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NATIONAL Folx Health, gay mayor arrested, powerlifter's suit, Versace visit
by Andrew Davis
2023-03-10

This article shared 7304 times since Fri Mar 10, 2023
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Boston-based Folx Health—which provides primary healthcare services and gender-affirming healthcare to LGBTQIA people—made Fast Company's list of the world's 50 most innovative businesses. A few of the other healthcare companies on the list included digital telehealthcare provider Hazel Health, reproductive telehealth service Wisp (which launched a medical abortion service by delivery), Level Ex (which creates video games that train doctors on different procedures and treatment methods) and DiRx (which makes it easier to get affordable prescription drugs). The top three on the overall list are OpenAI, McDonald's and Airbnb. The full list is at www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/list.

Patrick Wojahn—the openly gay now-former mayor of College Park, Maryland—was arrested on charges of possession and distribution of child sex-abuse material, NBC Washington reported. Wojahn resigned, saying in a letter, "On February 28, 2023, a search warrant was executed on my residence as part of an ongoing police investigation. I have cooperated fully, and will continue to cooperate, with law enforcement." Wojahn was taken into custody and was "charged with 40 counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 counts of distribution of child exploitative material," police said.

In Minnesota, a Ramsey County District Court judge ruled that USA Powerlifting violated portions of the Minnesota Human Rights Act through continued efforts to keep powerlifter JayCee Cooper and other transgender competitors out of its events, OutSports reported. "Trans athletes across the country deserve the same rights and protections as everyone else, and we deserve equitable opportunities to compete in the sports we love," Cooper said. "I jumped through every hoop, cleared every hurdle to be able to compete with USA Powerlifting, but was met with a retroactive ban on trans athletes."

The Los Angeles LGBT Center welcomed Donatella Versace, the chief creative officer of Versace, for a tour of the nonprofit and a keynote conversation with Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Phillip Picardi that was open to the public, a press release noted. Versace's visit celebrated the announcement of a scholarship program for LGBTQ+ fashion students, supported by the Versace Foundation and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Center CEO Joe Hollendoner said he was "personally very moved by Donatella's visit."

Lesbian attorney Gigi Sohn—President Joe Biden's nominee to join the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—withdrew from consideration after more than a year of debate on her candidacy and attacks from the broadband industry she would have helped regulate, CNET noted. Biden nominated Sohn in October 2021 to fill the FCC's vacant fifth seat and break its 2-2 split between Republican and Democratic commissioners. "It is a sad day for our country and our democracy when dominant industries, with assistance from unlimited dark money, get to choose their regulators," Sohn said in a statement The Washington Post received.

The Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, Senate Bill 4, passed in both the Michigan House Judiciary Committee and the state's House of Representatives, The Washington Blade reported. This measure would expand statewide nondiscrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill now heads to the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's desk, where it is expected to be signed into law—making it the first time in more than three years since any U.S. state has passed similar nondiscrimination protections.

In a letter sent to Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a coalition of 16 attorneys general from 15 states and D.C. told him that it is their belief that he and his administration are violating the privacy and rights of university-age transgender students, The Washington Blade reported. The letter's lead signatory, New York Attorney General Letitia James, stated, "The undersigned attorneys general write with grave concern over your request for information regarding the provision of gender-affirming care to Florida university students experiencing gender dysphoria." James also warned DeSantis that his actions violate federal protections against discrimination in accessing healthcare.

The New York City chief medical examiner's office ruled the deaths of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger—two men who were drugged and robbed after leaving gay bars in New York City—to be homicides, PinkNews noted. Both men died from drug overdoses after being seen leaving popular LGBTQ+ nightspots in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. The medical examiner's office said both Ramirez and Umberger had been killed by the same cocktail of drugs—a mix of cocaine, lidocaine, ethanol, heroin, fentanyl and p-fluoro fentanyl.

Also in NYC, community members gathered in Washington Square Park on March 8 to remember the life of Paris Aminah (aka Diary Unspoken Truth), a transgender woman who was found dead late last month at Housing Works' East New York Community Health Center, per Gay City News. There are very few details about Aminah's death; the NYPD said the cause of death would be determined by the New York City Medical Examiner's Office.

A conflict over what it means to be Christian—and which involves LGBTQ+ issues—meant a school in Kansas City, Missouri, had to close, ABC News reported. Urban Christian Academy—a private, K-8 school with an enrollment of 100—unveiled a new pro-LGBTQ+ platform. However, according to the school, that update prompted donors to stop contributing, many of them citing their interpretation of Christianity as the reason. Now, the school has announced it will close at the end of the school year due to the loss of financial support.

ProPublica reported that The Alaska State Commission for Human Rights has quietly reversed its pro-LGBTQ+ stance against discrimination. The commission erased language from the state website promising equal protections for LGBTQ+ Alaskans against most categories of discrimination, and it began refusing to investigate complaints. Also, as of Aug. 18, 2022, the site removed the language saying it was illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people; a reference that was added lower on the page now says it is illegal to discriminate for those reasons "in some instances." The article is at https://www.propublica.org/article/alaska-drops-lgbtq-discrimination-ban.

People in Iowa staged a statewide "We Say Gay" walkout—and students in 47 schools across the state left classes to join protests, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. "Ever since I've came out I've wanted to hide and I shouldn't have to hide who I am," trans student Ace Drumbarger said. "Nobody should have to go through this—especially not a 14-year-old." The students aimed to protest recent legislative bills they say discriminate against the rights of LGBTQ+ youth. Student organizers said they worry about the repercussions of those bills, which would, among other things, ban gender-affirming medical care for trans and non-binary minors.

Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju—who have advanced LGBTQ+ rights as lawyers in India—have been named this year's recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law, according to a school press release. While they are in Charlottesville to receive their medals, Guruswamy and Katju will participate in a conversation with University of Virginia School of Law Dean Lisa Goluboff on April 12 in the law school's Caplin Pavilion. Guruswamy and Katju represented plaintiffs in a landmark 2018 ruling in which the Supreme Court of India unanimously decriminalized homosexuality by striking down a colonial-era anti-sodomy law. The petition was the first time LGBTQ+ Indians had challenged the law as a violation of their basic rights.

In Oklahoma, Tulsa city councilmembers unanimously approved a non-binding resolution reaffirming the city's commitment to be safe, inclusive and welcoming for all people—but what complicated the vote was that the approved version excluded language from the original draft meant to highlight support for the LGBTQ+ community, Tulsa World reported. Councilor Laura Bellis claimed the original resolution led to the wrong perception that the city would give special privileges to a select group.

The University of Pennsylvania announced a $2 million commitment to create the first residency dedicated to championing LGBTQ+ communities and scholarship—and it's the first such residency of its kind in the country, Penn Today reported. The residency will launch this April with inaugural scholar ALOK (Alok Vaid-Menon), an author, poet, comedian and public speaker whose work explores themes of trauma, belonging and the human condition. ALOK's works include Femme in Public, Beyond the Gender Binary and Your Wound/My Garden.

The Pensacola Christian College recently canceled an appearance by the Grammy-winning a cappella group The King's Singers because one of the singers is gay, LGBTQ Nation noted. The six-man group had already led a workshop for students in the afternoon last month and 5,000 people were expected to attend the concert. "PCC canceled the concert with The King's Singers upon learning that one of the artists openly maintained a lifestyle that contradicts Scripture," the college's statement read. The King's Singers said that they were "deeply saddened" in a statement on the cancellation and noted that they had performed at the college before.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state will not be doing business with Walgreens Boots Alliance (the Deerfield, Illinois-based holding company that owns the retail pharmacy chains Walgreens in the U.S. and Boots in the U.K.) over its decision not to dispense an abortion pill, ABC News noted. Recently, the national pharmacy chain said it would not distribute mifepristone in 20 states after conservative attorneys general threatened legal action.

Five women who were denied abortions under Texas law while facing serious medical situations are suing the state, NPR reported. According to the suit, "[The women] have been denied necessary and potentially life-saving obstetrical care because medical professionals throughout the state fear liability under Texas's abortion bans." The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the suit—which names Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as a plaintiff—on behalf of the five women and two doctors.

Ben Savage—who starred on the '90s show Boy Meets World—has launched his campaign to run for Congress, USA Today noted. "Together, we can do better," the actor wrote on Instagram. "I am a proud Californian, union member and longtime resident of District 30 who comes from a family of unwavering service to our country and community." His official announcement comes two months after Savage (a Democrat himself) filed to run with the Federal Election Commission to potentially replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff. Schiff is expected to run for Senate to replace U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

In New York, the Staten Island St. Patrick's Day Parade stepped off with controversy after rejecting LGBTQ+ groups again, according to CBS New York. "Once again, we were denied an opportunity to march in the parade. Let me be very clear: this is discriminatory and vile," said Carol Bullock, executive director of the Pride Center. Members of the Pride Center of Staten Island held their own march joined by New York City political leaders, including Mayor Eric Adams.

Dramatic and contentious administrative changes at New College of Florida prompted Campus Pride to remove New College of Florida from its Campus Pride Index (CPI), which rates colleges and universities on a range of LGBTQ+-friendly policies, programs and practices, Campus Pride noted. On Jan. 31, the New College Board of Trustees—with six of its 13 members appointed only weeks earlier by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis—voted to remove college president Dr. Patricia Okker. Also, the new board also set an agenda to consider proposals to abolish DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) offices and end mandatory diversity training, mandatory diversity statements and identity-based preferences.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, Donald Trump Jr. doubled down after previously facing backlash for calling Democratic U.S. Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania a "vegetable," according to Newsweek. Fetterman was elected to the Senate last year—defeating Dr. Mehmet Oz—and it happened months after suffering a serious stroke; the senator is currently hospitalized while undergoing treatment for severe depression.

A clip of a histrionic Russell Brand on Real Time with Bill Maher went viral, Yahoo! News reported. The actor/comedian, who owns multiple multi-million-dollar homes, accused political analyst and fellow guest John Heilemann of hypocrisy for criticizing Fox News from "within the castle of MSNBC." Brand also highlighted MSNBC host Rachel Maddow's incorrect description of how the COVID-19 vaccine functions in a March 2021 broadcast, in which she repeated a common misunderstanding that the vaccine completely inoculates against symptoms and transmission.


This article shared 7304 times since Fri Mar 10, 2023
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