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NATIONAL Intersex snapshot, teacher fired, 'Living Rainbow,' Task Force
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 2212 times since Sun Oct 31, 2021
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In honor of Intersex Awareness Day (Oct. 26), the National Institutes of Health's Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO) released the DSD & Intersex Research Portfolio Snapshot of the NIH FY 2019 SGM Portfolio Analysis, a press release noted. ("DSD" denotes differences of sex development.) Here is one fact: Almost two-thirds (62.5%) of DSD & Intersex projects pertain to contraception/reproduction, while one in five (20.8%) involves mental health. The snapshot is at

The Brooklyn Diocese fired a Queens Catholic schoolteacher for marrying a man—claiming his same-sex marriage violated a contractual obligation to "exemplify ... Catholic doctrine and morality," The New York Daily News reported. Matthew LaBanca was booted as the music teacher at St. Joseph's Catholic Academy in Astoria and as music director at Corpus Christi church Oct. 13 after someone told diocese officials he'd gotten married to a man in August, LaBanca said in a YouTube video. LaBanca's firing infuriated Danny Dromm, a Queens City Council member and former teacher who waged his own battles with the city's education department over LGBTQ+ rights.

The Atlanta Pride Committee announced the launch of a public art program, per a press release. As part of the ELEVATE Atlanta public arts festival, Atlanta Pride is colorizing 1,000 feet of sidewalk as a "Living Rainbow." The Atlanta Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs awarded Atlanta Pride a grant for this project, which was on display the weekend of Oct. 29-31. This artwork will be free and open to the public, but the artwork will be washed away Nov. 11.

Southwest Michigan First announced that Jonas Peterson will be its new CEO starting in January—months after the economic development organization's previous executive resigned following his controversial hiring, noted. Previous CEO Lee Chatfield resigned in February after objections from the community and as some supporters pulled funding from Southwest Michigan First because of his opposition, while House speaker, to expanding Michigan's civil-rights law to include protections for the LGBTQ community. Peterson has been president and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance for more than eight years.

The National LGBTQ Task Force held the 25th edition of its annual Gala at the Grand Ballroom of the Miami Beach Convention Center on Oct. 23, per a press release. The theme of the event was "Imagine…", with more than 600 attendees. The organization honored actor/activist Billy Eichner as well as Florida-based advocates Robin J. Schwartz and Jasmine McKenzie. The funds raised will support the Task Force's "All of Me, All the Time" campaign—an effort to educate thought leaders, elected officials and the general public about the need for federal non-discrimination protections.

President Biden nominated Gigi Sohn to fill a vacant seat at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), according to . This puts her on track to become the first out LGBTQ FCC commissioner in history when confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Sohn is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy; she is also a Benton Senior Fellow & Public Advocate, and sits on the boards of directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Locast.

In Kansas, the Prairie Village City Council agreed to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth, The Kansas City Star reported. The council voted 11 to one to prohibit licensed medical or mental health professionals from using the practice on minors. Prairie Village's plan is similar to an ordinance adopted last year by another Johnson County community, Roeland Park.

A redistricting plan has dashed plans by Delaware gay attorney and Democratic Party activist Mitch Crane to run for a seat in the Delaware state Senate, The Washington Blade reported. Crane had planned to run in a district that included areas surrounding the town of Lewes, where he lives, and Rehoboth Beach; however, the plan removes Crane's residence from the district. The seat is currently held by Ernesto "Ernie" Lopez, a moderate Republican who became the first Hispanic American elected to the Delaware Senate in 2012. Lopez announced in July that he would not seek re-election in 2022.

Also in Kansas, a class assignment at an Olathe school about gender identity is sparking concern on both sides of the political spectrum, reported. Now, a local LGBTQ task force has called an emergency meeting over that and four other recent school-related incidents around the area. The worksheet passed out in an Olathe high-school class is titled "The Gender Unicorn." A district spokesperson sent a statement saying it was not part of the approved curriculum and they are working with staff to be sure it's not assigned again—because of questions such as "Do you know your gender identity or are you still in identity confusion mode?"

Los Angeles LGBT Center opened a new facility in South Los Angeles—the first in that area—to serve the health needs of LGBT Black and Latino communities, The Pride LA noted. The grand opening community celebration included remarks by Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health: Division of HIV and STD Programs Director Mario J. Perez, and Los Angeles Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has sworn in the first trans person—and the only current LGBTQ member—to the powerful airport commission, the Bay Area Reporter noted. Breed stated that Jane Natoli was sworn in Oct. 7; in August 2020, she was rejected by the Board of Supervisors to a position on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency commission. The San Francisco Airport Commission is a five-member body charged with establishing the policies by which the airport operates.

In Florida, the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM) launched a new elective course focused on LGBTQ+ health, according to FIU News. Medical students can choose to rotate for two to four weeks at a clinical site or community partner to develop the skills and knowledge to provide care for the LGBTQ+ community. It also allows students to expand their clinical experience and expertise in LGBTQ_ health while creating a scholarly project. Also, students can further expand their knowledge through online resources from the Fenway Institute's LGBTQIA+ National Health Education Center.

A Florida school board member sparked a social-media backlash after she posted photos of a grade-school class trip to a bar and grill known as an LGBTQ hangout, The New York Post reported. Broward County School Board member Sarah Leonardi posted photos on her social-media pages showing a Wilton Manors Elementary outing to Rosie's Bar and Grill. While some critics lashed out that a "gay bar" or any bar wasn't an appropriate place for school-sanctioned trips, others jumped to defend Leonardi and said going to Rosie's was no different than a family dinner at other bar and grill restaurants, like Applebee's.

One-time Republican politician Caitlyn Jenner defended comedian Dave Chappelle's right to make transphobic jokes on Netflix, LGBTQ Nation noted. In a tweet, Jenner wrote, "Dave Chappelle is 100% right. This isn't about the LGBTQ movement. It's about woke cancel culture run amok, trying to silence free speech. We must never yield or bow to those who wish to stop us from speaking our minds." Her tweet included a two-minute, 20-second clip of Chappelle addressing the controversy over his Netflix stand-up special The Closer.

The United States Senate, on Oct. 26, confirmed four of President Joe Biden's nominations for U.S. ambassadorship, noted. Among them was Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain, who was approved to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. Victoria Reggie Kenned, the widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy, was also confirmed, as the U.S. ambassador to Austria. Also confirmed were Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona as the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, and former New Mexico Attorney General Tom Udall, who will be the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand.

A group of 21 current and former employees at Blue Origin, the rocket company Jeff Bezos founded, co-signed an essay speaking out against what they describe as a toxic workplace where "professional dissent" is "actively stifled," and certain male leaders routinely engage in sexist behavior, according to . In a statement, Blue Origin said it has "no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind.," although the company did not respond to requests for comment about specific allegations in the essay. Bezos founded Blue Origin Bezos in 2000, and it currently has more than 3,000 employees.

A misdemeanor criminal complaint of forcible touching has been filed against former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who faces allegations he forcibly touched a female staff member, NPR reported. This is the only criminal charge against Cuomo since he resigned under pressure in August, facing allegations of sexual harassment involving 11 women.

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