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NATIONAL Trans textbook, Alaska veto, trans service members, Laverne Cox
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-03-05

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Introduction to Transgender Studies—published earlier this month by academic LGBTQ book publisher Harrington Park Press—is the first-ever introductory textbook intended for transgender/trans studies at the undergraduate level, according to a press release. In the book, author Ardel Haefele-Thomas discusses how race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, nation, religion and ability have cross-influenced to shape the transgender experience and trans culture across and beyond the binary. See www.harringtonparkpress.com/intro-to-trans-studies/.

In Alaska, Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly, a Republican, vetoed Ordinance 6093 ( which gave sweeping equal-rights protections to the LGBTQ community ) just days after the Fairbanks City Council adopted the measure by a four-to-two vote, according to an Anchorage Daily News item. Matherly said he hopes to put the issue on the ballot in October and let voting residents decide. Included in the measure are protections for employment, housing and public accommodations, as well as a means for potential victims to challenge discriminatory practices in court.

In advance of the House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on the Trump Administration's ban on transgender service members, GLAAD sent copies of the documentary TransMilitary to each subcommittee member, a press release noted. GLAAD Chief Programs Officer Zeke Stokes said, "Once you hear the testimonies of these brave transgender service members, I am confident you will feel compelled to stand alongside them and demand that President Trump and his administration abandon attempts to ban their service to our great nation." TransMilitary—which received its world television premiere on Logo in November—won the Audience Award at South By Southwest in 2018.

More than three dozen retired flag officers released a statement calling the Trump administration's use of "military judgment" to defend its transgender troop ban a "pretext [that] risks inflicting harms that go well beyond" the transgender service issue, the Palm Center noted. The military leaders, who range from rear admiral to four-star general, said they issued the statement "out of grave concern that attempts to defend the transgender military ban in court will undermine the integrity of United States military judgment" and "trust in the national security apparatus."

Emmy-winning actress and transgender awareness advocate Laverne Cox will speak during the evening keynote session of Harvard University's "Harvard Hears You: The 2019 Summit for Gender Equity," a press release noted. "Harvard Hears You"—an event co-sponsored by the University's Title IX Office and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs—will take place all day April 2, bringing together faculty, staff, students and guests to present in a variety of formats including TED-style talks, on-stage interviews and panel presentations.

Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund has announced a new name—True Colors United, a press release noted. The organization has also announced a new mission: to expand its work to include all disproportionately affected youth, not just those who identify as LGBTQ—and not just those in the United States. In the United States, 4.2 million youth experience homelessness each year.

Native Son founder Emil Wilbekin, along with 200 other Black gay men, celebrated the annual Native Son Awards honoring Tony-winning choreographer George Faison and New York Times best-selling author Michael Arceneaux at Cadillac House in New York City on Feb. 28, a press release noted. The awards—sponsored by HBO, Cadillac and Belvedere—included performances by Black queer artists such as vocalist Mykal Kilgore and artist Davi Akei as well as a dance tribute choreographed by Obediah Wright.

Donald Carter—called the mayor of Philadelphia's gayborhood—has died at 69, EPGN.com reported. Mark Segal, Philadelphia Gay News publisher, said he last saw Carter at the opening of the Cuban exhibit at WWCC just a few weeks ago, "and as always he greeted me with a hug. I will miss his hugs and warm, cheerful spirit, and this leaves me so very sad."

In California, San Bernardino County will pay about $1 million to LGBTQI inmates who were incarcerated in a so-called Alternative Lifestyle Tank at the West Valley Detention Center from 2012 to 2018, The San Bernadino Sun reported. Riverside Judge Jesus G. Bernal announced his decision six months after the American Civil Liberties Union and San Bernardino County sheriff's department agreed to settle a 2014 lawsuit over LGBTQI inmates being held in cells for up to 23 hours a day and prohibited from participating in jail programs. About 600 people were housed in the tank.

Seth Owen—the co-valedictorian of his high school class in Jacksonville, Florida, who was thrown out of his home last year because his parents couldn't reconcile his sexuality with their own religious beliefs—has recently scored an internship at Rep. Stephanie Murphy's ( D-Florida ) office, NewNowNext.com noted, citing The Hill. He began interning in January and will work with the office through the rest of his spring semester. Also, Owen told the Orlando Sentinel he also used a $25,000 donation from Ellen DeGeneres to launch his Unbroken Horizons Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships designed to help "students in marginalized communities access post-secondary education."

Richard John "Jack" Baker and Michael McConnell got married in Minnesota—and, now, that 1971 wedding has been officially recognized by the Social Security Administration, giving the couple who have been married for 48 years the longest-running same-sex marriage in the United States, Out.com noted. Baker and McConnell applied for a marriage license in Hennepin County, Minnesota in 1970 and were rejected; however, when the couple applied to be married in another county—Blue Earth, Minnesota—they were approved because the county clerk didn't realize it was a same-sex marriage, LGBTQ Nation reported.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo launched the WorldPride 2019 Ambassadors competition, ahead of the WorldPride and Stonewall 50 commemorations planned for June, a press release noted. WorldPride—the largest international LGBTQ Pride celebration—is coming to New York City in 2019, marking the first time it has been held in the United States. LGBTQ New Yorkers from across the state are encouraged to submit a video of no more than three minutes long ( by March 31 ) describing why they are proud of their municipality and state, and what in their town and region they would want to show off to LGBTQ visitors. See https://www.iloveny.com/lgbt/lgbt-ambassador-application/.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) called on the U.S. House to pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019—legislation that mandates universal background checks for the purchase of firearms in the United States, a press release noted. Last month, following the bill's introduction, HRC announced its support of H.R. 8 and a similar bill in the Senate, and called on members of Congress to follow the lead of gun-reform advocates, including former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who has been a vocal proponent of the measure.

A "religious liberties" bill that aims to add greater protections for personal beliefs has renewed a recurring debate in Georgia about discrimination and religious freedom, The Lewiston Tribune reported. Critics said the bill would allow discrimination against the LGBT community; however, Republican state Sen. Marty Harbin, who proposed the measure, said, "I believe that Georgians need to be fully protected under the First Amendment from not only federal law, but also state and local law." Atlanta-based Home Depot and Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons football team and the Atlanta United soccer team, have both opposed the bill, LGBTQ Nation noted. In a joint statement, The Metro Atlanta Chamber and Georgia Chamber both called the measure "a distraction" from more important issues.

Two individuals were stabbed at the Fort Lauderdale Gay Pride Festival, NewNowNext.com noted. The stabbings occurred near the main stage and two people have been taken into custody in connection with the attack, said Officer Casey Liening, who added, "We believe this was an isolated incident."

Authorities are accusing Michigan LGBT-rights leader Nikki Joly of burning down his home after previously investigating the event as a hate crime, The Hill reported. The home of Joly—a transgender man and gay-rights activist— in Jackson, Michigan, burned down in 2017, killing five pets. The fire was initially investigated by the FBI as a hate crime, given that Joly had received multiple threats after a year where he helped open the city's first gay community center, organized the first gay festival and helped lead a battle for an ordinance that prohibits LGBT-based bias.

The LGBT Bar has announced Wesley D. Bizzell as president of the National LGBT Bar Association's Board of Directors and Jesse Ryan Loffler as president-elect of the National LGBT Bar Foundation's board of directors. The LGBT Bar will celebrate the new officers with a special inaugural event April 25 in Washington, D.C.

In Kentucky, The Louisville Ballet is speaking out against hate and prejudice after a homophobic customer sent an angry email, Instinct Magazine noted. To promote the show, which ran Feb. 28-March 3, the ballet company released the above photo of two male dancers holding hands—which was too much for one company fan. The ballet company then released "An Open Letter Against Hatred and Prejudice."

A Denver wedding videographer who refused to work with a same-sex couple is setting the stage for another conflict over religious beliefs and state anti-discrimination laws, TheDenverChannel.com reported. Anna Suhyda and Amanda Broadway have been together for almost four years, and are getting married in June in Boulder. When they reached out to Media Mansion, however, the response was "Unfortunately, at this time, we are not serving the LGBTQ community!" Owner Benjamin Hostetter said, "I have friends who are gay, and if they want to hang out and me to do a video for them, it's totally cool. But specifically doing a project that would be against my beliefs in anything regardless of what the specifics of it is not something I want to engage in."

The D.C. Eagle—one of the city's oldest continuously operating gay bars—plans to stay in business by selling its building to generate revenue and lease it back from the new owner, The Washington Blade reported. Two of the three co-owners ( Herb Kaylor-Hawkins and Ted Clements ) said they quickly changed an earlier plan as reflected in an outdated online real-estate ad saying the Eagle's building, along with the business and licenses, were for sale.

Virginia First Lady Pam Northam is facing criticism from the daughter of a state employee, who said Northam tried to hand her and a fellow African-American page a piece of cotton and asked them to "imagine being an enslaved person," Richmond.com noted. The eighth-grade student detailed the incident in a letter to lawmakers, describing it as "beyond inappropriate, especially considering recent events" involving Gov. Ralph Northam. The controversy involving the first lady comes as the governor faces widespread calls to resign over a racist photo that appeared on his 1984 medical school yearbook page and was first reported Feb 1; Northam has resisted the calls to resign, but has limited his public appearances.

In New York City, former Mission Chinese chef Angela Dimayuga—now the creative director of food and culture for the Standard hotels—is behind the new gay spot No Bar, which is in the former narcbar space next to the Standard, East Village, AMNY.com noted. No Bar marks the first official queer-focused venue for the hotel chain, with drag shows and other special events on the calendar.


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