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NATIONAL Grindr case, Adam Rippon, gay-bar owner dies
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Chancler Encalade, 20, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for assaulting a man because of the victim's sexual orientation, announced the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Texas, and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Dallas Division. According to the plea agreement, Encalade admitted that he, Nigel Garrett and another co-defendant used Grindr to arrange to meet the victim at the victim's home. Upon entering the victim's home, the defendants restrained the victim with tape, physically assaulted the victim, and made derogatory statements to the victim for being gay.

GLAAD announced that Olympic medalist Adam Rippon launched a fundraising campaign to support GLAAD's culture-changing LGBTQ youth programs, according to a press release. The announcement was made during Rippon's appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. DeGeneres also surprised him with a check for $10,000 from Shutterfly to kick off his GLAAD campaign. For more on the campaign, visit

Thor Stephens, co-owner of downtown LA's Precinct bar, has died, Eater Los Angeles noted. The Hornet first reported the news, and the cause of death is unknown. Stephens is survived by Precinct co-owner and husband Brian McIntire. The duo opened Precinct in 2015, which was the first downtown LA gay bar to open in two decades.

Lion Pub—a San Francisco gay bar that closed in 2016 after 48 years—has been reinvented as a $6 million single-family home, according to Mansion Global. The Victorian building in the city's affluent Pacific Heights neighborhood hit the market last week. It housed the bar from 1968 until its closure two years ago following the death of its owner, Kelly Ellis. More recently, the bar had catered to more of a straight clientele following the decline of the "gayborhood," local news reports noted.

Police have confirmed that one of two bodies found outside of Santa Fe last week was that of transgender woman Zakaria Fry, who was reported missing from Albuquerque, along with roommate Eugene Carrell Ray, back in mid-January, LGBTQ Nation reported. ( Ray's body was the other one recovered at the scene. ) Fry, 28, was renting a room from Ray, 70; Ray's family alerted police after they found his home in "disarray" Jan. 29. Fry is now the sixth known transgender person killed in the United States alone this year.

An LGBT organization's application to march in a St. Patrick's Day parade in Staten Island has been rejected, noted. Carol Bullock, a representative of Pride Center of Staten Island, and Brendan Fay, the founder of the Lavender and Green Alliance, learned LGBT groups were not welcome in the Irish celebration when they went to apply Feb. 18 at the Blessed Sacrament Church, where other organizations were registering. "Our parade is for Irish heritage and culture. It is not a political or sexual identification parade," parade director Larry Cummings told Irish Central Voice.

In a related development, Irish-Americans marched in the LGBT-friendly St. Patrick's Day Parade in Woodside, Queens, on March 4, saying it remained relevant even as larger celebrations have become more inclusive, according to The New York Daily News. The St. Pat's for All parade began as an inclusive response to LGBT groups banned from the big march on Fifth Avenue. In 2016 the larger St. Patrick's Day Parade ended its ban of gay groups—but the Woodside celebration continues.

People for the American Way ( PFAW ) filed suit in federal court against the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to demand the release of documents concerning reported changes in federal policy toward LGBTQ people, a press release noted. Last year Right Wing Watch, a project of PFAW, filed Freedom of Information Act requests with both agencies asking for documents on reported actions removing mentions of LGBTQ people from federal programs.

"The NRA Doesn't Care About Jack" is the latest digital public service announcement ( PSA ) from Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, according to a press release. Pride Fund says is the country's only national LGBTQ political organization dedicated solely to gun-violence prevention. See .

Two women sued a Mississippi college town over its denial of a permit for a gay-pride parade, saying the city had denied their constitutional rights to free expression and equal protection, reported. Mississippi State University students Bailey McDaniel and Emily Turner filed the federal lawsuit against the city of Starkville, asking a judge to overrule the city and immediately grant a parade permit to Starkville Pride. By a vote of four to three, city officials denied the permit, which sought to have the city's first-ever gay pride parade as part of a larger set of events.

A Hawaii appeals court has upheld a ruling that a hotel discriminated against a lesbian couple when the owner refused to let them stay there, LGBTQ Nation noted. Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford tried to stay at the Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Hawaii Kai, a residential neighborhood in Honolulu. The owner of the B&B, Phyllis Young, asked if the two women were lesbians and then refused them service.

VICE News learned that a year-old detention center for undocumented immigrants in Dallas never opened its unit for transgender people detained by ICE, according to an LGBT Weekly item. Prairieland Detention Center had plans to feature a protected, 36-bed pod exclusively for transgender detainees to keep those individuals safe from violence and abuse. ICE spokesman Carl Ruskok confirmed to VICE News that, despite reports a year ago, the wing has never been used to house transgender detainees—and there are no plans to do so in the future.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed an amendment on so-called gay panic and trans panic criminal defense strategies from being used in New York courts, the New York Daily News reported. Cuomo said the defenses blame LGBT victims for violence committed against them and can result in lesser charges or sentences for the accused. In releasing the amendment, Cuomo cited the 2013 case of Islan Nettles, a transgender woman who died after being punched in the face on a New York City street. Legal experts have argued that James Dixon—who plead guilty and was sentenced for the crime in 2016—received a lenient 12-year prison sentence in a plea deal because of the trans panic defense.

In Pennsylvania, a Commonwealth Court panel ruled that a teacher who retired before same-sex marriage was legalized is entitled to healthcare benefits for his husband, reported. reported that Gateway School District in suburban Pittsburgh denied the man's request to retroactively sign up for spousal benefits when he married his longtime partner in 2014. He had retired in 2013, before same-sex marriage was legally recognized in Pennsylvania.

An Internal Revenue Service employee has filed a lawsuit claiming he was subjected to anti-gay and anti-Hispanic discrimination at the agency's Hartford, Connecticut, office, the Connecticut Law Tribune noted. The lawsuit alleges Alfredo Plana's supervisors ridiculed and laughed at him because of his Spanish accent, and treated him differently because he was the only openly gay employee in his 25-person working group. Plana works at the IRS Wage & Investment Field Assistance Office.

Transgender male wrestler Mack Beggs won his second-straight Texas girls' 6A 110-pound division title—but drew mixed reactions for his feat, The Huffington Post reported. Beggs, an 18-year-old senior at Euless Trinity High School, entered the state tournament last week with a perfect record, and beat Chelsea Sanchez—who he also beat in the championship last season—to take the 110-pound title. Fans had mixed reactions, and a loud chorus of boos could be heard when Beggs was named the state champion. Although he has repeatedly asked to wrestle in the boys' devision, Beggs is forced to wrestle girls because, under University Interscholastic League rules, athletes must compete in the gender division that corresponds to their birth certificates.

Attorney and longtime gay Democratic activist Mitch Crane said he was "terminated" from his job as deputy commissioner of the Delaware Department of Insurance as of Feb. 16—but he declined to say why, The Washington Blade reported. Crane ( a resident of Lewes, Delaware ) told the Blade that he stands by a statement he posted on Facebook on Feb. 17 expressing disappointment over having to leave his job about a year earlier than he had planned. Trinidad Navarro, who won election as Delaware insurance commissioner in November 2016, announced shortly after his election that Crane would be his deputy commissioner.

Jacob Moore—now a freshman gymnast at the University of Michigan—has become the first man to accuse disgraced gymanstics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse ( saying the physician abused him when he was 16 ) when he joined a civil federal suit against Nassar and others associated with the scandal, CNN reported. Moore, now 18, said he decided to come forward with his story after he watched his sister, Kameron, and nearly 200 other girls and women testify at Nassar's criminal sentencing earlier this year. No men came forward to say they were abused.

The National LGBT Bar Association applauded the ABA House of Delegates adopting HOD Resolution 108D, which urges federal, state, local, territorial and tribal courts to extend Batson v. Kentucky to prohibit discrimination against jurors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, a press release noted. Batson, a 1986 Supreme Court decision, protects jurors from being removed due to their race, gender or any other classification warranting heightened scrutiny. The National LGBT Bar Association stated that it played a pivotal role in the passing of this ABA resolution.

On March 11, PFLAG—the nation's first and largest organization uniting families and allies with LGBTQ people—will celebrate 45 years since its founding in New York City in 1973, a press release noted. Jeanne Manford, elementary-school teacher and mother of gay activist Morty Manford, marched by her son's side in the 1972 Christopher Street Liberation Day March—a precursor to NY Pride—carrying a homemade sign that said, "Parents of Gays: Unite in Support of Our Children."

More than 5,000 queer women convened at the 5th Annual Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Summit in San Francisco on March 1-3, according to a press release. The summit hosted an array of "TED" style talks, speed mentoring, workshops, tech demos, recruiting and retention sessions—including keynote remarks by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; Bozoma Saint John, CBO of Uber; Megan Smith, former CTO of the United States; as well as musicians Tegan & Sara and Madame Ghandi. Also, the summit featured a tribute to civil-rights trailblazer and celebrated technologist Edie Windsor, with IBM Manager Sarah Siegel presenting a $50,000 donation to the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship.

Any couple ( gay or straight ) looking for a marriage license in Pike County, Alabama, won't get one from local probate judge Wes Allen, according to an NPR item. "We have not issued any marriage licenses since Feb. 9, 2015," Allen said. "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and firmly believe that biblical world view—and I couldn't put my signature on a marriage license that I knew not to be marriage." The 2015 date is when a federal judge struck down Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage.

The Syringe Access Fund announced nearly $2.4 million in grants awarded to 62 organizations that are driving efforts to prevent HIV and viral hepatitis by providing injection-drug users with access to sterile injection equipment and related health messaging, LGBT Weekly reported. The funding will support syringe service programs and advocacy efforts to increase access to these programs in 32 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through 2020.

Al Dia has written a profile of Raquel Salas Rivera, who is poet laureate of Philadelphia—and who happens to be queer and Latinx. Rivera is a non-binary, gay, activist hailing from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, who is now based in Philadelphia. As of January, they are the 2018-19 poet laureate of the city, the fourth designated thus far by the Free Library of Philadelphia to the two-year civic position.

LGBT military organization OutServe-SLDN announced its continued expansion and growth with the addition of a new staff member ( Kai River Blevins as director of education, chapter & veteran's services ) and expanded programming services, per a press release. Blevins ( they/them ) has been involved in LGBTQ activism since 2011, when they originally joined OutServe-SLDN's team as the New York regional chapter leader. This follows the organization's merger with the Military Partners & Families Coalition, which was finalized in December 2017.

In a historic ceremony hosted on the Celebrity Equinox, Francisco Vargas and Benjamin Gray became the first same-sex couple ever to be legally married at sea on a major cruise line, noted. The grooms were joined by their immediate family for an intimate ceremony officiated by Captain Dimitrios Manetas.

Convicted fraudster Martin Shkreli will have to forfeit $7.36 million to the federal government as part of his upcoming criminal sentence, CNBC reported. Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said that in order to satisfy that award amount Shkreli—who was said to be completely cash-broke last year by his lawyer—must forfeit his interest in a set of "substitute" assets. In 2015, Shkreli gained widespread public notoriety after Turing purchased the anti-parasite drug Daraprim—used to treat a parasitic condition found in some pregnant women, babies and people with HIV—and raised the price by more than 5,000 percent, from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill. He was convicted of securities-fraud charges unrelated to the drug.

The San Diego LGBT Pride board of directors published an "open letter" to the community announcing the departure of Eric Heinritz as executive director and the appointment of Fernando Lopez as the new executive director, LGBT Weekly noted. Heinritz was appointed in May 2017—a move that was criticized due to his lack of experience and the fact that he was brought in from Milwaukee over local favorite Lopez.

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, white supremacist authorities say illegally bought a gun he planned to use in an attack similar to the South Carolina church shootings has pled guilty, a U.S. News & World Report stated. Media outlets report 30-year-old Benjamin McDowell pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a weapon. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

In Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, crown-wearing worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles drank holy wine and exchanged or renewed wedding vows in a commitment ceremony at a Pennsylvania church, prompting a nearby school to cancel classes, USA Today reported. With state police and a few protesters standing watch outside the church, brides clad in white and grooms in dark suits brought dozens of unloaded AR-15s into World Peace and Unification Sanctuary for a religious event that doubled as an advertisement for the Second Amendment. The church, which has a worldwide following, believes the AR-15 symbolizes the "rod of iron" in the book of Revelation, and encouraged couples to bring the weapons.

Less than one day after his appointment was announced, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee resigned from the CMA Foundation board of directors after criticism from multiple members of the country-music industry, The Tennessean reported. "I genuinely regret that some in the industry were so outraged by my appointment that they bullied the CMA and the Foundation with economic threats and vowed to withhold support for the programs for students if I remained," Huckabee wrote in his letter of resignation.

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