Senate confirms judge who argued for Prop 8, against gay judge deciding case

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Senate confirmed to the federal bench Wednesday a Trump judicial nominee who not only litigated in favor or California’s Proposition 8, but argued a ruling against the measure should have been invalidated because the judge didn’t disclose he was gay before deciding the case.

The Senate confirmed Howard Nielson to a seat on the U.S. District Court in Federal District of Utah by a 51-47 party-line vote as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) presided over the chamber. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined Democrats in voting “no” on the nominee.

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Trump is selling ‘LGBTQ for Trump’ rainbow shirts ahead of Pride month

By : Jeremy Williams
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It isn’t uncommon to see companies and organizations selling rainbow-clad items leading up to June’s LGBTQ Pride month. Recent stories on Disney, Reebok and Bud Light offering products sporting rainbow colors have appeared on many websites, including this one.

It isn’t even strange to see political candidates selling Pride T-shirts as they attempt to raise campaign funds, but you might expect politicians selling those shirts to have at least publicly supported LGBTQ Pride month.

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#RED Guide 2019

By : Dylan Todd
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Watermark’s Complete Guide to Orlando’s Big Gay Weekend.

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Kenyan author, LGBTQ activist Binyavanga Wainaina dies at 48

By : Wire Report
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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) | One of Africa’s best-known authors and gay rights activists, Binyavanga Wainaina, has died at age 48, a colleague and friend said May 22.

The Kenyan author died May 21 in Nairobi after an illness, Tom Maliti, the chairman of the Kwani Trust which Wainaina founded, told The Associated Press.

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‘Chick-fil-A’ bill reignites LGBTQ opposition in Texas

By : Wire Report
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) | Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signaled he will sign legislation that Republicans say is a defense of Chick-fil-A and religious freedom, but gay lawmakers sometimes tearfully railed against it on the House floor as a license to discriminate.

The bill, given final approval May 21 in the Texas House, was fast-tracked in the GOP-controlled Legislature in response to the San Antonio City Council stopping Chick-fil-A from opening a location in the airport of the nation’s seventh-largest city.

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Ellen DeGeneres renews talk show for three more seasons

By : Mariah Cooper OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will remain on the air through 2022.

DeGeneres made the announcement May 21 that she signed a deal to continue her talk show for three more seasons.

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SERVE Act seeks to aid trans troops discharged under Trump ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rep. Chris Pappas (L), has introduced the SERVE Act to aid transgender troops. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In the wake of the Trump administration implementing its ban on transgender military service, Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House that seeks to ensure service members discharged under the policy are eligible for care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Securing the Rights our Veterans Earned Act, or SERVE Act, requires the VA to provide health benefits to these troops if they obtain an “Other Than Honorable” or “Entry-Level Separation” discharge because of their gender identity.

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Orlando artist Nick Smith turns literary classics into original works of art

By : Jeremy Williams
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Once upon a time, in a land far, far away known as Orlando, an artist by the name of Nick Smith was rediscovering his love of art and began creating original pieces based on classic novels and popular stories.

“I’ve been drawing since I was a wee little lad,” Smith says. “I actually started tracing, that’s one of the things I always tell people, learn how to trace when you’re young so you get an idea of shapes and figures.”

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Author Rob Sanders revolutionizes picture books with ‘Stonewall’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Self-described “writer who teaches and teacher who writes” Rob Sanders appreciates anniversaries. In celebration of the LGBTQ pride flag’s 40th in 2018, he released “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag,” the first picture book detailing the LGBTQ symbol’s origin. Now, just ahead of the Stonewall Uprising’s 50th, he’s made history again with “Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution.”

The openly LGBTQ author’s follow up is the first picture book to detail the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. Its story of strength, unity and equality was released April 23 from Random House Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books; the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher.

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Queerly Beloved: Unlearning the Lies We’ve Been Told

By : Rev. Jakob Hero Shaw
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Years ago, in one of my seminary classes, someone posed the question, “Why do we trust people with our bodies who we wouldn’t trust with the keys to our car?” This was in a class on queer theology (yes, you find classes like that in seminaries, at least in the seminaries that are worth attending.)

The question was not an attack on queer life and it was not a critique of the sexual freedoms so many people in LGBTQ spaces enjoy. Instead, it questioned where in our lives we assign value and how we choose to protect our bodies, our possessions and our hearts.

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The Tender Activist: Building the Next President

By : Scottie Campbell
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I appear to be experiencing a bout of ennui. As we begin wading into the muck and mire of the presidential election cycle, I have wrapped myself in yellow plastic caution ribbon. Cautioning myself from falling into the pit that passes for discussion these days, and serving as a barrier to protect people from my own ire.

I prefer to term it ennui. It makes me seem like a troubled romantic, instead of how I feel below the surface: chicken shit.

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2019 Orlando Fringe Review: “Pack Animals”

By : Danny Garcia
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S.E. Grummet and Holly Brinkman bring the comical story of two summer camp scouts lost in the woods to life in the quirky comedy “Pack Animals.”

Brinkman is a highly skilled camper and is paired up with Grummet who is, well, not a highly skilled camper.  Grummet actually has no clue  about camping and doesn’t really want to be there. These two embark on an adventure reminiscent of an 80’s sitcom, but raunchier and more fun. To fully explain what this show is about would require a few bites of some questionable berries found in the woods. This hilarious comedy includes ukuleles, musical numbers about mansplaining, a bear attack and even sex with mythical woodland creatures. Not to mention the show also features animal puppets.

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