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NATIONAL Parade protests, trans billboards, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
2019-07-02

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Protesters brought the San Francisco Pride Parade to a halt for 50 minutes shortly after it started June 30, lying down in Market Street at Sixth Street and chanting "F— the police!" and "Pride was a riot" as dozens of police officers tried to restore order, The Chronicle reported. The group of protesters—with arms linked and demanding there be no police or corporations at the event—displayed a banner that read "Queer and Trans against Kops and Korps" as police pushed to get them out of the way of the parade. The members of Abolish ICE SF handed out a letter of demands calling for SF Pride to exclude police and pointing out the hypocrisy they see in inviting police to celebrate the anniversary of a clash with cops.

And, chanting slogans of defiance, thousands of marchers took to the streets of New York on June 30 to protest commercialization of the city's official Pride parade attended by millions of people a few blocks away, Openly News reported. The alternative Queer Liberation March in downtown Manhattan was designed to be a return to "a people's political march" without corporate sponsorship and police barricades, organizers said. T-Mobile, Mastercard Inc. and banking company HSBC were among the NYC Pride corporate sponsors.

Transgender Law Center ( TLC ) unveiled two new video billboard advertisements in New York's Times Square, a press release noted. The ads—which ran for the length of World Pride in New York and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion—demanded action on modern-day police violence, state oppression, and murders of Black and Brown transgender women. The billboard advertisements were a part of the #StonewallIsNow campaign, which was also launched in El Paso, Texas, with a rally and march organized by Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project-BLMP, Transgender Law Center, Mijente, El/La Para TransLatinas and Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee.

Just in time for WorldPride, the Landmarks Preservation Commission ( LPC ) landmarked six sites in the New York City's LGBTQ history, Gay City News reported. The locations include Caffe Cino, at 31 Cornelia St.; the LGBT Community Center, at 208 W. 13th St.; the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse, at 99 Wooster St.; James Baldwin's residence, at 137 W. 71st St.; the Women's Liberation Center, at 243 W. 20th St.; and Audre Lorde's residence, at 207 St. Paul's Ave. The sites represent the first LGBTQ-related landmarks designated by the city since the Stonewall Inn in 2015, and the designation now protects the sites from major alterations in the future.

A new bill introduced in Congress would correct the military records of gay and lesbian soldiers discharged under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, Metro Weekly reported. The Restore Honor to Service Members Act, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand ( D-N.Y. ) and Brian Schatz ( D-Hawaii ) in the Senate and U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan ( D-Wis. ) and Katie Hill ( D-Calif. ) in the House, would seek to correct the injustices committed against gay and lesbian former soldiers who were forced to leave the military with discharge statuses of "other than honorable," "general discharge," or "dishonorable" due to their sexual orientation.

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced that financial expert Suze Orman will headline a plenary session at NLGJA's National Convention in New Orleans on Aug. 30, a press release noted. The plenary, "Straight Money Talk with Suze Orman," is made possible through the AARP. More information is at https://www.nlgja.org/2019/.

The National LGBTQ Task Force announced a new partnership with Madonna's Ray of Light Foundation to grow its violence prevention work, especially as it affects transgender women of color, a press release noted. "We see Madonna's dedication to a Revolution of Love as synchronistic with the National LGBTQ Task Force's #BeYou campaign," said Executive Director Rea Carey. "The National LGBTQ Task Force creates the spaces and conditions for LGBTQ people to live free, to be you! ... The Task Force centers the most vulnerable in our communities to create safety and develop solutions."

Out Apple CEO Tim Cook talked with CBS News about the need for more work to be done to achieve equality. In part, he said, "I was 8 years old and a thousand miles away when Stonewall happened. There were no news alerts, no way for photos to go viral, no mechanism for a kid on the Gulf Coast to hear these unlikely heroes tell their stories. ... In 2019, discrimination still looms in employment, in housing, and in public places like restaurants and stores. The transgender community, in particular, is singled out for discrimination and acts of violence." The full article is at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tim-cook-on-the-work-still-needed-for-lgbtq-equality-2019-06-30/.

Equality California issued a press release praising the U.S. Supreme Court for blocking the Trump-Pence Administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Executive Director Rick Zbur said, in part that the "decision reaffirms the clear 'disconnect' between the Trump-Pence Administration's 'contrived' public explanations for the citizenship question and the political motivations they've discussed behind closed doors. We are hopeful that with additional time, more evidence of the Administration's dangerous attempts to undermine a fair and accurate count for political purposes will come to light."

Massachusetts Congressman Joseph Kennedy sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) demanding additional information about the death of a transgender woman from El Salvador who had been in ICE custody, The Washington Blade reported. Kennedy notes the agency processed Johana "Joa" Medina Leon for parole on May 28—the same day she was "transferred" from New Mexico's Otero County Processing Center to Del Sol Medical Center in nearby El Paso, Texas, "for chest pain." Kennedy notes Medina, 25, "died from complications from HIV" on June 1.

Thousands went the Usana Amphitheatre in West Valley City, Utah, for the third annual LoveLoud Festival—but local LGBTQ groups in Utah said they were short-changed when it came to benefitting from last year's event, NewNowNext.com reported. Organizations like Provo Pride anticipated grants of up to $10,000 for tabling at the July festival and providing services for attendees—but checks reportedly arrived late, and not initially for the full amount. Also, although LoveLoud claimed all bathrooms would be gender-neutral at its 2018 concert, only two restrooms at Rice-Eccles Stadium were. While all charity partners have now been paid for the 2018 festival, LGBTQ organizations who attended LoveLoud say the damage has already been done.

Lesbian soccer star Megan Rapinoe might end up in Washington, D.C., after all, Newsweek reported. After saying she would not go to the White House should the United States win the Women's World Cup, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ( D-New York ) tweeted to invite the team to visit the U.S. Capitol. Rapinoe replied hours later, telling Ocasio-Cortez to "consider it done."

The Salt Lake City Council passed a unanimous bipartisan resolution urging the Utah legislature to pass a law protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy, Deseret News reported. Councilman Arlyn Bradshaw—who has been openly gay since he was a teenager—brought forward the resolution, aiming to address an issue that affected him personally. National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter said in a statement, "LGBTQ youth are already at a heightened risk of depression and suicide attempts due to the discrimination they face. Conversion therapy multiplies those risks exponentially."

Getty Images has named three recipients of its biannual global Creative Bursary, titled "LGBTQ+ Stories," with each photographer receiving one-time grants of $10,000, $7,000 and $3,000, for first, second and third place respectively, a press release noted. Vaughan Larsen—a young artist based in Milwaukee who explores issues of identity and relationships at the intersection of queer culture—took first prize with his series, Rites. Second-place bursary recipient Myles Loftin is a New York-based photographer and rising senior studying photography at Parsons School of Design, while third-place winner Texas Isaiah is a visual narrator based in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and New York City.

FCB—one of the largest advertising agencies in the world—has parted ways with Nivea, amid allegations the skincare brand rejected an image of two men touching hands, Newsweek reported. According to Ad Age, an openly gay FCB creative on the call said a rep from the client told the team, "we don't do gay at Nivea." FCB's relationship with Nivea goes back more than a century, according to Ad Age, but tensions have been escalating for the past few years.

A customer at a restaurant in Houston said he was insulted by a server who described him as fat and gay on his receipt, Advocate.com noted. The unidentified man told local TV station KTRK that when he visited Plush Daiquiri Bar and Grill, he saw the server had written "to go dude with dreads, fat, gay" at the bottom of his receipt. Plush Daiquiri's owners said the server was simply trying to identify the man. However, the server was suspended for three days.

The town of Hell, Michigan, apparently got a new name after a YouTube star changed the town's name to Gay Hell after paying to be the town's mayor for Pride Month, WXYZ.com noted. During his first hours as mayor, Elijah Daniel tweeted, "Gay Hell, Michigan has everything. A library, a place to lock your love in Gay Hell, and even a wedding chapel to get gay married in hell!" Daniel—who is openly gay and who said he is in the process of purchasing the town permanently—was inspired to buy the town after the Trump administration banned U.S. embassies and consulates from flying rainbow flags during Pride Month this year.

In Savannah, Georgia, the owner of Treehouse Adventures is apologizing for an argument he says got out of hand—in which a couple involved claimed the owner targeted them because they are lesbian, WSAV.com reported. Victoria Torres said it started when she took her 5-year-old nephew to the kids' play area, in the Savannah Mall; Torres added she put her arm around the shoulder of her girlfriend, Tuyen Nguyen—and a chaperone told her to stop. The chaperone maintained that the couple's behavior was inappropriate for the venue. Owner Ben Saborio said his concerns about a language barrier are why he asked a chaperone to confront the women, who are angry he did not do it himself.

Add Annapolis, Maryland, to the cities throwing their inaugural Pride events this year, CBS Baltimore noted. "We are hoping to see a tremendous turnout for this historic, first-ever pride parade in the City of Annapolis," said Jeremy Browning, chair and founder of Annapolis Pride, Inc., before the event, which took place June 29. "We are committed to making this a family-friendly event that is free and open to all." Browning said the support for the inaugural parade/festival in Maryland's capital has been inspiring and overwhelming.

California author Robin Lowey has donated copies of her book, Game Changers: Lesbians You Should Know About, to public high schools all across the Bay Area for free, CBS San Francisco reported. So far, Lowey has donated around 1,500 copies to more than 300 schools, reaching 300,000 students. A graphic designer by trade, Lowey created Game Changers to look and read like a graphic novel that showcases the crucial role lesbians have played in the LGBTQ movement. Thirty women, including Lowey herself, have profiles that range from several pages to quick blurbs.

Antoni Porowski collaborated with the Born Perfect campaign to end conversion therapy on a limited-edition Pride T-shirt, designed by artist James Concannon, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, a press release noted. The T-shirt is available only through The Village Den website at TheVillageDen.com/born-perfect-tshirt and in store. All proceeds go directly to support Born Perfect's work to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.

Jack'd—a popular gay hookup and dating app that left users' nude photos exposed—has agreed to pay $240,000 to New York state and increase security in an agreement with the state attorney general's office, The New York Post reported. The app, run by parent company Online Buddies Inc., allows users to share the explicit photos discreetly with others on the app who they selected. However, due to a security flaw, those racy photos—as well as personal and location data—became accessible to anyone using the internet.

Just a day after the Jacksonville Public Library announced its cancellation of a pride event geared toward teenagers, citing security reasons, the University of North Florida's ( UNF's ) Thomas G. Carpenter Library hosted Drag Queen Story Hour, Jacksonville.com reported. Drag queen Bebe Deluxe sat in front of a group of about 65, dressed in a neon green beret to match her neon green angled bob, a black-and-white striped and checkered three-piece outfit, and mile-long lashes. The crowd was composed of a mix of toddlers, parents, UNF students and faculty members.

James Fields Jr.—an avowed white supremacist who rammed his car into counter-protesters of a "Unite the Right" rally in 2017, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others—was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release on hate-crime charges, USA Today noted. "I apologize for the hurt and loss I've caused," Fields, 22, said before sentencing, later adding, "Every day I think about how things could have gone differently and how I regret my actions. I'm sorry."

The latest appeal from Bill Cosby contends that if five other women at his retrial hadn't been allowed to give testimony about being assaulted and drugged by him, he wouldn't have been sentenced to up to 10 years behind bars last fall for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand, Deadline reported. Cosby took to social media from behind bars, evoking President Trump by captioning a picture of his wife, "America will be great when it fulfills the last four wors of the revered Pledge of Allegiance... 'and justice for all.'" As with previous filings by Cosby, during and after his trials and sentencing, the Montgomery County D.A. must respond.


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