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NATIONAL Gay doctor, PFLAG death, Emma Gonzalez, 'pumping'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-12-04

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NBC News recently profiled Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, who the outlet called the "radical gay doctor" behind New York City's declining HIV rate. Daskalakis—deputy commissioner for the Division of Disease Control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, one of the world's largest public health agencies—has promoted a framework for treatment and prevention strategy that he calls "status-neutral care," which uses the same approach to initial patient care regardless of one's HIV status. This type of care is intended to reduce HIV stigma and encourage frank discussions about sexual health, HIV risk and prevention options.

PFLAG National issued a statement mourning the loss of President Emeritus Sam Thoron. Thoron's service—which he shared with his wife Julia ( a longtime PFLAG leader in her own right )—started when his own daughter, Liz, came out. Thoron was the president of PFLAG San Francisco, and went on to serve as a regional director in Northern California, and then on the PFLAG National board for several years, eventually becoming the president of PFLAG National in 2002.

Out Magazine selected Parkland, Florida, shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez as its newsmaker of the year, the website announced. "One of the coolest experiences for me was the Peace March in Chicago on Friday, June 15," she said to the magazine, explaining that activists in Chicago organized marches every Friday to combat the city's high rate of gun violence in the summer months. "We marched through the streets and neighborhoods, and we were all chanting, screaming, and singing. And we brought the press with us to shine more light on the event." The publication also named Billy Porter as Performance of the Year and SOPHIE as artist of the year.

Rolling Stone published an article on what it termed "a disturbing and deadly trend" in the LGBTQ community: "pumping," or injecting silicone into their bodies. The publication stated that the movement started in the trans community, but has now expanded into gay men who want to appear larger—a subgroup called "gainers." Recently, Tumblr gay celebrity Tank Hafertepen died of a lung hemorrhage caused by, in part, silicon injection syndrome.

Police in Baltimore are investigating the death of a Black transgender woman who was shot and killed Nov. 26, NewNowNext.com noted, citing The Washington Blade. Authorities are formally withholding information about her identity until they're able to notify her next of kin, but Baltimore Transgender Alliance identified the victim as Tydie. The group organized a vigil for Tydie on Nov. 30. The Human Rights Campaign released a statement acknowledging that "Tydie's death marks the 24th known violent death of a transgender individual in 2018. She is the 17th known Black transgender person to be killed this year."

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's speech honoring the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day quickly drew criticism—not for what he said, but for what he didn't say, NBC News reported. In remarks at the White House, Pence did not mention the LGBT community, just as President Donald Trump did not mention it in his World AIDS Day proclamation last year. Former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton each mentioned the disease's disproportionate impact on the LGBTQ community, while George W. Bush also failed to note the relationship between LGBT people and HIV/AIDS in his official statements on the day. Lambda Legal's Scott Schoettes called Pence's speech "short-sighted and biased."

Arizona's highest court will decide if a Phoenix law aimed at prohibiting businesses from discriminating against LGBTQ people violates the state's constitution, KJZZ.org reported. The case centers on two Phoenix business owners—Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, of Brush & Nib Studio—who say designing wedding invitations for same sex weddings goes against their religious beliefs. They argue Phoenix's non-discrimination, therefore, violates their free speech. Earlier this year, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against the two women and upheld Phoenix's ordinance.

For possibly the first time in the 86-year history of the iconic Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony, the tree was donated by a lesbian couple, according to a Los Angeles Blade item that cited The New York Times. Shirley Figueroa and her wife Lissette Gutierrez moved to a home in Wallkill, New York—and the property included a 72-foot Norway spruce tree that weighs an estimated 12 tons. The tree, nicknamed "Shelby," was adorned with five miles of LED multicolored lights topped off with a 900-pound Swarovski crystal star.

Dozens of people clutched burned candles as steady rain glistened San Francisco's Harvey Milk Plaza on Nov. 27—the 40th anniversary of the assassinations of city supervisor and civil-rights icon Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Mayor London Breed welcomed the crowd and introduced friends of Milk and Moscone, who took turns grabbing the microphone and sharing memories.

In Minnesota, school employees were caught on video forcing open a bathroom stall that a transgender student was using, LGBTQ Nation noted. The video, eventually obtained and shared by Kenidra Woods on Twitter, shows a transgender teen using the bathroom while school employees at Osseo Senior High School try to remove her from the stall. "Look at that," the student said, who is recording the incident on her phone. "I'm using the bathroom right now and they just violated me."

Mia Love, the Republican candidate for Utah's 4th Congressional District, conceded to her Democratic opponent, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Gay Star News reported. The extra seat gives Democrats an even larger majority after they took back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November. Throughout her political career, Love has been consistently against LGBTI rights.

Also, it looks like Democrats have flipped another U.S. House seat, this one in California's agriculture-heavy 21st Congressional District, Advocate.com noted. Democrat and LGBT ally T.J. Cox declared victory over Republican incumbent David Valadao on Nov. 28. The victory brought Democratic gains in the House to 40, with seven seats flipped in California alone.

A gay couple ( identified as Taray Carey and Alex ) said a hug in the backseat set their Uber driver into a hateful rage in New York City, and that the driver gunned the car, dragging one of the couple along the ground, NBC New York reported. "He's telling us in his country we would be beheaded and left for dead," said Carey, who was left scrapes and bruises after he said he was dragged for half a block down East Fourth Street. Police responded to the scene, but the couple claim they refused to investigate it as a hate crime, claiming cops told one of the men he "probably deserved it"—although police bodycam footage disputed that claim. Uber said it has removed the driver from its app.

Advocate.com reported that Scott Chen—the president of gay hook-up app Grindr—wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post that he believes marriage is a "holy matrimony between a man and a woman," reported Into, the LGBTQ site Grindr owns. The development turned into an internal public squabble between Chen and the writer of the article, Matthew Rodriguez, that played out in the comments section of the story.

A bill being considered in the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature would specify that ministers don't have to perform marriages that contradict their "sincerely held religious beliefs," 13ABC.com reported. The "Ohio Pastor Protection Act" ( HB 36 ) would stipulate that an ordained or licensed minister or religious society isn't subject to civil or criminal liability for denying their services or use of their property for such marriages. The House passed the measure in June, sending it to the Senate, where it's under consideration now.

A Florida man is behind bars after he used Instagram to trap a gay man into a dangerous kidnapping, Instinct Magazine noted. After meeting up in Vero Beach and getting into a car, Matthew Evans became hostile and placed the unidentified victim into a chokehold while calling him anti-gay slurs; meanwhile, the other man drove the group away. The group ended up at San Sebastian Park, where a third man was waiting with a handgun; Evans then repeatedly punched the victim when he refused to hand over the agreed-upon $50.

Planned Parenthood launches "This is Health Care," a national awareness effort aimed at reinforcing that reproductive and women's health services are standard medical care, a press release stated. The effort launches with marketing assets and support from celebrities across the country, including Issa Rae, Chelsea Handler and others. Annually, Planned Parenthood health centers provide more than 9.5 million reproductive healthcare services, including more than 660,000 cancer screenings and 2.7 million birth control services; it also provides transgender hormone therapy in 17 states. More about "This Is Health Care" is at https://www.plannedparenthood.org/this-is-health-care.

In Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Feb. 22, the Stonewall National Museum & Archives will honor Jazz Jennings—the transgender teen star of the TLC Reality Show I Am Jazz—with the 2019 Stonewall Visibility Award for her work as an activist and educator, a press release announced. Advocate and award-winning actress Kathy Najimy will be the keynote speaker. See https://www.stonewall-museum.org/gala-2019/.

A new Miami Herald report provided stunning details about how President Donald Trump's labor secretary went to great lengths to help downplay billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's sex crimes when he was the U.S. attorney for southern Florida, AOL.com noted. According to the report, local and federal investigators had gathered enough evidence to put Epstein away for life in 2007 when then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta met with one of Epstein's lawyers, Jay Lefkowitz. At the meeting, the two reportedly hammered out a deal that would see Epstein serve just 13 months, in a private cell block at a county jail, instead of federal prison—even though investigators had reportedly found dozens of underage victims.

Equality California released a statement from Executive Director Rick Zbur after the LA Times published a report detailing multiple corroborated allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman. Zbur said, "The allegations against Mr. Bauman of sexual harassment and misconduct are specific, severe and deeply troubling. Such behavior—by anyone—cannot be tolerated, and it's critical that a thorough investigation of these reports be completed expeditiously." The L.A. Times later reported that Bauman decided to resign after 10 party staff members and political activists accused him of making crude sexual comments and engaging in unwanted touching or physical intimidation.

In Kansas, Sedgwick County Republicans have elected their first openly gay chairman—24-year-old former congressional aide Dalton Glasscock, Kansas.com noted. Glasscock, who had not previously come out as gay, won the chairmanship despite a back-channel campaign of e-mails and texts sent to precinct committee members identifying him as "homosexual." The precinct committee elects the party's officers.

Equality Forum is accepting nominations for the 2019 LGBT History Month Icons, who will be honored next October, a press release noted. Nominated LGBT Icons may be living or dead, national or international. Selection is based on one or more of the following criteria: being distinguished in their field of endeavor, a national hero and/or a significant contributor to LGBT rights. The deadline is Friday, Dec. 7; visit lgbthistorymonth.com/.

Scott Philips-Gartner, of Norfolk, Virginia, tendered his resignation from the Norfolk Fire Department one year ago, after a 27-year career, saying it was because he was allegedly about to be fired for being gay—and now he's suing the city, ThinkProgress.org noted. Gartner said he began to hear anti-gay comments form his superiors; for instance, Battalion Chief Roger Burris allegedly mocked Gartner for his sexual orientation. Gartner filed his suit in federal court, reflecting the multiple grievances he had also filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A passenger who took a Delta Air Lines flight earlier this year said the pilot operating his flight sent him a Grindr message while they were "30,000 feet in the air," Business Insider reported. The passenger, JP Thorn, told the New York Post the pilot texted him on the dating app during the 90-minute flight from St. Paul, Minnesota, to Chicago in August. Thorn said he noticed the message after landing, but saw that it was sent 30 minutes before the plane's landing—meaning the pilot was flying and texting at the same time. Thorn later chatted with the pilot while he waited for his connecting flight and said it turned out the pilot was a "nice guy" and he "totally would have met him for coffee."

Country-rock star Kid Rock ripped into Joy Behar on Fox & Friends, calling the comedian and The View co-host a bitch just moments before urging people to show more love and tolerance for one another, TheWrap.com noted. Co-host Steve Doocy quickly moved into damage control, chiding the musician and apologizing to viewers for the incident. Kid Rock was later pulled as Nashville Parade grand marshal for his comments; James Shaw Jr.—an electrical engineer hailed as a hero after disarming a rifle-wielding gunman during a mass shooting at a local Waffle House earlier this year—was named the new honoree.

Linda Vester—a former NBC News reporter who accused network icon Tom Brokaw of sexual harassment—renewed her call for an independent investigation into misconduct claims at her former network and urged NBC's parent company, Comcast, to bring in outside counsel to manage it, according to TheWrap.com . Vester additionally called for those investigators to be given full access to people and documents within the company and for the findings to be made public.

CNN said it had severed ties with contributor Marc Lamont Hill following controversial comments the liberal pundit made about Israel, CNN.com reported. Hill—who is also a professor at Philadelphia's Temple University—made the controversial comments during a meeting at the United Nations held for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Nov. 28. In his remarks at that meeting, Hill said "we must advocate and promote non-violence," but added, "We cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing." After much criticism, Hill tweeted, "I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things."

One day after the president tweeted five plugs for books written by right-wing supporters and Fox News pals like Gregg Jarrett and Jeanine Pirro, Penguin Random House has announced that Michelle Obama's Becoming is officially the best-selling book of 2018, Deadline noted. Becoming sold more than 2 million copies in the United States and Canada within 15 days of its Nov. 13 release. ( That figure includes hardcover, e-book and audio sales. )

A gay political power couple told The New York Times why they have defected from the Democratic Party to support President Donald Trump, NewNowNext.com noted. Husbands Bill White and Bryan Eure have spent tens of thousands of dollars supporting Trump, and will throw a $5 million fundraiser this winter for his 2020 re-election bid. White claimed he likes that Trump, the highest ranking politician in the country, is "not a politician," and praised his "authenticity"—adding they felt slighted when the married couple say they were blocked from taking a picture with Clinton because they hadn't written a $25,000 check during the closing stretch of the campaign.

Mic laid off most of its staff as it negotiates a sale to Bustle Digital Group, a publisher reaching millennial women, Deadline.com noted. The millennial news outlet is in talks to sell its assets to Bustle Digital group for a reported $10 million, according to multiple published reports. That price, first reported by The Information, would represent a significant discount on Mic's valuation when it raised $60 million from investors.

Fox and National Geographic are investigating Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson after three women accused the celebrity astrophysicist of sexual misconduct—including rape in one instance, TheWrap.com noted. On Nov. 8, Patheos published an interview with Tchiya Amet, who says Tyson drugged and raped her in 1984 when they were both grad students. On Thursday, two more women came forward with accusations in Patheos: Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Bucknell University; and his former assistant Ashley Watson, who said she quit her job because of Tyson's sexual advances. In a lengthy Facebook post, Tyson said that he would welcome an independent investigation, Deadline reported.

Eastern Michigan University is reinstating its women's tennis team after a lawsuit filed by two former athletes, Tennis.com noted. The university announced in March that it was dropping softball, men's swimming and diving, women's tennis and wrestling at the end of the spring season; however, two former athletes sued, alleging Title IX laws banning sex discrimination were violated. The university had said budget cuts prompted the moves.


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