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NATIONAL Black queer pol, anti-trans action, Laura Aguilar
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-05-22

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Malcolm Kenyatta made history recently in the face of anti-gay attacks during the wee hours of his campaign, IntoMore.com reported. The 27-year-old won the primary for Pennsylvania's 181st District, making him the first queer man of color to receive the Democratic nomination in the Philadelphia district. Kenyatta faced off against Alex Deering, who is also Black and gay, in the race—making it the first time two LGBTQ candidates of color fought in the same primary in the state's history. Kenyatta will take on Republican T. Milton Street—brother of former Philadelphia Mayor John Street—in the general election.

In New York, a Republican-controlled Senate committee voted down a transgender rights measure, the Washington Blade reported. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, was defeated in the New York Senate Investigations & Government Operations Committee by a five-to-four party-line vote. The measure would have amended the state human rights law to bar discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression and would have added transgender people to the state human-rights law.

Chicana photographer Laura Aguilar—whose retrospective at the Vincent Price Museum of Art in Monterrey Park, California, now on view at the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University ( FIU ) in Miami, made her one of the breakout stars of the Getty Foundation's recent Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative—died at 58, ArtNews.com noted. In her series "Latina Lesbians" ( 1986-90 ), she photographed gay Latina women, with her subjects gazing directly into the camera's view; below the images, each of which is mounted on white paper, are captions ( some include spelling errors ) that detail these women's opinions of what it means to be a woman, a lesbian and/or a Latina. The exhibition at FIU ( "Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell" ) has been extended to June 3.

A Care2 petition is demanding President Trump reinstate protections for transgender inmates after he rolled them back, according to a press release. New guidelines outlined in the Transgender Offender Manual make it more difficult for trans inmates to be housed based on their gender identity instead of biological sex. Activists at Care2, which has a long history of advocating for LGBTQ rights, say the move could endanger trans inmates. The petition is at Care2.com/go/z/TransInmat.

Nino Fortson was found fatally shot in Atlanta amid what's been a deadly week for transgender and gender nonconforming people, Mic noted. Advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign have identified Fortson as a 36-year-old trans man; however, social-media posts from friends and family use both male and female pronouns in reference to Fortson, who went by Nino Starr on Facebook. Fortson's death came after news that two trans women were found dead in Dallas just days apart earlier this month; one of those deaths has already been ruled a homicide.

Patricia Todd, Alabama's only openly gay state legislator, posted comments on social media suggesting that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is lesbian—and that has cost her a job as executive director of One Orlando Alliance, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of LGBTQ individuals and was formed in response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, according to LGBTQ Nation. "The Board affirms that Ms. Todd's recent comments are not aligned with the values of One Orlando Alliance," Jennifer Foster, chair of One Orlando Alliance's board, said in a statement. "We strongly believe that coming out is a personal choice and we do not support involuntarily outing."

Former Playboy Playmate Stephanie Adams, 47, jumped with her 7-year-old son to their deaths from an NYC hotel—amid a nasty custody battle with her chiropractic ex, the New York Post noted. Adams ( Playboy's Miss November 1992 ) came out as Playboy magazine's first lesbian centerfold in 2003. But she was later married to an investment banker for two years before becoming engaged to Charles Nicolai, 47, owner of Wall Street Chiropractic & Wellness, in 2009. Their relationship was so toxic that Adams would meet Nicolai—who had visitation rights for the child—at the First Precinct in Tribeca for handovers.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) responded to the news that Pearl Berlin, wife to Lennie Gerber, has passed away. The couple were intimately involved in the fight for marriage equality in North Carolina, as plaintiffs in a landmark case that brought the right to marry to all North Carolinians. The couple was together for more than 50 years; this June would have been their 52nd anniversary. HRC President Chad Griffin said, "All of us at HRC are deeply saddened by her loss, but we are also deeply grateful to have known Pearl during her extraordinary life. Our hearts go out to her beloved Lennie and the many family members and friends who knew and loved Pearl."

California may soon require employers to keep records of sexual-misconduct complaints under a bill ( AB1867 ) that the state Assembly advanced, NBC Los Angeles reported. The bill, by Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes, would require employers with at least 50 employees to keep such complaints for at least 10 years. The records could help employers identify serial harassers, supporters argue; they could also be used as evidence in lawsuits and complaints related to sexual misconduct.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will receive a donation from Mark Segal—publisher, activist, journalist, civil-rights figure and national LGBTQ leader—documenting his almost 50-year career in LGBTQ activism from Stonewall to today, according to PR Newswire. In addition to his papers, Segal will donate artifacts from his personal collection, including the first state-issued Gay Pride Proclamation ( 1975 ), buttons and T-shirts. Segal will also give a donation can that he used during the 1970 Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day march ( recognized as America's first gay-pride celebration ) and a flyer for the march, as well as his personal marshal's badge.

The TAVA/WPATH Transgender Military Summit will take place June 6-8 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., a press release noted. Keynote speakers will include former U.S. Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders; Phyllis Randolph Frye, the first out transgender judge in the nation; and clinical research psychologist Jillian C. Shipherd, Ph.D. See https://www.wpath.org/education/upcoming-conferences.

GLAAD issued a press release condemning the appointment of anti-LGBTQ hate group leader Tony Perkins to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom ( USCIRF ). Perkins ( president of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council ) was appointed on the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to an announcement the Congressional Record. GLAAD President/CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, "The idea that Perkins would be making policy recommendations to an administration that is already anti-LGBTQ is dangerous and puts LGBTQ people directly in harm's way."

Log Cabin Republicans have been holding New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu up as a model "inclusive" politician—but he recently refused to stand up for LGBT people, LGBTQ Nation noted. The state party platform includes a plank that praises "traditional families" and says marriage should be "between one man and one woman," and GOP leaders refused to entertain a proposal that would have removed the language. "I really don't get involved in platform issues" Sununu told reporters as he tried to distance himself from the controversy. Two days later he spoke at the Log Cabin group's fundraising dinner.

In Texas, a Mansfield ISD teacher suspended after showing her students a photo of her then-fiancee announced she is fighting back with a lawsuit, Patch.com noted. The months-long saga began when Stacy Bailey, an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School, introduced herself to her students on the first day of school in August 2017—showing her new students a slide show including various photos of her parents, her fiancee and her friends. Bailey was placed on administrative leave in September 2017; various news outlets reported a parent complained about the photo and her intention to allegedly promote a same-sex agenda.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced May 21 that he will seek re-election this year, with a formal kickoff in June as he angles for a third term, CNN.com reported. "The 2018 midterm elections will be a pivotal moment in our country's history, and we must fight for an agenda that works for working people," Sanders, 76, said in a statement. In his statement, Sanders listed off a slew of priorities he has publicly championed, including a national minimum wage of $15/hour, a "Medicare for all single payer program" and free tuition at public colleges.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) hosted its 41st-anniversary celebration gala at San Francisco's Palace of the Fine Arts, a press release noted. Earlier this year, NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell announced that after more than 22 years of leading NCLR, she will be stepping down at the end of this year. In response, more than 1,000 people turned out for NCLR's annual dinner and 1,300 for the after-party—raising $1 million for the future of NCLR, with more than $500,000 donated in the room.

There's a dangerous syphilis outbreak happening in Palm Springs, according to NewNowNext.com . Public health officials in Riverside County say the number of cases reported in Coachella Valley, specifically Palm Springs and North Palm Springs, is 10 times the national average. The source of the outbreak is still undetermined, KMIR reported, but men who sleep with men compose most of the cases. Medical officials are trying to minimize the spread by educating residents, encouraging testing and providing treatment.

Transgender content creator Stef Sanjati has talked about having her videos restricted or demonetized because she talks about trans issues, NewNowNext.com noted. In an interview with Youth Radio, Sanjati revealed that some 20 percent of her videos are put in restricted mode, deemed to be "kid-friendly"—and roughly 10 percent of her videos are demonetized completely, meaning she makes no ad revenue off of her content whatsoever. She added that YouTube—and Google, the company that owns the site—have failed to keep content creators in the loop.

Media-advocacy group GLAAD is partnering with Bonnier Publishing USA for a series of children's books, TheWrap noted. The series, which GLAAD says is aimed at "integrating and elevating positive LGBTQ representation in children's literature," will consist of four titles per year in numerous genres for kids up to age 14. The first title will be the fairy tale Prince & Knight, by Daniel Haack with illustrations by Steve Lewis; the book follows a noble prince searching wide for a suitable bride; when a dragon threatens his subjects, the prince teams with a knight to save the kingdom—and finds love in the process.

Greater Fort Lauderdale will be the host destination for the first-ever Pride of the Americas Festival in 2020, an International Gay & Lesbian Travel ( IGLTA ) press release noted. The 10-day event, just announced at the IGLTA annual conference in Toronto, will be hosted by Pride of Fort Lauderdale and presented by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. The event will include a parade, a beach party, arts festival, social events throughout the destination and a human-rights conference focused on LGBT+ rights. See PrideOfTheAmericas.org .

Adidas has released its 2018 Pride designs, LGBTQ Nation noted. The athletic-gear company is selling four limited-edition rainbow designs for Pride Month, which are rainbow takes on some of the shoes it already sells. The shoes will go on sale with some other Pride gear on June 1, and will cost $90 to $150.

A community theater in Pittsburgh's Greenfield neighborhood has canceled its production of the musical Big Fish after the director and several cast members quit over how to include a gay family in the background of a song, TribLive.com noted. "The decision to cancel 'Big Fish' comes on the heels of a dispute between the director and co-founding producers over how to proactively insert representation of an LGBT+ family despite the fact that the script did not include any reference to the LGBT+ community," read the Palisade Playhouse's May 15 announcement. Based on a Daniel Wallace novel and also adapted into a 2003 movie featuring Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney, the musical follows Will Bloom's efforts to untangle truth from fiction in his largely absent father's fantastical re-tellings of his life.

The athletes who spoke out about the abuse suffered at the hands of the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State team doctor will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award when The 2018 ESPYS on Wed., July 18, an ABC press release noted. ESPN The Magazine's Alison Overholt said, ""They have shown us all what it truly means to speak truth to power; and through their bravery, they are making change for future generations. By honoring this group who spoke out, we aim to honor all of those who are survivors of abuse."

In a related development, Michigan State University ( MSU ) has agreed to a $500-million settlement with the hundreds of women and girls who say Larry Nassar sexually assaulted them, the Lansing State Journal reported. Part of the settlement—$75 million—will be held back in the event of future lawsuits filed against MSU over Nassar. The lawsuits, filed in federal court in Grand Rapids and state courts in California, claim that MSU, USA Gymnastics and others failed to protect Nassar's victims from his sexual abuse.

Despite the warning shots from a man trying to rob him, Michigan resident Jerad Kluting said he refused to give the perpetrator his Louis Vuitton bag, WOODTV.com reported. Authorities say would-be robber pulled a gun on Kluting, demanded the bag and fired at least three shots from a handgun. Shortly after the incident, authorities pulled over the 21-year-old suspect and arrested him. Kluding said he paid good money for the bag, adding it's a design that's no longer in production.


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