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NATIONAL Gay-club owner, HIV/AIDS news, Nashville feat, Roxane Gay
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-02-20

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The proprietor of a gay nightclub in El Paso, Texas, is under fire for attending a rally in support of President Trump, then posting photographic evidence on his Instagram page, Yahoo! News noted. Johnny Alcantar—one of five owners of the Old Plantation, locally known as the OP—posted a photo of himself and four friends holding up a "Trump: Keep America Great 2020" flag, touting Trump's campaign for re-election. The image was quickly picked up by Puta Khalo, a local drag queen in the local LGBTQ community, who reposted the photo to Facebook with an impassioned, profanity-laced message. Alcantar told NBC affiliate KTSM that he attended the rally only to see a sitting president—and that he didn't agree with anything Trump said.

A new study led by researchers at the University of Central Florida ( UCF ) found men who let their partners know they were HIV-positive were more likely to have unprotected sex—even after disclosing their HIV status, WFTV.com noted. The UCF study surveyed 372 men who are HIV-positive over a period of five years. It found those surveyed who told their partners they were HIV positive were three times more likely to have unprotected sex. The survey also said 45 percent of those surveyed were inconsistent about disclosing their HIV status, or didn't disclose it at all.

An ongoing legal battle over which managed-care plan should be picked by the state to provide care to low-income HIV/AIDS patients in South Florida has triggered a new round of litigation that pits two competitors, CBS12.com reported. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation ( AHF ) recently asked a circuit judge to order competitor Simply Healthcare to stop communicating with the foundation's Medicare patients. While Medicare is a federal program, AHF has been battling to reverse a decision by the state Agency for Health Care Administration to award Medicaid contracts to Simply.

A bill to modernize Indiana laws related to HIV was heard by lawmakers, WFYI.org reported. Indiana laws related to the transmission of HIV were written in the 1990s; Rep. Ed Clere ( R-New Albany ), who authored the measure, says a lot has changed since then. The bill removes stigmatized legal language, changes penalties and updates the duty to warn laws.

Nashville has became the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-owned businesses, according to SouthFloridaGayNews.com . Nashville Mayor David Briley signed an executive order including LGBT business enterprises certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce ( NGLCC ) in contracting and procurement opportunities throughout the city. The new policy will give NGLCC-certified businesses in Nashville the same access to contracts and economic development opportunities as businesses owned by women and ethnic minorities.

Writer/commentator Roxane Gay has hit out at anti-trans feminists, saying they "should know better, having been marginalized as women throughout history and today," PinkNews noted. Speaking to the New Statesmen, Gay explained that trans-exclusionary radical feminists ( TERFs ) have "woefully" let down transgender people. Gay, who is openly bisexual, recently offered to be a writer on the rebooted version of the TV show The L Word.

Online retailer Amazon has come under fire for selling books that promote the "treatment" of homosexuality, The Independent reported. Damian Barr, an author and speaker, openly criticized the retailer on Twitter after spotting a book called A Parent's Guide To Preventing Homosexuality, by psychologist Joseph Nicholosi ( who founded the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality ), for sale on its website. Amazon is selling a number of other books that fall into the same category, including Healing Homosexuality, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, and How a Gay Boy Became a Straight Man.

Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) responded to the news that the South Dakota House of Representatives has passed HB 1108, which effectively bars instructors who teach grades K-7 in the state's public schools from instructing students on gender identity or gender expression, HRC's blog noted. "The intent of this legislation is clearly to discriminate against transgender and gender non-conforming South Dakotans," said Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel at HRC. "If HB 1108 were to become law, it would send a strong message to LGBTQ youth that they are less than their peers."

Nebraska lawmakers and others in the chamber at the state capitol recently heard emotional testimony about personal rights—the focus of multiple bills before lawmakers this session, WOWT.com reported. Dozens of Nebraskans went before the committee to speak on issues of sexual orientation and gender identification. The first bill on the agenda focused on employment protections; LB627 would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A second measure, LB167, proposes a ban on conversion therapy.

Three members of the West Hollywood City Council have asked the city's mayor to step down in the midst of sexual-assault allegations, Advocate.com reported. Lindsey Horvath, John D'Amico and Lauren Meister posted statements on their Facebook accounts Tuesday with the demand to Mayor John Duran, who has been accused by multiple men from the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles ( GMCLA ) of sexual harassment. The Los Angeles Times published a Feb. 5 report on the allegations, which include claims that the politician made inappropriate remarks and put his hand down two men's waistbands. Following the accusations, Duran admitted no wrongdoing but said he would be leaving his post as the chairman of GMCLA's board.

The boyfriend of a former Palisades Park, New Jersey, police officer who was fired last year after alleging harassment and discrimination has filed a tort notice against the borough after also being let go, NJ.com reported. Corey Havens, 25, was terminated from the IT department at the borough of Palisades Park. Havens is in a relationship with former officer Robert DeVito, who filed claims of harassment and discrimination in May 2018; he was terminated in June. In addition to the borough, the tort claims notice is filed against Palisades Park Councilman Henry Ruh and former Palisades Park Mayor James Rotundo.

Seven current and former police officers will receive nearly $4 million from a New Jersey town to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit, a USNews.com item noted. The officers claimed then-chief David Dudeck was "abusive and created a hostile work environment" at the Princeton Police Department. Among other things, two lesbian officers alleged Dudeck used anti-gay slurs, and male officers say he would ask them about their sex lives and give explicit details about his own.

Transgender YouTube personality and livestreamer Zhoie Perez—who goes by Furry Potato Live on her YouTube channel—was shot in the leg by a security guard, The Daily Dot reported. As far as she is aware, Perez is not being charged with anything, despite the fact that she remembers police cuffing her almost the moment she arrived. Police arrived at what BuzzFeed News identified as the Etz Jacob Congregation and Ohel Chana High School building in Los Angeles, where the incident occurred, and arrested the guard—Edduin Zelayagrunfeld—"on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon," according to BuzzFeed.

Just weeks before the show Crippled was set to debut at her Tenderloin performance space, EXIT Theatre founder Christina Augello ( who was trying to bring Paul David Power's play to San Francisco ) received a letter from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ( USCIS )—an agency that works parallel to ICE under the Department of Homeland Security—stating that Power has been denied permission to perform in the United States on the basis that Crippled is not "culturally unique," KQED.org noted. The play features a gay lead with disabilities grappling with the loss of his partner.

Three women sued Yale University and nine fraternities, saying the off-campus clubs harbored a culture of sexual discrimination and assault, and asked the court to order the all-male social organizations to admit women, Yahoo! News reported. All three undergraduate students of the Ivy League college said they were groped at parties held at fraternity houses during their first semesters at the school, according to the complaint filed in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut. Supporters of Greek life said the incidents that have made the news do not define fraternities.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) was among the many organizations responding to an announcement from the Trump-Pence White House that along with signing the bipartisan spending bill, Trump would take the unprecedented and potentially unconstitutional move of declaring a national emergency to fund a border wall. In a press release, HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said, "There is no national security crisis at the border. To declare one based on the reality on the ground is an abuse of power that undercuts the rule of law."

A federal court stopped the Department of Defense from discharging two members of the Air Force simply because they are HIV-positive, Advocate.com reported. Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, issued a preliminary injunction against the discharge of the two airmen while their case proceeds to trial. "These are the kinds of people that it seems to me the military wants to keep in the service," Brinkema said in court, according to The Washington Post.

Tarana Burke and Margaret Atwood are among the vanguards who will be recognized at this year's VH1 Trailblazer Honors, NewNowNext.com noted. Kicking off Women's History Month, the hourlong television special will air on International Women's Day, March 8, on VH1 and Logo. Burke, an activist for more than 25 years, famously created the #MeToo movement to empower survivors of sexual harassment and abuse. Author of more than 50 books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays, Atwood is best known for her novel The Handmaid's Tale, which has been adapted into an award-winning Hulu series.

A $215-million class-action settlement agreement between the University of Southern California ( USC ) and several law firms representing dozens of women who allege they were sexually abused by Dr. George Tyndall was filed in federal court, CNN.com noted. The money will be used to compensate women saying they were victimized by Tyndall, a gynecologist in the institution's student health center for almost three decades.

Also at USC, a half-dozen gay and bisexual men are suing the school and a physician, alleging he discriminated against and battered them while serving as the only full-time men's sexual health doctor at the Student Health Center, NBC Los Angeles reported. The plaintiffs are former USC students identified only as John Does in the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed Monday against the university and Dr. Dennis A. Kelly. The suit's allegations include sexual battery, gender violence, sexual harassment, negligence and fraud.

In a press release, GLAAD condemned the U.S. Senate for confirming William Barr to be the next attorney general of the United States. Barr was nominated by President Trump last December, and much like his predecessor Jeff Sessions, has a vicious anti-LGBTQ history, the organization asserted. "It's alarming and upsetting that a person citing LGBTQ people as a reason for the decline of the United States will now serve as the nation's top law enforcement official," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president/CEO of GLAAD.

A week after a Durham, North Carolina, pastor barred a lesbian City Council member from speaking at a local Catholic school, he extended an invitation for her to speak to students and other members of the parish sometime this spring, WRAL.com reported. Councilwoman Vernetta Alston was to speak at a Black History Month event at Immaculata Catholic School; however, Fr. Chris VanHaight, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church, rescinded the invitation and canceled school altogether for the day. VanHaight later met with Alston at City Hall to apologize for how the episode was handled.

A man who was accused in 2017 of beating up a transgender woman just beat up a Black man who he called the N-word, LGBTQ Nation reported. Klevis Vulaj, 25—who is still under investigation for beating up a transgender co-worker—and friend Veton Balidemaj confronted construction worker Darrick Brown, calling him the N-word at one point. Then, Vulaj allegedly shoved and punched Brown and he fell to the ground, while Balidemaj reportedly kicked him. Beatrix Rubi Lacroix, a woman who worked with Vulaj several years ago, said that he targeted her multiple times because he's transphobic.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid have reached a financial settlement with the NFL in their joint collusion complaint against the league and will take no further action in the case, Yahoo! News reported. The league and Kaepernick's attorneys released a statement Friday saying the matter had been resolved confidentially. The agreement comes on the doorstep of the final hearing in the Kaepernick case, which was set to take place before arbitrator Stephen Burbank this month. Kaepernick—who recently thanked singer Rihanna for her Super Bowl boycott, The Washington Post noted—had alleged the league conspired to keep him out after he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Lee Radziwill—the stylish jet-setter and socialite who was the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy—has died at 85, NJHerald.com reported. She was with President John F. Kennedy when he made a trip to London in 1961, and he was godfather to Radziwill's daughter, Anna Christina. Among other things, she married a prince, Stanislas Radziwill of Poland, as well as Herbert Ross, a choreographer and award-winning director of Funny Girl and Steel Magnolias.

Former Fox News host Megyn Kelly took aim at comedian Sarah Silverman after Silverman attacked President Trump on Twitter using obscenities and vulgar imagery, The Hill noted. Kelly tweeted Tuesday that Silverman's use of language made her a questionable choice for children's movies, including the Wreck-It Ralph franchise in which Silverman recently starred in the sequel, Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet. Silverman was quickly defended by fellow comedians like Jonah Ray Rodrigues and actress Olivia Wilde.

Miami Beach Pride announced Detective Juan F. Sanchez as its 2019 Advocate Grand Marshal, a press release noted. This honor recognizes local advocacy work for the LGBTQ community in Miami Beach, and Detective Sanchez's 31-year history of law enforcement and tireless support of the community made him an ideal choice for this role.


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