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National: NBJC and GLAAD changes, Elizabeth Taylor, Thiel blowback
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 280 times since Tue Feb 28, 2017
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The National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) has expanded its staff and promoted current staff talent with the announcement of two new directors to lead key divisions of the organization's efforts, a press release noted. Nakisha M. Lewis has joined the organization as the director of programs and institutional development; Isaiah R. Wilson, who has been with NBJC since January 2014, has been promoted to director of external affairs.

Media watchdog GLAAD is launching two new programs—and two key hires to go with them—in response to "rising threats" against the LGBTQ community in the age of Trump, TheWrap noted. Rich Ferraro has been named GLAAD chief communications officer, returning to the organization to oversee the newly created News & Rapid Response department after a stint as a senior director in communications and public affairs at Viacom. In addition, GLAAD will also launch a Digital Campaigns & External Engagement department; Jim Halloran will serve as chief digital officer.

In honor of what would have been Elizabeth Taylor's 85th birthday on Feb. 27, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation ( ETAF ) has released a short video to celebrate her legacy, a press release noted. The video is narrated by philanthropist, artist, and actress Miley Cyrus, in a nod to their shared experiences growing up in the public eye. Founded by Elizabeth Taylor in 1991, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation provides grants to domestic and international programs that offer direct-care services to people living with HIV and AIDS.

South Florida Gay News has gotten some blowback because of its choice for person of the year: gay Republican and Trump supporter Peter Thiel, Press Pass Q noted. Publisher Norm Kent wrote, in part, "A lone voice in the wilderness, he bucked the LGBT establishment as he has so often in his own personal and political career. That person … is the man who stood before the GOP convention in Cleveland this past July, and told its audience, 'I am a proud gay man.'" One reader wrote, "Thiel supports the same man who is supported by anti-Semites, the KKK, and other white supremacy groups. By supporting a Republican, any Republican, you are committing treason against your community here in South Florida and against our LGBT tribe of people everywhere."

"This is a disaster," Caitlyn Jenner responded, to President Donald Trump's withdrawal of federal guidelines that let transgender students use restrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity, Deadline noted. Jenner tweeted, "Well @realDonaldTrump, from one Republican to another, this is a disaster. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me." Jenner was named during the White House press briefing by a reporter who asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer how to reconcile the guideline-nixing with Trump having said the reality-TV star could use whichever Trump Tower bathroom she chooses.

Mothers of murdered children, victims/survivors from the Orlando mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub, the club's owner and GLAAD have pressed Univision not to air a segment on its weekend crime show CrÃ"nicas de Sabado titled "Bano De Sangre" ( it translates to Blood Bath ), about last year's massacre that killed 49 people and injured hundreds more physically and/or mentally, Deadline noted. Many of the victims Deadline spoke with said victims were taken advantage of by Univision for nothing more than ratings and ad sales.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) issued a release marking the fatal stabbing of Ciara McElveen, a Black transgender woman killed in New Orleans. This was the sixth reported killing of a transgender/gender non-conforming person NCAVP has responded to in 2017. Her homicide happened only two days after another Black transgender woman, Chyna Gibson, was shot and killed in New Orleans.

The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a city's ordinance banning discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity—but it stopped short of saying whether a state law aimed at prohibiting such local LGBT protections is constitutional, CBS News reported. The justices reversed a judge's decision that Fayetteville's anti-discrimination ordinance didn't violate a state law prohibiting cities from enacting protections not covered by state law.

GLSEN has launched 100 Days of Kindness, a national campaign inviting the LGBT community to post messages of support to LGBTQ students on social media by sharing moments of #KindnessInAction, a press release noted. Each message shared will form a brick in a virtual wall of kindness on this webpage,

The White House said that President Trump would "welcome" a meeting with the young singer who sang the national anthem at his inauguration and her transgender sister, Page Six noted. "Yeah, I think the president would be welcome to meet with her," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at a daily press briefing. Jackie Evancho, the 16-year-old star who sang at Trump's inauguration, requested the meeting with the president after he reversed transgender bathroom protections. Evancho's older sister, Juliet, is transgender.

In the wake of rguidance on Title IX protections for transgender students being rescinded, GLSEN and PFLAG have united to relaunch its #ClaimYourRights Campaign, a press release noted. The campaign aims to help anyone affected by or witnessing anti-transgender discrimination in our schools file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education. The program was originally launched in 2009; visit or

Gary Suttles—an administrative Social Security judge who hears disability cases in Houston—says the federal government violated his civil rights when it required him to view a training video about LGBT awareness and inclusion in the workplace, The Houston Chronicle reported. Now he is suing the government in federal court on allegations that the mandatory video created a "religiously hostile work environment" bolstered by the threat of sanctions if he failed to watch the 17-minute video on demand. The Social Security Administration declined to comment on pending litigation or personnel matters.

A 17-year-old transgender wrestler who qualified for the girls state tournament while transitioning from female to male has become a high-profile test of a year-old Texas policy that required athletes to compete under the gender on their birth certificates, reported. Mack Beggs, a junior at Euless Trinity High School in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, won a regional championship after two opposing wrestlers forfeited—apparently over concerns that Beggs has an unfair advantage because of testosterone treatments that are part of the transition. Attorney Jim Baudhuin unsuccessfully sought an injunction before the district and regional meets, seeking to prevent Beggs from wrestling during the transition.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley ( IL-05 )—vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and a founding member of the Transgender Equality Task Force—released a statement after the Trump administration decided to rescind the Obama administration's Title IX guidance protecting the rights of transgender students. In part, Quigley said, "The Administration's decision to roll back transgender student protections shows that President Trump is set on abandoning his campaign promise to protect LGBT Americans from discrimination."

Openly gay South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg withdrew his bid to lead the Democratic National Committee—a race Tom Perez ultimately won—acknowledging his steep odds of winning and saying he wants to help unite the party, the South Bend Tribune reported. Buttigieg had been formally nominated for the chair position Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley; however, Buttigieg took the podium and announced he was dropping out. Buttigieg did not endorse another candidate.

In New Jersey, a 13-year-old boy has alleged that he was kicked out of Catholic education classes "because of who I love, Asbury Park Press reported. Peter Lanza Jr. was told by his catechism teacher at St. Aloysius Parish that he was "not allowed to be here anymore." Lanza is openly gay, according to a Chasing New Jersey report on the controversy. The church flatly denied Lanza's claims, but declined to explain why Lanza was "transferred" to home catechism study.

An Alabama Senate committee has advanced a bill to let faith-based adoption agencies—including those that care for state foster children—turn away gay couples on religious grounds, reported. The Senate Health Committee voted six to one for the legislation that would prohibit the state from refusing to license or sign contracts with adoption groups that refuse services to people on religious grounds. A House committee has passed a similar measure.

Gay Washington, D.C., Police Sgt. Matthew Mahl—who has served as head of the city's police union since April 1, 2016—narrowly survived an effort by dissident union members to remove him from office in a recall election, The Washington Blade noted. The vote fell just short of a two-thirds, or 66.3 percent, majority vote needed to remove a union leader from office under the union's rules. The recall vote was possibly triggered by the belief by many officers that Mahl did not negotiate a strong enough agreement providing back pay for officers required to work overtime during special police deployments.

Kelly Schneider—the 23-year-old Idaho man who posed as an escort and lured a gay man to his death—has reversed his original not guilty plea and has now pled guilty to a federal hate crime, Instinct Magazine noted. Schneider was accused of fatally beating Steven Nelson, 49, who died later that day in the hospital after providing information to the police. Sentencing is set for April 26 in front of Chief U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill, The Idaho Statesman reported.

In New York, a brutal assault outside an Allentown pizzeria is being seen as a possible hate crime, after two gay men were called derogatory names by a group of unidentified males and one was abruptly punched in the face, The Buffalo News reported. Buffalo resident Mike Slater, 21, and his roommate, Raven Hillyard, said they chose to go public with the incident, including on Facebook, to help shed light on what happened and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Milo Yiannopoulos' recently revealed comments about sexual relationships between older men and minors are "indefensible" and "appalling," Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow said, The Huffington Post reported. Shortly thereafter, Yiannopoulos resigned from the conservative news site, saying the decision "was mine alone," TheWrap noted. Yiannopoulos, a Trump supporter, also joked that being molested had made him good at oral sex.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has filed for divorce from Carole, his wife of nearly nine years, Page Six noted. "I think the world of Carole. She's an amazing person. It just didn't work out for us," former Florida governor Crist told the Tampa Bay Times. "I wish all the the best for her." The Huffington Post had noted that, in the past, Crist has refuted allegations regarding his sexual orientation; in 2012, there were allegations that Crist paid two men to conceal gay affairs. The charges were revealed in documents obtained by local station WTSP, relating to the investigation of former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer.

Alan Colmes—the cable news and radio commentator who, as half of Fox News' early and long-running Hannity & Colmes, was the network's go-to voice for a more liberal viewpoint—is dead at the age of 66, according to Deadline. Colmes death was announced on Fox News in a segment narrated by Hannity, who called Colmes "one of the nicest, kindest and most generous people."

This article shared 280 times since Tue Feb 28, 2017
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