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NATIONAL Trans protections, Dykes on Bikes death, leather district
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-05-08

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The New Hampshire state Senate passed a bill that would create legal protections for transgender people in the state, New Hampshire Public Radio reported. The bill—which earlier passed in the House, and in the Senate by a vote of 14-10—would add gender identity to the state's existing anti-discrimination laws. The bill now heads to Gov. Chris Sununu, who is expected to sign it.

Dykes on Bikes announced that founding member Soni Wolf, "an inspiring mother of the movement for lesbian pride and dignity" died April 25 of natural causes at age 69, according to a National Center for Lesbian Rights press release. NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell said, in part, "Soni was a fierce advocate whose life exemplified the power of visionary courage, freedom, and feminist solidarity. We've been immeasurably enriched by knowing her, and next month at Pride, we'll see Soni's legacy live on." The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) and the Brooke Oliver Law Group represented Dykes on Bikes in an action to register its name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Supervisors in San Francisco have unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a gay and leather cultural district in the city's South of Market neighborhood, The Washington Post reported. Supervisor Jane Kim said before the May 1 vote that legislation to designate a cultural district has been more than a decade in the making. The neighborhood remains home to gay and kink bars and the popular Folsom Street Fair, which draws thousands of people every year to celebrate "leather sexuality."

Lesbian couple Ashley and LaNisha Davis of Purvis, Mississippi, were set to pick up their foster child from Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg on March 3—but the legal system stopped them from doing so, the Clarion Ledger reported. ( The biological mother had signed away her parental rights, Ashley said, and the Davis' caseworker told them they could start the adoption process immediately. ) The problem for the couple is that Forrest County Youth Court Judge Mike McPhail wanted the baby to stay in Forrest County—but LaNisha is active-duty military, and the couple planned to move to New Mexico in May.

A gay man who marched in heels in his city's Veterans Day parade last year was elected mayor of his town, LGBTQ Nation noted. Bruno "Ralphy" Lozano, 35, is a U.S. Air Force veteran and is now the mayor-elect of Del Rio, a town in southwestern Texas along the border with Mexico. Del Rio has a population of 41,000, and the unofficial election results show that about 3,500 people voted in the election—with about 65 percent of the vote going to Lozano over incumbent Robert Garza.

NMAC has announced that legendary HIV activist/writer Larry Kramer will speak at the United States Conference on AIDS ( USCA ) on Sept. 7, , in Orlando, a press release noted. ( USCA will run Sept. 6-9, according to NMAC's website. ) Since 1987, NMAC has advanced its mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous electronic and print materials, and a website: NMAC.org .

Following some comments he made about Vice President Mike Pence, Pulse shooting survivor Brandon Wolf found himself on the receiving end of intense online attacks from right-wing activists, including threats on his life, NewNowNext.com noted. During a recent segment of Tucker Carlson's show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, the right-wing TV host centered on comments that Wolf has made against Pence. On the show, Wolf discussed the vice president, saying that he would put LGBT people in "concentration camps hoping to pray the gay away" if Pence became president. ( Wolf later tweeted that he meant "conversion" instead of "concentration." )

The state of California is suing an El Cajon gym over allegations that it denied a transgender woman access to the women's locker room there for almost a year, the San Diego Union Tribune reported. The state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which enforces state civil rights laws, sued Crunch Fitness on Jamacha Road in mid-April, alleging intentional discrimination against Christynne Wood "on the basis of her sex, specifically her gender identity and gender expression." Among other things, the suit asks that the gym be required to provide appropriate training to all managers and employees on obligations under the Unruh Act, with special emphasis on gender identity and the prevention of harassment, according to an ACLU press release. The complaint is at https://www.aclusocal.org/sites/default/files/aclu_socal_wood_20180502_complaint.pdf.

Failed Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama filed a new lawsuit against some of the women who accused him of sexual misconduct, claiming they were part of a "political conspiracy" to derail his 2017 campaign, Time.com noted. Moore's attorney, Melissa Isaak, said at a news conference in Gadsden that the accusations raised against Moore shortly before the special Senate election are "false." She also said that his accusers, and others, hoped to see him lose the Dec. 12 ballot.

Ex-LGBTQ activists held a rally this weekend in Washington, D.C., that a grand total of 36 people attended, LGBTQ Nation noted. The "Freedom March," organized by Voice of the Voiceless, was held at the National Sylvan Theater. ( Voice of the Voiceless is an ex-LGBTQ group that has advocated for conversion therapy on college campuses. ) The rally had several speakers, including ex-transgender activist Jeffrey McCall, Pulse shooting survivor Luis Ruiz and "Activist Mommy" Elizabeth Johnston.

Iowa's predominantly Republican legislature passed a bill that would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected—a significant step toward enacting one of the most restrictive laws of its kind in the United States, The Washington Post reported. The "heartbeat" bill, which would ban abortions as early as six weeks—around the time women generally feel early signs of pregnancy and before many even realize they are pregnant—passed through the Iowa House by a vote of 51-46 on May 1. The state Senate passed the bill 29-17 on May 2, sending it to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has said abortion is "equivalent to murder."

A Brooklyn teacher was arrested following allegations that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old male student, ABC News reported. Andre Braddy—an eighth-grade math teacher at PS 235 in East Flatbush—allegedly had multiple sexual encounters with a student in a school bathroom. Braddy, 34, faces charges of sex abuse, engaging in a criminal sex act and committing an act in a manner injurious to a child.

Openly gay student Adam Bell, 18, voted prom king at South Carolina's Powdersville High School, has taken social media by storm—because this king wore a dress, LGBTQ Nation reported. To win the honor, Bell received 49 percent of his classmates' votes in the school of 840 students—a strong statement in the northwest South Carolina community. The prom outfit was a white top from Victoria's Secret and a green velvet skirt from House of CB, he told Teen Vogue.

At its annual developers conference, F8, Facebook announced a new dating feature, CNNMoney reported. Users can set up a dating profile with their first name, which the company said won't be visible to friends and will not appear in News Feeds. The feature is opt-in and users will not be matched with people they are already friends with, according to Facebook.

People close to U.S. Sen. John McCain have told the White House that the ailing Arizona Republican does not want President Donald Trump to attend his funeral and would like Vice President Mike Pence to come instead, NBC News reported. McCain, 81, has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer for nearly a year, and is back home in Arizona after he underwent surgery last month for an intestinal infection. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush plan to be eulogists at McCain's funeral service, which is to be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Navy has halted its practice of announcing the names of commanders relieved for poor performance or misconduct, USA Today noted. It's a move that comes in the wake of one of the worst bribery scandals in Pentagon history. U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier of California, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, criticized the Navy's change in practice.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his resignation just hours after four women accused him of physically abusing them, New York Magazine reported. In a report from The New Yorker's Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow the four women—three of whom had romantic relationships with Schneiderman, and a fourth who rebuffed his advances—accused him of choking and slapping them, and engaging in other controlling, demeaning and threatening behavior. Schneiderman had positioned himself as a champion of the #MeToo movement, as he filed a civil rights suit against Harvey Weinstein and his company.

The embattled chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives has won his job back just hours after sending a scalding letter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan that accused a top Ryan aide of telling him "something like 'maybe it's time that we had a chaplain that wasn't a Catholic," the Los Angeles Times reported. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, forced the Rev. Pat Conroy to tender his resignation last month, sparking a firestorm. Ryan has said he was dissatisfied with Conroy's pastoral care to lawmakers.

An additional 27 women have accused journalist Charlie Rose of a wide array of sexual misconduct, TheWrap reported, citing a Washington Post article. Fourteen women who worked with Rose at CBS accused him of misconduct, while and additional 13 said they were harassed at other companies. In a statement to the Post, CBS said, "Since we terminated Charlie Rose, we've worked to strengthen existing systems to ensure a safe environment where everyone can do their best work."


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