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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL Anti-trans attacks, Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, tower, Mary Trump
by Windy City Times staff
2021-03-28

This article shared 666 times since Sun Mar 28, 2021
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Rayanna Pardo, a 26-year-old Latinx trans woman, was struck by a car and killed while fleeing from a small mob in Los Angeles on March 17, out.com reported. Security video showed Pardo being chased and assaulted by a group of people on S. Eastern Avenue and E. 5th Street. She is at least the 11th transgender victim of violence this year in the United States.

Another transgender woman suffered severe injuries March 20 after being stripped of her clothing and repeatedly stabbed by an assailant in Germantown, Pennsylvania, according to Philadelphia Gay News. The unidentified woman was visiting Robert Easley at his residence, when Easley began to pull off her clothes. The woman pushed him away, at which time Easley allegedly grabbed a knife and stabbed her multiple times. Easley was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and possession of an instrument of a crime.

March 20 was National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD)—a national mobilization effort designed to encourage American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians across the United States and Territorial Areas to increase their awareness, get tested, get involved in prevention efforts and be treated for HIV. The National AIDS Memorial is honoring the lives lost in the Native community to AIDS with a special virtual exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which features 16-quilt blocks that contain panels made to honor loved ones from the American Indian, Alaska Native and the Native Hawaiian communities. The exhibition is also meant to raise greater awareness about the rising rates of HIV infection among certain age groups within the AI/AN/NH population. Visitors can view the exhibition at AIDSMemorial.org . It is featured as part of a 50-state virtual exhibition of the Quilt that was launched on World AIDS Day and features more than 10,000 panels.

A rainbow lifeguard tower in Long Beach, California, burned down—and the openly gay mayor said he suspects it to be an "act of hate," according to The Advocate. "The tower served as a symbol of our strong support for diversity within our ranks and the LGBTQ community who call Long Beach home," Long Beach Marine Safety Chief Gonzalo Medina said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The tower will be replaced and repainted by lifeguards." Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted that he had "little doubt" that its destruction was a criminal act. But he also had a message for the possible perpetrator: "To whoever committed this act, we will rebuild it better and brighter."

Mary Trump—who needled former President Trump during his re-election bid with allegations of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks in his family—joined a political action committee that works to elect queer women to public office, The Washington Blade reported. LPAC, a political organization dedicated to electing queer women to public office, announced that Mary—a lesbian and the niece of the ex-president—would join its board of directors. LPAC supported Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Kyrsten Sinema in recent election cycles as well as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. As of now, there are 11 openly LGBTQ members of Congress, including Baldwin and Sinema.

On March 31, to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the National LGBTQ Task Force will co-host a panel, "Fierce, Fabulous and Fighting for Our Lives: A Conversation with Transgender and Non-Binary Young People," a press release announced. Guests will include actor/producer Josie Totah; 19th News LGBTQ reporter Kate Sosin; author, activist, life coach and the 1st trans athlete on an NCAA Division I men's team Schuyler Bailar; HRC Youth Ambassador and DJ Nico Craig; HRC Youth Ambassador and TikTok Influencer Ve'ondre Mitchell; and web developer/artivist Lala Shanks. RSVP to madeleine.roberts@hrc.org .

The owner of a specialty bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, who first made national headlines for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding was back in court, the New York Daily News reported. Masterpiece Cakeshop's owner Jack Phillips was sued by a gay couple in 2012 after citing religious beliefs as his reason for not making their wedding cake; in 2018, his case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, when the justices granted him a partial victory. Recently, the Christian baker went on trial in another lawsuit—this time involving Denver-based attorney Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman who said that the baker didn't sell her a cake because of her gender identity. Philips has maintained that he won't create cakes to celebrate events that he, as a Christian, doesn't agree with.

Kataluna Enriquez made history by becoming the first out transgender woman ever to win the Miss Silver State USA beauty pageant, the state's largest preliminary competition, LGBTQ Nation noted. Because she won, she will go on to compete in the Miss Nevada USA pageant. The 27-year-old champion previously competed in a 2016 transgender pageant, but she began competing in cisgender pageants last year.

United States women's national team players Megan Rapinoe and Margaret Purce visited the White House for an event on Equal Pay Day (March 24) with President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, CBS Sports noted. Earlier that day, Rapinoe testified at a hearing titled "Honoring 'Equal Pay Day': Examining the Long-Term Economic Impacts of Gender Inequality," and discussed the lawsuit brought by members of the United States women's national soccer team against U.S. Soccer. She also touched on the differences between NCAA men's and women's college basketball tournaments, and expressed solidarity with transgender athletes.

Citing health issues, Judge Paul Feinman—the first out gay man appointed to the New York State Court of Appeals—has retired, Gay City News reported. Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Feinman, now 61, to the state's Appellate Division in 2012, making him the first out gay man to hold such a post. In 2017, he was nominated by Cuomo to the Court of Appeals and became the court's first out gay judge. Feinman currently lives in New York City with his husband, Robert Ostergaard; they married in 2013.

A Louisiana man was indicted and charged in federal court in the Western District of Louisiana on six counts, including hate crime, kidnapping, firearm and obstruction charges, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Chance Seneca, 19, of Lafayette, was charged by a federal grand jury on March 18 based on his attempted murder of a gay man and his overarching scheme to kidnap and murder gay men he met online. The indictment alleges that on June 19-20, 2020, Seneca attempted to kidnap one man and successfully kidnapped two other men through his use of gay dating app Grindr. According to out.com, Seneca tried to murder and eat one of them, 18-year-old Holden White. Seneca is supposedly fascinated with the late gay murderous cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer.

The mayor, acting city manager and the fire chief in Lynchburg, Virginia promised to look into concerns raised by LGBTQ activists that a fire-department captain posted cartoons on his Facebook page portraying transgender people in a disparaging way, The Washington Blade noted. Trans activist Onna McClennon told city officials at a meeting in February that the Facebook post by fire department Captain Martin Misjuns made her wonder if she would receive the help she needed and treated fairly in an emergency by Fire Department first responders, according to Lynchburg's WFXR-TV News. Misjuns denounced the accusations against him, saying his First Amendment free-speech rights were under attack because of his opposition to a recent "executive order" banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, was guest speaker at this year's National Rainbow Seder, which took place March 21, Times of Israel noted. The Seder's theme was "Renewal and Resistance: a Journey Towards Liberation." The virtual event included a specially commissioned Haggadah coupling the story of Passover with the history of the LGBTQ movement, focusing on the progress it has made in the 13 years since the National Rainbow Seder was founded.

A Puerto Rican transgender man won a $25,000 settlement after a long legal battle against a Queens, New York, trade school and an employee who allegedly denied him bathroom access and outed him as trans in front of students, Gay City News reported. Danny Hart, 49, backed by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, filed a lawsuit against Apex Technical School in December 2016, claiming a staffer repeatedly and publicly called him by his former name, or dead name, and told him to accept a key to the school's locked women's restrooms. According to the suit, the school forced him to use his former legal name, which was revealed multiple times by a staffer, leading to harassment.

In Minnesota, a trans teen student-athlete won a major victory in the battle against systemic transphobia, according to out.com . Nick Himley was barred from using the boy's locker room facilities at Coon Rapids High School during the 2015-16 school year, even though he was a member of the boys' swim team. The Anoka-Hennepin School District paid Himley a $300,000 settlement and agreed to ensure trans student athletes will be treated more equitably in the future.

A bill proposed by Republican Tennessee state lawmakers would ban textbooks and teaching materials that contain LGBT content, The Hill noted. The bill, H.B. 800, was introduced by state Rep. Bruce Griffey (R) in February and is slated to be considered by the state's Education Instruction Subcommittee on March 30, according to KENS5. If the bill is passed, it would go into effect in July of this year and would be implemented in school districts statewide for the 2021-22 school year.

Out gay Brooklyn Councilmember Carlos Menchaca has ended his candidacy for New York City mayor, Gay City News reported. The term-limited lawmaker—who represents Red Hook, Sunset Park, Greenwood Heights and parts of Windsor Terrace, Dyker Heights and Boro Park—acknowledged in an announcement on March 24 that his "path to a primary victory is no longer attainable." Menchaca entered the race weeks after out gay Speaker Corey Johnson terminated his own campaign for mayor.

Equality California announced early 2022 endorsements of four Congressional incumbents in key 2022 battleground districts: Rep. John Garamendi (CA-03), Rep. Josh Harder (CA-10), Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45) and Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49). "Protecting our champions in Congress and expanding our pro-equality House majority are critical priorities for the LGBTQ+ community," said Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur in a press release. "The Biden-Harris agenda is achievable, but only if we ensure they have pro-equality partners in Congress—and all four of these leaders have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to creating a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people."

Florida's oldest gay bar—closed since last March by COVID-19 and gutted by fire last May—may reopen late this year with a historic designation, The Palm Beach Post noted. H.G. Roosters, at 823 Belvedere Rd., is likely to be added to West Palm Beach's Register of Historic Places, honoring its decades of contributions to the area's LGBTQ community. A final vote is scheduled for April 5.

A widow seeking survivor benefits is hoping for a change of heart from the Department of Justice, South Florida Gay News reported. Patricia Rolfingsmeyer, 71, is challenging the federal government's denial of employee death benefits. Rolfingsmeyer's spouse, Tina Sammons, was an Air Force veteran and Postal Service employee. The women had been in a 16-year relationship, but were married just three months when Sammons died of breast cancer; at the time, same-sex marriage was not legal in the couple's home state of Pennsylvania.

In Utah, Park City High School (PCSD) students wasted no time contacting their principal when they recently discovered that filtering software blocked access to LGBTQ search terms on school-issued computers, according to KSL TV. School administrators fixed the issue, but the episode raised questions about how it happened as well as what teachers and students do in districts that are less accepting/inclusive. In a related incident, the Utah Black Lives Matter website has been blocked all year, PCSD students said. They reported complaining about it to teachers, but access remains denied.

Stanford University School of Medicine is hosting a course entitled "Teaching LGBT Health," according to a press communication. This free, online, CME course addresses the gap between expected faculty teaching competency and a lack of previous faculty training. The course is open access to educators across the health professions, as well as other providers, staff, trainees and patients. See https://mededucation.stanford.edu/courses/teaching-lgbtq-health.

A spokesperson for former President Donald Trump told Fox News that Trump is coming back to social media—but this time with his own network, according to CNN.com . Jason Miller, a longtime adviser and spokesperson for Trump's 2020 campaign, told Howard Kurtz on Fox's MediaBuzz that Trump will be "returning to social media in probably about two or three months." He added Trump's return will be with "his own platform" that will attract "tens of millions" of new users and "completely redefine the game."

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-New York) apologized for sexual misconduct following allegations a former lobbyist made against him, NPR reported. He said in a statement he took "full responsibility" for his actions, adding that while he doesn't recall the interaction with Davis, he believed her. Reed, who was first elected to Congress in 2010, said he would not seek election to public office in 2022; he had been considering a run for New York governor next year.

Oregon State University's Board of Trustees unanimously accepted President F. King Alexander's offer to resign amid a cascade of outrage stemming from his role in Louisiana State University's (LSU's) sexual-misconduct scandal, USA Today noted. Alexander was president of LSU from 2013 to 2019—when the school systemically mishandled reports of sexual misconduct by students and by head football coach Les Miles, according to a report by law firm Husch Blackwell that LSU publicly released this month.

The View co-host Meghan McCain apologized for her prior defense of then-President Donald Trump and others who used racist, anti-Asian names for the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, Business Insider noted. "I condemn the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community," McCain tweeted. "There is no doubt Donald Trump's racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and I apologize for any past comments that aided that agenda." Addressing this on the latest episode of his show, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver noted that during a March 2020 episode of The View, she defended use of the term "China virus."


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