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National roundup: Lambda Legal, trans activist killed, Chelsea Manning
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 1235 times since Tue Jan 16, 2018
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Employees at Lambda Legal voted 42-8 in favor of forming a union at the nation's oldest and largest legal organization working for the civil rights of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV, per a press release. Eligible staff in all six regional offices, including lawyers, fundraisers, communication and administrative and support staff will be members of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild. The organization stated, in part, "We fight in the courts and on the ground for LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV because we fundamentally believe that when our communities have a voice, our society will be a better place for all of us. Forming a union is a big step toward giving our employees a voice so Lambda Legal can be a better place."

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien—the founder of the Miss Trans America pageant—was found stabbed and beaten to death inside her western Massachusetts home, reported. The investigation into her death was opened after her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, walked into the Adams Police Department headquarters; Steele-Knudslien reportedly told police he had done "something very bad," and deserved to be arrested. ( He has been charged. ) The preliminary results of the autopsy indicate Steele-Knudslien died as the result of loss of blood.

Chelsea E. Manning—the transgender former Army private who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks—is seeking to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, The Washington Post reported. Manning would be challenging Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin, who is in his second term in the Senate and is up for re-election in November. Last year, then-President Barack Obama commuted Manning's sentence to time served, and she was released from a military prison in Kansas.

Washington, D.C., police are still investigating the murder of a lesbian woman from Hyattsville, Maryland, who was murdered just days after Christmas, according to Metro Weekly. Kerrice Lewis, 23, also known as "Kay Kay," was found Dec. 28 after police responded to a report of gunfire, FOX 5 DC reported. Neighbors said they heard multiple gunshots and a big explosion and, moments later, saw a raging fire. Police told FOX 5 DC that Lewis was reportedly heard screaming as she tried to escape from the trunk.

In a press conference in Florida, Robin Denson had asked son Marlin Larice Joseph to turn himself in for allegedly murdering her girlfriend, Kaladaa Crowell, and Crowell's 11-year-old daughter, Kyra Inglett, according to Autostraddle. Denson was outside when the shooting took place, reportedly stemming from an altercation during which Joseph decided Inglett had a "bad attitude." U.S. marshals tracked Joseph down at an apartment complex and took him into custody; his cousin, Javarie Williams, is being charged for making a false report for lying to police during a capital felony case. Crowell was at least the fourth Black lesbian murdered during the last week of December 2017.

A jury sentenced Peter Avsenew to death for killing a gay couple, Steven Adams and Kevin Powell, in Wilton Manors, Florida, in 2010, reported. ( Police said the couple took Avsenew in after answering a suggestive post on Craigslist. ) Avsenew showed no reaction to the decision, as the victims' families nodded their heads in approval—although he later flipped the bird to the families. Avsenew told jurors he has no regrets in life, he's proud of every decision he's made in his life and that no one knows what really happened that night.

A record number of LGBTQ people are seeking public office in Texas in 2018, Metro Weekly reported. The 44 confirmed candidates are the most out LGBTQ people to run in the state's history, tripling the previous record. It starts with the governor's race, where Jeffrey Payne, the owner of leather bar The Dallas Eagle is running as a Democrat. Also running in the primary is out lesbian Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who would be the state's first Latina governor.

The first openly gay member of the Connecticut Supreme Court looks to be making history again: Andrew J. McDonald was nominated to become with a nomination to become chief justice by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, reported. If confirmed, the 51-year-old former state senator will be the first out state Supreme Court justice in the country. He would replace Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers, who is retiring in early February.

A gay couple sued a Wyoming town, its mayor and town council on discrimination claims over the town's actions regarding the couple's operation of a bar and restaurant in the mostly Mormon community, Courthouse News Service noted. The couple, Marc and Rusty Andrus, bought Rustlers Restaurant and Saloon in 2015; they claim when they applied for a liquor license, the Thayne town council began systematically discriminating against the gay couple, at one point arbitrarily inflating the couple's liquor license fee from $1,500 to $10,500. The suit claims the defendants' actions violate the First and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

The new Atlanta City Councilmembers have only been on the job for a few days and—for the first time in 20 years—no one on the council is openly gay or lesbian, reported. In one development, new city councilmember Jennifer Ide—whose district includes the Midtown, Morningside, Virginia-Highland and Ansley Park neighborhoods—took over for openly gay councilmember Alex Wan, when he gave up the seat and lost the council president election to Felicia Moore.

Transgender man Jahkee Wade is suing a northeast Philadelphia IHOP, which he described as a "nightmare" job, reported. Wade recently filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia's federal court, claiming he had to endure sexual harassment and discrimination. Wade began working at IHOP in 2010 and began transitioning a year later, which is when he said the harassment started. IHOP—which is also facing several sexual-harassment lawsuits in New York and Nevada—has not commented on the lawsuit.

Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic university in the United States, has approved a proposal to include LGBT-only student housing on campus, The Washington Blade reported. The new "Living Learning Community" ( LLC ), titled "Crossroads: Gender and Sexuality," was first proposed in April 2017, but was rejected. Senior Grace Smith—co-chair of the Georgetown University Student Association's LGBTQ+ Advocacy and Policy coalition and co-author of the LLC proposal—told the Hoya the LGBT dorm is monumental for the university.

The 12th Street Gym ( an LGBT-oriented Philadelphia business facing potential closure under new ownership of the building ) is a defendant in a federal lawsuit that the gym's insurance company refuses to cover, Philadelphia Gay News reported. An Arizona woman filed the suit, claiming the gym hired Jerome P. McNeill as a masseur without conducting a proper background check; she claims McNeill sexually assaulted her in 2014 while giving her a massage at Loews Hotel in Center City. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company refuses to cover the gym in the woman's case, noting that it already paid $1 million to settle a similar case filed by a Texas woman.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) had hundreds of volunteers stepping up to engage in more than 25 community service events nationwide in a Day of Service on Jan. 15, according to a press release. HRC President Chad Griffin said, "After a year that showed the need for community engagement, empowerment and action, we must double down on our efforts to live out Dr. King's values and stand up against attacks on all members of our community. Today we honor Dr. King with service, and we keep his spirit and vision at the center of our fight for full equality each and every day." HRC partnered with 40 health and human services providers across 28 cities and regions.

Hundreds of mourners saluted Erica Garner, 27, at a Harlem funeral and said the city and the cause for justice are better off because of her, The New York Daily News reported. "When her father [Eric Garner] died, she was the one going out there in Staten Island every Tuesday and Thursday," said the Rev. Kevin McCall. "She was the one to bring this to a national level." Eric, 43, died in July 2014 when a cop used a banned chokehold while trying to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island; Erica recently died of a heart attack.

The amfAR Gala New York will take place Feb. 7 at Cipriani Wall Street, noted. The amfAR Gala New York serves as the unofficial kick-off to New York Fashion Week and honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Event chairs include Kenneth Cole, Alan Cumming, Linda Evangelista, Whoopi Goldberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Taraji P. Henson, Iman, Scarlett Johansson, Heidi Klum, Laura Linney, Sienna Miller and many more. See

Gay-owned Council Bluffs, Iowa, restaurant Dixie Quicks is closing Jan. 21 after being in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area for 22 years, noted. Rob Gilmer—who ran it with husband Rene Orduna until Orduna died in November 2016—said, "I want people to remember Rene's creation with wonderment, and warmth and longing. We made a really good team." Oatmeal and ice cream, a dish Orduna created, has always been a crowd favorite.

Former Democratic congressman Harold Ford Jr. has put together a team of lawyers to get his reputation back, Page Six noted. Ford, a former Democratic congressman from Tennessee, was fired from Morgan Stanley last month "for conduct inconsistent with our values and in violation of our policies," a spokeswoman said—and Ford said last month that he would sue Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination and to clear his name. Ford recently issued a press statement saying "I am gratified to learn that Morgan Stanley now acknowledges what I always knew, that I did not engage in any acts of sexual misconduct or harassment. I only wish for the sake of my good name and reputation that they had admitted the truth five weeks ago."

Philip Mudd, former deputy director of the CIA Counterterrorist Center, dropped a slew of slurs in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon to make a point about racism, TheWrap noted. In a lengthy statement criticizing President Trump's reported reference to "s—thole countries," Mudd stated: "I've seen these conversations that this is economic, so let's be clear, a white honky from Norway can come here but a Black dude from Haiti can't. What does that tell you in an America that in one generation called you a 'n—er?" he asked Lemon. Lemon did not react to the torrent of slurs.

Former White House political strategist Steve Bannon has stepped down from Breitbart News Network, a conservative website for which he had served as executive chairman, noted. The departure had been widely rumored and anticipated since Bannon was quoted in author Michael Wolff 's new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which was critical of President Trump.

Chris Matthews has apologized after footage surfaced of the Hardball host mocking Hillary Clinton while setting up for an interview with the then-presidential candidate and making a joke about obtaining a "Bill Cosby pill," Variety noted. Matthews interviewed Clinton in an Iowa fire station during the Democratic primary season in 2016. New York Magazine's The Cut obtained video from right before that interview, with the MSNBC host waiting for Clinton to arrive, asking, "Where's that Bill Cosby pill I brought with me?"

This article shared 1235 times since Tue Jan 16, 2018
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