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National: Journalists' tribute, DADT, Texas governor, Chelsea Manning
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-06-13

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A commemoration of journalists who died of AIDS, and others who covered the epidemic—highlighted by a keynote speech from New York Times journalist Samuel G. Freedman—will take place on Friday, June 23, in New York City's LGBT Community Center, a press release noted. "Bodies on the Line: A Memorial to Honor AIDS Journalists" is an event whose lead organizer is Anne-christine d'Adesky, an award-winning AIDS journalist, veteran social justice activist and author of the new hybrid memoir,The Pox Lover: An Activist's Decade in New York and Paris.

In response to recent news reports that the Defense Department may reinstate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ( DADT ) for transgender individuals, Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, U.S. Army ( Retired ), Major General Gale S. Pollock, U.S. Army ( Retired ) and Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender, U.S. Army ( Retired ) issued a joint statement. The statement contained pro-transgender findings from various studies as well as them saying, "The research leaves no rationale besides personal bias or politics for delaying or reversing full transgender inclusion, and we are loath to imagine a return to DADT for transgender troops."

GLAAD was among those who criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for pursuing what the organization calls "a dangerous agenda with his announcement for a special session at the Texas State Capitol," a press release noted. Said agenda includes passing a so-called anti-trans "bathroom bill" which openly targets and discriminates against transgender Texans for living their lives according to their gender identity. The so-called "bathroom bill" has already received negative attention as some of the nation's top business CEOs, including Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.

In an interview with ABC News/Nightline, Chelsea Manning said "I'm just me" when asked how she sees herself. "Anything I've done, it's me. There's no one else," she said. "No one told me to do this. Nobody directed me to do this. This is me. It's on me." She aded that fighting for hormone treatment in prison was important for her because "it's literally what keeps me alive." Manning, a transgender U.S. Army soldier, was in prison for seven years at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, after being convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing over 700,000 documents to WikiLeaks.

A Michigan court ruled in favor of Planet Fitness' trans-inclusive policy after a woman sued the gym in a transphobic tirade two years ago, NewNowNext.com noted. In 2015, Yvette Cormier had her Planet Fitness membership revoked after complaining that she saw a transgender woman in the locker room. Cormier eventually sued the gym, but the Michigan Appeals Court ruled three to zero that she had no claim against the facility for its policy or its decision to revoke her membership.

In North Carolina, a group called "Gays for Trump" feels Pride Parade organizers are pushing them out of the event in Charlotte because of their political affiliation. Brian Talbert, a member of the LGBT group and a Republican, said his grop planned a 27-foot-long float decked out with American flags, a replica of the Statue of Liberty, "female impersonators" and the "most patriotic music anyone has ever heard," according to the Washington Post. However, the group received an email from the parade team saying it was "not able to approve" the group's application to participate in the August event.

A 22-year-old man in Elkhart County, Indiana, has pled not guilty in court to the charge of murdering former city councilman David Swartley, LGBTQ Nation reported. Court documents reveal that Cody Garman admits to having met Swartley, 66, in the early hours of May 25, after responding to his personal ad for "casual encounters." Garman, who was appointed a public defender, faces 65 years in prison if found guilty; his pretrial is set for June 29, and his trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 18.

The director of the LGBTQ Home For Hope—the first LGBT-specific homeless shelter in Pennsylvania—stepped down from her position, Philadelphia Gay News noted. Alvarez emailed the publication, "Unfortunately, there has been a lot of infighting within the community in which I have been the recipient of a lot of hate and vitriol. All of that has taken away from the work that needs to be done to help those that need it most." Sharron Cooks, the former chair of the Mayor's Commission on LGBT Affairs, has contended several times on social media that Home for Hope's 501( c )( 3 ) nonprofit status was revoked for a period of time.

There's speculation that San Francisco may get its first openly gay mayor ever, The Dallas News noted. California state Sen. Mark Leno—who was the first openly gay man in the California Assembly and California Senate—has thrown his hat in the ring. However, San Francisco can take credit for electing Harvey Milk to its board of supervisors, becoming one of the first out elected officials in the country. The mayoral election is in 2019.

The board of directors of The Trevor Project announced that Amit Paley will become the organization's next CEO and executive director, a press release noted. Paley, 35, is an expert on healthcare and non-profit management at the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he is an associate partner serving numerous non-profit organizations, Fortune 500 companies and governments. He is also a leader of McKinsey's LGBTQ group and spearheaded the firm's global efforts on inclusion for transgender and gender non-conforming people.

In celebration of LGBT Pride Month, the city of Philadelphia has revamped the iconic pride flag, AOL News noted. The traditional six colors has two two new stripes that are black and brown. According to a statement on the website for the campaign, More Color More Pride, the flag is meant to recognize LGBTQ people of color and recognize ways people can make the community more inclusive. The flag is seen as a sign of progress in the Philadelphia community, which has been working to address racism in the LGBTQ community, Philadelphia reported.

The Colin Higgins Foundation announced its 17th Annual Youth Courage Award winners, whom it recognizes for extraordinary leadership and advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ youth, a press release noted. The 2017 winners are: Daniel Garcia, 18, of Gulfport, Mississippi; Julieta Ramirez-Solis, 18, of Gresham, Oregon and Dafahlia Mosley, 21, of Lodi, California. Each winner will receive a $10,000 award as well as an all-expense-paid trip to attend the National LGBTQ Task Force's Creating Change conference in January 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The owners of the Rainbow Lounge are looking for a new location after a fire destroyed the iconic Fort Worth, Texas, gay bar, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported. Fred Bowling and his partner, Tom McAvoy, say they feel pressure to reopen soon. The bar was open for decades and was the site of a controversial raid in 2009 that resulted in two men being injured during a scheduled inspection by Fort Worth police and the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission.

A Michigan apple grower who posted on Facebook that he wouldn't allow same-sex couples to get married at his farm filed a lawsuit against the city of East Lansing after he was shut out of an outdoor farmer's market, a U.S. News & World Report item stated. The city said Stephen Tennes wasn't invited back to the market because vendors must follow its civil rights ordinance, which bars discrimination. Tennes alleges that the city's actions violate his rights to free speech and religion.

Transgender man Trystan Reese told People he feels "profoundly blessed" to be able to carry his first biological child with partner Biff Chaplow. "The actual idea of growing and gestating a baby has been just really exciting and fun, and sharing that with the kids and with Biff has been a wonderful experience for the entire family," Reese, 34, said. The Portland-based couple have two children—Chaplow's niece and nephew, whom they adopted in 2011 after his sister was unable to care for them.

A mistral has been declared in the case of a North Carolina minister who was accused of leading the beating of a gay church member after a juror was arrested, WSOCTV.com noted. It was announced in the courtroom during jury deliberations that a juror had given documents pertaining to the case to fellow jurors in the case. Brooke Covington—a longtime minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina—is accused of leading the 2013 beating to expel Matthew Fenner's "homosexual demons."

In Boston, Nick Ivancic claimed he was kicked out of a popular Boston bar for being gay, NECN.com reported. The manager of Coogan's said the bouncers took action to protect another customer, but Ivancic, 23, said he was physically removed after he was called a homophobic slur and threatened by a woman there. "Because I was gay," he said. "She was the one who spouted homophobic comments. Why didn't she get kicked out, too?" Cooghan's manager Sheldon Cohen denied that someone was thrown out for being gay.

Former Breitbart editor and controversial internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos is now self-publishing his book, Dangerous, after his book deal with Simon & Schuster was cancelled eariler this year, Slate noted. While Simon & Schuster had previously defended the decision to publish Yiannopoulos' book and pay him $250,000, the publisher finally dropped the gay conservative British provocateur—already famous for stirring hatred against women, people of color and trans people—after video of him apparently condoning pedophilia surfaced in February.

Inside Edition obtained video from a recent Central Park performance of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which is causing a stir because the lead role of Caesar was adapted to portray a lookalike for President Donald Trump, a press release noted. The director, Oskar Eustis, said his production draws parallels to the current political climate, telling Playbill, "I decided to open our summer season with Julius Caesar as of Nov. 6, 2016." The similarities to President Trump are noticeable: Caesar wears a suit and a tie that hangs over his waist, and his wife even resembles First Lady Melania Trump. Delta Airlines and Bank of America have revoked its sponsorship of the play.


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