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National roundup: Spirit Day; Baptist church; Calif. trans bills
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 3283 times since Tue Sep 8, 2015
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GLAAD has launched the official countdown to Spirit Day, what it calls "the largest and most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world accelerating acceptance of LGBT youth," according to a press release. Spirit Day, taking place Oct. 15, involves millions of people around the world wearing purple or "going purple" online in a unified stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth. Previous Spirit Day participants include The White House, The Empire State Building, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Cher, Shaquille O'Neal, Good Morning America, The Today Show and others.

A historic, former Southern Baptist Church has adopted a new non-discrimination policy that will allow it to perform same-sex weddings and employ openly gay and transgender individuals without telling them their lifestyles violate Biblical mandates, The Gospel Herald reported. First Baptist of Greenville, South Carolina—the church home of the first Southern Baptist Convention president—recently announced it had decided to embrace "the complexities of gender identity." After a six-month period of "exploratory time," the church decided to allow ministers to perform same-sex unions and ordain any person, regardless of sexual orientation, to serve in a leadership role.

Ashley Diamond—the transgender inmate who sued the Georgia Department of Corrections ( GDC ) after being denied a safe environment and medically necessary gender dysphoria treatment—was released after more than three years in prison, where she was housed with male inmates and reportedly sexually assaulted eight times, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center ( SPLC ) press release. Diamond, 37, was released from Augusta State Medical Prison just five days after the SPLC filed additional documents supporting her motion for preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed in February.

The California State Assembly passed two bills—authored by Sen. Mark Leno, with the National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ), Equality California and Transgender Law Center co-sponsoring—protecting transgender people who work for companies doing business with state agencies and transgender children in the foster-care system, according to an NCLR press release. The first bill, Senate Bill 703, prohibits state agencies from doing business with companies that fail to offer transgender employees the same health-care coverage and benefits they provide all other workers. The second bill, Senate Bill 731, extends to all foster children the right to placements consistent with their gender identity. Both bills will return to the Senate for a vote on amendments taken in the Assembly before heading to the governor's desk for consideration.

A lawsuit claims that a gay transgender inmate transitioning into a woman was repeatedly raped by a Rikers Island correction officer and jail officials did nothing to stop it, The New York Daily News reported. The inmate, identified in court papers only as M.T., was allegedly assaulted on Dec. 2, 2012 by Correction Officer L. Galan after months of harassment. In addition, Galan reportedly gave M.T. gifts like an iPod Touch, headphones, a charger, a case and $20 in cash to not report the abuse. A Department of Correction spokeswoman would not say if Galan remains on duty at the jail because M.T.'s allegations are still under investigation.

A judge in Salem, Oregon, who is refusing to perform same-sex marriages is facing an ethical investigation by the state judicial commission, according to . Judge Vance Day, a circuit court judge in Marion County and former chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, told his staff he would not officiate same-sex weddings because of "deeply held religious beliefs."

Two same-sex couples who sued Texas over its same-sex-marriage ban are asking the state to pay them nearly $750,000 in attorney fees, reported. Cleopatra DeLeon and wife Nicole Dimetman, as well as Mark Phariss and partner Victor Holmes, want the state to pay them $720,794 in attorney fees, plus $20,202 in other costs they incurred fighting to overturn the state's ban. In 2014, a San Antonio judge sided with the two Texas couples and struck down Texas' gay marriage ban as unconstitutional; however, he put the ruling on hold during the appeals process.

A local judge contends the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage has thrown off Tennessee's ability to determine what constitutes divorce—leaving one Signal Mountain couple ( Thomas Bumgardner, 65, and his wife, Pamela, 61 ) married against their will, according to Times Free Press. Hamilton County Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton denied the divorce petition, saying the country's high court must clarify "when a marriage is no longer a marriage." Jim Blumstein, a professor of constitutional law at Vanderbilt University, believes Atherton is expressing his political disagreement with the ruling.

U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar has denied transgender teenager Gavin Grimm's request to resume using the boys' restrooms at his eastern Virginia high school, the Associated Press reported. Grimm filed a lawsuit in June alleging he has been stigmatized by a policy that bars him from using the boys' restrooms at Gloucester High School. The American Civil Liberties Union plans to appeal the decision.

A transgender teen in Missouri is at the center of a heated debate about her right to change in her high school's girls' locker room, according to Yahoo Health. Lila Perry, the 17-year-old at the center of the debate, reportedly identified as a gay male until she was 13 and publicly came out as transgender in February. She previously used a gender-neutral faculty bathroom but began changing in the girls' locker room this school year before her physical-education class. Nearly 200 students recently walked out of Hillsboro High School in an anti-Perry protest that lasted two hours.

Police at the University of North Dakota are investigating a possible hate crime in which a group of drunken Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers allegedly sexually assaulted a gay man, Queerty reported. Haakon Gisvold claims he went to a party held at the fraternity house. At some point during the evening, four brothers approached him and demanded he leave; they then reportedly followed him outside and assaulted him. Some students said they were skeptical of Gisvold's story.

Vocativ reported that LGBT-friendly colleges admit students with higher SAT scores than schools that are the least tolerant of gay people, according to the Princeton Review survey of the best schools. The average SAT scores for the 20 most tolerant schools is 1309.5, while the average score for the 20 least tolerant schools is 1208.5. The Princeton Review determined which schools were the most and least gay-friendly by surveying the 136,000 students from 380 schools, asking them, "Do students, faculty and administrators at your college treat all persons equally regardless of their sexual orientations and gender identify/expression?"

A new study published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health found a shockingly low percentage of gay/bisexual male teenagers being tested for HIV, reported. The study, conducted by Northwestern University and the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, found that only 20 percent of gay/bisexual male teenagers had been tested for the virus and only 30 percent of sexually active participants reported ever being tested despite the fact that they are among the highest-risk groups for contracting HIV.

An Ohio woman's lawsuit alleging a Downers Grove, Illinois, sperm-bank error that led to the birth of her biracial daughter has been thrown out of court, reported. A DuPage County judge dismissed the lawsuit against Midwest Sperm Bank, saying Jennifer Cramblett's wrongful-birth claim and breach of warranty were not viable claims under state law. Cramblett, who is white, was five months pregnant that she learned she was accidentally impregnated with the sperm of a Black man. She learned of the mix-up when she called to reserve additional vials from the same donor so her partner, Amanda Zinkon, also could become pregnant.

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina weighed in on Kentucky clerk Kim Davis' defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, The Washington Blade reported. During a radio interview, the former Hewlett Packard CEO at first made the case for protecting religious liberty "with great passion. However, she added, "When you are a government employee as opposed to say, an employee of another kind of organization, then in essence, you are agreeing to act as an arm of the government." Fiorina also said that Davis should either issue marriage licenses to all couples regardless of sexual orientation or resign her post.

Speaking of Davis, her fourth husband has claimed she is "standing for God," Gay Star News noted. Joe Davis said his wife had received death threats, but he was not afraid and believed in the Second Amendment. Joe also compared his wife to the Biblical figures Paul and Silas, who were imprisoned for converting Romans to Christianity.

A Nevada girl is calling out her high school after it banned her pro-life club while allowing other clubs, such as the gay-straight alliance, The Daily Caller noted. Junior Angelique Clark called her school—the West Career and Technical Academy—"unfair" for the policy. Clark has teamed with the Thomas More Society in filing a lawsuit against the school and the district.

The owner of a popular gay bar in Jersey City is determined to bring down a group of sanitation workers he claims have demanded bribes in exchange for picking up his trash—a municipal service provided by the city and paid for with tax dollars, according to . Pint owner Wolf Sterling told CBS2 that the harassment began Aug. 13, when a sanitation worker demanded bottles of liquor for himself and other city employees from a bartender who answered. Sterling said he reported that incident and an additional one—both of which were captured on surveillance footage that people can watch on Pint's Facebook page—to the Jersey City Incinerator Authority, and was allegedly met with even more threats.

Should the day come that Michigan State University has an openly gay player on its men's basketball team, Tom Izzo says that player would be judged solely on his ability to play basketball, reported. In an interview with USA Today, Izzo spoke on the subject of gay athletes, saying he thinks most coaches would handle the situation well if they had openly gay players. Izzo said, "Put it this way: If you can play ball, that's all I care about."

Bloomington, Indiana, hosted the second-annual PRIDE Summerfest, a celebration of LGBTQ culture, a press release stated. An estimated 6,000 people attended this one-day street festival—more than triple the number of the inaugural festival that took place in September 2014. In 2010, LGBTQ publication The Advocate named Bloomington the fourth-gayest city in the United States.

Due to the support of the 2015 partners and sponsors of the 6th Annual OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit, NBJC has 50 registration scholarships to OOTH2015 for emerging leaders ( ages 18-35 ) available, a press release stated. Scholarships for the Sept. 16-20 event include one conference registration valued at $150 as well as access to all receptions, workshops, plenaries and other opportunities to network. Visit

A four-alarm fire that destroyed a gay nightclub in New Orleans' 7th Ward is being investigated by the New Orleans Fire Department, the state Fire Marshal's Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, The New Orleans Advocate reported. Nobody was injured during the blaze at Club Fusions, which occurred on a night when the spot was closed. Club Fusions owner Keith Hamilton said the fire had left him mourning the loss of the business he ran for 21 years.

Kansas State University president Kirk Schulz apologized after the halftime performance at the Wildcats' game Sept. 5 against South Dakota, The Sporting News reported. The Kansas State band made a formation depicting the Starship Enterprise from "Star Trek" attacking a giant Kansas Jayhawk; however, several fans commented that the spaceship resembled something much more offensive. In addition to Schulz, the band also was contrite, tweeting, "We apologize for anyone offended by our halftime performance depicting the starship enterprise and the Jayhawk mascot."

This article shared 3283 times since Tue Sep 8, 2015
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