Lesbian New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn made her mayoral run official, according to the Washington Post. Quinn initially made the announcement in a five-minute video on her campaign website. Quinn was elected to the city council in 1999, after five years as the head of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, which focuses on the LGBT community.
In Florida, the Lake County School Board voted 3-2 against a proposed policy that would have banned all non-academic clubs, instead opting for a rule that would require students to obtain parental permission for club membership, according to an ACLU press release. The board had considering banning all clubs in response to the effort of Leesburg 8th-grader Bayli Silberstein to establish a gay-straight alliance at Carver Middle School. More than 55,000 people signed a petition urging the board not to ban all organizations.
In Oregon, a gay man said that a man attacked him and used an anti-gay slur because of the victim's pink poodle, according to the Huffington Post. David Beltier, 26, was walking his poodle alongside boyfriend Jeremy Mark when the suspect (22-year-old George Mason Jr.) pulled over in an SUV. Mason then allegedly said, "Your poodle is a weird color and that's just un-American" and "f**k you, you fags" before hitting Beltier with a wrench.
Matt Moore, a so-called "ex-gay" blogger for The Christian Post, has sold his computer after being busted for having a profile on the gay meet-up app Grindr, according to Gawker.com . He also told the Post that he "had someone put a lock on my phone where I cannot download apps or access the Internet through a non-filtered browser."
In Ohio, students at Oberlin College are on edge following several hate-filled incidents, according to On Top Magazine. The school canceled classes March 4 after a student reported seeing a person wearing a Ku Klux Klan-type hood and robe on campus. Additionally, more than a dozen messages of hate (racial and anti-gay) have been found on campus over the past month. Oberlin was a center for abolitionists and a stop on the 19th-century slave network known as the Underground Railroad.
In Tennessee, a Middle Tennessee State University poll has revealed that 62 percent of the state's residents oppose "allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally," according to TimesFreePress.com . However, 57 percent also oppose "a law forbidding any instruction or discussion of homosexuality in eighth grade and lower classes in Tennessee public schools"the gist of the so-called "Don't say gay" bill that is pending in the legislature.
The most popular spring-break destination for gay college students is ... Fort Lauderdale, Fla., according to a Huffington Post article. Other cities completing the top five are Palm Springs, Calif.; Key West, Fla.; Las Vegas; and South Padre Island, Texas. "Destination dating" website MissTravel.com surveyed approximately 15,400 users.
The parents of the late Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi want the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to apologize for referring to their son's suicide, according to Gay Star News. NOM's Jennifer Morse recently told Iowa State University students that Clementi's death is an example of why it is "not the best thing to let [LGBT] people be friends with other LGBT people, or be supported by the LGBT community." Clementi, 18, leaped to his death in 2010 after discovering his roommate used a webcam to spy on his encounter with another man.
Daniel Chesmore and Jose Guzman were told to leave the Westfield Galleria mall in Roseville, Calif., for kissing and holding hands, the Huffington Post reported. A security guard told TV network KTXL "any couple" displaying affection could be reprimanded; however, a reporter from the station subsequently saw straight couples embracing in the same manner without any repercussions. In addition, KTXL couldn't find any mention of kissing and holding hands in the mall's code of conduct.
The two-term chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans has supported legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, according to SFGate.com . Ryan Lyk, 21, told The Associated Press he wants people to know that not just Democrats support marriage equality. Lyk, who is straight, said his own views on the issue have evolved since he became politically active. "A lot of Republicans share my view about this," said Lyk, a political science major at the University of Minnesota and a former intern for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Also on the subject of marriage equality, a Native American tribal council in northern Michigan has voted to recognize it, MLive.com reported. The legislative body of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indiansbased in Harbor Springsvoted 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage. At least two other U.S. tribes recognize same-sex marriage: The Coquille Tribe in North Bend, Ore., began recognizing the unions in 2009, and the Suquamish Tribe in Suquamish, Wash., did so in 2011.
In Pennsylvania, 12-year-old Bailey O'Neill died after being placed in a medically induced coma following an alleged bullying incident at his suburban Philadelphia school, ABC News reported. On Jan. 10, two classmates allegedly jumped O'Neill, with one hitting O'Neill several times in the face; a week and a half after the incident, O'Neill began having seizures.
In North Carolina, an openly gay man is expected to easily win an uncontested special election for the Carrboro Board of Aldermen March 19, according to GoQNotes.com . Damon Seils was the lone candidate to file in the special election to replace former Ald. Dan Coleman, who stepped down in December. Other openly gay officials in the county include Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Chapel Hill Town Councilmember Lee Storrow and Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Lydia Lavelle.
In Chattanooga, Tenn., city council candidate Chris Anderson made history when he became the first openly gay candidate to win an election there, according to LGBTQ Nation. Anderson, who was endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, beat a two-term incumbent to represent City Council District 7. Anderson, who was once the national executive vice president of the Young Democrats of America, will be one of just two openly LGBT elected officials in the state of Tennessee.
In West Virginia, history was made on the state legislature floor as the first openly gay lawmaker, Del. Stephen Skinner, introduced his partner of three years, Jeffrey Gustafson, according to DailyMail.com . It was a small victory, Skinner said, but a victory nonetheless. Skinner, 44, won his political race last November despite not hiding his sexual orientation; Gustafson, 28, works as a consultant for nonprofit groups.
An analysis of four studies of sexual risk and HIV infection in U.S. gay men, presented at the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2013), has found a 22-percent higher risk of HIV infection per sexual contact in Black gay men that is not explained by other factors such as number of sexual partners, drug usage or age, according to AIDSMap.com . As for the higher risk for Black men, researchers say the answer may be that, because HIV prevalence is higher in U.S. Black men and they have a smaller pool of partners, they are generally in a higher-risk environment.
In Ohio, a federal jury awarded gay man David Ayers $13.2 million after he spent 11 1/2 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, according to a press release from the law firm Loevy & Loevy. The verdict award is among the top 10 ever in the country for a wrongful conviction case. Ayers, 56, had no prior arrests and had no physical evidence linking him to the crime; however, was charged and eventually sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 murder of an elderly citizen, Dorothy Brown.
After a political blog attempted to out Charleston County, S.C., Councilmember Colleen Condon, she came out of the closet herself, according to Advocate.com . Condon announced to her colleagues that she is gay after local blog FitsNews published a post that alleges she left her husband on adulterous terms to be in a lesbian relationship. Condon was married for 15 years until she and her husband divorced amicably in 2011; the relationship she is in now after the divorce.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have demonstrated that nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy HIV while leaving surrounding cells unharmed, Science Daily reported. Bee venom contains a potent toxin called melittin that can poke holes in the protective envelope that surrounds HIV and other viruses. The finding is considered an important step toward developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV.
In her first State of LGBT Military Equality Addresswhich took place in Washington, D.C. at the OutServe-SLDN 2013 National DinnerArmy Veteran and Executive Director Allyson Robinson set a goal of reaching 14,000 actively serving OutServe-SLDN members by the end of 2014, a press release stated. In front of almost 1,000 service members, veterans and supporters, Robinson also cautioned against becoming complacent in the fight for full LGBT military equality.
GLAAD and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) announced March 7 that Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, Colo., has rejected mediation in a civil-rights case asking the school to allow 6-year-old transgender student Coy Mathis to use the girls' bathroom at her school, according to a press release. In mid-December, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 told Mathis' parents that the first-grader would no longer be able to use the girls' bathrooms.
In signing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) March 7, President Obama singled out a number of activists on the issue, including the head of an LGBT anti-violence group. "Today is about all the Americans who face discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity when they seek help," said Obama, pointing out Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, in the audience of people attending the bill signing ceremony at the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C. The bill reauthorizes and expands the federal VAWA, a program that was first established in 1994 to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence.
In a March 8 Washington Post op-ed column, President Bill Clintonwho signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996called on the Supreme Court to overturn the ban on federal recognition of legally married same-sex couples, saying the law was "incompatible with our Constitution," according to a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) press release. HRC President Chad Griffin said, "As President Clinton eloquently articulated, DOMA is a vestige of another time and now we must turn our back on legally sanctioned discrimination."
Queer undocumented youth from United We Dream's Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP) were in Washington, D.C., advocating for a pathway to citizenship and LGBTQ family inclusion for 11 million Americans without papers, according to a press release. QUIP leaders attended an event called "The LGBT Undocumented" at the D.C.-based progressive think tank Center for American Progress. "Undocuqueer leaders across the country are calling for a pathway for citizenship that doesn't leave anyone behind. We will not choose one issue over the other," said Jorge Gutierrez, United We Dream's QUIP coordinator.
In Texas, hundreds of protesters demonstrated at the state Capitol in Austin March 11, according to CBS-DFW. The group Equality Texas organized people of all sexual orientations and gender identities for a day of lobbying to support civil-rights bills that Democratic lawmakers introduced. Along with calling for marriage equality, they backed measures that would place the names of both gay parents on birth certificates, and make discrimination by employers and insurance companies illegal.
Also in Texas, a student at Brennan High School in San Antonio has started a petition to protest her yearbook supervisor's decision to censor a photo depicting her cuddling with her girlfriend, according to Salon.com . Felicia Rivera believes her submission was removed from the book's Valentine's Day-themed page because she is lesbian. However, school district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said that it's the photo itself (characterized as "pretty intimate"), not the couple, that violates the school's code of conduct.
Thousands of same-sex marriage supporters are expected to attend a March 26 rally at the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear oral arguments on a case that challenges the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, the Washington Blade reported. The Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Marriage Equality USA, the Family Equality Council, the New Organizing Institute, GetEQUAL, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation are among the groups that will organize the event under the "United for Marriage" banner.
In Colorado, the state House passed a civil-unions bill, according to the Washington Post. Applause erupted as the bill won final passage March 12 on a 39-26 House vote, with two Republicans joining all Democrats to approve it. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has said he plans to sign civil unions into law. It's not clear yet when that will happen, but the law will take effect May 1.
In Atlanta, Emory University has booted Chick-fil-A from its campus, according to Advocate.com . The school newspaper, The Emory Wheel, recently tweeted the sandwich chain would leave to make way for renovations. Emory's LGBT alumni group sent a letter to campus president James Wagner after Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy admitted he and his company were "guilty as charged" when it came to actively opposing marriage equality. Seven campus LGBT groups followed suit in October, and the student association passed a resolution urging the college to reconsider Chick-fil-A as a campus eatery.
In Ohio, a judge ordered the owners of the Capital Club to pay a $1,000 fine in Columbus' first-ever transgender-discrimination case, according to 10tv.com . Attorneys for Columbus Hospitality LLC, managers of private downtown Capital Club, pleaded no contest in January to charges of unlawful employment practices against 53-year-old Savanna DeLong, who was a massage therapist there. DeLong alleged that the club discriminated against her by not using her services when they found out she was making the transition from male to female.
Prominent feminist and out bisexual Kate Millett will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame Oct. 12, according to SheWired.com . Millett will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y., joining more than 200 other inductees since the Hall was founded in 1969. Millett will be recognized with women such as Betty Ford, Nancy Pelosi, Ina May Gaskin, Julie Krone, Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, Bernise Resnick Sandler, Anna Jacobson Schwartz and Emma Hart Willard.