President Joe Biden reappointed out lesbian Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum as a commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which is an advisory post pertaining to issues of religious freedom, Gay City News reported. In her new role, Kleinbaumwho leads Manhattan's LGBTQ-inclusive synagogue, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST)will recommend international policy changes to the Biden administration, the secretary of state and Congress. She will also monitor global religious-freedom issues and compile these findings into USCIRF's annual report.
Biden also nominated LGBTQ philanthropist and advocate Scott Miller to be the United States ambassador to Switzerlandmaking him among the first out LGBTQ ambassadors appointed by the Biden administration, an LGBTQ Victory Institute press release noted. Miller currently serves as board co-chair of the Gill Foundation, and, with his husband Tim Gill, is the largest contributor to LGBTQ causes in history. LGBTQ Victory Institute President & CEO Mayor Annise Parker said, "There is enormous power in LGBTQ people representing the United States abroad as ambassadors and Scott will ensure the advancement of equality is always on the diplomatic agenda." Previously, Miller served as a vice president at UBS Wealth Management, in Denver.
San Diego police are seeking to identify at least two men who allegedly attacked, harassed and pointed a gun at a group of LGBTQIA+ people holding a bonfire in Mission Beach, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. According to police, one of the assailants threw a large beer can at one of the victims, hitting her in one of her eyes; another assailant pointed a handgun at the head of one of the victims. The victims said the men shouted homophobic slurs at the group throughout the confrontation, which police described in a news release as an "assault with a deadly weapon and hate crime."
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) noted the passing of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan). In a release, HRC President Alphonso David said, "The Human Rights Campaign family is saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Carl Levin, a dedicated public servant for the people of Michigan in Washington, and a leader responsible for advancing the movement to achieve equality for all. As Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2010, Senator Levin was integral in the charge to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' allowing more than 15,000 active duty military service members the chance to serve openly without fear of retribution."
In other HRC-related news, the organization filed a lawsuit on behalf of two transgender children over a Tennessee law that bars trans students and school staff from using public school restrooms that align with their gender identity, NBC News reported. The bill, signed in May by Republican Gov. Bill Lee, requires schools to provide a "reasonable accommodation" to students, faculty or staff who are "unwilling or unable" to use the public restroom or changing room that aligns with their birth sex. HRC's lawsuit, filed in the District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, argues that the law violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
Judge Andrew Napolitano, a legal contributor for Fox News, is no longer employed by the network following allegations of sexual harassment, Variety reported. In a complaint, 27-year-old Fox News associate producer John Fawcett alleged that Napolitano has "sexually harassed numerous young male employees during his tenure at Fox News." Fawcett claims that he reported Napolitano's misconduct to Fox News' human resources department but they did not take any immediate action against him. Napolitano had not appeared on air at Fox News for several months.
A Brooklyn school is under fire for taking down a cafeteria mural that brought attention to racial injustice and honored the LGBTQ community, according to a Gay City News item that cited the New York Daily News. The muralcreated by fifth-graders at P.S. 295highlighted messages like "Black Trans Lives Matter" and "Your Silence Will Not Protect You," a quote from the late LGBTQ activist/writer Audre Lorde. However, within days of the mural being put up in July, district superintendent Anita Skop slammed the student-led art as not "welcoming" or "inclusive" of all members of the schools' community.
Jason Cianciotto and his husband are suing the New York City Department of Education (DoE), the Board of Education (BoE) for New York City Public Schools and several employees at the school their adopted son attended between 2017 and 2019, according to Instinct Magazine. Speaking with Business Insider, Cianciotto, who works with GMHC, said of the couple's son, "He came out to his classmates and teachers shortly after the school year began, and right away the bullying, harassment based on his sexual orientation and perceived gender identity began." Cianciotto said the boy was subjected to slurs on repeated occasions and was physically assaulted.
Izzy Dieker, a 14-year-old lesbian student in Kansas, succeeded in getting her school district to change its policies toward LGBTQ students after she refused to silently accept her bus driver's homophobic discrimination, LGBTQ Nation noted. The bus driver and the school's principal also lost their jobs after the student and her family filed a Title IX complaint. On Jan. 27, Dieker mentioned on the bus that she's lesbian; bus driver Kristi Gadino then pulled over and wrote up Dieker for "unacceptable language," being rude and not switching seats when told. When the teen talked to Principal Corey Wiltz, he told her that it was "inappropriate" to use the word "lesbian" near young students and she was suspended from riding the bus.
Lesbian writer Mary Trump (Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man) called out Meghan McCain on The View when the co-host refused to appear in a Q&A segment with her. The author of the new The Reckoning was discussing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the racism encountered by Capitol police during the siege when she said, "It's a shame that your colleague didn't have the courage to come on and have this conversation with me but I appreciate that you are all willing to take up these very difficult subjects because racism in my view is at the heart of everything that's wrong in 21st-century America." McCain later tweeted, "There is no 'good' Trump family member to me.
Continue to wish they would all just leave me and my entire family the fuck alone." McCain's final show on The View was Aug. 6.
In North Carolina, the Charlotte City Council began discussions about a local ordinance that would establish clear protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, natural hairstyle, and more in key areas of life, including public spaces and private employment, per a joint press release from Equality NC and the Campaign for Southern Equality. The conversation came just over five years after the unprecedented passage of HB2. Public comment will be heard on the ordinance Monday, Aug. 9. If adopted, it would be the 10th LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance to pass in the state in 2021.
Four months after going public with their plans, the board members of the New York City-based American LGBTQ+ Museum have begun the process to hire its first executive director, the Bay Area Reporter noted. The person will assist with the effort to open the museum in 2024 under the current timeline. In late June the museum revealed it had entered into a partnership with the New-York Historical Society. As part of a 70,000 square foot expansion the society is undertaking, it agreed to dedicate the entire fourth floor of the five-story addition it is building to the American LGBTQ+ Museum. The director's salary will be between $150,000 and $200,000, based on experience level, and come with "a generous benefits package"; visit https://mcusercontent.com/73d7338c5a77b0ad1ca2f5d46/files/85922362-e2b7-1cdd-02b8-4312161a77b5/ALGBTQ_Museum_ED_Position_Profile_Final_1.pdf.
Beth Brooke has established a scholarship at Indiana University-Kokomo (IUK) for LGBTQ students who show outstanding leadership qualities, according to Yahoo! News. The Life In Full Color Scholarship was named after that moment Brooke stood on stage and came out Aug. 4 at age 52 at the Trevor Project Annual Awards. The scholarship's inaugural recipient is Autumn Kelshaw.
Caitlyn Jenner will miss the California GOP gubernatorial debate to film a reality TV show in Australia, Newsweek noted. The debate comes at a time when Republicans already have witnessed signs of infighting that could drive down turnout and distract from the goal of toppling current Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. The recallwhich could remove Newsom in the midst of his first termgrew out of widespread frustration during the pandemic over stay-at-home orders, job losses from business closures and long-running school closures. As for Jenner, since she launched her campaign, she has only raised $747,000 while she's spent $910,000; reports show that the campaign is more than $150,000 in debt and has about $21,000 in the bank, LGBTQ Nation reported.
New York City will require proof of vaccination for leisure indoor activities at restaurants and gymsbecoming the first major city in the United States to do so, NBC News reported. The program will be implemented later this month during a transition period before it will be fully enforced in mid-September. The mandate is the latest attempt by Mayor Bill de Blasio to encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Recently, he offered a $100 incentive for anyone who gets vaccinated at city-run vaccination sites.
Houston news anchor Steven Romo recently shared with his social-media followers the news of his engagement to Houston weatherman Stephen Morgan, Instinct Magazine noted. In an Instagram post, Romo began by revealing his childhood had its share of secrets his family fought to hide like living in a home "full of garbage with a horde of dogs." However, Romo added that being gay "saved" him, adding, "It made me strongstrong enough to eventually stand next to the best human I've ever met and ask him to marry me."
Filipino-American television personality Raymond Gutierrez came out in a cover story with the magazine Mega Entertainment, Queerty noted. In a feature interview, he also outlined the journey that brought him to this moment. "Growing up, it was hard for me to even acknowledge who I am," he told Mega Entertainment. "Like, what is this? I had my brother [Raymond's twin, actor Richard Gutierrez of My Best Friend's Girlfriend] who was so similar to me but so different in so many ways. But he never had to explain his sexuality, so why should I? And that was my thinking growing up."
The Tyler Clementi Foundation is looking for youth ambassadors. According to a press release, the ambassadors work alongside high school students across the country who are committed to ending bullying; meet monthly to learn how to prevent and interrupt bullying; plan two anti-bullying practices; and increase awareness around anti-bullying practices, effective communication, and positive mental health. The deadline is Aug. 31; visit tylerclementi.org/youth-ambassadors/ .
Former President Barack Obama belatedly announced he was canceling his huge 60th birthday bash that was scheduled for Aug. 7, The New York Times noted. "Due to the new spread of the Delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends," Hannah Hankins, a spokeswoman for the former president, said. Hundreds of former Obama administration officials, celebrities (such as George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey) and Democratic donors had been planning to attend the party at Obama's island mansion on Martha's Vineyard.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham revealed Aug. 2 that he has tested positive for COVID-19, but the South Carolina Republican said that his "symptoms would be far worse" if he had not received full dosages of the coronavirus vaccine, CNBC.com noted. Graham, 66, tweeted that he began having flu-like symptoms July 31, and that he would quarantine for 10 days. On July 31, Graham attended a party aboard the houseboat of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.
CNN head Jeff Zucker said that the network has fired three employees for going into the office without being vaccinated against COVID-19, and that parent WarnerMedia may ultimately require proof of the shots, Deadline noted. Zucker, CNN's president and chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, also said that the network would postpone a planned Sept. 7 return date for most U.S. employees going to the office.