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NATIONAL Military items, trans murders, Southern trans report
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-05-22

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Sgt. 1st Class Janina Simmons became the first female African-American soldier to complete the U.S. Army Ranger School course in April, Ebony.com reported. According to LGBTQ Nation, Simmons proposed to her longtime girlfriend after her completion ceremony. Simmons joins the ranks of several women—including Staff Sgt. Amanda Kelly, the first female non-commissioned officer ( NCO ) to graduate from Ranger school in 2018.

The nation's two leading LGBTQ military non-profits—the American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ) and OutServe-SLDN—announced they are combining forces by merging to form the Modern Military Association of America, a press release noted. The Modern Military Association of America will carry on the mission of both organizations and will, among other things, continue AMPA's military- spouse scholarship, presented by Hilton, that enables military spouses to pursue their higher-education goals.

Transgender woman Muhlaysia Booker—who was at the center of a viral video where she was beaten near an apartment complex—was found fatally shot in east Dallas, CBS Dallas/Fort Worth reported. Booker was at the center of a video last month where she was seen being brutally attacked outside the Royal Crest Apartments on Wilhurt Avenue in south Dallas; Edward Thomas was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in the case. At last report, authorities did not know of any connections between Booker's death and the assault.

Police in Philadelphia confirmed the fatal shooting of Michelle Simone, a 40-year-old transgender woman, Gay Star News noted. After local authorities received a notification in the early hours of the morning, they transported Simone from the city's Franklinville neighborhood to Temple University Hospital. Simone's murder follows the deaths of other transgender Black women: Muhlaysia Booker in Dallas and Claire Legato in Cleveland.

Transgender Law Center and Southerners On New Ground ( SONG )—through their joint TLC@SONG program—released the findings of their 2017 survey of transgender, non-binary and gender nonconforming ( TGNC ) Southerners, a press release noted. "The Grapevine: A Southern Trans Report" paints a stark picture of the challenges facing TGNC folks, as well as the creativity, generosity and resilience sustaining these communities. TGNC people experience high rates of discrimination and violence and have long been lacking in the resources, scholarship, and research to combat these issues. See https://transgenderlawcenter.org/grapevine.

LGBTQ Nation profiled the eight Republicans who voted for the Equality Act when it passed the U.S. House on May 17, adding the subhead "They're not all angels." One is Rep. Susan Brooks—a former attorney in Indiana who opposes abortion, legalized cannabis and Obamacare. However, in a statement about her recent vote, she wrote, "We cannot turn a blind eye to the discrimination the LGBTQ community faces." Pennsylvania's Brian Fitzpatrick believes in climate change and firearm reform, opposes Trump's repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, supports same-sex marriage and opposes Obamacare repeal.

AIDS activists Gregg Gonsalves, Brenda Goodrow, Andrew Spieldenner, Peter Staley, Robert Vazquez and Jason Walker joined other consumers in filing an antitrust complaint in federal court in San Francisco against some of the nation's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, including Gilead Sciences, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and Johnson & Johnson, Inc.'s subsidiary Janssen R&D Ireland, PR Newswire reported ( from Hilliard & Shadowen, LLP ). The complaint in the case Peter Staley, et al. v. Gilead Sciences, Inc., et al., alleges that the manufacturers used anti-competitive tactics to keep prices artificially high on some of the most important and widely used medicines for the treatment and prevention of HIV.

Gilead Sciences will give free Truvada pills to 200,000 uninsured people for the next 11 years to help prevent new HIV infections, NBC News reported. The announcement of the donation came just one day after the company said a generic version of the daily pill would be available in September 2020—a year earlier than expected.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor and 2020 Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg blasted Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham during his Fox News town hall, before receiving a standing ovation from the crowd after his closing statement, Newsweek noted. In part, Buttigieg said, "I mean when you've got Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirty. When you've got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers with children in cages to summer camps." Buttigieg defended his decision to appear on Fox News by arguing that while some of the network's hosts aren't operating in "good faith," many of the viewers are watching "in good faith" and deserves to hear the Democratic agenda.

Surveillance footage showed two men running away from a Baltimore business front after setting fire to a rainbow flag on display on May 4, Gay Star News noted. The store in question is Same Gender Love, a boutique owned by Marva Laws in the city's Mount Vernon neighborhood. Detective Jeremy Silbert confirmed the city's police opened a hate crime investigation after an employee reported it.

The top Republican in the Minnesota Senate—who helped defeat a proposed ban on so-called gay conversion therapy for minors—sent his daughter to therapist Marcus Bachmann after suspecting she had a same-sex attraction when she was a teenager, TwinCities.com reported, citing the Star Tribune. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a conservative Christian from Nisswa, led his caucus in voting down a Democratic proposal May 1 against the widely discredited practice of trying to turn gay people straight. Bachmann is the husband of former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a conservative Christian who ran for president in 2012. Genna Gazelka, 30—who came out as a lesbian as a teen and now uses the pronoun "they" and identifies as bi-gender—recalled being sent to a therapist who condemned same-sex relations.

In North Carolina, Morrisville Town Councilman Jerry Windle abruptly stepped down from his post after he claimed he could no longer stand the bullying he's been suffering at the hands of one of his colleagues, Queerty noted. Windle, who was elected in 2017, said he was through with the homophobic treament he's been receiving "by the same person" for years. After Windle's resignation, Morrisville Mayor TJ Cawley put out a statement praising him for his passion and positive accomplishments; there was no mention of the harassment alleged by Windle.

The California Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees advanced pro-equality legislation sponsored by Equality California, an organizational press release noted. The bills would support LGBTQ students, expand access to HIV-prevention medication, end discrimination against LGBTQ young people with respect to the state's sex-offender registry, protect transgender incarcerated individuals and fund services for youths experiencing homelessness.

By a vote of 79-62, the Texas House passed Senate Bill 1978, best known as the #SaveChickFilA bill, CBS Dallas/Fort Worth noted. Earlier this month, The Texas Senate passed the bill that bans government entities from taking "adverse action" over an individual or organization's affiliation to a religious organization. The bill, as amended, creates virtually no change in Texas law, and is wholly unnecessary, according to Equality Texas.

Pro-LGBTQ group One Iowa Action, will host a rally for trans health justice on Sunday, June 2, on the Iowa State Capitol grounds in Des Moines, a press release noted. On May 3, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed HF 766 ( the Health and Human Services budget bill ) into law. According to One Iowa Action, the law inserts language into the Iowa Civil Rights Act that excludes transition-related medical services for transgender and intersex Iowans from certain public insurance policies, including Medicaid.

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray ( D-Washington )—ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions ( HELP ) Committee— and Tammy Baldwin ( D-Wisconsin ), as well as Congressman Mark Pocan ( D-Wisconsin ) re-introduced legislation aimed at reducing bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying, at colleges and universities around the country, a U.S. House press release noted. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2019 would require institutions of higher education to establish policies to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex ( including sexual orientation and gender identity ), disability or religion. The bill also establishes a grant program to support campus anti-harassment activities and programs.

There was recently a grand opening of the Gloria Casarez Residence in North Philadelphia—and it is the first LGBTQ-friendly permanent housing for young adults in Pennsylvania, Philly.com reported. The residence—which includes 30 one-bedroom apartments for those 18 to 23 who have aged out of the foster care system and/or are homeless—is named after Gloria Casarez, Philadelphia's first director of the Mayor's Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs; she died of cancer in 2014.

Also in Philadelphia, Eastern State Penitentiary has cast a light on its LGBTQ history, WITF.org noted. For example, "in every court record and prison document, an official listed [19th-century prisoner Isaac] Hall's alias as Lady Washington," said Annie Anderson, the research manager at Eastern State Penitentiary historic prison museum. Anderson could not say those 19th-century prison officials accepted Lady Washington's trans identity, but the records suggest they at least openly acknowledged it. Eastern State has expanded a stop on its audio tour to explain its research into LGBTQ life behind the walls. New research shows that over the prison's active life of 142 years ( 1829-1971 ), at least 500 inmates were incarcerated for the crime of sodomy—often not making a distinction between consensual and assault.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights hosted its annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award dinner on May 15, a press release noted. At the event, the civil-rights coalition bestowed its highest honor, the Humphrey Award, upon the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II; and presented the Chairperson's award to Chad Griffin, the outgoing president of the Human Rights Campaign.

Vice President Mike Pence used a commencement address at Indiana's Taylor University to urge a religious resolve among the Christian school's graduates and faculty—dozens of whom walked out minutes before Pence began speaking, IndyStar.com noted. The protest stemmed from disagreement among students, faculty and alumni about whether it was appropriate for the nondenominational Christian liberal arts school to invite the vice president, known for his conservative religious views, to speak.

The National LGBT Bar Association announced that M. Dru Levasseur will be joining the LGBT Bar as deputy program officer on June 10, a press release noted. The statement added, "His addition to our Programs Department allows us to deepen our programmatic work around the country and increase our outreach to and education for the constituencies we serve, including law schools and students, law firms, and corporations."

Teen trans activist/reality-TV star Jazz Jennings has revealed that she's going to attend Harvard University this fall, Page Six noted. She said on Instagram, "I am so stoked for this next chapter of my life! Feeling so blessed and grateful right now. Thank you so much to my incredible family for your unconditional love and support; none of this would be possible without all of you. I can't wait for what's to come!" She previously expressed a desire to pursue a career in advocacy, although she did not say if she declared her major yet.

KindRED Pride Foundation has announced its first-ever "Pride Cup," a press release noted. The Pride Cup will be a "Virtual Sport-A-Thon & FunRaiser," an online event where people around the world can participate and be part of the Red Shirt Pride Day Around the World—a global event inspired by tradition that started at Walt Disney World Resorts in 1991. For more info, visit ThePrideCup.com .

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan became the first congressional Republican to conclude that President Donald Trump has engaged in "impeachable conduct," NBC News noted. His conclusion came after he read special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, he tweeted in a widely circulated thread. Amash also said Attorney General William Barr "deliberately misrepresented Mueller's report" with a four-page summary sent to Congress in March before the release of the full, redacted report.

Several bars and restaurants in Harford County, Maryland have cancelled upcoming drag shows—claiming the local liquor board has intimidated them by insinuating they could lose their liquor licenses if they don't, LGBTQ Nation noted, citing The Baltimore Sun. At issue are the local laws governing "adult entertainment" in places that serve alcohol. Officials from the Harford County Liquor Control Board said they didn't tell the venues to shut down the shows—they merely reminded them about the regulations surrounding "sexual displays" and warned them of the consequences.

Gay-for-pay porn star Sebastian Young has pled no contest to child-porn charges, Gay Star News noted. Young ( real name: Joshua Noles ) has been set free after spending nearly 1,000 days in jail. The former adult star—who has worked with some of the biggest gay-porn studios like Lucas Entertainment—must now be on the sex offenders' register for life in Florida.

More accusers have come forward with sexual-abuse allegations against former University of Southern California men's health doctor Dennis Kelly, Gay Star News reported. There are now 50 men, both former and current students, accusing Kelly of misconduct. Originally, six male graduates filed a lawsuit against Kelly in February. Kelly, who's openly gay, has denied all wrongdoing.

The Chicago Tribune reported that at least 177 men were sexually abused by an Ohio State team doctor who died years ago, the university said as it released findings from a law firm that investigated the accusations—concluding that school leaders knew at the time. The claims about Richard Strauss span from 1979 to 1997—nearly his entire time at Ohio State—and involve athletes from at least 16 sports, plus his work at the student health center and his off-campus clinic. Many of the accusers who have spoken publicly said they were groped and inappropriately touched during physical exams.

Getty Images has announced its annual global Creative Bursary for 2019, "LGBTQ+ Stories," Curve Magazine noted. LGBTQ+ Stories is a one-time Bursary, where three recipients will be selected in June and granted sums of either $10,000, $7,000 or $3,000, awarded by a panel of creative industry judges. The Creative Bursary is open to aspiring photographers globally. See http://wherewestand.gettyimages.com/gi_grants/creative-bursary/#how_to_apply.

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art announced it would no longer accept gifts from members of the Sackler family—the principal owners of a pharmaceutical company behind the painkiller blamed for fueling the deadly opioid epidemic, CNBC.com reported. The move comes after other leading cultural institutions, including the Guggenheim in New York and the Tate in London, said they would cut ties with the family amid recent legal scrutiny on Purdue Pharma's production of OxyContin.


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