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NATIONAL: Military lawsuit, Ohio's pro-trans measure, Obama highway
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-12-26

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Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, with partner law firm Winston & Strawn, filed a lawsuit on behalf of two HIV-positive members of the United States Air Force who were given discharge orders just days before the holiday season, a press release noted. Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit, Roe and Voe v. Mattis, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. As detailed in a Washington Post exclusive, the case was filed anonymously to protect the plaintiffs' medical privacy.

With less than a month remaining in office, Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich—a prominent critic of President Trump —signed an executive order barring anti-trans discrimination in the state workforce, instituting the first transgender statewide protections in Ohio, The Washington Blade reported. The order, titled Executive Order 2018-12-K, bars discrimination on the basis of numerous protected categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity, revising policy for the first time to bar anti-trans discrimination. James Knapp, Executive Director of TransOhio, said the executive order marks "truly an important and historic day—not just for the transgender community, but for the entire state."

Signs renaming a stretch of a freeway based in Los Angeles after former President Barack Obama have been installed, an item from The Hill reported. Signs renaming the freeway as the President Barack H. Obama Highway had been installed throughout a section of State Route 134 that runs from the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles to Interstate 210 in Pasadena. Obama went to Occidental College in Eagle Rock in the 1970s and also previously resided in Pasadena.

GLAAD issued a statement criticizing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey for selecting Congresswoman Martha McSally to fill the vacant senate seat being left by Senator Jon Kyl at the end of the year. GLAAD Director of Campaigns and Rapid Response Drew Anderson said, "Arizonans will remember Martha McSally for a lot of things, and morphing herself to be a sheer clone of the anti-LGBTQ Donald Trump will be on the top of that list. Her extreme views are out of step with the people of Arizona and have no place in the U.S. Senate." In November, McSally lost a race for the U.S. Senate to Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema—who is LGBTQ—and has a long history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record.

Apple has removed a conversion-therapy app from the App Store after a gay-rights organization called for its removal, The Daily Beast noted, citing The Dallas Morning News. LGBT-rights organization Truth Wins Out reportedly launched a petition against a "heinous" app constructed by Living Hope Ministries, an Arlington, Texas-based religious group. The free app reportedly promoted a "more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ" as a means of getting rid of homosexuality, and provided "one-on-one counseling, support groups, online forums."

A Virginia man was sentenced Dec. 14 to 15 years in prison for the murder of longtime Virginia gay activist Bruce Garnett, 67, who was found stabbed to death in his apartment in Chesterfield County near Richmond in April 2017, The Washington Blade reported. Chesterfield Circuit Court Judge David E. Johnson sentenced James M. Wheeler, 56, to 40 years in a state penitentiary—and then suspended 25 years, requiring that Wheeler serve 15 years. The judge also sentenced Wheeler to "indefinite" probation upon his release from prison.

Nashville's newest historical marker is honoring a piece of the metro's LGBT history, NewsChannel5.com noted. The marker—which sits near the intersection of Commerce St. and Seventh Ave. N.—pays tribute to The Jungle and Juanita's, which are regarded as Nashville's first gay bars ( having each opened in the 1950s ). The Jungle and Juanita's closed in 1983, when the entire block was torn down.

Zach Stafford—the former chief content officer of Grindr's INTO magazine—has been announced as the incoming editor-in-chief of The Advocate, OUT.com reported. The move makes Stafford, who was also the editor-in-chief of the Grindr-owned publication INTO, the second executive to leave the company in the past few weeks. Both departures follow Grindr president Scott Chen making headlines for statements about his views on marriage equality. NBC News added that Stafford will make history as the publication's first Black editor-in-chief since its debut more than five decades ago.

Chad Beguelin—the co-writer and lyricist of the musical The Prom, which claims to feature the first lesbian couple to ever front a Broadway musical—has invited U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to see the show, NBC News noted. Beguelin invited Pence, saying, "I think you really need to come and see The Prom, and also, we set it in Indiana because of you." Pence gained national attention in 2015 while governor of Indiana, for signing into law a controversial religious-freedom bill widely viewed as anti-LGBTQ.

An African-American lesbian sued Pennsylvania's Parx Casino, claiming that a hostile workplace made it difficult for her to do her job and eventually resulted in her dismissal, Philadelphia Gay News reported. "Michelle Doe," a Philadelphia resident, filed a lawsuit in federal district court Dec. 7, seeking more than $150,000 in damages, including lost wages, punitive damages, compensation for pain and suffering, and attorney's fees. The suit also seeks a court order to require Parx to implement a company-wide LGBT anti-bias policy.

In Evansville, Indiana, Fifth Ward City Councilman Justin Elpers received backlash after a Facebook post he made criticizing a program involving drag queens went viral, Courier & Press reported. "This is reprehensible," Elpers initially posted. "EVPL [Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library] North Park is sponsoring an event where men dressed up as women will be reading to young children. The target age is up to 11 years old. As an educator & parent I'm in shock." Many in the community have been supportive of the event, EVPL Engagement Manager Kassidy Kinner-Green said.

To honor his late partner Richard Moore, Greg Moore recently donated a grant to Our Fund, South Florida's only LGBT community foundation, that was used to form a new partnership with the Alzheimer's Association of Southeast Florida, The Miami Herald reported. David Jobin, president/ CEO of Our Fund Foundation, said the grant is going toward "needs assessment and new programs to assist LGBT adults with Alzheimer's." At the 2018 Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Chicago in July, researchers at the University of California released new data from a study of aging LGBT adults, providing "the first dementia prevalence data from a large population of lesbian, gay and bisexual older adults."

A South Carolina restaurant patron found a note reading "fag" in his bag after dining at Yesterdays Restaurant & Tavern in Columbia, PinkNews noted. The incident was reported by a friend of the customer, who denounced it in a Facebook post showing a picture of the note. The restaurant expressed regret over the "hurtful and offensive" incident in a post on its Facebook page, adding, "The employee in question was dismissed on the spot."

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took a spin at media criticism, questioning Politico over its reporting of her and targeting its use of anonymous sources, TheWrap.com reported. Only ONE on-the-record comment, which is a denial. My dad had a name for junk articles like this: 'Birdcage lining,'" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. In a statement to TheWrap, Politico said it remained confident with a story about her: "Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does not specify in her tweet what she believes is incorrect with the piece, nor has she or anyone from her staff reached out to our team for a correction. We stand by our reporting."

The Miami Valley LGBT Horizons of Aging Summit will take place Feb. 11-12 in Dayton, Ohio, a press release announced. The keynote speaker will be Stu Maddux, the award-winning filmmaker and producer of the movie Gen Silent. For more information, visit AbundantAginng.org .

The chief justice of the California Supreme Court is no longer a registered Republican, citing Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court as the reason, LGBTQ Nation noted. Tani Cantil-Sakauye—appointed to the position in 2010 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ( R )—is now a no-party-preference voter. Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by several women after President Trump nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court.

OutServe-SLDN announced six new members to its board of directors: Lars Anderson, Nathaniel Boehme, Danyell Brenner, John Harry, Hanna Tripp and Todd Weiler, a press release noted. The board has also voted in a new slate of officers, who will officially take their positions in the new year. Wes Reynolds, MD, an Air Force veteran, and Josh Fontanez, an active soldier, will serve as the board's co-chairs. Monique Clarke, an active Marine, and Jeff Mueller, an active airman, will be the secretary and treasurer, respectively.

A New Jersey high school referee who was once accused of calling a fellow referee the N-word at a social gathering drew widespread condemnation after he forced a Black wrestler to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit a match, KAIT8.com reported. Video from the wrestling meet showed Andrew Johnson, of Buena High School, getting a haircut from a trainer so he could compete. In 2016, the referee, Alan Maloney, poked fellow ref Preston Hamilton in the chest and called him the N-word at a gathering of youth wrestling officials ( and they fought ); both people were later dismissed, although they successfully appealed their punishments.

At least 20 advertisers dropped Tucker Carlson Tonight after the Fox News host said in a show that immigrants to the United States made the country "poorer" and "dirtier," TheWrap.com noted. Pacific Life, Indeed, Bowflex, SmileDirectClub, NerdWallet, Minted, Ancestry.com and Jaguar had all announced plans to suspend advertising on the program. Recently, Carlson addressed the growing boycott campaign against his sponsors over his on-air remarks about immigration, telling viewers that he would not be intimidated.

Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor David Hogg announced that he would be attending Harvard University in fall 2019, The Daily Beast noted. "Thank you all for the well wishes, I'll be attending Harvard in the fall with a planned major in Political Science," Hogg tweeted, adding, "I love y'all so much." Hogg was a leader of the March for Our Lives rally that brought almost 800,000 people to Washington, D.C. in support of gun control after a mass shooting at his school left 17 dead.


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