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NATIONAL Military ban, Joy Reid, Sen. Doug Jones
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Recently, several anonymous White House officials told Slate and Think Progress that hate-group activists were behind the transgender military ban—and, now, LGBT organizations are asking a court to force them to turn over their communications in the legal challenge to the ban, LGBTQ Nation reported. A motion filed in NCLR's and GLAD's challenge to Donald Trump's transgender military ban is asking U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in D.C. to compel the Family Research Council ( FRC ) and the Heritage Foundation to hand over any communications with the White House about the transgender military ban.

PFLAG National will honor TV host and political analyst Joy Reid at its 45th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C., on May 9, a press release noted. Reid is a political analyst at MSNBC and host of AM Joy; also, she is the author of the book Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide, and her columns and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, the Miami Herald, New York Magazine and other publications.

Sen. Doug Jones ( D-Alabama ) reaffirmed his support for LGBT rights during a conversation with Senate staffers in which he acknowledged that having a gay son has influenced his views, The Washington Blade reported. Jones—who late last year scored a surprise win in a special election over Republican Roy Moore to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate—said he wanted to make candid support for LGBT rights a component of his campaign, which helped him win the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions upon his appointment as U.S. attorney general. Key to the senator's views on LGBT rights was his son, Carson Jones, a gay student at Colorado State University.

A federal judge in Texas ruled that workplace discrimination against LGBT people is already banned by federal law, LGBTQ Nation reported. George H. W. Bush appointee Judge Lee Rosenthal cited several other federal court rulings when she found that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act—which bans discrimination based on categories like race, color and gender—also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status, because those are forms of sex discrimination. The lawsuit involved Nicole Wittmer, who claimed that she wasn't hired by the company Phillips 66 as an engineer because she's transgender.

During a Senate confirmation hearing on April 12, Sen. Cory Booker ( D-New Jersey ) asked Mike Pompeo, the president's nominee to head the State Department, LGBT-related questions, The Washington Post reported. Booker pushed Pompeo on his previous comments, particularly his suggestion that homosexuality was a "perversion." Pompeo confirmed his previous view that he believes that marriage is for straight couples only. Booker went on to remind Pompeo that as secretary of state, he would be representing the U.S. internationally in countries where gay people are persecuted for their sexual orientation.

A gay couple at a Georgia high school say that they're being discriminated against because they can't win prom royalty titles together, LGBTQ Nation reported. Joel Lerner and Carter Hebert were two of the three boys nominated for Prom King at Chattahoochee High School. ( Students nominated three girls as well. ) Since they are a couple, Lerner and Hebert thought they could win as a couple—but the school told them that one boy and one girl would win.

On April 11, Leanne Pittsford, founder of Lesbians Who Tech, publicly released her TEDx Talk titled "How Lesbians Are Solving Tech's Diversity Problem," a press release noted. This release coincided with a national movement for a more diverse workforce in the tech sector and across all industries. The full talk is at

Pentecostal preacher Reverend Harry Jackson Jr. has claimed that Black Lives Matter won't succeed because LGBT people are part of the group, LGBTQ Nation reported. "We can't have social justice, we need biblical justice," Jackson said on disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker's television show. "It matters that Black Lives Matter has, at the head, a few lesbians who are against the patriarchal society." Jackson twice led efforts to repeal marriage-equality laws ( in D.C. and Maryland )—and failed both times. A petition the couple started has garnered several hundred signatures.

GLAAD released a statement after lawmakers in the Oklahoma House Judiciary Committee advanced Senate Bill 1140. This anti-LGBTQ bill would allow adoption and foster-care agencies to cite religion as a reason to discriminate and turn away qualified LGBTQ couples and refuse to work with LGBTQ youth in need of a home. "This bill is heartless and un-American. No qualified parent should be turned away from adoption or foster agencies simply because they are LGBTQ," said Zeke Stokes, vice president of programs of GLAAD. "The Oklahoma House must reject this attempt to write anti-LGBTQ discrimination into law at the expense of the state's youth in need of loving and supportive homes."

Deidre Downs Gunn, a former Miss Alabama and Miss America-turned-physician, married her girlfriend, attorney Abbott Jones, in a Birmingham ceremony, reported. The wedding comes just two years after Miss Missouri Erin O'Flaherty, 23, became the first openly gay woman to compete in the Miss America pageant. Among those congratulating the couple was Gretchen Carlson, chair of the Miss America board of directors.

A man has filed suit against a Manhattan gym, alleging he was an unwilling witness to two men masturbating in the steam room, noted. The alleged victim—referred to in court papers only as G.B., and who is a straight, single dad—told the New York Post he was at the Equinox gym in Gramercy Park in November, relaxing in the corner of the sauna when he was interrupted by the scene.

Days after the court ordered it shut down ( in 2015 ), Jewish ex-gay organization JONAH reached out to its supporters, announcing that it was creating the Jewish Institute for Global Awareness ( JIFGA ), reported. And now, in 2018, the Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a new complaint that JONAH is up and running again under a different name. Any continued operation is in violation of New Jersey's ban on conversion therapy.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham has not "changed her stripes" in the more than 30 years since she almost outed some closeted gay students at her alma mater, Dartmouth College, a former classmate of Ingraham told Newsweek. Ingraham was the editor of a conservative newspaper at Dartmouth in the mid-1980s that secretly recorded a meeting of closeted students who were seeking support from the school's small Gay Student Association ( GSA )—and then released a transcript of the meeting. "It was a profound form of bullying," said Jay Berkow, a leader in the student club who is now a professor of music-theater performance at Western Michigan University.

The Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity has added Matt Anderson, Bryan Guffey and TK Morton as board members, according to its website. Anderson is an attorney at Varnum. Born and raised in the Flint, Michigan area; Guffey is a system administrator at Netsmart Technologies; and Morton a program coordinator at Edgewood College.

Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has said his stance on marijuana has changed, Politico reported. The former Republican congressional leader announced he is joining the board of Acreage Holdings—a firm that cultivates, processes and dispenses marijuana in 11 U.S. states. "I'm joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved," Boehner tweeted. "I'm convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities."

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