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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL More trans deaths, bullied teen, Manhunt, trans writer, Biden
by Windy City Times staff
2021-04-18

This article shared 734 times since Sun Apr 18, 2021
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A Black transgender woman in Missouri was shot to death—and investigators swiftly tracked down a suspect they believe shot her after meeting on an online dating website, LGBTQ Nation reported. Dominique Lucious was found dead April 8 in her Springfield, Missouri home. Charles Nelson is in custody and being charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action the next day after the incident; he was tracked down based off an eyewitness statement and messages found on Lucious' phone.

In North Carolina, Charlotte police arrested two men they said are responsible for the shooting deaths of two transgender women killed nearly two weeks apart, WCNC.com reported. The first homicide was on Easter Sunday, as 29-year-old Jaida Peterson was found inside a west Charlotte hotel. On April 15, authorities responded to another hotel shooting, this time at the Sleep Inn on North Tryon Street in University City; police found a 25-year-old transgender woman identified as Remy Fennell dead inside a hotel room. In an April 16 news conference, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced two men were arrested in the shootings: 33-year-old Joel Brewer and 21-year-old Dontarius Long. According to various sources, this year is shaping up to be the deadliest ever regarding transgender victims of violence, with at least 15 individuals killed nationwide.

The parents of a Huntsville, Alabama, teen who killed himself in 2019 age 14 after being bullied at school for being gay are now suing that school district, according to The Advocate, citing AL.com . Relatives of Nigel Shelby hope to prove that the school is responsible for civil-rights violations and Shelby's death. They say Shelby took his life because he was being bullied for being gay and suffering from depression, and that school officials were aware and did nothing.

Manhunt—a gay dating app that claims to have 6 million male members—confirmed it was hit by a data breach in February after a hacker gained access to the company's accounts database, TechCrunch reported. In a notice filed with the Washington attorney general's office, Manhunt said the hacker "gained access to a database that stored account credentials for Manhunt users," and "downloaded the usernames, email addresses and passwords for a subset of our users in early February 2021." Stacey Brandenburg, an attorney for ZwillGen on behalf of Manhunt, said in an email that 11% of Manhunt users were affected.

Educator and motivational speaker Stephanie Battaglino is set to release her memoir, Reflections from Both Sides of the Glass Ceiling: Finding My True Self in Corporate America, from L'Oste Vineyard Press on May 11, a press release noted. After many years in the corporate world struggling to find her true self, Battaglino went on to become New York Life's first transgender officer. Her memoir delves into her journey to fulfillment both personally and professionally, highlighting her efforts in fighting for gender equality and calling to attention the work that is ahead.

President Biden nominated Tucson, Arizona Chief of Police Chris Magnus to lead Customs and Border Protection, KGUN9.com reported. Magnus—who openly criticized former President Donald Trump's immigration policies—was appointed to lead Tucson's police department in 2016 after serving as the police chief for Richmond, California. Magnus' confirmation would also make him the first gay commissioner of the U.S. Customs, part of Homeland Security, according to Towleroad.

President Biden released a budget request to Congress on April 9—a request known as the "skinny budget" until a much more elaborate budget request drops later this year, according to an Instinct Magazine item that cites The Washington Blade. It asks to bump up funds to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. Specifically, the budget seeks $267 million for ending the HIV pandemic. This is on top of the $400 million Congress approved since 2019.

Disney Parks are aiming for a more diverse and inclusive magical kingdom, according to Out.com . Visitors to any of the companies famed theme parks will be able to purchase a rainbow-colored version of the iconic Mickey Mouse ears hat while employees will no longer be bound by binary-segmented rules on costuming, jewelry, hair and nail choices. The new policies and rules are the result of Disney centering inclusion in the company's guiding principles.

Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page has once again spoken up against the anti-trans bills and legislation being considered or passing in state legislatures across the country, specifically in Florida, Alabama and North Dakota, LGBTQ Nation noted. "As I watch the movement of these bills attacking trans youth across the US, especially this week in Florida, Alabama, Texas and North Dakota, I am thinking of my trans siblings and the collective pain that our community must endure to battle again and again for our right to exist," Page wrote. "These bills are upsetting, cruel and exhausting." He implored his 4.9 million followers, "Call your representatives. Tell them to oppose legislation that discriminates against us. … Tell them that #TransPeopleBelong — we always have, and we always will."

The North Dakota Senate passed House Bill 1298—an anti-LGBTQ bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity—according to the Human Rights Campaign. The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Doug Burgum's desk for signature or veto. GLAAD Communications Coordinator and Regional Media Lead, U.S. South Serena Sonoma said in a statement, "This bill and similar measures across dozens of states are unnecessary and harmful to all young people. Lawmakers must stop targeting the most vulnerable in their states. They are sending a terrible message that hurts all kids and threatens their states' economies."

The GOP-led Florida House of Representatives voted 70-44 (along party lines) to pass HB 1475, which would ban transgender female athletes from competing on women's athletic teams in both high school and college while subjecting some students-athletes to "genital inspections" before they can play, Law & Crime reported. Also called the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act," the measure effectively states that student-athletes who were biological males at the time of their birth cannot compete on women's athletic teams. The measure also creates a legal cause of action for any students who "suffers any direct or indirect harm" due to a violation of the law and for any student who is retaliated against for "reporting a violation" of the law.

A bill heard in committee in the Texas Senate would redefine child abuse to include administering, supplying or consenting to provide puberty-suppression drugs, hormone-replacement therapy, or surgical or medical procedures to anyone under 18 "for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment," NBC News reported. The measure would make such acts a felony, alongside physical and sexual abuse and sex trafficking, although it carves out an exception for surgical procedures for intersex children.

NBA player Draymond Green was schooled by soccer star Megan Rapinoe after the Golden State Warriors forward posted he was tired of hearing female athletes "complaining" about being paid less than men, according to LGBTQ Nation. "It's really unfortunate that in the position he's in, having all the resources that he has and the ability to have a much more educated opinion, that he just hasn't," she said at a press conference for Team USA. "Really frustrating. Obviously, he just kind of showed his whole ass in not understanding what we talk about the whole time."

Publicis Health Media (PHM) and The Trevor Project announced a new partnership, with the non-profit becoming the primary social impact partner of #PHMLove, the agency's platform for community outreach, PR Newswire noted. The organizations align their missions to save lives through activations that will run throughout 2021 and include educational programs and awareness campaigns. The collaboration between #PHMLove and The Trevor Project will help close the gap in public knowledge about the myriad factors that can increase an LGBTQ young person's risk for suicide, as well as demonstrate the urgency of more technological solutions for suicide prevention.

The Church of St. Paul & the Redeemer is launching the Murray Fellows—a new initiative for LGBTQ+ young adults in discernment for Christian ministry, a press release announced. The program is named for the Rev. Pauli Murray, a genderqueer priest remembered as the first African-American woman ordained in the Episcopal Church. The Murray Fellows will provide participants with one-on-one mentoring, peer support and vocational-exploration opportunities. The Murray Fellows will welcome young adults ages 18-30 from all Christian traditions, in discernment for all types of lay and ordained vocations in ministry. The program is funded by a grant from the Forum for Theological Exploration. Additional information and the application are available at www.murrayfellows.org . Applications for the 2021-22 cohort are due June 1, 2021.

The National AIDS Memorial marked National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (April 10) by celebrating its most recent Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship recipients, highlighting their work on campus and in their communities, a press release noted. This past year, eight scholars were selected from six states across the country, each receiving $5,000 in financial scholarships. The scholars include Moses Aina, NYU Tisch, New York; August Clayton, Towson University, Maryland; Caterina Dong, Brown University, Rhode Island; Bo Hwang, UCLA; Philip Jones, San Francisco State University; Adeleye Mesogboriwon, Edward Waters College, Florida; Brandon Staple, Colorado University; and Matthew Zheng, Stanford University. Applications for the fall 2021/spring 2022 school year are now being accepted; visit www.aidsmemorial.org/scholarships. Applications must be submitted by July 15, 2021.

Nafeisa Johnson, an African-American lesbian, is suing Philadelphia-based Northeast Building Products, alleging wrongful termination and other unlawful acts allegedly due to her race and LGBT status, Philadelphia Gay News reported. Johnson alleges the company violated federal and state laws protecting her from workplace bias and other mistreatment. Her claims include wrongful termination, hostile work environment, harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and retaliatory discharge, according to the lawsuit.

The Curve Foundation has launched, according to a press release. Building on 30 years of the lesbian magazine Curve, The Curve Foundation "will empower and amplify voices of the Curve Community—lesbians, queer women, trans women and non-binary people of all races, ages and abilities," the release stated. Curve magazine founder Frances "Franco" Stevens reacquired the publication and donated it to the Foundation to leverage the iconic name and brand and amplify the Foundation's mission. Franco's decision to reimagine how Curve will serve the Curve Community in its next chapter is captured in the award-winning documentary Ahead of the Curve. Curve magazine is now a nonprofit project of The Curve Foundation.

Highlighting the volume of bills in legislatures across the country that would ban trans children from playing sports at public schools, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a video featuring Rebekah, a 14-year-old field hockey player and trans girl from New Jersey and her mother, Jamie, a press release noted. In the video, Rebekah talks about what she loves about playing field hockey with her friends, and why attacks on kids' abilities to play sports in school are unfair and hurtful. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf9MfYZ-Bl4.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) slammed former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's entry into the state Senate race. In a statement, HRC President Alphonso David said, "Pat McCrory lost his re-election in 2016— the only governor that year with that particular honor—because he signed and doggedly refused to listen to widespread opposition to HB2, an anti-transgender bill that devastated North Carolina's economy and its reputation. Unremorseful, he's now attempting to revitalize his political career by running for office yet again. We are confident that North Carolina voters, who made it abundantly clear in 2016 that they stand with the LGBTQ community and against discrimination, will do so again in 2022 should McCrory's name be on the ballot."

Missouri school The College of the Ozarks—a small Christian college Forbes dubbed the "Bible Belt Ivy"—is suing the Biden administration in federal court, according to the publication. The suit challenges a February executive order issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that ensures LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination in federally funded housing. The Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based nonprofit advocacy group for conservative legal causes, is representing the college.

In Texas, parents argued at a school-board meeting over LGBTQ books that are available to students through Richardson school libraries, The Dallas Morning News reported. Some are critical that the district offers students the option to check out books about transgender issues or gender identity. However, other parents and some Richardson Independent School District staff members said the books are important because they represent a diverse option for students.

Democracy for America (DFA) has endorsed openly gay Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race, a press release noted. Kenyatta is the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color and one of the youngest members elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. DFA CEO Yvette Simpson said, "Representation matters. Not only does Malcolm represent the New American Majority, he represents the new American family."

onePULSE Foundation—the not-for-profit established following the June 12, 2016 tragedy to honor and preserve the legacy of those killed and to create a sanctuary of hope—announced its free virtual film screening of the director's cut of the documentary Disarm Hate, which takes place Wed., May 19, a press release noted. Directed by Julianna Brudek and narrated by the actor Harvey Fierstein, the film chronicles nine LGBTQ+ activists who come together after the Pulse nightclub tragedy to join Jason P. Hayes, a hairdresser and an activist from New Jersey who is on a crusade. To RSVP, visit https://bit.ly/3g7pfPu.

Mayor Jim Kenney's Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion welcomed Erik Larson as the new deputy director of LGBT Affairs, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star noted, citing Philadelphia Gay News. Larson started working for the City of Philadelphia in 2018 as a part-time policy fellow, and previously worked as a coordinator in the Office of LGBT Affairs.

LGBTQ Holdings CEO Bobby Blair has taken a minority equity stake in Aequalitas Media, a press release noted. Blair has also joined Aequalitas' advisory board to assist CEO DJ Doran and his team as they work to build a print and digital LGBTQ+ media platform. "Aequalitas Media is dedicated to revitalizing LGBTQ+ media in 2021 and beyond. Our expanding portfolio of media assets, new ventures and opportunities, create exceptional value for our advertisers, clients and partners," said Doran.

In Connecticut, about a week after Bethel coffee shop Molten Java's pride flag was torn down and burned, community members and businesses flew LGBTQ pride flags and symbols all over town in support of the cafe, NewsTimes.com reported. Molten Java staff said they "can't keep up with the flag sightings," and cafe owner Wendy Cahill said, "The amount [of support] was overwhelming and it's still happening. Bethel's a great town so I knew people wouldn't accept the situation and it's not something that would normally happen." Although Bethel police were hesitant to call the incident a "hate crime," First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker issued a town proclamation deeming the flag burning an act of "hate and intimidation."

The lottery for the much-anticipated LGBT/LGBT-friendly affordable senior-housing development on Long Island is now open and accepting applications for eligible seniors, TheIslandNow.com noted. Occupancy is expected in June for eligible seniors ages 55 and older. Seniors can download the application at www.lgbtnetwork.org/housing and must submit no later than May 3.

A gay man who's a former mayor of Sebastopol, California, and a longtime executive in the cannabis industry has been arrested and charged with five felonies and one misdemeanor related to sexual assault on a minor, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Robert Jacob, 44, was held without bond in the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Center, accused of assaulting at least one underage victim, according to a statement by Sebastopol Police Chief Kevin Kilgore. In a prepared statement, Kilgore said the alleged assaults are believed to have occurred between December 2019 and March 2021. Kilgore said the police learned of the alleged sexual assaults on March 30 and launched an investigation, culminating with Jacob's arrest April 10.

A former manager of an Equinox gym in New York City's Upper East Side says his boss sexually harassed him, according to an Instinct Magazine item that cited the New York Post. Harold De Longchamp, an ex-general manager, filed a lawsuit with the Manhattan Supreme Court after he said he was fired for complaining about mistreatment from Regional Manager Adam Gecht. Among other things, Gecht allegedly said to De Longchamp that he admired De Longchamp for being gay and getting to "be sexually promiscuous."

One of the last lesbian bars in New York City, the Cubbyhole, has officially reopened for business, Gay City News reported. A large crowd of patrons flocked to the spot in Manhattan's West Village on April 8 to celebrate the bar's return after reopening last summer and shuttering again in December when it became too cold for outdoor operations. Other lesbian outposts in the city include the neighboring bar Henrietta Hudson and Ginger's in Brooklyn, which remains closed.

Major League Soccer star Sebastian Lletget apologized for the use of a homophobic slur in a video he posted to Instagram—but the player still faces an investigation by the league, out.com noted. A member of the LA Galaxy and the U.S. men's national team, Lletget can be seen in the video playfully slapping the back of the head of Galaxy teammate Julian Araujo during practice, then calling him a "puto"—a homophobic Spanish slur for a gay man. Lletget said he had taken down the video in question, but wanted to "address its impact" as well as his own actions.

In California, Huntington Beach police shut down an organized so-called "White Lives Matter" rally within 90 minutes after a few attendees violently clashed with counter-protesters, Newsweek reported. Black Lives Matter counter-protesters far outnumbered the white nationalists that gathered near Huntington Beach pier for the rally.

Facebook is testing a video speed-dating app called Sparked, The Verge noted. The Sparked webpage describes the app as "video dating with kind people." It also promises no public profiles, no swiping and no DMs, and it's free to use.


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