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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL ROUNDUP
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis
2010-09-22

This article shared 2365 times since Wed Sep 22, 2010
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Elections took place in several states Sept. 14, and the results made at least two groups of people—gays and the conservative organization known as the Tea Party—revelling in victory. According to a press release from the Victory Fund ( which works to elect LGBT candidates to public office ) , 29 of its 33 candidates advanced in primaries or won their elections outright. Among the victors was Providence, R.I., Mayor David Cicilline, who is running to represent Rhode Island's 1st Congressional District. Cicilline—who now faces two independents and a Republican in the general election—said, Now is the time to set our priorities right," according to ProJo.com .

In Indiana, 15-year-old Greensburg High School student Billy Lucas recently committed suicide—and friends are saying that bullying may have pushed him to the breaking point, according to WTHR.com . A press release from the Trevor Project—a national organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth—points toward Lucas' sexual orientation ( whether real or perceived ) as the reason for the bullying. Executive Director Charles Robbins said, "Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old at Greensburg High School stood out among the 630 students in the school because he was different. Other students perceived that Billy was gay and he was relentlessly tormented as a result."

Bartenders from around the country converged in Palm Springs, Calif., for the Palm Springs Cocktail Challenge, according to Advocate.com . Bartenders have been competing for months to qualify for the finale, which took place at Georgie's Alibi/Azuls. Among the contestants were Jae Cho of Chicago's Sidetrack; Wil Douglas of Charlie's Las Vegas; and Jeff Wiley of Seattle's Lobby Bar. However, Scot Newell of Georgie's Alibi in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was the winner.

To commemorate World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, POSITIVELY AWARE magazine is compiling a photo essay entitled "A Day with HIV in America." On Sept. 21, people from all across the country will take snapshots of moments from their everyday lives. Photos are to be submitted by Sept. 23 to artdirector@positivelyaware.com . Submissions must include the person's name ( and the names of anyone else in the photo ) , phone number ( of all participants ) , and a caption describing the scene, giving the location and time of day the picture was taken.

In California, a court has granted sole legal and physical custody to a lesbian mother whose parental rights were challenged by the sperm-donor father, according to a press release. In the case of Daniel C. vs. Karen B., the parties, who met through an Internet ad, had signed a pact in which they agreed that the sperm donor could visit the child occasionally but that the child would always live with the mother. They also had agreed that the mother's partner could adopt the child.

New York Gov. David Paterson has signed the Dignity for All Students Act, which includes criteria for public schools to initiate anti-harassment training programs, according to the New York Post. He signed the measure at New York City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. Paterson talked about how he was teased endlessly because he is legally blind—but drew cheers when he said that he hit one of the teasing classmates in the head with a metal lunchbox.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has confirmed that the Senate intends to bring the National Defense Authorization Act ( NDAA ) to the senate floor next week, according to a press release from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The NDAA contains the amendment to allow for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ( DADT ) . "We applaud the Senate Majority Leader's courage and his statement tonight to bring the defense bill to the floor. Now, we must deliver," said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Fifteen-year-old Greensburg ( Ind. ) High School student Billy Lucas recently committed suicide—and friends are saying that bullying may have pushed him to the breaking point, according to WTHR.com . A press release from the Trevor Project—a national organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth—points toward Lucas' sexual orientation ( whether real or perceived ) as the reason for the bullying. Executive Director Charles Robbins said, "Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old at Greensburg High School stood out among the 630 students in the school because he was different. Other students perceived that Billy was gay and he was relentlessly tormented as a result."

GLSEN—the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network—has released The 2009 National School Climate Survey, a poll of 7,261 middle and high school students, according to a press release. Among the key findings are that nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school within the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation. The survey also found that gay-straight alliances, indeed, have positive results, with LGBT students experiencing less anti-gay behavior.

Out lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., has introduced the Health Data Collection Improvement Act, which would allow people to collect voluntary data on gender identity and sexual orientation in surveys and programs approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a press release. Baldwin said, "Currently, the federal government does not collect any information about the health and well-being of LGBT Americans. ... Although we have ample anecdotal evidence of LGBT health disparities, only valid research data will allow us to take critical steps toward improving the health of LGBT Americans and their families."

A battery charge against Marine Sgt. Keil Cronauer, 22—who allegedly attacked a gay man in Savannah, Ga.—has been dropped, according to Advocate.com . Judge Claire Cornwell-Williams could not find a compelling reason to send the charge to state court. Cronauer and Lance Cpl. Christopher C. Stanzel, 23, were accused of attacking Kieran Daly, 26, this past June. Stanzel, unlike Cronauer, will face the state court on his battery charge.

An aide who once worked for Delaware Republican Senate candidate and Tea Party darling Christine O'Donnell—who recently upset a nine-term incumbent in the GOP primary—said that he's surprised by her homophobia because her sister is a lesbian, according to Advocate.com . Said aide, Wade Richards, came out in 2000 but worked with O'Donnell when she led the anti-gay Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth organization in California. According to the Daily Beast, Richards is not only surprised by O'Donnell's anti-gay feelings but said that meeting the sister helped him regarding his own sexuality.

The gay Republican group GOProud has endorsed Barney Frank's challenger in the fight for the Fourth Congressional District seat in Massachusetts, according to Advocate.com . The organization's executive director, Jimmy LaSalvia, said, "If we really want to protect gay jobs we don't need to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, we need to fire Barney Frank. ... After almost 30 years in Washington, Barney Frank is everything that is wrong with politics today." Frank is one of only three openly gay members in the U.S. Congress.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist—who once was a Republican but who is running for a U.S. Senate seat as an independent—has changed his views on gay rights, according to the Miami Herald. Crist has now affirmed his support for civil unions, same-sex adoption and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Pro-gay group Equality Florida has even called Crist's stances "the most comprehensive, pro-LGBT equality stand of a sitting governor in Florida's history."

In Wyoming, the couple who had filed the first lawsuit involving the state's marriage law has now dropped the legal challenge, Trib.com reported. Wyoming law defines marriage as strictly a heterosexual union, and couple David Shupe-Roderick and Ryan Dupree had filed a lawsuit claiming the statute was unconstitutional. However, gay-rights advocates were allegedly concerned about the suit's arguments as well as Shupe-Roderick's past lawsuits and criminal activities.

In Michigan, assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell has come under fire for verbally attacking Chris Armstrong, the out gay president of the University of Michigan's student assembly, according to WXYZ.com . Shirvell—who helped run the re-election campaign for Attorney General Mike Cox, who routinely speaks out against bullying—has written a blog that targets Armstrong with such entries as, "His agenda was…to promote the radical homosexual agenda at the University of Michigan, and to use his position to promote that cause." Glenn Stutzky, a Michigan State University instructor, said Shirvell's blog constitutes cyber-bullying.

In Puerto Rico, two transgender women were found murdered on Sept. 13, according to an SDGLN.com item. Local authorities found the bodies of two people "dressed in women's clothes" in Juana Diaz; they had both been shot in the head. Since 2002, more than 25 gay or transgender people have been murder on the island, including Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, who had been stabbed, decapitated and burned last year.

Get ready for marijuana-infused ice cream. According to IndyPosted.com, a California medical marijuana dispensary named Creme De Canna is selling half-pints of flavors such as Straw-Mari Cheesecake, TRIPle Chocolate Brownie and Banannabis Foster. Customers cannot consume the ice cream on-site and only marijuana patients who have their cards may purchase the desserts. Californians will vote on the general legalization of marijuana in November. Patients suffering from ailments such as cancer and HIV/AIDS regular take medical marijuana.

Simian immunodeficiency virus ( SIV ) is thousands of older than previously thought—and may hold bad news regarding HIV, according to AFP. A study led by researchers from Tulane University and the University of Arizona concluded that SIV, which affects monkeys, is most likely between 32,000 and 75,000 years ago. Univ. of Arizona researcher Michael Worobey said that SIV's slow evolution to a relatively harmless form means that HIV/AIDS may continue to kill for some time.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed approximately 3,000 HIV/AIDS activists and advocates at the United States Conference on AIDS ( USCA ) in Orlando, Fla., accoridng to a press release from the National Minority AIDS Council. Among other things, Sebelius talked about the early years of AIDS ( "In this age of advanced treatments, when AIDS for many is no longer a death sentence, it's easy to forget how scary those first years were" ) and the intent to "intensify our prevention efforts in the communities where infections are concentrated. We're going to put our resources where the risk is."

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ( ELCA ) has received onto the clergy roster three pastors in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minn., area who are lesbians in committed relationships, according to a GLAAD press release. Pastors Anita C. Hill, Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart were received as clergy during a ceremony presided over by Bishop Peter Rogness. Rogness said, "The celebration of this service and this day is testimony to the joy felt widely in this church that doors have been opened and gifts for ministry are now being affirmed."

Lesbian pioneer Jill Johnston, who wrote books such as Lesbian Nation, died Sept. 18 of a stroke at the age of 81, according to Advocate.com . Johnston's death was originally reported by her spouse, Ingrid Nyeboe, whom Johnston married in Connecticut in 2009. In Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution, published in 1973, Johnston urged women to break away from men altogether. She also wrote for publications such as Art News and the New York Times Sunday Book Review.


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