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National: SAGE gala; intersex suit; Pelosi; 'Dying Words'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2015-10-27

This article shared 2715 times since Tue Oct 27, 2015
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On Oct. 19, SAGE ( Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders ) held its 20th-anniversary awards and gala at Gotham Hall in New York. The event raised more than $775,000—a SAGE record—and served to recognize SAGE's achievements throughout the country, as well as honoring five leaders committed to improving life among diverse LGBT aging populations. The honorees included Jim Obergefell, who was presented with the LGBT Pioneer Award by SAGE board member emerita Edie Windsor. Gabriella Pizzolo, child star of Fun Home—Broadway's first-ever musical with a lesbian protagonist and winner of five 2015 Tony Awards—rounded out the evening with a special performance of "Ring of Keys."

Lambda Legal filed a federal-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. State Department on behalf of an intersex client, Dana Zzyym, denied a U.S. passport because Zzyym could not accurately choose either male or female on the passport application form, and the form allegedly does not provide any other gender marker designation, according to an organizational press release. Zzyym—who uses the gender-neutral pronouns "they," "them" and "their"—was born with ambiguous sex characteristics. Shortly after their birth, their parents and doctor decided to raise them as a boy.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ( D-California ) addressed the record number of transgender murders this year in the United States, saying the violence is "heartbreaking" and "it's important to listen to the people most affected by it," The Washington Blade reported. Pelosi made the remarks in response to a question from the Blade on what should be done about the spike in anti-violence following the recent death of Baltimore resident Zella Ziona, whose murder many are counting as the 21st transgender murder in 2015. "We can pass a law, we can help to break down barriers in people's minds," Pelosi said. "Now we have to get to their hearts, but it is heartbreaking to hear of violence against anyone, but the vulnerability of our transgender community."

Dying Words: The AIDS Reporting of Jeff Schmalz and How It Transformed The New York Times, will be released Dec. 1 to coincide with World AIDS Day, according to a press release. The multimedia project will be in audio-documentary form with a companion book about the journalist who covered the AIDS epidemic as he was dying of the disease. A collaborative effort led by author, professor and journalist Samuel G. Freedman and radio producer Kerry Donahue, the project will air on radio stations across the country beginning in November.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) praised the news that the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) have proposed new regulations implementing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, a press release stated. According to the Treasury Department, the proposed regulations will clarify "that a marriage of two individuals, whether of the same sex or the opposite sex, will be recognized for federal tax purposes if that marriage is recognized by any state, possession, or territory of the United States. The proposed regulations would also interpret the terms 'husband' and 'wife' to include same-sex spouses as well as opposite-sex spouses."

The Mormon Church has advocated for compromises between protecting religious liberties and prohibiting discrimination, and criticizing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis for refusing to license same-sex marriages, according to Yahoo! News. "We may have cultural differences, but we should not have 'culture wars,'" Mormon leader Dallin H. Oaks stated. National LGBTQ Task Force Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action the Rev. Rodney McKenzie said in a statement, "This is another positive development in shifting the phony narrative that people of faith aren't supportive of LGBTQ people and that LGTBQ people aren't people of faith."

Speaking of Davis, April Miller and Karen Roberts—the first same-sex couple who the clerk denied a license to—married in Morehead, Kentucky, according to the Associated Press. The couple laid out one rule for their guests: No one was to mention Davis. "This is about us and our wedding," Roberts said.

Fliers urging residents to join the Ku Klux Klan ( KKK ) have been appearing in a New Jersey town, PIX11.com reported. The leaflets call on Lyndhurst residents to "Join the Klan and Save Our Land" and reportedly bash gay men, Blacks and Hispanics. One page slams Jeb Bush for "browning" the country, claiming that he would open our borders. The fliers include a website and phone number for the Pelham, North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the KKK.

Gavin Grimm, a transgender male student in Gloucester County, Virginia, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to stop his school district from enforcing a policy that segregates transgender students from their peers and requires them to use "alternative private" restroom facilities, according to an ACLU press release. The American Civil Liberties Union and ALCU of Virginia, representing Gavin, brought the case against the Gloucester County School Board in June 2015 seeking an injunction for immediate relief. But in September, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar ruled against Grimm.

An application will be submitted to the Philadelphia School District's Charter School Office next month that proposes the creation of a new charter school that would have an emphasis on anti-bullying and include an LGBT-awareness curriculum, Philadelpha Gay News reported. The James Baldwin Charter High School would educate students grades nine through 12, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics ( STEM ). The school would operate out of a site that is currently vacant in West Philadelphia's Mantua neighborhood.

The final report from the Vatican Synod on the Family offers little that is positive for LGBT people says DignityUSA, a leading organization of LGBT Catholics. The document tells families with gay members to welcome them with respect, but adds, "[T]here is no foundation whatsoever to assimilate or establish even remotely analogous between homosexual unions and God's plan for marriage and the family." It also affirms the "right" of children to grow up in families with a father and a mother, and decries the "ideology of 'gender' that denies the difference and natural reciprocity of men and women."

At a hearing, the Miami-Dade County Office of Property Appraisal agreed to reinstate the spousal homestead protections of Hal Birchfield, a gay widower previously denied protections against certain tax increases for the home he had shared with his husband because his marriage was not recognized at the time of his husband's death, Lambda Legal announced. In addition, the county will reimburse Birchfield the taxes he paid while he contested the denial of the homestead tax protections.

HRC sponsored an Inclusive Families Conference in Salt Lake City to gather together local leaders, citizens and advocates to promote a positive vision of LGBT people and their families, according to an HRC newsletter. The conference was part of HRC's public effort to call out the World Congress of Families ( WCF ) ahead of its international conference. Among the slated speakers at WCT, which started Oct. 27, are U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's father, a Putin advisor and a Nigerian activist who compared gays to Boko Haram.

A specialty drug company says it can offer a cheap alternative to compete with Turing CEO Martin Shkreli's controversial $750 pill that sparked outrage after the price was dramatically increased, NBC News reported. San Diego-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals says it can make a close, customized version of the drug for $1 a pill. That's a big contrast to the $750-a-dose that Shkreli said Turing was going to start charging for Daraprim, which fights various infections, including HIV.

A man in Nebraska just published an apology to a young gay couple he taunted in public more than 20 years ago, Queerty noted. The anonymous letter was posted on Craigslist in Omaha, Nebraska. "Dear young gay couple in 1993," it begins. "You were sitting together on the curb near the entrance of Worlds of Fun. I was walking in with my church youth group. I was 17 and bigoted, taught that you were wrong and sinful. I looked over to see you together, relaxed and confident, and I said out loud, 'Ewww gross.'" The man goes on to say he is "so sorry" for ruining their special moment together and for treating them as second-class citizens.

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair is rescinding a $10,000 contribution he made against HERO, the city's equal-rights ordinance, The Houston Chronicle noted. McNair released a statement saying unauthorized statements attributed to his beliefs were distributed that were never discussed with him, adding he won't tolerate any personal or professional discrimination. Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director Hudson Taylor said in a separate statement, "Bob McNair, like many Houstonians, decided to take a second look at HERO, and realized that the values of sportsmanship require treating everyone fairly and equally, on the field and under the law." Several pro-LGBT people and groups had initially criticized McNair, including former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, noted CBS Houston.

In West Virginia, a transgender individual is running for Mr. Marshall ( at Marshall University ) for the first time, WSAZ.com reported. Transgender man Ashley Prichard ran for Miss Marshall last year. Prichard, who said he attempted suicide this past summer, has stated he's faced negativity and criticism during this process but, by making it to this point, he hopes to be an inspiration to others struggling to be themselves.

Democratic presidential hopeful Lincoln Chafee has withdrawn from the race. Chafee, a former governor and U.S. senator from Rhode Island, used an appearance in Washington at a Democratic National Committee forum on women's leadership to make his announcement, The Washington Post announced. Chafee bowed out with a plea for "an end to the endless wars and the beginning of a new era for the United States and humanity."

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) announced that Accenture will receive the HRC Corporate Equality Award at the 2016 Greater New York Gala on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The award recognizes Accenture's commitment to equality for the LGBT community. Accenture has consistently earned a perfect score of 100 on the HRC Corporate Equality Index.

Anteros Cruises LLC has introduced the world's first dedicated LGBT cruise line, scheduled to commence sailings in April 2017, a press release stated. Among other things, the company promises "world-class cuisine, signature amenities and as much or little Internet connectivity as they desire." Visit www.AnterosCruises.com .


This article shared 2715 times since Tue Oct 27, 2015
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