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Justice Department’s New Civil Chief Is Anti-Gay Crusader

Eric Dreiband, an attorney with the firm Jones Day who defended the University of North Carolina in its honoring of that state’s anti-LGBTQ “bathroom bill” and fought to allow anti-LGBTQ discrimination by medical providers who cite their “faith”-based objections under the Affordable Care Act, was confirmed on a party-line vote to head the Civil Rights Division of the US Justice Department. Comment
Eager to let his members go home and campaign for the November 6 midterms, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York’s senior senator, made a deal October 11 with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the dour Kentucky Republican, to allow votes on 15 more Trump-nominated right wing judges for the federal courts and then adjourn. Schumer’s rationale was that they would be confirmed eventually by this Senate and the most Democrats could do was slow down the process. Comment
News

In Kavanaugh Tacks to Right of Gorsuch

At oral arguments at the US Supreme Court on October 10, the justices took up the issue of whether ICE must detain immigrants guilty of even minor crimes committed long ago. Justice Brett Kavanaugh said a 1996 law passed by Congress demanded it and made no provision for a bail hearing. Comment
Shocking video out of Baghdad that emerged over the past week shows a delicate 14-year-old boy, identified as Hamoudi al-Mutairi, being stabbed to death in the streets near his home because he was perceived to be gay. As his killers stabbed him, they taunted him and joked. He could be heard plaintively calling for his mother as he died at the scene. This photo is one al-Mutairi posted to Instagram. Comment
News

New Democrat Bloomberg Is Stiffing the Dems

Michael Bloomberg, positioning himself for a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, has enrolled as a Democrat again after having won the New York City mayoralty three times running on the Republican line. Comment
News

Stacey Abrams Breaks Atlanta Pride Barrier

Stacey Abrams In the midst of a tight race for governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee, on October 14 became the first major party candidate to march in the Atlanta’s LGBTQ Pride Parade. Comment
News

Marriage Updates from Around the Globe

Taiwan will hold two referenda on gay relationships this fall. Since the Constitutional Court there has mandated that the country give equal rights to gay couples, the right wing has put forth a proposal limiting marriage to different-sex couples and providing civil unions for same-sex couples. The LGBTQ rights movement has qualified another proposal that would open marriage to gay couples. Both will be on the ballot on November 24. Comment
News

Trump Wants to Make Protesters at White House to Pay

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed closing off 80 percent of the sidewalks around the White House to protesters and charging those who use public property within sight of the Executive Mansion — such as Lafayette Park — to pay the National Park Service a fee for “event management costs.” Comment
News

“Conversion Therapy” Bans Proliferate

Eau Claire has become the third city in Wisconsin to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. Joining them this past week were Westchester County, New York, and Lakewood, Ohio. Comment
News

Berl Boykin, Pioneering Atlanta Activist, Dies at 74

Berl Boykin, who organized the first gay pride march in Atlanta in 1971 — attracting 125 participants despite not being able to secure a permit — has died at 74. Boykin was expelled from Emory University in 1963 for “hosting a man in his dorm room.” He founded the Gay Liberation Front of Atlanta in 1969. Comment
News

De Blasio Signs Gender Marker Reform

At an October 9 ceremony at the Edie Windsor SAGE Center in Chelsea, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation to give a third gender option on New York City birth certificates, allowing people who identify as non-binary or gender-nonconforming to mark an X rather than an M or F. Comment
News

A Busy October Calendar for LGBTQ Communities

October is LGBTQ History Month, full of special days to make our communities more whole. October 11 is the 30th National Coming Out Day, founded on the first anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for LGBTQ Rights that was held in the midst of the worst days of the AIDS crisis. Comment
News

Susan Collins Dumped

US Senator Susan Collins’ defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh got her removed as an honorary co-sponsor of the International Human Rights Art Festival set for New York’s Wild Project November 12-18. The festival posted, “Her lack of candor, empathy, her reliance on ‘junk science’ to ignore Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford’s claim, and her insincerity has led us to believe that we do not want her name attached to an event that includes such a sincere and passionate collection of artists, activists, performers and speakers.” Those festival participants had hit organizers with an “outpouring of indignation” over Collins inclusion. Comments (1)
News

Homophobe Close to Winning Presidency of Brazil

Right wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro won 46 percent in the first round of voting for president of Brazil, short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff on October 28. Bolsonaro will face off against São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party, who got 29 percent in a country beset by a bad economy and political corruption. Leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Haddad’s party was barred from running by the Superior Electoral Court. Comment
Can’t fault CNN for liberal bias. They hired Kaitlan Collins as a White House correspondent in 2017 — directly from her serving in the same post for the right-wing Daily Caller website that was founded by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. Now the 26-year-old Collins is in trouble for a 2011 tweet calling someone a “fag” and another pondering, “Idk [I don’t know] if I wanna room with a lesbian” as a student at the University of Alabama. Comment
News

Trans Student Excluded During Shelter Drill

A middle school in Stafford County, Virginia, had a lockdown drills that students do to prepare for an active shooter. The students all went to their respective boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, but staff couldn’t decide where a transgender girl should go so she was kept out of both — left in a hallway with a teacher. Comment
News

PrEP #FAIL

Truvada used as PrEP to prevent HIV infection has proven enormously effective. But a new report from San Francisco found a PrEP-adherent man who contracted a drug-resistant strain of HIV. It was the sixth known such seroconversion among those who adhere to treatment, the San Francisco Department of Health reported. Comment
News

Saint John Paul II’s Halo Tarnished

The fight between the far right Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Pope Francis, whom Vigano accuses of covering up sexual abuse committed by Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, is heating up and lots of reputations are being sullied. While Francis would not respond to the charge, his aide Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, is hitting back hard, calling Viganò’s charges “false” and “abhorrent” and producing documentation that Pope John Paul II, now a canonized saint in the Catholic Church, received information about McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with seminarians in 2000 and yet elevated him to cardinal in 2001—long before Francis became pope. Comment
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Mexico City was detained at Houston’s Hobby Airport on October 7 as they tried to enter the US on a trip to Los Angeles to perform with that city’s Gay Men’s Chorus. A Homeland Security officer found sheet music in their luggage and inferred that they were performers in the US without the proper work permits. The chorus, however, is a non-profit group and all its members are volunteers. Agency officials got their backs up when they found that one of the chorus’ members, Jorge Gutierrez, a university professor of literature, had the same name as someone who had once stolen a truck. Comment
News

Tokyo Enacts LGBT Rights Law

The Metropolitan Government of Tokyo passed a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity on October 5 — moved by the coming of the Summer Olympics to the capital in 2020. Human Rights Watch worked with the government to comply with the Olympic Charter’s human rights provisions. The International Olympic Committee in 2014 adopted a policy of only holding games in cities that ban such discrimination. Comment
News

Taiwan Votes on Same-Sex Marriage November 24

Opponents of gay marriage have gotten enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot for November 24 in Taiwan. Since the Constitutional Court ruled that the country must equalize rights for same-sex couples, a proposal from right wing forces in Taiwan proposed establishing civil unions instead of marriage for gay couples. Comment
News

Big Win in Romania

Even though three million Romanians signed a petition to get a ban on same-sex marriage into the constitution, a referendum from the religious right — aided by Americans including the National Organization for Marriage and anti-gay Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis — failed on October 6-7, when only 20 percent of eligible voters participated. The constitution can only be changed by a referendum where at least 30 percent show up. Opponents of the amendment successfully pursued a strategy of urging voters to stay home. Comment
Residents of Queens are reacting with shock and grief at the news that Miss Colombia, a colorfully attired Jackson Heights personality who was a fixture at LGBTQ Pride celebrations and other gatherings, was found dead in the waters off Jacob Riis Park in the early morning hours of October 4. Comment
The New York City Department of Education is stepping up efforts to combat the isolation of LGBTQ youth and educate all students on queer issues, including lessons that integrate historic figures from the community such as the late Stonewall participant Marsha P. Johnson and authors like James Baldwin. Comment
The latest data on HIV from the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention found that nine out of the top 10 states in new infections are in the South. Comment
Philadelphia, the childhood hometown of the late lesbian activist Edie Windsor, is naming a street for her on October 7. The ceremony to unveil “Edie Windsor Way” will begin a 2 p.m. on Sunday at the corner of Locust St. & South 13th Street near 1301 Locust. There will be a brief awards ceremony followed by the dedication. Comment
Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the British government will comply with a Supreme Court ruling in April that extends civil partnerships to non-gay couples in England and Wales. Comments (1)
News

The Perils of Coming Out in Zimbabwe

Dr. Neal Hovelmeier, a veteran teacher at the elite St. John’s College Prep School in Zimbabwe, opened up about being a gay man at a school assembly on how to combat homophobic bullying. He did so in part because a newspaper intended to print that he was homosexual. Comment
News

As Romanians Vote on Marriage, Court Orders Equal Benefits

The Romanian government is holding a referendum October 6 and 7 on limiting marriage to different-sex couples. It extended the voting over two days because unless 30 percent of eligible voters participate, the constitution cannot be changed. LGBTQ activists are encouraging people to boycott the referendum in order to kill it. A petition to put the issue to a referendum garnered three million signatures in a nation of 20 million people. Comment
News

Longtime Gay Activist Bruce Friedman Dies

Bruce Friedman, a leader in LGBTQ political groups in New York as well as in the synagogue serving the city’s queer community, died September 24 after a long battle with leukemia. He was 70. Comment
The New York Public Library’s LGBT Collections will be drawn from heavily next year for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. Tony Marx, president of the library, and members of the LGBT Initiative co-chaired by trustee Carey Maloney and Hermes Mallea, hosted a reception for LGBTQ leaders September 24 in the Trustees Room to preview two “milestone exhibitions”: “Love and Resistance: Stonewall at 50,” set for February 14 through June 30 of next year, “Walt Whitman,” which will be on display March 29 through July 27. Comments (1)
News

White Men A Minority Among House Dem Candidates

We’ve read how record numbers of LGBTQ people are running for office on November 6 — including the Democratic nominees for governor in Texas (Lupe Valdez), Colorado (Congressmember Jared Polis), and Oregon (incumbent Kate Brown) and for the US Senate from Wisconsin (incumbent Tammy Baldwin) and Arizona (Congressmember Kyrsten Sinema). Comment
News

State Departments Ends Domestic Partner Recognition on Visas

Employees of international organizations here on G-4 visas have been allowed to have their domestic partners here on derivative G-4 visas. UN-GLOBE, the United Nations LGBTQ group, has alerted UN employees that the State Department is now requiring these couples to be legally married in order to obtain the derivative visas for partners. It’s the same rule for different-sex couples, but many foreign workers cannot marry in their home countries. The UN is advising their gay employees in New York to marry here in order to maintain the visas. Comment
News

Irish Catholics Want Gay Marriage, Married & Women Priests

A poll conducted in the wake of Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families in August found the Irish people holding a very different concept of family from the one promoted by the hierarchy and a desire for a very different kind of church. In a country where more than 60 percent voted to open marriage to gay couples just three years ago, 77 percent want the Church to accept same-sex marriage. Ninety percent say priests should be able to marry. And 86 percent want women priests. Comment
News

Actor Dean Cain: From Superman to Right-Wing Darling

Dean Cain, who starred as Superman on TV and played gay in “The Broken Hearts Club” film, caused a firestorm when he participated in the Values Voters Summit run by the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council on September 21. He was there promoting his film “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” where he plays a detective going after a rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell who was accused of murdering hundreds of newborns and convicted of killing three. Comment
News

Connecticut GOP Hatches Gay Candidate Strategy

The Connecticut Republican Party actively recruited six out gay and lesbian candidates to run for State Assembly this November in their bid to win a majority there. The Democrats have just two out gay Assembly candidates running. Comment
News

One Step Forward: NYC Approves Non-Binary Gender Category

The New York City Council voted 41-6 on September 12 to add an “x” category to birth certificates for people who are non-binary. The bill was sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, an out gay Chelsea Democrat, who said it “will send a powerful signal to the world that New York City government works for everyone.” Comment
News

Fore: Golf Has its First Out Gay Male Pro

Professional golfer Tadd Fujikawa, 27, came out publicly on World Suicide Prevention Day. Comment
Romania is set to vote on a referendum to ban same-sex marriage, drawing American anti-gay forces to help push its likely passage of it. B Comment
News

LGBT Serbs: No Pride in Lesbian Prime Minister

It was quite a breakthrough when Serbia’s conservative Orthodox Christian Party made Ana Brnabic, an out lesbian, prime minister last year. She made a splash at last year’s Pride March in Belgrade. But this year, some LGBTQ activists have launched a “Say No” campaign to keep politicians out of Pride since they have not delivered on LGBTQ rights and Brnabic is their prime target, especially after she said at the 2017 Pride that LGBTQ issues would be put on a back burner by her government while until officials addressed what she considered bread-and-butter issues. Comment
News

No Thanksgiving Dinner for these Siblings

Curtis Ingraham, the gay brother of Fox News host Laura Ingraham called her “a monster” and told the Daily Beast, “We grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father who was a Nazi sympathizer. Like father like daughter?! This was the familial soil that gave bloom to my sister’s anger.” Comment

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