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NATIONAL Marsha P. Johnson, Utah, five-year study, Pride fests cancelled
by Windy City Times staff
2021-08-29

This article shared 654 times since Sun Aug 29, 2021
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In New York City, visitors to Christopher Park have been greeted by the bust of the late trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, ActionNewsNow.com reported. The bust was erected on what would have been Jonhson's 76th birthday—and more than two years after city officials announced they were going to create a monument to Johnson and fellow transgender activist Sylvia Rivera. However, this statue of Johnson—a Black transgender woman who devoted much of her life to the movement for LGBTQ rights—wasn't created with the city's involvement or approval; a group of enterprising artists and activists just got tired of waiting for the monument and made it themselves.

Equality Utah expressed its disappointment with North Ogden City Council candidate Gregory Smith retweeting a comment by School Board member Natalie Cline that criticized a Layton High School LDS seminary post that was welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ students. Smith's now-deleted quote tweet read, "Time to get out our muskets." Recently, Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the Mormon Church's 12 apostles and former president of Brigham Young University, told faculty and staff that Church leaders "unequivocally" love LGBTQ members—but added that empathy shouldn't be confused with condoning and advocacy, KUER.org noted.

Also in Utah, residents of a Utah tourist town near the campsite where a newlywed lesbian couple were recently gunned down say they're puzzled and concerned as the police investigation unfolds, CBS News reported. Crystal Turner (called Crystal Beck on Schulte's Facebook account) and Kylen Schulte told friends that a "creepy guy" was making them uncomfortable in the days prior to their deaths. Turner and Schulte were found dead last week at a campsite near the desert town of Moab. The couple were remembered with flowers and candles at a vigil at the Moonflower Community Cooperative, in Moab.

An upcoming five-year study funded by the federal government is aiming to fill gaps in research surrounding the experiences of individuals following gender-affirming surgery, Gay City News reported. The Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) and the Center for Home Care Policy and Research landed a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study up to 300 trans and non-binary individuals for 18 months after they undergo surgery. Researchers intend to track participants' psychosocial development, relationships, support systems, employment and financial status as well as physical, mental, sexual and social health, among other factors.

In Kentucky, the Louisville Pride Foundation decided "to cancel the 2021 Louisville Pride Festival [slated for Sept. 18] due to the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases resulting from the delta variant," according to a press release. As of Aug. 24, 115 of the state's 120 counties were in the dangerous "red zone." The organization stated, "At the Louisville Pride Foundation, pride in our community is at the heart of everything we do, and this includes concern for the health, welfare and safety of our Louisville family. Thus, with sadness and sincere apologies, our 2021 Louisville Pride Festival is cancelled. We cannot ignore the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the Louisville area and the CDC and Kentucky Department for Public Health's recommendations to avoid large gatherings."

And in Virginia, VA Pridefest—originally scheduled for Sept. 25 at Brown's Island—will be postponed until 2022, RVA Magazine reported. A statement read, "The decision was not made lightly, but with COVID numbers once again on the rise due to the Delta variant, the organizers felt that it was the right thing to do." VA Pride hopes to be able to hold some smaller events in September that will have more limited attendance, and at which they can require masks and/or proof of vaccination.

In Colorado, about 50 Valor Christian High School students walked out of classes to support a volleyball coach who said he was forced to leave his job because he's gay, The Denver Post reported. The volleyball coach, Inoke Tonga, described on social media how he was pushed out of his job at Valor Christian after school administrators found a social media post suggesting Tonga is gay. Tonga, a devout Christian, said the school administrators called his gayness "a danger" to the school and children and commented that "parents pay too much" to attend the school for their children to be coached by a gay man. One student said she's witnessed discrimination and homophobia at Valor, including watching teachers refuse to use a trans student's pronouns and proper name.

Democratic strategist, author and entrepreneur Kolbey Gardner is running to become the first openly gay lieutenant governor of Georgia, Project Q reported. Gardner, 30, said that elected officials in Georgia should represent the population. Gardner is a Cleveland, Ohio, native who graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a bachelor's degree in business and marketing. He lives in Piedmont Heights in northeast Atlanta and is president of United Strategies Group, a political consulting firm.

Two Equality Florida staff members will serve on the United States Commission on Civil Rights' Florida Advisory Committee for the next four years, an organizational press release announced. The commission announced the reappointment of Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith to chair of the committee and the appointment of Equality Florida Media Relations Manager Brandon Wolf to the committee for the first time. The Florida Advisory Committee is one of 51 groups that advise the commission on a range of issues impacting civil-rights policy.

Equality Virginia Executive Director Vee Lamneck announced they will leave the organization at the end of the year, The Washington Blade reported. Lamneck joined Equality Virginia in 2013. Lamneck became the organization's executive director in January 2020. Their tenure coincided with Democrats regaining control of the General Assembly, which paved the way for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in Virginia's nondiscrimination law, a ban on so-called conversion therapy for minors in the state and other LGBTQ-rights laws. Lamneck plans "to go back to my roots and pursue my lifelong dream of serving others through therapy," according to an email sent to Equality Virginia supporters.

Openly gay Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims announced record-setting fundraising and support in his race for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor—including donors from all 50 states and all U.S. territories, The LGBTQ Victory Fund noted in a press release. If elected in November 2022, Rep. Sims would become the first out LGBTQ lieutenant governor of a U.S. state and one of just nine out LGBTQ people elected to statewide office anywhere in the country. Pennsylvania has never elected an out LGBTQ person to statewide office.

In Florida, Dr. Clinton Potter—a Naples physician who dedicated his career and free time to people who needed an advocate, especially the LGBTQ community—died Aug. 18 from complications of COVID-19 at age 61, Naples Daily News reported. Potter practiced family medicine in California for 20 years before returning to Florida—he was born in Miami—and settling in Naples. In 2016, he opened his practice, Advanced Individualized Medicine of Naples. He was a member of the board that founded the Naples Pride organization in 2017 and helped plan the first Pride Festival.

Trans people are speaking out on social media after a mother sued TSA for forcing her trans daughter to undergo a genital examination before she was allowed to board a plane, LGBTQ Nation reported. Kimberly Erway filed a suit against the agency alleging that her then-15-year-old daughter Jamii's rights were violated when TSA told her to go to a private room and submit to a genital examination after the scanning machine at the airport in Raleigh, North Carolina was set off because her body didn't conform to what the machine expected of a girl's body.

A lifeguard at the high-end sports club Equinox in Manhattan allegedly left a trans man humiliated and in tears Aug. 20 after requesting that he wear a women's swimsuit to enter the gym's pool, Gay City News reported. Gabi Young, a teacher's assistant for New York City Public Schools and a pre-medical student, has been going to the Equinox gym since 2015 and uses the pool as a way to manage their chronic pain. The individual said the incident occurred in front of other gym members following a yoga class at the facility. Equinox had not replied to Gay City News' request to review the club's employee handbook or LGBTQ-inclusion policies. The gym chain came under fire in 2019 for holding a re-election fundraiser for former President Donald Trump.

The National AIDS Memorial Surviving Voices storytelling initiative is being recognized for its work in helping tell the story of AIDS through the voices of survivors of the pandemic, now in its 40th year, according to an organizational press release. The Memorial officially released its most recent mini-documentary—Substance Users, the Recovery Community & AIDS—following exclusive screenings at two LGBTQ+ film festivals: Frameline45 and SF Queer Film Fest 2021. The mini-documentary, along with deep dive personal interview segments with survivors and advocates, can be viewed at www.AIDSMemorial.org .

A zine centered on the LGBTQ community in Southeast Alaska—Loud and Queer!— started this year, releasing its second issue this month, KTOO.org noted. It's a small-scale version of a magazine, filled with queer artwork, writing and resources. "Hopefully, that contributes to that feeling of people not feeling alone, because it's hard to be queer, and it's hard to be queer in a remote community," founder Ryan McHale said. "But what we're trying to do is show queer joy and queer happiness and queer resistance to heteronormativity, to racism, to sexism, to ableism."

Chicago-based Aequalitas Media has partnered with LGBTQ+-owned tech firm Rebel Mouse, led by former HuffPost Chief Technology Officer Andrea Breanna, to re-develop and host the OUTvoices website, a press release noted. Following the 2020 acquisitions and conversions of legacy LGBTQ+ titles Echo Magazine Phoenix (31 years), Out & About Nashville Magazine (16 years) and CAMP Kansas City Magazine (17 years) to the OUTvoices.us brand OUTvoices has grown to include six local LGBTQ+ websites, with four more planned for 2021.

While the fall semester is only just beginning, The University of Virginia already disenrolled 238 students who failed to comply with the university's vaccine mandate, according to a people.com item that cited CNN. The current university policy in place for the 2021-2022 academic year requires "all students who live, learn, or work in person at the university" to be fully vaccinated. Of the 238 incoming fall semester students who were disenrolled, just 49 were enrolled in classes; university spokesperson Brian Coy told CNN that the remaining 189 "may not have been planning to return to the university this fall at all."

Now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had his international Emmy Award rescinded following sexual-harassment allegations and his resignation, Deadline noted. Last year, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences selected Cuomo as recipient of its International Emmy Founders Award. Cuomo's successor, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, was sworn in during a private ceremony Aug. 24 as the state's first female governor. According to EW.com, Sex and the City star (and former political adversary) Cynthia Nixon later tweeted, "The difference between me and Andrew Cuomo? Neither of us is governor, but I still have my Emmy(s)."

Phil Valentine, a conservative talk radio host from Tennessee who had been a vaccine skeptic until he was hospitalized for COVID-19, has died at 61, USA Today noted. Valentine had been a skeptic of coronavirus vaccines, saying he chose not to get vaccinated because he thought he probably wouldn't die. After Valentine was moved into a critical care unit, Mark Valentine said his brother regretted that "he wasn't a more vocal advocate of the vaccination."


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