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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL Trevor Project, more trans deaths, prisoner ruling
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-12-18

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The Trevor Project has released Holiday Self-Care Tips For LGBTQ Youth—a resource for queer young people who often experience overwhelming family rejection and loneliness during the holiday season, a press release noted. Each year in December, The Trevor Project's crisis intervention services receives an increase of calls, chats, and texts from LGBTQ young people who reach out for support. Written by Joie A. DeRitis, LMSW, Senior Trainer for Trevor, these tips include creating a self-care plan in advance, caring for yourself during the day of the holiday, and post-holiday self-care. The resource is at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/2018/12/13/holiday-self-care-tips-for-lgbtq-youth/#sm.0000at4c3a188tf0xt4y7yz7ll9cf.

A pastor has been charged in connection to the fatal shooting of Detroit transgender woman Kelly Stough, LGBTQ Nation reported. Investigators believe that she was killed by Albert Weathers, 46, who then allegedly fled the scene of the crime and went to work at the Great Lakes Water Authority. Weathers was charged with first-degree murder, and his bond was set at $1 million. A GoFundMe page has been created in Stough's memory; it's at https://www.gofundme.com/trishtan-kelly-stough?fbclid=IwAR3a3W-EzRjgEu0xWRamDIRqA7BTGZjN5nxwKP6G9KXtQ-WIYKtB9dTaY7o.

Also, Regina Denise Brown—a transgender woman of color—was found dead in her home in South Carolina, HRC.org noted. The Times and Democrat first reported that firefighters found Brown, 53, after her home was set on fire in Orangeburg in October. Investigators initially charged ex-convict Kenneth Lamont Jenkins, 37, with second-degree arson and grand larceny after officials allege he "willfully and maliciously set fire to Ms. Regina Denise Brown's home" ( although later he was also charged with murder ).

The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho issued a preliminary injunction in Edmo v. Idaho Department of Correction ( IDOC ), ordering the IDOC to provide Native American transgender woman Adree Edmo with medically necessary gender-confirmation surgery, a National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) press release stated. "As the Court recognized, it is a bedrock principle of our legal system that Constitutional protections apply to all individuals, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity," said NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Amy Whelan. NCLR filed this lawsuit on behalf of Edmo with Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP, and Ferguson Durham, PLLC.

A Virginia school district has fired a teacher who refused to use male pronouns to refer to a transgender student, The Washington Blade noted. WTVR, a Richmond television station, reported Peter Vlaming, a French teacher at West Point High School, refused to identify a student who had recently transitioned as "he" and "him" in October while he was in his classroom. The West Point Public School Board voted unanimously to fire Vlaming after a five-hour hearing.

Lambda Legal filed a motion on behalf of a 63-year-old gay man arguing that the Social Security Administration's denial of spousal survivor's benefits to him—on the grounds that he was not married for long enough despite marrying on the very first day when he was allowed to do so—is unconstitutional, an organizational press release noted. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Anthony Gonzales, who was in a 15-year committed relationship with his husband, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico argues that SSA's imposition of a nine-month marriage requirement for social security survivor's benefits is unconstitutional where same-sex couples were not able to be married for nine months because of discriminatory marriage laws.

York County, South Carolina, prosecutors are weighing whether to seek indictments in domestic-violence cases involving same-sex couples after several cases have been tossed by judges, HeraldOnline.com reported. Prosecutors say South Carolina's law, which defines a couple for domestic violence charges as only a "man and a woman," was ruled unconstitutional by the S.C. Supreme Court in 2017. That court ruling was upheld in an opinion by the state attorney general.

Starkville, Mississippi, officials voted four to three to allow the city's gay-pride advocates to apply for a 2019 parade, U.S. News & World Report noted. The Commercial Dispatch reported three aldermen say they don't think the city should spend on in-kind services for any parades, also voting against a permit for a Martin Luther King Jr. march. ( Two opponents are African-American. ) Aldermen originally rejected the Starkville Pride permit on a four-to-three vote last year, but Ald. David Little abstained from a second vote, allowing Mayor Lynn Spruill to break the tie in favor of the parade permit. This year, Little voted for the permit.

In Beckley, West Virginia, a member of Beckley Common Council and chair of the Beckley Human Rights Commission wants protection for churches and religious freedoms written into a proposed ordinance that aims to add LGBT status, along with those who are "questioning" their sexual identity, as a protected class within city limits, The Register-Herald noted. Ward III Councilman Frank Williams is one of four Council members who told The Register-Herald they were undecided on whether they will support the measure, which is expected to be presented to Council on Jan. 8. He said he supports the idea that a LGBTQ person should not be kicked out of a job or a house—but is concerned that a city ordinance could interfere with religious freedoms of individual pastors.

The New York City Police Department announced that an arrest has been made in connection to an anti-gay attack on a woman in the subway, LGBTQ Nation noted. Allasheed Allah, 54, was arraigned on charges of aggravated harassment and assault, both with hate-crimes enhancements. Allah allegedly attacked a 20-year-old woman in the subway after another woman kissed her on the cheek. As the victim was trying to get away, the assailant hit and shoved her; she fell and fractured her spine.

A former employee of a Colorado watchdog agency claims he was discriminated against for being gay and ultimately fired as retaliation for reporting harassment by a co-worker, The Denver Post reported. Jason Purdue, a Department of Regulatory Affairs administrative assistant, alleged in a discrimination complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division last month that he was suspended and then fired "based on my disability, sex, sexual orientation, mixed race, and/or in retaliation for engaging in protected activities." Purdue reported in February that he was being harassed by a co-worker—and no action was taken, the complaint noted.

Sen. Orrin Hatch ( R-Utah ) spoke positively of LGBTQ-inclusive anti-discrimination legislation in his farewell address to the U.S. Senate, LGBTQ Nation reported. In part, he said, "It's also important to account of other interests as well—especially those of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Pluralism shows us a better way. It shows us that protecting religious liberty and preserving the rights of LGBTQ individuals are not mutually exclusive." Hatch, an ultra-conservative who has been in the U.S. Senate since 1977, announced his retirement earlier this year.

Online dating service OkCupid allows its non-binary and LGBT users to choose their pronouns, Engadget reported. Once they've selected their gender( s ) from their profile, they can either select from a trio of options ( she/her, he/him and they/them ) or type in their chosen pronoun. This follows Grindr's move allowing folks pick their pronouns to better include the app's transgender users.

Adult performer and GayVN Award nominee Max Konnor has accused New York City leather store The Leather Man of racist behavior while he was in the store, Instinct Magazine noted. Konnor tweeted, "Guys, I just experienced racism full force. The owner of @LeatherManNYC just kicked me out after coming in trying to get an outfit made for the @GayVN awards." Store employee Scott Jordan told OUT that the issue was the owner, Chuck Mueller, doesn't like phones used in the store, adding, "It wasn't a matter of race." Konnor and his designer, Maxfield Haynes, said no one asked them to put their phones away during their visit to the store; also, others tweeted that they were never asked to put away their phones.

Scottsdale, Arizona, couple Matt Jacobi and Nick Caprio have sparked toy brand Mattel's attention with a social-media post asking for a same-sex Barbie wedding set, AZFamily.com noted. The couple found some Barbie wedding sets for a niece ( set to be a flower girl at the couple's May 2019 wedding ), but none of them were same-sex wedding sets; they decided to buy two and combine them to create one same-sex set. The couple was disappointed with the lack of choices and posted their frustration on Instagram, tagging Mattel, the company that makes Barbie.

Mika Brzezinski apologized on-air two days after using a homophobic slur while talking about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Deadline reported. She made the offensive remark during a segment Dec. 11 about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. In apologizing, she said, in part, "But please allow me to say this face to face: The term is crass and offensive and I apologize to everyone, especially the LGBTQ community, and to my colleagues, for using it."

Cal State Northridge ( CSUN ) was investigating reports of yet another threat against the university, CBS Los Angeles reported. In a statement, CSUN said a post circulating on social media claimed the school's Pride Center was allegedly being targeted. The incident marked a third threat facing CSUN in the past week.

Baltimore Ravens player Patrick Ricard was under fire after offensive tweets from the past resurfaced, TMJ4.com noted. From 2011 through 2014, Ricard wrote multiple insensitive tweets that included homophobic slurs and racist terms. On Twitter, Ricard stated, "I would like to offer my sincerest apology and make it known that these comments do not reflect my true feelings, beliefs, or values as a human being." The Ravens called Ricard now-deleted tweets "unacceptable."

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi ( D-Calif. ) agreed to a term-limit deal that ensures her election to a second stint as House Speaker—but also makes it certain her Speakership will end after a maximum of four more years, The Hill reported. The decision secures Pelosi the backing of some of her most vocal critics, leaving a crumbled opposition.

Stormy Daniels—the adult film star who says she had an affair with President Trump—was ordered to pay nearly $300,000 in his legal fees after her defamation lawsuit was thrown out in October, The Huffington Post noted. The president has denied her claim that they had an affair in 2006; however, two investigations appear to back her claim that she was paid through Trump's lawyer to stay silent during the 2016 presidential campaign. Michael Avenatti, Daniels' attorney and a vocal critic of the president, has filed an appeal in the case.

Stonewall National Museum & Archives announced that TV personality Carson Kressley will be a celebrity guest presenter at the Stonewall GALA 2019 taking place Feb. 22 in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a press release noted. Kressley will present longtime LGBTQ advocate and author Brian McNaught with the 2019 Visibility Award.

A sweeping agriculture bill passed by Congress gives the legislative nod needed to make CBD ( cannabidiol ), one of hemp's byproducts, legal at the federal level, Consumer Reports noted. The bill also allows farmers to legally grow industrial hemp.

With more than 38,000 Americans dying from firearm-related injuries each year and an estimated 85,000 people surviving non-fatal firearm injuries, the American Medical Association ( AMA ) today announced a new online continuing medical education ( CME ) module to help prepare physicians to counsel their patients on firearm safety, a press release stated. The module is designed to assist physicians—particularly those who specialize in primary care and emergency medicine—in recognizing risk factors that increase the potential for firearm injury and death, identifying barriers to communicating with patients about firearm safety, and effectively communicating with patients to reduce the risk of firearm injury and death.

Eighty male students of Notre Dame University wrote an open letter requesting that a porn filter is put in place on the school's wi-fi, according an Instinct Magazine that cites the Daily Beast. Jim Martinson— the man responsible for the initial writing of the letter—has received more than 40 emails from students across the country saying that they also wish to have a porn filter in place on their school's wi-fi.


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