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NATIONAL Blind trans woman attacked, Pantene ad, judges, Grindr crimes
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-12-17

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Police in Washington are investigating what they believe may have been a hate crime against a blind transgender woman, NewNowNext.com reported. The King County Sheriff's Office said a trans woman was left motionless on the ground after being repeatedly punched and stomped on by several young men on a metro bus. "According to other passengers/witnesses, the transgender female walked to the back of the bus and deployed pepper spray on the four juveniles," Sgt. Ryan Abbott said in a statement. "The woman then left the bus, but was chased by the juveniles into the middle of Andover Park W., where they assaulted her."

Pantene partnered with GLAAD and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, the first totally trans-identified choir in America, for an inclusive new holiday ad, NewNowNext.com noted, citing People. The ad, set to TCLA's rendition of "I'll Be Home for Christmas," calls attention to the challenges many trans people face when faced with returning home during the holidays. Pantene's #BeautifuLGBTQ campaign also addresses the idea of chosen family for LGBTQ people who are unable to return home to their parents and other relatives.

Gay conservative Patrick Bumatay was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a federal appeals court judge—making him the highest-ranking federal judge from the LGBTQ community and the highest-ranking one of Filipino descent, Advocate.com reported. All 53 senators voting for Bumatay's confirmation were Republicans and, of the 40 voting against it, 39 were Democrats and one, Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Bumatay will sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers nine western states and two territories.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Lawrence VanDyke—who has a long record as an anti-LGBTQ activist—to a lifetime appointment on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Slate.com noted. Lena Zwarensteyn, Fair Courts campaign director at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement that "VanDyke's record is disqualifying and he is undeserving of this lifetime appointment," while Lambda Legal said in a separate release that "Lawrence VanDyke's confirmation represents the latest affront to the LGBT community by an administration that appears to revel in its disdain for LGBT people and our families." VanDyke made news when he cried during his confirmation hearing after being asked whether he would treat LGBTQ litigants unfairly.

Two Dallas men—Daryl Henry, 24, and Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon, 19—pled guilty of a federal hate crime and other charges related to a scheme to lure gay men on Grindr and commit violent acts against them, Advocate.com reported. The men and others were involved in a string of crimes in December 2017 in which they used the hookup to lure gay men to a vacant apartment and other areas in and around Dallas for robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and hate crimes, according to court documents cited in a U.S. Department of Justice press release. Another man, Michael Atkinson, pled guilty in March to conspiracy and kidnapping charges in connection with the case.

Merriam-Webster's 2019 Word of the Year is "they"—the singular pronoun that refers to nonbinary people who identify as neither exclusively male nor female, NBC News reported. "They"—which the dictionary added in September—was looked up 313 percent more this year than the previous year, Merriam-Webster stated. Merriam-Webster said politics also sent many readers to its dictionary in 2019, with "quid pro quo" and "impeach" as other top lookups.

Documents show that Chick-fil-A donated to anti-LGBTQ organizations in 2018, LGBTQ Nation reported. This past March, the Chick-fil-A Foundation's tax returns showed that the organization had donated $1.8 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes ( FCA ), the Salvation Army and the Paul Anderson Youth Home in 2017—years after Chick-fil-A said that they would stop donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations. Now tax returns from 2018 show that donations to the FCA and the Salvation Army continued: two donations of $825,000 to the FCA and one donation of $115,000 to the Salvation Army in Atlanta, for a total of $1.8 million.

The board of directors of Fire & Ink, Incorporated—an organization that serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same-gender-loving writers ( LGBTQ/SGL ) of African descent—decided to close after 18 years, a press release announced. Board members making that decision are Lisa C. Moore and Steven G. Fullwood ( co-presidents ), Reginald Harris ( treasurer ), Anthony Hardaway and Steven J. "Lula-Bell" Fields. After filing articles of dissolution, Fire & Ink, Incorporated will officially close at the end of 2019. The Board donated its records to the District of Columbia Public Library's Special Collections this past May.

The rapper Saucy Santana said he was one of three people shot and wounded during a drive-by shooting near Miami, Time.com reported. Santana and his friends had just left The Office Gentlemen's Club. Santana, who is openly gay, said he might have been targeted because of the "type of artist" that he is. He has about 500,000 followers on Instagram, and the video for his song "Walk Em Like a Dog" has more than 3 million views on YouTube.

Dallas police are seeking a vandal who spray-painted blue mustaches on a mural honoring transgender activists and Stonewall veterans Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, LGBTQ Nation reported. The mural was completed just before this last Pride month in commemoration of Stonewall's 50th anniversary and the many Texas trans women who've been targeted for violence in the past few years. New York artist Brian Kenney painted the mural earlier this year.

More than 50 LGBTQ, HIV and public health organizations signed an open letter urging Facebook to remove "factually inaccurate" advertisements placed by law firms that "suggest negative health effects" of HIV-prevention medication Truvada, a type of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, NBC News reported. The ads were bought by various law firms looking to use the platform's targeted advertising capabilities to recruit gay and bisexual men for a class-action lawsuit against Gilead Sciences, the pharmaceutical giant that makes Truvada. The lawsuit claims patients who experienced certain side effects—including kidney damage and bone density loss—from Truvada could have avoided them had Gilead not intentionally delayed the release of a safer version of the drug, which it shelved in 2004.

Lesbian soccer icon/social activist Megan Rapinoe endorsed U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren ( D-Massachusetts ) for president in 2020, CNN.com reported. "I truly believe the best things in life are a result of being bold and being real," Rapinoe tweeted. "I'm proud to endorse Elizabeth Warren today, for being bold, for being real, for listening to ALL of us, and for being prepared to navigate the unique challenges we face today as a country." Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup champion, was recently named Sports Illustrated's 2019 Sportsperson of the Year.

LGBTQ-rights supporters were quick to slam an agreement on major defense spending legislation for leaving out language overturning President Trump's transgender military ban, although the measure retains some minor provisions for LGBTQ troops, The Washington Blade reported. The defense bill retains language based on an amendment introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan ( D-Wisconsin ) seeking to codify the process by which service members expelled under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" can update their DD-214 paperwork to "honorable" if they had "other than honorable" or "dishonorable" discharges.

Three months after a man was shot in the back during Atlanta Black Pride Weekend, police have concluded that the shooter was not hate-motivated, AJC.com reported. Antonio Lonnell Starks, 26, of Atlanta, was arrested in connection with the Sept. 3 shooting of 27-year-old Ira Moorer. Shortly after the shooting, a GoFundMe page for Moorer alleged that his attacker beat, kicked and called him homophobic slurs before the shooting. However, Atlanta police public affairs director Carlos Campos said that "our investigators consulted with the FBI and our LGBT liaison and determined this case did not meet the criteria to be classified as a bias crime."

Democratic 2020 White House hopefuls Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are in a statistical dead heat with President Trump among Arizona voters, The Hill noted. In a mock-up general election, Biden has 44 percent support compared to Trump's 46 percent, according to the OH Predictive Insights poll; Buttigieg has 43 percent support compared to Trump's 45 percent. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders had 34 percent, compared to Trump's 47 percent in the latest poll.

A 24-year-old woman who was featured in an article about the harms of conversion therapy was found dead, LGBTQ Nation reported. Alana Chen talked to the Denver Post in August about how a priest in high school put her through conversion therapy without telling her family and about how she was later hospitalized for self-harm. Her car was found next to a reservoir in Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado, and her body was found several hours later nearby by a search party.

Keith Wildhaber—who won a $19 million discrimination lawsuit saying he was passed over for promotion because he is gay—will be the first commander of the St. Louis County Police Department's Diversity and Inclusion Unit, KMOV.com reported. The unit will review policies, procedures and practices to identify areas of opportunity and deficiency related to diversity, and will develop metrics to measure the effectiveness of the diversity and inclusion programs. Also, Wildhaber has been promoted to lieutenant.

Construction began on the future USS Harvey Milk—a fleet oiler named for the slain LGBTQ-rights leader and the first openly gay man elected in the state, The San Diego Union Tribune reported. Milk was elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors in 1978 and was assassinated 10 months later by an ex-supervisor; his life was the subject of the 2008 film Milk. Almost 30 years before his election, Milk was a naval dive officer based in San Diego.

FamilySearch.org now includes same-sex parents and same-sex couples in its genealogy website, which is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. What has changed on FamilySearch is that when adding a spouse or a parent to Family Tree, users will be able to enter one of the same sex. The move does not, however, signal any change in the church's steadfast doctrinal stance against same-sex marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) announced its endorsement of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's bid for re-election, a press release noted. "From his time in the legislature to his current tenure as mayor, Sylvester Turner has worked to advance the rights of LGBTQ Houstonians," said HRC President Alphonso David. "Mayor Turner has unabashedly advocated for the equality every LGBTQ Houstonian desires and deserves."

Anti-gay bias allegations have surfaced in the wake of football coach Ron Prince's dismissal at Howard University, Outsports noted. A statement made during a team meeting—which other sources corroborated through HBCU Gameday—involved Prince saying, "Asking if anyone was gay? And telling them it was ok he wouldn't hold it against them "In fact I want to have the first openly gay player( s ) in the country, I know someone in here is gay!" Also, Prince has been portrayed as a tyrant who engaged in actions ranging from verbal abuse and intimidation of players, to maltreatment of injured players on the team.

After several letters from students, faculty and staff denouncing the anti-LGBTQ climate at Alabama's Auburn University and asking for school administrators to respond to that climate, the university sent a statement to The Auburn Plainsman addressing those concerns, the paper noted. "Auburn is committed to an inclusive environment for the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ students, staff, faculty, allies and alumni are valued members of the Auburn Family deserving equitable respect and treatment," the university said in the statement. "Recent events on campus have generated climate concerns and highlighted the importance of strengthening our campus context." Those events include stories about professor Bruce Murray's controversial Facebook posts regarding the LGBTQ community.

Ben Francisco Maulbeck issued a press release announcing that he is stepping down from his role as president of Funders for LGBTQ Issues next summer. In part, Maulbeck stated, "By next year, I will have been at the helm of Funders for nearly eight years, and I feel that the time has come for both the organization and for me to begin an exciting new chapter. I am ready for new adventures." According to its website, Funders for LGBTQ Issues is a network of more than 75 foundations, corporations, and funding institutions that collectively award more than $1 billion annually, including approximately $100 million specifically devoted to LGBTQ issues.

Two Oakland, California, LGBT bars—Club 21 and Club BNB ( formerly the Bench and Bar )—are closing in January after they were given move-out dates by a new landlord who wants to transition the property to office use, The Bay Area Reporter noted. Their last day of business will be Sunday, Jan. 12. With Club 21 and BNB's closure, the Port will be the only LGBT bar in downtown Oakland; The White Horse—one of the country's longest, continuously operating gay bars—is located on the Oakland-Berkeley border.

A Kentucky lawyer is funding a scholarship for LGBTQ students at the University of Louisville's Brandeis School of Law, the Courier Journal reported. John Selent—a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl, and Bert Greenwell, and a New Orleans lawyer who graduated from the law school in 1998—will fund annual tuition for a student who either identifies as LTBTQ or has made significant contributions to the community.

Boston city officials designated a developer to turn a former Hyde Park middle school into the first LGBTQ-friendly senior housing complex in New England, The Boston Globe reported. Commissioners chose Pennrose LLC, a multifamily housing developer based in Philadelphia, to oversee the adaptive reuse of the William Barton Rogers School, which closed in 2015. The unanimous vote by the city's Public Facilities Commission was a victory for members of the city's LGBTQ community, who have been pushing for such a project for more than five years.

The Falls Church, Virginia, City Council voted six to zero to approve an amendment to the suburban Washington jurisdiction's nondiscrimination ordinance that adds new language banning discrimination in employment and housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity, The Washington Blade reported. The newly revised ordinance takes effect 10 days after its approval on Dec. 9. Other northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, have adopted LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances in past years.

Bruce E. Smail will be the interim director of the Indiana University LGBTQ+ Culture Center and special assistant to the vice president beginning Jan. 2, a press release noted. Smail—who has several years' experience in organizations focused on equity, diversity and inclusion—succeeds Doug Bauder, who is retiring after leading the LGBTQ+ Culture Center for 25 years.

A national civil rights organization is promoting someone who has pushed for changes in the criminal justice system and expansion of LGBT rights as the new leader of its South Carolina chapter, The Charlotte Observer noted. The American Civil Liberties Union said Frank Knaack will become its executive director in South Carolina on Jan. 21. Knaack said his emphasis is with criminal and racial justice, government surveillance and the rights of immigrants.

Virginia businessman Justin Beights vowed Thursday to stage a satirical black-tie gala in Topeka, Kansas, to simultaneously throw a harsh spotlight on anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church and to darkly honor with a lifetime achievement award a prominent official of the National Rifle Association, The Ottawa Herald noted. In a twist, Beights said the tribute for NRA mogul Wayne LaPierre would be presented in April on behalf of Westboro Baptist Church— not the group of Fred Phelps followers who have spent decades picketing funerals and other locales across the country, but the advertising and marketing firmthat Beights created under that name.


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