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NATIONAL Biden's proposal, VP Harris, Elizabeth Taylor, outbreak, candidates
by Andrew Davis
2022-06-26

This article shared 939 times since Sun Jun 26, 2022
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Lambda Legal issued a press release lauding the Biden administration for issuing proposed regulations that will help protect LGBTQI+ youth against unlawful discrimination. The proposed rules, issued by the U.S. Department of Education, clarify that LGBTQI+ youth are protected against discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. "This is a much-needed step in the right direction," said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel and Students' Rights Strategist Paul D. Castillo. "With LGBTQI+ students, and especially transgender and non-binary students, under attack from extremist politicians, these new rules will provide a stronger, clearer measure of recourse and better ensure that victims of unlawful discrimination can avail themselves of the longstanding protections under Title IX."

In a surprise, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke from the main stage of D.C.'s Capital Pride Festival before a crowd of as many as a thousand people who had been watching the Capital Pride concert that had been taking place prior to Harris' unannounced appearance, The Washington Blade reported. Capital Pride Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos introduced Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, on the stage, drawing thunderous applause. Also making an unannounced appearance on the festival stage about an hour before Harris' appearance was D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who expressed her strong support for LGBTQ Pride.

Also regarding Harris, she recently ceremonially swore in Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Confederation and to the Principality of Liechtenstein Scott Miller, The Washington Blade noted. Miller is the co-chair of the Gill Foundation's board of directors along with his husband, Tim Gill. Randy Berry, Jeff Daigle, Bob Gilchrist, Erik Ramanathan and Christopher Lamora (all members of the LGBTQ+ community) are ambassadors to Nepal, Cabo Verde, Lithuania, Sweden and Cameroon, respectively. Chantale Wong, the U.S. director of the Asian Development Bank, is the first openly lesbian and first out person of color to be a U.S. ambassador.

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) will host The Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS fundraising gala on Sept. 15 at West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, per a press release. Honorees include Charlize Theron and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who will receive the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award for their long-term commitment to raising awareness of HIV. "In a commitment to raise awareness, I created the Divinely Inspired, Victoriously Aware (DIVA) Foundation as a living memorial to the many friends I lost to the disease. I thank The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation for shining a light on my efforts to continue raising awareness by honoring me with The Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award at the 2022 gala," said Ralph.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Florida Department of Health are investigating "one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men in U.S. history," CNN reported. The CDC said June 23 there have been 26 cases and seven deaths from meningococcal disease in Florida during the investigation period; among those, 24 cases and six deaths were in men who have sex with men. Meningococcal disease includes meningitis—infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord—and bloodstream infections.

A record number of LGBTQ candidates are running for all levels of office this year, motivated in part by red states passing scores of laws targeting LGBTQ people, Axios reported. At least 104 LGBTQ candidates have mounted campaigns for House or Senate seats this year. Some of those campaigns have already ended, but dozens are still actively running, according to data provided to Axios by the Victory Fund, which supports and tracks LGBTQ leaders.

A Fort Worth organization representing LGBTQ Republicans wasn't allowed to set up a booth at the Texas Republican Party Convention in Houston, the Star-Telegram reported. Texas Republican Party Chair Matt Rinaldi was the deciding vote denying the application to The Fort Worth Log Cabin Republicans' local and state chapters. "There's a small group of very loud people that are running this, but we will come back in two years and continue to fight forward," said Jason Baldwin, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Fort Worth, after earlier saying he's confident he's in the right party.

The City Council in Nebraska's capital city rescinded an anti-discrimination measure that extended protections to sexual orientation and gender identity—four months after unanimously approving it, according to PBS. The Lincoln City Council voted four to three to rescind the February revision to the city's fairness ordinance in the face of a successful petition effort by a conservative group that would have put the measure on the November ballot, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. Two of the council members who voted to rescind the measure—Tom Beckius and James Michael Bowers—are openly gay; they feared the measure would not survive at the ballot box.

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) attempted to push forward legislation that would have banned transgender youth nationwide from taking part in school sporting events consistent with their gender identities, according to a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) press release. The motion for unanimous consent on the legislation was blocked immediately by U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), thereby preventing the bill from being approved on the spot by the Senate. HRC stated, "The legislation put forth by Tuberville, originally sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, is explicitly discriminatory, mimicking efforts at the state level to forbid transgender students from participating in school athletic programs consistent with their gender identity."

The parent company of Out Magazine, Pride Media, has officially been acquired by Equal Entertainment, the publication announced. The new company—now known as Equal Pride—is the largest LGBTQ+-owned and -operated media company in the country and operates Out as well as its sister publications The Advocate, Out Traveler, PRIDE and Plus. Equal Pride will be run by CEO Mark Berryhill, with Michael Kelley joining as president of global growth and development, partner. Moreover, Pride Media's first female CEO, Diane Anderson-Minshall, will now be president and global chief content officer of Equal Pride.

After months, a Jesuit middle school in Worcester, Massachusetts, has had its Catholic status revoked by the local bishop for defying his order to stop flying flags supporting LGBTQ+ Pride and the Black Lives Matter movement, the Catholic News Agency reported. "The flying of these flags [by the Nativity School of Worcester] sends a mixed, confusing and scandalous message to the public about the Church's stance on these important moral and social issues," Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester said in a decree. In a June 15 letter to the school community, Nativity School President Thomas McKenney depicted McManus' action as "a change in Nativity's relationship with the Diocese of Worcester and our continued commitment to providing an excellent education rooted in the Jesuit tradition."

North Carolina lawmakers advanced legislation that would bar classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for some public school students—a move opponents criticized as harmful to LGBTQ youth, Reuters reported. Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill was signed into law in March. In April, the governor of Alabama signed a bill prohibiting classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grades, and similar measures are being considered in Louisiana and Ohio.

Also in North Carolina, LGBTQ+-rights advocates demanded officials in Gaston County reverse their decision to remove a photo showing two men who were recently engaged and kissing from a museum exhibit, per The Charlotte Observer. The photograph, taken by Charlotte freelance photojournalist Grant Baldwin, shows Justin Colasacco and his husband Bren Hipp kissing after Colasacco dropped to one knee and proposed in front of the crowd at the 2019 Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade. (They married Oct. 4, 2020.) County Manager Kim Eagle told Gaston County Museum staff to have the photographer submit a replacement picture "that would be more considerate of differing viewpoints in the community," according to the Gaston Gazette.

In New York, the Smithtown Library on Long Island reversed its decision to remove all Pride displays and Pride-related books from display in children's sections, according to ABC News. The initial move generated controversy (and condemnation from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York Library Association, among others) amid a nationwide wave of legislative efforts to remove LGBTQ books and content from schools and libraries. Republicans have introduced more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills and at least nine states have passed one into law.

A new publication from New Ways Ministry makes the case for why and how Catholics should support non-discrimination initiatives for LGBTQ people in both church and society, according to a column from the congregation. A Home for All: A Catholic Call for LGBTQ Non-Discrimination, by Francis DeBernardo and Robert Shine, is a 60-page book designed for Catholics in the pews, pastoral ministers and educators to understand why their Catholic faith promotes equality for LGBTQ people, despite some church leaders' opposition. See www.newwaysministry.org/homeforall/homeforall-book/ .

Elon Musk's 18-year-old daughter was granted a name and gender change in California, USA Today noted. Judge Rafael Ongkeko approved Vivian Jenna Wilson's petition in the Santa Monica courthouse after no one objected to the changes, the AP reported. According to court documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica and obtained by USA Today, Wilson listed gender identity and an apparent dislike of Musk (who has posted anti-trans comments on social media) as the reasons for the name change. Wilson's previous name, as reflected on her birth certificate, was Xavier Alexander Musk.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Lambda Legal, together with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, declared victory on behalf of Kelly Easter—an East Nashville, Tennessee, woman who, for more than two years, had been denied the opportunity to foster refugee children through a federally funded program solely because she is a lesbian, a press release noted. Lambda Legal's Camilla Taylor said, "hile we are glad that Kelly is now permitted to participate in a federal program and a refugee child may find a loving home with her, it is a shame that [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] USCCB and [the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement] fenced her out for almost two years, and required her to file a lawsuit before determining that USCCB's religious objections to her identity were flexible. Two years is a long time for a refugee child without a loving home."

In Florida, Peter Avsenew was found guilty in the 2010 murders of Wilton Manors couple Steve Adams and Kevin Powell—again, according to South Florida Gay News reported. After five weeks of trial, the jurors recently spent five hours over two days to find Avsenew guilty. The case was taken to trial a second time when a key witness in the case—Avsenew's mother, Jeanne—had to testify virtually, as she was undergoing cancer treatments. The Florida Supreme Court said it was not fair to Avsenew since he could not face his accuser in court and in January 2022, it was announced he would be granted a new trial; she died of cancer in April 2022. Adams and Powell, who had been together 29 years, were shot and bludgeoned to death in December 2010.


This article shared 939 times since Sun Jun 26, 2022
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