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National roundup: Provincetown goes digital; McGreevey returns to gov't office
National roundup: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2013-07-17

This article shared 4489 times since Wed Jul 17, 2013
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Provincetown, Mass.—the gay mecca located on the tip of Cape Cod—has gone digital, according to a press release. The city now has an app, named "iPtown," that will feature nearly a dozen different sections to help visitors and locals find services, food and lodging, shopping, special events and happenings around town. Among other things, The app will offer hundreds of links to individual business and attraction webpages, and it integrates its functions with social media. The iPtown app is free to all and is available on all platforms.

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey is returning to government office almost a decade after resigning from the top seat in the state after coming out of the closet, according to Advocate.com . Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has appointed McGreevey to head the city's job commission. The position went to McGreevey because of his work as of late, ministering drug-addicted female inmates at the Hudson County Jail.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Waples & Hanger announced an agreement resolving a lawsuit against the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) that former student Dynasty Young filed, according to a press release. Young was expelled from Arsenal Tech in 2012 for wielding a device after reportedly enduring months of bullying from fellow students and being ignored by administrators. IPS will expunge the expulsion from Dynasty's school records; also, Young will receive $65,000 as compensation.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) 15-7, indicating bipartisan support, according to Advocate.com . The measure would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill, which does not contain religious exemptions, now heads to the full Senate, where it has a solid majority in favor with 53 cosponsors. However, a majority doesn't guarantee passage isince so many bills are now filibustered, requiring 60 votes to break.

Hospitals and clinics are increasingly committed to equality for their LGBT patients, according to a report released from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the organization's educational arm. The new report indicates that a record total of 718 healthcare facilities nationwide, including 121 veterans' medical centers, have explicitly pledged themselves to equal treatment for LGBT patients. In a major breakthrough, 121 of the nation's 151 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers participated in the HEI 2013, compared to just one VHA participant in the HEI 2012. The report details the results of the most recent Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), an annual survey administered by the HRC Foundation.

Under the FY14 spending bill the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies passed, funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program would increase by $51 million over FY13, according to The AIDS Institute. As part of the increase, the Senate is proposing to boost funding for ADAP (the AIDS Drug Assistance Program) by $47 million, the same level President Obama proposed. The institute says that there continues to be about 50,000 new HIV infections each year but that the federal government allocates only 4 percent of its domestic HIV spending on prevention.

Allyson Robinson, the beleaguered transgender executive director of the LGBT military organization OutServe-SLDN, officially resigned July 12, according to Bilerico.com . Board co-chair Josh Seefried launched an effort to force Robinson's resignation; however, both Seefried and Robinson are leaving the organization. After outrage by community leaders, funders and the group's membership, the entire board of the organization will be dissolved and re-formed.

Transgender Health Empowerment (T.H.E.), which has been recognized as D.C.'s pre-eminent organization advocating for and providing services to the transgender community since 2004, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy July 7, the Washington Blade reported. The 56-page bankruptcy filing came two months after the D.C. government revoked or suspended most of its contracts and grants for T.H.E. The IRS had filed tax liens against the group for more than $260,000 in unpaid payroll taxes, possibly including penalties, that accumulated since 2008.

Gregory T. Angelo, the new head of the LGBT group Log Cabin Republicans, stirred controversy by blaming "liberal gays" for violence at Seattle Pride, according to The New Civil Rights Movement. He posted, "Gays in Seattle celebrate 'pride' by beating down street preachers. Liberal 'tolerance' strikes again. Scary." Among those who responded was Joe Jervis, a.k.a. Joe.My.God, who blogged, "As the rest of us know, the man arrested in Seattle is a straight, married, multiple felon. I suspect that fact is known to Log Cabin Republicans head Gregory Angelo."

Thomas Joseph Schloeder, the co-owner of Atlanta gay bookstore Brushstrokes, has been sentenced to eight years and one month in prison on child-pornography charges, according to BizJournals.com . U.S. Attorney's Office authorities said in a statement that an investigation was opened last November by the DeKalb County Police Department when it was determined that a computer at Schloeder's home "had made available over 100 images of child pornography over the preceding months." Schloeder also has to serve a lifetime of supervised release after his prison sentence and pay a $75,000 fine.

The Washington, D.C., Council gave final approval to a bill that supporters say will remove hurdles in the process for transgender people to obtain a new birth certificate to reflect their gender, according to the Washington Blade. The bill, which Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) wrote, is called the JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act of 2013 in honor of the transgender woman who was murdered in February 2012. The council also gave final approval to the Marriage Officiant Amendment Act of 2013, which expands the list of people authorized to perform a wedding ceremony in the city.

Televangelist Pat Robertson has denied that he's anti-gay, according to On Top Magazine. Following a 700 Club story on the demise of "ex-gay" ministry Exodus International, Robertson insisted that "we're not anti-gay" and criticized Exodus President Alan Chambers for dissolving the group. "I am very pleased that we have many, many, many homosexuals watching this program and many of them are looking for love and acceptance and help," Robertson said.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said that she cannot defend the state's law prohibiting gay marriage, according to On Top Magazine. "We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, and I want to start acting like that," Kane said during a press conference held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Kane endorsed marriage equality during her campaign last year, and her statement likely leaves Republican Gov. Tom Corbett to defend the law.

In New York City, a judge gave a Central Park West co-op the green light to evict chain-smoking transgender heiress Diane Wells, the New York Daily News reported. Wells has lived in the enormous three-bedroom apartment in the El Dorado for 23 years, but fell behind on her maintenance payments; in addition, her neighbors started complaining that her nicotine smoke filled the hallways and an upstairs apartment. The recluse defaulted in the case after failing to show up for court dates while acting as her own attorney.

Janet Napolitano, the U.S. secretary of homeland security and former governor of Arizona, has being named as the next president of the University of California (UC) system, according to the L.A. Times. Her appointment also means a woman is heading the 10-campus system for the first time in its 145-year history. UC officials believe that Napolitano's Cabinet experiences will help the system administer its federal energy and nuclear weapons labs as well as aid its federally funded research in medicine and other areas.

A report that GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network released shows that LGBT youth experience nearly three times as much bullying and harassment online as non-LGBT youth, but also find greater peer support, access to health information and opportunities to be civically engaged. The study, "Out Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth on the Internet," is based on national surveys of 5,680 students in sixth through 12th grades.

Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., has created a stir by becoming the first major evangelical seminary to sanction an LGBT student club—in this case, one called OneTable, according to the Huffington Post. OneTable has attracted about three dozen students. Fuller's stance has created ripples in the larger world of Christian colleges and seminaries, where a growing number of gay evangelical students are asserting themselves through underground clubs and political activism.

Jazzie Collins—a community organizer and well-known transgender activist who was involved in social-justice causes in San Francisco—died in the city's Kaiser Permanente Hospital at age 54, according to SFGate.com . The cause of Collins' death was still being determined; she was open about being HIV-positive. She was a volunteer and organizer for Senior and Disability Action and vice chair of San Francisco's LGBT Aging Policy Taskforce at the time of her death.

A New York appeals court rejected the second challenge to a will by brothers of a gay man who named his husband as executor, Courthouse News Service noted. H. Kenneth Ranftle died of a sudden heart attack in November 2008. Earlier that year, Ranftle had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and married his longtime partner, J. Craig Leiby, in Canada, where same-sex marriage had been legal since 2005. In his last will and testament, the 65-year-old Ranftle made bequests to his three brothers and a goddaughter, leaving the remainder of his estate to Leiby.

In Mukilteo, Wash., Kamiak High School student Keelie Shay is claiming the school discriminated against her because she's lesbian, according to KOMONews.com . The lawsuit was filed just recently, but the alleged discrimination started four-and-a-half years ago. Shay claims that after she told the coaches on her junior varsity basketball team that she was a lesbian in a relationship with a fellow teammate, her playing time was reduced and she lost her status as a starter. Shay ended up transferring schools her senior year and playing basketball there, the suit states.

The organization Truth Wins Out issued a statement "laughing" at the cancellation of "Ex-Gay Pride Month 2013" by the newly formed group Voice of the Voiceless (VOV). VOV announced it was cancelling a gala it had planned with the Family Research Council for July 31. "There was never going to be an actual 'Ex-gay Pride Month' because ex-gays are as rare as the dodo bird," said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. "This was nothing but a desperate publicity stunt intended to revive a failing industry that has repeatedly embarrassed anti-gay organizations."

On July 15, the California Supreme Court declined a request to immediately block the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples as it considers a broader request to reinstate Prop 8, On Top Magazine noted. Protect Marriage—the group that sponsored the 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a heterosexual union—asked the court to reinstate the ban, arguing that Gov. Jerry Brown did not have the authority to end enforcement of Prop 8.

In North Carolina, a local transgender Democratic Party activist is alleging that a fellow LGBT leader in the party told her she should join a men's auxiliary group instead of receiving full membership in a local party women's caucus, QNotes.com reported. Janice Covington said she joined the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County in April. In June, Covington attended her first meeting where she alleges that Concetta Caliendo, vice president of the LGBT Democrats of North Carolina, questioned her membership in the organization.

Lambda Legal and Freedom to Work have reached a settlement on behalf of a transgender woman employed by a government contractor in Maryland, according to a press release. The woman filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging she was subjected to physical and verbal harassment in the workplace over a two-year period. Although it is denying admission of any wrongdoing, the government contractor agreed to re-publicize its non-discrimination policies and conduct anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training at its facility, including a focus on transgender and other LGBT issues.

In a related case, the Department of Justice determined ruled in favor of transgender woman Mia Macy, saying the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) unfairly discriminated against her, according to a Transgender Law Center press release. Macy is a police detective who worked alongside ATF employees doing ballistics tracking work, and was trained on ATF's computer systems. The agency had offered Macy a job as a ballistics technician, but rescinded the job offer after she told them that she was transgender. The Justice Department, among other things, ordered ATF to re-offer Macy the job, and awarded her back pay with interest and other compensatory damages.

In Utah, Weber State University assistant professor Jared Lisonbee claims he lost his job because he disagreed with the school's decision to name a new family center after senior Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer, who has been critical of feminists, intellectuals and gay people, according to Standard.net . He spoke against the decision at a faculty meeting in late 2012. His wife, Shairylann, wrote a letter to the Standard-Examiner calling the facility's name, the Boyd K. and Donna S. Packer Center, "a slap in the face for many in the community."

Maryland state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) has formally announced her 2014 gubernatorial campaign, according to the Washington Blade. Mizeur would make history as Maryland's first female governor and the country's first openly LGBT governor if voters elect her in 2014. Mizeur, 40, has represented the 20th House District—which includes Takoma Park and Silver Spring—in the General Assembly since 2006.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has announced his office will not block the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina's move to challenge the state's anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on marriage, according to QNotes.com . The ACLU wants to amend its current lawsuit challenging anti-gay second-parent adoption bans to include a challenge to the state's Amendment One. Voters passed the amendment in May 2012.

Lambda Legal announced the expansion of the its transgender-rights advocacy, officially designating the organization's body of work as Lambda Legal's Transgender Rights Project, naming attorney Dru Levasseur project director and launching a first-of-its-kind online and mobile hub called "Know Your Rights: Transgender," according to a press release. The "Know Your Rights: Transgender" online hub provides comprehensive information about laws and policies at the state and federal level that protect transgender people.

At a time when gay rights have made major strides, and gays and lesbians have become far more willing to come out, the vast majority of bisexuals remains closeted, according to an L.A. Times article that cites a Pew Research Center survey. Only 28 percent of bisexuals said most or all of the important people in their lives knew about their sexual orientation, compared to 71 percent of lesbians and 77 percent of gay men. Closeted bisexuals said they avoided coming out because they didn't want to deal with misconceptions that bisexuals were indecisive or incapable of monogamy—stereotypes that gay people and heterosexuals hold.

In New York City, the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center abruptly canceled a July 16 ceremony that was to place one of the group's round plaques on the Stonewall bar to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, according to Gay City News. State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who had suggested the idea of marking the Stonewall with a plaque to the group, said, "I hope we can get the process rebooted with community participation and with the veterans themselves." No veteran of the uprising had been involved in the wording of the plaque or planning of the event.

Gay New Mexico teen Carlos Vigil committed suicide reportedly because his classmates bullied him relentlessly, according to the Huffington Post. Vigil, 17, posted a note to Twitter before taking his own life. (In part, the note read, "The kids in school are right. I am a loser, a freak, and a fag and in no way is that acceptable for people to deal with.) Vigil, who would have been a senior at Albuquerque's Valley High School this fall, was taken off of life support at the University of New Mexico Hospital on July 16.

A terminally ill Ohio man got his lifelong wish, tying the knot with his partner of two decades, the Huffington Post reported. John Arthur is bedridden with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurological disease that robs patients of their ability to walk, talk and eventually breathe. After ruling out New York, California and Washington because of either geographical or legislative issues, Arthur and Jim Obergefell chose a destination wedding in Baltimore, as Maryland required only one partner to come for a marriage license and a 48-hour waiting period.

Liz Cheney—the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney (and the sister of lesbian activist Mary Cheney)—will run against longtime Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., CBS News noted. Cheney, a Fox News political analyst, has recently ramped up her speaking engagements with the Republican Party in Wyoming. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., who said recently she was considering a run if Enzi retired, criticized Cheney as a carpetbagger who will wind up losing to Enzi, even though she'll "outraise him by factors of 10 or more."


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