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NATIONAL Victory Institute, LGBTQ books, youth items, NASA, LGBTQ Nation
by Windy City Times staff
2021-10-10

This article shared 610 times since Sun Oct 10, 2021
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LGBTQ Victory Institute and nine additional candidate-training organizations announced a partnership with Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, to provide a native-to-mobile tool to encourage young people to run for office, a press release noted. Snap will encourage LGBTQ people via Snapchat to visit Victory Institute's digital platform to receive resources specific to LGBTQ people considering political campaigns. LGBTQ people are especially underrepresented—making up just 0.19 percent of elected officials despite representing 5.6 percent of the U.S. population. Given Snapchat's 90-percent reach among 13 to 24-year-olds, the in-app Run for Office program aims to funnel more young people toward resources that can help them run for office. Other launch partners selected by Snapchat include Emerge America, IGNITE, New American Leaders, New Politics, Run for Something, Run GenZ, Running Start, Vote Run Lead and Women's Public Leadership Network.

A leader of a group that advocates for LGBTQ students in the Fairfax County, Virginia, public school system expressed concern that misinformed parents and news media outlets were incorrectly reporting that two LGBTQ-themed books available in high school libraries promoted pedophilia, The Washington Blade reported. Following strong objections to the books by parents at a Sept. 23 meeting of the Fairfax County School Board, officials with Fairfax County Public Schools announced they had removed the books—Jonathan Evison's Lawn Boy and Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer: A Memoir—from the school libraries to reassess their suitability for high school students. Robert Rigby—co-president of Fairfax Public Schools Pride, an LGBTQ advocacy group—strongly disputes claims that the books depict sex between adults and children.

In Nebraska, the Plum Creek Literary Festival canceled its Children's Festival and Adult Conference after several authors withdrew in protest of Concordia University's code of conduct, which the writers called anti-LGBTQ+, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. In a Sept. 20 thread on Twitter, author Eliot Schrefer said his book—The Darkness Outside Us, a young adult science fiction story featuring two gay characters—was not included on the preorder list for the conference. Nor was another book about a girl questioning her sexuality, he said, prompting him to write to festival director Dylan Teut seeking explanation. As he waited for a reply, Schrefer said he discovered Concordia's student code of conduct, which "appalled" him. In a section titled "Human Sexuality and Sexual Conduct," the university handbook says Lutheran Church Missouri Synod teachings consider premarital and extramarital sex inappropriate, along with "active involvement in a homosexual lifestyle, cohabitation, fornication, exhibitionism and voyeurism."

Books such as Juno Dawson's This Book Is Gay and even Anna Fiske's How Do You Make a Baby have public-library employees in the conservative Wyoming city of Gillette facing possible prosecution after angry local residents complained to police that the material is obscene and doesn't belong in sections for children and teenagers, ABC News noted. For weeks, Campbell County Public Library officials have been facing a local outcry over the books and for scheduling a transgender magician to perform for youngsters—an act canceled amid threats against the magician and library staff.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and co-sponsored by Equality California and Lieutenant Gov. Eleni Kounalakis to give students at California public colleges—especially transgender and non-binary students—the ability to have the names that reflect their gender identities printed on their diplomas, a press release announced. Assembly Bill 245 will ensure diplomas do not "deadname" or call the graduate by the name they were assigned at birth rather than the name they use. AB 245 will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

LGBTQ youths play team sports far less than the general population, with some citing fears of bullying or discrimination as the reason, USA Today noted. The finding, reported in a briefing issued from the Trevor Project, is troubling for advocates who fear those youths are losing out on sports' benefits—and it comes as efforts rise to stifle participation by some in the community. Lawmakers in more than 20 U.S. states have introduced bills that would ban transgender athletes from high school and college sports, or require students to play only against those assigned the same gender at birth.

An Oregon school board voted to ban educators from displaying Pride flags, Black Lives Matter symbols or other emblems in the classroom that are considered "political, quasi-political or controversial," despite pushback from teachers, lawmakers and residents, The Washington Post reported. The conservative majority on the school board in Newberg voted four to three to adopt a policy that has attracted national attention, criticism and protests in the weeks since it was introduced. The decision in suburban Portland follows a pair of recent racist incidents at Newberg Public Schools—including a staff member who showed up for work in blackface in an apparent protest of the district's coronavirus vaccine mandate for employees and was subsequently fired.

In Missouri, hundreds of students walked out of class to support of an out gay senior who they claim has been subjected to anti-LGBTQ+ abuse by bullies at their school—including one who allegedly broke the nose of a student who stood up to the harassment, out.com noted. Students at Lee's Summit High School carried signs in support of senior Danny Lillis and his friend Malani Hohlbaugh. According to KDAF, parents and students said they had complained repeatedly to various school authorities about anti-LGBTQ+ students harassing Lillis, who is gay and expresses himself by wearing makeup. Things came to a head when a fight broke out between the alleged bullies and Hohlbaugh.

NASA will not to change the name of the James Webb Space Telescope despite concerns from advocates who have denounced the figure's homophobic past, Gay City News noted. As a former administrator for NASA, Webb allegedly contributed to the mass persecution and outing of gay and lesbian employees at federal agencies during the '60s and '70s. More than 1,200 scientists and astronomers—including Lucianne Walkowicz of JustSpace Alliance and Adler Planetarium; and Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a Black agender physicist and professor at the University of New Hampshire—launched a petition urging the agency to choose a new name for the instrument.

LGBTQ Nation unveiled its list of LGBTQ Nation Heroes 2021. Some of the winners included Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and husband Chasten Buttigieg (Hero of the Year and Social Media Hero, respectively); White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (Hero Defending Democracy); Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib (Celebrity Who Made Us Proud); Weston Charles-Gallo (Good News Hero); Jenn Burleton (Hometown Hero of the Year); and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (Hero Keeping Us Healthy).

Alain LeRoy Locke, the Philadelphian known as the "Father of the Harlem Renaissance," has a new historical marker in his hometown honoring his legacy, The Philadelphia Tribune reported. Unveiled in a small ceremony closed to the public, the marker is in front of the African American Museum in Philadelphia. "Everybody should know his name," said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of the Equality Forum. "His influence is totally profound, and you know, this is a wonderful intersectionality of a gay and Black man who made an incredible who made an incredible mark on our country and the world."

Pennsylvania unveiled its first historical marker honoring a Latino or Latina person, according to BillyPenn.com . Outside Philadelphia City Hall, the marker honors Gloria Casarez—an activist who advocated for the LGBTQ community, people of color and people experiencing homelessness. The honor is especially meaningful because tributes to Casarez, who was Philadelphia's first LGBT affairs director, have been repeatedly desecrated in the last year.

GLAAD announced the kick off of 2021 Spirit Day with the auction of the Syro Rancho Platform Shoes worn by comedian and Saturday Night Live star Bowen Yang to the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards in benefit of the organization's LGBTQ advocacy work, a press release noted. Spirit Day, the world's largest and most visible LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign, is set to take place this year on Thursday, Oct. 21. To view the auction (open through Saturday, Oct. 16), visit www.glaad.org/ebay.

In the episode premiering Oct. 5, the LGBTQ+-centered DB Honeybutter Podcast featured The Reverend Steve Pieters—an AIDS survivor, activist and therapist who is famous for his groundbreaking 1985 interview with Tammy Faye Bakker that inspired Jessica Chastain to take the lead role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, a press release stated. The podcast's second season also features interviews with people such as Christopher Lee, a trans man who actually began to de-transition during chemotherapy while fighting stage 4 cancer; queer New York artist Daniel Clurman; and Vanessa Mortinson, a queer woman of color and adoptee. See www.DBHoneybutter.com .

A Texas bill prohibiting transgender student athletes from joining school sports teams aligned with their gender identity is heading to the full Texas House, where it is likely to pass, The Texas Tribune reported. After more than eight hours of emotional testimony, the House Select Committee on Constitutional Rights and Remedies voted eight to four, along party lines, to advance House Bill 25. In a statement, Human Rights Campaign Texas State Director Rebecca Marques said, "The Texas Legislature's persistence in pursuing legislation that harms transgender youth reveals their perverse priorities. Rather than focus on fixing the fragile, failing electrical grid, or reversing the anti-abortion legislation that has brought international condemnation on the state, or committing to equitable redistricting, the Texas Legislature continues its myopic, dogged pursuit of making it painful to be a transgender young person in Texas."

In Washington, D.C., Ruby Corado—the founder and executive director of the LGBTQ community services center Casa Ruby—announced in a Facebook live video message that she had resigned from her position as leader, The Washington Blade reported. Joining Corado in the Facebook broadcast was Casa Ruby Government Affairs Director Alexis Blackmon, who Corado said would immediately assume the position of interim executive director until the completion of a search for a permanent director. Last year, Corado disclosed she planned to step down as Casa Ruby's executive director sometime in 2022 to work full time on an LGBTQ-related consulting practice.

Basic Rights Oregon, LGBTQ Victory Fund and LPAC jointly endorsed Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek in her race for governor of Oregon, a press release announced. If elected, Kotek would be the first out lesbian elected governor in the country and just the third out LGBTQ person elected governor in U.S. history. The endorsements from the organizations come with fundraising, campaign and media relations support for Kotek's campaign. The primary will be held next May.

KeyBank Community Development Lending and Investment provided $16.3 million for the development of Homeward-Central Harlem in New York City, Yahoo! Finance reported. The property will exclusively serve unhoused youth between the ages of 18 and 25 in an LGBTQ-affirming community. The site is located at 15 West 118th Street and will consist of 51 units, of which 50 will be covered by New York City's 15/15 Rental Assistance Program, in addition to one manager unit.

The town council of Chambersburg—a 22,000-person borough about 50 miles southwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—voted to adopt an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance Sept. 20, Philadelphia Gay News noted. The municipality is among at least 70 in the state of Pennsylvania to approve nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in employment, housing and public accommodations. Pennsylvania remains the only state in the region that does not have statewide LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.

In Florida, a man accused of using his pickup to burn tire marks across a Pride streetscape in Delray Beach moved to fight the charges against him, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Alexander Jerich, 20, appeared in Palm Beach County Court; he had the opportunity to take a plea deal, but his attorney indicated a desire to go to trial. Jerich, of Lake Worth, turned himself into police after a video showed a white pickup truck registered to his father burn tire marks into the rainbow flag painted on the road; he is charged with criminal mischief over $1,000 and reckless driving.

Community members and politicians were outraged after vandals spray-painted "All Lives Matter Not Just Black" on the sidewalk of P.S. 295 in Brooklyn following the school's decision to remove a mural celebrating the LGBTQ community, Gay City News reported. Over the summer, a New York Daily News report indicated that administrators—including principal Lisa Pagano; superintendent Anita Skop; and Frank Giordano, the principal of the neighboring New Voices Middle School—were against a student-led mural at P.S. 295; the mural included messages such as "Black Trans Lives Matter" and "Your Silence Will Not Protect You," but officials claimed it was not "welcoming" or "inclusive."

A hate-crime case in Seattle involving a gay man from Cameroon was dismissed—and the arrested people said they were blindsided, U.S. News & World Report noted. Police had said a man was attacked outside his apartment in November 2018 and that his mother was assaulted in Cameroon after the man's houseguest released intimate photos of him and his husband to members of the Cameroon community, The Seattle Times reported. Rodrigue Fodjo-Kamdem and Christian Djoko were arrested but denied that they'd assaulted him or participated in a smear campaign against the man who, like them, had come to the U.S. from Cameroon.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow revealed a recent skin-cancer scare that involved her getting surgery, EW.com noted. Maddow said she underwent surgery after her longtime partner, Susan Mikula, noticed the mole on her neck had changed "a couple months ago." A dermatologist later confirmed she had skin cancer following a biopsy. Also, Maddow urged viewers to schedule routine appointments with their doctors.

In Detroit, Motor City Pride 2021—with thousands of participants—took place, The Detroit News reported. The parade, customarily held during Pride Month in June but delayed because of the pandemic, kicked off with a brief message from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. Whitmer expressed her support for Michigan's LGBTQ community and cheered them on ahead of the march.

The Justice Department is making changes to improve the way federal agents and prosecutors deal with crime victims and witnesses and to better coordinate with state authorities in the wake of serious errors uncovered in the FBI's handling of sexual-abuse claims against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, CNN.com reported. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the department will revise its internal policy manual to ensure prosecutors and investigators are trained on how to assist crime victims and witnesses in line with federal laws. Nassar, 58, is serving a 40-to-174-year state prison sentence after 156 women and girls said he sexually abused them over 20 years.

In North Carolina, transgender activist Janice Covington Allison died at a Charlotte hospital after a lengthy illness at age 74, Yahoo! News reported. In 2012, North Carolina's 8th Congressional District elected Allison to be the first transgender woman to represent the state at the Democratic National Convention, in Charlotte that year; she had also been a soldier, volunteer fire chief and construction business owner. Allison was "a wonderful soul, who worked tirelessly for her country and her community," friend September McCrady said on a GoFundMe page she established to raise money for Allison's funeral expenses.

President Donald Trump's former press secretary claimed she didn't vote for him in the 2020 election, when she was still working in the East Wing for former first lady Melania Trump, CNN.com noted. Stephanie Grisham—who worked as East Wing communications director, White House press secretary and chief of staff to Melania Trump during the Trump administration—wrote in her recently published a book, I'll Take Your Questions Now, that she found herself wishing there were a different Republican candidate to vote for last year. Grisham resigned from her role in the East Wing on Jan. 6, 2021, in the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

While U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh participated remotely because of a symptom-free, breakthrough case of COVID-19, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only member of the court who wore a mask in person as the judicial body returned to the bench Oct. 4, people.com reported. Sotomayor, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 8, has said managing the disease has taught her discipline and to pay close attention to her body.


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