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NATIONAL Seattle center closing, Pride news, LGBTQ judge, verbal altercation
by Andrew Davis
2022-03-27

This article shared 954 times since Sun Mar 27, 2022
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In Seattle, after more than 50 years of providing mental health and general wellness services in the city, Seattle Counseling Service announced it will shut down May 6, according to Capitol Hill Seattle (CHS) and the organization's website. The longtime part of the city's community of queer health and wellness services and "the oldest LGBTQ-focused community mental health agency in the world" moved its offices off Capitol Hill in the summer of 2020. Board vice-chair Gunner Scott said the organization's lease for the new space signed right before the pandemic contributed to the financial burdens, with community rooms and offices going unused during COVID-19 restrictions.

Seattle Pride has cut ties with Amazon over the e-commerce giant's corporate donations and its alleged request to have its name included in the title of the city's annual LGBTQ Pride march, according to NBC News. The nonprofit group, which has organized the Seattle Pride Parade since 1974, issued a statement Tuesday saying it is "deeply concerned" about the Seattle-based company's donations to "anti-LGBTQ politicians" and its fundraising efforts for anti-LGBTQ groups. It also cited efforts by the company to call the parade— the city's first since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic—"Seattle Pride Parade Presented by Amazon" in exchange for $100,000. The full corporate sponsorship statement is at https://www.seattlepride.org/corporate-sponsorship-statement.

At an event, NYC Pride announced the official theme for 2022, "Unapologetically Us," as the kick-off to this year's events and programming, per a press release. "Our community has been through tremendous hardships over the past few years, beginning with the pandemic, and continuing with a reckoning with social justice, threats to our democracy, and more recently armed conflict overseas," said NYC Pride Executive Director Sandra Perez. Perez, who was appointed executive director of NYC Pride in November 2021, added: "Compounding these struggles is the onslaught of legislation around the country that directly targets LGBTQIA+ individuals. In spite of these challenges and attacks, we are here to tell the country and the world: we will not be erased."

In Florida, 30 couples took their vows in a mass wedding to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Palm Beach Pride celebration, The Palm Beach Post reported. Returning for the first time in two years, Palm Beach Pride is presented by Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center. The two-day festival took place March 26-27 at Bryant Park, in Lake Worth Beach.

Organizers of Buffalo Pride Week announced that the Pride Parade and Pride Festival will return this year for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, WGRZ.com noted. Pride Week will take place May 31-June 5 with the theme of homecoming. The weeklong celebration includes family-friendly events, fitness-related events, art events and club parties.

Judge Alison Nathan was confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, making her the second LGBTQ woman ever to serve as a federal appeals judge—one of the most powerful positions in the judiciary, LGBTQ Nation noted. Nathan, who served as a district court judge in New York, was appointed this past November by President Joe Biden to the higher court. Nathan is the partner of NYU Law professor and faculty director Meg Satterthwaite, a former United Nations consultant; they are parents to twins.

LGBTQ-rights activists and allies disrupted an anti-trans panel discussion at Affinia's Fifty Hotels and Suites in Manhattan on March 16—prompting transphobes to fire back during a verbal exchange outside of the hotel, Gay City News reported. The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network planned an event called "How 'Gender Equality' Cheats Women and Girls" that features several panelists who have developed reputations for their transphobia. The organizations protesting the event included Equality New York, the Reclaim Pride Coalition, Rise and Resist, United Against Racism and Fascism, Fight Back Bay Ridge and Gays Against Guns.

In Texas, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a letter to the Austin Independent School District (AISD) that its Pride Week was "breaking state law," The Hill noted. Austin ISD posted to its website that it would be hosting Pride Week from March 21-25 as "a time to highlight the district's commitment to creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment" to align "with the National LGBT Health Awareness Week." District Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde responded to Paxton in a tweet, writing: "I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks."

However, another Texas school superintendent told district librarians to remove books from their shelves that talked about sexuality and transgender people, The Advocate noted. Prior to the return of students after the holiday break this January, Jeremy Glenn, the superintendent of the Granbury Independent School District in North Texas, told a group of librarians he met with that he needed to speak from his heart, according to ProPublica and The Texas Tribune in partnership with NBC News. In the meeting with librarians, Glenn reportedly told them he had concerns about LGBTQ+-themed books. The school district then embarked on one of the largest book removals in the country, pulling about 130 titles from library shelves for review.

An Oklahoma private Christian college has come under fire for terminating a professor who said he was let go for bringing an LGBTQ guest speaker (a school alumnus) to his classroom, NBC News noted, citing KFOR. Michael O'Keefe taught graphic design at Oklahoma Christian University for more than 40 years before being fired March 7. O'Keefe's lawyer, Kevin Jacobs, accused the school of discrimination and said the school unfairly disciplined the longtime professor. The university shared a brief statement from Oklahoma Christian University lawyer Stephen Eck: "The decision to end employment was made after a thorough review process. The university will always put first the wellbeing of our students in every decision we make."

Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride—the first openly transgender state senator in U.S. history and the highest-ranking transgender public official—delivered remarks against DE SB227, a bill that would bar transgender students from participating in school athletics, when it came in front of the committee which she chairs, a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) press release noted. In part, McBride (a former national press secretary for HRC) said, "I didn't run to talk for this office to talk about trans identities, I ran because I want to pass paid leave and expand access to health care. But this legislation goes after kids and that's a step too far."

On March 24, the National LGBTQ Task Force delivered 5,257 constituent demands via signed postcards to 88 U.S. senators (38 Republicans and 50 Democrats/Independents) to pass the LGBTQ Equality Act (S.393/HR 5) along with Biden's signature immigration reform bill, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 (HR 1177/S.348), a press release noted. Task Force Executive Director Kierra Johnson said, "We are demonstrating the broad base of support to a majority of the U.S. Senate. Republicans and Democrats. Red states and blue states. Congress must act on LGBT equality by passing the Equality Act."

A measure that would require Maryland's Medicaid program to provide coverage for gender-affirming treatment for transgender people passed through a Maryland House of Delegates committee, per The Washington Blade. The House Health and Government Operations Committee passed the Trans Health Equity Act of 2022 by a vote of 14 to eight. It will proceed to the House floor this week for consideration.

On March 24, Arizona and Oklahoma lawmakers approved multiple anti-LGBTQ+—specifically, anti-transgender—measures, according to The Advocate. In Arizona, the House passed Senate Bill 1138, which bans gender-affirming surgery for minors; Republican Sen. John Kavanagh, the bill's lead sponsor, said that since Arizona legislators outlawed female genital mutilation in 2014, they should likewise ban any sort of genital surgery for young people. In Oklahoma, the Senate passed Senate Bill 2, which would ban trans students from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity; Senate Bill 9, which would expand the definition of obscene materials to include certain depictions of the LGBTQ+ community; and Senate Bill 1100, which would eliminate non-binary gender markers from official documents.

Biden administration officials met virtually with students and families in Florida over the state's Parental Rights in Education bill— known to its critics as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, The Hill noted. At a "listening and learning" roundtable on Thursday, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine heard from children and families in Florida about the impact of the legislation, and affirmed the administration's support for the LGBTQ+ community. Should Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis sign the bill, it will take effect July 1.

In Florida, Ocala-based Embrace Magazine was recently awarded Magazine of the Year by the Florida Magazine Association—marking the first time in the organization's 68-year history that the top honor went to an LGBTQ publication, Press Pass Q noted. Before that, Embrace—an LGBTQ magazine with proactive faith-based content—became the first LGBTQ magazine to win national awards in the Associated Church Press Best in Church Press Awards.

Phoenix's Pat O's Bunkhouse Saloon announced that founder/owner Pat Olivo died, AZCentral.com reported. Olivo lived in the Valley since 1976, he told Phoenix New Times, and he spent decades in the LGBTQ+ bar scene before opening the Bunkhouse in Phoenix's Melrose District, the Valley's go-to gayborhood. The Arizona Republic named Pat O's Bunkhouse one of the 10 essential gay bars in metro Phoenix. The converted house offers pool and live music, and is known as a friendly watering hole for bears and leathermen. A YouTube video of Olivo's memorial service is at https://youtu.be/IiS2S15zROo.

In D.C., Ward 3 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Monika Nemeth—who became the first known transgender person to win election to public office in D.C. when she won her ANC (Advisory Neighborhood Commission) seat in 2018—announced in a Twitter post that she has withdrawn her candidacy for the Ward 3 D.C. Council seat, The Washington Blade reported. Nemeth was one of at least eight candidates running in the city's June 21 Democratic primary for the Ward 3 Council seat, which became open when longtime incumbent Council member Mary Cheh (D) announced in February that she would not seek re-election to the seat. She told the Blade, "There were multiple reasons for my decision. Much of it is personal."

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an official proclamation declaring a Florida resident the "rightful winner" of an NCAA women's swimming championship race over transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who actually prevailed, NBC News reported. DeSantis said he would "reject these lies and recognize" University of Virginia swimmer and Florida resident Emma Weyant, who came in second place, as the winner. NCAA policy allows trans female athletes to compete on a collegiate women's sports team after undergoing testosterone suppression treatment for a year.

The Philadelphia Bar Association is launching a pro bono name-change clinic for many members of the city's LGBTQ community, and it's looking for attorneys to sign up now to help, KYW Newsradio reported. The organization will hold the virtual clinic April 9, and it will be open to transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming Philadelphia residents who are not able to access legal services.

The out gay police sergeant and president of Miami's Fraternal Order of Police who was suspended after he pulled a gun on a Grindr date gone horribly wrong told Miami New Times he's the real victim in the affair, according to out.com . According to the police report the New Times obtained, prosecutors nearly charged Miami Police Department Sgt. Tommy Reyes with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for a January incident in Tallahassee involving Reyes and a date he had met on Grindr. The report also detailed how the young man had robbed Reyes and sent messages to extort and blackmail him. The date admitted to police he took Reyes' wallet, but claimed he did it because of the fear Reyes might "mess with him."

In Springdale, Arkansas, The Transgender Equality Network will host its annual Transgender Day of Visibility event at The Jones Center on Saturday, April 2, with support from INTERFORM, a press release noted. Each year, Transgender Equality Network organizes an annual celebration in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31. This year's free event will consist of in-person and live-streamed panel discussions and speeches, a trans-and-allies exclusive pool party and gym time, a sizing and fitting booth with The Transition Closet, and more.

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced that nominations for The Curve Award for Emerging Journalists, sponsored by The Curve Foundation, will open April 1, per a press release. The deadline to submit a nomination is April 30. Now in its second year, The Curve Award for Emerging Journalists, sponsored by The Curve Foundation, provides financial support to emerging journalists whose work fosters fair and accurate coverage, and elevates the voices of LGBTQ+ women. The award is open to lesbians, queer women, trans women and non-binary people. See www.nlgja.org/awardsinfo/curve-award/ .

In San Francisco, proposed plans for the renovation of the Castro Theatre appear to be more extensive than originally implied by the historic movie palace's new management, according to the Bay Area Reporter. Meanwhile, new management company Another Planet Entertainment will partner with an LGBTQ industry association for construction and architecture as part of the renovation and restoration of the San Francisco movie palace.

In Colorado, Out Boulder County is accepting applications for its fourth annual, no-cost LGBTQ youth summer camp, with spots for up to 18 teens, Daily Camera noted. Youth Program Manager Jenna Howerton described the camp as a "crash course in some of the really fun activities you can do in Colorado." Those who are chosen are asked to attend two mandatory pre-camp hikes in Boulder County on June 3 and July 22.

As President Biden is making plans to study social media's role in the mental health crisis among teens, nonprofit Give Us the Floor (GUTF) is leveraging teen devotion to its mobile devices to create a safe, online community where teens can learn how to share and listen to each other and their own emerging voices and identities, a press release noted. A new app developed specifically for GUTF's supportive group chats helps provide the fundamental lifeline of positive peer relations, especially for teens who are LGBTQIA+. For more info, visit www.giveusthefloor.org .

In the weeks between the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent text messages imploring President Donald J. Trump's chief of staff to take steps to overturn the vote, The New York Times reported. In one message sent in the days after the election, she urged the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to "release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down," invoking a slogan popular on the right that refers to a web of conspiracy theories that Trump supporters believed would overturn the election.


This article shared 954 times since Sun Mar 27, 2022
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