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National roundup: Blood-donor campaign, trans win in Va., Calif. honorees
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-06-20

This article shared 332 times since Tue Jun 20, 2017
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In recognition of World Blood Donor Day, Gay Men's Health Crisis ( GMHC ) and Blood Equality announced a new social-media campaign to end the practice of banning gay and bisexual men from donating blood unless they have been celibate for one year, a press release noted. This campaign includes the release of a new video protesting this inequity and the launch of "Blood Portraits" featuring members of the LGBT community and allies. Blood Equality and GMHC are also calling for supporters to post their own "Blood Selfie" online using the hashtag #BloodEquality and #WorldBloodDonorDay. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E5VjZq4NdI.

Danica Roem beat three Democratic primary challengers to become the first out transgender candidate to win a state legislative primary in Virginia, and taking her one-step closer to becoming the only out trans state legislator in the entire nation, a Victory Fund press release stated. As the Democratic party representative in the District 13 Virginia House of Delegates race, she will challenge incumbent Bob Marshall, who the fund said endorses "anti-LGBTQ issues and [is] the self-described 'chief homophobe' of the state legislature."

The California Legislative LGBT Caucus honored Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and nine other advocates for LGBTQ civil rights during ceremonies in both the Senate and Assembly, an Equality California press release noted. The ceremonies were part of the adoptions of House Resolution 41 and Senate Resolution 46, both in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month. Among others who were honored were National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director Russell Roybal, and Brian Reagan, manager of Orlando's Pulse Night Club and survivor of the deadly shooting there.

The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has directed its lawyers to consider transgender students' discrimination complaints on a case-by-case basis, according to an internal memo that The Washington Post obtained. Candice Jackson, acting head of the civil rights office, said she sent the memo to clarify that transgender students may still have valid discrimination complaints even though the Trump administration withdrew guidance specifying that they have a right under federal law to use school bathroom and locker room facilities corresponding to their gender identity.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made judicial history by nominating Associate Justice Paul Feinman to the New York Court of Appeals, making him the first openly LGBT person to serve on the state's high court, a Lambda Legal press release stated. Lambda Legal Associate Legal Director and Director of Constitutional Litigation Susan Sommer said, in part, "It is more important than ever that our courts reflect the rich diversity of our country. Justice Feinman brings not only integrity and experience to the New York Court of Appeals, but also groundbreaking diversity."

Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS have angrily resigned, saying that President Trump doesn't care about HIV, The Hill noted. Scott Schoettes, Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses Burley III, Michelle Ogle and Grissel Granados publicly announced their resignations in a joint letter published in Newsweek titled, "Trump doesn't care about HIV. We're outta here." The group noted that Trump took down the Office of National AIDS Policy website when he took office and hasn't appointed anyone to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.

Transgender reporter Hanna Zoey Tur wrote a Facebook post in which she stated that her daughter, NBC's Katy Tur, is anti-LGBT and "transphobic," Mediaite reported. Tur told Hollywood Reporter last year that Katy wasn't transphobic, but that her daughter was still dealing with how "her hero father has become this. ... It's the conservatism that she's forced to endure." However, Zoey recently said that Katy is "terrified" to meet with her, and that she broke promises to help heal the rift in their relationship.

Hundreds took to the streets of New York City on June 14, Flag Day ( also President Trump's birthday ), to honor the memory of LGBTQ Rainbow Flag creator Gilbert Baker, who died in late March, according to a press release. The protest march, targeting the Trump administration's anti-LGBTQ policies, included banners created by Baker reading "Republican Hate Kills" and "Don't Buy Trump's Lies." The march was preceded by a memorial rally in front of the famed Stonewall Inn, where speakers included When We Rise author and The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt creator Cleve Jones and NYC City Councilmember Corey Johnson. The ceremony ended with a raising of the Rainbow Flag in Hudson River Park.

During an appearance at a College Republican National Committee convention, Caitlyn Jenner spoke about themass shooting in Alexandria, Virginia. Expressing sympathy for the victims injured in the attack, Jenner also joked that it could have been worse: "Fortunately the guy was a really bad shot," she said. "Liberals can't even shoot straight," TheWrap reported. Four people were wounded in the attack, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Scalise has since had multiple surgeries, and remains in the hospital in serious condition. The College Republican event, which happened June 16, wasn't open to the press; however, the Q&A session with Jenner was recorded as a Facebook Live event by the College Republican Federation of Virginia.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) released a press release noting the homicide of Josie Berrios, a transgender woman of color killed in Ithaca, New York. This is the 13th reported killing of a transgender person of color NCAVP has responded to this year. Michael Davis, 45, was arrested and charged in connection with Berrios' death and is alleged to have had a personal relationship with her.

A bipartisan group of governors has asked Senate leaders to rethink the Trump healthcare bill, The Huffington Post reported. Republican governors John Kasich of Ohio, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts joined Democratic governors Steve Bullock of Montana, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ( R-Ky. ) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ( D-N.Y. ). The House passed its version of the American Health Care Act on a party-line vote in May that followed weeks of internal GOP wrangling behind the scenes.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill that would let faith-based adoption and foster-care agencies decline to place children with LGBT households, according to a Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) press release. "After a legislative session full of attacks on LGBTQ Texans, today, Gov. Abbott has codified anti-LGBTQ discrimination into law by signing HB 3859," said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign as well as a foster and adoptive parent. "This 'Slate of Hate' that the Texas legislature has made a priority harms LGBTQ Texans. This law will now prioritize discrimination over the best interests of children looking for a loving, stable home. That is unconscionable, and we implore Gov. Abbott not to pursue any further forms of anti-LGBTQ discrimination."

On its second try in late May, the Louisiana Senate voted 25-13 to extend state domestic-violence protections to LGBT people and others in same-sex relationships, NOLA.com reported. The Louisiana House has already approved the legislation, so the bill is now headed to Gov. John Bel Edwards for consideration.

Two transgender women were attacked after partying at a Brooklyn gay bar, The New York Daily News reported. Both women were intoxicated and denied booze at a nearby liquor store, police said. The duo—musicians London Jade and Jasmine Infiniti—were then confronted outside by three irate men and a woman screaming derogatory slurs. The encounter turned violent as one knife-wielding attacker slashed Jade in the leg. Infiniti suffered a fractured jaw and contusion in the scuffle, according to the victims and police.

GMHC released a statement in response to the Commerce's Department revocation of equal opportunity employment policies for LGBTQ Amercians. CEO Kelsey Louie said in a press release, in part, "The Commerce Department's decision to remove sexual orientation and gender identity from its equal opportunity employment policy is a direct assault on LGBTQ Americans." The Commerce Department removed language from its annual equal opportunity statement barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, prompting a protest from activists, The Washington Post noted. In response, department officials restored the contested language on June 16.

A transgender woman has filed a civil-rights lawsuit against McDonald's, alleging "extreme sexual harassment and disparate treatment based on sex" that happened during a five-month span when she worked for the company," Teen Vogue noted. According to a civil rights suit published on document cloud thanks to BuzzFeed, La'Ray Reed says she sexually harassed while employed at a Michigan McDonald's, and ultimately fired after she brought the harassment to the attention of her superiors. The lawsuit alleges La'Ray was groped, forced to use an unused bathroom that functioned as a broom closet, asked offensive questions and called offensive names.

Out gay teacher Nikos Giannopoulos displayed his LGBTQ pride as he sported a rainbow pin and clutched a lacy fan in an official photo with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, The Huffington Post noted. Giannopoulos—who teaches 11th and 12th graders at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts in Woonsocket, Rhode Island—visited the White House with other teacher of the year winners in April. He received the photo of his moment with Trump recently and immediately posted it to Facebook.

In Ohio, a man who posted hateful comments about the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and Parade likely will lose his job with Columbus City Schools, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Chris Dodds, 48, is a garage assistant supervisor who has worked for the district since 2004. On a Facebook post to the festival's page, Woods wrote, "I hope this event turns out like the Boston Marathon a few year's [sic] back." Then he used a derogatory term for gays and said they "should be killed or at least relocated."

Clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch provoked anger after posting a tweet suggesting Gay Pride was not just for LGBTQ people, Metro noted. The post, which has now been deleted, read, "The Pride community is everybody, not just LGBTQ people. — Kayla, merchandiser." People became more and more frustrated as the company posted further tweets attempting to explain its stance, leading to criticism that it was attempting to co-opt Gay Pride for marketing purposes.

Bill Cosby's sexual-assault trial against Andrea Constand ended in a mistrial, Deadline reported. ( Cosby's lawyers said on numerous occasions that the encounter with Constand had been of a consensual nature,even though Constand identifies as a lesbian, DW.com noted. ) The decision has, for now, spared the once-beloved actor from a potential decade behind bars, and it came at the end of more than 50 hours of deliberation by the jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Within minutes of the mistrial being declared, the Montgomery County District Attorney's office announced in court and online that they will retry the case.

The Huffington Post announced that it laid off more than three dozen employees June 14, including the site's only Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, as part of broader corporate cutbacks. The creation of a new Verizon digital unit called Oath, following the acquisition of Yahoo, is expected to result in roughly 2,100 layoffs; Verizon owns AOL, HuffPost's parent company. Co-founder Arianna Huffington left the company last August.


This article shared 332 times since Tue Jun 20, 2017
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