendent Kathy Hoffman urged state lawmakers to repeal a law that bans any courses teaching about HIV/AIDS from depicting homosexuality "as a positive alternative lifestyle"—the state's "no promo homo" law, The Hill reported. The law currently allows schools to give educational classes on HIV/AIDS but has stipulations. Democrats in Arizona have for years attempted to repeal the legislation to no avail; a bill recently introduced by state Sen. Martin Quezada ( D ) would eliminate the law.

Despite broad political and public support, the campaign to rename part of San Francisco International Airport ( SFO ) after late openly gay Supervisor Harvey Milk is still dealing with obstacles, Curbed SF noted. In 2018, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to name just Terminal 1 at SFO ( instead of the entire airport ) after the assassinated civil-rights icon. In a statement, Supervisor Hillary Ronen said, "Under their proposed plan, the main sign on the front of the terminal would state 'Terminal 1,' with 'Harvey Milk Terminal' written in much smaller font underneath the larger sign. This is not acceptable. [...] The entire point of the terminal renaming is to elevate Harvey Milk's legacy, not have it mentioned as a footnote."

The Pride Center of Vermont recently responded to vandalism that took place at the facility, VTDigger.org noted. In early February, a poster with the words "Better Dead Than Red" was plastered onto the main entrance door of center; the flyer—which advertised Patriot Front, an alt-right propaganda website and white supremacist, anti-Semitic group founded by 18-year-old Thomas Rousseau—also displayed a logo depicting an arrow shooting through a red hammer and sickle. "As an anti-oppression organization, we care about the safety of our LGBTQ+ communities and take all actions that impact our safety very seriously," said Pride Center of Vermont Executive Director Mike Bensel. The Burlington Police Department knows of the incident.

The mayor of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, has agreed to issue a proclamation marking every Feb. 2 as "Inclusion Day" in commemoration of a recent "Drag Queen Story Fun Time" featuring the drag queen "Annie Christ"—a play on words of "anti-Christ," ChristianNews.net noted. Mayor Garry Herbert's decision—which has garnered support and resistance—is reportedly in response to a petition launched by event supporters urging him to call the day "Annie's Day" in honor of "Annie Christ."

In Kentucky, bisexual choir teacher Nicholas Breiner is suing the Montgomery Board of Education for allegedly terminating him for his sexual orientation, an Instinct Magazine item noted. In 2017, Breiner was fired from his position at McNabb Middle School after coming out—which he was never planning on doing—in an effort to prevent his student who was struggling with her sexuality from committing suicide. Breiner found out that his 2017-18 contract was not going to be renewed shortly after he came out in an Instagram post.

Lambda Legal urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to affirm a lower-court ruling and require a suburban Jacksonville, Florida, school district to allow transgender male student Drew Adams to continue to use the restroom that matches who he is, an organizational press release stated. The case Adams v. The School Board of St. Johns County, Florida began in June 2017, when Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of Adams arguing that St. Johns County School Board's discriminatory restroom policy sent a purposeful message that transgender students in the school district are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded to other students.

Kansas state Rep. Ron Highland ( R ) issued a public apology after his daughter penned an open letter publicly condemning his decision to back an anti-LGBT bill, The Hill noted. The lawmaker's comments came after his daughter, Christel Highland, posted an open letter Wednesday on Facebook asking the Kansas Republican why he would "openly attempt at policy that elevates hate and hurts my family or friends." House Bill 2320, the legislation at the center of the controversy, characterizes same-sex marriages as "parody marriages," which it defines as "any form of alleged marriage that does not involve a man and a woman."

A man caught on video sucker-punching gay man Sal Trejo in Salt Lake City has been arrested, Instinct Magazine noted, citing The Salt Lake Tribune. Carlo Alazo, 22, was charged by the Salt Lake County district attorney with three misdemeanors: one for threatening to use a weapon in a fight and two for assault. Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, the city's first openly gay major, reached out to Trejo shortly after the attack.

Massachusetts Republican politician Ron Beaty's recent tweet about gay politicians was considered so offensive that both main political parties condemned him, LGBTQ Nation noted. "Generally speaking, are gay politicians too self-absorbed and self-centered to adequately represent ALL of their constituents in a fair and equitable manner?" Beaty tweeted. Beaty—who has a history of inflammatory tweets and comments—has used the "Donald Trump defense" and refused calls to resign.

A Little Caesars employee in Henrico, Virginia, was fired after allegedly labeling a customer's receipt with "Gay" instead of writing in the customer's name, AOL.com noted. Marcus Robertson and his cousin, Rosman Harris, placed an order at the Brook Road location—and both men ( who happen to be gay ) noticed the word printed at the top of the receipt. Tina Orozco, director of communications for Little Caesar's corporate offices, said in a statement, "Little Caesars maintains a zero-tolerance policy against any violations of professional conduct. This is a highly unusual, isolated situation at a store locally owned and operated by a franchisee."

Legislation to modernize Florida's existing HIV-criminalization statutes successfully passed out of its first committee hearing at the Florida Capitol, an Equality Florida press release noted. The Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 10 to three to advance the legislation ( HB 79 ) after hearing from the House bill sponsor, state Rep. Nick Duran ( D-Miami ), and HIV advocates on the need for reform.

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists stated that CBS News correspondent David Begnaud will host its 24th annual Headlines & Headliners benefit event on March 21 at the Thomson Reuters New York Headquarters, a press release noted. Begnaud will be joined by a number of special guests, including Dawn Ennis ( Outsports ), Willie Geist ( NBC News/MSNBC ), Kendis Gibson ( MSNBC ), Heather Hogan ( Autostraddle ), Stefan Holt ( WNBC ), Matt McClure ( NY1/WCBS ), Ari Melber ( MSNBC ), Javier Morgado ( CNN ), Michael Musto ( NewNowNext ), Jane Pauley ( CBS Sunday Morning ), Lydia Polgreen ( HuffPost ), Anthony Rapp ( Star Trek: Discovery ), Carolyn Ryan ( The New York Times ) and Whembley Sewell ( them. ).

Longtime KTLA personality Chris Burrous' cause of death has been officially attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, a Queerty item noted. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious in a motel room in Glendale, California, on Dec. 27, and died after being transported to the hospital. A man—who said he initially met Burrous on Grindr and had seen him four times previously for sex—had called Glendale police and told them "an individual he was with had passed out and was possibly not breathing." Burrous is survived by a wife and daughter.


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