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NATIONAL Asylum case, TDOR items, activist dies, trans hockey team
by Windy City Times staff
2021-11-28

This article shared 558 times since Sun Nov 28, 2021
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Mattie Tux Horton—a transgender woman from Zimbabwe who lives in Rockville, Maryland—won her asylum case in late October after living in the United States for the past five years, The Washington Blade reported. Although she has been living in Maryland for a while now, receiving asylum stripped away the anxiety associated with returning to Zimbabwe had the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency denied her request. Ankush Dhupar, from the Los Angeles law firm Paul Hastings LLP, represented Horton.

President Biden issued a statement recognizing the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), noting an estimated 46 transgender and non-binary people were recorded as killed in 2021 in a horrific milestone of the most violent year on record for the transgender community, The Washington Blade reported. "Each of these lives was precious. Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy," he said. "Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn those we lost in the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans, as well as the countless other transgender people—disproportionately Black and Brown transgender women and girls—who face brutal violence, discrimination and harassment."

Maryland LGBTQ+-rights groups, most of them led by Black transgender youth, rallied in front of Baltimore City Hall on Nov. 20 (The Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience) to protest trans inmates' complaints of harassment and violence at a state-run correctional facility in Baltimore, according to The Washington Blade. BMORE BLXCK, a Black LGBTQ organization, hosted the event, which was co-organized by FreeState Justice and supported by members of Baltimore Safe Haven. The groups rallied in response to trans detainees' complaints about harassment and unsafe housing assignments in the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center. Activists also chanted the name of Kim Wirtz, a 43-year-old trans woman who died after being found unconscious in the Baltimore facility in February.

Veteran progressive activist and TV-film-stage producer Scott Robbe died at age 66, according to a statement by Paul Algiers, a longtime friend and the executor of Scott Robbe's estate, The Washington Blade reported. Robbe died of complications from myelodysplastic anemia, a blood cancer he had battled for more than a year; he had undergone stem-cell treatment at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute earlier this year. Robbe was a prominent member in the founding of two direct-action groups in New York City: ACT UP and Queer Nation.

Two years after 16 hockey players joined forces in Boston to become the first entirely transgender sports team in the United States, Team Trans—a growing group of novice to advanced players—reunited recently at Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton, Wisconsin, to take on the Madison Gay Hockey Association in a weekend friendship series, NBC News noted. Following the success of its first friendship series against Boston Pride Hockey, an LGBTQ hockey team that was founded in 1989, Team Trans began to draw the interest of other trans and non-binary hockey players from around the world.

Same-sex married couples may get a tax break from Democrats' $1.75-trillion social and climate spending plan, CNBC.com reported. The latest iteration of the Build Back Better Act would let taxpayers who were legally married under state law before 2010 claim federal tax benefits that are unavailable under current rules. Essentially, the revision would let couples file amended tax returns for years as early as 2004. They could file a joint federal return as a married couple, and claim refunds and credits that may result in a net tax benefit.

The owner of a Virginia technology company that hosted a private Veterans Day party on the grounds of an Ashburn brewery in which a company employee used a flame-throwing device to ignite a rainbow flag poster has apologized, the Washington Blade reported. The Washington Blade learned about the poster burning from a customer of the Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, where the incident took place on its outdoor grounds. Chris Burns, Old Ox Brewery's president, told the Blade he and his staff were "shocked and horrified" when they learned later that a rainbow flag poster had been burned on the brewery's grounds. Burns said Old Ox supports the LGBTQ community and participated in LGBTQ Pride Month earlier this year.

In Michigan, James Alan Greggs was granted a personal recognizance bond freeing him from the Washtenaw County Jail, where he was awaiting preliminary court proceedings for allegedly attacking a transgender woman in what has been described by prosecutors as a hate crime, MLive.com noted. Prosecutors alleged that on June 8 in Ann Arbor, Greggs, 59, attacked the victim with a box cutter, hit her in the face, and groped and strangled her while disparaging her for being a transgender woman. Greggs is scheduled for a probable cause conference hearing Dec. 16; he faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Also in Michigan, middle-school teacher Russell Ball resigned after he and other educators in his district were told to remove LGBTQ Pride flags they had up in their classrooms, according to NBC News. Teachers were told to take down the flags after Three Rivers Community Schools in Three Rivers, Michigan, received an "external challenge" about the symbols that had "reached the board level," according to an email obtained by NBC affiliate WOOD of Grand Rapids. The district's interim superintendent, Nikki Nash, said in a statement that it is "an ongoing situation."

Marking Transgender Awareness Week, New York City Health + Hospitals unveiled a new Transgender Healthcare Resource Guide intended to help patients and providers navigate the system's gender-affirming health services, Gay City News reported. The guide provides a breakdown of the offerings available at the six different Health + Hospitals Pride Health Centers—Bellevue, Jacobi, Gouverneur, Judson, Metropolitan and Woodhull—as well as at other Health + Hospitals locations providing a range of services. See www.nychealthandhospitals.org/services/lgbtq-health-care-services/ .

Karen Ocamb, the former editor of the Los Angeles Blade, was named Journalist of the Year for 2020 at the 63rd annual Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards gala, Press Pass Q noted. She was the only nominee from an LGBTQ publication, edging nominees from L.A. Weekly and the Long Beach Press-Telegram. In fact, according to the L.A. Press Club, this is the first time its Journalist of the Year Award has gone to an LGBTQ media outlet or editor.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that a Marion County Superior Court made a mistake in dismissing gay teacher Joshua Payne-Elliott's lawsuit against the archdiocese of Indianapolis and reversed the decision, sending the case back to court, IndyStar.com reported. Payne-Elliott, a world language and social studies teacher, was fired in June 2019 after the archdiocese mandated all Catholic schools under its purview enforce a morality clause that prohibits employees from entering into same-sex marriages. Payne-Elliott's complaint alleges that the archdiocese illegally interfered with his contractual and employment relationship with Cathedral High School, causing the school to terminate him. The ruling is at https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/payne-elliot_in_20211123_opinion.

The owners of nightclub Scarlet Honolulu said in a lawsuit against the Honolulu Liquor Commission and the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs that investigators with the agencies have a history of harassment and discrimination against the business and its employees, Hawai'i Public Radio reported. The lawsuit—filed jointly by the nightclub and Gay Island Guide, an online magazine—named four specific investigators who have allegedly targeted the nightclub for unfounded inspections and violations.

D.C.'s LGBTQ community services center Casa Ruby has expanded its mental-health services for the LGBTQ community under the leadership of Howard University clinical psychologist Dr. Kamilah Woodson and a team of therapists Woodson recruited, The Washington Blade reported. Among those programs, Interim Executive Director Alexis Blackmon said, are Casa Ruby's ongoing Latino and immigration support services; support services for LGBTQ victims of violence; and services for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, as well as overall LGBTQ mental health counseling.

In Florida, Metropolitan Community Church—which was founded by LGBTQ Christians 40 years ago—held a ceremony to mark the completion of the church's mortgage payments, The Palm Beach Post noted. Also, during the celebration, the Rev. Marie Alford-Harkey, who has served as MCC's senior pastor since the summer of 2019, presided over the blessing of a new welcome center named in honor of the church's official greeter, Charlie Fredrickson. A longtime LGBTQ advocate, Fredrickson died of COVID-19 in January.

A gay Polish politician asked the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to reverse a street name change made seven years ago that saw a gay icon replace a former Polish president, according to the Bay Area Reporter. Last month, Robert Biedron—a Polish member of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium—wrote to the city's supervisors requesting to revert Dr. Tom Waddell Place to Lech Walesa Street. In an email interview with the Bay Area Reporter, Biedron said Walesa is a "living symbol and we should commemorate it," he wrote, explaining he believes that every city should honor the freedom fighter. The B.A.R. previously reported on the street's name change in 2013, when then-Supervisor Jane Kim became fed up with anti-gay remarks made by Walesa, the former Polish president. Biedron noted Walesa repeatedly apologized for his anti-gay comments and assured him that "he had not intended to offend anyone."

The oldest gay bar in Queens will remain a cornerstone in the Jackson Heights community after the owner purchased the building in which it has operated for more than three decades, QNS.com reported. Friend's Tavern owner Eddie Valentin and his husband, Casimiro Villa, persevered at a time when many bars and restaurants were forced to shutter during the COVID-19 pandemic. Friend's Tavern has been a particularly important nightlife space for gay and bisexual Latino men, many of whom, as immigrants, found a sense of community in an openly gay environment that they may not have had in their native countries.

Malikah Shabazz, a daughter of slain Black civil-rights activist Malcolm X, died Nov. 22, the New York Police Department told CNN. Malcolm X was one of the most powerful voices in the fight against racism before his shooting death in New York in 1965. Recently, two men convicted of the assassination—Muhammad A. Aziz and the late Khalil Islam—were exonerated during a court hearing.

Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert apologized after suggesting that a Democratic colleague, Rep. Ilhan Omar, had been part of a "jihad squad" on Capitol Hill, KSL.com noted. Her apology came after a video surfaced on Twitter of her speaking at an event in her home state of Colorado where she said she was getting into an elevator at the Capitol when she saw a Capitol police officer running toward her. "I see fret all over his face, and he's reaching, and the door's shutting, like I can't open it, like what's happening. I look to my left, and there she is. Ilhan Omar. And I said, 'Well, she doesn't have a backpack, we should be fine,'" she said.

Two Fox News contributors resigned from the network in the wake of host Tucker Carlson's special on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Yahoo! News noted. Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg had regularly appeared on Fox News since 2009. Their brand of conservatism has "fallen out of fashion" amid former President Trump's grip on the Republican Party, per the New York Times, which first reported on the resignations. Hayes and Goldberg wrote in an article published by The Dispatch that Carlson's three-part series on the insurrection, titled "Patriot Purge," represented "a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions."

Sean Parnell, the Republican endorsed by former President Donald Trump in the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race, is suspending his campaign after losing a custody battle, according to Yahoo! News. Earlier in the day, a Butler County judge ruled in favor of Parnell's estranged wife in what had been an ugly custody case between the two. The Pennsylvania Senate race is expected to be among the most hard-fought of the 2022 cycle, and both parties have crowded primaries in the race to replace Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who is retiring.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was confronted by CBS' Margaret Brennan over his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election results and for continuing to spin lies about the integrity of the vote, Yahoo! News noted. According to Peril—a new book featuring exclusive reporting from Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa—Cruz had detailed conversations with former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6 in which Cruz admitted Congress had no authority to overturn the election. Cruz, who, along with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), led the charge to flip the results ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot—and still voted to overturn them in Trump's favor following the violence—said, "I haven't read that particular book and I didn't happen to have any conversations with President Trump on Jan. 6."


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