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NATIONAL Trans troops, Adam Rippon, Asian groups, bar controversy
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-04-24

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The top officers of the Navy and Marines said that they have no evidence that unit morale and cohesion has been negatively affected by the open service of transgender individuals, The Hill reported. However, the commandant of the Marines added that some commanders have raised issues about the medical needs of some transgender troops. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ( D-N.Y. ) asked Marines Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson about the issue during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Last month, President Trump signed a memo banning most transgender people from serving in the military "except under certain limited circumstances."

The Time 100 issue is out, highlighting the top newsmakers of 2018—and out figure skater Adam Rippon is among the people on the list, according to LGBTQ Nation. Cher wrote a tribute to him that reads, in part, "Adam is a skater who happens to be gay, and that represents something wonderful to young people. When I was young, I had no role models—everyone looked like Sandra Dee and Doris Day." Other LGBT newsmakers include Christian Siriano ( with a tribute from Leslie Jones ) and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Rosie O'Donnell wrote a tribute for Roseanne Barr while Sir Elton John profiled Prince Harry. In addition, President Obama wrote a tribute to the Parkland shooting survivors-turned-activists.

LGBT Asian/South Asian groups submitted an amicus ( "friend of the court" ) brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down President Donald Trump's anti-Muslim travel ban, according to a press release from The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. NQAPIA Executive Director and counsel on the amicus brief Glenn D. Magpantay, said, "Trump's anti-Muslim travel ban has a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people and tears families apart. The defense relies on some of the cases and legal theories that supported the internment of Japanese-Americans." The brief ( for the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on April 25 ) is at http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/SCOTUS-LGBT-Amicus-Brief-Muslim-Ban.pdf.

Queer Pittsburgh residents were shocked after a local gay bar scheduled ( and then canceled ) a drag night seemingly inviting people to celebrate the birthday of Adolf Hitler, IntoMore.com noted. Although the event was deleted, screen shots circulating the internet showed an event hosted by Brewer's Bar titled "Fuhrer Festival" as part of an ongoing show series, "Nightshift." Responding to someone who was concerned about the event, the person messaging from the bar's Facebook account said the event was "not intended to offend anyone directly" and that topics for Nightshift shows are usually "controversial in tone."

Fraternity members at the University of Delaware attacked a gay man at an off-campus party, calling him a slur and breaking his leg, Advocate.com reported. Rancel Valdez told NBC10 he was at the party with a friend when he was swarmed by attackers. ( The beating was caught on video. ) The Review, the student newspaper for University of Delaware, reported that a protest was held on campus in response, with speakers calling for the expulsion of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

Theta Tau, an engineering fraternity at Syracuse University, has apologized for its "disgraceful language" after it was suspended for videos on a private Facebook group that showed members using racial slurs and mocking certain groups of people, including the LGBT community, NBC News reported. The videos, Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a letter to the campus, includes "words and behaviors that are extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities. I am appalled and shaken by this and deeply concerned for all members of our community." Theta Tau updated its website ( TauThetatau.com ) to apologize for the video and explain why it was done. The frat has since been expelled.

HealthHIV and The National Coalition for LGBT Health issued a statement honoring National Transgender HIV Testing Day on April 18. Currently, approximately a quarter of transgender women are living with HIV and an estimated 56 percent of Black transgender women live with HIV. HealthHIV and The National Coalition for LGBT Health offer several resources, including a PrEP for HIV prevention webinar ( at healthhiv.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/PrEP-slides-webinar-11.04.15-final.pdf ), and trans women's ( healthhiv.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Trans_Women20Screening_Updated_2015.pdf ) and men's ( healthhiv.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Trans_Men_Screening_updated_2015.pdf ) screening guidelines.

The New Hampshire state Senate has again passed a bill that would ban therapy that attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors, U.S. News & World Report noted. The bill, is identical to one the Senate passed last year but that the House killed in January. The House later passed a slightly different version, and those differences would have to be reconciled for the bill to advance to Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who has said he supports banning conversion therapy.

A new bill passed by the California Assembly would classify the selling or advertising of gay conversation therapy as a fraudulent business practice, The Hill reported. Assemblyman Evan Low ( D ) said the practice of trying to change someone's sexual orientation is ineffective, according to the AP. As a gay legislator who leads the LGBT caucus, Low said the practice is a personal issue for him.

The Trevor Project announced that Emmy-winning screenwriter, producer and actress Lena Waithe; writer, director and producer Greg Berlanti; and of global consulting firm McKinsey & Company Managing Partner Dominic Barton will all be honored at The Trevor Project's TrevorLIVE New York gala, a press release noted. TrevorLIVE New York—the organization's annual star-studded signature fundraiser billed as "an irreverent evening of music and comedy"—will be held Monday, June 11, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Visit ny.trevorlive.org .

NBC Charlotte obtained surveillance video of man's dream car going up in flames, and police are calling it a case of arson. Seth Headley said he awoke to the sight, and he's hoping the video will help catch the person responsible. He believed he was targeted because he's gay, adding that his LGBTQ decals on the car and a gay-pride flag on his home motivated the crime.

A high school teacher from a small town in Kansas posted to Facebook this week three threatening letters he received after he came out as gay last year, the Kansas City Star reported. Because of the letters and other harassment he says he received for being gay, Michael Hill quit his job as visual arts and theater teacher at Nemaha Central High School in Seneca, a town of about 2,000 residents in northeast Kansas. The school board accepted his letter of resignation on April 9. He had taught in the district for at least a decade.

A 72-year-old woman was arrested in Macon, Georgia, after she and her son attacked two soldiers, one of whom was pregnant, NewNowNext.com noted. The encounter started when Judy Tucker and her son tried to pull into a spot for the disabled outside a restaurant, but soldiers Treasure Sharpe and Stephanie Mitchell got in their way. According to the Daily Mail, Ward, and other witnesses, said Tucker's son began verbally abusing the soldiers, calling them "gay Black bitches" and asking, "Does the military let lesbians serve?"

Parkland survivors David Hogg and Cameron Kasky look to be headed to prom together, NewNowNext.com noted. Kasky shared a photo of him embracing Hogg, with the caption "Prom 2018." The pair—who were recently featured on the Time 100 Most Influential People list alongside fellow Marjory Stoneman Douglas classmates Emma GonzÃílez, Jaclyn Corin, and Alex Wind—are apparently not an item. In other tweets, Kasky refers to Hogg as his friend. The May 5 prom will honor the the four seniors who died in the shooting—Nicholas Dworet, Joaquin Oliver, Meadow Pollack, and Carmen Schentrup—as well as two students who both died in 2016

President Trump's pick to head NASA was confirmed in the U.S. Senate despite opposition from lawmakers and LGBT groups who opposed him on the basis of his anti-LGBT record, The Washington Blade reported. Rep. Jim Bridenstine ( R-Okla. ), who has served as a three-term member of Congress representing Oklahoma's 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House, was confirmed 50-49 ( along party lines ). In addition to opposition over his anti-LGBT views, lawmaker cited as concerns Bridenstine's denial of climate change and potentially placing him in charge of a U.S. agency that has monitored its impact.

A Trump nominee has come under fire for anti-transgender comments he made to his daughter and for his extremist Twitter feed, LGBTQ Nation noted. Frank Coffman was nominated to the position of U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Oklahoma last year. His transgender daughter, Bailey, told The Gayly that when she told her family she was transitioning, her father said, "This goes against the way you were brought up" and that she was "influenced by demons and the devil and more." Her father ( who called the child "Nicholas Bailey" in a 2018 questionnaire ) refused to comment for the article.

Gay Republicans have been banned from the Texas GOP state convention, PinkNews reported. The Conservative Political Action Conference, a keynote Republican event, recently lifted a long-held ban on the Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT group—but it is still not welcome to attend a number of other Republican events. The Texas GOP this month banned the group from having a stall at its 2018 state convention, marking the 20th successive year in which the Log Cabin Republicans have been refused permission to attend the convention.

Ohio business groups are calling on lawmakers to pass a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in discrimination laws, WOSU.org reported. The coalition Ohio Business Competes wants additional anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people, including a bill now in the House, HB 160, introduced by Rep. Nickie Antonio ( D-Lakewood ). According to Ohio law, it's technically legal for businesses to fire someone for being gay or transgender.

The trial for suspended Oregon judge Vance Day—who rose to national prominence after refusing to marry gay couples, and was later indicted on separate criminal charges—has been postponed, a KATU.com item stated. Marion County judge Julie Frantz granted a motion to move the trial from Day's home county, where he faces charges of giving guns to a felon. Day's attorneys requested the change, citing concerns over fairness after media coverage of Day's case and his marriage stance.

In Pennsylvania, a Democratic colleague filed a complaint against Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, saying a recent encounter left the Democrat fearful for his safety, according to PolitiFact.com . A few days prior, Metcalfe has posted a Facebook rant taking aim at his accuser and other Democrats he's served alongside—including one he called a "lying homosexual." The site stated that some of Metcalfe's claims—including that a colleague touched his arm 40 times in an attempt to provoke him—are either impossible to prove or are unsubstantiated.

Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate and far-right minister Scott Lively has said that he'll fight for closet cases and conservative gay people, LGBTQ Nation noted. In an email to supporters, he said, in part, "The people [gay conservatives] fear the most are not 'homophobes,' but 'gays' who insist that all homosexuals be leftists and 'come out of the closet' to join the 'gay pride' parade—actively hunting them like fugitive criminals to 'out' them in a humiliating manner if they resist or ( if they are politicians ) dare to vote against 'gay' progressive goals." Despite his history of spreading hate around the world ( in pushing Uganda's "Kill The Gays" law ) and advocating for a law that would condemn gay people to death, Lively insists he has no problem with gay people.

Starbucks will close all its company-owned coffee shops in the U.S. and its corporate offices during the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias training for employees following the arrest of two African-American men at one of its locations in Philadelphia, USA Today noted. Nearly 175,000 employees in the United States will receive the training. The CEO has apologized for the incident, and the Seattle-based coffee giant confirmed the Philadelphia employee who called the police no longer is with Starbucks.

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal is free to tell her story about an alleged affair she had with President Donald Trump, after settling a lawsuit with publisher American Media, McDougal said in a statement provided to TheWrap. According to the New York Times, National Enquirer parent company American Media bought McDougal's story in August 2016, but never ran the story.


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