Racist and homophobic threats rattle students, faculty at a NC university

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Wake Forest University (Photo from Wiki Commons)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) | Three months after a set of anonymous, threatening, racist, antisemitic and homophobic emails sent a wave of fear through the sociology department at Wake Forest University, the department chairman says he’s still waiting for university leaders to announce a meaningful response.

The emails to faculty in sociology and two other departments called for a “purge” of minorities and the LGBTQ community. Alarmed by what he deemed white supremacist terrorism, chairman Joseph Soares canceled sociology classes for a week. When they resumed, Wake Forest police officers were stationed outside classrooms and the building itself. Doors normally open were closed and locked. Even a study lounge was locked.

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Tennessee governor signs anti-LGBT adoption bill

By : Wire Report
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) | Tennessee has become the latest state to assure continued taxpayer funding of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies even if those organizations exclude LGBT families and others based on religious beliefs.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill Jan. 24 without fanfare or an official announcement, making it the first law to be implemented in Tennessee this year.

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Biden takes swipe at Sanders for accepting Joe Rogan’s support

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Joe Biden (Photo from CNN/Des Moines Register)

In an increasingly heated Democratic primary just a week before the Iowa caucuses, Joe Biden took a not-so-veiled swipe at Bernie Sanders Jan. 25 for accepting Joe Rogan’s support despite comments from the podcast host condemned as transphobic.

Taking to Twitter, Biden draws on his comments he made as vice president when he called transgender rights “the civil rights issue of our time,” which stands in contrast to the Sanders campaign accepting Rogan’s support.

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Sanders campaign defends accepting Joe Rogan support amid LGBTQ backlash

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Above: Sen. Bernie Sanders (Photo from CNN/Des Moines Register)

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is defending amid LGBTQ backlash its acceptance of support from podcast host Joe Rogan, who in the past has made comments condemned as transphobic, used anti-gay epithets and jokingly compared a black neighborhood to “Planet of the Apes.”

Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary for the Sanders campaign, responded to the controversy in a statement to the Washington Blade by emphasizing the need to build a coalition to defeat President Trump in the 2020 election.

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New documentary cloaks anonymous sources in ‘face doubles’

By : Wire Report
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PARK CITY, Utah (AP) | In documentaries, anonymous sources have often been reduced to a shadowy, voice-distorted figure, or worse, a pixelated blur. But a new documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 26 has, with the aid of advanced digital technology, gone to greater lengths to preserve the secrecy of its sources while still conveying their humanity.

“Welcome to Chechnya,” directed by David France, is about an underground pipeline created to rescue LGBTQ Chechens from the Russian republic where the government has for several years waged a crackdown on gays. In the predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia ruled by strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, LGBTQ Chechens have been detained, tortured and killed.

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Ohio judge apologizes for writing homophobic letters in ’90s

By : Wire Report
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MAUMEE, Ohio (AP) | A judge in northwest Ohio deeply apologized Jan. 23 for a pair of homophobic letters-to-the-editor he wrote to his college newspaper in the 1990s.

Maumee Municipal Court Judge Dan Hazard issued the apology to The Blade, of Toledo, after the newspaper discovered the letters, which are available in the online archive of The Lantern at Ohio State University.

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Discredited conversion therapy banned in conservative Utah

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Utah State Capitol, photo public domain.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | The discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children is now banned in Utah, making it the 19th state and one of the most conservative to prohibit it.

Supporters navigated a winding path to passage and some dissent remains, but barring it in Utah could give a boost to similar efforts in other right-leaning states, said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

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Warren pledges a Cabinet half-filled with women and non-binary people

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, photo via Warren’s Facebook page.

With weeks remaining before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren has come out with a pledge to fill half of her Cabinet as president with women and non-binary people.

Warren made the pledge within a Medium post on Tuesday titled, “Restoring Integrity & Competence to Government After Trump,” which says Trump will “leave behind a government that has been infected by corruption and incompetence” upon his presumed exit from the White House after the 2020 election and outlines her plans.

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Mormon school to allow same-sex partners in ballroom event

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | Brigham Young University (BYU) will allow same-sex couples to compete in a national ballroom dance competition hosted by the school, a move that goes against the institution’s code against gay relationships, officials said.

BYU was required to lift its ban on same-sex couples competing in the U.S. National Amateur DanceSport Championships, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

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Sundance to include LGBTQ panels by Outfest

By : John Paul King of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Sundance Film Festival. (Photo by Film Inquiry)

LA’s Outfest has been hosting a famous Queer Brunch at the Sundance Film Festival for years, but this year the organization has announced plans to expand its presence there for the first time in more than a decade.

The world-renowned LGBTQ Film Festival announced Jan. 20 that it was launching the Outfest House @ Sundance, an afternoon of celebration and education for festival alumni, community and fans of cinema celebrating the LGBTQ films at Sundance. Taking place in the heart of the festival at Kimball Terrace, it will offer a program of panels and discussions with industry professionals, exploring the history, politics and purpose of queer cinema.

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Anti-LGBTQ sermon delivered at church Pence attended for MLK Day

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Above: Vice President Mike Pence (Photo by Michael Key of the Washington Blade)

Vice President Mike Pence spent his Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend attending an anti-LGBTQ sermon at a church in Memphis, Tenn., where a minister said a “demonic spirit” was responsible for same-sex relationships.

Delivering the sermon on Sunday was Bishop Jerry Wayne Taylor, the pastor of the Holy City Church of God in Christ, whose remarks along with Pence’s address were live-streamed on the White House website.

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N.J. becomes ninth state to ban ‘gay panic’ defense

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Tuesday legislation that would prohibit the use of gay or trans panic as a defense in state court, making the Garden State in the ninth in the United States to enact such a law.

“We will always stand with our LGBTQ+ community and promote full equality for all our residents,” Murphy said in a statement. “Gay and trans panic defenses are rooted in homophobia and abhorrent excuses that should never be used to justify violence against vulnerable populations. With this new law, we are enacting critical measures to protect our friends and neighbors in the LGBTQ+ community.”

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