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National roundup: Stonewall rally, transgender mayor, Pulse Nightclub
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 308 times since Tue Feb 7, 2017
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Hundreds of New Yorkers crowded the streets near Stonewall Inn on Feb. 4, turning out for an LGBT solidarity rally to protest President Donald Trump's recent executive orders, reported. The crowd remained for nearly three hours as elected officials, activists and community leaders voiced their support for Muslims and immigrants and promised to continue pushing back against the president's agenda. On the night of Feb. 4, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the government's request for an emergency order overturning the decision of a federal judge in Seattle stopping enforcement of Trump's executive order on immigration nationwide. Judge James L. Robart ruled on Feb. 3 the executive order could not be enforced.

The mayor of a small Collin County town, in Texas, has become the first known openly transgender elected official in state history, The Texas Observer reported. Jess Herbst, who became mayor of New Hope last May, came out as trans in an open letter to residents on the town's website. Herbst had been elected to the town council as an alderman and was appointed mayor after the previous mayor died. New Hope is a suburb of McKinney with a population of 670, according to the 2010 census.

The Trump administration has falsely accused the media of "ignoring" the Orlando massacre—despite Trump himself failing to pay a visit in the wake of the tragedy, PinkNews noted. That mass shooting is among a list of 78 terrorist attacks that it claimed had been ignored by the Western media. Citing a rise in terrorist incidents as the basis for his Muslim ban, Trump claimed in a speech: "It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported, and in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that."

GLAAD launched glaadgrants, which provides completion funding and professional mentorships to content creators for in-progress works that advance GLAAD's mission of amplifying diverse voices from the LGBTQ community, a press release noted. Those interested in applying can visit to learn about submission and application guidelines, as well as FAQs. The deadline for entries to be received is 5 p.m. PT, on Friday, March 24.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, announced the introduction of SB 219—the California LGBT Seniors Long-Term Care Bill of Rights—which will strengthen protections for LGBT seniors living in long-term care facilities against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status, a press release stated. The bill is co-authored by Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, and sponsored by Equality California. The American Civil Liberties Union and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission support the legislation.

In Connecticut, proposed legislation to ban gay conversion therapy would make it "impermissible for licensed health professionals working with minors to engage in so-called conversion therapy," the Greenwich Free Press noted. The Conversion Therapy Ban Bill, HB 6695, is being introduced by state Rep. Jeff Currey ( D-District 11 ) and state Sen. Beth Bye ( D-District 5 ), and has 40 co-sponsors. In a Feb. 1 letter to the Greenwich delegation, Selectman Drew Marzullo asked various state senators and reps to stand up for the rights of LGBT children and adolescents in Connecticut by adding their names to the co-sponsor list.

A gay couple attacked in a popular neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, say they were targeted because of their sexuality, reported. Bryson Beier and Mantej Sandhu claimed a group of strangers started shouting anti-gay slurs as they were walking by a parking garage near their home in the Short North area. Sandhu and Beier just moved to their new home from California less than two weeks ago, choosing the Short North because of its reputation for being gay-friendly.

The New York Police Department is searching for a suspect in what appears to be an anti-gay attack on a man in Queens, LGBTQ Nation reported. Authorities said one of the men made a derogatory comment about the man's sexual orientation, and that one of those men punched the victim in the face and kicked him before fleeing the scene, reported NBC New York. According to DNA Info, the man was mocked for wearing "pants so tight" and that he was called an anti-gay slur before being hit.

Immigration Equality Executive Director Aaron C. Morris issued a statement lauding U.S. District Judge Louis Robart's Feb. 4 decision halting enforcement of President Trump's executive order banning Muslims and refugees. In part, Morris said, "Judge Robart's decision to issue a temporary restraining order was the right one. The President's sweeping, poorly constructed, and unconstitutional directive caused wide scale chaos at the border." According to CNN, Robart represented the disadvantaged and refugees before he was nominated by then-President George W. Bush.

In reaction to Rex Tillerson's confirmation as the United States secretary of state, OutRight Action International examined his responses to questions during his Senate confirmation hearing and questions for the record ( QFR ) about protecting LGBTIQ rights internationally, a press release noted. OutRight Executive Director Jessica Stern said, "I am heartened that Secretary of State Tillerson condemned discrimination on any basis and recognized the need for the United States to stand by human rights and human dignity globally. However it is significant that Secretary Tillerson did not specifically name lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex people in his statements. When LGBTIQ people are not specifically named, we see direct consequences on LGBTIQ safety and livelihoods."

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is calling on lawmakers to protect refugees of all countries and faiths, The Hill reported. "The Museum continues to have grave concerns about the global refugee crisis and our response to it," the museum said in a statement Tuesday, as first reported by ABC News. "During the 1930s and the 1940s, the United States, along with the rest of the world, generally refused to admit Jewish refugees from Nazism due to anti-Semitic and xenophobic attitudes, harsh economic conditions and national security fears.

Cable TV provider Comcast has agreed to air gay activist Fred Karger's commercial challenging the Mormon Church's tax-exempt status, reported. Comcast came to the agreement after Karger said he would change an unsubstantiated statement in the ad and provided substantiation for four other statements the cable company had questioned, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The ad will air in Utah, where the church is based. The one unsubstantiated claim said that the church, formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has more than $1 trillion in assets.

For its February Body Issue, Attitude magazine conducted an extensive survey of gay men to find out how happy they are with their bodies, according to . Of the 5,000 participants polled, more than half said they were unhappy with how they looked, with 84 percent reporting that they felt intense pressure to have a good body. In response to the question "How happy would you say you are with your body?," 49 percent said they were unhappy while an additional 10 percent said they were very unhappy.

In Virginia Beach, Virginia, a few hundred people filed into the auditorium for an assembly organized by Cox High School's gay-straight alliance, The Virginian-Pilot noted. Hampton Roads Pride President Michael Berlucchi said he regrets that he didn't do more before he graduated in 1998. The assembly was previously scheduled for early December but was pushed back after objections arose to a club holding such a rally during school hours.

In Ohio, a controversial sign outside a local auto shop has a community buzzing—and some believe it's anti-transgender, reported. Jay Linn, who owns the Northridge Auto Repair and Service in North Ridgeville, posted the sign that reads, "If you don't know who you identify as, pull down your pants and look." Linn has defended posting the sign, saying, "There is no malice to the sign, no hate in the sign. My point is, if you can't identify, you have a choice to see how God put you here."

An Illinois high school is facing allegations members of the football team were forced to perform sex acts on each other as part of a hazing ritual, according to . Two victims claim they were labeled the "f*ggots of the week" and made to engage in oral sex with other players. Their parents have filed a federal lawsuit against the Lake Zurich School District, claiming officials knew—or should have known—about the hazing, which has reportedly been happening for years.

Three months after a gay nightclub opened on the second floor of the country's first Burger & Beer Joint, the Boca Raton-based franchise has revoked the Miami Beach restaurant's right to use the name, menu and concept, The Miami Herald reported. The locals say they are being targeted for leasing the upstairs to a longtime South Beach gay club promoter, and they point to a letter they were sent shortly after The Mix bar and lounge opened that states the club "could have a substantial negative impact" on Burger & Beer Joint's reputation. "It's outright discrimination," said Carlos Ekmeiro, one of three partners who own the South Beach restaurant, which is now operating without a name and concept.

In support of their longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion in hockey, the National Hockey League, the League's Member Clubs and the National Hockey League Players' Association ( NHLPA ) will spotlight a variety of community-related initiatives for Hockey Is For Everyone™ month, according to . Every day throughout February, Hockey Is For Everyone activities will focus awareness on such areas as LGBTQ; ethnicity and gender equality; socio-economic status and those with disabilities. The campaign is conducted in partnership with the You Can Play Project, a nonprofit committed to supporting the LGBTQ community and fighting homophobia in sports.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quit President Donald Trump's business advisory group amid heavy criticism from employees and Uber customers, NBC News noted. "Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that," Kalanick said. The pressure for Kalanick to leave intensified recently after the #DeleteUber hashtag began trending.

Ralph Lauren Corp. abruptly announced that Chief Executive Officer Stefan Larsson will be leaving after a clash with the fashion brand's founder, sending shares of the struggling company into a tailspin, Bloomberg reported. Larsson will be departing Ralph Lauren on May 1 after fewer than two years on the job, the company said. Larsson will get $10 million in cash severance and health benefits over the next two years.

This article shared 308 times since Tue Feb 7, 2017
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