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NATIONAL Chelsea Manning, lawsuit, 'Amp Your Voice,' trans model
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-06-05

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Chelsea Manning—the transgender soldier and activist who gained attention after being convicted of leaking classified government and military documents to the website WikiLeaks—tweeted that she is "safe" after a now-deleted photo of a person standing on a ledge with the words "I'm sorry" caused concern online, CBS News reported. ( It was unclear if Manning was the person in the picture. ) Kelly Wright—a friend of Manning who also is the communications director for her Senate bid—told The Associated Press that the 30-year-old transgender woman now needs the "space to heal," adding that Manning has not suspended her Senate campaign.

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN are suing the Defense Department over what they say is its "outdated" and "unconstitutional" policies involving HIV-positive service members, NBC News noted. In part, the lawsuit reads, "Military regulations prohibit the enlistment or commissioning of any individual living with HIV and place strict geographic limitations on the service of members who first test HIV positive while on active duty." The Pentagon adopted a strict HIV policy in 1991, when AIDS was the No. 2 killer of men aged 25 to 44 in the U.S. The policy has been revised since, but not enough, according to Scott A. Schoettes, director of the HIV Project at Lambda Legal.

GLAAD launched its "Amp Your Voice" LGBTQ youth voter-engagement campaign, a press release stated. The campaign aims to " empower young LGBTQ people to speak up, speak out, register to vote, and then take the issues that matter most to them to the polls on [Nov.] 6." GLAAD is also launching an online action center for the campaign, where users will be encouraged to register to vote, take specific action on state and federal legislation, contact their representatives in Congress, and participate in GLAAD's calls to action for video submissions. See https://www.countable.us/profiles/glaad.

In the first-ever LGBTQ+ State of the Union at the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia's leaders and community members filled the Perelman Theatre to hear from some of the most influential LGBTQ organizations in the region, PhillyVoice.com noted. With elected officials in attendance, including City Councilman Derek Green, state Rep. Brian Sims and Democratic nominee for state representative Malcolm Kenyatta, Mayor Jim Kenney called it "a historic event."

Transgender model Laith Ashley ( who is one of the men featured in a new Bonobos commercial ) recently vented his frustration on Twitter. On May 30, Ashley posted, "I get attacked for being trans, I get atracked [sic] for being too 'cis passing,' I get attacked for being pretty, I get attacked for being ugly, I get called stupid because I'm a model, I get attacked for my binary appearance... Can't win." Ashley did make history recently as the first-ever transgender Pit Crew member on RuPaul's Drag Race, Hornet noted.

A gay, Black army veteran has "come out"—as a Republican, AOL.com noted. Rob Smith served for two tours in the Middle East, and was even arrested at the White House protesting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy—but told the Daily Mail he's "coming out" as conservative because he's sick of the "outrage culture" of Democrats, especially how Kanye West was treated when he embraced Donald Trump. He said his path to conservatism started a year ago, when he read Florida senator Marco Rubio's book American Dreams. Smith added it's important to come out as conservative to show people that Blacks and gays don't have to be Democrats, and to counter the thought that all conservative Republicans are racist.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) is joining forces with J.Crew and Madewell on apparel and accessories for Pride month this June to help advance efforts to achieve full equality for all LGBTQ people, an HRC press release stated. Half of the retail price of both lines —available at J.Crew and Madewell stores nationwide, as well as online at the HRC store—will benefit HRC's work. J.Crew's "Love First" line includes men's, women's and kids' shirts, as well as exclusive HRC socks; Madewell's "Love to All" line will include a women's shirt and tote bag.

The board of directors of Lambda Literary announced that Sue Landers has been selected to be the next executive director of the organization, a press release noted. She succeeds Tony Valenzuela, who announced last fall that he would step down as executive director after a nine-year tenure. Landers will assume the role on July 2.

Two Miami-based LGBTQ organizations—Pridelines and SAVE—were among 11 recipients of the 2018 Football Unites Grant, according to Watermark Online. The grant was created in November 2017 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Dolphins players, a team press release stated. The grant aims to strengthen and expand the impact of groups in South Florida that focus on community engagement, education and justice reform. Other grant recipients include the Community Justice Project, the Perez Art Museum, Miami's Art Detectives program, the Trayvon Martin Foundation and more.

While nominally non-denominational, the American Bible Society is now requiring employees to sign a document swearing that "I will seek to pursue my identity in Christ as described in the Bible," LGBTQ Nation noted. Among the rules that ABS is asking employees to follow is to "seek to refrain from sexual activity outside of the marriage convenant prescribed and exemplified in the Bible." ABS interprets that to mean a marriage between a man and a woman only. Employees will be asked to sign the document ( aka the Affirmation ) in January 2019; if they refuse to do so, they will have to resign.

Major League Baseball and the Washington Blade announced that the Blade will serve as a sponsor of 2018 MLB All-Star Week, which will be hosted in Washington, D.C., in July—marking the first time that MLB has partnered with an LGBT news outlet on the event, the Blade revealed. The 2018 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard and related events will take place in July at Nationals Park and other locations throughout the district. In conjunction with All-Star Week, the Blade will publish its sixth annual Sports Issue on July 13, with a special focus on LGBTQ issues in baseball and other professional and collegiate sports.

In Oregon, the Duniway Portland, A Hilton Hotel, kicked off Pride Month by hosting its first annual celebration June 4, a press release noted. The Duniway is the first Hilton Hotels and Resorts property to unveil the brand-new #HiltonPride logo and initiative. Dale Scott, the first openly gay MLB umpire, provided remarks at the June 4 event.

Donald Trump Jr. retweeted some of the offensive tweets posted by Roseanne Barr before her show was canceled—such as calling billionaire George Soros a Nazi "who turned in his fellow Jews," Page Six noted. After falsely claiming that Chelsea ‹Clinton ‹is married to Soros' nephew, Barr responded ‹with ‹an "apology" that included a bizarre conspiracy-mongering rant about the Democratic donor that the president's son then relayed to his 2.84 million followers. Soros, a Jew, was 13 when the Nazis occupied ‹his homeland ‹Hungary, his spokesperson said—calling Barr's tweets an insult to Holocaust victims.

Jaelene Hinkle didn't play for the U.S. women's national team last year because of the team's decision to wear LGBTQ Pride jerseys, USA Today noted. Hinkle, currently a defender for the North Carolina Courage of the National Women's Soccer League, didn't reveal her reasons at the time, but told The 700 Club in an interview that the jerseys commemorating LGBTQ Pride Month conflicted with her Christian faith. The U.S. team has featured several openly gay players, including Olympic gold medalists Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe.

President Donald Trump told reporters he is considering pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's sentence, CNN.com noted. Trump floated the idea of pardoning or commuting the sentences of the two former Apprentice series stars hours after he pardoned the conservative author/filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza ( who has repeatedly attempted to make a connection between Nazis, Hitle, and homosexuality, according to a GLAAD press release ). Recently, Trump also pardoned the deceased boxer Jack Johnson.

In Michigan, a farmer wants the courts to step in after he was barred from a farmers market because he doesn't allow gay couples to marry at his apple orchard, CBS Chicago noted. The Lansing State Journal reported that a conservative Christian nonprofit is representing farmer Steve Tennes, who was barred from the East Lansing farmers market last year because city officials opposed his decision not to allow same-sex couples to get married at his orchard, The Country Mill, in nearby Charlotte. A federal judge ordered the city to make room for Tennes last year, saying the city probably violated his religious and free-speech rights; however, East Lansing's mayor says that ruling only covered the 2017 market season.

Howard Schultz is leaving his job at Starbucks—and says he may consider running for president, a KTLA.com item stated. Starbucks announced June 4 that Schultz, a former CEO and the most prominent face of the company, will step down later this month as executive chairman. In an interview with The New York Times, he acknowledged that he may consider a bid for the White House.

MSNBC host Joy Reid released another lengthy apology over incendiary content from her old blog, which has continued to trickle out in recent weeks, TheWrap noted. The apology from Reid also included references to content unearthed by BuzzFeed in recent weeks, specifically a post from 2007 in which Reid photoshopped the head of John McCain onto the Virginia Tech shooter and another where she promoted the 9/11 conspiracy film Loose Change.

Stolichnaya vodka is releasing a limited-edition tribute bottle to celebrate the late gay-rights activist Harvey Milk, Forbes noted. With 50,000 bottles hitting the streets, Stoli, as it's nicknamed, is donating an-as-yet-determined amount of proceeds to the San Francisco-based Harvey Milk Foundation, founded and run by Milk's nephew Stuart Milk.

Nathan Larson, a 37-year-old accountant from Catlett, Virginia, is running for Congress as an independent candidate in his native state—and has admitted he is also a pedophile, The Huffington Post reported. In a phone call, Larson confirmed that he created the now-defunct websites suiped.org and incelocalypse.today—chat rooms that served as gathering places for pedophiles and violence-minded misogynists like himself. According to Larson's campaign manifesto, his platform as a "quasi-neoreactionary libertarian" candidate includes protecting gun-ownership rights, establishing free trade and protecting "benevolent white supremacy," as well as legalizing incestuous marriage and child pornography.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has agreed to a $210 million settlement with 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse as part of its plan for bankruptcy reorganization—making it the second-largest U.S. payout in the scandal that rocked the nation's Roman Catholic Church, a Denver Post item stated. A total of $210,290,724 will go into a pot to pay survivors, with the amount for each survivor to be determined.

Embattled Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens resigned over the scandals that have dominated his tenure, CNN.com noted. He has been embroiled in controversy after facing accusations of sexual misconduct and misusing a charity donor list. In recent months, Greitens had been indicted on a felony computer-tampering charge related to the donor list and on a felony invasion of privacy charge, although that charge was dropped. Mike Parson, the current lieutenant governor of the state, is expected to assume the office of governor.

Steven Pitt—a forensic psychiatrist who consulted with law enforcement on a number of high-profile cases, including the mysterious death of JonBenet Ramsey—was found shot to death outside his Phoenix office, according to ABC News. NBC News added that the killer, Dwight Lamon Jones, committed suicide after killing Pitt and several other people in Arizona. Sources said that Jones was 56 and that his victims were somehow connected to his bitter divorce case from eight years ago.

Powerful and controversial billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are funding a multi-million dollar campaign against President Donald Trump's trade tariffs, BBC.com noted. Three political groups backed by the brothers say they will use advertising, lobbying and grassroots campaigns to push the benefits of free trade. The move developed days after Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

TBS backed Samantha Bee after her apology to Ivanka Trump, issuing its own mea culpa for letting the "feckless c—" insult make it to air, TheWrap noted. Bee has faced mounting criticism for a joke on an episode of Full Frontal in which she took aim at the president's daughter for her failure to stop her father's immigration policies. After considerable backlash for the insult, including the loss of at least one sponsor, Bee apologized to Trump.


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