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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL Riot thwarted, Stacey Abrams, LGBTQ deaths
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-06-11

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Police thwarted a plan by a neo-Nazi group to spark "Charlottesville 2.0" at the Detroit LGBTQ event known as Motor City Pride, The Detroit News reported. Craig said the white supremacists had hoped to spark a riot that was worse than the Aug. 12, 2017, incident in Charlottesville, Virginia. Members of the Nazi group were openly carrying firearms—which is legal in Michigan—while they traded barbs with counterprotesters described by police chief James Craig as "an Antifa group." The chief said Detroit officers were successfully able to keep the two groups apart, "and no one got hurt," he said.

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will serve as a grand marshal in Atlanta's Gay Pride Parade, WRDW.com reported. In a video, Abrams said it was an honor to be chosen. "We've come a long way on that journey," Abrams added. "But Americans can still be fired from their jobs simply because of who they are, or who they love."

The National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) issued a statement on the murder of trans woman Chynal Lindsey. NBJC Director David J. Johns said, in part, "While many are celebrating Pride Month, Black women and girls are being murdered across the country and too few people are acknowledging this reality and trying to stop these deaths. ... Our call to action is simple: contribute to gender justice by creating and sustaining safe, supportive, and affirming environments for all Black women and girls—and all means all. This work begins by recognizing the diversity that exists within our community and holding space for everyone to show up just as they are."

A Detroit man has been charged with killing three people who prosecutors say were targeted because of their sexuality, the Detroit Free Press reported. Devon Robinson, 19, of Detroit is facing three counts of first-degree murder in the May 25 shootings of Alunte Davis, 21, Paris Cameron, 20, and Timothy Blancher, 20šall of Detroit—in a home on Devonshire on the city's east side, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. Worthy's office said Davis and Blancher were gay men; Cameron was a transgender woman.

A 23-year-old Black transgender woman was found fatally shot in a North Carolina field on June 5. Chanel Scurlock is at least the ninth Black trans woman killed in the country in 2019, and the fifth killed in the past month, accoding to a BET.com item that cites the Human Rights Campaign. Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins told reporters with the The Robesonian that police found Scurlock while responding to reports of gunfire in the area. Scurlock's car was initially reported missing, but police found it later on June 5.

A former Charles Manson follower linked to a string of gay hate crimes in the 1980s won an appeal and has been let off death row—but, under a new plea deal, will still spend the rest of his life behind bars, The Houston Chronicle reported. Marlin Enos Nelson, who once professed a hatred of gay people, was originally sentenced to die for the 1987 murder of a telephone switchman who picked him up for sex, according to court records.

Responding to the killings of five transgender women of color in less than one month, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is establishing a scholarship to enable a transgender woman of color to attend the Workplace Summit at no cost. Out & Equal's Workplace Summit conference ( in October in Washington, D.C. ) is the largest event of its kind, in which representatives of more than 800 of the Fortune 1,000 companies come together with other executives, employee resource group members as well as human and diversity/inclusion professionals. Applications for this scholarship can be found at https://outandequal.org/transempowermentscholarship/.

President Obama tweeted support to Jiwandeep Kohli, who sported a Pride turban on social media. Kohli initially tweeted, "I'm proud to be a bisexual bearded baking brain scientist. I feel fortunate to be able to express all these aspects of my identity, and will continue to work toward ensuring the same freedom for others. #PrideMonth #PrideTurban #LoveIsLove." Obama then posted, "You've got a lot to be proud of, Jiwandeep. Thanks for everything you do to make this country a little more equal. Turban looks great, by the way. Happy Pride Month, everybody!"

The manager of a Georgia hotel was fired after rescinding an offer to rent rooms to members of an LGBTQ group upon learning who they are, Yahoo! Lifestyle noted. Rural American Pride Committee founder Antwon Stephens said he had initially spoken on the phone with a woman named Nancy at America's Best Value Inn in rural Clayton. After blocking off 10 rooms, Nancy left a voicemail stating, "After looking further into what your group stands for, we are rescinding our offer of a reduced room rate, and do not want to sponsor or offer support in any way." when Andy Patel, the owner of America's Best Value Inn, learned of Nancy's behavior, he fired the manager immediately.

A Dallas gay bar manager was fired for refusing to serve a trans woman, Gay Star News noted. At JR's Bar and Grill, a bartender asked for trans woman Blair Jirousek's ID—but the staffer refused to serve them and handed back their IDs without explanation, according to friend Daniel Heredia. JR's then escorted the group out of the bar and the guard offered no explanation, according to the post. The bar later issued a statement saying the offending bartender had been fired and that JR's will not tolerate discrimination.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden declared the Equality Act to ban anti-LGBT discrimination would be his top priority if elected to the White House. Speaking before 730 attendees at a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Columbus, Ohio, Biden said passage of the Equality Act would "send a message around the world" the United States supports LGBT rights.

In other Biden-related news, he said he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment, blocks federal funds from being used for most abortions, CNN.com reported. Biden told a crowd he had changed his mind because Republican state lawmakers have enacted "extreme laws in clear violation of constitutional rights" protected by the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, making access to abortions more difficult for women who cannot afford the procedure or travel to obtain it.

A group of activists defending heterosexual rights has taken down a photograph of actor Brad Pitt from its website after he objected, The Guardian reported. Super Happy Fun America had adopted the actor as an unofficial mascot for the movement, which seeks to "advocates on behalf of the straight community" and describes straight people as "an oppressed majority." Controversial author and far-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos—who's openly gay—will be both mascot and grand marshal of a proposed parade to be staged by the group in Boston, mirroring the route taken by the city's annual Pride parade. The "Straight Pride Parade" is slated to take place this summer.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) issued a press release praising the U.S. House for passing the Dream and Promise Act. The organization said the measure is "a landmark bill that would create a pathway to permanent citizenship for over 2.5 million undocumented immigrants." NCLR Senior Policy Counsel Tyrone Hanley said, "The historic passage of the Dream and Promise Act in the House reflects the transformative organizing done and lead by Dreamers, many of whom are LGBTQ. Despite the onslaught of hatred coming from the White House, we know immigrants are beloved members of our communities."

A lesbian couple claimed Madison's Cafe—a restaurant in O'Fallon, Missouri—refused to host their wedding rehearsal dinner upon learning the soon-to-be-spouses are both women, LGBTQ Nation reported. Mindy Rackley and Kendall Brown had planned on holding their rehearsal dinner at Madison's because it had been the favorite restaurant of Rackley's father before he died two-and-a-half years ago. Numerous restaurants have since reached out to Rackley and Brown to host their dinner.

The University of Alabama returned $21.5 million to a donor who urged students to boycott over the state's recently passed abortion ban—and removed his name from the law-school sign, CNN.com noted. Florida lawyer/developer Hugh Culverhouse Jr. originally pledged a total of $26.5 million last year. "I will not allow my family's name to be associated with an educational system that advocates a state law which discriminates against women, disregards established federal law and violates our Constitution," Culverhouse said. The Alabama ban would make abortion at any stage of pregnancy a crime punishable by 10 years to life in prison for the provider—with no exceptions for rape or incest, The Tampa Bay Times noted.

A month after partying with drag queens at the Des Moines, Iowa, gay bar Blazing Saddles, U.S. Sen. ( and presidential candidate ) Kirsten Gillibrand returned to the bar to serve drinks as part of the city's Pride weekend celebration, according to LGBTQ Nation. She also went shopping for Pride gear with fellow candidate Pete Buttigieg's husband, Chasten.

On June 15, an Alabama Methodist church will offer a free screening of an episode of Arthur banned by the state public television channel because it features a same-sex wedding, NewNowNext.com noted. The episode ran, in other states at least, on May 13, and is titled "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone," and centers around the kids' teacher marrying his husband. The First United Methodist Church of Birmingham will show the episode in partnership with the Sidewalk Film Festival and Shout LGBTQ Film Festival.

In a first for its species and reptilian Agamidae family, a female Asian water dragon at the National Zoo successfully produced offspring without the help of a male, USA Today reported. The process—known as facultative parthenogenesis—occurs when a female that can reproduce sexually instead does so without breeding or receiving genetic material from a male, the Smithsonian said.


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