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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL Lambda Litfest, #BiWeek, whistleblower, Equality Awards, Blade
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-09-21

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The 4th annual Lambda Litfest ( Oct. 5-9 ) has been transformed into a specially curated, virtual event celebrating Black LGBTQIA+ excellence and abundance, a press release noted. The opening night will set the stage by bringing panelists Jordyn Jay, founder of Black Trans Femmes in the Arts Collective, novelist George M. Johnson, and others together for a discussion on Black Joy; some of the other speakers will include KOKUMO, t'ai freedom ford, Juliana Huxtable and Brontez Purnell. See LambdaLiterary.org/litfest.

Every Sept. 16-23, GLAAD, the Bisexual Resource Center and Still Bisexual join in recognizing the bisexual+ community for Bisexual Awareness Week, culminating in Celebrate Bisexuality+ Day on Sept. 23, a press release noted. Bisexual+ Awareness Week seeks to accelerate acceptance of the bi+ ( bisexual, pansexual, fluid, no label, queer, etc. ) community. #BiWeek draws attention to the experiences, while also celebrating the resiliency of, the bisexual+ community.

In response to nurse Dawn Wooten's whistleblower complaint alleging forced hysterectomies and other medical neglect at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) facility in Georgia privately operated by LaSalle Corrections, the Los Angeles LGBT Center's Medical Director of the Audre Lorde Health Program Dr. Kaiyti Duffy issued a statement. In part, the statement said, "The U.S. medical system has a shameful history of complicity in systematically ignoring and undermining the health and medical needs of women of color. The Center calls on federal officials to immediately commence an investigation of the doctor( s ), the ICE prison system, and administration officials who may have been involved in these atrocious practices."

Equality California hosted its first-ever statewide "Golden State Equality Awards" virtual celebration Sept. 13, a press release noted. Led by Pose star Angelica Ross, the evening was filled with tributes and inspiring moments highlighting the essential work carried out by Equality California in the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights and social justice, raising more than $1.75 million. Honorees and performers included Norman Lear ( who received the Ally Leadership Award ); Rita Moreno; Gloria Estefan; Laverne Cox, Sam Feder and Amy Scholder ( who all accepted the Equality Visibility Award for the movie Disclosure ); Melissa Etheridge; Pete and Chasten Buttigieg ( who received the received the Equality Trailblazer Award ); U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Zachary Quinto; Bob the Drag Queen; and Tig Notaro.

The Washington Blade, the nation's oldest LGBTQ newspaper, announced it filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its refusal to turn over emails related to a rule change allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ workers. The Blade filed a FOIA request for emails within the Department of Labor related to the Trump administration's proposed rule change allowing a religious exemption in employment non-discrimination requirements for federal contractors. The publication said the department has so far ignored the FOIA request, forcing the lawsuit after more than a year of waiting.

There is now a paperback edition of The Wedding Heard 'Round The World: America's First Gay Marriage, by Michael McConnell with Jack Baker, as told to Gail Langer Karwoski ( via University of Minnesota Press ), a media statement noted. On Sept. 3, 1971, McConnell and Baker exchanged vows in the first legal same-sex wedding in the United States. For more about the book, visit https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/the-wedding-heard-around-the-world.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) launched "Artists for Equality," an online art auction fundraiser taking place until Sept. 30, a press release noted. Every dollar raised at this event will directly support HRC Equality Votes SuperPAC, HRC's fundraising effort to mobilize voters and elect pro-equality candidates this November. Some of the almost 50 artists featured include Vaginal Davis, Cindy Sherman, Firooz Zahedi, Kalup Linzy, Sanford Biggers, Alex Katz and Derrick Woods-Morrow.

A Catholic church in Dearborn, Michigan, apologized for a controversial message its associate priest delivered that compared Black Lives Matter ( BLM ) demonstrators and others to terrorists in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, The Detroit News reported. "I am so sorry that a homily given by Fr. Paul Graney at the 4:30 p.m. Mass ... has brought forth division, anger, confusion and chaos," said the Rev. Bob McCabe, pastor at Church of the Divine Child, in a statement on Facebook. Graney called antifa "an anarchist, terrorist organization" and rejected Black Lives Matter as "working against the traditional family structure" by supporting LGBTQ people, he said, reading aloud from the BLM website from the pulpit.

Delaware progressive Democrat Eric Morrison soundly defeated incumbent state Rep. Earl Jaques ( D ) in the state's primary election, garnering 61% of the vote, LGBTQ Nation noted. Morrison is also a drag queen who performs under the name "Anita Mann." Jacques, the incumbent, was a staunch opponent of LGBTQ rights.

After a long dispute, the notoriously anti-LGBTQ restaurant chain Chick-fil-A announced that it would no longer seek to open a location at the San Antonio airport, according to LGBTQ Nation. The battle over the restaurant's right to lease space at the airport has been waging since March 2019, when the San Antonio City Council refused to allow the fast food chain to open at the city's airport due to the company's history of donating millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ causes.

Maryland education officials are developing a new history curriculum that includes lessons on the LGBTQ+-rights movement and people with disabilities, OurCommunityNow.com noted. The proposed changes follow a recent letter from state lawmakers calling on Maryland school officials to create new curriculums that address the rights of LGBT and disabled communities. The letter cited the 50th anniversary in June of the Stonewall riots.

A U.S. Navy veteran is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs ( VA ) because he tested positive for HIV at a VA. clinic in 1995—but the department, which is part of the federal government, never told him, according to Plus Magazine. The vet, a South Carolina resident identified only as John Doe in the suit, said he progressed to an AIDS diagnosis because he hadn't been treated early for the virus, the Associated Press reported. Doe "feels extremely guilty about the girlfriends he's had over the last 25 years because he didn't know," attorney Chad McGowan told the AP.

More than 100 people gathered outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Kentucky home Sept. 19 to protest the push to quickly fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, Newsweek noted. Democrats have accused Republicans of hypocrisy, saying they should follow the precedent set by GOP legislators in 2016 when they refused to consider President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland in the run-up to the 2016 election. At a rally on the same night, President Trump vowed to put forth a female nominee for the empty seat despite the objections of Democrats.

Equality California, LGBTQ Victory Fund, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), GLAAD, National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) and San Diego Democrats for Equality released a statement after KUSI, an independent television station owned by McKinnon Broadcasting, published what the groups said was a false and misleading report about openly gay San Diego mayoral candidate Assemblymember Todd Gloria. In part, the statement said, "KUSI's on-air and online reporting repeat lies about SB 145 [a sex-offender law that was recently amended to make things more equitable for LGBTQ people] that have been thoroughly fact-checked and proven false by reputable news agencies. KUSI's apparent attempt to mislead the public and smear an openly gay candidate for elected office is irresponsible and unethical."

In a press release, LGBTQ Victory Fund called U.S. Rep. Fred Upton's campaign for re-election the "most homophobic campaign" against an LGBTQ candidate anywhere in the nation, and condemned his efforts to use anti-gay stereotypes to define openly gay opponent Jon Hoadley. In part, the organization said, "Upton has approved of coordinated homophobic attacks on Hoadley that refer to him as a pedophile and drug user—absurd claims based on cherry-picked phrases taken out-of-context from blog posts Hoadley wrote 15 years ago." Victory Fund has endorsed 310 openly LGBTQ candidates for public office this year.

The U.S. Department of Education is following through on its threat to withhold federal funding from Connecticut school districts that follow a statewide policy allowing transgender girls to compete on high school girls athletic teams, a Yahoo! Sports item noted, citing the AP. The department decided in May the policy violates the civil rights of student-athletes assigned female at birth and therefore violates Title IX laws.

Kroger—one of the country's largest supermarket chains—is being sued in federal court after two former employees claimed they were wrongfully terminated for refusing to wear an apron with a rainbow symbol, NBC News reported. The ex-employees, who identify as Christian, cited religious objections in their refusal to wear what they believed was an "endorsement of the LGBTQ community."

The LGBTQ Humanist Alliance and the American Humanist Association are hosting "Centering the Margins: a virtual half-day summit for and by LGBTQ humanists, atheists, and nonbelievers" on Saturday, Oct. 17, a press release noted. The release stated, "Our second annual summit focuses on celebrating creativity and a liberated future." Free registration is at LGBTQHumanists.org/ctmregistration.

Joe Rogan made incendiary remarks about Caitlyn Jenner in an episode of his podcast, making the unfounded claim that living with the Kardashian women somehow contributed to her transgender identity, Insider noted. Rogan, who is considered one of the most influential podcasters in the world, has a "long history of demonizing and dehumanizing" the trans community, said Lucas Acosta, of the Human Rights Campaign. In a July episode of the podcast, Rogan made the false claim that being transgender is a "social contagion."

Former President Barack Obama's presidential memoir is coming this year—but not until after the November election, CNN.com reported. Obama tweeted that the book, A Promised Land, will be available Nov. 17. The 768-page book will be issued simultaneously in 25 languages in markets around the world. The U.S. hardback edition will cost $45, while the digital edition will cost $17.99. It is being published by Crown, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Michelle Obama's memoir, Becoming, was published in 2018 and was a huge best-seller, selling 1.4 million copies in the first week, and staying number one on Amazon's best-seller list for more than two months.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced a $12-million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, 26, a Black woman fatally shot by police in her apartment six months ago, USA Today reported. In addition to the largest settlement ever paid by Louisville police, the deal includes changes in the approval process and execution of search warrants, the hiring of a team of social workers to accompany police officers, and a commitment to pursue increased drug and alcohol testing of officers involved in any shooting.

Scientific American announced its endorsement of Democratic nominee Joe Biden—the first time the magazine has endorsed a presidential candidate in its history, USA Today reported. The 175-year-old magazine's editors wrote that they felt compelled to break with tradition in 2020 because they believe President Donald Trump has mishandled the coronavirus pandemic, taken steps against environmental protections and threatened health care for people in the United States.

In an interview published in The Guardian, a former model accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, AJC.com noted. Amy Dorris told the publication that, in 1997, Trump kissed and groped her outside the VIP box at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Dorris—one of dozens of women who have accused the president of sexual misconduct since the 1970s—said she was 24 and Trump was 48 when the incident allegedly happened.


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