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National roundup: 'Mormon and Gay,' Stonewall Awards, trans report
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 610 times since Tue Nov 1, 2016
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is trying to soften its tone toward gays and lesbians with the launch of a new website, Mormon and Gay, The Wall Street Journal noted. The website ( )—a revamp of a previous site called "Mormons and Gays"—doesn't alter church doctrine, which forbids same-sex relationships. But it offers a more welcoming message from Mormon leaders, highlighting the stories of gay and lesbian Mormons who have struggled to reconcile their sexual attractions with their faith. Kendall Wilcox, a gay Mormon activist, said the website's overtures to gays and lesbians might look "pathetic" to outsiders, but for the LDS church, it was a "revolutionary step forward."

Three longstanding LGBT legal activists will be honored by the American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with its fifth annual Stonewall Award during a ceremony Feb. 4, 2017, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Miami, a press release stated. The recipients are Kevin Cathcart, the executive director of Lambda Legal; Diana K. Flynn, chief of the Appellate Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice; and Tonya Parker, judge of the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County, Texas.

The reclamation of queer has come a long way: GLAAD is now recommending that media organizations add the Q to the LGBT acronym, reported. The recommendation comes in the 10th edition of the organization's Media Reference Guide. As the media guide notes, many millennials and even younger people identify as queer because they find the terms lesbian, gay, or bisexual too limiting or loaded with cultural baggage they don't wish to carry.

Adults who identify as transgender are more racially and ethnically diverse than the U.S. population overall, according to a new study released by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, a press release stated. This study is the first to provide estimates of the racial and ethnic make-up of adults who identify as transgender in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. "Race and Ethnicity of Adults who Identify as Transgender in the United States" is at

In Philadelphia, the Mayor's Office of LGBT Affairs is creating a commission to address issues within the LGBT community such as racism and homelessness, reported. The creation of the Mayor's Commission on LGBT Affairs comes three weeks after a 2013 video surfaced online that showed Darryl DePiano, the owner of gay bar iCandy in the Gayborhood, using racial slurs repeatedly. The video led to protests and boycotts of LGBT bars in Center City that allegedly discriminated against LGBT people of color.

On June 24, President Obama designated Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America's National Park System. Stonewall is the first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights in America. In support of this historic designation, Pride Live Nation has partnered with Charitybuzz and some of the biggest names in entertainment to raise funds directly for the Stonewall National Monument, according to a press release. Anderson Cooper, Cyndi Lauper, Taylor Swift and Cher are among those donating items; see

The Halloween edition of Pittsburgh's OUTrageous Bingo featured some big names behind the bouncing balls: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, Mayor Bill Peduto of nearby Pittsburgh and local politicos like Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus, the city's first openly gay elected official, LGBTQ Nation noted. Kraus was there as a special guest to get out the vote, Peduto is running for re-election, and de Blasio was on hand to rally support for U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

In Santa Barbara, California, an openly gay man was reportedly attacked because of his sexual orientation, The Santa Barbara Independent noted. Richard Schiwietz strolled down State Street arm-in-arm with a male friend, when a man approached them, flipped him off and yelled, "Faggot! Your mother's a whore!" After the man threatened to hit him, he actually did do, punching Schiwietz and knocking off his glasses. District Attorney Joyce Dudley plans to charge John Savala with a felony hate crime.

In Iowa, a candidate for Black Hawk County supervisor who would be the first openly gay man to serve in that position woke up to find homophobic slurs spray painted on his home and in his yard, The Des Moines Register reported. The vandal( s ) used black spray paint to write "fag" on Chris Schwartz's campaign sign and "Lev 20:13" on his front door, while other campaign signs promoting Democratic candidates had black lines crossing out their names. Schwartz, of Waterloo, shares the home with his boyfriend and campaign manager Logun Buckley.

In New York City, relatives of the late Bill Cornwell are seeking to evict his surviving partner of 55 years, Tom Doyle, reported. Cornwell died in 2014, and his family is contesting his will, a legal battle that could force Doyle out of the home the men shared. Cornwell, who passed away at the age of 88, left Doyle everything in his will. There was, though, just one problem: The document was only signed by one person—Doyle's niece, Sheila McNichols. Without a second signature on the will, it's legally invalid. Another issue is that the men, who lived most of their life together at a time when same-sex marriage was illegal, never married.

Two years before he co-founded PayPal, gay entrepreneur Peter Thiel shared his conservative beliefs in a book he co-wrote with David Sacks titled The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus—and, now, the authors are apologizing for parts of the book, according to, citing The L.A. Times. The book included several passages demonizing colleges—and specifically Thiel and Sacks's alma mater, Stanford University in California—for efforts at inclusion and allegedly "dumbed down" standards and curricula for minority students. In addition, the authors also questioned rape victims, saying some cases of alleged date rape were actually "seductions that are later regretted."

In North Philadelphia Oct. 21, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced a $3-million investment from the state for a 30-unit affordable-housing complex that will offer LGBT-friendly residency for young adults, reported. The money came through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Project HOME and the Middleton Partnership will develop the lot at 1315 N. Eighth St. Groundbreaking will take place in April 2017, with construction expected to conclude 17 months later. The four-story building will have more than 36,500 square feet.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) lauded Hillary Clinton's just-announced "Better than Bullying" initiative, which aims to provide students, families and educators with resources to better combat the epidemic of bullying in our nation's schools, a press release noted. The effort, which would include $500 million of funding in states all over the country, explicitly includes policies that would protect and provide resources for LGBTQ students and their families.

Also, HRC released a new digital political ad featuring Christine Leinonen, the mother of Christopher "Drew" Leinonen—a young man shot and killed along with his boyfriend, Juan Guerrero, and 47 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a press release stated. In the ad, Christine speaks directly to U.S. voters, saying, "We have to continue moving forward as an inclusive society. If you love a gay person, if you know someone who's gay, and you truly really love them, I don't know how you could justify a vote for Donald Trump."

Speaking of Trump, news has surfaced that a former employee at one of his golf courses is suing for anti-gay harassment and discrimination, reported. Eleazar Andres was a maintenance worker in 2014 at New Jersey's Trump National Golf Club, where he alleges that his coworkers often used slurs such as "faggot" and "maricon" toward him, reported Slate. Andres says in the suit one particular coworker went so far as to throw a rock at his head, resulting in an injury that required hospital treatment. Trump's attorneys have denied Andres's charges thus far, except that they do confirm Andres was attacked with rocks by his co-workers.

Also: At a rally in Greeley, Colorado, on Oct. 30, Donald Trump took a rainbow flag with the words "LGBT for Trump" scribbled across it from an audience member and held it up for everyone to see in a move some called "bizarre," The Huffington Post noted. The move drew support from Chris Barron, the former GOProud leader who has since launched an LGBT for Trump campaign. Trump claimed during his convention speech that he "will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology." Meanwhile, LGBTQ Nation reported that the flag-raising had Christian activist Theodore Shoebat posting a video saying both Trump and gay Trump supporter and donor Peter Thiel should be put to death.

Two men were assaulted by one or more members of a group of men who "referred to them in a derogatory manner in regard to sexual orientation" outside a sports bar/restaurant in Olney, Maryland, The Washington Blade reported. A report says a preliminary investigation has found that the incident started after one member of a larger group of men who were leaving the establishment walked over to a separate group of four men sitting at the bar and poured water from a glass on two of them. "Witnesses reported that the male referred to them in a derogatory manner in regard to sexual orientation and began challenging them to a fight," the police statement says.

Multimedia Platforms Worldwide—a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company that has described itself as the "world's largest LGBT media conglomerate"—recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida, The Washington Blade noted. Multimedia states in its bankruptcy petition that its estimated assets are less than $50,000 and its estimated liabilities exceed $1 million and could be as much as $10 million. Multimedia owns publications such as Next Magazine in New York City, Agenda Florida and Frontiers in L.A., South Florida Gay News noted.

Recent studies of enema microbicides that protect against HIV transmission have shown promising results in monkeys, and human studies are planned in the near future, Plus Magazine reported. Microbial enemas were developed in part because of the difficulty people have in maintaining adherence to daily HIV prevention protocols. In 2014 the National Institutes of Health awarded $21 million to researchers at eight institutes to further the development of an HIV-prevention enema.

A new edition of Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation has just been published by Oxford University Press. Neuroscientist Simon LeVay summarizes a wealth of scientific evidence that points to one conclusion: Sexual orientation results primarily from an interaction between genes, sex hormones and the cells of the developing body and brain. LeVay takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of laboratories that specialize in genetics, endocrinology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology and family demographics.

New York University will not allow the College Republicans to bring Milo Yiannopoulos to campus because the venue for his speech was located near the Islamic and LGBTQ centers, and students who belong to those communities are "subjects of Mr. Yiannopoulos's attacks," noted, citing Inside Higher Ed. Yiannopoulos, the openly gay technology editor for conservative site Breitbart, has been drawing attention for something else: the controversies surrounding his college campus tour, which he dubbed the "Dangerous Faggot Tour."

Brigham Young University announced sweeping changes regarding how it will respond to students who report sexual assault, saying it will restructure the school's Title IX Office and grant amnesty to victims who disclose Honor Code violations, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. University officials said they will follow 23 recommendations from an internal advisory council, which addressed similar criticisms and called for changes in what victims experience when they report to the school.

Former CBS anchor and Fox weatherman Jim Walker is talking about his new life as gay-porn star Dallas Steele, The New York Daily News noted. "I am just as comfortable in a suit as I am in a jockstrap," Steele said in a recent interview. Steele has participated in six top-selling gay porn films and has even been nominated for several awards for his latest performances.

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