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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL 'Trans in the South,' N.C. ordinance, HIV lawsuits, Andrew Yang
by Windy City Times staff
2021-04-25

This article shared 654 times since Sun Apr 25, 2021
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The Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) released the 2021 edition of Trans in the South: A Directory of Trans-Affirming Health & Legal Service Providers, a press release noted. Nearly 400 providers from across the South—including primary-care physicians, mental health providers, lawyers, endocrinologists, HIV care providers, reproductive health experts, and more—who report being trans-affirming are included in the guide. The site also includes information about insurance coding; additional national, regional and state directories; and resources to assist with funding medical transition. See https://southernequality.org/resources/transinthesouth/.

In North Carolina, the Buncombe County Commission voted six to zero to pass an ordinance that protects residents from discrimination based on race, natural hair or hairstyles, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ancestry, marital or familial status, pregnancy, veteran status, religious belief or non-belief, age or disability, according to a press release from Equality NC and the Campaign for Southern Equality. Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson said, "At a time when transgender and gender-nonconforming youth are under attack in our state and across this country, it's heartening to see Buncombe County take such a public stand on the rights and protections of LGBTQ North Carolinians. With this western county affirming the right to nondiscrimination for our most vulnerable community members, Buncombe has demonstrated that this truly is a statewide movement for our communities."

"John Doe," an HIV-positive bisexual man, has filed suit against former employer Thermo Electric, claiming he was wrongfully demoted and subsequently terminated after his health status was discovered, Philadelphia Gay News reported. Throughout his employment, Doe's direct supervisor would make disparaging comments directed against the LGBT community, including using the words "faggots" and "fags," and stating "That's gay," according to the lawsuit. In addition, in February 2020, Doe was allegedly demoted to the position of quality control inspector (from inventory supervisor) after company officials discovered his HIV-positive status; in June 2020, Doe was fired—allegedly because of his LGBT status and his HIV status, according to the lawsuit.

The former owner of a New Mexico spa has been charged with two dozen felonies after two of her clients tested positive for HIV following a procedure known as a "vampire facial," iHeart.com noted. The procedure involves drawing a small amount of blood, which is then spun to extract the plasma; the plasma is then injected back into the client. Authorities began investigating Maria Ramos de Ruiz—the owner of VIP Salon, in Albuquerque—in 2018 after the New Mexico Department of Health received a report that somebody who underwent a vampire facial tested positive for HIV.

New York mayoral hopeful and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang didn't quite land his speech to a major New York City Democratic LGBT group, according to a Mediaite item that cites a New York Times report. "I genuinely do love you and your community," Yang told the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York during a virtual endorsement interview Wednesday, according to the Times. "You're so human and beautiful. You make New York City special. I have no idea how we ever lose to the Republicans given that you all are frankly in, like, leadership roles all over the Democratic party." Yang also "cited gay members of his staff as apparent evidence of his openness to the club's concerns, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of visiting Cubbyhole, a storied New York lesbian bar," the Times reported.

Philadelphia community leader/activist Jonathan Lovitz announced his candidacy for state rep of the 182nd District seat, according to Instinct Magazine. No stranger to community outreach and activism, Lovitz has served as the senior vice president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce for the past five years. He was also the co-organizer of PhillyVoting.org, whose mission was to strengthen voting in both Black and LGBTQ community in 2020.

Equality Texas and GLAAD responded to the state's large slate of anti-transgender bills, and the outpouring of public testimony at a April 20 hearing in the Texas House Public Education Committee regarding the proposed ban against transgender students, HB 4042, a press release noted. Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez stated, "The passing of this bill is discriminatory, targets our most vulnerable children and is not supported by fact. Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident—in Texas or anywhere else." There are more than 20 proposed anti-LGBTQ laws currently in the Texas legislature—the most of any state in the country.

The Oklahoma House passed Senate Bill 2—an anti-transgender bill that bans transgender girls and women from participating in sports at the elementary, secondary or post-secondary level consistent with their gender identity, and requires parents to annually file an affidavit confirming the gender identity of their child, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) noted. HRC President Alphonso David said, "Without a doubt, this discriminatory bill will harm transgender kids. It singles out children who are just trying to learn important skills of teamwork, sportsmanship and competition in a healthy environment."

An out gay man who leads a law firm was among a long list of honorees at a "Power Lawyer" event hosted by Schneps Media, according to Gay City News. (Schneps is Gay City News' parent company.) Joseph Milizio was tapped as a "Power Lawyer" thanks to his work at Vishnick McGovern Milizio, where he specializes in business and transactional law, exit planning for business owners, LGBTQ representation, surrogacy, adoption and reproductive law.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed a controversial sex-education bill but issued an executive order requiring public notice of any such curriculum before it can be used in state classrooms, AZCentral.com reported. The dual actions appeared to be a compromise between the provisions of Senate Bill 1456 and critics who said it would marginalize LGBTQ children by, among other things, banning discussion of issues related to LGBTQ history. The bill—sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix—had strong GOP support but equally strong opposition from Democrats.

New Jersey is now joining at least 19 states and Washington, DC, in allowing an "X" gender identifier on driver's licenses and other identification—a big step for those who identify as non-binary, or someone who doesn't identify as male or female, CNN.com reported. The additional gender option was officially made available to comply with part of legislation passed in 2018 to allow residents to change their gender identification more easily, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) announced.

According to Susan Page's new book, Madam Speaker, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) allegedly refused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-California) request to honor late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a memorial in the Capitol Rotunda, LGBTQ Nation noted. Ginsburg would have been the first woman to lie in state in the rotunda; instead, her coffin was placed in Statuary Hall on the House side of the Capitol. Neither McConnell nor House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) attended the service.

Out NFL veteran and writer Ryan K. Russell penned an op-ed for the Guardian that spoke out against the wave of anti-trans legislation seeking to prevent trans youth from participating in sports, according to LGBTQ Nation. Russell came out as bisexual in 2019 after playing in the NFL for three seasons. In part, he wrote that "the locker room is a place that, regardless of what's going on in your day-to-day life, you should feel a part of something great, powerful, and welcoming. LGBTQ+ people and trans people need that more than anyone. To exclude trans athletes is to use sport in direct opposition of where its true power lies."

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed two bills tightening gun regulations into law, nearly a month after the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, left a police officer and nine others dead, CNN.com reported. Both measures were introduced before the mass shooting occurred on March 22 at a grocery store; however, the tragedy added to the public pressure and urgency to act on legislation, lawmakers have said.

An anti-discrimination ordinance was approved in Scottsdale, Arizona, that makes it illegal for a person to be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public places, The Hill noted. The City Council of Scottsdale passed it unanimously, and the measure will take effect May 20. The ordinance applies to all city officials, city volunteers and those who work for the city.

Trevor Wilkinson—the gay teen who got suspended for wearing nail polish to his Texas high school because of its dress code—prevailed in his case, LGBTQ Nation reported. "MY HIGH SCHOOLS DRESS CODE IS GENDER NEUTRAL FOREVER OH MY GOODNESS," he tweeted after the district school board decided to change the dress code to no longer differentiate the policy by gender. A school board committee created to review the policy unanimously voted to toss the old policy. The new policy removes policy differences and references to "boys" and "girls" with "students" and does not prevent students of any gender from wearing makeup, nail polish, jewelry or piercings. Among those who had defended Wilkinson publicly was rapper Lil Yachty, Complex noted.

A Virginia House of Delegates candidate recently said transgender servicemembers who undergo gender-reassignment surgery are "unfit for duty," The Washington Blade reported. "We have our vice president saying that veterans are not special citizens. They are," said Tim Cox. "And in some of these places they did not have the funds to do the exercises that some of these veterans needed to regain movement of their limbs and yet we're doing transgender reassignment surgery. That is gross and disgusting and that makes you unfit for duty." Cox—who has defended the comments—is seeking the Republican nomination in the race for the seat that state Del. Hala Ayala (D-Prince William County), who is running for lieutenant governor, announced she will vacate.

A woman in Brooklyn was shot execution-style in broad daylight by her ex-girlfriend in a truly horrifying murder that was caught on video, LGBTQ Nation reported. Latisha Bell, 38, was arrested and is being charged with murder and a weapon-possession charge in connection to the death of Nichelle Thomas, 52, a mother of two.

Videographer Seth Curl walked out of a lesbian couple's wedding when he noticed that they are a same-sex couple, citing "his faith" as his excuse for ruining the wedding, according to LGBTQ Nation. "All I know is our happiness on our special day has forever been stolen from us," Clarissa Teegan wrote on Facebook about the experience. Clarissa and wife Teegan Templeton said in an interview with Insider that they worked two jobs in order to afford their dream wedding at a farm in North Carolina, something that they've been planning for 14 months. Curl's employer, Tolman Media, fired him.

Brand/Pride—a lesbian-owned, LGBTQ-certified branding solutions company— announced the official launch of Pride in a Box, an at-home Pride kit, a press release noted. The starter kit comes with a "Love Is Love" explosion box, a "Love Wins" bandana and coaster, a balloon banner, a personalized card and more. See www.PrideinaBox.com .

Kellogg's and GLAAD have teamed again to create a rainbow-themed breakfast cereal in honor of Pride month, according to Out.com . They've launched a special "Together with Pride" cereal filled with rainbow and heart-shaped bites, and sprinkled with edible glitter. Kellogg's announced it will donate portions of the sales from the cereal to GLAAD to help aid in its anti-bullying and LGBTQ+-advocacy efforts.

Key West, Florida will welcome visitors to its annual Pride festivities Wednesday through Sunday, June 2-6, a press release noted. The 2021 festival schedule includes pool parties at guesthouses and emporiums, drag shows by Key West performers, a street fair on famed Duval Street, nighttime soirees at local clubs, a burlesque-style show with an LGBTQ flair, and a lively brunch served with drag performances on the side. See gaykeywestfl.com/pride/.

LGBTQ media company Aequalitas Media announced the formation of the Gay Travel Business Network (GTBN), a new LGBTQ+ B2B travel organization with Ed Salvato as executive director, advised by a founding board of directors, a press release noted. The GTBN connects LGBTQ+ travel-related businesses and organizations that want to do business with each other, with the primary goal of driving revenue to members.

WMN—a NYC-based lesbian publication of art and poetry that focuses on marginalized lesbian-identified artists—will have its zine launch May 15, according to a statement. The date will be marked at Alice Austen House Museum on Staten Island, and the event will adhere to COVID-related protocols.

Ex-NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo lost his lawsuit to have his job reinstated, after he was fired for his role in the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, ABC7NY.com reported. A state appellate court agreed with NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado in ruling that Pantaleo was reckless when he put Garner in a chokehold during an arrest in 2014 that led to his death. Pantaleo was fired in 2019, after a department trial found he used an unauthorized chokehold.

A recent poll showed that nearly half of Texans would support Dallas Buyers Club star Matthew McConaughey over the incumbent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in a run for governor, according to Forbes. This is considered a promising sign for the Oscar-winning actor, who said he is considering trying his hand at politics. The poll found 45% of registered Texas voters would cast a ballot for McConaughey over Abbott, who garnered just 33% of respondents' support for governor.

A page from Tucker Carlson's 1991 Trinity College yearbook went viral, apparently linking the controversial Fox News host to Dan White—the assassin who killed Harvey Milk, California's first openly gay elected politician, The Guardian reported. The yearbook entry tied Carlson to the Dan White Society, potentially named for the San Francisco supervisor who fatally shot Milk as well as the city's mayor, George Moscone, in 1978. Political commentator Travis Akers posted the yearbook reference to social media after Carlson attacked Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple, whom he called a "mentally unbalanced middle-aged man."


This article shared 654 times since Sun Apr 25, 2021
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