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NATIONAL ROUNDUP Cold case, trans activist, gay official dies
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2018-02-13

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Retesting evidence gathered from homicide investigations in the 1970s and early 1980s could help close about 20 cold-case homicides in Salt Lake City, Utah—but the evidence is missing, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The Salt Lake City Police Department has no record of receiving evidence from the University of Utah's Center for Human Toxicology. Detectives discovered that evidence was missing while recently re-examining the 1978 fatal stabbing of a 25-year-old Black gay political activist named Anthony Adams. Following the slaying, a spokesman for the Socialist Workers Party, of which Adams was a prominent member, said Adams may have been murdered for his political views and his sexuality, according to a 1978 Salt Lake Tribune article.

Trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston announced that she is dropping out of the race for the California State Assembly seat that Sebastian Ridley-Thomas vacated, The Los Angeles Blade reported. Preston had insufficient time to mount an effective campaign, she explained in her statement, adding that she believed the deck was stacked against her from the beginning. Preston announced her bid for the District 54 seat on Dec. 30—four months after she made international headlines by confronting Caitlyn Jenner over President Trump's announced ban on transgender military service.

Kenneth P. Hahn—a former Los Angeles County assessor and one of the county's first openly gay elected officials—died at his home in Cathedral City at age 78, the L.A. Times reported. He died with his husband, Louis Mangual, at his side. Hahn—who had never denied that he was gay but had never made a public announcement about it—was outed in 1991 when organizers of the West Hollywood's annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade told the crowd that Hahn was "the senior-most elected openly gay official in Los Angeles," making Hahn an accidental trailblazer.

A federal district court ordered the Missouri Department of Corrections ( MDOC ) and its contracted healthcare provider, Corizon LLC, to immediately provide Jessica Hicklin—a 38-year-old transgender woman incarcerated at the Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point—with care that her doctors deem to be medically necessary treatment for her gender dysphoria, a Lambda Legal press release stated. In April 2017, Lambda Legal filed a motion for a preliminary injunction asking the Court to grant Ms. Hicklin immediate access to hormone therapy, permanent body hair removal as well as access to gender-affirming canteen items—all recommended by her doctors as part of her treatment in accordance with the prevailing standards of care. The decision in Hicklin v. Lombardi is at http://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/hicklin-v-lombardi.

In California, authorities continue to investigate the Jan. 31 death of 23-year-old gay man Justin Lavelle, of West Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles Blade. Lavelle ( a waiter from Virginia ) was riding as a passenger in a Lyft car and apparently had an altercation with the driver before being ejected from the car onto the 110 Freeway, where he was hit by multiple cars. The Lyft driver—Tariq Rasheed of Hawthorne, California—admitted to ejecting Lavelle into freeway traffic, telling KNBC Lavelle was "holding my steering wheel. I couldn't even move an inch. I would have died.

Bills meant to protect LGBT people from housing and employment discrimination died in a Republican-dominated Virginia House panel on Feb. 8, prompting jeers of "Shame!" from activists who packed a Capitol hearing room, The Washington Post reported. On a party-line vote, members of a General Laws subcommittee voted five to two to kill four bills—some of which had already cleared the Republican-controlled state Senate. Opponents of the bills contend that they could have interfered with religious freedom.

Police and prosecutors are looking into whether a fatal shooting of a transgender woman in Buffalo, New York, was a hate crime, The Buffalo News reported. A spokesperson with the Erie County District Attorney's Office told the paper that they are "extremely concerned about a spike in homicides of transgender people across the country" and will be "looking into whether or not this is a potential hate crime." Harvey is Buffalo's first confirmed homicide victim of the year. The

Phill Wilson is stepping down from being president/CEO of the Black AIDS Institute as serving that position for 19 years, TheBody.com noted. In part, he wrote, "I am very proud of the work we have done over the last 19 years and humbled to have had the privilege of working with so many amazing organizations and remarkable individuals."

On National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ( Feb. 7 ), Planned Parenthood Federation of America launched new educational videos on pre-exposure prophylaxis ( PrEP ) and post-exposure prophylaxis ( PEP ), two HIV prevention medications, a press release noted. The new videos—"What is PrEP?" and "What is PEP?"—explain the basics of these HIV-prevention tools and encourage viewers to talk with their health care providers to learn more. This work is being carried out in partnership with The Black AIDS Institute. See www.youtube.com/watch and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu82TFo6j94&feature=youtu.be.

In Kansas, two men are expected to face off in a Democratic primary in Johnson County that could result in one of them becoming the first openly gay member of the Kansas legislature., the Kansas City Star reported. Brandon Woodard, 27, of Lenexa announced his candidacy for the 30th District House seat. In the primary, he will face Matthew Calcara of Olathe; Calcara, a freelance web producer who also is openly gay, launched his bid last May. Both men are trying to claim the seat held by Rep. Randy Powell, an Olathe Republican.

Lawyers for a 18-year-old Abel Cedeno—who stands accused of stabbing two of his classmates, one of whom died—have said a recently released video of the incident proves their client acted in self-defense, LGBTQ Nation noted. Cedeno can be seen in the nine-second video being attacked by a mob of students inside the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation last September. His family and friends have reported that Cedeno was "relentlessly" bullied over his sexual orientation. "Those two kids in the class, they hit him," said family friend Iris Couvertier. "He said that they hit him in the face. He said it's because he's gay or bisexual."

Jordan Joplin—the birth name of a 32-year-old porn performer who performed at several mainstream gay studios under various aliases—has been accused of murdering a surgeon in the Alaskan town of Ketchikan, Hornet reported. On March 27, 2017, Ketchikan police found surgeon Eric Garcia Llorens dead in the upstairs living room of his home after receiving a call from Joplin. Police considered the death suspicious, partly because of several valuable items found missing from the surgeon's home.

North Carolina will have to pay $300,000 to a magistrate who quit rather than marry same-sex couples, LGBTQ Nation noted. The state will pay Gayle Myrick, a former Union County magistrate, $210,000 in lost wages and retirement benefits, with the remainder going toward attorney fees. North Carolina instructed their magistrates to follow federal law after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide; Myrick objected and asked to be excused from performing an important function of her job.

Miami resident Jocelyn Morffi married her longtime partner, Natasha Hass, on Feb. 3—and, shortly after, Morffi had been fired from her job teaching first grade at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School, Miami New Times reported. The school discovered Morffi had married another woman, and the administration reportedly asked the teacher to resign; she refused, so she was fired. Florida remains one of the few states where employers can still fire someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and Miami's current archbishop, Thomas Wenski, has a long history of anti-gay comments.

Fashion icon Kenneth Cole's longtime tenure as chairman of the board of the prominent HIV nonprofit amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, has just come to a close, POZ noted. He was effectively pushed out of his position by the New York State Attorney General's Charities Bureau, which had conducted a review of the charity at the request of a faction of trustees. As recently as a few weeks ago, Cole told POZ that he would not step down from his chairmanship. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is currently investigating certain transactions.

Sen. Ben Cardin, a fixture in Maryland Democratic politics for more than five decades, filed to run for a third term in the U.S. Senate, Known as an even-keeled lawmaker who enjoys getting into the weeds on policy, Cardin, 74, will face four other Democrats in the June 26 primary—most notably Chelsea Manning, the transgender Maryland woman who was convicted of sharing thousands of military documents with Wikileaks. Manning, 30, is running a campaign to Cardin's left politically, setting up a possible repeat of the themes that played out during the 2016 race between former Rep. Donna F. Edwards, who also ran to the left, and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who ultimately captured the seat left open by the retirement of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would ban therapy that seeks to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity, U.S. News & World Report noted. Supporters of the measure said the state should ban an inappropriate, ineffective and harmful practice regardless of how often it occurs. However, opponents said state licensing boards already have the authority to regulate and discipline any practitioner who uses coercive tactics.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) responded to the House's passage of the Senate budget and called on Congress to get to work immediately in protecting more than 1 million young people from potential deportation and violence, including 75,000 LGBTQ Dreamers. "While this budget agreement includes vital funding for health care, especially for people living with HIV and AIDS, we remain deeply concerned that millions of Dreamers are still at risk each day that Congress fails to protect them. Mitch McConnell must follow through on his promises and quickly allow a vote on the Dream Act in the Senate and Paul Ryan must do the same in the House," said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. "More than one million Dreamers, including 75,000 LGBTQ young people, face uncertainty in the only country they've ever known. We will not rest until Congress protects them."

In Michigan, a former member of a Downriver church that is under fire over a planned workshop aimed at "healing" teenage LGBTQ girls said adults at the church once prayed over her transgender son, asking God to release the "demon" from him, the Detroit Free Press reported. "My son had three adults laying hands on him—[he was] screaming so loud I heard him from the other room—praying that God will deliver him from [the homosexuality] demon," Kim Tooley said. Tooley, 40, who said she attended Metro City Church in Riverview from 2012 through 2014, disputed statements from lead pastor Jeremy Schossau, who has said the church does not use controversial "conversion therapy" methods.

CenterLink and The Johnson Family Foundation announced that several LGBT community centers were recently awarded a grant dedicated to increasing the variety and quality of mental health services they provide, according to a press release. They include The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach ( Long Beach, California ), Pacific Pride Foundation ( Santa Barbara, California ), Pride Center of Staten Island, Inc. ( Staten Island, New York ), GLBT Community Center of Colorado ( Denver ), Persad Center ( Pittsburgh ), Zebra Coalition ( Orlando, Florida ), In Our Own Voices ( Albany, New York ) and Rainbow Resource Centre ( Wiinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada ).

The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals ( NOGLSTP ) has announced the winners of its 2018 recognition awards for LGBTQ+ professionals in science, technology, engineering and math ( STEM ), according to a press release. Dr. Biswajit "Bish" Paul is NOGLSTP's 2018 LGBTQ+ Educator of the Year, while Dr. Danelle Tanner is NOGLSTP's 2018 LGBTQ+ Scientist of the Year and David Taubenheim is NOGLSTP's 2018 LGBTQ+ Engineer of the Year. For more, visit NOGLSTP.org .

The LGBTQ archive project at the College of Charleston received a boost in the form of a $200,000 Dorothy and Gaylord Donnelley Foundation grant, The Post and Courier noted. The project is receiving support from the college's library dean, John White, and is modeled after the school's Jewish Heritage Collection and African-American archives, both of which the college has funded. The LGBTQ project has two parts—an oral history initiative and an effort to accumulate documentation on gay history in the Lowcountry—librarian Harlan Greene said.

Last year, conservatives were outraged that a gay couple appeared in an ad for McCain, a brand of frozen potato products—but the company is sticking to its guns, LGBTQ Nation noted. The company has said it "celebrates real homes and [is] depicting honest, modern day family life," and there's a new ad featuring a lesbian couple.

A Philadelphia LGBT business had a friendly wager with an establishment in Boston pending the Super Bowl's outcome—which had the Eagles beating the New England Patriots. According to Philadelphia Gay News, Woody's Bar in Philadelphia made the bet with Club Café in Boston: If the Eagles won the Super Bowl, Club Cafe would make a $500 donation to Philadelphia FIGHT. If the Patriots won, Woody's would make a $500 donation to Harbor to the Bay. Philadelphia Fight provides primary care, consumer education, advocacy and research on potential treatments and vaccines specific to HIV/AIDS.

Steve Wynn has stepped down as the CEO of Wynn Resorts after allegations of sexual misconduct piled pressure on the billionaire casino mogul and sent the company's stock tumbling, CNNMoney reported. Wynn, 76, has denied the accusations of misconduct, which gained widespread attention in late January after an investigative report by The Wall Street Journal detailed numerous allegations against him, citing dozens of sources.

On the eve of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, a Fox News executive slammed the U.S. Olympic Committee for its attempts to make the team more diverse, The Hollywood Reporter noted. John Moody, the network's executive editor and executive vice president, published an op-ed that blasted Team USA for making the Olympics less about "faster, higher, stronger" and more about "darker, gayer, different." In part, Moody wrote that the official went through a "embarrassing laundry list of how many African-Americans, Asians and openly gay athletes are on this year's U.S. team. No sport that we are aware of awards points—or medals—for skin color or sexual orientation." Fox News pulled the column, PinkNews noted.

Underwear brand Andrew Christian has indefinitely suspended one of its models—adult-film star Topher DiMaggio—while they investigate several sexual assault claims made against him, according to Hornet.com . Five different men—including porn star Tegan Zayne and and YouTube personality Bryan Hawn—have all come forward with claims that DiMaggio sexually assaulted them. In a statement to Queerty, Andrew Christian stated, "Andrew Christian does not condone sexual abuse or any other type of abuse or mistreatment to members of our community. ... ate last year, Andrew Christian started Project LOVE to help support various worthy charities in the LGBTQ community. Andrew Christian is committed to creating a safe welcoming environment for our LGBTQ family."

The University of Southern California ( USC ), known nationally for its aggressive fundraising operation, saw contributions tumble in the second half of 2017, a period in which scandals roiled its medical school, the L.A. Times reported. Former Keck School of Medicine dean Carmen Puliafito had used methamphetamine and other drugs while running the medical school and treating patients in a campus eye clinic. In the fall, Puliafito's replacement as dean was forced out after USC settled a sexual harassment claim against him, and the top university fundraiser for its health sciences program departed amid accusations that he had harassed female subordinates.


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