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NATIONAL Dreiband criticized, third gender category in NYC, Spirit Day
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Sharon McGowan—the Lambda Legal chief strategy officer and legal director, and former senior career Civil Rights Division official—spoke out against the U.S. Senate confirmation of Eric Dreiband to lead the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. McGowan said, "What the Department of Justice sorely needs at this moment is a strong leader with a proven track record of defending civil rights. That is not what they got ... in Eric Dreiband. It is a sad day for the Civil Rights Division and yet another example of how the Department of Justice is no longer in the business of doing justice."

People who were born in New York City and do not identify as male or female can now opt for a third gender category of X on their birth certificates, NBC News reported. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the provision into a law, making New York City the fifth place to do so, after California, Oregon, Washington and New Jersey; three states and Washington, D.C., also allow gender-neutral driver licenses. The New York City law allows nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people to change their birth certificates from the M or F designation they were assigned at birth to X with a personal affidavit; no document from a doctor is required.

GLAAD announced initial participants for Spirit Day, the most visible LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign. On Spirit Day, Oct. 18, millions around the world will wear purple or "go purple" online in a stand against bullying and a show support for LGBTQ young people. Celebrities who have released videos calling for Spirit Day participation include Laverne Cox, Alyssa Milano, WWE Superstar Finn Balor, Mj Rodriguez, Ross Mathews and Tyra Banks, among others. See

A 21-year-old Latinx man in San Francisco, California, has contracted HIV despite adhering to a daily PrEP regime, according to an Instinct magazine item that cities . He is the first known HIV seroconversion with verified adherence to PrEP in the United States. Medical experts were informed of the news at the annual IDWeek conference, run by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, in San Francisco.

CNN host Don Lemon attacked Kanye West with racially charged remarks, saying the music star's recent appearance at the White House was "a minstrel show," Deadline noted. Lemon, who has been a constant critic of President Donald Trump, took umbrage at West's appearance in the Oval Office as a new music licensing law was signed. Lemon blamed Trump, saying the President exploited someone "who needs help." West has previously been hospitalized for what was termed exhaustion, and has been known to make public statements that many feel are erratic.

LGBTQ Victory Fund is demanding through a cease-and-desist letter that the National Republican Congressional Committee ( NRCC ) remove from the air and internet a false advertisement attacking U.S. Congressional candidate Gina Ortiz Jones, a press release noted. The ad, released in support of U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, used footage of Jones at a Victory Fund event and, through editing, distorted its meaning to mislead voters, the Fund said. The NRCC did not request permission to edit and distribute the video and Victory Fund's legal team determined it constitutes copyright infringement. Victory Fund is non-partisan. Jones is endorsed by Victory Fund and would become the first openly LGBTQ person in Congress from Texas if elected in November.

An analysis showed that LGBT adolescents are more likely than other kids their age to try to kill themselves, Reuters reported. Data pooled from 35 earlier studies show that sexual minority youth were more than three times as likely to attempt suicide as heterosexual peers, researchers report in JAMA Pediatrics. Transgender youth were at highest risk—as they are nearly six times as likely to attempt suicide as heterosexual peers.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will receive a donation of papers and personal objects from the parents of Matthew Shepard on Oct. 25, a press release noted. Judy and Dennis Shepard will donate personal papers highlighting Matthew's school life from elementary through college, theater scripts, photographs, correspondence and notebooks, as well as a number of objects, including a child-sized Superman cape, sandals, a wedding ring and purple ribbon award. Students from George Mason University's School of Theater will perform excerpts from The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project. A brief panel discussion will follow.

Mounted on a pole outside Dallas' JR.'s Bar & Grill stands the first historical marker in Texas honoring the LGBT community, The Dallas Voice reported. The marker was dedicated Oct. 10, with hundreds crowded into JR.'s for the ceremony celebrating the history of the community and the development of Cedar Springs Road into the center of the gayborhood. Openly -gay Dallas City Councilman Omar Narvaez was among the event's speakers, recalling that his political career began there at the Crossroads after he joined Stonewall Democrats.

A Southern California man has been arrested after authorities say he sent an email threatening to kill U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, The Huffington Post reported. Authorities say Lancaster, California, resident Craig Shaver sent a Sept. 30 email to the senator. Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has received threats and abuse because some Republicans accuse her of trying to thwart the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

A Kansas Republican official is being criticized for a social-media post in which he called a Democratic congressional candidate a "radical socialist kick boxing lesbian Indian" and predicted she would "be sent back packing to the reservation," according to a USA Today item that cites The Kansas City Star. Michael Kalny, a Republican who is the precinct committeeman in Kansas, was referring to Sharice Davids, an openly gay Native American lawyer and avid kickboxer running to unseat Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder. Yoder spokesman C.J. Grover said, "Kevin doesn't believe this type of rhetoric is appropriate at all. It's unacceptable."

After two conservative Christian groups filed lawsuits against the city of Austin challenging an ordinance that protects LGBTQ individuals from discrimination, Texas LGBTQ advocates said they do not think the lawsuits will hold up in court, The Texas Tribune noted. Austin's city code prohibits employers in the city from discriminating against employees based on "the individual's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, or disability." The lawsuits claim the ordinance forces individuals to take actions contrary to their religious beliefs.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) issued a statement in response to the Trump administration published a proposed rule that would allow federal officials to deny a green card or permanent residency to immigrants they think may be likely to use Medicaid, food stamps, or public housing now or anytime in the future. In the statement, NCLR Policy Counsel Tyrone Hanley said, in part, "The Trump administration's proposed public charge rule fundamentally changes our nation's immigration system, is yet another cruel attack on immigrant communities, and seeks to needlessly block these families from accessing the vital services they need. This regulation would make using health, anti-hunger, or affordable housing programs a disqualifier for immigration—putting millions of families at risk and resulting in a sicker, hungrier, poorer nation."

Builders are preparing to break ground on Florida's first affordable housing project for elderly LGBT+ residents—one of several specialist homes emerging nationwide, from Los Angeles to Chicago—with the backing of gay community centers, Reuters noted. "We've noticed a growing number of gay seniors who are struggling financially, and are looking for affordable housing solutions," said Bruce Williams, a coordinator at The Pride Center, which is behind the housing project in Wilton Manors.

Luis Sandoval, a correspondent for Univision's Despierta America ( Wake Up America ), came out gay during a live broadcast on National Coming Out Day, reported. "I, Luis Sandoval, am gay. I'm happy. I'm a full person, a respected person. I do not live in the closet, my family knows, my friends know. I have a partner with whom I am happy. And if I cry it's because this moment is very emotional for me," Sandoval tearfully told co-hosts Karla Martinez and Ismael Cala.

An incident involving a gay Trump voter and Lyft driver Shawn Pepas has gone viral on Reddit after Pepas shared the video to social media, Towleroad reported. In the clip, a passenger berates Pepas for recording him after pulling over when the passenger became irate over a request for music. ( Among other things, the passenger says, "I came out of a gay club and your driver is racist against gay people." ) The passenger—who was on the phone with Lyft customer service almost the entire length of the video—hurled racial slurs at Pepas and made offensive threats. Lyft suspended Pepas, pending an investigation.

A teacher and student had a same-sex sexual encounter at Kansas' Olathe East High School the day after they connected on an online dating app, reported. Justin Adrian, who was also a city councilman in Shawnee, is charged in Johnson County District Court with a felony charge of unlawful sexual relations. Adrian is free on bond and is due back in court on Nov. 7.

Adult performer Kyle Dean ( real name: Brandon Jason Chrisan ) has passed away at 21, Instinct Magazine noted. Dean had worked for gay adult studios Corbin Fisher and GayHoopla in recent years. According to South Florida Gay News, Dean had several arrests over the past few years involving "multiple drug and burglary convictions."

The organization Queer|Art, which offers support and mentorship to LGBTQI artists, has awarded its 2018 $10,000 Queer|Art|Prize for Sustained Achievement to Vaginal Davis and announced the four finalists for its award for recent work: Elegance Bratton, Rafa Esparza, keyon gaskin and Xandra Ibarra, reported. Davis is a performance artist and experimental filmmaker who centers genderqueer, black, latino, and gay identity political themes in her work.

At a gala dinner with 400 guests at the Plaza Hotel on Oct. 9, Gay Men's Health Crisis raised more than $600,000 to support its programs and client services, Gay City News reported. The evening's honorees included longtime trustee Joan H. Tisch ( in memoriam ); City Council Speaker Corey Johnson; Black AIDS Institute President Phill Wilson, and Pride Media, publisher of OUT and The Advocate, and its CEO, Nathan Coyle.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he has changed his voter registration to Democrat, suggesting he is inching closer to announcing a presidential run in 2020, The Huffington Post reported. The 76-year-old billionaire has switched political parties several times in the last couple decades. He had been a longtime Democrat before registering in 2001 as a Republican ahead of his first New York mayoral run. In 2007, while still mayor, he abandoned the Republican Party and registered as a political independent.

Washington has abolished capital punishment—the 20th U.S. state to do so—after its highest court ruled it was carried out in a way that was arbitrary and "racially biased," The Independent reported. The state, the last in the nation with a working gallows, has not carried out an execution since its governor imposed a moratorium in 2014.

TMZ confronted U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham, asking him about a Chelsea Handler post that said the politician is gay, Towleroad noted. Handler tweeted, "If you're wondering why Republicans took a sick day today, it's probably because it's #NationalComingOutDay. Looking at you @LindseyGrahamSC." Graham responded, "It's a free country, you can say what you want to say, I don't care. I don't think much about what she says at all. If she wants to live her life that way. It's up to her. To the extent that it matters, I'm not gay….Belittling people is not as funny as it used to be, and that's a good thing."

Thirteen organization at the Ivy League school Dartmouth College are being investigated for hazing, reported. Among them are five fraternities, three sororities and co-ed Greek houses, three athletic teams, a student organization, and a program that performs songs and dances for prospective students in the spring. The allegations include people being forced to drink alcohol as well as sexually inappropriate behavior.

The San Francisco 49ers have apologized for initially leaving Colin Kaepernick out of a photo gallery celebrating the team's history against the Green Bay Packers, reported. The 49ers posted dozens of photos on their website of past games against the Packers before the teams met again Oct. 15, but at first did not include any of Kaepernick.

The director of the Mrs. America Pageant allegedly made racist comments and told a Black contestant, "You people need to stop killing each other," and "You Black women need to stop having babies," Mrs. New Jersey Crissy Timpson said at a New York press conference, Page Six noted. Three other pageant participants—2018 state winners Mrs. Missouri Brandy Palacios, Mrs. Delaware Kimberly Phillips and Mrs. Ohio Jeri Ward—also alleged they heard pageant founder David Marmel, 82, express similar negative stereotypes at a dinner.

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