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NATIONAL Puerto Rico trans death, APA revisions, conversion therapy, LGBTQ gym
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-03-10

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Puerto Rico's governor condemned the killing of a transgender woman—whose death ignited a dialogue about transphobia on the island—as a hate crime, HuffPost reported. The body of Alexa Negron Luciano, who was also known as Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, was found Feb. 24 on the side of a road in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, with multiple gunshot wounds. Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez said that while no suspects had thus far been arrested, the investigation was making progress.

The American Psychological Association ( APA ) revised three key policies related to LGBTQ issues to take into account the most recent research and changes in law, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage, a press release announced. The Resolution on Supporting Sexual/Gender Diverse Children and Adolescents in Schoolsincludes updated references and addresses the issue of restricting bathrooms for transgender children. This resolution also updates definitions of gender diversity, intersex and differences of sex development; it replaces a similar resolution that was passed in 2015. Each new resolution was reviewed by APA's Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill that will ban so-called conversion therapy for minors in the state, The Washington Blade reported. Maryland and D.C. are among the U.S. jurisdictions in which the highly discredited practice has been banned. Virginia will become the first Southern state to prohibit conversion therapy for minors once the bill takes effect July 1.

The owner of an Oakland, California, gym that caters to LGBTQ community members says an apparent incident of abusive graffiti defacing its exterior won't deter her or her clients, East Bay Times reported. Nathalie Huerta listed the thoughts that occurred to her when she came to The Queer Gym's location and saw it had been vandalized. Oakland police said they had learned of the incident and that investigators were working diligently to learn more.

Because of coronavirus concerns, Lesbians Who Tech & Allies rescheduled its San Francisco Summit for Aug. 6-8, according to the organization. A statement said, "The health and safety of our Summit attendees is our top priority. We are confident we will make this year's Summit a success in light of this unprecedented concern." The group will soon send an FAQ that answers all registration questions.

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced that Washington Post opinion writer Jonathan Capehart is the recipient of the Randy Shilts Award for LGBTQ Coverage, a press release noted. Capehart will accept the Randy Shilts Award at the Headlines & Headliners New York benefit event April 24. The Randy Shilts Award for LGBTQ Coverage honors journalists who consistently bring stories of the LGBTQ community to life in mainstream media outlets; past honorees include HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen, NPR "Weekend Edition" host Scott Simon and The New York Times columnist Frank Bruni.

A federal district court, on March 6, ruled in favor of Lambda Legal client Jennifer Fletcher and ordered that the State of Alaska's denial of health care coverage to a legislative librarian based on its blanket exclusion of medically necessary transition-related surgical treatment from AlaskaCare was unlawful, a Lambda Legal press release announced. "Transgender employees should never be forced to endure what Jennifer endured, to be denied potentially life-saving treatment simply because of who they are," Lambda Legal Counsel Tara Borelli said.

Despite removing the section on "homosexual behavior" from its Honor Code last month, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clarified for the first time that same-sex romantic behavior is still "not compatible" with the rules at Utah's Brigham Young University ( BYU ), The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Many students said they recently came out as gay only because they believed—and were told by some Honor Code staff—that the school and faith now allowed it. Hundreds of students met on the campus quad to protest what they saw as a painful reversal by BYU.

One out of every 10 people voting in the March 3 presidential primaries identified as LGBT, according to the NBC News Exit Poll conducted in 12 of the 14 Super Tuesday states across the country, NBC News noted. A third of LGBT people voting on Super Tuesday are younger than 30 years old, while 65 percent of the LGBT voters today are under 45.

California Assemblymember Todd Gloria won the San Diego mayoral primary March 3, and is on track to become the first openly LGBTQ person and first person of color elected mayor of that city, an LGBTQ Victory Fund press release noted. "Both LGBTQ people and people of color face tremendous obstacles when running for public office, but San Diegans overwhelmingly chose Todd because of his strong record of public service and his inspirational vision for the city he wants to represent," LGBTQ Victory Fund President & CEO Annise Parker said.

Also, LGBTQ Victory Fund noted that Gina Ortiz Jones bested four challengers in the Democratic primary for Texas' 23rd Congressional District, putting her on track to become the first openly LGBTQ member of Congress from the state. In 2018 as the Democratic nominee, Jones was just 926 votes short of defeating Republican incumbent Rep. Will Hurd, who is retiring. Jones is now considered the favorite to win the open battleground seat in November.

In California, gay state Senator Scott Wiener will face off against queer Democratic socialist Jackie Fielder in the Nov. 3 election for his 11th Senate District seat that covers San Francisco and parts of northern San Mateo County, The Bay Area Reporter noted. In his bid for a second four-year term, Wiener ( D-San Francisco ) took first place in the March 3 primary with 54.67 percent of the vote while Fielder, an educator who is Native American and of Mexican heritage, placed second with 32.52 percent. The top two contenders face off against each other.

More than 150 openly LGBTQ+ elected and appointed officials from across California will gather in Sacramento on March 13 for the second-annual California LGBTQ Leadership Summit, co-hosted by Equality California and the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, a press release noted. State Sen. Scott Weiner, state assemblymembers Todd Gloria and Evan Low, and City of Palm Springs Councilmember Lisa Middleton are among those slated to attend.

Republican Indiana Sen. Mike Young came under fire for making an anti-gay comment about former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Facebook, LGBTQ Nation noted. Indiana LGBTQ activist Drew Anderson accused Young of "homophobic slander" and asked Young and the Indiana Republican party to apologize. Out Indianapolis City Councillor Ali Brown tweeted, "This is unbecoming of a state elected office holder. The @INSenateGOP & Mike Young should apologize immediately."

Also, PGA Tour golfer Scott Piercy has come under fire for an anti-gay meme he posted to social media about former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—and at least three of his sponsors cut ties with him over it, LGBTQ Nation reported. Piercy shared a meme on Instagram about Buttigieg ending his presidential primary campaign that said, "PETER PULLS OUT EARLY FROM BEHIND." Titleist, a brand of golf equipment; FootJoy, a golf clothing and shoe brand; and J. Lindeberg, an activewear brand severed their ambassador agreements with Piercy, who apologized after getting blowback on social media.

In New York City, Miss Staten Island was banned from participating in the St. Patrick's Day Parade shortly after she came out as bisexual—leaving her to don rainbow colors with other protesters from the event's sidelines, HuffPost reported. "It would have felt disingenuous," 23-year-old Madison L'Insalata told the Staten Island Advance of why she revealed her sexuality one day before the parade. The Staten Island St. Patrick's Parade has long prohibited members of the LGBTQ community from displaying banners or other symbols that identify their sexuality, citing religious grounds.

On Thursday, April 2, NYC's LGBT Community Center ( The Center ) will honor Tim Gill and Scott Miller, co-chairs of The Gill Foundation's Board of Directors, with the first-ever Edie Windsor Trailblazer Award at its annual Center Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street, a press release announced. Since creating the Gill Foundation in 1994, Gill and his husband, Scott Miller, have invested more than $500 million to support LGBT programs and nonprofit organizations around the nation.

An Atlanta man who convinced a woman he was gay to gain her trust was recently convicted of violently raping her in 2015, People.com reported. Jurors returned a guilty verdict against 36-year-old Taurence Callagain on Feb. 25, unanimously finding that he lied to the unnamed victim in order to gain her trust and lure her to his home, where he grabbed her by the neck and forced himself on her. Throughout the vicious rape, Callagain threatened the victim, who was a lesbian in a committed relationship.

A mother was upset after a school counselor in Georgia removed her 13-year-old transgender daughter from a school dance, accusing her of wearing a "costume" because she wore girls' clothes, LGBTQ Nation noted. Charissa Mehojah told WJCL News that her daughter went to a Valentine's Day dance at Rice Creek School in Port Wentworth wearing a black blouse, eye shadow and black slacks, with a rose in her hair. The principal apologized to her daughter in person, but Mehojah said no one from the school has contacted her.

After Page Six exclusively reported that former California Rep. Katie Hill had moved on from her notorious "throuple" relationship and was seeing Playboy writer Alex Thomas, Hill said she has a "new girlfriend." Recently, New York magazine published a story saying Hill started dating Playboy political correspondent Thomas in 2019, a few months after the end of her three-way relationship with her now-estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, 36, and younger female campaign staffer Morgan Desjardins.

A Magic Valley, Idaho-based NAPA Auto Parts franchisee has changed the business' health insurance plan, preventing same-sex spouses of employees from receiving health benefits, MagicValley.com reported. The franchisee appears to have made the change after a new employee, Jacinda Teeter, tried to get her wife on the business' health plan in February.

Zaya Wade—whose parents, Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, recently said she identifies as transgender—made her first red carpet appearance at the sixth annual Truth Awards in Los Angeles, CNN.com noted. Dwayne took to Instagram to post a photo of Zaya and express his support: "Everyone allow her to re-introduce herself, her name is Zaya Wade!" The Truth Awards were created to highlight the achievements and cultural contributions of the Black LGBTQ community and its allies.

Presented by the HIV + Aging Research Project, "Reunion Project 4.0: Thriving With HIV" is a free symposium that will take place Saturday, April 4, at The Annenberg Health Sciences Building in Rancho Mirage, a press release noted. Our Lady J—an Emmy-nominated writer and producer of the shows Pose and Transparent—will be the keynote speaker. Reservations are required by April 1 and ASL interpretation provided on request by March 25.

A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law stated that Georgia's HIV criminal laws may undermine the state's public health efforts by deterring people from seeking HIV testing and treatment, a press release noted. The report said that the laws are also stigmatizing those with HIV and disproportionately affecting the communities most impacted by HIV, including people of color, women, LGBTQ people and the formerly incarcerated. The report is at WilliamsInstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/HIV-Crim-Transmission-GA-Mar-2020.pdf.

In a column published by Variety, Barbra Streisand addressed "Mr. Trump" before outlining the reasons she believes he should not be re-elected, USA Today noted. "America was great—before you were elected," she began. "Since 2016, we've been dragged down into the mud of Trump's swamp." She continued, referencing recent headlines, including the coronavirus, which has since taken thousands of lives. In a final plea, Streisand urged voters to "bring back dignity and grace" in the upcoming election.

Fresh off his departure from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has poured $2 million into efforts to boost turnout by African-American voters in eight key states, CBS News reported. "Voter suppression efforts across the country have been a barely disguised effort to keep Black Americans and other Democratic-leaning voters from the polls," Bloomberg said in a statement. "I've always believed we need to make it easier for all citizens to register and vote, not harder."

Longtime CNN political analyst Paul Begala predicted that President Trump is "gonna dump [Vice President] Mike Pence in favor of former South Carolina Gov. and ex-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley" on July 16, when the Democratic nominee is slated to give his or her acceptance speech, The Hill noted. The former Crossfire co-host "guaranteed" Trump will throw Pence "under the bus" because of his handling of the coronavirus; the president recently tapped Pence to lead a task force on the virus.

Jeff Sessions faced renewed criticism that could be his biggest hurdle after President Donald Trump appeared to mock his former attorney general for being forced into a primary runoff, Time.com noted. Sessions fell short of winning the GOP nomination outright March 3 and will face former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville in a Republican runoff. The winner of the March 31 runoff will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones.

California's Central District Court rejected Hawaii representative and longshot Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard's lawsuit against Google, Yahoo! Finance noted. Gabbard's campaign, Tulsi Now, Inc., asked for $50 million in damages from Google for "serious and continuing violations of Tulsi's right to free speech." In the suit, her campaign claimed that Google "helps to run elections" through political advertising and search results—an argument District Judge Stephen Wilson firmly rejected.


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