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NATIONAL Grimm win, conversion therapy, Gallup, gay bar news
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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A federal judge in Norfolk, Virginia, has sided with Gavin Grimm, a transgender teenager from Gloucester County whose battle to use the bathroom that aligns with his gender identity sparked a national dialogue about transgender rights, reported. U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen denied the Gloucester County School Board's motion to dismiss Grimm's civil-rights lawsuit, maintaining that Title IX and the U.S. Constitution protect transgender students from exclusionary bathroom polices. Grimm's fight began back in 2014, when he was barred from using the boys restroom at Gloucester High School and told to use a unisex bathroom.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a bill sponsored by Hawaii Sen. Stanley Chang into law that will protect Hawaii youth from the practice of conversion therapy by health professionals, according to a National Center for Lesbian Rights press release. Conversion therapy, sometimes called "ex-gay therapy," attempts to change an individual's sexual orientation and/or gender identity and has been discredited by every major medical and mental health organization as an ineffective and harmful practice. The practice of conversion therapy by licensed professionals against minors has now been prohibited by 12 states and the District of Columbia.

A new Gallup estimate states that a record 4.5 percent of U.S. adults identify as part of the LGBT community, NBC News reported. The percentage, which works out to more than 11 million U.S. adults, is up from 4.1 percent in 2016 and 3.5 percent in 2012—the year Gallup first started tracking LGBT identification. The increase was driven primarily by millennials, defined as those born between 1980 and 1999, according to the report's findings.

In Seattle, Capitol Hill's gayborhood will grow back onto a new block as Union, a cocktail lounge serving the gay community, will open in the old Zoe restaurant space, noted. The new Union will represent a coming together of rival legends of the gay-bar scene, as Steve Nyman, Nathan Benedict, and Mark Engelmann will back it. The corner Union will call home is also home to Oola Distillery. Union's opening, meanwhile, will follow more gayborhood investment with 2017's opening of Queer/Bar.

In more gay-bar news, a new spot will open this summer in downtown Eugene where the Wayward Lamb used to be, noted. Helen Shepard, the owner of the new bar that will be known as Spectrum, said the LGBTQ community was devastated when Wayward Lamb abruptly closed in February. Shepard said there are a few LGBTQ-friendly bars throughout downtown; however, Wayward Lamb was the only bar in town that was by the queer community and for the queer community.

Christian Bales ( the openly gay valedictorian of Holy Cross High School in Crestview Hills, Kentucky ) was barred from delivering his graduation speech—so he delivered it after the graduation ceremony, outside of the school on a megaphone, CBS News reported. After reading a copy of Bales' speech, the school determined it was "political and inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic church." Bales' mother, Gillian Marksberry, said she received a call from the school's principal the preceding week to ensure Bales wore men's clothing to graduation and did not wear makeup or bobby pins in his hair.

A Virginia-based company founded by a gay businessman arranged for the release from jail of the brother of the Parkland, Florida, shooting suspect who was arrested in March for trespassing on the grounds of the school in which his brother allegedly killed 17 people, The Washington Blade noted. Nexus Services, Inc.—located in Verona, Virginia, and founded by gay-rights advocate Mike Donovan—has arranged for Zachary Cruz, 18, to move from Florida to nearby Staunton, Virginia, where the company has offered him free housing, a job, and a "new life." Zachary Cruz's brother, Nicholas Cruz, 19, has been charged with multiple counts of murder for the Feb. 14 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. CNN reported that, on March 29, Zachary pled no contest to the trespassing charge and was sentenced to six months' probation.

In Indianapolis, Alec Jansen and Ben Martella were using a Lyft rideshare to travel from Butler University to Broad Ripple when the driver allegedly threw them out—for kissing, according to LGBTQ Nation. Right after they were kicked out, Martella took to social media to discuss what happened, saying he, "was just discriminated against by @lyft my ride kicked me out because I was kissing another man." The company did offer to refund their ride, and say that they would be taking "the appropriate and necessary actions." It was only after the Indianapolis Star contacted Lyft that the company took a firmer tone, saying that the driver had been "deactivated."

For the first time in its more than 70-year history, the San Francisco police union will be lead by an openly gay person, noted. Sergeant Tony Montoya, who has been a cop in the city for 24 years, is taking over the reigns of the San Francisco Police Officers Association ( SFPOA ) from former president Martin Halloran, who began his term in 2016. Montoya's term as president of the SFPOA will end in 2020.

A new interpretation of Michigan's current ban on sex discrimination now includes sexual orientation and gender identity, according to ., citing the Detroit Metro Times. The state's civil-rights commission voted five to zero to approve the inclusion. Dan Levy, the director of law and policy for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights who championed the interpretation, says the ruling is "opening the door to the hall of justice."

Six of the seven members of Oregon's congressional delegation have written a letter to the CEO of Amtrak demanding an in-depth investigation surrounding the near-fatal beating of a gay student who was left bloody and burned in an Amtrak station near Truckee, California, Metro Weekly reported. U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, and Peter DeFazio—all Democrats—signed the letter, expressing concern that Aaron Salazar, a Colorado native and Portland State University student, may have been the victim of a hate crime while traveling back to Oregon for school via train May 15. Republican Greg Walden did not sign his name to the letter. Salazar is currently in a coma after suffering injuries to his brain stem as well as a broken pelvis.

Connecticut's child-welfare agency has launched an initiative to actively recruit members of the state's LGBT community to become foster and adoptive parents, going against the recent trends in some states to curtail gay adoptions, noted. ( There are similar initiatives in New York City and San Francisco. ) Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said that Connecticut wants to be known as a state that welcomes and embraces the LGBT community—especially considering there are 4,300 children in state care and about half of them likely won't return to their biological families.

A federal district court has struck down a Missouri Department of Corrections ( MDOC ) policy as cruel and unusual punishment because it denies vital health care to transgender people, including Lambda Legal client Jessica Hicklin, a transgender woman incarcerated at the Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, a Lambda Legal press release stated. The court's order requires MDOC and its contracted healthcare provider, Corizon LLC, to provide Hicklin with medically necessary, doctor-recommended health care for the treatment of gender dysphoria. The decision is at

A Washington, D.C., Superior Court judge, on May 18, sentenced District resident David Bright, 31, to 33 years in prison for the February 2016 murders in a northeast Washington rooming house of two of his housemates that law-enforcement sources said were gay, The Washington Blade reported. Police and prosecutors have said Bright's motive for fatally shooting Clifton David Francis, 51, and David Aumon Watkins Jr., 45, appeared to be a dispute over money.

A California man has been arrested after stealing rainbow flags and threatening to detonate pipe bombs at a local supermarket, noted. Sheriffs say Vincent Joseph O'Sullivan, 55, planned to set off bombs at the Guerneville Safeway and the Sonoma County sheriff's office substation in order to injure deputies and members of the LGBT community. He first stole a flag from a public square outside the chamber of commerce on April 26 and then took a replacement flag several days later.

Calif. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has voiced his support for allowing anti-LGBTQ housing discrimination, according to LGBTQ Nation. Rohrabacher made his comments indicating his support for housing discrimination against LGBTQ people two weeks before the most competitive primary of his career against a total of 15 challengers; such bias has been illegal in California for almost 20 years. According to the Orange County Register, the Congressman told a delegation from the Orange County Association of Realtors on May 16 "that he opposes extending the 50-year-old Fair Housing Act to gays and lesbians." Equality California recently announced its endorsement of Democrat Harley Rouda, who strongly condemned Rohrabacher's comments.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed an amendment to major defense policy legislation that would abrogate President Trump's ban on transgender military service, The Washington Blade reported. The amendment—introduced by Reps. Jackie Speier ( D-Calif. ), A. Donald McEachin ( D-Va. ), Susan Davis ( D-Calif. ) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen ( R-Fla. )—was submitted before the House Rules Committee for consideration as part of the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill.

Young Mormons driving the faith's gradual acceptance of same-sex marriages—even though the religion's support still lags well behind national approval and those of Catholics, Muslims and Jews, according to the survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute, noted. The survey found that 40 percent of Mormons in the United States supported gay marriage in 2017, up from 27 percent in 2014; among Mormons between the ages of 18 to 29, the acceptance rate is 52 percent.

Interview Magazine, the publication originally founded by Andy Warhol, is folding, CNN reported. "After 10 months at my dream job at @InterviewMag, today is sadly my last day as the magazine has closed," tweeted Trey Taylor, the senior online editor at the magazine. Interview was founded by Warhol in 1969, and was bought by the billionaire Peter Brant from the late pop artist's estate in 1989. The magazine relaunched in 2008 under new editorial leadership.

In Kentucky, anti-gay County Clerk Kim Davis can breathe a little easier, thanks to David Ermold's loss in the Democratic primaries, LGBTQ Nation noted. Davis infamously turned away Ermold and his fiance, David Moore, when they applied for a marriage license and spent time in jail for refusing to do her job. Ermold lost the race to fellow Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr., who has said he doesn't plan on making same-sex marriage or Davis' stance against it part of his campaign.

Christopher Street West ( CSW )—the 501( c )( 3 ) non-profit that produces the annual LA Pride Festival and Parade—announced Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn, CEO of Pollo West Group and founder of TransCanWork, as the 2018 LA Pride Parade grand marshal on Sunday, June 10, a press release stated. Pollo West Corp is one of the largest franchises for El Pollo Loco restaurants in the U.S. western region. Her unwavering dedication to diversity and inclusion in the workplace recently awarded her the 2018 Face of Diversity Award at the National Restaurant Association Public Affairs Conference.

University of Southern California ( USC ) President C. L. Max Nikias will step down following a scandal involving a former campus gynecologist accused of sexual misconduct and using racist language during exams, CNN reported. The announcement comes after thousands of students and alumni signed an online petition demanding his resignation, alleging that USC failed to act after complaints of misconduct involving Dr. George Tyndall, a gynecologist who worked at a university clinic for decades. Seven women have filed lawsuits against Tyndall and the school.

Greater Palm Springs Pride kicks off the 2018 Pride season under the theme of "Youth Power for Change," a press release noted. Also, Youth of Coachella Valley have also been named grand marshals of the 2018 Pride Parade. The Palm Springs Pride Parade is scheduled for Nov. 4.

The LGBT Foundation has appointed its first CEO: Sean Howell, according to PR Newswire. He is currently president of gay social network Hornetk, where he has spent the last six years helping the company increase its user base to 25 million. At Hornet, Howell also oversees the company's corporate responsibility efforts under Hornet Impact.

LGBT artist/philanthropist Ben Workman, aka Jumper Maybach, will have a traveling exhibition entitled "The Pride Collection: INTROSPECTION," a press release noted. It will be on exhibition and available for acquisition beginning June 1, 2018 at his Houston gallery, where the artist has been named the Official Artist of Pride Houston 2018. However, Maybach is also planning to have the exhibition in San Diego; Nashville; and Richmond, Virginia.

Roseanne Barr apologized to Valerie Jarrett after the comedian made a racially charged joke about the former senior advisor to President Obama, TheWrap noted. She also added that she was "leaving Twitter" over the latest situation. "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj," said Barr in the original tweet in response to a comment about Jarrett.

Clothing brand H&M has announced it will launch its first-ever Pride collection to show its support of the LGBT community, noted. On May 31, the new line will make its way into 148 U.S. stores, as well as other select retailers around the world, and will also be available for purchase online. The line will include T-shirts, crop tops, tank tops, shorts, cutoff jeans, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hoodies, caps, fanny packs and socks. The company will donate 10 percent of proceeds from the sale of the collection to the United Nations Free & Equal campaign.

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