Transgender woman running for Colombian Senate

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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BOGOTÁ, Colombia — A transgender woman who is running for the Colombian Senate hopes to make history in the South American country.

Tatiana Piñeros on Monday formally registered her candidacy with Colombian election officials.

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Grassley: Trump must rethink nominee who called trans kids ‘Satan’s plan’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urged President Trump to rethink a judicial nominee who called transgender kids “Satan’s plan.” (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In a rare public rebuke of President Trump, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee urged the administration to reconsider the judicial nomination of Jeff Mateer, who was recently exposed on tape calling transgender kids “Satan’s plan.”

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said in exclusive comments to CNN he advised the White House to “reconsider” the nomination of Jeff Mateer, whom Trump nominated for a federal judgeship in Texas. Additionally, Grassley said the administration “should not proceed” with the nomination of Brett Talley, who Trump picked to become a federal judge in Alabama.

“I’ve advised the White House they ought to reconsider,” Grassley was quoted saying as he left a Judiciary Committee hearing. “I would advise the White House not to proceed.”

No explanation is provided in the CNN article for why Grassley recommended reconsideration of the judicial picks. Grassley’s office didn’t immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment for clarification.

The reason may be they’re unable to succeed given opposition to the choices. Although opposition from LGBT rights advocates isn’t uncommon for Trump’s judicial nominees, Mateer has reached new heights after a video recording was unearthed following his nomination in which he called transgender kids “Satan’s plan.”

LGBT rights advocates have urged Trump to withdraw the nominee. Failing that, they say the U.S. Senate should defeat the nomination. At a Capitol Hill rally last month, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) joined LGBT rights advocates and mothers of transgender children in calling for defeat of the nomination.

David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement Trump should heed the advice of Grassley and withdraw the nomination.

“With Sen. Grassley’s call for Trump to reconsider Mateer’s nomination, the writing is on the wall: Mateer has to go,” Stacy said. “Mateer has spent his career publicly voicing his contempt for LGBTQ people, opposing LGBTQ non-discrimination protections, and even attacking transgender children. As we have said from the beginning, the White House must immediately withdraw his nomination.”

Mateer, who’s now serving as the first assistant attorney general of Texas, made the comments about transgender kids during the same 2015 Iowa conference organized by pastor Kevin Swanson, who became infamous in the LGBT community for taking that opportunity to call for the death penalty for LGBT people. (Others in attendance were then-Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal.)

At the same conference, Mateer endorsed widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy and warned marriage equality would lead to polygamy.

Other reporting has emerged in which Mateer was shown to have said the contraception mandate in Obamacare was similar to religious crackdowns in Nazi Germany. Additionally, Mateer proclaimed “we discriminate” against gay people in the Baptist Church to justify anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of religious freedom.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who initially supported Mateer, has since taken issue with the nominee for failing to disclose the remarks prior to his nomination, calling it a “serious breach of protocol.”

Talley, on the other hand, isn’t facing the same level of opposition from LGBT groups. Opposition to him is likely based on his lack of judicial experience. Although he’s a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department, Talley has never tried a case and was unanimously rated “unqualified” by the American Bar Association.

The nomination of Mateer, who has yet to even have his confirmation hearing, remains pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee approved Talley last month, but his nomination hasn’t yet come before the full Senate.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday she was “not sure” if Grassley and Trump had directly spoken about the nominations, declining to answer directly if Trump intended to withdraw the nominees. The Blade has placed a request with the White House seeking more information.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved a different judicial pick who received an “unqualified” rating from the American Bar Association and who’s opposed by LGBT groups. By a vote of 50-48, senators approved the nomination of Steve Grasz for a seat on the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Grasz, who previously was senior counsel in the Omaha office of Husch Blackwell LLP, also served since 2015 on the board of the Nebraska Family Alliance, according to a Buzzfeed report.

This year alone, the Nebraska Family Alliance published two articles criticizing states for enacting bans on widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy for youth. The organization, according to Buzzfeed, stated it doesn’t have a position on the practice itself.

As Deputy Nebraska Attorney General in the 1990s, Grasz also stated anti-LGBT views, as pointed out by the Human Rights Campaign. Grasz opined non-discrimination protections for gay people could protect pedophiles and argued Nebraska shouldn’t recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state.

Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, said in a statement the Senate “sank even lower” in its standards for judicial nominees with the confirmation of Grasz.

“Not since 2006 has a federal appellate court nominee unanimously rated unqualified by the ABA even gotten a hearing, much less a confirmation,” Aron said. “Grasz’s unfitness for the bench goes beyond his failure to meet the threshold set by the ABA: His record amply demonstrates that he is deeply hostile to the rights of others, most notably women and LGBTQ individuals, and raises questions about whether he would properly uphold Supreme Court precedent on the bench. Sadly, people living and working within the Eighth Circuit will have to pay the price for this mindless rubber-stamping of another Trump nominee.”

The Grasz nomination represents the latest Senate confirmation of a judicial nominee with questionable experience and an anti-LGBT record. The Senate has been confirming judicial picks at a record pace since the start of the Trump administration.

Harper Jean Tobin, director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement Mateer and Talley are “just the tip of the iceberg” of Trump’s anti-LGBT and unqualified judicial nominees.

“We hope this will be a turning point, and we call on Chairman Grassley and other senators to reconsider these nominees as well, and to return to regular order in the Senate rather than rushing through extreme and unqualified nominees,” Tobin said.

Doug Jones pulls off win against Roy Moore, slays anti-LGBT candidate

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Doug Jones has won the Alabama special election Photo courtesy Jones campaign

In a stunning political development celebrated by LGBT rights advocates, Democrat Doug Jones defeated notorious homophobe Roy Moore in an Alabama special election Tuesday for a U.S. Senate seat.

According to New York Times estimates, Jones, a former U.S. prosecutor, won 50 percent of the vote over Moore, who has a long career as an attorney and judge and who captured about 48 percent of the vote. Major media outlets called the election for Jones at 10:25 p.m. EST.

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Netflix releases first look at ‘Sense8’ finale

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Netflix has released a first look at the two-hour “Sense8” finale special.

The video shows behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the cast and clips of the cast meeting fans all around the world.

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Alabama father whose lesbian daughter committed suicide rebukes Roy Moore

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Outside of a Roy Moore rally in Midland City, Alabama, a father urged people not to elect the GOP candidate in memory of his deceased daughter.

Nathan Mathis, a peanut farmer from Wicksburg, Alabama, told reporters that his daughter Patti Sue, who was a lesbian, took her own life when she was 23. He held a sign with her picture on it and a poster with a plea, “Please Don’t Vote for Roy Moore.”

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Puerto Rico Senate approves religious freedom bill

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Puerto Rico Senate has approved a religious freedom bill that critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in the U.S. commonwealth. Activists and their supporters have urged Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to veto the measure. Image by Nicolas Raymond; courtesy Flickr

The Puerto Rico Senate on Sunday approved a religious freedom bill that critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in the U.S. commonwealth.

The bill — which is known as the Law for the Protection of Religious Liberty in Puerto Rico — notes the U.S. and Puerto Rican constitutions guarantee freedom of religion. The measure also states “it is important to remember the situations of confrontations that the religious sector experienced in the past administration where the public education sector tried to impose an ideology contrary to parents’ Christian principles.”

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‘America’s Next Top Model’ will crossover with ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“America’s Next Top Model” will crossover with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for its 24th cycle.

The contestants will be paired with “Drag Race” alums Katya, Valentina, and Manila Luzon for a photo shoot challenge, according to Entertainment Weekly.

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Oklahoma college board member chided for anti-gay comments

By : wire report
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(Image from Kirk Humphreys’ Twitter.)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former Oklahoma City mayor and member of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents was rebuked Monday for comparing gay people to pedophiles and politicians who’ve recently resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Kirk Humphreys made the comments during a local TV public affairs show that aired over the weekend on KFOR-TV. An alumni group has called for his resignation, while the student body president encouraged the campus to voice its opinion on Humphreys’ “ignorant” words.

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Social conservatives thank Trump at White House for anti-LGBT policy

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Social conservatives like James Dobson thanked President Trump at the White House for his anti-LGBT policy. Washington Blade photo by Chris Johnson

A host of anti-LGBT leaders met with the President Trump on Monday afternoon to thank him for keeping his promises from Election 2016, including his administration’s actions against LGBT people.

The meeting at the White House was timed with Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — a move long sought by social conservatives that many leaders in the international community have warned is dangerous.

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Third court rules against Trump’s transgender military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A federal judge in Washington State has become the third to rule against Trump’s transgender military ban.

A federal judge in Washington State has become the latest to determine President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the armed forces is unconstitutional.

In a 23-page decision, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman determined Monday in the case of Karnoski v. Trump the policy likely violates rights to equal protection and substantive due process as well as rights under the First Amendment.

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Netflix unveils first look at new ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ cast

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness, and Tan France. Photo via Netflix.

Netflix has revealed the new Fab Five for its “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” revival.

The revamped cast will include designer Bobby Berk, former “Real World: Philadelphia” star Karamo Brown, who will focus on culture; Antoni Porowski, who will focus on food and wine; Jonathan Van Ness, who specializes in grooming; and Tan France, who will give fashion advice.

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Historical marker honors Tennessee LGBT activist

By : wire report
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A historical marker has been unveiled honoring a pioneering activist for gay and lesbian rights in Tennessee.

Media outlets report the marker was unveiled Saturday during a ceremony outside the former home of Penny Campbell in Nashville.

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