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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



NATIONAL Montana court, gay bishop, EEOC, Equality Forum, banned operas
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 2503 times since Thu Oct 5, 2023
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A Montana court blocked enforcement of the state's ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth—leading trans state Rep. Zooey Zephyr to express her gratitude, The Advocate reported. Missoula County District Court Judge Jason Marks issued a preliminary injunction saying the state cannot enforce the ban, as the lawsuit against it goes on. "I am so thankful that the trans youth who need access to this care will be able to receive it," Zephyr said in a statement, while acknowledging the legal fight is not over. Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the legislation establishing the ban, Senate Bill 99, into law despite pleas from his gay, nonbinary son.

The Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, Berkeley, Calif., was elected to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), according to a church press release. The election took place during the synod assembly, Sept. 15-17, at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California. Johnson—who was elected on the fifth ballot—is the first openly gay man to be elected bishop in the synod.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) unveiled a proposal to update its enforcement guidance on workplace harassment for the first time in nearly 25 years, Reuters noted. (An earlier effort stalled during the Trump administration.) The guidance—with updates that involve LGBTQ+ harassment, social media and virtual work—would not be legally binding, but could be cited in court and provides a blueprint for how aggressively the Democrat-controlled EEOC could pursue harassment claims against employers.

Equality Forum held its LGBT History Month Kickoff and 2023 Awards Celebration on Oct. 1 in Philadelphia, according to the organization's website. Dr. Jake Kleinmahon received the International Role Model Award while activist/politician Rue Landau was honored with the Frank Kameny Award. (Washington Blade Editor-in-Chief Kevin Naff and Philadelphia Democratic mayoral nominee Cherelle Parker were the respective presenters.) There were also a special memorial tribute to LGBTQ+ pioneer Lilli Vincenz; a speech from The American LGBTQ+ Museum Executive Director Ben Garcia; and a performance from Sapphira Cristal.

And Equality Forum has revealed its icons for LGBT History Month. A different person is showcased each day in October. Just a few include music conductor Marin Alsop, the late feminist activist/author Elana Dykewomon, now-retired NFL player Carl Nassib, German trans politician Tessa Ganserer, producer Ryan Murphy, WNBA player Brittney Griner, singer Lesley Gore and the late fashion icon Andre Leon Talley. The entire list is at .

WCPE—a listener-supported radio station in North Carolina—plans to withhold the broadcast of six contemporary operas this season from New York's Metropolitan Opera because of the station management's objections to the operas' content, NPR noted. Three of the operas that WCPE plans to reject in the 2023-24 season were written by Black or Mexican composers. In April, WCPE also refused to broadcast another Met-produced opera written by a Black composer that included LGBTQ+ themes.

The Ali Forney Center (AFC)—the nation's largest organization serving LGBTQ+ homeless youth—hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 27 to announce the opening of a new 24-hour drop-in center and headquarters in the same building as GMHC at 307 W. 38th St. in Manhattan, Gay City News reported. AFC's new location includes 30,000 square feet of office space on the second floor along with a drop-in center that will encompass the entire third floor of the building. Youth between the ages of 16 and 24 will now be able to utilize a broader range of on-site services, including medical and mental healthcare, substance use counseling, career education and more.

Metropolitan Community Churches (MCCs) across Florida rallied in Tampa in partnership with Equality Florida to protest anti-LGBTQ+ laws and Gov. Ron DeSantis' "extreme agenda," per a press release. Leaders from civic spaces and impacted communities spoke on the issues of reproductive health, anti-LGBTQ laws, and children's education. MCC moderator the Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston said, "This rally is just one example of how MCC shares the message of God's inclusive love, for all God's children. Jesus didn't stay indoors demanding justice and proclaiming Good News, he went out onto the street. MCC proudly does the same!"

A Washington man was sentenced in federal court for committing a hate crime in connection with an arson at an LGBTQ+ nightclub and event space in Seattle, per a Department of Justice press release. Kalvinn Garcia, 26, was sentenced to 48 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his bias-motivated arson at Queer/Bar. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said, "Bias-motivated violence runs contrary to our values and violates our federal civil-rights laws. This sentence should send the message that every person in our nation deserves equal protection under the law regardless of who they love or how they identify and that those carrying out similar acts of violence against the LGBTQI+ community will be brought to justice."

Delaware Gov. John Carney signed a bill that banned the use of the "gay and trans panic" defense—making the Blue Hen State the 17th in the nation to do so, The Advocate noted. State Rep. Eric Morrison, a gay man, was the chief sponsor of the bill in the Delaware House; Sen. Sarah McBride, a transgender woman, was the primary sponsor in the state Senate. "Gay and trans panic defenses are rooted in antiquated ideas that being LGBTQ is a mental illness, and rely on the assumption that it is reasonable for a perpetrator to react violently to discovering the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity or to a romantic advance by an LGBTQ victim," noted a 2021 report from the Williams Institute.

Out gay Broadway icon Billy Porter was in South Florida to help raise funds for Fort Lauderdale's Stonewall National Museum, Local10 reported. "It's about honoring our humanity, the demand for the honoring of our humanity, like we already do for everyone else," Porter said. Stonewall Executive Director Robert Kesten said Porter accepted his invitation to help raise money for the museum's LGBTQ history education programs, adding, "They are vitally important at a time when, not only in Florida, but across the country, government officials are cutting back on a universal education and education where everybody is equally and well represented."

The Trevor Project named trans activist/TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney its Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year, per The Advocate. With her "Days of Girlhood" series of videos on TikTok, which has amassed over a billion views, Mulvaney has "rapidly emerged as a beacon of trans joy, positivity, and inspiration for the LGBTQ community," according to a press release. The statement added, "Over the past year, Dylan has consistently utilized their large platform to educate audiences on gender identity and the trans experience, raise awareness around LGBTQ issues, and redefine what true allyship looks like." Mulvaney was the object of much love and hate for her role in promoting Bud Light beer.

Dale Scott—a longtime major league umpire who happens to be openly gay—was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, Outsports noted. Scott became only the sixth person (and just the second umpire) to be inducted. He came out publicly as gay while still an active umpire in 2014 and retired in 2017. Scott's Hall of Fame class also included Portland Trail Blazers head coach Rick Adelman, University of Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James and the minor-league team the Portland Mavericks.

Massachusetts resident Catherine Leavy pled guilty to making a bomb threat against Boston Children's Hospital last year because it provided gender-affirming care to transgender youth, The Advocate reported. Leavy pled guilty to one count each of making a false bomb threat and intentionally conveying false or misleading information that a bomb was on the way to the hospital. (No explosive devices were found.) The hospital had been accused of performing genital surgeries on minors.

In Virginia, a Front Royal library that made headlines after fights over LGBTQ+ content on its shelves will remain open—at least for now, WVTF reported. The agreement between Warren County and the Samuels Public Library will keep the facility running past the election in November, but the fight is far from over. Attacks on the library started earlier this year, and a conservative majority on the local board of supervisors decided to withhold three quarters of its more than $1 million funding. Library staffers have refused to remove any books but did move LGBTQ+-themed materials to a new adult section and gave parents more control over the books their children check out.

An article in the Columbia Spectator looked at LGBTQ+-inclusive businesses, past and present, in West Harlem. One of the businesses profiled was Womanbooks (201 W. 92nd St.)—a feminist bookstore founded by Eleanor Batchelder, Karyn London and Fabi Romero-Oak that was open 1975-87; it's now a discount store. Other businesses in the article include the social enterprise Housing Works (2569 Broadway), Jimmie Daniels' Nightclub (114 W. 116th St.), 4West Lounge (303 W. 127th St.) and the pub Suite (992 Amsterdam Ave.).

A group is moving to create Boston's first museum dedicated to LGBTQ+ art and history, NBC10 Boston noted. The Boston LGBTQ Museum of Art, History and Culture would celebrate the history of the community in Massachusetts and support its queer artists. Organizers have yet to select a location for the museum. Jean Dolin, one of the people behind the initiative, said in a statement that the organizers would consult with the community about the museum as its first exhibit, set for spring, is planned.

NYC Trans Oral History Project announced its residency at the Park Avenue Armory (taking place through Oct. 15), a press release noted. During the two-week residency, the archive will host an array of LGBTQ+ artists, scholars, dancers and oral historians as they share their work, converse and activate the archive's collection of more than 200 trans New Yorkers' stories. This residency is presented in conjunction with "MUTANT:DESTRUDO"—the armory's new commission by artist/creator Arca that continues her practice of addressing themes of psychosexuality, science fiction and gender identity.

Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado drew sharp criticism during a House debate over defense appropriations over transphobic comments she made, The Advocate noted. Boebert aimed her barbs at Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness Shawn Skelly—the highest-ranking transgender official at the Pentagon. In part, Boebert said, "This delusional man, thinking he is a woman, embodies and espouses the wokeism that's causing significant harm to our military readiness and troop morale." Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan—a Democrat and chair of the Equality Caucus—said, "Republicans claim to support the military, but Rep. Boebert just spent five minutes misgendering and attacking our Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness just because she's trans. Ms. Skelly serves our country with honor. I can't say the same for Boebert."

Lesbian tennis legend Martina Navratilova told Harry Potter star and trans ally Daniel Radcliffe to "be quiet" on trans+ issues after an old statement from the actor, in which he defended trans women, resurfaced online, PinkNews noted. Radcliffe doubled down on his comments two years after his initial 2020 statement, telling Indiewire he had "met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter." In 2019, Navratilova claimed that trans women competing in women's sport was a form of "cheating," prompting soccer star Megan Rapinoe to respond that it is "frustrating when women's sport is weaponized" by anti-trans views.

Former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries and his British partner, Matthew Smith, face allegations of exploitation from men recruited for sex events they hosted around the world, the BBC reported. A BBC investigation discovered a highly organized network that used a middleman to find young men for the events with Jeffries and Smith; however, the couple's middleman (James Jacobson) denied any wrongdoing and said men went into these events "with their eyes wide open." Two former U.S. prosecutors who independently reviewed documents and testimony uncovered by the BBC want there to be an investigation to determine whether charges for sex trafficking could be brought.

In California, an infectious-diseases doctor specializing in LGBTQ+ care was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting at least nine former male patients over five years, The Advocate noted. Dr. William Thompson IV, of Huntington Beach, faces multiple charges, including eight felony counts of sexual penetration by means of fraudulent representation of professional purpose, three felony counts of sexual battery by fraud and two felony counts of forcible oral copulation. Thompson—who could get up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges—is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 2.

In Vermont, a fire-engine pull benefited an LGBTQ+-rights organization, according to WCAX. The pull raised money for Outright Vermont—a Burlington-based nonprofit that supports and advocates for LGBTQ+ youth. The goal was $75,000; however, the pull raised more than $215,000.

This article shared 2503 times since Thu Oct 5, 2023
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