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NATIONAL Trans officer dies, James Baldwin, Edmund White, Trevor Project
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-09-17

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Sgt. Tomi Finkle—who transitioned as a transgender woman after a 25-year career as a U.S. Capitol Police officer and, in retirement, served as a volunteer member of the D.C. Police Department's then Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit—died Sept. 4 from complications associated with cancer at age 64, The Washington Blade reported. Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees what is now the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's LGBT Liaison Unit, said of Finkle, "She was the first member of the transgender community to serve the GLLU and assisted with outreach, training and education, and provided consultation on investigations and response to crime and incidents involving the transgender community." Finkle is survived by her daughter, Tara Finkle; and grandchildren, Chloe and David, and a son.

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project announced that the James Baldwin Residence, 137 W. 71st St., has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a press release noted. The nomination was initiated and researched by the Project as part of a National Park Service grant to increase LGBT diversity on the National Register, facilitated by the New York State Historic Preservation Office. The National Register listing follows the site's listing on the State Register of Historic Places, which occurred July 15.

Openly gay writer Edmund White ( A Boy's Own Story; The Joy of Gay Sex ) has won an honorary National Book Award, ABC News reported. "Everybody always complains about [the writing life], but it occurred to me the other day that it is better than working and you meet lots of interesting people," said White, this year's recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, an award previously given to Toni Morrison and Philip Roth, among others. The National Book Foundation announced that director John Waters will present White with his medal during the Nov. 20 awards ceremony and benefit dinner.

In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Week ( Sept. 8-14 ), OUR PRIDE Video Fest is announcing a call for entries for the "Trevor Challenge" and recruiting students from middle school through college to create one-to-five- minute videos that address mental illness, depression and suicide prevention, a press release noted. Entries in the competition can include news stories, short documentaries, creative fiction, music videos, animation or public service announcements in support of The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2020. Winning entries will be announced late May 2020 in Los Angeles, with screenings planned July 2020 at ComicCon in San Diego. See https://filmfreeway.com/OURPRIDEVideoFest.

A gay Jewish community organizer and LGBTQ activist captured video of a man harassing him because of his pink kippah outside a subway station in Manhattan, Gothamist reported. Adam Eli, 28, filmed video of himself being harassed by the homophobic man as he was walking up the stairs of the 28th Street and Broadway station. Mayor Bill de Blasio took note of the video, tweeting, "It takes courage to confront homophobia and tell a story like this. I'm sorry you had to go through this, Adam. But we're proud of how you responded. There's no place for hate in this city."

The New York City Council is repealing the ban on conversion therapy it passed with much fanfare just two years ago, an unusual maneuver designed to sidestep a lawsuit from Alliance Defending Freedom—an anti-LGBTQ hate group based in Arizona, Politico reported. "This was a painful decision that was made after leading LGBTQ advocates requested that the Council take this drastic step," Corey Johnson, the body's openly gay and HIV-positive leader, said in a statement. "The sad reality is the courts have changed considerably over the last few years, and we cannot count on them to rule in favor of much-needed protections for the LGBTQ community.

The number of new HIV diagnoses in San Francisco has dropped to a record low ( by more than 58 percent—to 197 in 2018, from 472 in 2009 ), but the news was more sober for four groups with a rising number of new cases: Black and Latino residents, as well as homeless people and intravenous drug users, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The overall improvement comes five years after a consortium of city health officials, UCSF and local nonprofits launched an aggressive "Getting to Zero" campaign aimed at eliminating new HIV cases altogether by expanding testing, treatment and care.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who Pope Francis appointed in April as head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, told a transgender man at a gathering of young Catholics Aug. 13, "You belong to the heart of this church," The Washington Blade reported. A spokesperson for the archdiocese told the Blade the archdiocese regularly hosts these events in D.C. bars and restaurants as a means of reaching out to and engaging young professionals "around topics of faith and life." Gregory's remarks to the trans individual, Rory, came a little more than three months after he was installed on May 21 as the first African-American archbishop of Washington.

Authorities are looking for a man caught on camera spray-painting a homophobic slur on the entrance of an LGBT center in Las Vegas, Newsweek reported. Police responded to a call from the LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada. Officers at the scene found the word "f*g" scrawled on the glass doors of the building in black letters. This is the second attack on the building this summer; in June, an unknown male set fire to a palm tree by the building's main entrance. The building was previously targeted for arson in 2016 by Grewndolyn Glancey, who claimed Oprah Winfrey told her to set it on fire.

A new credit union for the LGBTQ community has been approved in an historic first, which is being described as an effort to help guard against discrimination from financial institutions, NewNowNext.com noted, citing Bloomberg. Michigan okayed the charter. Superbia Credit Union will offer loans banks and other credit unions do not provide, such as funds for transition related healthcare costs for the transgender community, said Myles Meyers, creator of the credit union and founder of New York City based Superbia Services Inc.

Physicians say HIV continues to hold a tight grip on the LGBTQ community partly because of the continued popularity of "chemsex," Advocate.com reported. Chemsex is usually described as using drugs like crystal methamphetamine ( "crystal" or "tina" ) and GHB to enhance sex. The drugs often lower inhibitions, increase libido and allow people to have sex for several hours, if not days.

The soft launch of PrideLife—the first ever LGBT-owned registrar in the world of supplier diversity—coincided with the annual gathering of LGBT certified businesses at the 2019 NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference in Tampa, a press release noted. PrideLife aims to diversify the domain name ecosystem and make domain identifiers work harder for businesses and organizations. See GetPrideLife.LGBT.

The sponsors of Sen. Scott Wiener's ( D-San Francisco ) SB 132—a coalition of civil rights and legal organizations including Transgender Law Center, TransLatin@ Coalition, ACLU of California, Equality California, Lambda Legal, and Medina Orthwein LLP—released a joint statement announcing that SB 132 ( the Transgender Respect, Agency, and Dignity Act ) will become a two-year bill. The coalition will continue to conduct outreach to gain additional input from incarcerated transgender people and consider potential amendments.

Vice President Mike Pence once argued that homosexuality was a choice during his fight in the early 1990s against local efforts in Indiana to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, CNN.com revealed. Pence's opposition to LGBT equality has long drawn the scorn of gay rights activists and made him a champion of the religious right. Pence argued in the 1990s that, unlike protections for African Americans, gay men and lesbians choose or learn to be gay and was part of a "grassroots-generated movement for recognition of homosexual rights" nationwide.

The owners of a California winery are backtracking on their refusal to host a same-sex couple's wedding, saying the local community's response to the news helped them to see they were "wrong," HuffPost reported. Larry and Teri Lawrence—the owners of Viaggio Estate & Winery in Acampo, California—initially emailed Alexandria Biddle and Dezanea Reyes, saying they had never hosted a same-sex wedding on their property. Lesbian film executive Nikki Levy emailed the winery and got a similar response; however, after she talked with NBC affiliate KCRA, Teri Lawrence announced that the winery would no longer object to same-sex weddings.

CBD e-commerce platform MINGO has hired LGBT musician and CBD marketing expert Joey Suarez as its first CEO, a press release noted. Previously, Suarez was a brand ambassador for cannabis-centric organizations throughout Los Angeles. He joins LGBT entrepreneur Frankie Ray, chief operations officer of MINGO and a former collegiate track and field runner for Bryant University who turned to CBD products after suffering a career ending injury.

Atlanta attorney Lawrie Demorest is known as an advocate for LGBTQ equality—but in response to an atypical divorce action brought by her lesbian partner, the former co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign's board of directors has tried to legally nullify a relationship she once said should be treated the same as a marriage, LGBTQ Nation reported. Now that her 20-year relationship with Lee Kyser has ended, Demorest has argued in court filings that their extended union was never a marriage, was never intended to be a marriage and that Demorest "did not anticipate or have any expectation that marriage would ever become available to same-sex couples in Georgia."

On the eve of an "ex-gay" Freedom March in Orlando, Truth Wins Out released a new video in which Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan discusses her disastrous experience in "ex-gay" conversion therapy, a press release noted. Sheehan—the first openly gay elected official in central Florida—discussed the efforts to have her "pray away the gay," which included setting her up on dates with gay men and an exorcism during which she was told the demon of homosexuality would leave her body in an orange mucus.

Newlyweds Isaiah and Taylor Green-Jones stunned guests with an epic flash mob at their Portland wedding, GMA.com noted. "We'd always wanted to do a dance video, but had never made a routine," said Taylor, who teaches dance cardio classes. The three-minute performance featured songs like Beyonce's "Before I Let Go" and Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road." Isaiah posted the video of their dance on Instagram, where positive comments poured in for the couple.

A radio station called one of its hosts a "faggot" on its official Twitter account, LGBTQ Nation noted. Seth Dunlap—who hosts The Last Lap, a sports show on WWL Radio in New Orleans—called out New Orleans Saints quarterback Brees for doing a video with the anti-LGBTQ group Focus on the Family. That apparently didn't sit well with someone at WWL; after he posted his open letter, someone with access to the station's Twitter account called him a "fag." WWL posted that it is investigating how the tweet happened.

Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead the crowded Democratic field—but under a "ranked-choice" system designed to suss out the majority's ultimate preference, Sen. Elizabeth Warren would top Biden, 53 percent to 47 percent, Vox.com reported. ( This result came out before the Sept. 12 Democratic primary debate. ) The online national poll of likely Democratic voters was conducted by YouGov, and sponsored by FairVote, a nonpartisan advocacy group supporting electoral reform. Unlike an ordinary poll, it asked respondents to rank several candidates in order of preference—so as to simulate ranked-choice voting, a system currently used in Maine and other localities.

Minor league baseball clubs including Birmingham, Biloxi, Greensboro, Durham, Charleston, Gwinnett, Norfolk, Springfield, Daytona, Richmond, Lexington and Charleston all held successful Pride Nights this season, Outsports noted. MiLB diversity and inclusion associate Benjamin Pereira said that, for many of those ballclubs, it was their very first Pride Night. The idea, he said, is "to bring communities together and proactively engage and embrace the LGBTQ community with a focus on creating an environment where everyone feels welcome."

The 48th annual Miss Gay America pageant will take place Oct. 2-5 in St. Louis, a press release touted. Established in Nashville in 1972, The Miss Gay America Pageant is the world's longest-running nationwide drag competition. Nearly 50 contestants from more than 100 city, state and regional preliminaries currently happening across the country will compete for the Miss Gay America 2020 crown. See MissGayAmerica.com .

In Maryland, Night Shift 2.0—a new leather bar from the operators of the recently closed Baltimore Eagle—opened near Canton, The Baltimore Sun noted. Night Shift 2.0's Facebook page describes it as "an LGBTQ adult entertainment experience." Director of Operations Beth Cooper said her goal is for a bar that welcomes equally all members of the LGBTQ community.

ABC News journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts has died at the age of 75 of complications from breast cancer, Deadline noted. Roberts won many awards, including three Emmys, throughout her decades-long career, according to ABC News, which adds she has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting.


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