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National: Kameny's honor; Pentagon move; more presidential candidates
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2015-06-02

This article shared 4178 times since Tue Jun 2, 2015
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The U.S. Department of Labor announced that the late gay activist Frank Kameny will be inducted into its Hall of Honor, the organization's highest accolade, Out.com reported. Fired from his job as an astronomer in the U.S. Army Map Service in 1957 because of his homosexuality, Kameny sued his way up to the Supreme Court—the first time a civil-rights claim was brought to justice on the basis of sexual orientation. Kameny, who passed away in 2011, has been widely recognized for decades of service toward LGBT equality.

The Pentagon is preparing to update its Military Equal Opportunity policy to include sexual orientation as a protected class—and the change could be made final as soon as the end of next month, The Washington Blade reported. A proposed change is reportedly set to be delivered to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter for his review and final approval. The policy identifies classes of service members that should be protected from discrimination to allow them to rise to highest level or responsibility possible. Currently, the policy includes race, color, religion, age, physical or mental disability, sex and national origin.

Martin O'Malley has launched his presidential campaign with an appeal to the Democratic Party's progressive base that he hopes will upend the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is destined to clinch the nomination, CNN noted. The former Maryland governor kicked off his campaign in Baltimore, where he was once mayor. A recently Quinnipiac University poll released placed Clinton 56 percentage points ahead of O'Malley.

Also, former Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson has announced his candidacy for the presidency. From a podium at the Chicago Baptist Institute, where he serves as chair, Wilson said that, as president, he would eliminate student debt, scale back the country's foreign aid and reduce the country's unsustainable role of policing the world in order to focus on domestic problems. Wilson, who garnered 10 percent of the vote in the first round of Chicago's mayoral election in Februrary, is now headed to Iowa to meet with elected officials and students.

The Republican presidential field has increased to nine official candidates, as three new contenders entered the race. Former Sen. Rick Santorum ( R-Penn. )—who, in 2012, won the Iowa caucuses and finished second overall to eventual nominee Mitt Romney—is among the newest candidates, The Hill noted. Other new contenders include former New York Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Lindsey Graham ( R-S.C. ). Santorum, in particular, is known for his history of anti-LGBT views.

When asked on NBC's Meet the Press whether he would accept the Supreme Court's ruling if the judicial body legalizes same-sex marriage later this year, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said he would "fight it," according to NBC News. He added, "I think it's important to understand that the Supreme Court doesn't have the final word. It has its word. Its word has validity. But it's important for Congress and the president, frankly, to push back when the Supreme Court gets it wrong."

Embattled gay hotelier Ian Reisner has hired GLAAD's Omar Sharif Jr. to help rehabilitate his reputation, according to Page Six. Gay activists launched a boycott against Reisner's businesses—The Out NYC hotel on West 42nd Street as well as several clubs and restaurants in the Pines on Fire Island—after he recently co-hosted a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Friends of Sharif reportedly begged him not to work for Reisner, but Sharif said Reisner "is very sincere and genuine" in his regret over helping Cruz.

However, it seems that Reisner has dug himself into a deeper hole. According to Metro Weekly, It happens that not only did Reisner host Cruz in his Manhattan apartment, but that he also made the maximum possible donation to his campaign. Reisner cut Cruz a check for $2,700, despite telling New York magazine, "There were no checks given; it was nothing like that." Business partner Mati Weiderpass, who co-hosted the Cruz reception, did not donate.

On Sept. 16-20, Black LGBT activists, thought leaders, elected officials, faith leaders and youths will gather in the nation's capital for the National Black Justice Coalition's ( NBJC ) 6th Annual OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit ( OOTH2015 ), according to a press release. The conference theme for 2015, "We Are Family: Building Stronger Roots Together," calls to action the Black family construct in addressing health and wellness issues through four key summit tracks: health care, economics, spirituality and social justice. Abstracts are due June 26; visit http://bit.ly/OOTH2015AbstractsCall.

A California mother is calling for broader, better support for transgender, genderfluid and non-gender-confirming teenagers after recently losing her trans son to suicide, ABC News noted. Katherine Prescott said Kyler Prescott, 14, locked himself in the bathroom and took his life. Although the family accepted Kyler and did everything they could in support, Katherine Prescott said she believes "there were a number of complex reasons" for the suicide, including society's lack of understanding and tolerance for transgender kids.

In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory said he would veto Senate Bill 2, MyFox8.com reported. The bill would allow court officials to opt out of same-sex marriage duties based on "sincerely held religious" objections. In a statement, McCrory said, "I recognize that for many North Carolinians, including myself, opinions on same-sex marriage come from sincerely held religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, we are a nation and a state of laws."

A Catholic priest fired from a New Jersey private school after taking to Facebook to support gay rights has come out as gay, The New York Daily News reported. Rev. Warren Hall, the former director of Seton Hall University's ministry, never spoke of his sexual orientation during his four-year stint at the South Orange until a student asked him one day. "I have to be myself. I can't worry what other people think," Hall told Outsports. Hall later tweeted, "It was actually tougher to come out that I'm a [New York] Jets fan than this. THAT was embarsssing."

Also in New Jersey, a longtime Wawa employee is suing the convenience-store chain in federal court, claiming she was harassed and eventually fired from her corporate office job after working to create a Gay-Straight Alliance group at the company in 2012. Wendy Thomas, a lesbian, claims in a discrimination lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that her supervisor, Terry Foster, came by her desk in October 2013 and began "loudly mocking" National Coming Out Day to another employee. After Thomas filed a complaint about the incident, Foster allegedly told Thomas he was "unable to establish or grow any trust or respect" after the filing. Thomas was later given a poor review.

In Colorado, a St. Vrain Valley charter school's leadership was under fire from gay-rights activists and others for blocking a class valedictorian from giving a graduation speech in which he planned to out himself as gay, DailyCamera.com noted. Evan Young—an 18-year-old graduating senior at Longmont's Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School with a 4.5 GPA and a scholarship awaiting him at Rutgers University—also was not recognized as valedictorian at his school's May 16 graduation. However, Young was given a second chance to present his speech May 31 at a private home.

New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman said the state should ensure that military veterans discharged for their sexual orientation under the U.S. military's old policies are eligible for the 53 state programs, benefits and tax breaks other vets can get, NJHerald.com reported. Hoylman said he'll sponsor legislation to do that for LGBT New Yorkers who are among the estimated 114,000 service members discharged since World War II for their orientation or gender identity. That number includes 14,000 discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

In Illinois, HB 217, the Youth Mental Health Protection Act, passed the State Senate 34-19 on May 29 as the Illinois General Assembly hurried through the final days of the spring session. The bill protects youth from so-called "conversion therapy," which purports to turn help an LGBT patient straight. HB 217 was sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Daniel Biss and in the House by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has not yet indicated whether he would sign the bill; however, he has talked with Curtis Galloway, of downstate Benton, who had been subjected to conversion therapy.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin ( D-Alexandria )—one of two openly gay members of the Virginia Legislature—has endorsed one of four candidates challenging gay-rights attorney and talk-show host Mark Levine, who's running for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, The Washington Blade reported. Ebbin said he decided to endorse Alexandria government official Craig Fifer in the June 9 Democratic primary for the 45th District seat because "he has the skills and experience to make a difference for LGBT people and all voters in the 45th District." Levine has served as legislative counsel to gay former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank.

Immigration Equality hosted its signature fundraising event, the Safe Haven Awards, at the New-York Historical Society on May 21, a press release stated. More than 400 of the non-profit's supporters, clients and activists united to honor LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants. The organization celebrated its accomplishments over the last year, including more than 700 asylum wins. More than $450,000 was raised to provide free legal services to LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants fleeing persecution and torture.

In California, about 70 protesters, some of them chained together, blocked an intersection in front of the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana in order to call for an end to the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants—particularly LGBTQ ones, ABC7.com reported. "There are LGBTQ folks who are undocumented, and right now there's an urgency to get trans women out of these detention centers," said Jorge Gutierrez, director of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement. After declaring an unlawful assembly, officers arrested five people who refused to move out of the street.

An Internet troll who once claimed President Obama is gay has been banned from Twitter six years after he joined, The New York Post noted. Charles Johnson, 26—a journalist and "debunker of frauds" from California—is known for his openly racist, homophobic and misogynistic remarks. Johnson was finally removed from Twitter after he requested donations to "take out" civil-rights activist DeRay McKesson, who has been outspoken on the Ferguson, Missouri, riots.

A new study from Northwestern Medicine and Vanderbilt University states that HIV has a voracious sweet tooth that turns out to be its Achilles' heel, according to EurekAlert.org . After the virus invades an activated immune cell, it craves sugar and nutrients from the cell to replicate and fuel its growth throughout the body. Scientists discovered the switch that turns on the immune cell's abundant sugar and nutrient pipeline. Then they blocked the switch with an experimental compound, shutting down the pipeline, and, thereby, starving HIV to death.

In South Carolina, a Richland County jury may decide later this year if the Medical University of South Carolina, Greenville Health System and the state child welfare agency are guilty of medical malpractice for removing a baby's penis before he turned 2, PostAndCourier.com reported. Pam and Mark Crawford say surgeons in Charleston and Greenville performed unnecessary sex assignment surgery on their son—named "M.C." in court records—when he was 16 months old. M.C. was born with both male and female reproductive organs, but "there was no medical necessity to remove any of his genital tissue," his adoptive parents have claimed in their lawsuit.

Ashley Lupin—a Walt Disney animator who was part of the first same-sex couple to live in the Motion Picture and Television Fund housing facility when they moved there in 2003—has died at 79 of complications from diabetes, the L.A. Daily News reported. Rabbi Arthur Rosenberg said Lupin and Mary Ann Valentine were the first same-sex couple to gain housing at the Woodland Hills retirement campus established in 1942 by Hollywood titans Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Lupin is survived by her niece; Valentine, Lupin's partner of 30 years, died of cancer six months after they moved into the facility.

A woman who posed as a man to lure a newlywed lawyer into a bogus gay tryst at a boutique hotel before stabbing him to death, has admitted his murder, Sky News reported. Jamyra Gallmon, 21, knifed David Messerschmitt repeatedly in the abdomen, groin and heart during a robbery in Washington, D.C.'s, Donovan Hotel in February. Messerschmitt, 30, an intellectual-property lawyer, had placed an ad on Craigslist soliciting a same-sex sexual encounter. Gallmon's roommate, 19-year-old Dominique Johnson, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery.

In Florida, the City of Key West installed four permanent rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Duval and Petronia streets, in the heart of the island's LGBT entertainment district, according to a press release. It's the first time in Florida that all four corners of an intersection have been connected with rainbow crosswalks. "One Human Family" was adopted as the city's official philosophy in 2000, proclaiming equality and acceptance for everyone, and the island is internationally known as a leading LGBT vacation destination.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) announced that TransTech Social Enterprises ( TTSE ) will maintain an office at HRC national headquarters, giving the Chicago-based company a foothold in the nation's capital to advance its work in providing education, job-skills training and workplace connections to transgender people, according to a press release. Angelica Ross founded TransTech as a combination training academy and creative agency offering services including graphic design, web development and social media management. She will maintain a part-time office at HRC.

Barnard College's board of trustees is expected to vote on a formal policy governing admission of transgender students, according to ABC News. The vote at the Manhattan campus follows those at a number of women's colleges across the country over the past year. In May, Smith College announced it would consider eligible transgender women but not transgender men, nor individuals who don't identify as either female or male. Those who become trans men while at Smith have full support and can graduate.

Organizers announced that Comcast Corporation is the lead marketing sponsor of the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration, according to PhillyGayCalendar.com . Comcast is providing $1.5 million worth of airtime to broadcast a 30-second National LGBT 50th Anniversary public service announcement ( PSA ). From July 2-5,- in Philadelphia, the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration will include panels, Gay Pioneers screening, fireworks, daily parties, LGBT-history exhibits, concerts and more.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is number two on Forbes' latest list of the world's 100 most powerful women, behind only German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Clinton has been on the list every year since it launched in 2004. The top-ranking billionaire this year is Oprah Winfrey at No. 12, who has a personal net worth of $3 billion. A few others on the list are Queen Elizabeth II, Michelle Obama, Beyonce Knowles, Anna Wintour, Taylor Swift ( the youngest entry ever ), actress Sofia Vergara, Google CFO Ruth Porat and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.

Tallywackers—Dallas restaurant serving up muscular waiters in tank tops and skin-tight short shorts/underwear—opened for business after a Craigslist help wanted ad for the eatery got national attention in April, Towleroad noted. One customer said, "I expected to see cute men, scantily clad, and so far I'm not disappointed. I think it's about time men had a place to go to—gay men, at least—instead of places like Hooters and Twin Peaks." One waiter said he's already gotten a few regulars.

Controversial new regulations that would require California porn stars to wear safety goggles during shoots are close to being finalized, according to an EDGE Boston item. The measures would aim to protect porn actors in California from contracting sexually transmitted diseases. The proposed regulations also include requirements for producers who will have to pay for medical tests and hepatitis B vaccines for actors. Those in the porn industry have complained about the proposed regulations, saying it would hurt business.


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