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NATIONAL Harvey Milk, trans woman killed, 'Queer the Census,' NYC Pride
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-05-18

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LGBTQ-rights icon Harvey Milk would have turned 90 on May 22—and San Francisco is coming together ( virtually ) that day, a press release noted. Openhouse, SF Queer Nightlife Fund and the Tenderloin Museum will present "Live Drag for Our LGBTQ Elders" ( www.twitch.tv/sfqueernightlifefund/ ) at 4:30-5:30 p.m. PT, and "Harvey Milk's 90th Birthday Block Party" ( www.twitch.tv/sfqueernightlifefund/; zoom.queernightlifefund.org ) will take place 6-9 p.m. PT. The virtual block party is a collaborative effort organized by San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman's office, the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District, the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, the Castro Community Benefit District, "Windows For Harvey" presented by the Castro Merchants Association, the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, Open House, the GLBT Historical Society, the Tenderloin Museum, the Golden Gate Business Association, and the SF Bay Area Queer Nightlife Fund.

Twenty-year-old transgender woman Helle Jae O'Regan was killed when a Damion Campbell, 42, allegedly attacked the Diesel Barbershop in San Antonio, Texas, where she worked, LGBTQ Nation reported. According to the Diesel Barbershop Facebook page, O'Regan and her co-workers had shown up to the shop to deep clean, book appointments and prepare for the store's May 8 reopening. Campbell allegedly asked employees, "What have you done wrong? What have you done wrong? God sent me here to kill you because you have done something wrong! What have you done wrong?"

The National LGBTQ Task Force launched phase two of its "Queer the Census" campaign, continuing to mobilize LGBTQ people across the country and ensure we are counted in the 2020 Census, a press release announced. the National LGBTQ Task Force debuted an updated Queer the Census landing page, will host virtual tours of the Census to take people through the form question by question and work with volunteers to make thousands of phone calls to LGBTQ people to make sure they know how to fill out the Census. In addition, the organization will prepare for an LGBTQ Census week of action and advocacy beginning June 8. See QueerTheCensus.org .

NYC Pride and its partners at WABC Channel 7 will air a special broadcast event Sunday, June 28, to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Pride March held in 1970, a press release noted. In this unique year, NYC Pride is committed to saluting front-line workers alongside several leaders in the community being honored as grand marshals: Dan Levy, The Ali Forney Center, Yanzi Peng and Victoria Cruz. The special will feature performances by Janelle Monae, Deborah Cox, Billy Porter, Luisa Sonza and more; also, there will be appearances by Wilson Cruz, Miss Richfield 1981, Margaret Cho and others.

David Carter—an author and historian on LGBTQ rights who is credited with writing the definitive book about the 1969 Stonewall riots that he said triggered a worldwide "mass movement" for LGBTQ rights—died at his Greenwich Village apartment in New York City at age 67 of a heart attack, PrideSource.com reported. Carter's 2004 book Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution thrust him into the limelight as a leading expert on the June 1969 riots. The book was the basis for the PBS American Experience film Stonewall Uprising, which won a Peabody Award.

During a virtual annual shareholder meeting of the Hershey Company, an anti-LGBTQ activist asked company CEO Michele Buck if she would stop the company's funding of the Human Rights Campaign, LGBTQ Nation noted. Buck dismissed the activist ( Justin Danhof, the anti-LGBTQ general counsel of the so-called National Center for Public Policy Research and director of the Free Enterprise Project ), saying the company valued diversity more than anti-LGBTQ bigotry.

Lambda Legal and Ropes & Gray filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 16 nonprofit organizations that advocate for people living with HIV, a press release announced. In the brief, Lambda Legal urges the Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act ( ACA ) and describes the role it has had in expanding health care coverage for people living with HIV, particularly those with lower incomes or who have faced barriers to care in the past such as LGBTQ people and people of color. Lambda Legal said in the release that ACA reforms have helped an estimated 20 million people obtain health insurance and with it access to lifesaving medical care, including many living with HIV who were previously denied coverage because their HIV status constituted a pre-existing condition or because they simply could not afford it.

Puerto Rico legislators approved a new set of civil laws that enshrine rights for LGBT+ people, even as opponents say gaps in the code could fuel discrimination toward trans people in the U.S. territory, Reuters reported. The updated civil code—which covers non-criminal legal issues like marriage and property—passed the island's House of Representatives after clearing the Senate, and will now head to the desk of Gov. Wanda Vazquez.

The Trevor Project lauded the U.S. Senate for passing The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act—which, when implemented, will allow Americans to simply dial 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, instead of requiring a 10-digit number, an organizational press release noted. Trevor Project Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs Sam Brinton said, in part, "Once this policy is implemented, calling 988 will provide the millions of Americans experiencing a mental health crisis the opportunity to more easily get access to the care they need and know that care will respect them for who they are as LGBTQ."

Also, the Trevor Project published a new report titled, "Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQ Youth Mental Health." It examines depressed mood, suicide risk and LGBTQ identity disclosure and acceptance among Asian/Pacific Islander ( API ) LGBTQ youth using data from our 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, a press release noted. The brief is at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/2020/05/13/research-brief-asian-pacific-islander-lgbtq-youth-mental-health/.

A trans woman who contracted coronavirus described how she was told to stay home by first responders while coughing up blood, highlighting healthcare barriers for LGBT+ people—especially queer people of color, PinkNews noted. Singer/actress Mizz June told USA Today that when she got ill in March she suffered migraines and wheezing; she was coughing up blood and her ribs hurt simply from breathing. Having been told that the emergency room would be so crowded with COVID-19 patients that she would have to "just sit there," June said she arrived to find just three other people waiting. June wrote on Facebook, "Very few Black and Brown ppl have advocates in the healthcare system who give a s**t about us."

The Trump administration has been ordered by a federal appeals court to re-process a non-binary, intersex Navy veteran's application for an "X" gender passport, PinkNews reported. Dana Zzyym is non-binary and intersex and has asked several times for the State Department to issue an X gender passport several times since 2014, reflecting their official birth certificate that is marked "unknown." Despite having several letters from doctors stating that they are intersex, the State Department has not acknowledged them as valid. Zzyym sued the government in 2015 and a federal judge urged the department to reconsider its decision in 2016, but it once again refused.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) responded to what it said are the Trump-Pence administration's latest actions to undermine the rights and welfare of LGBTQ people, a press release noted. The final rule from the Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS ) would abandon data collection on the sexual orientation of youth in foster care and foster and adoptive parents and guardians in the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said, "LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care, and this attempt to erase them and important data on adoptive and foster parents undermines efforts to address the marginalization, harassment and discrimination that LGBTQ youth in foster care and families face.

In a press release, AIDS Healthcare Foundation ( AHF ) demanded that remdesivir, the newly approved drug for treating COVID-19, be priced at no more than one U.S. dollar per dose. AHF also urged Gilead Sciences to disclose all its public research and development costs and all public investments in connection with the development of remdesivir. "The U.S. taxpayer paid for the research for this drug. Medicaid and Medicare are very likely going to pay for the prescriptions for this drug in the United States," said AHF President Michael Weinstein. "This massive expenditure of public resources requires full disclosure of how extensive the taxpayer is subsidizing drug companies."

A former police lieutenant has filed a lawsuit against the city of Gardena, California, claiming he was fired from the force because he is gay and HIV-positive, Metro Weekly reported. Former Lt. Steven Prendergast—who worked as both an officer and, later in his career, a spokesman for the Gardena Police Department from 1995 to 2019—filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. In the lawsuit, Prendergast alleges that he was falsely accused of inappropriately touching two fellow officers during a trip to Washington, D.C. for National Police Week in 2019.

Portland police are investigating anti-LGBTQ vandalism at a Portland, Oregon, church, The Seattle Times noted. Police were called to the Hillsdale Community Church, United Church of Christ after neighbors saw homophobic slurs and signs painted on the the building. The United Church of Christ says in its list of beliefs that it does not view race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, class or creed as an impediment to full participation in the church.

Kaila Methven—a lingerie designer who is also heiress to Kentucky Fried Chicken ( KFC ) fast-food chain—reportedly launched a program to help employ LGBTQ people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus epidemic while raising $1 million for LGBTQ charities and social organizations associated with the electronic dance music ( EDM ) community, LGBTQ Nation noted. Methven—whose grandfather founded Rainbow Chicken Unlimited, the company that acquired KFC in the 1980s—wants to hire LGBTQ people, domestic-violence survivors and people in the sober community through a newly conceived independent-contractor program within her organization the Peace Love Unity Respect ( PLUR ) Association.

Starting next spring, some high school students in Montgomery County, Maryland, will be able to sign up for a new LGBTQ studies course, after the Board of Education unanimously approved the creation of the new course, WTOP.com reported. Montgomery County's LGBTQ studies course is believed to be the first in the region—and one of the first in the nation to offer a course on LGBTQ history and culture. The new pilot course will initially be offered at two high schools in the second semester of the 2021 school year, and is expected to be expanded to eight more schools the following school year.

Seattle Women's Pride, originally slated for June 13, has been postponed, according to a Facebook post from the organization. Money will automatically be refunded for tickets already purchased. See SeattlewomensPride.com or the organization's Facebook page.

Recently, Minnesota's Kare 11 TV abruptly fired beloved gay meteorologist Sven Sundgaard after he stood up to anti-lockdown protestors on Facebook—but now a second gay weatherman has left, Queerty noted. ( Sundgaard, who is one of highest profile LGBTQ people in the Twin Cities, had been with the network for 14 years. ) The network's other gay meteorologist—Jason Disharoon, who joined the weather team just last year from New Orleans—announced he was leaving as well, although he didn't offer any explanation why. Disharoon frequently used his platform to speak about his personal struggles with depression in an effort to end the stigma around mental illness.


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