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NATIONAL Medical first, Tim Cook, N.Y. intersex protest
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-10-30

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Two married women—Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter—have become the first couple to carry the same baby, People.com reported. Typically, one mother will hold and birth the child, and the couple will use a sperm donor; however, fertility specialists Dr. Kathy Doody and husband Dr. Kevin Doody at CARE Fertility in Bedford, Texas, tried in vitro fertilization ( IVF ) using effortless IVF, which skips most lab work. Bliss said the entire process has been "a true blessing" and they both feel grateful.

Four years ago, Tim Cook became the first CEO of a major company to come out as gay—and, on Oct. 24, the Apple leader told Christiane Amanpour on CNN International and PBS that being gay is "God's greatest gift to me," CNN noted. "I was public because I started to receive stories from kids who read online that I was gay," he told Amanpour, adding that the emails and letters came from children who said they had been ostracized, bullied or abused because of their sexual orientation.

The Intersex Justice Project, in collaboration with Voices4, held a protest and march Oct. 27 at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College that about 150 people attended, a press release noted. The action came one day after Intersex Awareness Day, which marks the date of the first public protest in the United States by intersex individuals in Boston outside an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in 1996. The protest also happened several days after the leak of a memo put forward by the Trump administration that could harm the lives of trans and intersex people. Notable attendees included openly intersex supermodel Hanne Gaby Odiele, actor Nico Tortorella, activist/model Munroe Bergdorf, power couple Chellaman and MaryV, and model Yves Mathieu.

A church in Charlotte, North Carolina has once again been targeted by bigoted vandals, NewNowNext.com reported. Wedgewood Church was tagged with two racist messages. The doors had just been repainted merely weeks ago, according to the church, necessary because earlier this year it was tagged with an anti-gay message.

An openly gay employee of a Catholic church in San Diego has resigned after being subjected to threats, vandalism, and a continued campaign of online and in-person harassment directed at him and members of his family, Metro Weekly noted. Aaron Bianco, who was a pastoral associate for St. John the Evangelist Parish in the city's gay-friendly Hillcrest neighborhood, notified parishioners of his decision to resign at the end of the month. Among other happenings, vandals broke into St. John's rectory Oct. 14 and spray-painted the message "No Fags" on the conference-room wall.

National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey issued a statement condemning the Oct. 27 anti-Semitic attack on Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue that resulted in 11 people being killed in a mass shooting. In part, Carey said, "The attack on Jews, particularly during Sabbath worship, is horrific and unconscionable. Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and community. We condemn this attack. Whether at the hand of a shooter, or from the mouth of Trump and other elected officials, anti-Semitism and defense of white supremacy is unacceptable." The shooter has been charged with 29 felony counts, including ones connected with hate crimes.

After 20 years without a permanent resting place, the remains of Matthew Shepard—a 21-year-old college student whose brutal murder in 1998 has come to symbolize the plight of the LGBTQ community in this country—were interred at the Washington National Cathedral, PressDemocrat.com noted. More than 2,000 people gathered at the Episcopal cathedral, the second-largest cathedral in the country, to celebrate Shepard's life, mourn his death and honor his memory.

The Trevor Project will honor award-winning screenwriter, producer and director Ryan Murphy and the cast of the FX series Pose at The Trevor Project's TrevorLIVE Los Angeles gala Sunday, Dec. 2 at The Beverly Hilton, according to a press release. "Ryan Murphy and the cast of POSE have had a tremendous impact on the lives of young LGBTQ people over the past year," said Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project. Previous TrevorLIVE honorees and performers include Tom Ford, Kristin Chenoweth, Imagine Dragons, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

Jose "Ivan" Noe Nunez Martinez—a gay Mexican immigrant taken into custody in January as he met with federal authorities in West Philadelphia to try to resolve his status—walked out of a detention center Oct. 24 after winning the opportunity to post bail, Philly.com reported. Nunez Martinez left the York prison soon after the $10,000 bail was paid, according to his lawyer, Audrey Allen; he was quickly reunited with his husband, Paul Frame. Nunez Martinez, a native of Michoacan, Mexico, fled to the United States after the murder of a gay friend in 2001.

Transgender celebrity and Republican Caitlyn Jenner wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post expressing her disappointment with President Trump, a press release noted. In part, she penned, "I believed I could work within the party and the Trump administration to shift the minds of those who most needed shifting. ... Sadly, I was wrong. The reality is that the trans community is being relentlessly attacked by this president. The leader of our nation has shown no regard for an already marginalized and struggling community."

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) sent a Freedom of Information Act ( FOIA ) to the Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS ) for all records related to the Trump-Pence administration's efforts to redefine the word "gender" in order to exclude transgender people from federal civil-rights protections and enable discrimination against LGBTQ people in general, a press release noted. HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said, "It is imperative we understand the key players pushing for this destructive action along with their motivations, analysis and rationale."

LGBTQ students enrolling in undergraduate or graduate programs for the 2019-20 academic year are encouraged to apply online for a Point Foundation Scholarship, a press release stated. Point Foundation ( Point ) is the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit and currently is providing financial assistance and programmatic support to 97 students. Applications open online Nov. 1 at PointFoundation.org/apply.

An attorney in Ohio is offering free name change services to transgender people, Gay Star News noted. "Having done my friend's name change, I realized that it was a very straightforward process in most cases. I wish all of my court appearances were as easy as that one was," Andrew Schriver told ABC News 5 Cleveland. Although he's a cisgender man, Schriver said he understands how important it is for trans people to be granted a legal name change.

A gay man in Seattle has died due to health complications related to injecting his genitals with liquid silicone, according to an Instinct magazine item that cites Gay Star News. Jack Chapman—known on various social-media platforms as Tank Heathcliff Hafertepen—died Oct. 15. Three other causes of death, all lung-related, were also included on the death certificate.

Jailed in 2015 for refusing to issue marriage licenses after gay weddings became legal, Kim Davis—the infamous Kentucky clerk running for re-election—told voters she did not treat anyone unfairly and her act of defiance was to protect the state's constitution, an IslandPacket.com item noted. "If you will read our Kentucky state statutes, they still say that marriage is between one man and one woman. That's what we voted in," Davis said, seemingly ignoring the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex couples the right to wed.

Following a report by the New York Times detailing how Google shielded key male executives and even rewarded them following sexual-misconduct investigations, CEO Sundar Pichai sent a company-wide email saying Google terminated 48 employees for misconduct in the last two years, Variety noted. Of those, 13 were "senior managers and above"—and none received an exit package, according to Pichai. The memo, which was co-signed by Google HR chief Eileen Naughton, was first reported by CNBC.

Popular YouTube personality Anna Akana came out during her acceptance speech at the Streamy Awards, PinkNews noted. The 29-year-old performer, who has 2.4 million subscribers, told the audience, "I'm not only a woman of color, but I'm also a queer woman" as she picked up the honour for acting in a drama. After the show, she admitted that she had not intended to reveal her sexuality at the ceremony, explaining that her decision to do so was down to the amount of alcohol she consumed.

Ntozake Shange—a Black feminist poet/playwright who was best known for her 1976 theatrical debut, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf—died Oct. 27 at an assisted-living community in Bowie, Maryland, at 70, The Washington Post reported. Born Paulette Linda Williams, she adopted a Zulu name in the early 1970s, selecting Ntozake ( en-to-ZAH-key ), which means "she who comes with her own things," and Shange ( SHAHN-gay ), meaning "one who walks like a lion."

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced, via a public letter, that she is in the early stages of what is likely Alzheimer's disease and is retiring from public life, USA Today noted. In part, she wrote, "I will continue living in Phoenix, Arizona, surrounded by dear friends and family. While the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying, nothing has diminished my gratitude and deep appreciation for the countless blessings in my life."


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