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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL Miss Major ailing, NAACP, crime items, Puerto Rico governor
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-07-16

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Miss Major Griffin-Gracy—a Stonewall Riots veteran and staple in transgender activism for nearly 50 years—suffered a stroke July 4, Out.com reported. News about the 78-year-old's condition was first shared via House of GG's: Griffin-Gracy Educational Retreat & Historical Center's Facebook account by Sharyn Grayson, the COO and CFO of the Center and a member of the center's Board of Directors. Journalist and friend Toshio Meronek has further confirmed that the best way to support Miss Major's recovery is to email messages of support to missmajorspeaks@gmail.com or donate to her fundraising circle ( at fundly.com/missmajor ).

Thousands of activists, artists, entertainers, civil rights and social-justice leaders will gather for the 110th NAACP Annual Convention in Detroit on July 20-24, a press release noted. The LGBTQ town hall "The State of LGBTQ People of Color in America" will take place Tuesday, July 23, at the COBO Center. Panelists will include Safe Brave Space LGBT Detroit Executive Director Curtis Lipscomb, author/activist/radio host Michelle Elizabeth Brown, international activist Nicole Denson and attorney/PFLAG National board member Robert Marchman.

Police say they've arrested the man who set fire to a Pride flag hanging in front of a Harlem bar, WCBS-880 reported. Alibi Lounge owner Alexi Minko said his staff told him the pride flag was burned; it marked the second time in one month that a flag had been burned in front of the establishment. Police say 20-year-old Tyresse Singleton was the man seen on video. Alibi Lounge bills itself as New York City's only Black-owned gay lounge.

An LGBTQ organization in Florida is facing backlash for allowing and greeting, at a gay-pride gala, four men charged with hate crimes in the beating of gay men in Miami Beach, NBC Miami reported. Tony Lima, executive director of the Miami-based nonprofit SAVE, apologized in a Facebook video saying the men—Luis M. Alonso, Juan C. Lopez, Adonis Diaz and Pablo Reinaldo Romo—bought their own tickets after volunteering with the group. The four men are accused of attacking two men while shouting anti-gay slurs following last year's Pride parade in Miami Beach. Each faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say a Detroit man is charged with shooting two men because they were gay, CNN.com reported. Demetris Nelson, 26, is accused of attempting to rob and then shooting Brian Anderson, 31, and Malcolm Drake, 26; Anderson died of his wounds while Drake was critically wounded. Nelson used the Grindr dating app to target, contact and find the two men, according to the Wayne County prosecutor's office.

Protestors demonstrated this weekend to get the governor of Puerto Rico to resign, as his role in a homophobic and sexist online conversation became public, LGBTQ Nation noted. Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism leaked over 800 pages of messages full of profanity and hateful language from a group chat that was administered by Gov. Ricardo Rossello. In another discussion, Puerto Rico Chief Financial Officer Christian Sobrino—who resigned—accused singer Ricky Martin of being sexist because he's gay. However, Rosello has refused to resign.

Soccer player Megan Rapinoe visited the show Anderson Cooper 360—and she and Cooper talked about the athlete coming out as lesbian when she was teen, Yahoo! Finance noted. When Rapinoe said she didn't realize her sexual orientation until college, a shocked Cooper asked, "I knew when I was 6. How could you not know as a teenager?" Rapinoe responded, "It's so embarrassing because I'm just very gay. I don't know how it happened but as soon as it clicked, I was like 'She has arrived.'" Rapinoe has been in a relationship with professional basketball player Sue Bird since they met at the 2016 Olympics. She reiterated she wouldn't visit the White House because she feels the United States women's national team's success after winning the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup could be "co-opted and corrupted" by U.S. President Donald Trump, Bleacher Report noted.

LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed Gina Ortiz Jones in her race for the 23rd Congressional District in Texas, a press release noted. Jones would become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Texas if she wins her race in 2020. In the 2018 midterms, Jones lost to incumbent U.S. Rep. William Hurd by less than one thousand votes out of more than 210,000 cast.

Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd is the new executive director of Trans United, according to a press release. Before Trans United, Duncan-Boyd served as the founder and executive director of Trans Advocates Knowledgeable Empowering ( TAKE )—an advocacy, support, and resource center for trans and non-binary communities in Birmingham, Alabama. In connection with this announcement, the organization has launched a fundraiser, seeking $10,000 to support Black trans leadership and capacity-building.

Transgender- and LGBT-rights activist Sarah McBride announced she is running for a seat in the Delaware state Senate in a Wilmington-area district where she was born and raised, and currently lives, The Washington Blade reported. McBride, 28, is running for a seat held by incumbent Democrat Sen. Harris McDowell, Delaware's longest serving state senator; he announced he is retiring at the end of his term in 2020 and will not seek re-election next year. McBride currently serves as national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign.

A Harvard Law School professor who is known for her opposition to same-sex marriage will chair the State Department's new human-rights advisory commission that will stress "natural law and natural rights," The Washington Blade reported. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Mary Ann Glendon will chair the Commission on Unalienable Rights. Glendon—U.S. ambassador to the Vatican duirng 2007-2009—has defended former President George W. Bush's efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

The American Medical Association ( AMA ) and 15 additional medical, mental-health, nursing and other healthcare organizations filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court of the United States to rule in favor of protecting transgender individuals from employment discrimination to ensure their physical and mental health, an AMA press release stated. The brief was submitted in the cases of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which consider if Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ employees from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

New Hampshire residents who don't identify as either male or female will soon be able to express that on their driver's licenses, WMUR.com reported. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu allowed a bill to become law without his signature that would allow driver's licenses or non-driver identification cards to be marked "M'' for male, "F'' for female or "X'' for other. Sununu generally has been supportive of legislation addressing LGBTQ rights. The driver's-license law takes effect Jan. 1.

Openly gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is set to appear at the Hancock Park home of Kevin MacLellan, chairman of global distribution and international at NBCUniversal, and Brian Curran on July 25, Variety reported. Co-hosts include Sean Hayes, Chelsea Handler, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi and Jason Bateman. Earlier in the day, Buttigieg will attend a lunch fundraiser in West Hollywood with Nicole Avant, Jill Goldman, Vicki Kennedy and Jeff Klein. In the late afternoon, he will attend another fundraiser at the home of Mike Rose and Ruben Rodriguez. Buttigieg rescheduled several Hollywood fundraisers that were canceled last month after a police shooting in South Bend, Indiana.

An official statement coauthored by New York City health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot and Carmelyn P. Malalis, head of NYC's Commission on Human Rights, stated that the two are "joining forces as vocal and active allies for intersex people," HIVPlusMag.com noted. In the essay "Scalpels Down: Let Intersex Children Choose," published on Ozy.com, Barbot writes of an experience some 25 years earlier dealing with an intersex patient who had been damaged, physically and mentally, by such a surgery. The statement goes on to list some intersex facts as well. It is estimated that nearly 2 percent of the world's population are born with an intersex trait—but that those individuals are often stigmatized.

In Pennsylvania, the Calumet Volunteer Fire Department, in Westmoreland County, has decided to cancel "Sparkling Queens of Drag Bingo" night, set for July 20, CBS Pittsburgh noted. A similar Calumet drag queen fundraiser earlier this year raised about $10,000. But fire department officials say they had no choice but to cancel the event because they sold only about 60 tickets; organizers had hoped to sell about 300. A group of seven pastors from churches in the Mount Pleasant Township area sent out a letter in March saying, in part, "This event encourages the touching, fondling, and groping of patrons dressed in drag."

Two leaders of an Alabama city have resigned after their mayor posted a comment on Facebook about "killing out" socialists, "baby killers" and gay and transgender people, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. However, Carbon Hill Mayor Mark Chambers refused to step down and told residents he plans to run for re-election. Protesters lay down in a "die-in" and then confronted Chambers during the July 8 meeting, during which he sat between two empty chairs. Chambers accepted the resignations of council members McClain Burrough and Chandler Gann without explanation.

Also in Alabama, a former deputy who resigned from the sheriff's office after being investigated for homophobic Facebook comments— posted on a story about the suicide of a gay teenager—has been hired as a police officer with a different state law-enforcement agency, NBC News reported. Jeff Graves was hired by the Owens Cross Roads Police Department, which has five full time and two part-time officers; Police Chief Jason Dobbins told the station that Graves has shown remorse and deserves a second chance. In a now=deleted comment to a WZDX-TV Facebook post about the teen's suicide, Graves wrote that he is "seriously offended" by the LGBTQ movement, which he said should stand for "Liberty Guns Bible Trump BBQ."

A New York Federal District Court judge ruled that an agreement to arbitrate sexual-harassment claims is enforceable despite a New York law prohibiting mandatory arbitration agreements covering those claims, The National Law Review reported. This is one of the first reported decisions to address the viability of the New York statute since its enactment in 2018. In the case, a former employee sued his employer for discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment. The employer moved to compel arbitration on the grounds that the employee had signed an agreement to arbitrate any claims.

Two Utah high school football players were kicked off football team after a social-media post allegedly showed an LGBTQ flag being set on fire while someone made threatening comments, The Hill noted. The players were indefinitely suspended from the team at Kearns High School, near Salt Lake City, after a Snapchat video surfaced. The video, reportedly posted by one of the players, showed someone lighting the flag on fire while laughing; another voice is heard saying "all gays die." The suspended other player reposted the clip.

Pete Buttigieg is no longer the only gay man seeking the highest office in America this election cycle—as musician Casey Spooner announced on Instagram that he's running for president in 2020, Newsweek noted. "I don't expect to win, but I do expect to make a difference," the out Fischerspooner singer said in a video. "As a working artist, the only way I know how to deal with our current political crisis is to go [toward] the problem. I've been complacent in the past. No more." It's not known if he has filed the proper paperwork to get on the ballot, or garnered enough support to get a spot in one of the upcoming Democratic debates.

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced that Reuters Deputy Managing Editor for Operations Arlyn Gajilan is the recipient of the 2019 NLGJA Leadership Award, a press release noted. Gajilan helps manage the news agency's bureaus from Toronto to Santiago and San Francisco to New York. She works across a range of newsroom priorities including recruiting new talent, diversity initiatives and special projects, as well as editorial security and safety. Gajilan will receive the NLGJA Leadership Award at the 2019 NLGJA National Convention, Aug. 29-Sept. 1 at the InterContinental New Orleans.

President Donald Trump lashed out at Paul Ryan on Twitter following the release of excerpts from an upcoming book in which the former speaker of the House criticized him for not knowing "anything about government," USA Today reported. Shortly after CNN covered Ryan's comments about Trump in Tim Alberta's American Carnage—about how Republicans have changed with Trump's rise to the presidency—Trump responded with a series of insults in three tweets. Ryan reportedly told Alberta he couldn't stand another two years with Trump and called retirement an "escape hatch," according to excerpts obtained by The Washington Post.

Entrepreneur/BET founder Robert Johnson said the country's political establishment is riven with partisanship that has become "very wicked and very mean," adding that the Democratic Party has gone too far to the left, CNBC.com reported. "For that reason, I don't have a particular candidate [I'm supporting] in the party at this time," he said. "I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can't wait too long to do that." Although Johnson publicly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, he has since expressed admiration for some of Donald Trump's policies—particularly those related to the economy.

Tracking the largest field of presidential candidates in U.S. history, The Circus returns to Showtime with eight new episodes this fall. Starting Sunday, Sept. 22, the network's most-watched docuseries will continue its fourth season, which averaged more than 1 million weekly viewers earlier this year. Co-hosts John Heilemann, Alex Wagner and Mark McKinnon will criss-cross the country as an unprecedented cast of Democratic candidates barnstorm key states in their quests to face off against Donald Trump in 2020.


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