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NATIONAL Subway attack, Matthew Shepard, OUT100, Indiana hospital
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-11-26

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In Manhattan, a man was hit with a hammer and pushed onto the subway tracks in what police believe may be a hate crime, LGBTQ Nation reported. The alleged attacker then approached the 21-year-old victim waving a hammer, shouting "F****t! F****t!" at him. The victim climbed out on his own before the next train arrived, and paramedics took him to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he was treated for a deep cut to his left eyebrow and minor injuries.

The Washington National Cathedral will dedicate a plaque to Matthew Shepard—a victim of a 1998 hate crime whose death became a landmark moment in LGBTQ history, on Dec. 2, Advocate.com noted. Shepard's remains last year were interred in the Cathedral on the 20th anniversary of his murder. Judy Shepard, Matthew's mother and co-founder and president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, said the dedication is possible because of fundraising support.

Out Magazine has unveiled its latest OUT100 list. The covers feature Sam Smith, Jeremy O. Harris, Young M.A., Ronan Farrow, Nicolas Ghesquiere and The Trans Obituaries Project, with a few of the other featured people including Trixie Mattel, Sasha Velour and Shangela; Aaron Philip; Lachlan Watson; Joel Kim Booster; Dan Levy; Angelica Ross; Beanie Feldstein; Ts Madison; and Lil Nas X, among others.

An Indiana hospital said more than 1,000 patients may have been exposed to severe infectious diseases after the hospital learned one of its technicians did not properly sterilize surgical tools, People.com noted. Goshen Hospital sent letters to 1,182 patients who underwent surgery between April and September, notifying them they may have been exposed to hepatitis B and C as well as HIV, Fox42 reported; however, they said that the risk of infection is "extremely low," as the tools were almost fully sterilized. Goshen said that "out of an abundance of caution," it will conduct free blood testing for the potentially exposed patients.

The NAMES Project Foundation announced that the National AIDS Memorial will become the new caretaker of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and NAMES Project programs, a press release noted. This historic decision will return The Quilt to the San Francisco Bay Area, where—32 years ago during the height of the AIDS epidemic—the first panels of the Quilt were created. The Quilt will be an essential component of a "Center for Social Conscience" that the National AIDS Memorial plans to build in the coming years, which will be grounded in the story of the AIDS epidemic, social justice, action and change.

In a first-of-its-kind poll, a new survey from YouGov and Out magazine found that LGBTQ+ voters favor the Massachusetts Senator by a nearly two-to-one margin over her Democratic rivals in the 2020 primary race, Out.com reported. In an online survey of 816 likely voters in the Democratic primary conducted between Nov. 11 and Nov. 18, 31 percent claimed that Warren is their preferred candidate, followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ( 18 percent ), former Vice President Joe Biden ( 16 percent ), and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg ( 14 percent ).

The American Medical Association ( AMA ) voted to support state and federal efforts to ban gay conversion therapy, NBC News reported. "It is clear to the AMA that the conversion therapy needs to end in the United States given the risk of deliberate harm to LGBTQ people," AMA board member Dr. William E. Kobler said in a statement shared with NBC News. "Conversion therapy has no foundation as scientifically valid medical care and lacks credible evidence to support its efficacy or safety." In August, a study found that 200,000 transgender people in the United States have been exposed to conversion therapy at some point in their lives.

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to ban conversion therapy—making it the first city in Minnesota to do so, Out.com noted. The new ordinance will prohibit licensed mental health professionals in Minneapolis from practicing conversion therapy on anyone under 18. Conversion therapy is a discredited practice that claims to "cure" members of the LGBTQ+ community and has been widely opposed by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for several decades, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Openly gay Cincinnati City Council member Chris Seelbach called for a boycott of local hospital network TriHealth after a nurse from Bethesda Butler Hospital posted anti-LGBTQ remarks on her personal Facebook page, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. In responses to the story in The Enquirer's Greater Cincinnati Politics Facebook group, some readers accused Seelbach of bullying a nurse and undermining her free speech and religious rights; others saw a victory for gay and transgender people. Seelbach said he's glad TriHealth had put nurse Cindy Carter on leave—but he won't be satisfied until she no longer works there.

The anti-trans policies of the Trump administration were a key focus at a Capitol Hill news conference hosted by U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III ( D-Massachusetts ), who deplored anti-trans violence in recognition of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, The Washington Blade reported. Kennedy, chair of the congressional Transgender Task Force, said at the beginning of news conference 30 transgender people were killed in the United States in 2019 and 331 internationally, citing a newly recently report from Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide.

The American Red Cross is calling for the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) to relax its policy on blood donation for gay men, Out.com reported. Up until December 2015, the FDA banned sexually active gay men and transgender women from donating blood altogether for decades. That policy was revised to shorten the deferral period to 12 months after sexual contact.

The United States Census Bureau released its "America's Families and Living Arrangements" data packet, claiming that it has "made improvements in survey measures and processing to better gauge the makeup of U.S. households," according to a press release that LGBTQ Nation quoted. However, there is an issue in that the numbers they released were estimates—meaning the actual data that the U.S. Census has a long history of not collecting will continue to go unknown. "According to estimates from the 2019 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement ( CPS ASEC ), there are 543,000 same-sex married couple households and 469,000 households with same-sex unmarried partners living together," the Census stated.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg formally announced he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination on Nov. 24, launching a multimillion-dollar ad campaign that frames his candidacy as the best hope for defeating President Trump,, CBS News reported. In a letter on his revamped website, Bloomberg wrote that the country "cannot afford four more years of President Trump's reckless and unethical actions." Among other things, he said on his website that he will unveil his plan to protect women's and LGBTQ rights.

Eric Rasmusen—a professor at Indiana University who defended "racist, sexist, and homophobic" comments he posted on his social media accounts—will keep his job because his views are protected under the Constitution, university officials announced after they were bombarded with demands to fire him, CBS News reported. "Professor Eric Rasmusen has, for many years, used his private social media accounts to disseminate his racist, sexist, and homophobic views," said university Executive Vice President and Provost Lauren Robel in a letter. However, Robel said the university can't and won't fire Rasmusen for the posts "as vile and stupid as they are, because the First Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids us to do so."

No charges will be filed in the death of a Tennessee teen who took his own life shortly after sexually explicit messages he'd exchanged with another boy when he was 15 were leaked on social media, People.com noted. Channing Smith, 16, of Manchester, was horrified when he learned that teens he knew had posted private messages he'd sent, outing him as possibly bisexual, his brother, Joshua Smith, said. A day before what would have been Channing's 17th birthday, Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott—known for his anti-LGBTQ views—released a statement saying he would not be filing criminal charges in the case.

New York Transgender Advocacy Group ( NYTAG ) co-founder Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker stood on a pedestal at the Christopher Street Pier on Nov. 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and read the names of transgender people who have lost their lives this year—before asking the crowd if other names should be added to that list, Gay City News reported. One name was called out, and then another, and another. It was a reflection of the ongoing deadly violence facing transgender folks—particularly, trans women of color—during a year when at least 22 trans folks have been killed in the United States. The crowd gathered alongside Gays Against Guns and NYTAG on the edge of the Hudson River for an emotional vigil at the pier before marching to Christopher Park across the Stonewall Inn.

A Christian photographer in Louisville who opposes same-sex marriage, but has never been forced to photograph a gay wedding, has sued the city, saying its 20-year-old Fairness Ordinance violates her constitutional rights, The Louisville Courier Journal reported. Chelsey Nelson, owner of Chelsey Nelson Photography, claimed the city is using "the threat of limitless damages" to force her to "create photographs for, blog about, and participate in solemn ceremonies she disagrees with—same-sex wedding ceremonies." The Kentucky Court of Appeals held in 2017 that a Lexington printer had the free-speech right to refuse to print a T-shirt promoting the city's annual gay pride festival.

Lambda Legal asked a federal court to end the U.S. Social Security Administration's ( SSA ) refusal to provide spousal survivor's benefits to a 64-year-old lesbian whose partner of 27 years died before same-sex couples in Washington state were able to marry, a press release noted. Lambda Legal also asked the court to end this discrimination against all similarly situated same-sex surviving partners who were barred from marriage. Helen Thornton and Marge Brown were in a committed relationship with one another from 1979, when they were both 23, until 2006, when Brown died of cancer at 50. The case is at https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/thornton-v-saul.

For the first time since New York began annual HIV reporting, the number of new diagnoses dropped below 2,000 last year, Out.com reported. That's according to a new report from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which reports that 1,917 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in New York City in 2018; in 2017, the figure was 2,157. Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Raul Perea-Henze lauded local outreach and prevention efforts, writing that the city's goal of ending the epidemic by 2020 is within sight but also called for increased efforts to reach that goal.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo ceremoniously signed legislation making it easier for veterans to get their state and local benefits if they were discharged from the military solely due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, NBC News reported. The bill, officially signed into law in June, will provide these veterans with a streamlined process to upgrade their discharge status to "honorable" allowing them to receive state and local veteran benefits such as certain tax exemptions and tuition assistance.

South Carolina Rep. Stewart Jones ( R ) filed a bill that would make it a crime to provide transition-related medical care to trans people under 18, LGBTQ Nation reported. Experts agree such bills will literally kill trans children and make parents and medical professional more afraid of discussing how to best care for trans minors. Jones' bill is similar to legislation introduced by Kentucky Rep. Savannah Maddox ( R ) and Georgia Rep. Ginny Ehrhart ( R ). Republicans are pursuing similar legislation Alaska and Illinois as well, according to The Post & Courier.

For the second time in 2019, top Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey pulled the plug on legislation to legalize cannabis sales for recreational use—eliminating any likelihood Gov. Phil Murphy will deliver on a key campaign promise before 2021, Politico reported. Instead, legislative leaders introduced a resolution that would put a recreational use question on the November 2020 ballot. The resolution would need to pass both houses of the state legislature by three-fifths majorities in one year or by simple majorities in consecutive years to make it onto the ballot.

Openly lesbian ex-Army psychiatrist and decorated brigadier general Loree Sutton is a 2021 New York City mayoral hopeful, Gay City News noted. She moved to New York City in 2013 and, in 2014, was appointed to lead the Mayor's Office of Veterans' Services, which would eventually turn into the Department of Veterans' Services.

More than half of Republican voters in a new Hill-HarrisX poll said that adoption agencies should not be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples, The Hill noted. The nationwide survey released on Tuesday showed that 66 percent of Republicans said that adoption groups should not be able to turn away LGBTQ parents, compared to 75 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents.

Fuller Theological Seminary was hit with a lawsuit in California federal court Nov. 21 by a former graduate student who said she was expelled from the institution when administrators discovered she was married to a woman, Bloomberg Law reported. Joanna Maxon—a Christian woman who said she had hoped to use her seminary degree "to become a better supervisor" and to advance her career—brought her lawsuit under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. She claims that, despite being a religious institution, Fuller accepts federal funding and doesn't have a religious exemption under Title IX.

In Alabama, a Mobile printing company refused to print a diversity-themed University of South Alabama magazine on religious grounds, AL.com reported. Interstate Printing told Due South Magazine Editor-in-Chief Sara Boone that the content of the magazine, which is about diversity and inclusion, did not align with the company's religious values. Boone said the company had quoted $5,000 for 3500 copies of the magazine. Interstate has been printing Due South magazine since 2012, according to Boone, who added she believed the problem was likely the LGBTQ and drag-queen stories.

A West Virginia public library has pulled an LGBT children's book from its shelves after local residents objected to it, National Review noted. The Upshur County Public Library removed the book Prince and Knight—about a prince who falls in love with a knight—after a local pastor complained earlier this month that the book "is a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children, especially boys, into the LGBTQA lifestyle."

In Alaska, a spokesperson for the Department of Law said a Permanent Fund dividend ( PFD ) check denied to a partner in a same-sex marriage was an "inadvertent mistake" that officials had tried to remedy before a lawsuit was filed, KTUU.com reported. Denali Smith sued the governor, attorney general and other cabinet officials in federal court, alleging that she didn't receive her 2019 PFD because she was in a same-sex marriage. According to the Department of Law, officials had been applying an out-of-date Alaska statute that restricted benefits to same-sex married couples.

A Colorado website designer has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit challenging the state's anti-discrimination law, which she says will not allow her to refuse to make wedding websites for same-sex couples, Advocate.com reported. Court documents obtained by the Denver-based Westword showed that Lorie Smith, of 303 Creative, does not actually make wedding websites yet, nor have any gay clients explicitly asked her to do so. Should the Tenth Circuit rule against Smith, it's likely that her attorneys from the group Alliance Defending Freedom will ask the Supreme Court to intervene again—giving conservatives another chance to chip away at LGBTQ legal protections.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with other civil rights groups, called on President Trump to fire White House advisor Stephen Miller for propagating racist, anti-immigrant sentiments, a press release stated. Among other things, the groups connect Miller's ideology with the rising levels of hate crime in the United States, saying, "The heightened anti-immigrant, anti-minority sentiment that echoes throughout the policies of this administration is undoubtedly linked to the alarming rise of hate crimes, which reached their highest level in recorded history in 2018. Stephen Miller's racist, deadly agenda is contributing to this violence and must be stopped."

Craig Silverman, a talk-show host for a conservative radio station in Denver, claimed he was fired mid-show after criticizing President Donald Trump, Rolling Stone noted. Silverman told the Denver Post that he was interrupted in the middle of a segment about Roy Cohn, Trump's former lawyer, by his producer who threw his hands up and told the host, "You're done." Silverman—who voted for Trump in 2016—took to Twitter after being fired, posting, "I cannot and will not toe strict Trump party line. I call things as I see them."


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