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NATIONAL Colorado baker, ball-culture pioneer dies, Mich. pro-trans move
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-01-01

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Jack Phillips—the Colorado baker whose decision to deny a cake to a gay couple landed him in the Supreme Court over the summer—was back in court recently facing another allegation of LGBTQ discrimination, USA Today reported. Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman who is also a Denver attorney, said Phillips' bakery refused to make a cake for her in June 2017 to celebrate her transition from male to female. Phillips' lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom say Colorado is engaged in "unconstitutional bullying," The Gazette reported, and they are suing governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper's administration, the Division of Civil Rights and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Hector Xtravaganza, a pioneering figure in New York City's ball culture world, has died aged 60, PinkNews reported. Xtravaganza, a founding member of the House of Xtravaganza, featured in the groundbreaking 1990 ball-culture documentary Paris is Burning. More recently, he had worked as a consultant for FX's critically acclaimed drama Pose, which is set in the late 1980s and looks at the African-American and Latino ball culture in New York.

Before leaving office, Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder moved to bar state contractors and the recipients of state grants or loans from discriminating against their LGBT employees, The Washington Times noted. It requires all new or amended contracts, grants or loans to include a covenant stating that the contractor or recipient will not discriminate against workers or job applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

CNN host Don Lemon shared a 2013 video of President Trump saying then-President Obama should be fired over a government shutdown, according to The Hill. Following the clip, Lemon, a frequent critic of the president, said that the comments were "priceless." There has been a partial government shutdown since last week because of Trump and Democratic leaders disagreeing over $5 billion in funding for the president's border wall.

Bree Anna Leonard—a transgender woman currently incarcerated in Petersburg, Virginia—had her name change request denied by a judge, but Virginia Supreme Court has granted her a new hearing, GayRVA.com noted. Leonard ( who has been in prison for more than 15 years ) applied to change her name in the Circuit Court of Prince George County, where she is currently serving time in Petersburg's Federal Corrections Complex. The twist, though, is that the state supreme court's issues with Petersburg Circuit Court Judge W. Allen Sharrett III's initial ruling weren't necessarily with his decision, but with the legal procedure Sharrett followed in his denial.

The LGBT bar The Baltimore Eagle will be closed at least through the start of the new year, The Washington Blade noted. Baltimore's liquor board decided not to take action on a request to transfer ownership of the liquor license for the recently shuttered leather bar until it has more information on which to base a decision. After hearing from three lawyers with different positions on the transfer, the board members stopped the public meeting and said they would take up the matter again Thursday, Jan. 10—which means the Eagle is closed until then.

The Dallas Voice has named Dallas County's former sheriff, Latina lesbian Lupe Valdez, as its LGBT Texan of 2018. The publication stated, "Valdez's campaign signaled a huge step forward for LGBT candidates—indeed, for all progressive candidates—in Texas." In addition to being the first lesbian to run for governor in Texas, Valdez ( the daughter of migrant workers ) was the first Latina to run for the office.

Transgender service members challenging Trump's military ban were slated to file briefs Dec. 24 opposing the administration's request that the Supreme Court hear the cases now, before the courts of appeal have ruled, according to a joint press release from Equality California, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ). The administration is seeking early review by the Court in three cases challenging the ban: Doe v. Trump, Stockman v. Trump and Karnoski v. Trump. "The Trump administration's relentless attacks on transgender troops, including those who are currently deployed overseas, are appalling and legally baseless," said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee ( PCCC ) issued a press release endorsing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren announcing a presidential exploratory committee. PCCC co-founders Stephanie Taylor and Adam Green said, in part, "If she runs, she will be best equipped to defeat Trump because voters want someone instinctively on the side of working people and willing to challenge power—from Wall Street banks, Big Pharma, and big polluters to systemic racism and gender inequity." The PCCC ran the original Draft Elizabeth Warren for Senate campaign in 2011 and raised more than $1.17 million through more than 70,000 small-dollar donations that cycle.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced that she is appointing Oregon Court of Appeals Judge Chris Garrett to a vacancy on the state supreme court, OregonLive.com reported. Garrett will fill an opening on the high court created by retiring Justice Rives Kistler, who has been a member of the court for 15 years. When former Gov. Ted Kulongoski appointed Kistler in 2003, Kistler was thought to be the only openly gay state supreme court justice in the nation.

After a two-month delay and a rescheduling caused by a rain delay, Phoenix recently hosted its first Latino Pride Festival, AZCentral.com noted. The Latino Pride Festival is the first LGBT festival in the state of Arizona that specifically celebrates the Latino LGBT community, organizers said. The festival took place outside at the Corona Ranch and Rodeo in south Phoenix, and attendees enjoyed various food vendors, a colorful bounce house, a dance hall and more.

As many as 18 drag queens from across San Diego took part in the LGBTQ Asylum Seekers Benefit Show, hosted by MO's Bar and Grill in late November, with performers managing to raise more than $2,200 to go towards housing, legal fees and basic needs of asylum LGBTQ asylum-seekers, Newsweek.com noted. The group also got soap company Dr. Bonners involved, with the company donating at least 50 personal-hygiene kits.

The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland is starting a new bisexual support group in January, PRIZMNews.com noted. Bi+ is for adults who identify as bi, pansexual, queer or "otherwise neither-gay-nor-straight," the center said in announcing the new group. Ohio has one other bisexual community group—Bi Local, located in Columbus.

Researchers documented a small number of cases of sexually acquired hepatitis C virus infection among men who have sex with men, or MSM, taking pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for HIV prevention, according to Healio.com . The report included 14 HIV-uninfected MSM using PrEP with suspected sexually acquired HCV infection who were referred to Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York or the University of California, San Francisco. The men were tested for HCV infection or HCV re-infection between 2013 and 2018. ( One of the men became re-infected. )

A couple hundred people—including LGBT activists, ex-cons and politicians, college professors and more—gathered outside Houston City Hall to pay respects to Ray Hill, the Houston Chronicle noted. Among those eulogizing the LGBT-rights activist was former Houston Mayor Annise Parker; they met in 1975, when Parker was a lesbian feminist undergrad at Rice University.

The partial shutdown of the U.S. government—which is affecting more than 800,000 federal workers and numerous government agencies—also has consequences for the Violence Against Women Act ( VAWA ), which expired at midnight on Dec. 21, NPR reported. Separately, both the House and the Senate passed spending deals that included clauses that would have extended VAWA until Feb. 8. However, because the law's future became inextricably tied to the larger budget debate, it was not reauthorized.

The 2019 Rose Queen said she is the first queen with glasses, who is Jewish and a member of the LGBTQ community, ABC7.com reported. The Tournament of Roses Association confirmed Louise Deser Siskel made the statement about herself, but said they do not ask Royal Court participants to disclose information about race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Siskel and her court reigned over the Rose Parade on New Year's Day, prior to The Ohio State University and the University of Washington playing in the Rose Bowl.

Outsports ran an article on Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, who won a community-service award from the LGBTQ-rights organization SAVE earlier this year. ( During his acceptance speech he said he felt "deeply connected" to the work SAVE does on behalf of the community. ) Stills has made community service and fighting for equality definitive parts of his NFL career. He has consistently taken a knee during the playing of the national anthem "to protest racism, inequality and social injustice," and has been named by the Dolphins the team's Nat Moore Community Service Award recipient each of the last two seasons.

Also, Outsports named openly gay U.S. skier Gus Kenworthy kissing boyfriend Matt Wilkas live during NBC's coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics as the top LGBT sports moment of the year. The website added, "The kiss was natural, with Kenworthy and Wilkas surrounded by friends. It was something we've seen thousands of times with opposite-sex partners of athletes, with its normalcy being radical for it being two men."

Tennis superstar Serena Williams was voted The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth time, ESPN.com reported. Williams received 93 points in balloting by U.S. editors and news directors, and gymnast Simone Biles was second with 68. Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale was third, and Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and swimmer Katie Ledecky, the 2017 winner, rounded out the top five. The women's award has been won more only by Babe Didrikson Zaharias, whose six wins included one for track and five for golf.

Dr. Gladys West—a mathematician and one of the so-called "Hidden Figures" who was lesser known for her contributions to inventing GPS—has been inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame, The Hill reported. A ceremony was held in West's honor at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., in December, a local CBS affiliate stated. The induction is one of the Air Force's Space Commands highest honors.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a proposal to amend Chapter 4-71, Hawaii Administrative Rules, entitled "Plant and Non-Domestic Animal Quarantine Non-Domestic Animal Import Rules," to prohibit the importation of dangerous wild animals—including tigers, lions, bears, primates, elephants and crocodiles—for performances in circuses, carnivals and other public exhibitions, a Humane Society press release noted. The proposal was previously approved in September by the Executive Board of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, and was in response to a legal petition filed by the Humane Society of the United States in 2014.

Qchella Media Corporation has launched K-GAY radio station to Palm Springs, California, a press release noted. K-GAY, as part of Qchella Media, is a new local radio station at 106.5 FM and streamed worldwide on TuneIn Radio. It serves the LGBTQ+ community with entertainment and information, including an on-demand podcasting platform.

Conservative political pundit and longtime homophobe Laura Ingraham's radio show has officially ended, NewNowNext.com noted, citing TheWrap. Ingraham—who's made a name for herself after years of ultra-conservative commentary on politics for Fox News fans—decided to end her three-hour radio spot in November. She's spent 17 years on the radio, and her Fox News show, The Ingraham Angle, has reportedly maintained decent ratings by the network's standards despite its repeated controversies and boycotts.


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