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Windy City Times 2023-12-13



NATIONAL Bishop removed, business news, Jezebel shutting down, MAP head
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 4719 times since Fri Nov 17, 2023
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Pope Francis removed the bishop of Tyler, Texas—a conservative prelate active on social media who has been a fierce critic of the pontiff, PBS reported. A one-line statement from the Vatican said the pope had "relieved" Bishop Joseph Strickland of the pastoral governance of Tyler and appointed the bishop of Austin as the temporary administrator. Earlier this year, Strickland accused Francis in a tweet of "undermining the deposit of faith." He has been particularly critical of the pontiff's recent meeting on the future of the Catholic Church during which hot-button issues were discussed, including ways to better welcome LGBTQ+ Catholics.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Showtime announced this year's 25 recipients of "Queer to Stay: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative," a press release announced. A few of the small-business awardees include Sugarwitch (St. Louis), The Lipstick Lounge (Nashville), The Gender Doula (Los Angeles), Outbox (Brooklyn, NYC) Jonathan Carver Moore (San Francisco) and TenOrChops Entertainment (Ferris, Texas). The full list is at

Speaking of businesses, Surya acquired Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams—the 34-year-old heritage home brand that redefined American design with its focus on stylish, comfortable and eco-friendly furniture, per a press release posted on Facebook. Surya plans to restart manufacturing and assembly operations at the MG+BW facilities in Taylorsville, North Carolina. Earlier this year, it was reported that Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams—named after the two gay businessmen who founded the firm in 1989 before selling it in 2015—was shutting down all its operations due to a sudden loss of financing.

The feminist news/opinion website Jezebel is shutting down after 16 years after its current owner, G/O Media, attempted to sell off the site, The Advocate noted. "We are making the very, very difficult decision to suspend publication of Jezebel," G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller said. "Few decisions over the course of my career have been as excruciating, and I want to make clear this is in NO WAY a reflection on the Jezebel editorial team. Website creator Anna Holmes told NPR, "I'm sad about the people who lost their jobs—there was a fair number of them. But as one person put it, perhaps Jezebel was a victim of its own success. A lot of the subjects and the tone embedded themselves into the DNA of more traditional or mainstream publications. A lot of the alumni of the site now work at those publications."

Movement Advancement Project (MAP) co-founder and Executive Director Ineke Mushovic is stepping down, according to an open letter from Mushovic that is posted on MAP's website. In part, she said, "After nearly two decades at the helm of MAP, I have made the difficult decision to transition out of my role as Executive Director. I love MAP and I'm profoundly grateful for the chance to make a difference, and most of all for the amazing people and colleagues I've had the privilege of getting to know and working alongside." MAP Deputy Director and LGBTQ Program Director Naomi Goldberg will succeed Mushovic on March 1, 2024. MAP "is an independent, nonprofit think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all," per its website.

Election offices in several key U.S. states have received suspicious letters, some containing the dangerous opioid fentanyl, The Advocate noted. This wave of threats, reported by the AP, has affected states such as Georgia, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington. A striking detail in some of these letters is the inclusion of the Progress Pride Flag, linking political tensions with LGBTQ+-rights issues. The flag (as well as a pentagram that was included) is sometimes linked to leftist politics but also used by conservative figures to stereotype the left, making the sender's intentions and political stances unclear.

The Campaign for Southern Equality released a memo revealing that almost every state in the South now has a law on the books restricting access to gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth. Families have reported that pharmacies are refusing to fill prescriptions, even when they can do so legally; providers are terminating care earlier than necessary; and that providers pause provision of care, they often do not resume care, regardless of litigation developments, among other things. A map of where bans have passed and where they are in effect or on hold pending litigation is at .

The Trevor Project will no longer be active on X, formerly Twitter, per The Advocate. The organization said it was due to persistent concerns regarding the increase of hate speech and the company's rollback of protective measures for transgender users. In a farewell statement on the platform, the organization said, in part, that it chose to "close its account on X given the increasing hate & vitriol on the platform targeting the LGBTQ community—the group we exist to serve. LGBTQ young people are regularly victimized at the expense of their mental health." Those looking to find space spaces can visit .

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego has announced he's running for bisexual U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's Senate seat, and he's raised more funds than she has among Democratic donors, The Advocate noted, citing Politico. (Sinema—who switched from being a Democrat to an independent last year—hasn't formally announced that she'll seek reelection, but she has been raising campaign funds.) Sinema, who ran as a progressive, has reportedly disappointed many of her former supporters by being cozy with corporate interests, among other things. Also, if Sinema runs, Republicans fear she'll take independent and moderate votes from Trump Republican Kari Lake, who has announced her Senate candidacy.

The LGBTQ+ Victory Institute will induct former Texas State Rep. Glen Maxey, former Massachusetts state Sen. Jarrett Barrios and California State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins into its LGBTQ+ Political Hall of Fame, a press release announced. The inductions will take place during the 2023 International LGBTQ+ Leaders Conference, which is happening Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the JW Marriott in D.C.

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts) took a firm stand on the House floor against a GOP-led housing appropriations bill that omitted critical support for The Pryde, an LGBTQ+ affordable housing initiative, The Advocate noted. The project had $825,000 in federal funding removed by the GOP majority on the House Appropriations Committee. "I oppose this legislation for the draconian cuts and dangerous provisions included in it," Pressley said, adding, "It would seem with my colleagues across the aisle that the word freedom is selectively applied."

Philadelphia has become a safe haven for those seeking gender-affirming care, per LGBTQ Nation. Mayor Jim Kenney's executive order will ban the use of city resources in investigations that would punish anyone seeking gender-affirming care in the city. It also states that if federal or state restrictions are passed regarding gender-affirming care, the city will de-prioritize enforcing these laws.

Texas resident Fayaka Dunbar was recently acquitted of murder in the deaths of two drag performers, one a gay man and one a transgender woman, in Fort Worth, per The Advocate, citing the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The two were shot in their home on Dec. 8, 2017. Jason Bradley, 35, a cisgender gay man who performed in drag as Bianca Davenport (also identified as Bianca Starr), died at the scene; trans woman London Starr, also known as London Watson, was left paralyzed and later passed away. Dunbar's attorneys claimed the shooting was in self-defense because of a fight over payment for a sex act involving the trio and that he feared he would be killed.

In Texas, transgender high-school student Max was awarded the lead role in his school's production of Oklahoma!—but the role was taken away from him, per The Washington Post. An administrator told Max's family that he would have to be recast because of a new policy that required Sherman High School students to portray characters that align with their sex assigned at birth, his parents said. Max's parents and other families with students in the school's theater program have been pushing for the roles to be restored and for the show to proceed as planned; however, the Sherman Independent School District sent a letter to families and staff saying that the production would be postponed until 2024. Gender-specific policies have affected a number of high school musical productions in states such as Florida, Indiana and New Jersey.

More than 16,000 people have signed a petition criticizing the inclusion of LGBTQ+ content in the upcoming Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, according to The Advocate. The petition, launched by One Million Moms, alleges that the parade will display a "non-binary and transgender extravaganza," potentially exposing viewers to what they call the "liberal LGBTQ agenda." Tony winner Alex Newell and entertainer Justin David Sullivan—who are both noxnbinary—are slated to perform.

In Texas, Sherman High School decided to proceed with its production of Oklahoma! as initially planned before the controversial decision to remove trans student Max Hightower from his role and to adopt a different version, per The Advocate. Trustees at the Sherman Independent School District voted for the superintendent to reverse course over the decision to revoke students' parts based on their gender. Hightower's father, Phillip Hightower, told the Dallas Morning News that he was glad about the outcome but added, "There still needs to be accountability."

In Utah, Provo clinical mental-health counselor Scott Dale Owen—who claimed to help counsel gay men—was arrested following a standoff with police after he failed to show up for a scheduled surrender, KSL reported. Owen, of Spanish Fork, was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of four counts of forcible sodomy and six counts of object rape involving clients at Provo's Canyon Counseling Center, where he practiced. In 2016, the state reprimanded him for allegedly touching a client inappropriately, according to disciplinary records of the Utah Division of Professional Licensing.

Neo-Nazi Jarrett William Smith—a former U.S. soldier known to the FBI—menaced a North Carolina drag-story hour, per The Advocate, citing Raw Story. Smith, who lives in South Carolina, has a past that includes attempting to encourage the assassination of former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke.

An investigation into Republican Florida state Rep. Fabian Basabe—accused of sexually harassing two male staffers—failed to find "any evidence, direct or circumstantial," that he violated state policies, per CBS News. "I hold no ill will towards the young men who made these accusations," Basabe, who represents Miami Beach, said. "I believe they were misguided and, in my opinion, embarked on the wrong path with ill intentions for personal gain. I trust this will serve as a learning experience for all involved." Cindy Myers—an attorney representing the two staffers who made the complaint, Nicolas Frevola and Jacob Cutbirth—said she was not surprised by the outcome because she believed the investigator, Marlene Quintana, engaged in shoddy work.

The NFL's Growth Audiences team is recruiting Byron Perkins—the out gay senior leader on the Hampton University Pirates football team—to be part of NFL Shop's "Ambassadorship program," Outsports noted. The program features the store's "The Drip" promotion, which invites folks in different communities to be involved in marketing efforts. The result of the partnership with Perkins is a short segment in which he talks about some of his fashion choices, such as his cleats.

The famed West Hollywood gay spot The Abbey has been sold, per Eater LA. Founder David Cooley is passing ownership to Tristan Schukraft—a businessman who got his start as a technology entrepreneur before shifting to hotels and nightlife. Schukraft owns the Tryst Beachfront Hotel in Puerto Rico and MISTR, a telemedicine provider for HIV-related healthcare needs.

Fort Lauderdale's Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library has teamed with the Florida-based website to assemble the stories of watering holes past and present for a project called Raising The Bars, per the South Florida SunSentinel. Over the next year, with the help of volunteers, they plan to interview gay bar owners, patrons and employees and build traveling exhibits on the taverns' history.

The White House and LGBTQ+-rights advocates criticized Georgia U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's remarks about transgender Assistant Secretary for Health, ADM Rachel Levine, according to The Advocate. (Greene also proposed to reduce Levine's salary to $1.) Before her amendment failed, Greene said, "My amendment uses the Holman Rule to reduce no, castrate, the salary of Assistant Secretary of Health [Rachel] Levine to $1." A White House spokesperson said, "It's a hateful, dangerous, and unacceptable stunt that comes at a time when the LGBTQI+ community is under unprecedented attack." Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra also supported Levine.

Kellyanne Conway—known for her role in Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and his White House—was honored by her daughter, Claudia, for supporting Claudia's LGBTQ+ identity, The Advocate noted. Claudia, 19, introduced her mother at the Log Cabin Republicans' Spirit of Lincoln Gala at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California, where Kellyanne received the Spirit of Lincoln Award—an honor previously given to Melania Trump in 2021, according to Newsweek. However, despite this recent commendation from her daughter, Kellyanne's past is marked by anti-LGBTQ+ words and actions.

George Santos' campaign fundraiser Sam Miele pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud—the latest staffer for the embattled gay Republican congressman who is facing criminal charges, USA Today noted. Outlets have reported that Miele previously identified himself as the chief of staff for former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Former Santos campaign treasurer Nancy Marks admitted to allegations last month, including conspiring with a congressional candidate to commit wire fraud. Miele's sentencing is set for April 2024—the same month as Marks; he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Jill Stein—a physician and former Green Party presidential candidate who supports LGBTQ+ rights—is again seeking that party's nomination for the same office, The Advocate noted. However, her entry into the race has some worried that she will take votes away from President Joe Biden. Stein ran for president as the Greens' nominee in 2012 and 2016 as well; she received 0.4% of the vote nationwide in 2012 and 1.1% in 2016.

This article shared 4719 times since Fri Nov 17, 2023
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