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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



NATIONAL California cases, trans woman killed, Pride staircase, sports law
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 869 times since Sun Jul 25, 2021
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Proponents of Proposition 8 have to file a brief on or before Aug. 16 to show they have standing to appeal a district court decision to release tapes of the landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial that led to the resumption of same-sex marriages in California, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Last year, Judge William H. Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California had ordered that tapes of the 10-year-old trial be released. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal put a stay on the release of the tapes pending appeal. Prop 8 was a California ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment that aimed to prohibit same-sex marriage.

LGBTQ-rights advocates said they will seek to challenge an appeals court decision tossing out part of a California law designed to protect older LGBTQ residents in nursing homes, reported. The Third District Court of Appeal overturned the part of the law barring employees of long-term care facilities from willfully and repeatedly using anything other than residents' preferred names and pronouns. The court said the ban violates employees' rights to free speech. Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener, who carried the law, said deliberately using the wrong name or pronoun is "straight up harassment" and "erases an individual's fundamental humanity."

Prince George's County, Maryland, police announced that homicide investigators identified and filed murder charges against a 27-year-old District Heights, Maryland, man for the July 17 homicide of 20-year-old transgender woman Taya Ashton, who was found shot to death in her apartment in nearby Suitland, Maryland, according to The Washington Blade. News of the arrest came on the same day that family members and friends of Ashton held a vigil to honor her life in northeast D.C. along the banks of the Anacostia River, which is part of the neighborhood were Ashton grew up; attendees later drove to Ashton's apartment building to honor her further. In addition to being charged with first-degree and second-degree murder, police charged DeAllen Davonta Price with assault-first degree; firearm use/felony crime of violence; assault-second degree; handgun on person; and loaded handgun on person.

Georgia Tech (GT) University's newest art installation consists of vibrant rainbow painted stairs in front of the campus' Klaus Advanced Computing Building, the Atlanta Journal Constitution noted. The mural is the largest progress pride flag staircase in the nation, according to Pride Alliance at Georgia Tech President Lisa Medford. The colors represent the progressive pride flag, designed in 2018. The rainbow stripes represent gay pride, while the pink, blue and white stripes represent transgender pride; the black and brown stripes represent LGBTQIA community members of color.

On July 21, District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin ruled that West Virginia must pause its enforcement of a new law that prohibits transgender women and girls from participating in public school sports, reported. Goodwin handed a temporary win to 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson, a transgender athlete who—with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, Lambda Legal and Cooley LLP—sued the state in May over its sports ban. "At this point, I have been provided with scant evidence that this law addresses any problem at all, let alone an important problem," Goodwin wrote.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Council members Trayon White (D-Ward 8) and Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) joined other city officials and community leaders in a groundbreaking ceremony on July 15 for Whitman-Walker Health's new healthcare center at the city's rapidly developing site in Ward 8 known as the St. Elizabeth's East Campus, The Washington Blade noted. The six-story, 118,000-square-foot building, scheduled to open in 2023, will be Whitman-Walker's largest-ever healthcare facility. Whitman-Walker describes itself as a non-profit community health center serving the D.C. metropolitan area, with a special expertise in HIV/AIDS healthcare and LGBTQ healthcare.

Theresa Velasquez, an out queer music executive, has been identified as one of the victims who died last month after a condo partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida, according to Gay City News. According to officials, Velásquez's body was found under rubble at the condo on July 8. The music executive is one of 97 victims who died when the building collapsed, police said. Eleven individuals were injured and 35 were rescued from unaffected parts of the condo, according to the New York Times.

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) announced that its Back to Business (B2B) summit will take place Nov. 17-19, per a press release. This event will happen at the organization's originally contracted property, and will take place in lieu of the annual NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference at the Diplomat Hollywood Resort in Hollywood, Florida that was originally scheduled. Following CDC guidelines, attendance for the summit will be limited to 400 registrants. Registration will open in August.

Longtime conference and events specialist Danny Linden was recently named the new Creating Change Conference director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, a press release noted. After spending several years working at the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in San Francisco, Linden relocated to D.C. during the early 1990s and worked on both national and regional meetings for National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) and National Association of People With AIDS (NAPWA); prior to Task Force, he spent 12 years at National Council for Mental Well Being. The 34th Creating Change Conference will take place in New Orleans on Jan. 12-16, 2022.

Sonya Wilmoth has been named the new director for the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Penn State Student Affairs effective July 19, PennState noted. Wilmoth had been the interim director since January 2021. In this role, Wilmoth will oversee the center, which provides a comprehensive range of programming, education, information and advocacy services for the entire Penn State community around sexual and gender diversity.

The first week of Ed Buck's federal trial in Los Angeles closed with disturbing evidence that left the jury shaken, The Advocate reported. Buck, a once-prominent businessman and Democratic donor, faces nine federal-level felony counts, two of which are distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. Prosecutors claim Buck had a fetish for drugging Black men with whom he had sexual encounters, and that Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55, were among many with whom he engaged. Buck recorded nearly all of his encounters, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department recovered more than 2,400 videos on Buck's computers, cell phones and iCloud account; more than 1,500 of the videos contained instances of drug use.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed Cape Cod officials' suspicions that the highly contagious Delta variant is part of the reason for the outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the LGBTQ enclave of Provincetown, the Cape Cod Times noted. The news came just hours before Provincetown and Barnstable County officials announced July 24 that the cluster involved 430 confirmed positive cases as of the previous day—more than triple the 132 cases reported a few days prior.

In Arkansas, Fort Smith added protections for the LGBTQ community to its human resources policy, reported. The city's board of directors approved the updated policy July 20. Of the eight Arkansas cities surveyed, the Human Rights Campaign rates Fort Smith as the fourth highest-rated city in Arkansas, behind Fayetteville, Eureka Springs and Little Rock.

In Pennsylvania, the LGBT Center of Greater Reading and Calvary United Church of Christ in Reading are teaming to expand the support network for the LGBTQ community, the Reading Eagle reported. The new satellite location at the church will be more than double the footprint of LGBT Center. The location at Calvary will provide a secondary drop-in spot to provide weekly meals, laundry, emergency shelter for participants in the Rainbow Relief program, expanded food pantry services and the expansion of support services and community outreach events, organizers said.

Staff at Metropolitan Community College (MCC), in Kansas City, have had enough of a non-fraternization policy they believe could unintentionally force LGBTQ employees who are not public about their orientation to disclose it to supervisors, The Kansas City Star noted. Daniel Wright, an instructor at MCC Maple Woods said in an email that "some have referred to it as an 'outing' policy." The policy in question requires college employees to disclose romantic, sexual or dating relationships that involve students to their supervisor and human resources.

An anti-LGBTQ rightwing radio host says that he "regrets" not supporting the COVID-19 vaccines now that he has been hospitalized and is "in very serious condition" due to the virus, LGBTQ Nation noted. "Family values" SuperTalk 99.7 WTN host and author Phil Valentine has been hospitalized and was "fighting for his life." Valentine has a history of anti-LGBTQ statements and opposes LGBTQ rights. During a radio show episode on marriage equality, he repeatedly compared being gay to committing incest.

Four men were arrested in a police raid and are facing charges under Maryland's sodomy law, LGBTQ Nation reported. The Harford County Sheriff's Office raided the Bush River Books & Video store in Abington in late May, arresting eight men accused of engaging in sexual acts with other men as well as one accused of soliciting prostitution from an undercover female deputy. The video store lets people rent locked rooms where they can watch adult video content. According to the Harford County Sheriff's Office, they have received complaints from area residents and other patrons about the store.

Santa Barbara-based LGBTQ Meetup groups hosted the California city's first Pride Picnic, which took place July 24 at Shoreline Park, according to Noozhawk. Steve Ramirez, chief organizer of the Santa Barbara Gay Men's Group on, credited the pandemic lockdown for inspiring the idea. Other picnic co-hosts are Queer Hangs and Santa Barbara Lesbian Group. Combined, the three groups have a total membership of more than 1,200 people.

A recent edition of The New York Times featured an op-ed essay from guest contributor Margaret Renkl entitled "Dolly Parton Tried. But Tennessee Is Squandering a Miracle"—about the state's failure to vaccinate residents on a large scale, Wide Open Country noted. As of last week, just 38 percent of Tennesseans have received both doses of the COVID shot, compared to the 48 percent national average. Parton has done everything from singing a vaccine-centered spoof of her song "Jolene" to donating $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for its experimental efforts in vaccine research.

Twitter temporarily suspended U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) after she shared misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, according to . Greene, who has a track record of incendiary rhetoric, was not able to tweet for 12 hours due to Twitter's policy against people who repeatedly share misinformation. President Joe Biden has specifically called out Facebook over the dissemination of COVID-19 vaccine information, but he backed off his recent accusation that the company was directly responsible for "killing people" and suggested it was merely allowing misinformation to spread.

Known as the Indians since 1915, Cleveland's Major League Baseball team will next be called the Guardians, reported. The squad announced the name change with a video on Twitter narrated by actor Tom Hanks—ending months of internal discussions triggered by a national reckoning by institutions and teams to permanently drop logos and names considered racist. Team owner Paul Dolan said he knows there's a portion of Cleveland's fan base that might never accept the change, which is effective at the end of the 2021 season.

Michael Avenatti—the brash lawyer who once represented Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump—was recently sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike by threatening the company with bad publicity, NPR reported. Avenatti was convicted last year of charges including attempted extortion and honest services fraud in connection with his representation of a Los Angeles youth basketball league organizer who was upset that Nike had ended its league sponsorship. Now, he's also on trial in California on charges of embezzling millions from his clients, according to .

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