Ebony Magazine has released its list of the top 10 Black LGBT trailblazers on the rise. They include actress Laverne Cox; WNBA player Brittney Griner; advocate Janet Mock; writer/filmmaker Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler; violinist/mezzo-soprano Tona Brown; activist Tiq Milan; musician Siya; pro football player Michael Sam; singer Big Freedia; and educator/ex-NBA player Wade Davis.
Amid all of the mistakes that plagued his 2012 presidential campaign, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said that the one lesson Texas Gov. Rick Perry ( R ) apparently took was to make himself sound "tougher" on the latest wave of undocumented immigrants, Raw Story noted. Perry, she said, "is dying to have a national comeback in politics. And he apparently thinks that in order to do that, he needs to have a do-over on seeming too soft on immigration issues." Maddow pointed out that, previously, Perry struck a much more nuanced tone when it came to the immigration issueone that earned him very loud boos during a September 2011 GOP debate Fox News hosted.
After prominent LGBT-advocacy groups withdrew their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ( ENDA ) over its religious exemption, other organizations and lawmakers who continue to support the bill are reasserting its potential to extend protections to LGBT workers, The Washington Blade reported. For example, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ( D-Calif. ) suggested she was still on board with ENDA by insisting the Senate-passed version is better than nothing. Several LGBT-rights groups have withdrawn their support of ENDA; however, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality and Freedom to Work still support the version pending before Congress, but said they welcome a narrower religious exemption.
The National Gay Blood Drive was held July 11 to protest a U.S. Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men. For instance, in Chicago the Howard Brown Health Center asked gay and bisexual men to come into the center, along with surrogates who donated blood on their behalf; the men and surrogates then signed a petition asking that the ban be lifted. The FDA established the ban in 1983 because of the history between men who have had sex with other men and HIV.
Federal officials announced that a nearly 4-year-old Mississippi girl, thought to have been cured of HIV, now has detectable levels of the virus, USA Today reported. The child known as the "Mississippi baby"whose apparent cure was reported in The New England Journal of Medicine last fallhas had the virus return after more than two years off antiretroviral therapy. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases, called the development "disappointing," but added that it "reminds us that we still have much more to learn about the intricacies of HIV infection and where the virus hides in the body."
To support the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS ) announced the availability of $11 million in funding to enhance Community Health Centers' HIV efforts in communities highly impacted by HIV, especially among racial and ethnic minorities, according to a press release. Also, the Department of Justice ( DoJ ) released a Best Practices Guide to Reform HIV-specific Criminal Laws to Align with Scientifically Supported Factors; it's at http://aids.gov/federal-resources/national-hiv-aids-strategy/doj-hiv-criminal-law-best-practices-guide.pdf.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's office is telling state agencies to act as if no same-sex marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order, the Associated Press reported. A federal judge in Indianapolis struck down the state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional that day, leading to hundreds of same-sex marriages around the state. However, an appeals court stayed that ruling three days later after an appeal from the state attorney general's office.
A state judge struck down Colorado's gay-marriage ban, saying the prohibition violated constitutional rightsbut put his ruling on hold pending appeal, according to Reuters. Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree said in his decision that Colorado's prohibition, which voters approved in 2006, conflicted with the fundamental right to marry. There are 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is now legal.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito denied a Pennsylvania county clerk's request to stay a federal judge's ruling striking down the state's ban on gay marriage, according to On Top Magazine. Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the clerk of orphans court and register of wills in Schuylkill County, filed the request after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia denied her request to intervene in the case. Alito denied Santai-Gaffney's request without comment.
A retired Methodist pastor who went on a hunger strike in the 1990s to protest the church's discrimination against gays has committed suicide by setting himself on fire, according to Lone Star Q. The Rev. Charles Moore, 79, doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire in the parking lot of a strip mall in Grand Saline, his hometown in eastern Texas. In a note left on his car, he lamented the legacy of racial injustice in Grand Saline, where he was ostracized by the Methodist church in the 1950s for supporting school desegregation; in the past, he had also expressed frustration with the United Methodist Church's positions on homosexuality and the death penalty.
Utah is going directly to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge a federal appeals court's finding that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry, according to LGBTQ Nation. The state opted to appeal the decision to the country's highest court rather than request a review from the entire 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear the appeal of the June 25 ruling by a three-judge 10th Circuit panel, a Yale University law professor has said; there also is no deadline to make a decision.
An AIDS research team at Iowa State University will not get the final $1.38-million payment of a National Institutes of Health ( NIH ) five-year grant after a team member admitted last year to faking research results, the Associated Press reported. One of the members of the research team, Dong-Pyou Han, has pleaded not guilty in federal court to four counts of making false statements in research reports. The research team was awarded $6.8 million to be paid over five years by NIH, but it won't receive the last payment.
Gay-porn star Jessie Colter claims he was kicked out of a water park in Louisville, Kentucky; called "queer" by a police officer; and threatened with arrestall because he was wearing Speedos, according to Edge Boston. Colter says he was threatened with arrest and was called "queer" by a Louisville Metro Police Department officer while he was at Kentucky Kingdom water park. Kentucky Kingdom mentions a dress code on its FAQ page that says park officials can determine if a guest is dressed inappropriately.
D.C. attorney and longtime LGBT-rights advocate Lateefah Williams announced her candidacy for the district's newly created position of elected attorney general, according to The Washington Blade. If elected, Williams would become the second known LGBT person to serve as the city's attorney general either through an election or through appointment by the city's mayor. Robert Spagnoletti, who's gay, was appointed attorney general in 2004.
In Vermont, local Boy Scouts didn't sell bottled water or volunteer on the clean-up crew for Montpelier's Fourth of July parade this yearbecause of the organization's national policy banning gay leaders, according to SevenDaysVT.com . City councilors initially balked at approving a vendor request for the Scouts, citing unease about the Boy Scouts of America's policy banning gay and lesbian scout leaders. The Scouts declined aninvitation to discuss the applicationand pulled said vendor application. Later, the Scouts decided not to be part of the parade at all.
Even though marriage equality is not legal in South Carolina, the Alliance For Full Acceptancean LGBT-rights group based in Charlestonhas pooled the city's top wedding professionals to create an online auction for a complete destination-wedding package, according to a press release. Valued at more than $45,000, the package includes wedding and event planning, hotel discounts, limo service, live entertainment, the cake and more. The auction is until Aug. 8 at https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/auctionhome.action?auctionId=220016034.
Gay Washington state veteran Eric Williamswho served two tours in Iraqsaid he was discriminated against for kissing his boyfriend when a Yellow Cab driver tossed them out of his car on the evening of July 4, EDGE Boston reported. Williams claimed that "the cabbie started to get really hostile with us. He pulled off the road and told us to get out of the car, he wasn't going to serve us." A spokesman for Yellow Cab said that while any kind of discrimination is against company policy, "there are two sides to every story," adding that the company is investigating the incident.
The Centers for Disease Control ( CDC ) says that smoking now leads to more deaths in the LGBT community than HIV, which also reports that while 20.5 percent of heterosexuals smoke, 30.8 percent of gay people use tobacco products, NewNowNext.com noted. If someone's HIV-positive and smokes, the combination can take even more years off that person's life: According to the Network for LGBT Health Equity, being HIV-positive takes an average of 5.1 years off one's life, but people who smoke and have HIV die 12.3 years earlier, on average.
Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has said he would not seek to repeal the state's same-sex marriage law if elected governor, according to The Washington Blade. Public records indicate that neither Hogan, who was a member of former Gov. Bob Ehrlich's administration, nor his running mate, Boyd Rutherford, signed the petition that prompted a 2012 referendum on Maryland's same-sex marriage law. However, Hogan said in a Baltimore Sun editorial board questionnaire that he opposes the transgender-rights bill that Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law in May.
A former band director and music instructor at a Macon, Georgia, Catholic school has filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming gender discrimination after he was fired over his plans to marry another man, according to LGBTQ Nation. Flint Dollar says he was fired from Mount de Sales Academy in May after announcing on Facebook that he planned to marry his longtime partner in Minnesota this summer. Since neither federal nor state law expressly bans employers from discriminating against LGBT individuals, Dollar cites gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as the basis of his lawsuit.
A high-level female Yahoo Inc. executive has been sued in California by a woman who worked under her, accusing her former boss of sexual harassment and wrongful termination, Reuters reported. Nan Shi, who worked as a principal software engineer in Yahoo from February 2013, is suing Maria Zheng, a senior director of engineering at Yahoo Mobile. The complaint alleges that Zhang coerced Shi to have oral and digital sex with her on multiple occasions in Sunnyvale, California, and told her she would have a "bright future" at Yahoo if she had sex with Zhang.
In response to the criticism over his anti-gay Vine posts, social-media star Nash Grier kissed a gay fan in an attempt to show he has love rather than antipathy for the LGBT community, according to Towleroad. The fan shared the experience on Snapchat and later on Tumblr, saying, "To all the people complaining about Nash being a homophobic who's against gays; He willingly kissed a boy just for a SnapChat story on top of apologizing twice." Responses to the kiss were mixed, with some saying it was simply a publicity stunt.
LGBT business owners will meet in an unprecedented gathering organized by the National Lesbian & Gay Chamber of Commerce to brainstorm about how to take their businesses to the next level of success, according to a press release. The 2014 National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce National Business and Leadership Conference will take place July 29Aug. 1 in Las Vegas, and will occur against a backdrop of reports that the economic climate is improving as LGBT acceptance grows. More than 700 business owners, from across the States and countries as far away as Argentina, will connect with Fortune 100 companies as well as learn about federal government contracting opportunities.
Technology and gay rights came together at a White House meeting to discuss how technology can help alleviate issues such as poverty and workplace discrimination in the LGBT community, The Wall Street Journal reported. The president's offices of Public Engagement and Science and Technology Policy hosted nearly 200 entrepreneurs, technologists and community leaders at what it called an LGBT Innovation Summit. One theme that emerged from the sessions was the need for more information about LGBT communities, since data can be critical in getting grants and making political decisions.
A lesbian student who married her partner was expelled from an Oklahoma university one semester shy of obtaining her sports-management degree, The Huffington Post noted. Christian Minard, 22, attended Southwestern Christian University, a school affiliated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Bethany, Oklahoma. As part of her admission requirements, she signed a lifestyle covenant that prohibits "homosexual behavior." Minard married Kadyn Parks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 17.