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NATIONAL Trans march, Danica Roem, cannabis company, lesbian tech event
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-08-13

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A National Transgender Visibility March on Washington originally planned for March 31 will now take place Saturday, Sept. 28, The Washington Blade reported. D.C.-based transgender activist and leader organizer Marissa Miller said the march will begin with a morning rally at Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C. in which prominent transgender- and LGBT-rights advocates will speak. Among those scheduled to speak at the rally will be actress, transgender rights advocate, and businesswoman Angelica Ross, who starred in the FX series Pose, a statement read. Also confirmed as speakers are Alphonso David, the recently named president of the Human Rights Campaign; and Earline Budd, the longtime D.C. transgender rights advocate, according to Miller.

In Virginia, trans politician Danica Roem has begun her campaign to be re-elected this Nov. 5 and—just as she faced homo- and transphobia in her successful campaign to unseat incumbent Bob Marshall in 2017—she is facing another anti-LGBTQ Republican who is being supported by anti-LGBTQ organizations and their members, The Daily Beast reported. Roem said she is ready to fight any and all prejudice and bigotry on the campaign trail, just as in 2017 when the bathroom ban-supporting Marshall claimed Roem defied "the laws of nature." Roem's opponent this November is Kelly McGinn, a former lawyer and congressional staffer for right-wing Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback.

Cannabis company Plus Products Inc. announced that it has donated $60,937 to the SF LGBT Center from the sales proceeds of its annual Rainbow Sorbet limited-edition gummies, according to a Globe Newswire press release. Plus cannabis-infused edibles are available at more than 300 licensed retailers across California, and are expected to be available at licensed retailers in Nevada by the end of the summer.

The Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Summit will take place Sept. 11-13 in New York City, according to its website. Among the dozens of confirmed speakers are Alicia Garza, the principal of Black Futures Lab and co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter and Supermajority; Reddit COO Jen Wong; writer/editor Roxane Gay; Axios CTO Jess Szmajda; and L'Oreal CMO Gretchen Saegh-Fleming. See https://lesbianswhotech.org/newyork2019/.

Police are searching for the suspect accused of killing 21-year-old transgender woman Kiki Fantroy in Goulds, Florida, according to Metro Weekly. Miami-Dade Police haven't said if the shooter was on foot or approached in a vehicle, but believe Fantroy was killed during an argument that turned violent. Fantroy's mother has speculated publicly that her daughter was targeted because of her gender identity.

A Black transgender woman was shot and killed in South Carolina—marking the third incident of fatal anti-trans violence in the United States in fewer than two weeks, NewNowNext.com reported., citing The Post and Courier. Pebbles LaDime "Dime" Doe, 24, was found dead in her car from gunshot wounds in Allendale County on Aug. 4. Chase Glenn, executive director of the Charleston-based advocacy group Alliance for Full Acceptance, said Doe's murder should be a wake-up call to LGBTQ people in the South. Doe is the 15th known transgender person killed in the county in 2019. On July 31, police in Charleston, South Carolina, found the body of 29-year-old Denali Berries Stuckey.

Also in South Carolina ( and in a Stuckey-related matter ), a North Charleston man was denied bail after turning himself into police for shooting Stuckey, who was found dead by the side of a road in North Charleston on July 20, Metro Weekly reported. Dominick Archield turned himself in Aug. 11 after a warrant was issued for his arrest in relation to Stuckey's killing. Investigators say Stuckey was shot multiple times in the face and upper torso.

Among the nine victims in the Dayton, Ohio, mass shooting was 22-year-old transgender man Jordan Cofer, PinkNews reported. Police and media misgendered Cofer, referring to him as a "daughter" in previous statements issued on behalf of the family; however, his friends said he identified as male and used he/him pronouns, with Cofer using Twitter and Instagram accounts under his chosen name up until days before his death. Cofer had worked as an intern for the U.S. Forest Service in Montana.

Sens. Cory Booker ( New Jersey ) and Kamala Harris ( California ) are coming under scrutiny over appearances the Democratic presidential candidates made with a Las Vegas pastor who has described homosexuality as a sin, TheHill reported. Both senators separately attended services last week with Rev. Robert E. Fowler Sr. at Victory Missionary Baptist Church, one of the state's largest Black churches. Fowler, in a 2013 interview with Nevada Public Radio, said homosexuality was enough to send someone to hell, while comparing it to other sins. ( Sen. Bernie Sanders ( I-Vermont. ), another presidential contender, held a town hall at the church July 6, but did not appear with Fowler or attend a service led by him. )

Alicia Love—a transgender woman who works as a manager at the D.C. Eagle and she has performed in drag shows around the city—was brutally attacked and robbed at a convenience store, LGBTQ Nation noted. "As I'm going to the gas station I walked past a group of seven guys and they were calling me names like tranny, he-she, faggot," she told the Washington Blade. "So, before I could say anything more they ran up on me, all seven of the guys, and they jumped me. And I fell to the ground and they started to kick me and punch me and kick me in my face and called me names: tranny." She ran to a gas station—but said the attendant ignored, as three of the men pursued her and beat her up more. The men took $300 in cash, her phone, her bank card and her ID; the police report says the attack is a possible hate crime.

FCTRY—a Brooklyn-based toy company that makes "real-life action figures" of famous people—recently announced its latest release: a six-inch tall figure of lesbian tennis legend and feminist trailblazer Billie Jean King, Outsports reported. The $20 action figure resembles King's appearance at the time of her historic 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against then-retired champion Bobby Riggs. FCTRY will donate 5 percent of all sales to the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative ( BJKLI ), a non-profit King founded with her partner Ilana Kloss that promotes equality in the workplace.

The U.S. Department of Education rushed to take up an investigation over an anti-trans complaint filed by female athletes in Connecticut without having a solid understanding of the legal framework to accept jurisdiction, according to emails the Washington Blade obtained. Six months is the cutoff point for when the Department of Education will accept complaints from students, unless that time is extended for good cause by the enforcement office director.

A lawsuit filed Aug. 5 against the Boy Scouts of America says hundreds of former Scouts have come forward in recent months with accounts of sexual-abuse allegations from across eight decades that reach nearly every state, USA Today reported. At a press conference, the lawyers said they have nearly 800 other clients who were abused while Scouts. The suit says at least 350 abusers do not appear in the Boy Scouts' disciplinary files—citing that as evidence that the organization has not adequately vetted its volunteers and hidden the extent of the sexual-abuse scandal.

A suprising study on LGBTQ political leanings finds that transgender individuals are "significantly less liberal" than even cisgender men, Metro Weekly noted. University of Oklahoma sociology professor Meredith Worthen in the weeks after the November 2018 elections. Worthen surveyed an online representative sample of 3,104 adults in the United States to gauge their political beliefs and how strongly they embrace liberalism; about half, or 1,555 individuals, identified as LGBTQ non-heterosexual people. The study is at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13178-019-00393-1.

Pittsburgh couple Steve and Rob Anderson-McLean have adopted six siblings together, People.com noted. The couple, who have been together for almost two decades, made the decision official in Judge Joseph K. Williams' Pittsburgh courtroom on May 23, according to Today. Steve and Rob were already parents to Steve's sons Parker, 25, and Noah, 21, from a previous marriage; then they learned about the siblings in 2018. Carlos, 14, Guadalupe, 13, Maria, 12, Selena, 10, Nasa, 9, and Max, 7, came to live with the couple in July 2018.

Students and recent graduates of Baylor University—one of the country's most prominent Baptist colleges—want the National Collegiate Athletic Association ( NCAA ) to examine the institution's treatment of LGBTQ people who say they have long faced discrimination on campus and in university policies, Inside Higher Ed reported. These advocates wrote last month to Mark Emmert, the NCAA president, imploring the NCAA to investigate the university's policies on LGBTQ issues. Most of those who signed the letter are officers of Gamma Alpha Upsilon ( which spells out "GAY" in Greek letters ), an LGBTQ student group that has sought official recognition from the university for eight years.

Activists in Las Cruces, New Mexico, have rallied around LGBT migrants, The Washington Blade reported. For example, migrant Ivan said a volunteer with Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention ( AVID ) in the Chihuahuan Desert—a group that visits migrants who are in detention facilities—helped him get a bus ticket from Houston to Las Cruces, where he currently lives with PFLAG Las Cruces President Ryan Steinmetz. Also, PFLAG Las Cruces is among the other local advocacy groups that have begun to assist migrants.

A transgender student was reportedly suspended from his Christian college in Tennessee hours after getting surgery to further his transition, The Hill reported. Yanna Awtrey, 21, a student at Welch College—a private Free Will Baptist school near Nashville—started hormone replacement therapy earlier this year to aid with his transition before he underwent surgery on Aug. 2, BuzzFeed News reported. The school offered Awtrey temporary housing and money for food, but said he needed permission to come back to his dorm to get his belongings.

A Virginia restaurant will pay $40,000 to settle a lawsuit over claims its employees subjected a gay server to homophobic harassment and discrimination, Metro Weekly reported. A federal judge approved a settlement between El Tio Tex-Mex Grill in Gainesville, Virginia, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In a 2018 lawsuit filed by the server, he claimed he was repeatedly subjected to homophobic slurs and taunts about his sexuality from other employees at the restaurant.

In California, the hopes of the National Straight Pride Coalition have been dashed for now as Modesto City leaders announced the group will have to find another venue to hold its march and parade, CBS Sacramento reported. The straight pride event was planned in Modesto's Graceada Park for Aug. 24. The event was advertised on social media in a colorful flyer celebrating heterosexuality, masculinity and more.

An estimated 1.7 percent of sexual-minority adults identify as asexual, according to a recent study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. The study also found that asexual people are more likely to be women or gender non-binary, assigned female at birth and younger, compared to non-asexual lesbians, gay men and bisexual ( LGB ) adults. Also, asexual people reported significantly less sexual activity than non-asexual participants—but were as likely to report being in intimate relationships as non-asexual LGB adults.

In California, gay Republican radio talk-show host Carl DeMaio announced that he's running to take the 50th Congressional District seat now held by notorious anti-LGBT Rep. Duncan Hunter—co-author of the original congressional effort to ban transgender servicemembers from open service, The Washington Blade reported. With DeMaio now in, Hunter has five GOP challengers for his seat, though his focus has solely been on his only Democratic challenger, Ammar Campa-Najjar, and not his other primary rivals. Last month, a judge refused to throw out a 60-count federal corruption case against Hunter, who is accused with wife Margaret of misusing $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

In New Jersey, Barnegat Township Mayor Alfonso Cirulli launched a campaign to fight a New Jersey law that brings an LGBT curriculum into schools and urged residents to join his fight, the Asbury Park Press noted. Cirulli, a 60-year-old former assistant principal, said it was his duty to protect residents and called the LGBT political movement "an affront to almighty God."

A new report confirms what medical groups have been saying for years: Conversion therapy is a dangerous practice that can cause serious mental health issues in those who are subjected to it, and it should be banned, NewNowNext.com reported. The authors of the study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, noted being subjected to the process can "trigger" episodes of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Joshua Harris used to be the anti-LGBTQ pastor of the Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and is a best-selling evangelical author, according to an LGBTQ Nation profile. Three years ago, Harris denounced his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which he said was a "huge mistake." A year later he gave a TED talk where he said that the book was based on his fears of sex and getting hurt in relationships. Last month, he posted an Instagram story saying that he and his wife were separating and "will continue our life together as friends." Then he posted that he would no longer call himself a Christian and apologized to LGBTQ people.

Ed Razek—the 71-year-old chief marketing officer at Victoria's Secret, who last year claimed "transsexual" models should not be cast "because the show is a fantasy"—has left the U.S. lingerie brand days after it hired its first openly transgender model, The Guardian reported. Valentina Sampaio, a 22-year-old Brazilian, shared a picture of herself on Instagram taking part in a shoot for the Pink line; a follow-up post was captioned "Never stop dreaming." However, the hiring of the transgender model has been criticized as a cynical move on the brand's part.

Speaking of Victoria's Secret, some of its models say they're fed up with its failure to protect women and girls from sexual harassment and abuse on the job, USA Today noted. More than 100 models, led by the Model Alliance, have signed an open letter to the company CEO calling on Victoria's Secret to "take meaningful action to protect its talent and those who aspire to work with the company." The letter to CEO John Mehas, posted online Tuesday, comes after weeks of media revelations about allegations of sexual assault, alleged rape and sex-trafficking of models and aspiring models, the petition says. Also, there's the indictment and arrest of the now-deceased financier/convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a close friend of Leslie Wexner—the CEO of L Brands, Victoria's Secret's parent company.

Republican state Rep. Candice Keller of Ohio became a trending topic on Twitter and was widely condemned for writing a now-deleted Facebook post that the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, on things as varied as same-sex marriage, violent video games and marijuana, Business Insider noted. She wrote on her Facebook page: "After every mass shooting, the liberals start the blame game. Why not place the blame where it belongs?" Keller further ignored the evidence that prompted authorities to treat the El Paso attack as a case of terrorism motivated by white supremacist beliefs.

Cyntoia Brown—who served 15 years of a life sentence for killing a man when she was 16—has been released from a Nashville prison, NPR reported. Earlier this year, then-Gov. Bill Haslam took the unusual step of granting Brown clemency for what he called a "tragic and complex case"—a major victory for Brown and her supporters, who have maintained that the 2004 killing was an act of self-defense. Over the years, the fight for Brown's release has brought prominent lawyers to her defense, a PBS documentary, and backing from celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West, LeBron James and Rihanna.

Gymnast Simone Biles ripped USA Gymnastics for not looking out for her and her fellow athletes, weeks after a congressional investigation reportedly found that the organization "knowingly concealed" abuse by former doctor Larry Nassar, People.com reported. "We had one job. And we have done everything that they asked us for—even when we didn't want to," Biles said of competing, according to the Washington Post. "And they couldn't do one damn job! You had one job; you literally had one job, and you couldn't protect us!" Nassar was sentenced to more than 175 years in prison in 2018 for sexual abuse.

A lobbyist for the U.S. Soccer Federation reached out to at least five Democratic presidential campaigns ahead of the debates last month to argue that the women's national team isn't paid less than the men's team, according to Politico.com . The soccer organization has been fighting a highly publicized lawsuit by the World Cup-winning women's team—and the federation apparently believed the players' claims that they're underpaid might become an issue in the Democratic debates. Staffers for five presidential campaigns contacted by U.S. Soccer shared details of lobbyist Ray Bucheger's outreach on the condition that the publication not identify which candidates employ them.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard ( D-Hawaii ) suggested during an on-air interview that questions posed to her by the MSNBC anchor came from the campaign of rival Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris ( D-California ), TheHill noted. Gabbard—who sparred with Harris during the Democratic presidential debate in Detroit—criticized the cable news network while speaking with MSNBC anchor Yasmin Vossoughian, who asked Gabbard about her 2017 meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Barneys New York Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection with plans to close most of its stores and a $75-million financing package that would give the luxury retailer time to find a buyer, The Wall Street Journal reported. The restructuring plan has Barneys—which operates 13 department stores and nine warehouse stores—shutting down stores in Chicago, Las Vegas and Seattle. The retailer will continue to run seven stores, including its flagship Manhattan store, the company said.


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