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Nat'l HIV/AIDS, Aging Awareness Day; Richmond, Va.'s, pitch
National roundup: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2014-09-16

This article shared 3946 times since Tue Sep 16, 2014
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The 7th annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day will be observed Thursday, Sept. 18, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy and AIDS.gov among those recognizing the campaign, according to a press release. By next year, half of the USA's HIV-infected population will be age 50 and older—and many cities, such as New York City, have already passed that point.

Against the backdrop of a challenge to Virginia's ban on marriage equality reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, Richmond has "come out" as a destination for LGBT tourists, according to On Top Magazine. The bold appeal is from the organization Richmond Region Tourism, whose campaign declaring that Richmond is leaving the closet behind is being broadcast through print ads, online banner ads and on social media.

Some 38 men are sexually assaulted every day in the U.S. Armed Forces—and the perpetrators are usually straight men, according to a NewNowNext.com article that cites GQ. "It's not about the sex. It's about power and control," psychologist James Asbrand told GQ in an article that spotlights the military's failure to protect male victims of military sexual trauma. Asbrand says it's a myth that gay service members are pouncing on their straight barrack mates: "In a hypermasculine culture, what's the worst thing you can do to another man? Force him into what the culture perceives as a feminine role."

In Massachusetts, nine-term incumbent U.S. Rep. John Tierney conceded defeat to political newcomer Seth Moulton in the Democratic primary in the state's 6th Congressional District, the Associated Press noted. Tierney is the first sitting Massachusetts congressman to lose a primary since 1992. Among other things, Moulton—a 35-year-old businessman and Harvard graduate who enlisted in the Marines in 2001—backs abortion, gay rights, tighter restrictions on gun ownership and comprehensive immigration reform.

Also in Massachusetts, out LGBT candidates Maura Healey and Steve Kerrigan, prevailed in the sates's primary elections for attorney general and lieutenant governor, respectively, according to BuzzFeed. If they win in November, they'll be the first out LGBT people to hold those offices in the United States. As an assistant attorney general in the Massachusetts attorney general's office, Healey played a key role in the state's fight against DOMA. Kerrigan will be running alongside the Democratic nominee for governor, Martha Coakley.

Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) President Chad Griffin has delivered a public apology to the transgender community for the organization's past mistreatment, and "for the times that the transgender community has been underrepresented or unrepresented" by his organization," LGBTQ Nation reported. Speaking at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, one of the nation's largest conferences for the transgender community, Griffin acknowledged that the "HRC has done wrong by the transgender community." The HRC has long been criticized by the transgender community for supporting a 2007 version of ENDA that included sexual orientation as a protected category, but not gender identity and expression.

Speaking of HRC, the organization has applied to have an Irish-American contingent from the organization included as an official participant in next year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City, a press release stated. Parade organizers recently announced that in 2015, for the first time in the event's long history, an LGBT group—which represents staff at NBC Universal, the television network broadcasting the parade—would be allowed to march under its own banner. OUT@NBCUniversal was the only LGBT group that applied to march next year, but HRC has urged parade organizers to consider its application as well as those of other LGBT groups, including Irish Queers.

A panel in the Republican-controlled U.S. House narrowly rejected a measure that would have enabled veterans with same-sex spouses to receive partner benefits wherever they live in the country, The Washington Blade reported. By a 13-12 vote, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs failed to pass an amendment from Rep. Dina Titus ( D-Nev. ) along the lines of the Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act, legislation that would change Title 38 of the U.S. Code to ensure the flow of spousal benefits to LGB veterans. In a statement, the American Military Partner Association said, "We are incredibly disappointed, and it's a sad reflection on the state of our Congress when our elected officials cannot put aside their differences to end this discrimination."

Chuck Wolfe will step down as the head of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund at the end of this year, Metro Weekly reported. In an email sent to the the Victory Campaign board, Wolfe announced his resignation after more than a decade as the president and CEO of the nonpartisan organization that has helped elect LGBT candidates across the nation. Human Rights Campaign said in a statement, "Thanks to Chuck Wolfe's tireless leadership and advocacy during his years at the Victory Fund, LGBT people are far better represented in elected office across America—more so than many in this community ever thought possible."

Lawyers for two same-sex couples challenging Texas' marriage-equality ban are refuting state claims the prohibition promotes raising children in "stable, lasting relationships," arguing in an appeals brief that it serves no legitimate state interest, the Associated Press reported. The 88-page filing with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the ban denies gay couples' children the "protection and stability" afforded if their parents were allowed to marry. Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a 2005 state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts has just gotten his chance at a political comeback—winning the Republican primary for Senate right next door in New Hampshire and getting the chance to take on Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, The Week reported. Brown won in 2010, replacing the late Ted Kennedy ( D ); however, he lost to Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Brown was one of the few Republicans who voted for the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Openly gay town police officer Michael Acosta is alleging he suffered discrimination on the job with the West New York Police Department due to his sexual orientation, according to NJ.com . Among the allegations in the suit is that Police Director Robert Antolos showed Acosta "his tattoos ( one of which is a skull with two lightning bolts ) and his lightning bolt key chain in an attempt to intimidate Acosta." It says Antolos stated that the "police department will no longer be run by one patrolman," while "staring at plaintiff in an effeminate manner." In 2012, Acosta was suspended for 30 days after admitting to conduct unbecoming of a public employee.

Anti-gay former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., and his wife, Maureen, were found guilty on multiple counts of conspiracy, corruption and bribery, according to CBS News. McDonnell was found guilty on 11 different counts relating to the conspiracy charges. Sentencing has been set for Jan. 6. The couple could face years of jail time.

President Obama has named Megan Smith, a Google executive and former CEO of the online LGBT community site PlanetOut, as chief technology officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, according to LGBTQ Nation. Smith, who is openly lesbian, will "lead Administration-wide efforts to unleash the power of technology, data, and innovation to help meet our nation's goals and the needs of our citizens."

The head of the Justice Department's Civil Division has been promoted to the department's number-three job, becoming the highest ranking openly gay official to ever serve in the department, LGBTQ Nation noted. Stuart Delery—who argued on behalf of the federal government in a 2012 appeals court case that ultimately led to a Supreme Court decision overturning a key section of DOMA—will now serve as acting associate attorney general. In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder called Delery an "exceptional public servant, a dedicated colleague, and a superb lawyer."

American Jewish World Service ( AJWS ) and a coalition of advocacy and human-rights organizations met with White House officials to ask President Obama to appoint a special envoy for the rights of LGBT people within the U.S. Department of State, according to a press release. Members of AJWS staff were joined at the White House by representatives from the Council for Global Equality, National Center for Transgender Equality, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights First, National Center for Lesbian Rights and Human Rights Campaign. Matt Nosanchuk, director of outreach for the National Security Council, represented the White House.

Gay Georgia resident Daniel Ashley Pierce—who was thrown out by his family in a five-minute video documented on YouTube—ended up with $100,000 in crowd-sourced donations that he has used to help open a new shelter for homeless LGBT youth, according to EDGE on the Net. Pierce has directed future donations to the Atlanta-based Lost-n-Found shelter for homeless LGBT youth. The home, still under construction and pending city approval, will be fitted with electricity and plumbing to accommodate 18 youths.

A Seattle-area man has been placed under court supervision after allegedly infecting at least eight sexual partners with HIV over six years—and failing to show up for court-ordered appointments, NBC News reported. The Seattle-King County Department of Public Health was granted request to monitor the unidentified man and force him to attend HIV-counselling sessions by Judge Julie Spector. If the man continues to defy court orders, he could be jailed or forcibly hospitalized, but health officials said that would likely be a last resort.

In Indiana, an ordinance that says veterans who don't have an honorable discharge won't be considered for a position within the fire department passed Evansville City Council by a six-to-three vote. However, Councilman Jonathan Weaver, who voted against the ordinance, says some gay veterans could not be blocked from becoming firefighters, according to 14News.com . Some gay service members discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are given an honorable discharge, while others aren't. Councilman Al Lindsey, who proposed the ordinance, says it raises the standards of the fire department.

Baltimore Black Pride announced that Demetrius Mallisham, an aide to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, will receive its Chairman's Award, The Washington Blade reported. Among his other duties, Mallisham is the LGBT liaison to the mayor's office. Mallisham will be presented with the award at the Grown & Sexy Cultural Affair on Oct. 11 at the Metropolitan Community Church of Baltimore.

Ten states' strict voter ID laws may create substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement for more than 24,000 transgender voters this November, according to a Williams Institute press release. "The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2014 General Election," authored by the institute's Jody L. Herman, states that many transgender people who have transitioned do not have identification that accurately reflects their correct gender. The trans voters who could face barriers reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

A federal appeals court has upheld New Jersey's ban on counseling intended to change the sexual orientation of gay and lesbian children, Yahoo! News reported. By a three-to-zero vote, a panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban, which Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed into law in August 2013, did not violate the free speech or religious rights of people offering "gay conversion therapy" to convert homosexual minors into heterosexuals. The panel also said the plaintiffs, who included therapists and a Christian counseling group, lacked standing to pursue claims on behalf of their minor clients.

A lesbian saleswoman who favored chinos over skirts and dresses is suing her employer, Banana Republic, claiming that managers made crude jokes about her style and sexual orientation, The New York Post reported. "On days [when Burgos] was able to work on the sales floor she was constantly subjected to negative and deriding remarks on the basis of her failure to look like the feminine image of a woman [that] Banana Republic was attempting to promote with its brand," the 41-year-old says in her suit. A manager, Teddy Torrenegra, also allegedly called Burgos "sir" and shouted in the presence of colleagues, "Maybe if she wore a skirt, I would f—k her!" according to court papers.

Facebook requires members to use their real names—a fact that disproportionately affects LGBT individuals and drag performers, according to Towleroad. A Facebook representative told Business Insider, "If people want to use an alternative name on Facebook, they have several different options available to them, including providing an alias under their name on their profile, or creating a page specifically for that alternative persona." While some people ( such as celebrities ) have created fan pages, Sister Roma of the San Francisco chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence has said, "I detest the idea of having a fan page. I'm not fucking Britney Spears. I have friends, not fans."

Louisiana State University's Delta Kappa Epilson chapter has apologized for a banner it hung from its frat house for a recent game against Sam Houston State, Gawker reporter. The banner read, "Michael isn't the only Sam getting the D tonight." While "satire" was the goal, DKE brothers said, "crossing the line and causing offense to others [was] never the intent." The chapter had previously run banners such as "Getting Massacred Is Nothing New to Kent St." for last year's Kent State game.

A man who beat and robbed a transgender prostitute in a Manhattan hotel has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars, according to CBS New York. Damique Fennell, 23, was convicted last month of the sexually motivated attack of the 27-year-old woman at a Midtown Holiday Inn in February 2013. In Manhattan Supreme Court, Judge Gregory Carro said Fennell was motivated not just by taking money but by his own perverse sexual gratification and desire to denigrate and humiliate the victim.

Republican Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner refused to change his position on the new Illinois marriage-equality law, according to an Equality Illinois press release. Rauner, the Republican nominee for governor, appeared before the Chicago Tribune editorial board in a debate with his opponent, Gov. Pat Quinn, who campaigned for the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act and signed it into law last year. Regarding the law, Rauner told the Tribune, "It's the law. I'm comfortable with the law. I do not support advocating a change in the law."

About 100 people have rallied to protest a suburban Detroit Catholic school's firing of a chemistry teacher who became pregnant while in a same-sex marriage, according to Fox10TV.com . Barbara Webb, 33, of Madison Heights says she was fired from the all-girls Marian High School in August after working there for nine years. School president Sister Lenore Pochelski has declined to comment on Webb's departure, citing confidentiality issues.

A Philadelphia gay couple are still reeling after allegedly being attacked and beaten in what's been described as a possible hate crime, according to The Huffington Post. The men, who have reportedly asked to remain anonymous, told CBS Philadelphia that they were reportedly attacked by a "well-dressed" and intoxicated mob that began taunting the men while they were on their way to dinner. One victim suffered a bone fracture in his face that will require surgery.

Miami Jewish Health Systems recently conducted a Harris Poll and found that two out of three Americans—some 67 percent—would be at least somewhat to very comfortable moving into an assisted living facility for seniors that also houses openly gay couples, Business Wire noted. "This is a pleasant surprise," says Brian J. Kiedrowski, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer of Miami Jewish Health Systems. "It tells us that Americans are becoming more accepting of people's beliefs and lifestyles."

Truth Wins Out condemned a resolution drafted by participants at the International Family Forum, which took place in Moscow, which calls for nations to ban gay "propaganda" and declares war on LGBT people and their families, a press release stated. "This is a declaration of war against LGBT people and their families," said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. "What these groups call 'propaganda' is better known in the free world as freedom of speech. Make no mistake: they are calling for the criminalization of coming out, and of free speech itself." Among the U.S. residents taking part in the conference were Brian Brown of the National Organization For Marriage and Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

Koch—about the late former New York City Mayor Ed Koch—has its national broadcast premiere Monday, Sept. 22, on PBS's POV ( Point of View ) documentary series. ( It will also stream on POV's website, www.pbs.org/pov/koch, Sept. 23-Oct. 22. ) Many in the gay community said Koch deliberately ignored the AIDS crises ravaging the city, and New York was particularly hard hit by the epidemic. Koch was also reportedly a closeted gay man, which made the community even more upset that he could ignore the crisis.


This article shared 3946 times since Tue Sep 16, 2014
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