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NATIONAL Donor arrested, trans worker fired, celebrities in pro-trans video
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-09-24

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L.A. County prosecutors charged Democratic donor/LGBTQ activist Ed Buck with running a drug house and other crimes after a man overdosed on methamphetamine at Buck's apartment, NPR reported. The man survived, but two other men ( 26-year-old Gemmel Moore in 2017 and 55-year-old Timothy Michael Dean ) have died from overdoses at Buck's apartment in the past two years. If convicted, Buck could face a maximum of five years and eight months in state prison, said Greg Risling, the assistant chief of media relations for the county district attorney's office.

In Nebraska, transgender worker Natalie Weiss kicked an anti-LGBTQ activist out of a coffee shop—and lost her job, LGBTQ Nation reported. Marilyn Synek, who works for the Nebraska Family Alliance, came into the shop for coffee; Weiss recognized her and called her "bigoted trash," according to Synek. "What I did was unprofessional and I certainly would not want to be treated the way I treated that woman today," Weiss told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "The fact of the matter is, that person and her political allies advocate for that type of behavior to be legal and they do it every single year in the Legislature." Nebraska civil rights laws do not include political affiliation or gender identity.

Following Laverne Cox's appearance with ACLU attorney Chase Strangio at the Primetime Emmys on Sept. 22, the ACLU released a video featuring Cox and a number of other celebrities speaking on behalf of ACLU client client Aimee Stephens, who was fired for being trans, a press release stated. The video includes text from a letter Stephens provided to her boss that led to her firing. When the Supreme Court hears Aimee's case Oct. 8, she will become the first person to bring a case about the civil rights of transgender people to the high court. Some of the other celebrities in the video include Alan Cumming, Peppermint, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Marquise Vilson and Leisha Hailey. The video is at https://youtu.be/0bHj0AmvN5k.

Indiana's first openly gay gubernatorial candidate, Josh Owens, has officially entered the race, WTHR.com reported. "I'm running for Governor now because I believe in an Indiana where teachers are paid what they deserve and where all are welcomed, respected and protected," Owens said. "We need a leader who will ensure our state budget, policies and laws reflect a bold and inclusive vision for collective Hoosier success." Owens, 34, is head of one of the state's fastest growing companies, SupplyKick.

Pose actress Angelica Ross has taken a break from Twitter after she was attacked by supporters of 2020 Democratic presidential contender Senator Bernie Sanders ( I-Vermont ), LGBTQ Nation reported. Ross hosted the Sept. 20 LGBTQ forum, and called Sanders out for missing the only two LGBTQ forums for the Democratic primary candidates before the event and in a later interview. Her mentions on Twitter started being flooded with Sanders supporters accusing her of lying. They also accused her of "bias" for calling Sanders out and not the other frontrunners, even though the other frontrunners were all attending at least one of the forums.

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates will host the world's largest conference to drive LGBTQ workplace inclusion next month in National Harbor, outside of Washington, D.C., a press release noted. More than 6,000 people are expected to take part in the conference, including representatives of more than 70% of Fortune 1,000 companies. Government agencies are also taking part; the CIA, FBI, NSA and USDA are sponsors of the conference. See the schedule at https://outandequal.org/workplace-summit-schedule/.

A gay couple said they were attacked by a church's congregation in attempt to convert them to heterosexuality, LGBTQ Nation noted. Sean Cormie, 23, and boyfriend Gary Gardner went to The First Assembly of God Church in Oklahoma after Cormie's family invited them. However, the couple said the invitations turned out to be a trap, with congregants praying over them and then allegedly getting physical as the couple tried to leave. The church put out a statement that says it was a "family matter that escalated."

A Vatican office has temporarily suspended the decision of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to no longer recognize Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School as a Catholic institution over the school's refusal to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage, TheIndyChannel.com reported. The decision of the archdiocese to cut ties with Brebeuf was announced in June in a decree from Archbishop Charles C. Thompson. The school appealed to the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome to consider "the issues at hand and, hopefully, rescind and permanently set aside the Archbishop's decree."

Merriam-Webster has officially added the non-binary pronoun "they" as an entry in its dictionary, CNN.com noted. According to the company, "they" can be used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary, along with three other separate definitions. Merriam-Webster acknowledged that "they" consistently has been used a singular pronoun since the late 1300s; it also noted it has evidence in its files of the non-binary "they" dating back to 1950, and that it's likely there are earlier uses of the nonbinary pronoun out there.

Lambda Legal has urged the Oregon Court of Appeals once again to affirm its 2017 opinion upholding a 2015 ruling by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries that the owners of a Portland-area bakery violated the state's nondiscrimination statutes when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because doing so violated the owners' religious beliefs, an organization press release noted. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Court of Appeals' 2017 ruling this past June and asked that court to reconsider its decision in light of the Supreme Court's 2018 ruling in favor of a Colorado baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Fifty U.S. mayors signed a USA Today letter/column supporting gay presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In part, the article read, "Pete has transformed South Bend, and now he is showing what American leadership can and should be in the years ahead," adding "Mayor Pete puts practical solutions over partisan ideology" and calling him "a role model." A few of the cities whose mayors signed the item include Norman, Oklahoma; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Evanston, Illinois; Bloomington, Indiana; West Hollywood, California; and Austin, Texas.

Speaking of Buttigieg, he said he's steering clear of LGBTQ media these days—but has changed course, saying he had "a grumpy moment," The Washington Blade reported. Buttigieg made the correction during an interview with Alex Berg of AM to DM with Buzzfeed News, who quoted a question posed to him on Twitter from Out Magazine editor Phillip Picardi about the remarks. "I was having a grumpy moment where I was thinking about some of the coverage that I do get frustrated with that seems to tell people how to be gay, and that's to be fair happening in a lot of different sources and places online in and other places," Buttigieg said. Buttigieg had dismissed the LGBT media during a radio interview on Sirius XM when replying to a question about individuals in LGBT circles criticizing him for presenting as masculine and not being gay enough.

An estimated 113,000 LGBT adults in Oklahoma are vulnerable to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. The Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act does not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The state's workforce includes approximately 74,000 LGBT people age 16 and older.

A lawsuit filed two years ago by a Christian ministry in Florida that was labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-LGBTQ stance has been dismissed by a federal judge in Alabama, AL.com reported. D. James Kennedy Ministries—based at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale—filed the federal lawsuit in Alabama against the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center for calling the ministry a hate group. U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson dismissed the case in a ruling.

On Thursday, Oct. 10, amfAR: The Foundation for AIDS Research will pay tribute to Academy Award winner and goop founder/CEO Gwyneth Paltrow as well as art dealer Larry Gagosian at its 10th annual amfAR Gala Los Angeles, a press release noted. They will be presented with amfAR's Award of Courage in recognition of their profound commitment to the fight against AIDS, as well as countless other humanitarian causes. The black-tie benefit—which will feature a special performance by Christina Aguilera—will take place at the lounge Milk.

Many people were applauding a new study that was released from FBI data claiming Hawaii ranked the lowest among all 50 states and DC for having the fewest hate crimes against the LGBT community—but the Hawaii Democratic Party's LGBT caucus chairman claims those numbers don't tell the whole story, KITV.com reported. "It looks great on paper, but in reality, there's a harsher underbelly," said caucus chair Michael Golojuch Jr. He says that's because Hawaii only reports actual cases that are specifically prosecuted as hate crimes and lead to hate crime convictions.

A survivor sexually abused as a minor by his Scoutmaster in Hawaii has sued the Boy Scouts of America ( BSA ) for the abuse, according to a press release from Jeff Anderson & Associates PA. The survivor, identified in the lawsuit as John Roe 120, has also sued BSA for nuisance and is asking the court to order BSA to release all of its secret Perversion Files and discontinue its dangerous practices. Attorney Jeff Anderson's firm filed nine lawsuits on behalf of survivors against BSA and Greater New York Councils in New York on Aug. 20.

The Albatross Bar, a New York City gay venue, wants help identifying a man caught spitting on the establishment's rainbow flag, Queerty noted. The man, identified on Facebook as "Kha Dafi," uploaded a video of himself spitting on the flag to his YouTube account—where the owner of the Albatross spotted it. The owner of the Albatross, who prefers to remain anonymous, re-uploaded the video to all of the bar's social media platforms in hopes that somebody will recognize and name the offender.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams will be the recipient of the Corporate Upstander Award at the Tyler Clementi Foundation's 2019 Upstander Legacy Celebration, being held Wed., Oct. 23, in Manhattan, a press release announced. The business has supported the Human Rights Campaign, Exodus Homes and Works, The Montrose Center's LGBT! Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund, Faith in America, The Human Society, The Reformation Project and the Tyler Clementi Foundation, among other organizations.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his presidential campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination—leaving 19 candidates left in the race, Time.com reported. "Getting out there, being able to hear people's concerns [and] address them with new ideas has been an extraordinary experience. But I have to tell you, at the same time I feel I have contributed all I can to this primary election, and it's clearly not my time," de Blasio said during his appearance on Morning Joe.

Rice University's Marching Owl Band spelled out "pride" as people ran on the field waving rainbow flags at halftime of the Baylor-vs.-Rice football game in Houston to make a statement of support for LGBTQ students at Baylor, Outsports noted. The band came up with the idea after Baylor administrators refused last month to recognize an LGBTQ student group, citing the Christian school's "human sexuality" policy that prohibits students from engaging in "heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior."

TLC announced that its third annual GIVE A LITTLE Awards—presented in partnership with Love Is Louder, a project of The Jed Foundation—will take place Oct. 2, at Union Park Events in New York City, a press release noted. This year's GIVE A LITTLE honorees include thespian Taye Diggs, who is currently starring in The CW's All American; actress, activist and author Skai Jackson, who has a forthcoming new book entitled Reach for the Skai; Whitney Thore, star of TLC's "My Big Fat Fabulous Life;" and three national contest winners who were nominated for making a significant social impact in their communities: Danica Roem ( first elected transgender delegate of the Virginia House of Representatives ), Barbara Buckley and Angela, Christina and Mia Varney ( Annie's Kindness Blankets ), and Devin Moore ( founder of #RaceToSpeakUp ).

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery was slated to host Mariachi Arcoiris del Los Angeles—the first openly LGBTQ mariachi band—as part of the college's annual LatinX and Hispanic Heritage Cultural Festival taking place Wed., Sept. 25, SCVNews.com noted. The band's founders, Carlos Samaniego and Natalia Melendez, started the mariachi group in Los Angeles in 2014 as a safe space for musicians and fans who identify as LGBTQ. Since then, they've played at Gay Pride celebrations in Los Angeles, gay weddings and even at one of L.A.'s most important mariachi festivals, the Mariachi Plaza Festival.

A Seattle coffee shop featuring shirtless baristas has opened following the closure of an all bikini barista location, Queerty noted. Dreamboyz Espresso features, according to the company slogan, "hot guys serving hot coffee." True to form, the men all go shirtless while taking orders and serving up brews at the cafe, which has become Capitol Hill's hottest new location. Dreamboys Espresso spun off from Ladybug Bikini—a chain of coffee stands featuring women in bikinis as baristas.


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