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NATIONAL Trans military ban, Black icons, Edie Windsor, trans art exhibit
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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A high-ranking officer in the California National Guard said that the group will not comply with Donald Trump's transgender military ban, LGBTQ Nation noted. "As long as you fight, we don't care what gender you identify as," Major General Matthew Beevers, the assistant adjutant general for the California National Guard, told the California State Assembly's Veterans Affairs Committee. Last month, a U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down two injunctions that were preventing the Trump administration from implementing a ban on transgender people in the military; an appeals court struck down another injunction. ( Also, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is planning to pull back all members of the National Guard who have been deployed to the border with Mexico, saying the state would not be part of the Trump administration's "manufactured crisis," NBC News noted. )

Congressman Joe Kennedy III ( D-Massachusetts ) led efforts for a resolution opposing President Trump's ban on openly transgender servicemembers from serving in the nation's military—and said resolution has 103 co-sponsors, according to a joint statement from The American Military Partner Association, OutServe-SLDN and SPARTA. American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack said, "While the Trump-Pence administration unconscionably singles out these brave transgender Americans for discrimination, it's crucial that Members of Congress make clear they stand behind them and are grateful for their service and sacrifice. We are thankful for Representative Joe Kennedy's leadership on this important resolution."

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) is honoring Black History Month by highlighting not only the straight Black icons and legends but also the LGBTQ ones as well, Instinct Magazine noted. The HRC released a blog post in which it named several Black figures in entertainment like Jussie Smollett, Janelle Monae, and the cast of Pose, politicians like Kamala Harris and Lauren Underwood, and historical figures like Marsha P. Johnson and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.

The life of late LGBTQ advocate Edith "Edie" Windsor will be immortalized in A Wild and Precious Life—a forthcoming memoir started by Windsor prior to her death two years ago, reported. Windsor made a name for herself nationwide in 2013, when she was the lead plaintiff on the federal lawsuit that successfully struck down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ). Her case paved the way for the Supreme Court's groundbreaking 2015 ruling that legalized marriage equality in the United States.

In Miami, Florida International University's Frost Art Museum will run the exhibit "Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre: To Survive on This Shore" through April 28, according to a press release. In the exhibit, Dugan and Fabbre reveal how U.S. culture lacks representation of older adults who are transgender and gender non-conforming. ( Photos are also in the hardcover book To Survive on This Shore. ) The show is part of the museum's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which will include the presentation in the fall of Art After Stonewall ( 1969-1989 ), the first major museum exhibition about how the LGBT-rights movement impacted the art world.

The Rev. Thomas James Brown was elected Feb. 9 to become the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Maine—and is the married gay priest elected to lead a diocese, Episcopal News Service reported. He is married to the Rev. Thomas Mousin, who is currently the rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Charlestown, a neighborhood of Boston. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson became the first openly gay and partnered bishop in the Anglican Communion in 2003 and served as the Diocese of New Hampshire's bishop until his retirement in January 2013; he and husband Mark Andrew divorced in 2014.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello's administration issued guidelines that are designed to make the U.S. commonwealth's public employees more sensitive to the needs of transgender people and same-sex couples and their children, The Washington Blade noted. The guidelines specifically refer to trans Puerto Ricans who want to change the gender on their birth certificates as well as children whose parents are legally married same-sex couples.

The federal appeals court in the Fifth Circuit said its 40-year-old precedent that federal civil-rights law doesn't apply to gay workers also means that transgender workers aren't covered, Bloomberg Law reported. The ruling stemmed from a discrimination lawsuit filed by Nicole Wittmer, a transgender woman who applied for an engineering job with Phillips 66; she claims she was denied the position because of her gender identity.

Federal Judge Stephanie M. Rose ruled that a Christian student group at the University of Iowa can't be stripped of its affiliation with the institution—even if its members follow a "statement of faith" that bans those in LGBTQ relationships from leadership roles, reported. Pro-LGBTQ advocates are worried the decision would open the door for a challenge of a U.S. Supreme Court case from 2010 that allows colleges and universities to enforce anti-discrimination policies, even when student religious organizations claim those policies infringe on their beliefs.

Also at the University of Iowa, the UI LGBTQ Resource Center has renamed itself the Pride Alliance Center in order to be more inclusive of diverse sexual and gender identities, as well as to clarify the purpose of the center, The Daily Iowan noted. Alex Bare—the outreach director of Spectrum UI, a LGBTQ student organization on campus—said the LGBTQ abbreviation is not fully inclusive of all sexualities and gender identities.

The Southern Black Policy & Advocacy Network—a non-profit focused on improving health outcomes and reducing social and economic disparities impacting Black communities living in the U.S. South—launched the Southern Black HIV/AIDS Network's Advisory, a press release noted. The council will aim to provide strategic direction and organize Black leaders in the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. South. Also, the network is launching Organizing to End Black HIV NOW ( ), a campaign focused on organizing and mobilizing Black HIV leaders and advocates on the front lines of ending the epidemic in the U.S. South.

The Virginia Board of Counseling, on Feb. 8, voted in favor of issuing guidance and documents that recommend a ban on licensed counselors from practicing conversion therapy on minors, The Washington Blade reported, citing TV station WWBT. Counselors in the state who continue to engage in conversion therapy will receive "a finding of misconduct and disciplinary action" from the board. Terry Tinsey was the only board member who opposed the measure, expressing concern over the impact the documents and regulations may have on the "faith community."

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation ( HRC ) announced that it will honor actress/advocate Josie Totah with an Upstander Award at the organization's sixth annual Time to THRIVE Conference on Feb. 15-17 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, California. Last year, Totah, who starred in the NBC sitcom Champions, came out as transgender in an op-ed for Time magazine. HRC also announced that the band OneUp will perform on the opening night of the conference.

In North Carolina, an openly lesbian Durham City Council member's appearance at a local Catholic institution Immaculata Catholic School was canceled because of planned demonstratinos, reported. The school said it had planned to kick off Black History Month celebrations at their morning prayer on Friday with a variety of speeches, including one from Vernetta Alston, an Immaculata alum. "As pastor, I cannot place our Immaculata students into this contentious environment," said Pastor Christopher VanHaight.

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked Louisiana from enforcing a law that women's groups said would leave only a single doctor legally allowed to perform abortions in the state, NBC News reported. By a five-to-four vote, the court said the restrictions must remain on hold while challengers appeal a lower-court decision in favor of the law. Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the court's liberal members.

A first-of-its-kind conference in Ohio addressed issues once swept under the rug, as inaugural two-day LGBT Horizons of Aging Summit took place in Dayton, reported. Public Health of Dayton and Montgomery County, along with United Church Homes and Rainbow Elder Care, organized the summit in response to a growing need to support an aging LGBT generation that lived much of its lives openly.

A security guard was stabbed in the back outside of Micky's Bar while escorting a man out of the West Hollywood spot, WeHo Times reported. Authorities say that deputies responded within seconds of the incident and detained the suspect. The victim suffered two non-life-threatening stab wounds in the upper back; he was transported to a nearby hospital and was expected to survive.

In West Virginia, Del. Eric Porterfield, R-Mercer, caused controversy after comparing gay people to the Ku Klux Klan, noted. "The LGBTQ is a modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate," Porterfield said in an interview. He also called the gay community a "terrorist group" and said he is being "persecuted" by the gay community in retaliation for his remarks, including receiving threats on Facebook and voicemails. House Republicans sought to distance themselves from Porterfield's remarks.

Multiple bills filed in the Tennessee General Assembly would allow adoption agencies to deny services to same-sex couples based on religious objections, USA Today reported. One bill—filed by Republican legislators Joey Hensley and John Ragan—specifies that an adoption agency would not be required to provide services to a couple if it would conflict with the agency's "sincerely held religious beliefs." Legislation filed by Republican Tim Rudd puts in place similar protections for discrimination based on religious beliefs and would prevent a couple from suing the adoption agency for refusing to provide services.

In Texas, the Carrollton City Council passed an employment nondiscrimination ordinance that bans discrimination based on, among other things, sexual orientation and gender identity. The ordinance, approved on a five-to-two vote that basically revised the city's existing nondiscrimination ordinance, protects city employees, contractors and political appointees. It also bans discrimination based on pregnancy and political beliefs.

Julian is a Mermaid, by Jessica Love and published by Candlewick Press, and Hurricane Child, by Kheryn Callender and published by Scholastic Press, are the 2019 recipients of the Stonewall Book Awards-Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children's & Young Adult Literature Award, an American Library Association ( ALA ) press release noted. The Stonewall Book Awards are given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the LGBT experience. The award will be presented to the winning authors or editors at the ALA's Annual Conference & Exhibition in Washington, D.C., in June.

Two government contractors—35-year-old Peter Melendez and 27-year-old Robert Koehler—were arrested after they were caught trying to get on the gay-focused Atlantis Events cruise to sell drugs, Instinct Magazine noted. The government contractors planned "to smuggle the narcotics into the ship and distribute it once on board the ship," according to police records of the arrest. Before they could, a Homeland Security special agent intercepted the emails and alerted Miami-Dade police.

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