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National roundup: Calif. HIV bill, Lillian Faderman, Truth Awards Gala
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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A bill that would modernize California's laws that criminalize and stigmatize people living with HIV cleared its first major legislative hurdle, an Equality California press release noted, as the Senate Public Safety Committee approved Senate Bill ( SB ) 239 by a vote of five to two. The bill is authored by Sen. Scott Wiener ( D-San Francisco ) and Asm. Todd Gloria ( D-San Diego ) and co-sponsored by the ACLU of California, APLA Health, Black AIDS Institute, Equality California, Lambda Legal and Positive Women's Network-USA.

Lambda Archives of San Diego has announced the establishment of a "Historian-in-Residence" program—with Dr. Lillian Faderman as the inaugural historian, for the 2017-19 term, reported. Faderman is a professor emerita of California State University-Fresno. She has received multiple honors for her work in lesbian and LGBTQ history and literature, including awards from Lambda Literary, the American Library Association, and ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.

LGBTQ African-Americans took their bows and trophies at the third annual Truth Awards Gala on March 11 at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Los Angeles, a press release noted. Recipients included James Earl Hardy ( Lifetime Achievement Award ), Loretta Devine ( Ally Award ), Tracey "Africa" Norman ( History Maker Award ), Sam Fine ( Beauty and Fashion Award ), Malcolm "MJ" Harris ( Passing the Torch Award ), Marcus Wilson-Smith ( Media Arts Award ) and Mya Dobson ( Business Leadership Award ). The Truth Awards are presented by award-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, The DIVA Foundation and Better Brothers Los Angeles.

Chelsea Clinton said that her mother, Hillary Clinton, is doing "great," but she is likely not planning on running for office again, Politico reported. "I have no idea. I don't think so," Clinton said on CBS This Morning when asked whether her mother was thinking about running again after her stunning election defeat in November. "I think right now she's focused on her book. She's focused—thankfully—on her grandchildren."

A Brooklyn rapper accused of screaming homophobic slurs at ‹fast-food ‹chicken patrons and slashing two men because he thought they were gay has been charged with assault as a hate crime, The New York Post reported. Rapper "Mousey Baby"—whose real name is James Thomas—was arraigned on the charges before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who held him on $150,000 bail. Thomas is slated to return to court in May.

A transgender woman in South Florida is facing a charge of murder in a case that she says was self-defense, according to LGBTQ Nation. The woman, identified in local media only as Ms. Campbell, said that Jackson Marcelin had been stalking her and repeatedly approached her for sex—even after being refused. Campbell is now facing a charge of second-degree murder for the stabbing death of Marcelin.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) issued a press release mourning the death of Alphonza Watson, a Black transgender woman, killed in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 22. This marked the eighth reported killing of a transgender person of color that NCAVP has responded to this year. The Baltimore Transgender Alliance organized a vigil for Watson, noted; also, a reward of up to $2,000 has been offered for information about the killing.

In New York City, a man on his way to work became the victim of an apparent hate crime, CBS New York reported. Police sources say the 29-year-old openly gay victim got on the northbound C train at the Franklin Avenue station in Bed-Stuy, headed for work in Manhattan. When the train neared Hoyt Street, an angry stranger started shouting anti-gay slurs and cursing at him, then spit in the victim's face and punched him several times. According to the NYPD, there have been 128 hate crimes so far in 2017—more than double the 62 from last year.

Globoforce announced LGBTQ advocate/actor Chaz Bono as a keynote speaker for its third annual WorkHuman 2017 conference, May 30-June 1, in Phoenix's JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort, Business Wire noted. Bono joins actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus; New York Times best-selling author and Quiet Revolution co-founder Susan Cain; and Wharton School professor and New York Times best-selling author Adam Grant as WorkHuman keynote speakers.

In Pennsylvania, Waldron Mercy Academy—the private Catholic elementary school that fired a teacher for being in a same-sex marriage—has announced that it has hired a new principal, reported. Departing principal Nell Stetser became the public face of the controversy when on June 22, 2015, she dismissed Margie Winters, the director of religious education who was in a long-term relationship with another woman—which Winters said school officials were aware of when they hired her in 2007. The new principal, Ann Marie Braca, 59, heads the Holy Family Regional School in Phoenixville, a consolidation of several elementary parish schools in the area.

Also in Pennsylvania, the Boyertown school board voted to continue with its transgender-friendly locker-room policy, reported. The Boyertown Area School District clarified its policy regarding transgender students after a family sued in federal court over its policy. The suit came a few weeks after the Trump administration rescinded Obama-era regulations that instructed schools to let students use bathrooms and locker rooms in line with their expressed gender identity, as opposed to their sex assigned at birth. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Pennsylvania, on April 3, filed a legal motion to defend the Boyertown Area School District's practice of allowing students to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity, a press release said.

Hepatitis C rates are shown to be abnormally high among baby boomers, especially with those living in urban areas, according to a Plus magazine item that cites CBS Philly. In the state of New Jersey, hep C rates are extremely high even in suburban areas, says . The rates have gotten so high that the city of Camden has opened Our Lady of Lourdes, a clinic specifically created to help those living with hep C. Most newly diagnosed hep C cases in New Jersey are heroin users under the age of 35—yet it's this group who seems to lack accessible treatment; a complete 12-week treatment course can cost $84,000.

A demonstration in support of transgender students at the NCAA women's basketball championship tournament ended with police and arena security intimidating, detaining and ultimately ejecting the pink-clad protesters ( who had tickets ) and threatening to charge them with criminal trespassing, LGBTQ Nation noted. The demonstrators were a combined effort by Campus Pride and Soulforce, a nonviolent pro-LGBTQ group, both calling on the NCAA to reject the waivers requested by more than two dozen member schools, for Title IX exemptions.

The National LGBTQ Task Force, NLGJA-The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists ( NAHJ ) have launched a Spanish-language stylebook for journalists reporting on LGBTQ people, a press release noted. First published by NLGJA and NAHJ in 2005, "El Manual de Estilo Sobre la Comunidad Lesbiana, Gay, Bisexual y Transgénero" is available at

Ralph Lauren Corp plans to cut jobs and shutter some office and store locations, including its flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue, New York City, as part of a cost-cutting plan, Reuters reported. The company said it expects to incur about $370 million in charges related to the plan, which was announced in June.

Thousands of former Trump University students will get most of their money back, with a judge approving a $25-million settlement, CNNMoney noted. "The settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable," Judge Gonzalo Curiel said in his decision. Nearly 4,000 former students submitted claims and those who are eligible could get back about 90 percent of their money.

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