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National roundup: Intersex birth certificate, Indiana University, Pulse survivors
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-01-04

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New York City native Sara Kelly Keenan ( who prefers female pronouns ), 55, has been granted the first intersex birth certificate in the United States, Jezebel reported. According to Marie Claire, At birth, she was labeled as male on her birth certificate, then weeks later, the classification was changed to female. In September, she successfully changed her gender to non-binary in California, where she now lives. She is the first person in California to do so and the second person in the United States, following Jamie Shupe, who successfully petitioned to have their gender classified as non-binary in Oregon in June 2016.

More than 20 Indiana University employees were slated to lose healthcare coverage if they didn't marry their same-sex partners by the end of December, according to an LGBTQ Nation item. University employees in same-sex relationships have relied on a domestic-partner health care policy offered since 2002. The university has never offered domestic partner health benefits to unmarried opposite-sex employee couples.

Survivors of the Pulse massacre took center stage at the 128th Rose Parade, Advocate.com noted. Victor Baez Febo and Isaiah Henderson waved to the cheering crowd Jan. 2 at the annual New Years Day celebration in Pasadena, California. They rode on a float commissioned by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Impulse Group United that honored the 49 victims and dozens of survivors of last year's shooting at the Pulse Nightclub. The parade also featured openly gay Olympic diver Greg Louganis as one of its three grand marshals.

The grandson of Robert F. Kennedy was arrested for fighting outside a Colorado nightclub—and he said it all started because he was defending his gay friend, who had been called a homophobic slur, NewNowNext noted. Conor Kennedy, 22, was at Bootsy Bellows in Aspen when the fight broke out after a group of men allegedly refused to apologize for shouting the slur at his friend. His father, Robert Kennedy Jr., confirmed the story in an interview with the Aspen Times, saying, "Conor has always reacted against bullying. I'm happy he stood up for his friend."

A California man who lost a five-year legal battle with San Diego police after being arrested for nudity during a 2011 gay-pride festival was found dead from an apparent suicide weeks after receiving the unfavorable verdict, LGBTQ Nation reported. Police found Will X. Walters, 35, in his Hill Crest apartment; the county medical examiner's office said the death was under investigation. Walters sued the San Diego Police for discrimination based on his sexuality, but a federal jury ruled against him in December 2016.

The Pennsylvania State Police recently revised a hate-crime designation for a 2009 mass shooting near Pittsburgh from "anti-gender-nonconforming" to "anti-female, The Philadelphia Gay News noted. In August 2009, George Sodoni opened fire inside an LA Fitness Center, killing three women and injuring nine others; Sodoni then committed suicide. Collier Township police reported the incident to the Pennsylvania State Police as an anti-female hate crime; however, due to a computer error, in 2013 the incident was re-categorized as an "anti-gender-nonconforming" hate crime on the state-police website.

Outward profiled Minnesota state Rep. Susan Allen, the first openly lesbian Native American woman to win office in any state legislature. Also, Allen has identified as two-spirit, and she said she knew from a very early age that she was a two-spirit person—an ancient belief in indigenous U.S. culture that some people possess both male and female qualities in their spirit.

One month after 8-year-old Joe Maldonado of Secaucus, New Jersey, joined Cub Scout Pack 87, his mother received a call that the troop sponsored by their local Catholic church had barred her son from participating because he is transgender, LGBTQ Nation noted. Effie Delimarkos, communications director for the Boy Scouts of America, told The Record in a statement the Boy Scouts consider membership for transgender children to be a separate issue from that of gay children, adding that "no youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation."

A federal lawsuit alleges that former Drake University assistant women's basketball coach Courtney Graham was forced to resign from her job after head coach Jennie Baranczyk learned that she was lesbian, The Des Moines Register reported. Graham claims that Baranczyk pressured her to quit approximately six months after the head coach learned that Graham was gay, violating Iowa's anti-discrimination law. Graham's lawsuit also claims that her sexual orientation and mental health became the focus of office gossip that Baranczyk initiated.

A story that claimed a former Secret Service agent outed President Barack Obama as a gay man and a radical Muslim is false, LGBTQ Nation noted. The fake story says an ex-agent named Paul Horner published the claims in a book titled The Black House. The article also features an interview that the former agent conducted with a supposed senior political analyst with NBC News named Tom Downey. A man named Paul Horner has identified himself as the creator of several sites that posted the story, including NewsExaminer.net .

A Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that a same-sex couple's civil union in Vermont can legally end in Pennsylvania, PhillyVoice.com noted. The opinion from Judge James J. Fitzgerald III said the civil union should be recognized as the equivalent of marriage in Pennsylvania, overturning a decision out of Philadelphia County Family Court. In 2002, Freyda Neyman and Florence Buckley entered into a civil union in Vermont, which was the first state to adopt civil unions for gay couples in 2000. In 2014, the two began seeking a divorce in Pennsylvania, where both had been residing for more than six months.

The first major clinical trial for an injectable form of PrEP has begun, NewNowNext noted. The drug, cabotegravir, is already used to treat people with HIV, but is now being tested as a way to prevent the transmission of the virus in pre-exposure prophylaxis ( PrEP ). Cabotegravir would be injected once every eight weeks and, if effective, would be made available as an alternative to the only other form of PrEP on the market—the once-a-day pill Truvada.

A group of 31 mayors and county executives released an open letter asking President Obama to extend protections for undocumented immigrants, as he enters the final weeks of his presidency, Gothamist reported. Writing under the umbrella of the nationwide organization Cities for Action, the mayors asked the Obama administration to fast-track applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Among those taking part in the letter were New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

On New Year's Eve, out CNN anchor Don Lemon did shots of tequila at The Spotted Cat in New Orleans—and later got his ear pierced on live television, The Huffington Post noted. Co-host Kathy Griffin, broadcasting with Anderson Cooper from New York, encouraged him to pierce his nipple, but he was talked out of it. "People are saying that I'm lit," Lemon said at one point on the show. "Yeah, I'm lit. Who cares?"

Philadelphia's annual Mummers Parade, which has created controversy in the past, went smoothly on New Year's Day, LGBTQ Nation noted. Although there were depictions of diverse groups—Native American tribes, Germans at Oktoberfest, Chinese celebrating the new year—the portrayals were apparently not done in ways meant to harm or mock. Also, two Latino groups, an African-American drill team and an LGBT drag-queen troupe were welcomed into the lineup in 2016 and walked again this year.

In the San Diego area, Bonita Vista High School music teacher Jason Mangan-Magabilin, pled guilty to two sex-related charges that stemmed from a relationship he had with a 15-year-old student between August 2010 and 2011, SDGLN.com reported. The 38-year-old could be facing probation without incarceration or almost three years in prison when he goes before a judge on Feb. 24. Mangan-Magabilin, as a part of the social group Big Gay Band and Orchestra Directors Association, was recently involved with the San Diego Gay Pride festivities to form the first-ever San Diego Pride Youth Marching Band.

University of Kansas students are being offered buttons through the school's library system meant to make their gender pronouns clear, LGBTQ Nation reported. Various University of Kansas Libraries employees now sport the square-shaped pins, with extra ones also doled out to interested students, the Lawrence Journal-World noted. Library leaders say the buttons are part of the library system's "You Belong Here" marketing effort meant to lure undergraduates and ensure that all, including transgender students, feel welcome.

The leader of a Christian ministry that built a life-sized Noah's Ark replica in Kentucky bathed the structure in rainbow colors this past holiday season and wants Christians to reclaim the symbol from the gay-rights movement, USA Today noted. Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis, wrote on the ministry's website that Christians need to take the rainbow back. LGBTQ organizations reacted with a mix of frustration and humor to the ark's holiday light display; Josh Wagoner, co-chairman of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network of Greater Cincinnati, said, "I think the rainbow is big enough for all of us."

Outsports has revealed that legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi was no stranger to gay men. Not only was his brother gay, but he coached at least three men at Washington who were also gay. The men included Dave Kopay, who was the first former professional athlete to come out publicly; tight end Jerry Smith; and Ray McDonald, the team's fullback and top draft pick in 1966.

Portland, Maine's largest gay nightclub, Styxx, has closed after 35 years, according to a Towleroad item that cites the Press Herald. The Press Herald noted, "The closing of Styxx is heartbreaking for those who remember when it was one of the few places gay, lesbian and transgender people could feel safe for a night out in Portland. But as society has become more accepting, people in the LGBTQ community have more options for a night out and for meeting people. Online dating and dating apps have also contributed to dwindling numbers at gay nightclubs, which are closing all over the country."

A member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has quit the group over being selected to sing at President-elect Trump's inauguration, LGBT Weekly noted. CNN reported that Jan Chamberlin sent a resignation letter to the choir president, saying she could never sing for Trump. "I've tried to tell myself that it will be all right and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man," Chamberlin wrote in a Facebook post. "I only know I could never 'throw roses to Hitler.' And I certainly could never sing for him."


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