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NATIONAL Calif. bill, gay child dies, electoral news, marriage ruling
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2719, authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin ( D-Thousand Oaks ) and co-sponsored by Equality California ( EQCA ) and SAGE, according to a joint press release from Irwin's office as well as EQCA and SAGE. This new law adds sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the definition of elderly communities to be given priority consideration for programs and services administered through the California Department of Aging. It is estimated that there will be roughly 10.9 million adults in California over the age of 60 by 2030.

A Denver 9-year-old committed suicide after coming out as gay, reported. Jamel Myles, a fourth-grader from Denver, Colorado, passed away last week. His mother, Leia Pierce, confirmed to local news that bullying was a factor ( and possibly the catalyst ) in her son's death. Despite this tragedy, Pierce still wants to spread awareness about the effects of bullying.

A new poll from Marquette University Law School shows lesbian Sen. Tammy Baldwin ( D-Wis. ) in a dead heat with her Republican challenger Leah Vukmir, The Washington Blade reported. The poll finds a plurality of 49 percent likely Wisconsin voters supporter, but Vukmir is two points behind in the race at 47 percent; in addition, 3 percent said they were undecided. The new polling could reflect the continued TV ads aired in Wisconsin against Baldwin funded by Koch brother-backed superPACs, which see Baldwin as vulnerable and have spent millions in the race to unseat her.

Three-term Florida state Rep. Shevrin Jones has announced he's gay, On Top Magazine noted, citing The Miami Herald. Jones' low-key coming out consisted of being included in Equality Florida's list of endorsements of openly gay candidates. Jones, a 34-year-old Democrat, said that he's known about his sexual orientation since he was in kindergarten but only told his family about five years ago.

After 22 years of shaking things up in the New Jersey Statehouse, W. Reed Gusciora is the first openly gay mayor of Trenton and the first white mayor in nearly three decades to lead the capital city, where minorities are a majority, reported in a feature. As a New Jersey lawmaker, Gusciora, 58, led battles to legalize same-sex marriage and medical marijuana long before the two causes won popular approval across the country. The city currently is about 40 percent Black, 40 percent Hispanic and 20 percent white.

Transgender Vermont gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist said she's been getting a steady stream of death threats and other personal attacks since her candidacy began to draw attention from across the country and the world, noted. Due to the potential threats, Hallquist isn't giving advanced notice of certain appearances, nor is she publicizing the location of her Morrisville campaign headquarters. Hallquist said her campaign had reported the threats to the Vermont state police and the FBI.

A lesbian is now officially married to her longtime partner, who died months ago, PinkNews noted. Utah Judge Patrick Corum declared 74-year-old Bonnie Foerster legally wed to her "soulmate" and common-law partner Beverly Grossaint, who died in May at 82, just a few weeks after the couple celebrated their five-decade anniversary together. The couple met in New York in 1968, after Foerster left her abusive husband.

Frontier Airlines has suspended a pilot who is believed to have made violent comments on Facebook about a 12-year-old transgender girl, LGBTQ Nation noted. A girl in Achille, Oklahoma, recently became the subject of a conversation on Facebook because she used the girls' bathroom at her new middle school. The pilot was suspended in connection with comments like "If he wants to be a female make him a female, a good sharp knife will do the job really quick."

In Texas, Austin police are investigating fireworks that have been thrown at a gay bar twice this summer, The Dallas Voice reported. The most recent incident at The Iron Bear happened Aug. 9. The firework landed on the outdoor patio in front of the bar in each occurrence. The first time this happened was June 29. Police aren't sure if the bar was targeted because it's a gay bar or because of it's outdoor patio; about 30 minutes later, someone threw a firecracker at the Driskoll Hotel, located about three blocks away.

Five members of the D.C. City Council, in February 2017, co-introduced a bill ( the Secure A Fair & Equitable Trial Act of 2017 ) to ban the use of the so-called gay and transgender "panic" defense in criminal trials—and it has stalled in the council's Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety ever since, according to The Washington Blade. The D.C. bill is different from the bills approved by California, Illinois and Rhode Island and the congressional bill in that it expands the categories of crime victims for which the panic defense cannot be used by a defendant in a trial beyond just LGBT people.

Accusing them of ignorance and bigotry, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker criticized Florida corrections officials for refusing to accommodate transgender inmate Reiyn Keohane, despite the prisoner's repeated suicide attempts and persistent requests to wear women's items, noted. Walker ordered the Florida Department of Corrections to continue providing hormone treatments to Reiyn Keohane, and to let her wear women's undergarments and have access to women's grooming items. ACLU of Florida staff attorney Daniel Tilley said in a statement, "We are thrilled that the Court has ruled that a prisoner with gender dysphoria must be afforded appropriate treatment, including hormone therapy and the ability to dress and groom in accordance with her gender identity."

The lawyer of Samuel Woodward—a man accused of killing a gay man in a hate crime—said that his client is struggling with his sexuality himself, LGBTQ Nation reported. Prosecutors have charged Woodward with first-degree murder in connection to the death of Blaze Bernstein, a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Investigators believe that Woodward stabbed Bernstein 20 times this past January in Lake Forest, California, because Bernstein was gay; they found racist, anti-Semitic, misogynist and homophobic materials on Woodward's computer and phone.

A federal indictment accuses U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret E. Hunter, of siphoning more than $250,000 in campaign money toward personal expenses that included a trip to Riverdance, then lying about the spending in campaign finance records, noted. The Hunters are accused of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, wire fraud, falsification of records, prohibited use of campaign contributions, and aiding and abetting, prosecutors said.

San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter commemorated a historical milestone this month; on Aug. 13, its famous "No obits" article turned 20 years old, Press Pass Q noted. The original article was published because, for the first time since the start of the AIDS epidemic, no obituaries were submitted to the newspaper that week in 1998. To read Timothy Rodrigues' full opinion piece about what it was like to write that 1998 piece, visit

The former attorney for Aaron Hernandez detailed an emotional confession the late football player made regarding his sexuality, noted. In Jose Baez's new book, Unnecessary Roughness, the attorney wrote about the moment he notified Hernandez that prosecutors planned to spend the final days of his double murder trial to question his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, about his affair with another man, reported the Daily Mail. According to Baez, this made Hernandez burst into tears. The former Patriots' tight end told his lawyer that he was afraid to disappoint Jenkins with news of his secret relationship with a man, who also happened to be a mutual friend of the couple.

Arlington, Virginia, resident Jonathan Schafer filed a complaint with the D.C. Office of Human Rights, charging that Psychiatric Institute of Washington, a psychiatric hospital, subjected him to anti-gay discrimination in the way it treated him as a patient, The Washington Blade reported. His complaint accuses an official that he says processed his admission to the hospital Aug. 7 with saying his problems were due to his sexual orientation and that he should consider entering a heterosexual relationship. Psychiatric Institute of Washington released a statement Aug. 23 saying the hospital employee in question denied making the comments Schafer claimed she made to him.

The Salt Lake County Republican Party's new communication director, Dave Robinson, told the Salt Lake Tribune he blames too much sex for LGBTQ suicide—because, in his words, there's no "better time to be gay," LGBTQ Nation noted. Robinson, who is gay himself, claimed to know people within the LGBTQ community who have had "over 2,000 sex partners," and feels that this high number of partners may lead to "some of the self-loathing to the point of suicide" within the community. Suicide among Utah's youth has become epidemic, with the state's suicide rate amongst those aged 10-17 doubling between 2011 and 2015—four times the national average.

CNN suspended pro-Trump contributor Paris Dennard after The Washington Post published a sexual-misconduct accusation stemming from his time working at Arizona State University in 2014, noted. According to the Post, Dennard was ousted from the school's McCain Institute for International Leadership after an internal investigation after a former student accused Dennard of pressing her for sex. Dennard suggested to the Post that his dismissal at the time was politically motivated.

Some companies across the U.S. are recognizing this and are now offering employees paid leave to care for new puppies or sick pets, CBS Tampa reported. In New York, data company mParticle is offering their staff two weeks of paid time off for workers who are adopting rescue dogs or buy an exotic animal. Also, many companies are adding pet-bereavement leave to their benefits.

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