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NATIONAL Spa incident, N.J. items, AIDS gala, Tenn. lawsuits
by Windy City Times staff
2021-07-11

This article shared 561 times since Sun Jul 11, 2021
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Tensions rose between protesters and counterprotesters in Los Angeles over a spa incident involving a transgender woman, The Hill reported. Recently, a cisgender woman complained to staff at Wi Spa in Koreatown after a transgender woman disrobed in a designated women's section of the spa. A staff member responded that the facility could not discriminate against the woman based on her gender identity, sparking more outrage among some customers. Exchanges broke out between the two groups, with some quarrels escalating to punches, NBC News noted.

The state of New Jersey formally apologized recently for the "systemic targeting" of gay bars from 1933 to 1967, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (D) said in a statement that his office is seeking to "right a historical wrong," referring to the suspension or revocation of liquor licenses from bars because they served LGBTQ customers. Grewal issued a directive ordering his office's Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to eliminate 126 enforcement actions taken against bars during that time period, such as banning "female impersonators or other person of ill repute" from establishments.

Also, Grewal announced that a Baltimore teen was charged with attempted murder and bias intimidation for allegedly beating and choking a man he thought was gay in North Bergen on June 22, patch.com noted. Jose Tobias Carranza Serrano, a.k.a. "Kevin Lopez," 18, was charged with attempted homicide, bias intimidation, robbery and aggravated assault. Grewal said, in part,"Whether this type of hate-fueled violence is directed against the LGBTQ+ community or other groups, it is terribly destructive to society and we must push back against it in every way possible. That, of course, includes aggressively investigating and prosecuting those who commit such crimes."

Organizers of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) announced they will host The Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS fundraising gala Sept. 17 at West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, a press release noted. Honorees include Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research; and Sandra Thurman, chief strategy officer of the Office of the United States Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy and director of the Joseph W. Blount Center for Health and Human Rights, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. All three will be honored with the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award.

In Tennessee, an openly gay police reserve officer is suing the Memphis Police Department in a federal case, WREG.com reported. Davin Clemons, a former active-duty officer, is a Memphis resident known for fighting discrimination, especially against the LGBTQ community. He's being represented by attorney Maureen Holland, a Memphis attorney involved in the Supreme Court case legalizing same-sex marriage. Clemons is alleging the police, especially through Lt. Col. Dennis McNeil, engaged in discrimination, harassment and retaliation against him based on his sexual orientation, his religion and violations of Americans with Disabilities Act.

A federal judge granted an injunction requested by the ACLU on behalf of two businesses and an individual suing the state of Tennessee and state officials over a recently enacted law that would require any "building or facility open to the general public" to post signage if they allow transgender people access to the bathroom that cisgender people use, LGBTQ Nation reported. The law will not be in effect until the entire litigation is complete and a federal judge issues a decision on its constitutionality. The law, passed as House Bill 1182, requires businesses to post signs that read, "This facility has a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on the restroom." Mike Curb, owner of the Nashville-based Curb Records label, is also suing the state officials over the law in separate litigation pursued by GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD).

The LGBTQ recreational sports community was rocked with the unexpected news that Sin City Classic tournament director Ken Scearce died, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Scearce, 48, was found unresponsive in his home in Los Angeles' Toluca Lake district on July 7. Scearce, a gay man and a national account manager with Encore, was a longtime leader in the Greater Los Angeles Area Softball League and became tournament director of the multi-sport Sin City Classic in 2017. He was inducted in to the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance Hall of Fame in 2014.

The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board asked the Office of the D.C. Attorney General to continue an investigation into allegations that a security officer at Nellie's Sport Bar dragged a Black woman down a flight of stairs during a fight between security officers and other customers during the early morning hours of June 13, The Washington Blade reported. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration report accuses Nellie's of being in violation of the D.C. Code pertaining to its liquor license by failing to follow proper procedures during an outbreak of violence on its premises.

The office of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus is closed "out of an abundance of caution" after members started receiving a barrage of negative messages, including death threats, in response to a mischaracterization of a song the group posted to YouTube, according to the Bay Area Reporter. Executive Director Chris Verdugo said that the website InfoWars—run by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones—called the song "A Message from the Gay Community" "pedophilic" in an online article July 7, unleashing the vitriol. Verdugo said that the song includes the words "we're coming for your children" to evoke long-standing fears that gay men will convert children to homosexuality, for the purpose of exposing those fears. The real conversion gay men are interested in, Verdugo said, is teaching others to be "tolerant and fair."

Equality Florida, Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE), SAGE and other LGBTQ leaders and organizations recently accepted a meeting request from Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar to discuss her positions on LGBTQ equality, according to a press release. Salazar, the statement said, "shocked our community when she voted against the Equality Act, profoundly important legislation that would finally establish in federal statutes comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity." The organizations want Salazar to pledge to support the act and denounce attacks on transgender youth.

In Alaska, an Anchorage faith-based homeless shelter for women is suing the municipality and its Equal Rights Commission over changes to the city's anti-discrimination laws the city assembly approved in May—saying the changes will force it to admit transgender women, which goes against its religious beliefs, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The lawsuit stems in part from a similar case in 2018 brought against the city by the same shelter, the Downtown Hope Center. The city ultimately agreed to pay a settlement after a U.S. District Court judge granted an injunction in the shelter's favor.

The New York Historical Society announced a major expansion that will include an entire floor dedicated to the forthcoming American LGBTQ+ Museum, Q Voice News reported. The addition to the Historical Society's building on Manhattan's Upper West Side will add 70,000 square feet of additional classrooms, galleries, collection study areas and a "state-of-the-art compact storage facility." Once complete, the Historical Society's fourth floor will become the American LGBTQ+ Museum, which has been in the works for at least four years.

Priscilla Wilson and Janice Lymburner recently decided to share their stories and treasured items as part of an initiative at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, called the Invisible Histories Project (IHP), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The IHP—which had its beginning in Birmingham, Alabama, and has since expanded to Georgia and Mississippi—is a nonprofit whose goal is to establish repositories for the preservation of the rich presence of LGBTQ life in the South. See https://invisiblehistory.org/.

Euphoria.LGBT, a mobile-app development company that has received funding from Chelsea Clinton, is adding a transgender-related savings app called Bliss to its lineup this fall, PaymentsSource.com noted. The goal of Bliss is to help transgender individuals save for their transition costs, which Euphoria.LGBT CEO and founder Robbi Katherine Anthony said average $150,000 in the United States and encompass medical, legal and social expenses, such as buying new clothes. Bliss partnered with Jiko, in Berkeley, California, to provide banking services.

Police are investigating a vandalism case in which Pride flags were pulled down at Stepney Green, in Monroe, Connecticut, according to patch.com . The flag had been hung in June by the local group Save Our Stepney Task Force for Pride Month. Five Pride flags had been hung, and whoever pulled them down also cut the flag pole lines that had to be re-strung.

Equality Virginia's eighth annual Transgender Information and Empowerment Summit (TIES) will take place virtually Oct. 20-23, The Washington Blade noted. This year's free conference will be fully digital again to ensure the health and safety of the Virginia community and provide the best experience amid the complexities of working around the COVID-19 pandemic. See https://equalityvirginia.org/events/ties-2021/.

The city of Charlottesville, Virginia removed a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee—toppling a symbol that was at the center of the deadly Unite the Right rally in 2017, NPR reported. The statue—along with another of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson that was also to be removed—will remain on city property until the city council decides what to do with them. Ten groups have expressed interest in the statues, according to a statement from the city.

Former President Donald Trump held a press conference on Wednesday to announce class action claims against Facebook, Twitter and Google, along with their CEOs, after the companies suspended or banned his accounts following the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to Deadline. Trump's megaphone reach has been considerably stifled since he's been sidelined from the major platforms, but he's used their actions to say they are biased against voices on the right.


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