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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL Gay police captain, more trans deaths, Chasten Buttigieg
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-09-10

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In New Jersey, Newark's police department swore in its first openly gay captain and promoted 43 other officers at a ceremony, Patch.com reported. The ceremony at St. Lucy's Church paid tribute to the efforts of 39 new police lieutenants and five new police captains. A Garden State Equality post stated that Captain Jerry Calabrese is the first openly LGBTQ captain to serve the Newark Police Department.

Bailey Reeves and Bee Love became the 17th and 18th trans people murdered in the United States this year, a National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) press release stated. Bailey, a trans woman of color, was found dead in Baltimore, Maryland, over Labor Day weekend; Bee, a Black trans woman, was found with her hands tied, shot and burned to death in her car in Clewiston, Florida. NBJC Executive Director David Johns said in a statement, "Black trans women being murdered is becoming too common. We must do more than stand silently in solidarity. We must say their names and be called to act. Supporting trans and cisgender women alike, is more than quoting from popular television shows or reposting on social media. We must supplement those actions with sustained and meaningful civic, political, and community action that ensures that Black women girls, both trans and cis, are protected in principle and in practice." Johns also mentioned the NBJC's Words Matter Gender Justice Toolkit, which is at http://nbjc.org/words-matter-gender-justice-toolkit.

Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, fired back at White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere, who argued Vice President Pence couldn't be "anti-gay" because he was having lunch with the openly gay leader of Ireland, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and his partner, Dr. Matthew Barrett, The Hill reported. "I've sat at tables with people who would gladly deny me the right to marry, who openly support conversion therapy, and who adamantly believe being gay is a choice," Chasten tweeted. "Doesn't mean they're any less homophobic because we shared a meal."

The founder of one of the nation's largest conversion therapy programs has announced that he's gay—and disavowed the "harmful" practice, The New York Post noted. McKrae Game ( who led the faith-based conversion therapy group Hope for Wholeness in South Carolina for nearly two decades ) came out of the closet this summer at 51, The Post and Courier reported. "Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it's very harmful," Game told the publication. "Because it's false advertising." Game said he is trying to come to terms with the harm he inflicted through his program.

In Virginia, the Richmond City Council condemned the use of "conversion therapy" in the city limits and across the state, Richmond.com reported. The council unanimously endorsed a non-binding resolution banning the practice, a discredited method of attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender expression of a person. National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter said in a statement, "We are grateful to Richmond for its leadership and for demonstrating that, regardless of their political differences, lawmakers have a shared interest in promoting the health and wellbeing of all youth."

An explosive exposé about Jerry Falwell Jr. published by Politico reveals a seamy side to the evangelical leader, Queerty noted. According to multiple current and former employees of Liberty University—most of whom spoke under anonymity due to ironclad non-disclosure agreements—Falwell runs a "totally dysfunctional organization" and is "very, very vocal" about his sex life around the office. Others allege that Falwell frequently texts sexually explicit messages to male colleagues, including sending them racy photos of his wife, Becki, in various sexual poses.

A man in Rome, Georgia, was charged with exposing police officers to HIV after allegedly spitting on them—which HIV activists said highlights why the state needs to fix its HIV laws, ProjectQ.us reported. Authorities said Joseph Daniel Smith was swearing at people and making obscene gestures on Aug. 25, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. Smith allegedly spat on officers after being apprehended by the Floyd County Police Department. HIV cannot be transmitted by spitting, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

In a press release, GLAAD revealed the background of the anti-LGBTQ record of former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford, who announced his plans to challenge President Trump in the upcoming 2020 Republican presidential primary. Among other things, Sanford voted for a measure to ban same-sex adoption in D.C.; voted for the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ); and supported the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which sought to allow organizations and individuals to discriminate against LGBTQ without any government reprisal.

Two civil rights leaders—Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and Sharon McGowan, chief strategy officer and legal director of Lambda Legal—outlined in SCOTUSblog why Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to a joint press release from both groups. On Oct. 8, the U. S. Supreme Court will consider this issue in three cases: Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The full article is at https://www.scotusblog.com/2019/09/symposium-lets-talk-about-sex-why-title-vii-must-cover-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity/#more-288983.

A conservative television network sued Rachel Maddow for more than $10 million for calling it "paid Russian propaganda," HuffPost reported. One America News ( OAN ) filed the federal defamation suit in San Diego, contending that Maddow's comment on her July 22 MSNBC show was retaliation after OAN President Charles Herring accused cable television giant Comcast of censorship. The suit claims that Comcast refused to carry the channel because it "counters the liberal politics of Comcast's own news channel, MSNBC."

Fox News commentator Guy Benson married his boyfriend of nearly four years, Adam Wise, in a ceremony at the Charles Krug Winery in Napa Valley, California, People Magazine reported. "It became clear pretty early on that it just, that things clicked," Benson, who is the host of Fox News Radio's The Guy Benson Show and a Fox News Contributor, told the publication prior to the wedding. The couple, who wore matching gray J. Crew suits ( accented with colored ties that symbolized their alma mater—Benson in lavender for Northwestern and Wise in sage green for Colorado State ), married in front of about 150 attendees, including Hugh Hewitt and Megyn Kelly.

Hope in a Box—a start-up nonprofit based in New York that developed a primer in LGBTQ-inclusive literature for young adults—is working with dozens of university professors and middle and high school teachers across the country to make hundreds of rural public school more LGBTQ-inclusive, a press release noted. The effort is part of a growing national movement to diversify public school curricula, notably in New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, Maryland and Oregon. For more info, visit HopeInABox.org .

Washington, D.C.'s Town nightclub—the capital's largest gay venue—will reopen in the former St. Phillips Baptist Church, located in a "rapidly gentrifying" neighborhood north of the U.S. Capitol, The Advocate reported. The former operators of the church sold their longtime home in 2017 and are decamping to Maryland. The new Town won't be the first nightclub to occupy a former church, though; New York's infamous dance palace Limelight operated out of a 19th-century Episcopal cathedral in the '80s, '90s and 2000s.

The Sacramento LGBT Center received funding toward its next permanent home from the Sacramento City Council, The Sacramento Bee reported. The City Council will approve a $750,000 down payment assistance grant for the center to move to a new location. Councilman Steve Hansen said that he was "excited to help" the center find a new permanent home, saying the center had "substantially outgrown its current home."

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he's not anti-LGBTQ and does not appreciate media outlets suggesting it was a bad idea to appear in a homophobic group's video, The Advocate noted. He faced severe backlash after appearing in a "Bring Your Bible to School Day" video produced by Focus on the Family. A day after The Advocate picked up the story—first reported by Big Easy Magazine—Brees released a video distancing himself from homophobia but criticizing anyone for suggesting he made a poor decision.

GLAAD will honor Paula Abdul for using her platform to help raise awareness about issues affecting the LGBT community, On Top Magazine noted. The organization said it would present Abdul with the Ariadne Getty Ally Award at its annual GLAAD Gala at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on Saturday, Sept. 24. Abdul is only the second celebrity to receive the award; last year, Alyssa Milano was presented with the inaugural Ariadne Getty Ally Award.

GLSEN—which works to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth—announced that it will honor the cast and producers of the Warner Bros. Television/The CW television series Riverdale with the Gamechanger Award at the 2019 GLSEN Respect Awards-Los Angeles on Friday, Oct. 25, at the Beverly Wilshire, a press release noted. The Gamechanger Award is reserved for the next generation making a difference for the LGBTQ community and around the world.

Former Grey's Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington recently revealed he was a supporter of Donald Trump, and now, he's comparing Black Democrats who have criticized his "coming out" for the current president, BET.com reported. "I dated a woman that was addicted to crack," Washington tweeted. "I became addicted to trying to save her. She stole from me and disappeared for days, worrying me to death. I really loved her and when I tried to reason with her to get her help, she refused, berated & attacked me much like Black Dems." Isaiah Washington did an interview with Fox News during which he explained why he was "walking away" from the Democratic party.

In Philadelphia, The Bearded Ladies has teamed up with Opera Philadelphia, FringeArts, Vox Populi, Hidden City Philadelphia, Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation and the Mayor's Office of LGBT Affairs to present a new pop-up cabaret experience: Late Night Snacks, Metro reported. This new hotspot will feature a unique roster of artists from both the region and around the world, including the likes of opera star Stephanie Blythe, Justin Vivian Bond, Adrienne Truscott, Martha Graham Cracker and more.

Former Alaska Gov. and U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's husband, Todd Palin, has filed for divorce from the former Alaska governor after 31 years of marriage, US Weekly noted. Todd filed with the Anchorage Superior Court on Sept. 6. The oil field production operator requested to have their marriage dismissed, citing "incompatibility of temperament between the parties." Sarah and Todd wed in August 1988; the former couple are parents of five children: Track, 30; Bristol, 28; Willow, 25; Piper, 18; and Trig, 11.


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