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NATIONAL Trans death, ACA, 1957 gay wedding, serial killer
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2019-08-21

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Several bridges and the city hall building in Houston were lit in transgender flag colors to honor the memory of Tracy Single, 22—a Black transgender woman who was found dead in a possible homicide in July, LGBTQ Nation reported. The city lit six bridges and city hall up with the colors of the transgender flag—light blue, pink and white—in the memory of Single. She is the 16th transgender person known to have been killed in the United States this year, and the third in Texas.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) announced that it—along with a dozen coalition partners—submitted more than 130,000 public comments against the Trump-Pence administration's proposed regulation to strip protections for transgender patients and other marginalized communities in the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Section 1557, a press release noted. New HRC President Alphonso David said, "The Trump-Pence administration's proposal undermines crucial non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people provided by the Affordable Care Act and puts LGBTQ people at greater risk of being denied health care solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. We oppose this proposal in the strongest terms."

On a related note, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren tweeted, "Everyone should be able to access high-quality, affordable, gender-affirming health care," LGBTQ Nation noted. She then linked to ProtectTransHealth.org—a website that urged people to submit a comment on the federal register.

LGBT activists on two different coasts are searching for a couple pictured in a 1957 gay wedding ceremony after photos of the event surfaced recently and went viral online, The Hill reported. Bob Skiba, curator of collections at the John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives in Philadelphia, told The Hill that some of the 21 photos are there while the rest are at the ONE Archive in Los Angeles. The photos, which were developed in a Philadelphia drug store, show two men dressed in ties and wearing boutonnieres, kissing, flanked by groomsmen and cutting a cake. Those with tips/leads can send them to www.waygay.org/archives as well as the OurOneStory page ( www.ouronestory.com/ ).

A man who killed six gay men during a murder spree in 1994 is set to be executed Aug. 22, LGBTQ Nation reported. Gary Ray Bowles, 57, will be the 99th person put to death in Florida, and will be the second person put to death under Gov. Ron DeSantis ( R ). The Florida Supreme Court overturned his death sentence because they said that the trial court erred when it told the jury that Hinton was gay and that Bowles hated gay men. In 1999, he received the death penalty again.

Activists are pressing Navajo Nation leaders to repeal a ban on same-sex marriage and expand protections for LGBTQ people on tribal lands, Fox13Now.com reported. The call to repeal the Dine Marriage Act came out of the Navajo Nation's most recent Pride celebration, where 6,000 attended. Dine Equality's Alray Nelson said it would go a long way to help young LGBTQ people who struggle to find acceptance and sometimes attempt suicide.

The hashtag #BoycottCVS began trending following news the company plans to cut reimbursements for women who receive birth control through the mail, which led to swift condemnations from groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America, Out.com reported. In addition, CVS Health Corp. is allegedly one of the largest donors to President Trump's re-election campaign, although it also gave to some Democratic groups as well, including the New Democrat Coalition Action Fund and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The company has, however, pledged to stop donating to a pro-Trump dark-money group known as America First Policies after initially giving the PAC $500,000.

Houston mayoral candidate Demetria Smith defended language some considered homophobic, insisting her words weren't meant to be divisive, Click2Houston.com reported. The comments come after Smith made a series of Facebook posts claiming she was being attacked by members of the gay community for her views on whether she would support another equal-rights ordinance, similar to the initiative that failed at the ballot box in 2015. One initial post had her saying, "Houston have had too may gay mayors back to back and in city hall period it's time to get it straight." Lesbian Annise Parker was Houston's mayor during 2010-16.

Two Pulse shooting survivors who say that they're no longer gay are planning an ex-gay march near the site of the shooting, LGBTQ Nation reported. Speaking on a Christian conservative podcast with Julie Roys, Luis Javier Ruiz and Angel Colon ( who have set up Fearless Identity, an ex-gay ministry ) said that the shooting helped them find God. The march is planned for Sept. 14.

Mauro Garza, the owner of the a gay nightclub in San Antonio, is running as a Republican for a Texas congressional seat, according to LGBTQ Nation. Garza would face LGBTQ ally Joaquin Castro in the general election if he wins the primary. Garza—who ran in the neighboring congressional district last year, and lost—is a self-proclaimed conservative and Log Cabin Republican whose most recent campaign for office was self-funded, using red ballcaps that read "Make TX-21 greater" as both a nod to his district and his support of Donald Trump.

In a complaint filed Aug. 11, openly gay CNN correspondent Don Lemon was accused of assaulting plaintiff Dustin Hice in a Sag Harbor, New York, bar last summer, Deadline reported. "Mr. Lemon, who was wearing a pair of shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt, put his hand down the front of his own shorts, and vigorously rubbed his genitalia, removed his hand and shoved his index and middle fingers into [Hice's] moustache under [Hice's] nose," the filing for "emotional pain and suffering" claims. "The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social-media accounts," a network spokesperson told Deadline.

In Louisiana, Lambda Legal urged a federal district court judge to find that Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA ) when he rescinded a job offer for William "Liam" Pierce to serve as a sheriff's deputy after learning that Pierce was a person living with HIV, a press release noted. According to the organization, while U.S. District Court Judge Michael Juneau denied the motion because the sheriff had not yet been deposed and some facts remain in dispute, he also expressed skepticism regarding the sheriff's prospects for proving the legality of the office's conduct. The case now proceeds to trial, scheduled for Jan. 6, 2020.

The father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart has come out as gay, Inside Edition noted. Ed Smart, 64, recently came out in a Facebook post to friends and family. He said he is "finally acknowledging a part of me that I have struggled with most of my life and never wanted to accept." Court records show Lois Smart filed for divorce July 5. Elizabeth—now 31 and the mother of three children—released a statement saying, "While I am deeply saddened by their separation, nothing could change my love and admiration for them both."

A man arrested is the first person in Oregon to be accused of a bias crime—a new state law that went into effect last month, OregonLIVE.com reported. Robert Oden has been charged with one count of bias crime in the first degree, felony assault in the fourth degree, two counts of harassment and two counts of bias crime in the second degree. Oden has been accused of assaulting a group of people leaving CC Slaughters, a gay nightclub, in the Old Town area of Portland.

An Alabama high school student who wore a tuxedo for her senior portrait instead of the traditional black drape for girls received her yearbook—only to discover that her photo was missing, NBC News reported. Holley Gerelds, who graduated this year from Springville High School, told NBC affiliate WVTM in Birmingham that she wanted to be herself in her senior portrait so she asked the photographer if she could wear a tuxedo. "I hate to say it, but I'm used to it. I saw it coming," she told WVTM about being omitted. "I feel like I did nothing wrong. I paid, I was on time." The superintendent said the school will reprint a page of the yearbook to include all students.

GLAAD praised presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet ( D-Cdorado ) for endorsing a constitutional amendment that would expand the proposed Equal Rights Amendment ( ERA ) to include explicit protections for other marginalized communities in the United States, including women, LGBTQ Americans, people of color and people with disabilities, a press release noted. Speaking with BuzzFeed's AM to DM, Bennet is the first 2020 presidential candidate to support the effort by the ERA Coalition and GLAAD.

A Catholic mother and father in Connecticut have sued local and state officials, saying they used false reports that the parents were mistreating their lesbian daughter to take her away from the family, Advocate.com reported. The first suit is against Regional School District 19 and staff members at the daughter's high school, and the second is against the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. The couple filed one suit in March in Vernon, Connecticut, Superior Court, and another in Hartford Superior Court in July, but they were just made public last week by an article in the Journal Inquirer, a Connecticut newspaper.

According to The Princeton Review's annual ranking of college campuses, Pennsylvania's Bryn Mawr College earned its spot at the top of LGBTQ-friendly schools in the United States, Philadelphia Gay News noted. The ranking, included in the Princeton Review's The Best 385 Colleges: 2020 Edition, draws from the opinions of 140,000 students who attended the considered colleges during the 2018-19 school year. A few of the other schools in the top 20 include Mount Holyoke College ( Massachusetts; #2 ), Brown University ( Rhode Island; #4 ), College of the Atlantic ( Maine; #7 ), Rice University ( Texas; #10 ) and the College of William and Mary ( Virginia; #15 ), according to PrincetonReview.com .

Federal contractors will get a clearer picture of religious defenses to workplace discrimination claims under a proposed rule the Labor Department announced, Bloomberg Law reported. The proposal would cement current exemptions that "religion-exercising organizations" can use to shield themselves from bias claims for hiring decisions and other actions motivated by religious belief. LGBT-rights advocates previously spoke out against the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' stance on religious defenses for contractors after the agency published an August 2018 directive focused on religious freedom.

A group of LGBTQ YouTubers alleged in a federal lawsuit that YouTube and parent company Google discriminate against LGBTQ creators, Forbes.com reported. Five sets of YouTubers—GNews! producers Celso Dulay and Chris Knight, Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers, WattsTheStanford's Brett Somers, transgender YouTuber Chase Ross and Queer Kid Stuff creator Lindsay Amer—claim the platform block LGBTQ creators from purchasing ads on other videos and let anti-LGBTQ ads run before their own videos, among other charges.

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced that longtime Miami Herald reporter Steve Rothaus, Recode co-founder Kara Swisher and LGBTQ pioneer Lilli Vincenz are the 2019 inductees in the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame, a press release stated. Their induction will take place Aug. 31 at the NLGJA National Convention in New Orleans. To date, the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame has honored 45 LGBTQ individuals, living and deceased, who have left a lasting mark on their profession through their own courage and mastery of the practice of journalism.

Also, NLGJA announced in a separate press release that the Washington Blade is the inaugural recipient of the NLGJA Legacy Award. The Washington Blade was founded as "The Gay Blade" in 1969. Originally a black-and-white, one-sheet community newsletter, the paper was initially distributed in local D.C. bars.

Rep. Andy McKean, Iowa's longest-serving Republican lawmaker, left his party to join the Democrats—and cited President Donald Trump as a factor in his decision, Time.com reported. "With the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon, I feel, as a Republican, that I need to be able to support the standard bearer of our party," McKean told reporters at the Iowa Capitol during a news conference. "Unfortunately, that's something I'm unable to do."

More than 80,000 people have signed a petition urging the city of New York to rename a portion of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue—a stretch that includes Trump Tower—after former President Barack Obama, HuffPost reported. If the petition is successful, Trump Tower ( the heart of President Donald Trump's real estate empire and where he maintains a residence ) will be on 725 President Barack H. Obama Ave. Actresses Patricia Arquette and Marg Helgenberger are among those supporting the petition.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ( D-New York ) called on U.S. Rep. Steve King ( R-Iowa ) to resign after the embattled congressman questioned whether there would be "any population of the world left" if not for rape and incest throughout history, The Hill reported. "You are a disgrace. Resign," Gillibrand, who is vying for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination, tweeted. Sen. Cory Booker's ( D-New Jersey ) campaign issued a statement shortly after reports of King's remarks, echoing Gillibrand's call for King to resign.

Last year, accused sex trafficker and convicted child-sex offender Jeffrey Epstein gave an exclusive interview with reporter James B. Stewart from the New York Times—but the contents are just being divulged now, Queerty noted. According to Stewart, Epstein said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable. And, in a comparison that many consider vile, Epstein reportedly added that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world.


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