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National: Hillary's support, Bernie's withdrawal, Black college and LGBTQs
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-05-10

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Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wrote a message of support for a trans woman who was attacked in a New York City subway, Gay Star News noted. Pearl Love, a trans Taiwanese woman, was called "garbage" and "transvestite" by another woman who later physically attacked Love. Posting on her Facebook, Clinton wrote, "Pearl, I am so sorry that you have experienced this. The all-too-high prevalence of violence and hatred faced by the transgender community—today, in 2016!—is a rebuke to all of us."

The Washington Blade reported that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has cancelled a meeting with HIV advocates his campaign affirmed days before the crucial New York Democratic primary he would attend, according to the activists who sought to arrange the meeting. The 30-minute meeting between Sanders and HIV advocates was set for May 13 in Indianapolis. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton also agreed to meet the activists, who say they're are still on track to meet with her May 12 for one hour in New York City. According to a statement announcing the cancellation from the Brooklyn-based HIV and homeless advocacy group Housing Works, attendees were informed on April 30 the Sanders meeting was cancelled—two days after many of them purchased last-minute plane tickets to attend the event.

Many Voices, a Black church movement for LGBT justice, launched a first-of-its-kind video campaign in partnership with Morgan State University ( MSU ) to increase awareness about LGBTQ life on historically Black College and University ( HBCU ) campuses, and the ways in which it is shaped by the Black Church tradition, according to a press release. Titled "My God Too: Black LGBTQ Students Speak OUT," the video features interviews of 10 MSU LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ ally students, who share their personal stories about how they have been impacted by traditional Black Church teachings regarding gender and sexuality that are pervasive on campus. According to diversity expert and former Harvard College Dean John Fitzgerald Gates, only three ( out of 105 ) HBCUs have full-time administrative staff or a center dedicated to LGBTQ affairs.

The California Assembly advanced two pro-LGBT bills, according to an Equality California press release. AB 1887, authored by Asm. Evan Low ( D-Campbell ), would prohibit state-funded or sponsored travel to a state that, after June 26, 2015, has enacted anti-LGBT laws. AB 1732, which Asm. Phil Ting ( D-San Francisco ) authored, would enact a restroom-access policy that requires all single-occupancy restrooms in businesses, government buildings and places of public accommodation to be available to everyone.

At a special meeting on May 4, the Oxford, Alabama, City Council voted three to two to repeal a new ordinance that would have prevented transgender residents and visitors from using public restroom facilities consistent with their gender identity, according to a Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) press release. This anti-transgender law was unprecedented in its establishment of criminal penalties for violations—including a $500 fine or six months in jail—and raised privacy and legal concerns regarding how the law would have been enforced. The council's action came during a 10-day recall window; the ordinance had not yet been signed by the mayor.

Dozens of United Methodist clergy members came out as lesbian, gay or bisexual May 9, defying their church's ban on "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" serving in ministry and essentially daring their supervisors to discipline them, CNN noted. In a public letter posted online, 111 pastors, deacons, elders and candidates for ministry said church rules require "that we not bring our full selves to ministry, that we hide from view our sexual orientations and gender identities." The self-outings came one day before the United Methodist Church convened its quadrennial General Conference in Portland, Oregon. On May 10-20, more than 800 delegates will debate changes to church policy, including several that seek to lift long-standing bans on LGBT ministers and same-sex marriages.

In Pennsylvania, three-term openly gay state Rep. Brian Sims wins again in the 182nd—this time defeating three challengers, The Philadelphia Business Journal reported. Sims got 39 percent of the vote, while runner-up Ben Waxman got 34 percent. He will face no Republican challenge in the general election.

In response to continued attacks on trans people across the nation, the Trans United Fund ( TUF ) has produced an ad utilizing the voices of parents of trans children and speaking directly to the impact of the rhetoric the community faces, according to a press release. Trans United Fund's Hayden Mora, Andrea Jenkins and Jacob Tobia teamed with Sundance award-winning producer and director Melissa Regan, creator of the trans documentary No Dumb Questions. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_lGK7d5HbA.

Boston traffic reporter Scott Eck made a gender-transition announcement, according to People. "My new name is Kristen Eck and my new identity is female," she said, citing Caitlyn Jenner's 2015 coming-out as an inspiration. Undergoing her transition with the aide of counseling services and hormone therapy, Eck reportedly decided to take the leap nearly a year ago, but said she's been something she was aware of since she was young.

A gay Idaho man was brutally murdered, left naked and alone to die, after responding to an online ad for a male escort, The New Civil Rights Movement noted. Four men are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Steven Nelson, 49, who was choked and kicked about 30 times with steel-toed boots following an apparent robbery. Kelly Schneider, 22; 21-year-old Kevin Tracy; 28-year-old Jayson Woods; and 23-year-old Daniel Henkel were arrested and charged with murder and robbery, KTVB reported.

A study has found that, while HIV-infection and -transmission rates in the United States declined over the past five years, they fell short of White House targets, UPI reported. Between 2010 and 2015, new HIV infections decreased 11 percent and transmission of the virus declined 17 percent—far less than the goals set in 2010 as part of the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy ( NHAS ). Lead study author Robert Bonacci said, "We need a simultaneous expansion of diagnostic and prevention services, paired with an intensified focus on communities disproportionately affected by HIV." Said communities include gay men, young people, transgender people, Black Americans, Hispanics and those who live in the South, Bonacci added.

A court order cited in a story published by PennLive revealed that former Penn Penn State coach Joe Paterno was allegedly told in 1976 about an accusation of child sexual abuse by former assistant Jerry Sandusky, USA Today reported. If true, this would be a significant development in the timeline of when Paterno allegedly was aware of Sandusky's actions. ( However, as many as six assistant coaches at Penn State witnessed "inappropriate behavior" between Sandusky and boys, stretching as far back as the 1970s, NBC News noted. ) Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse in June 2012—five months after Paterno's death—and is serving 30 to 60 years in prison.

Philanthropist Lynette Nielsen Gay will resign from the World Congress of Families amid backlash to her being selected to receive an honorary degree from the University of Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Gay serves on the board of directors for World Congress of Families, a traditional family advocacy organization listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its efforts to restrict the rights of LGBT individuals. In a statement, Gay described herself and her husband as "staunch" supporters of personal freedom and rights for all individuals.

In Pennsylvania, lesbian high-school student Aniya Wolf, a student at Bishop McDevitt High School, was kicked out of her prom because she wore a tuxedo, Pix11.com reported. An email from the school explained girls had to wear a dress to prom, but Wolf's family said the item came at the last minute. Wolf ignored the dress code and went to prom anyway and was thrown out, telling WHTM that a school official grabbed her by the arm and had threatened to call police.

A new cartoon from the Jehovah's Witnesses teaches kids how to bully classmates with gay or lesbian parents, LGBTQ Nation reported. The spot tells young children they should confront their peers to tell them their parents are going to hell. It also compares same-sex marriage to terrorism and promotes ex-gay therapy.

AIDS activist and music promoter Jim Fouratt—who co-founded New York City's Danceteria—is being evicted from his Greenwich Village apartment, Page Six noted. "I was surprised how emotional [sic] this move by the landlord affected me. I moved into my six floor walk up apartment in 1969. I consider it my home," Fouratt, 70, posted on Facebook. Landlord Kenneth Fishel said Fouratt had flooded his downstairs neighbors twice in a month: "He's damaging the building, and destroying his neighbors' property." Danceteria was a well-known nightclub that ran from 1979 until 1986 ( and in the Hamptons until 1995 ).

The Furies House at 219 11th St. SE, in the nation's capital, has become the first explicitly lesbian site to be added to The National Register of Historic Places, which is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. The announcement on Facebook by the National Park Service read, "The Furies Collective house in Washington, D.C., was home to a lesbian feminist collective that, in the early 1970s, created and led the debate over lesbians' place in American society."

Openly gay pundit/activist Dan Savage and Ann Coulter clashed during a panel discussion on Real Time, with Savage ripping into Coulter's anti-immigrant rhetoric, Raw Story reported. "Why do we want to throw these 11 million people out of the country?" Savage asked. "They contribute more to our economy than they take out; they pay more in taxes than they receive in services; illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes per capita—," at which point Coulter said, "Not only are they false facts, but if they are true facts then you need to go and elect people who will change the laws." Savage then said, "But your rationale for building this wall is bullsh*t."—a reference to Donald Trump's insistence that he would build a wall at the United States-Mexico border.

The utility Con Ed will hire a Long Island woman who it originally rejected because it found a "sexually explicit" image of her on Instagram, The New York Daily News reported. It's giving Chirichella the same $70,000-a-year investigator job in its law department that it offered to her in March and then rescinded after finding a photo showing a mirror image of a woman nibbling on an aroused naked breast—a pic that Chirichella said was not porn but art. Arthur Schwartz, the lawyer for Chirichella, said that after "a rush of media interest" in the lawsuit that Chirichella filed against Con Ed, the company's lawyers called to say Con Ed had "rethought the decision."

Gay-owned, California-based Equator Coffees and Teas was named by the Small Business Administration ( SBA ) as the winner of the state's "Best Small Business," Gay Star News noted. The federal agency presents awards to small business owners in all of the 50 states. Now, to coincide with National Small Business Week, the gay-owned company has been crowned 2016 National Small Business of the Year.

California's Fresno State University issued a press release noting steps the school has said it's taken to support the trans campus community. Among the initiatives are issuing a Fresno State ID card with any student's preferred first and middle names; implementing a mechanism to allow any student to have their preferred first and middle names listed on class rosters; and the facilities staff working with the Cross Cultural and Gender Center to locate additional single-stall restrooms across campus that can be added as gender-inclusive.

FedEx is launching its fourth-annual Small Business Grant Contest, and has begun accepting applications for a total prize pool of $100,000, a press release stated. This year, the contest is offering grants to ten small businesses, with the largest sum since its inception, of $100,000. Among them, one Grand Prize winner of $25,000, one $15,000 winner and eight $7,500 winners will be awarded. Voting is open to anyone and can be conducted online at FedEx.com/grantcontest or via a social-media platform of the entrant's choice. More info is at http://tinyurl.com/hkxxftc.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) and organizers of the New Orleans Pride Festival have put together a weekend of events June 17-19, a press release stated. Former RuPaul's Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio will kick off things, and there will be events such as the HRC Louisiana Gala and the New Orleans Pride Parade. see NewOrleansPrideFestival.com .


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