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NATIONAL Pulse, Philly Pride, Mormons, Victory Fund, anti-trans bills
by Windy City Times staff
2021-06-27

This article shared 1324 times since Sun Jun 27, 2021
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President Joe Biden (D) signed H.R. 49, the bill designating the site of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida as a national monument, into law, according to LGBTQ Nation. Afterward, Biden commemorated Pride Month with remarks made alongside Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, the first publicly out person confirmed to a Cabinet position. Biden also talked about his son Beau at both events, revealing that during his son Beau's lifetime, the younger Biden wanted to start a foundation for LGBTQ youth primarily focusing on transgender youth.

The organization that has produced the Philadelphia Pride parade and festival abruptly dissolved following backlash over a social-media post, according to LGBTQ Nation. Philly Pride Presents had planned to hold a "Pride Lite" festival in September, but that has now been canceled. A June 10 Facebook post by the group described the Stonewall riots using derogatory language for transgender women and cast the police as the victims—the latest in a string of controversies the group has faced over the years. After activists condemned the post, it was taken down and the group posted an apology on the page—and eventually took down their Facebook page and portions of its website.

A study revealed that more than a fifth of Generation Z Mormons do not self-identify as heterosexual, and one in 10 is bisexual, Religion News Service reported. The Nationscape data set, which canvassed more than 318,000 Americans on a rolling basis in 2019 and 2020, had 3,881 self-identified members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the survey—one of the largest studies of Mormons ever fielded in the United States.

LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed 24 more LGBTQ candidates for the 2021 and 2022 election cycles, according to a press release. The organization also elevated New Jersey state Senate candidate Vincent Solomeno to Spotlight Candidate status; Solomeno would be the first out state senator in New Jersey history if elected in November. A few of the other endorsed individuals (general candidates and incumbents) include non-binary Pennsylvania magisterial court judge candidate Xander Orenstein, Columbus City Auditor Megan Kilgore, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and New Jersey State Assembly hopeful (and former Atlantic City Mayor) Don Guardian.

Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed a measure that would have barred trans girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools, The Washington Blade reported. The measure—Senate Bill 156, authored by Sen. Beth Mizell and titled The Fairness in Women's Sports Act—"was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana," Edwards said. The measure passed the state Senate 29-6 and cleared the state House 78-19; those margins are wide enough to override a governor's veto, though it's unclear whether lawmakers will return to Baton Rouge to do so.

After a heated debate, the Ohio House passed a bill that would allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness—but only after adding an amendment that would prohibit transgender women from participating in women's sports, NBC4com reported. The bill now goes back to the Ohio Senate, which must agree to the transgender amendment before the bill can go to Gov. Mike DeWine. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in a press release, "the House's eagerness to pass discriminatory legislation targeting transgender young people is shameful, particularly while Ohio has left a host of important issues unaddressed while the state recovers economically from a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic."

At the Seattle event Taking B(l)ack Pride, white attendees were charged a "reparations fee," SeattlePride.org noted. An open letter from organizers of the event—which was not a Seattle Pride event—stated, "All are free to attend HOWEVER this is a BLACK AND BROWN QUEER TRANS CENTERED, PRIORITIZED, VALUED, EVENT. White allies and accomplices are welcome to attend but will be charged a $10 to $50 reparations fee that will be used to keep this event free of cost for BLACK AND BROWN Trans and Queer COMMUNITY." Capitol Hill Pride—which was planning an event the same day—filed a complaint with the Seattle Human Rights Commission over the Taking B(l)ack Pride policy, saying it constituted racial discrimination, The Advocate reported.

A gay New Jersey high school valedictorian had his microphone cut off in the middle of his graduation speech by a school official who objected to the content of the unapproved speech, out.com noted. Bryce Dershem graduated from Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees and was delivering his speech to his fellow graduates and attendees when the school's principal, Dr. Robert M. Tull, literally pulled the plug on Dershem's speech and ordered him to read an approved speech. However, Dershem continued to deliver his speech from memory instead. School administrators also took issue with Dershem's attire, as he draped a rainbow Pride flag over his shoulders and gown while delivering the address.

The Stonewall Inn's owners did not serve certain beers at the famous LGBTQ bar during Pride weekend to protest manufacturer Anheuser-Busch's political contributions to some politicians who have supported anti-LGBTQ legislation, CBS News noted. Co-owners Stacy Lentz and Kurt Kelly said they would institute the ban in support of the "Keep Your Pride" campaign—a recently launched effort highlighting five companies the campaign says advertise support during Pride but have also made contributions to lawmakers the campaign says promote anti-LGBTQ policies. According to KeepYourPride.org, the five companies are Anheuser-Busch, NBC, General Motors, AT&T and Coke.

For the third week in a row, community activists in Washington, D.C. held a protest outside of Nellie's Sports Bar; the LGBTQ venue remains under scrutiny because security staff dragged 22 year-old Keisha Young down a flight of stairs by her hair, LGBTQ Nation reported. The bar is a party to a hearing that deals with allegations that staff were intoxicated while working the night of the incident. The June 12 incident, which was captured on video and went viral, caused the bar to fire their security staff and apologize to all who "witnessed" it; however, activists told LGBTQ Nation recently that the bar's owner, Douglas Schantz, refused to apologize to Young and has not returned all of her belongings.

A large group came together for the March with Pride in Milwaukee recently, supporting both LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter, according to Fox6Now.com . Organizers said they wanted to let people know Black Lives Matter and pride are intertwined. Outside of Summerfest, a large group gathered in support of equality; the March with Pride celebrated the LGBTQ community and Black Lives Matter movement, drumming up support to end systemic oppression. Hundreds walked through Milwaukee for more than two miles in a march that Montell Ross created in 2020.

Also in Milwaukee, after a year of virtual programming, the MKE LGBT Community Center reopened its doors—at a new location, at 315 W. Court St., TMJ4.com noted. To celebrate, the center held a block party in the new location's parking lot; several dozen people attended. Over the last two decades, the center has provided critical services to Milwaukee's LGBTQ community. Now, those services include counseling, adult and youth programming, alcohol and other drugs programming and services, and a name-change clinic.

A Wall Street Journal article spotlights Airbnb alternatives for Black tourists, LGBTQ+ tourists and others. Kid & Coe (for families) is one of a new breed of short-term rental sites targeting travelers who have found that established sites like Airbnb don't always reflect their needs. Niche rental companies such as Noirbnb (Black and ethnically diverse travelers), Golightly (women-only hosts) and Fabstayz (LGBTQ) each promise an open-arms welcome to those who fear a cool reception or even rejection because of skin color, gender identity or sexual orientation.

In San Francisco, The Castro Merchants Association is seeking to install a second flagpole in the Castro neighborhood to fly another design of the Pride flag, according to a Bay Area Reporter item. The move came after the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District Board of Directors voted that the Gilbert Baker-designed rainbow Pride flag that currently stands above the intersection of Market and Castro streets should be replaced with the Progress Pride flag. Designed in 2018 by graphic designer Daniel Quasar, the Progress Pride flag includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalized LGBTQ+ communities of color, along with the colors pink, light blue and white, which are used on the Transgender Pride Flag.

Campus Pride announced a Virtual Pride Celebration in partnership with Pride Palace to close Pride Month 2021 in recognition of Campus Pride's 20th anniversary, a press release noted. The June 30 event (7-9 p.m. ET) will feature RuPaul's Drag Race All-Star Eureka O'Hara; trans activist Hope Giselle; Pride Palace's Sander Jennings; activist/Campus Pride Board Chair Tom Elliott; and an LGBTQ college panel with Campus Pride student leaders. People can watch the event on Pride Palace's Instagram Live, at www.instagram.com/pridepalacelgbt.

Michael Sam—who famously came out before the 2014 NFL draft but did not end up playing in an NFL game—congratulated Carl Nassib, who recently became the first active league player to come out as gay, Instinct Magazine noted. "Carl Nassib thank you for owning your truth and especially your donation to the @TrevorProject," tweeted Sam. "LBGTQ people are more likely to commit suicide than heterosexuals. I hope and pray people will take note to this. Thank you again Carl and look forward to seeing you play on the field."

In Baltimore, fans of the old Grand Central club will get a new place to patronize this summer, and it has a familiar name and operator, The Washington Blade noted. Central is the name of a gay bar/restaurant that's expected to open in August, just a few blocks from where Grand Central closed last September. One of its owners is the former general manager of Grand Central, Marc Hayes. The location is a three-building complex at 885-889 N. Howard Street, part of a block called Antique Row on the western edge of Mount Vernon, the city's traditional "gayborhood."

Oreo, is teasing a new Pride box of its cookies and a partnership with PFLAG, out.com noted. Recently, Oreo tweeted a picture of a box of the famous cookies with rainbow-colored creme and the label OREOiD (which allows customers to select the creme color and cookie type of their Oreos) for PFLAG, with the caption "coming soon…" which was then retweeted by PFLAG, the largest organization in the US for LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families. Oreo will soon be giving away 3,000 limited-edition OREOiD for PFLAG boxes with five custom Pride flag options. The offer begins June 29 and ends July 29, or when supplies are exhausted, whichever happens first. See oreo.com/pride.

Cookies & Dreams—a baked goods company based out of Davenport, Iowa that specializes in unique cookies—announced a new, limited-edition flavor in support of Pride Day, a press release noted. The Rainbow Cookie Bar will be available starting June 28 to coincide with Pride Day. All proceeds generated from the sale of the Rainbow Cookie Bar will benefit The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people under 25. The Rainbow Cookie Bar—which features six colorful layers of our crowd favorite vanilla almond sugar cookie topped with signature creamy cookie glaze and rainbow sprinkles—will be sold at the Davenport and Bettendorf locations in Iowa for $3.50 each.

A Maine-based TikTok star raised more than $10,000 for the LGBTQ+ community in honor of a gay waiter who was discriminated against by people he was serving at a restaurant, LGBTQ Nation noted. The waiter, who has chosen to remain anonymous, received a religious pamphlet in place of a tip from two different customers in the same day. When word of the incident reached TikToker Meredith Steele—whose friend works with the waiter—Steele appealed to her almost 500,000 followers to Venmo her money to give the waiter the tip he deserved. According to ABC, Steele has a history of giving money away and spent last Christmas season surprising strangers with donations.

New York City Council candidate Zack Weiner faced controversy after a video of himself engaging in BDSM play leaked online, Instinct Magazine noted. According to the Jerusalem Post, Weiner, 26—who also happens to be Dora the Explorer co-creator Eric Weiner's son—is running for the Upper West Side of Manhattan's City Council. In the video, the Democratic candidate is seen restrained and gagged; meanwhile, a dominatrix dressed in leather pours hot wax over him, clips his nipples with clothespins and more. Zach—a screenwriter/actor/film producer—responded that while he "didn't want anyone to see that," he is "not ashamed of the private video circulating of me on Twitter. This was a recreational activity that I did with my friend at the time, for fun."

Former Vice President Mike Pence rebuked former President Donald Trump on the question of overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election, CNN.com reported. Pence also said he will "always be proud" of his role in affirming the election results Jan. 6 following a deadly riot of Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol. The former vice president's remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, focused primarily on laying out a pro-Trump platform for a potential White House run of his own—bBut Pence also offered a harsh assessment of some of the Trump's claims.

Warren Buffett said he will donate $4.1 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway shares to five foundations, and that he will resign as the trustee at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CNBC.com reported. This year's donation marked the halfway point for the 90-year-old, who, in 2006, pledged to give away all of his Berkshire shares through annual gifts to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation. Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda French Gates, announced their divorce in May. The couple and Buffett were creators of the Giving Pledge, a program that requires participants to give away more than half of their wealth.

Cindy McCain is President Joe Biden's pick as the U.S. representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, where she would help combat global hunger, Yahoo! News noted. The post would take McCain—a lifelong Arizona Republican and widow of longtime U.S. Sen. John McCain, 2008 Republican presidential nominee and celebrated Vietnam prisoner of war—from her home in Phoenix to Rome. The position, which had been in the works for months, requires approval from the U.S. Senate, where her husband served for decades until his death in 2018.

Rudy Giuliani—the former personal lawyer for former President Donald Trump who once held one of the legal profession's most prestigious jobs—was suspended from practicing law in New York state by an appellate court that found he made "demonstrably false and misleading statements" about the 2020 election, CNN.com reported. The court concluded that "there is uncontroverted evidence" that Giuliani, a former Manhattan U.S. attorney and New York City mayor, "communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump's failed effort at reelection in 2020."

An effort to honor Juneteenth for employees went awry for one Atlanta IKEA store, as one of the franchise's locations created a "special" Juneteenth menu for staff that incorporated fried chicken and watermelon, people.com noted. In honor of the new federal holiday, many companies introduced unique ways they would celebrate, announcing paid days off for employees, educational programs for building equity, donations to organizations fighting racism and more. The manager of the Atlanta store and the corporation apologized.

The granddaughter of Nina Simone claimed that Vice President Kamala Harris threatened her mother, Lisa Simone Kelly, with jail time in a dispute over the late singer's estate. ReAnna Simone Kelly elaborated on claims that the vice president "took away" the legendary singer's estate to be "run by white people" when Harris was California attorney general from 2011 to 2017. In 2013, Lisa Simone Kelly was accused of "breaching her fiduciary duty" when she allegedly drained up to $2 million from the estate and trust, including a $1.5-million deposit into her personal company, The Daily Beast reported. (However, a business associate of Simone said Harris upheld the late singer's wishes, TMZ noted.) Nina Simone passed away in 2003.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) was greeted by boos and cries of "We don't want you here!" when he stopped by a Juneteenth celebration in Milwaukee, Yahoo! News noted. Johnson was there to visit a Republican Party booth, and he told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was surprised by the heckling. Initially, Johnson was against making Juneteenth a federal holiday, saying he didn't think taxpayers should have to cover the cost of federal workers having another day off, and last year he blocked the legislation.


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