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National: Edie Windsor, U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor, iconic gay bar destroyed
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-06-06

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Marriage-equality champion Edie Windsor will be honored with The Trevor Project's Icon Award at the 2017 TrevorLIVE New York fundraising gala on June 19, a press release noted. The event will also feature performances by Shoshana Bean, Dana Goldberg, Jeremy Jordan, and a special extended performance by Grammy-winning rock band Imagine Dragons. The Trevor Project is the nation's only nonprofit crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on ending suicide among LGBTQ+ youth.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) announced that GOP Rep. Scott Taylor, of Virginia, will co-sponsor the Equality Act—"legislation that would finally guarantee explicit protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil-rights laws," according to a press release. More than 240 members of Congress and 90 corporations now back the bipartisan legislation. HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said, "The growing support for the Equality Act by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents proves that LGBTQ equality is not a partisan issue."

Also, HRC has declared June as #UniteResistEnlist Month, a separate press release noted. In part, it says, "HRC has committed to empower and mobilize millions of equality voters to fight back against attacks that undermine the LGBTQ community through a nationwide Summer of Action anchored by more than 250 grassroots events from coast to coast including the National Equality March in Washington, D.C. and the #ResistMarch in Los Angeles." For more info, visit HRC.org/blog/unite.-resist.-enlist.-5-ways-you-can-join-hrcs-summer-of-action.

In Texas, The Rainbow Lounge—which became ground zero for gay rights in Fort Worth in late June 2009 when a heavy-handed police raid left two patrons injured—was destroyed in a fire, Star-Telegram.com noted. No one was injured, and the fire is under investigation by the Fort Worth Fire Department. The bar is an "iconic historic piece" of the city, Mayor Betsy Price said. "It's a shame to see it so terribly destroyed and we're lucky and very fortunate that there were no human lives lost, but it did make a big impact on Fort Worth and it changed human rights and how we deal with our very diverse community."

Logo released its second annual "Trailblazing Companies" list, a ranking of 25 companies and brands that have demonstrated a public commitment to LGBTQ people and issues through advertising, communications and other public initiatives, a press release noted. Some of the companies on the list include Nike, PepsiCo, Google, Hilton ( which topped the list ), Toyota Motor, PNC Financial, Comcast, Wells Fargo and American Airlines. The full list is at NewNowNext.com/best-companies-gay/05/2017/.

The Orlando police released 11 hours of new body camera footage from inside the Pulse nightclub on the night of the worst mass shooting in American history almost one year ago, ABC News noted. The footage contains dramatic scenes of chaos and carnage as first responders tried to save the wounded and hunt down the shooter who killed 49 people in the name of the Islamic State. In interviews ahead of the release of the footage that was broadcast on World News Tonight with David Muir and Nightline, first responders and survivors told ABC News that the memories of that night.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker will receive Lambda Legal's first Courage in Action Award and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons will deliver the opening keynote address at Lambda Legal's annual reception in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 15, a press release noted. The event will also introduce Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal's director of strategy rwho was ecently hired to open Lambda Legal's new Washington, D.C., office.

Family Equality Council and PFLAG National, co-chairs of the National Every Child Deserves a Family Coalition, issued a press release welcoming the reintroduction of the Every Child Deserves a Family ( ECDF ) Act of 2017 in the House of Representatives. They thanked Congressman John Lewis ( D-Georgia ) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen ( R-Florida ) "for their leadership on behalf of youth in the child welfare system and LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents."

A new study by scholars at the Williams Institute found that, compared with cisgender ( i.e., non-transgender ) individuals, transgender individuals had higher prevalence of poor general health and they had more days per month of poor physical and mental health, a press release stated. More transgender than cisgender people lacked healthcare coverage, a healthcare provider and dental care. The info is in a paper titled "Demographic Characteristics and Health Status of Transgender Adults in Select U.S. Regions: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014." The summary is at http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303648.

The U.S. Navy is joining the nation in recognizing Pride Month throughout June, according to a press release. ALNAV 006/17 encourages participation in all the heritage celebrations and special observances throughout the year. The Department of Defense ( DoD ) began observing LGBT Pride Month in 2012. "To remain the finest seagoing fighting force, the Navy needs men and women who are the right fit for the right job regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed or gender identity," said Capt. Candace Eckert, special assistant for inclusion and diversity. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed in 2011.

The first openly non-binary trans person was commissioned as a deacon in The United Methodist Church ( The UMC ) on June 4 in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, a press release noted. Rev. M Barclay, who uses singular "they" pronouns, was appointed by Bishop Sally Dyck to serve as a deacon at Reconciling Ministries Network ( RMN ). RMN advocates for the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the UMC.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives has voted to pass a bill that would bar licensed healthcare providers from using so-called gay conversion therapy to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity, LGBTQ Nation noted. The House voted 69-0 to pass the bill, with six legislators not voting; it now moves to the state Senate. Nevada and Connecticut recently became the latest of eight states to ban the practice.

A federal appeals judge has blocked an order that Maine officials be given information about donors who helped finance a successful campaign to repeal the state's marriage-equality law, according to The Wisconsin Gazette. Earlier, a magistrate judge recommended that the National Organization for Marriage turn over information about donors and fundraising to the Maine attorney general's office.

A young woman who survived a massacre at Orlando's Pulse nightclub last year has been killed in a highway car crash, U.S. News & World Report stated. Jahqui Sevilla, 20, was driving on an Orlando-area highway when she lost control of her car; the car jumped the highway median and hit an SUV traveling in the opposite lanes. The Florida Highway Patrol said Soraya Matias-Roth, 53, of Lakeland, Florida, who was in the SUV, also was killed and three others in the SUV were hospitalized with injuries.

United Airlines is apologizing again for their treatment of a passenger, KTLA.com noted. Henry Amador-Batten—a gay father flying to his North Carolina home—was accused by United flight attendants of inappropriately touching his son on the flight, setting off a police investigation and angering the boy's fathers. For both men, the investigation was "mean-spirited and completely unacceptable," according to a series of Facebook posts.

Lambda Legal submitted comments to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission regarding proposed guidance concerning protections for LGBTQ people under Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act, a press release noted. Also, Lambda Legal urged the Commission to adopt rules and regulations barring sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The comments are at https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/pa_20170526_comments-to-proposed-guidance-concerning-protections.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz ( D-Florida ) recently said the promotion of human rights must remain part of U.S. foreign policy, The Washington Blade noted. The former chair of the Democratic National Committee pointed out in her remarks at the World OutGames Miami Human Rights Conference that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States "would have to sacrifice possibly America's values when dealing with other countries in order to achieve sort of greater good or more broad goals—even if it meant sacrificing our values that matter to us when it comes to human rights."

Mili Hernandez, an 8-year-old soccer player from Nebraska who's a biological girl, was forced off the field over the weekend when officials decided she is a boy, LGBTQ Nation reported. "When my hair starts to grow I put it short because I've always had short hair. I didn't like my hair long," she told WOWT news. Mia Hamm, Abby Wambaugh and Billie Jean King have been among those supporting Hernandez online.

Lambda Legal and local counsel Dianne Ellis filed an appeal in the Mississippi Supreme Court on behalf of Christina Strickland, a non-biological lesbian mother denied legal parentage to children she and her now ex-wife planned for and raised together, a Lambda Legal press release stated. The suit argues that a trial court discriminated against a child based on the circumstances of his birth and contrary to his best interests and violated the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution by ignoring the familial relationship between Strickland and her sons. The brief is at https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/strickland_ms_20170601_brief-of-appellant.

In North Carolina, prosecutor Garland Byers said that a minister "directed and participated in" the beating of a congregant who says the assault was meant to expel his "homosexual demons," CBS News reported. Byers gave his opening statement in the trial of Brooke Covington, a minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina. Covington is charged with kidnapping and assaulting former church member Matthew Fenner. If convicted, she faces up to two years in prison.

Two teammates on the University of Minnesota men's track team shared their coming-out stories in Outsports, according to TwinCities.com . Sprinters Brad Neumann of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and Justin Rabon of Milwaukee competed against each other in high school; now, they're dating and teammates for the Golden Gophers. Openly gay male athletes have been extremely rare in professional sports but more common at the collegiate level.

A Florida woman accused of murder claimed the victim masturbated in front of her—but relatives of the 53-year-old social worker, who identified as gay, say her allegations are ridiculous, The New York Post report. Jaidan Sinead Zeiders, 26, of Tampa, was arrested in connection with the Jan. 14 death of William Denham Jr. Zeiders told police that Denham trespassed into her backyard and masturbated in her presence. She claimed she instructed two other men to attack him out of self-defense, but denied participating in the beatdown herself.

After more than 15 years of conference production for the transgender community and professionals, Gender Diversity is bringing its Gender Odyssey conference to Los Angeles on June 28-29, a press conference noted. Among the slated events is a "State of the Movement" panel, featuring Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center; Bamby Salcedo, Latina transgender speaker and activist; Chandi Moore, trans health advocate and media personality; and additional speakers to be announced. View the full schedule of sessions and panels at http://www.genderodyssey.org/los-angeles/pro/.

Filmmaker Michael Moore has launched a whistleblower website dedicated to gathering information on President Trump, USA Today noted. Trumpileaks is a portal on Moore's personal website where people can "securely send" photos, videos, documents and audio recordings about the commander in chief directly to Moore. "Trump thinks he's above the law," Moore wrote. Leaking, he warned, "might get dangerous. It may get us in trouble. But we're running out of time. We must act. It's our patriotic duty."

The organizers of an HIV-prevention study are looking for Native American male participants, according to a press release. The Virtual Two-Spirit project is a culturally-grounded, online HIV prevention intervention for Native American and Alaska Native men who have sex with men. The intervention facilitates positive sexual health behaviors and promotes HIV risk harm reduction strategies. Eligible participants who complete the three-week intervention and online assessments can receive up to $190 in incentives. Interestd persons can email vr2s@uw.edu or call 971-251-0402.

More than 700 attendees came together to sync systems, data, programs, models, interventions and policies to generate targeted solutions in the fields of LGBT Health, HIV, and HCV during SYNC 2017, held on April 23-25 in Arlington Virginia, a press release noted. The conference featured a plenary and track sessions entirely devoted to LGBT Health. SYNC 2017 was capped off with the LGBT Health Plenary "LGBT Health Disparities: Addressing Age, Access, Settings and Services," which addressed LGBT health disparities.

There' was some business fallout from President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Accord on Climate Change, Deadline noted. Joining Tesla boss Elon Musk, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that he is also leaving the president's White House Advisory Council because of Trump's announcement.


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