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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL Trans military ban, Fla. candidate, inmate meets end
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-03-12

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A federal judge in Maryland cleared the way for the Pentagon to put in place a Trump administration policy banning most transgender individuals from serving in the military—a move advocates said left only one temporary block in place against the ban, CNN.com noted. The ultimate fate of the transgender ban is still playing out in court, although the most recent decision saw the removal of a nationwide block that had prevented the policy from going into place on a temporary basis. On March 7, U.S. District Judge George Russell agreed with the Justice Department that—in light of the Supreme Court's January ruling that enabled the policy to go into effect while legal challenges proceeded in lower courts—the nationwide injunction should no longer stand.

Lesbian Tampa mayoral candidate Jane Castor received more votes than any of her six challengers on March 5, securing her a spot in the April 23 runoff against David Straz, a Victory Fund release noted. ( Castor, among other things, was the city's police chief for six years. ) Also in Tampa, Victory Fund-endorsed city council candidates Alan Clendenin and Ella Coffee advanced in their races. With runoff wins in April, Clendenin will be the first openly LGBTQ man elected to the council, and Coffee will become the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to it.

Inmate Steven Eric Mullins—who kidnapped and murdered Billy Jack Gaither, a 39-year-old gay man from Alabama, in 1999—is dead after an attack by a fellow inmate, according to LGBTQ Nation. Mullins was serving a life sentence without parole in the brutal killing of Gathier in Coosa County, Alabama. Suspected of the murder is Christopher Scott Jones, a 50-year-old inmate of the facility.

On March 8, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of EerieAnna Good and Carol Anne Beal ( represented by the ACLU of Iowa ) in Good-Beal v. Iowa Dept. of Human Services, striking down Iowa's ban on Medicaid coverage for medically necessary surgical care for transgender Iowans, a One Iowa press release noted. One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said, "Through our work with transgender Iowans, we have seen firsthand how powerful, life-changing, and absolutely essential gender-affirming surgery can be for transgender people grappling with gender dysphoria. This decision will, quite literally, save lives. It also sets a strong judicial precedent for protecting transgender Iowans' civil rights in our state's highest court."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) revealed that 35 percent of gay and bisexual men at high risk of HIV infection were using PrEP—or pre-exposure prophylaxis, the daily pill that prevents HIV infection—in 2017, NBC News reported. ( In 2014, just 6 percent of these men used PrEP. ) However, despite the nearly 500-percent jump in PrEP use among men who have sex with men, the CDC noted "PrEP use remains too low, especially among gay and bisexual men of color."

LGBTQ Victory Institute and 10 partner organizations announced the first National Out to Win Day will be held Tuesday, April 2, with a goal of 22,272 LGBTQ people pledging to consider a run for office, a press release noted. LGBTQ people are 4.5 percent of the U.S. population but make up just 0.1 percent of elected officials nationwide. The organizations say 22,272 more LGBTQ people must be elected to office to achieve equitable representation. Individuals can pledge to run for office or nominate others in advance of National Out to Win Day by visiting OutToWin.org .

North Carolina state workers are suing for discrimination against transgender people who are seeking treatment for gender dysphoria, NewNowNext.com noted. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven current and former state employees, and their children, by Lambda Legal and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund ( TLDEF ). "Revoking health insurance coverage for transgender employees puts the state of North Carolina on the wrong side of history," said TLDEF Senior Staff Attorney Noah E. Lewis.

The latest attempt to ban job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Nebraska hit a dead end, Omaha.com noted. Legislative Bill 627 stalled after backers fell short on an attempt to force a vote on the measure after nearly three hours of debate. Supporters argued that the bill would help Nebraska attract and retain much-needed workers while carrying out the state's motto: Equality Before the Law.

In Connecticut, intersex people are asking state lawmakers to pass a bill that would ban medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children because they are unable to give informed consent, Hartford Courant reported. Senate Bill 388 would also bar discrimination against intersex people and provide a third option for gender designation on birth certificates, driver's licenses and other legal documents. However, it is the halt on non-consensual surgeries that has generated the most controversy.

Springfield, Missouri, LGBT-rights activist, health educator and entrepreneur Jim House has died at 77, The Springfield News-Leader reported. As a health educator for AIDS Project of the Ozarks for almost three decades, House is credited with saving countless lives during the most acute years of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s, and after then.

Stephanie Mott—a Kansas mental health clinician, LGBTQ advocate and public speaker who traveled the country to share her experiences as a transgender Christian woman—has died at 61, KCUR.org reported. Mott served as the vice chair of Equality Kansas, chaired the LGBTQ caucus of the Kansas Democrats and founded the Kansas Statewide Transgender Equality Project. In a statement, Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said, "LGBTQ people in Kansas and across the country owe a debt of gratitude to Stephanie Mott. We must honor her memory by continuing to strive for the society free of discrimination for which she so ardently fought."

The Indianapolis Rainbow Chamber of Commerce has hired Joey Amato as its new executive director, a press release noted. Amato recently relocated to Indianapolis from Nashville, but has previously published an upscale LGBT lifestyle magazine in Indianapolis called UNITE and worked closely with the chamber through that venture. Amato will continue publishing Pride Journeys—a syndicated monthly LGBTQ travel column—as well as operate Agency33 Public Relations. The Indy Rainbow Chamber was formed in 2002 and is a bipartisan group for LGBTQ business owners, employees and allies.

A Game of Thrones/American Red Cross national blood drive with prizes is being criticized by gay men as discriminatory since they were banned from participating because of federal blood-donation guidelines, Fortune.com noted. The blood drive, giving fans of the HBO series a chance to "Bleed for the Throne," included an "immersive experience" at SXSW in Austin, Texas, on March 7-9. Food and Drug Administration guidelines say men cannot have sex with other men for 12 months before donating blood.

A New Jersey university excluded Chick-fil-A from a list of possible on-campus restaurants due to its owner's association with anti-gay groups—so, a dean at the school decided to resign, Patheos noted. Cynthia Newman—who was the dean of Rider University's College of Business Administration and called herself a "very committed Christian"—left her post over a situation stemming from the school's decision to only invite inclusive businesses onto the campus. Chick-fil-A has donated millions over the years to groups that oppose same-sex marriage.

A Catholic grade school in Kansas has barred a same-sex couple from enrolling their child in kindergarten, Newsweek reported. The move sparked a petition, which has now been signed by around 1,000 people, calling on leaders of St. Ann Parish and School in Prairie Village to reconsider, according to The Kansas City Star. However, Superintendent Kathy O'Hara told The Star that the Church's teachings on marriage were clear and "not altered by the laws of civil society."

An openly gay pastor in the United Methodist Church said he will conduct same-sex weddings despite the denomination's recent vote to maintain its view that homosexuality runs counter to the Gospel, The Christian Post noted. Pastor Mark Thompson, a 61-year-old father of three, is a pastor at Central United Methodist Church in Lansing, Michigan. Although he will continue to refrain from being in a romantic relationship, Thompson doesn't believe that other Christians who are same-sex attracted should be required to live celibate lives.

Sasha Buchert, senior attorney at Lambda Legal, issued a statement after the U.S. Senate confirmed Chad Readler, President Trump's nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In part, Buchert said, "Senate Republicans willfully ignored the warnings from constituents, civil rights leaders, and their Democratic colleagues about the threat Chad Readler poses to the LGBT community and our entire healthcare system. [Among other things,] Readler has served as Jeff Sessions' right-hand man in the Trump administration's effort to deny life-saving protections for 52 million people with pre-existing conditions, including people living with HIV."

A British Columbia study says that LGBT-dominant spaces—commonly known as "gayborhoods"—are expanding across cities rather than disappearing, ColumbiaValleyPioneer.com noted. New research by University of British Columbia sociology professor Amin Ghaziani ( using data from the 2010 U.S. census ) shows that members of the LGBTQ community are diversifying where they live, choosing what he calls "cultural archipelagos" beyond the gayborhood. Only 12 percent of LGBTQ adults live in a gayborhood, while 72 percent have never.

A man and his boyfriend say they were denied a couple's massage, which they had already booked and paid for, in Naples, Florida, because they are gay—and, now, the spa has apologized on its Facebook page, Yahoo! News noted. Michael Levenosa shared a video of a confrontation with an employee of Joy Feet Spa after he allegedly told the couple that their massages would cost extra because a couple's massage is for only a man and a woman. Joy Feet Spa has since issued two apologies, writing that the manager misunderstood what "couple means" and asking if he could make it up to them; however, Levenosa, who has not yet been successful in getting a refund, doesn't believe the spa's apology is genuine or sincere.

Philadelphia's Mazzoni Center announced it is changing the names of its Trans Care Services program to Gender Affirming Services, PhillyVoice.com noted. The center has provided care to transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary and genderqueer-identified clients of all ages since July 2003. "This name change is an opportunity for us to fortify our commitment to affirm all genders and to continue modeling inclusion," Gender Affirming Services Manager Anna Kiesnowski said in a statement.

Tucker Carlson has refused to apologize for misogynistic and anti-LGBT comments made in previous radio interviews—but Stephen Colbert sees plenty wrong with what the Fox News host said, USA Today noted. Media Matters published clips and transcripts from appearances Carlson made between 2006 and 2011 on a the shock-jock radio program "Bubba the Love Sponge." In part, Colbert said, "Tucker, when you defend child brides, you don't go on the naughty list. You go on that list where you have to go door-to-door to tell people you just moved into their neighborhood."


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