Federal court considers bathroom use by transgender student

By : wire report
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ATLANTA (AP) | A student has the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity, a lawyer told a federal court Thursday, arguing that the issue is about the right of transgender students to “equal dignity.”

But the Florida school district that’s appealing a lower court order in favor of the transgender boy told three judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they should overturn the ruling and let the school district restrict students to the bathroom matching their at-birth sex to protect the privacy of other students.

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Texas judge warned for refusing to perform same-sex weddings

By : Wire Report
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WACO, Texas (AP) | The Texas agency that investigates judicial misconduct issued a public warning to a justice of the peace who has refused to perform same-sex weddings.

In its warning, made public Dec. 2, the Texas Commission on Judicial Misconduct said McLennan County Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley has refused to perform same-sex weddings since August 2016, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision a year earlier that established the constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Some other justices of the peace in the county stopped performing weddings altogether after the Supreme Court’s ruling.

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LA’s Outfest launches ‘every1matters’ fundraising campaign

By : John Paul King of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Outfest Executive Director Damien S. Navarro (R) with former Executive Director Christopher Racster, who departed the post this summer. (photo courtesy of Outfest).

On Giving Tuesday, Outfest, the Los Angeles film festival established in 1982 by a group of UCLA students, launched the new “#every1matters” campaign to help fund programs “for the next 40 years,” according to Executive Director Damien S. Navarro.

Announcing the campaign in a press statement, the LGBTQ film festival wrote:

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Kevin Jennings: new leadership at Lambda Legal

By : Karen Ocamb OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Kevin Jennings, photo courtesy of Lambda Legal.

Kevin Jennings is not a lawyer so why was he tapped to lead Lambda Legal, one of the LGBTQ community’s most important national organizations?

“Well that was sort of what I said when Lambda called me,” Jennings told the Los Angles Blade by phone before officially starting on Dec. 2. “They said, ‘We’re not looking for a lawyer. We have lots of brilliant lawyers. We’re looking for an experienced organizational leader,’ — and that I am. I’ve been a leader of the LGBT movement for over 30 years and this is really a critical time for a movement, particularly for Lambda. The right wing has a very clear strategy to use the court and all of [President] Trump’s horrific judicial appointments to roll back everything we’ve won over the last 40 years. Lambda is going to be a key player in stopping that.”

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Grand Rapids-area pastor denies Holy Communion to gay judge

By : wire report
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ABOVE: St. Stephen Church, photo via St. Stephen’s Facebook page.

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) | The Roman Catholic Church in western Michigan is defending a priest’s decision to deny Holy Communion to a popular judge in a same-sex marriage.

Judge Sara Smolenski said the Rev. Scott Nolan privately informed her on Nov. 23, about a week after last receiving Communion from him at St. Stephen Church in East Grand Rapids. It has been her lifelong parish – she gave $7,000 for a building project – although she said she hadn’t regularly attended the church for months.

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Free PrEP program unveiled under Trump’s HIV initiative

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the same week World AIDS Day was recognized, the Trump administration has unveiled a new program to provide free PrEP as part of the initiative to beat the epidemic by 2030.

Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar announced the plan, known as “Ready, Set, PrEP,” in a conference call Tuesday with reporters, calling the initiative “a major step forward in the president’s plan to end the HIV epidemic in America.”

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Kamala Harris drops bid for 2020 presidential nomination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has dropped her bid for the 2020 election. (Photo courtesy of CNN)

Sen. Kamala Harris, once on the trajectory to become front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has dropped her bid to run for the White House in 2020.

The California Democrat made it official Dec. 3 with an email to supporters saying her campaign lacks the financial resources to continue.

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Substitute teacher lectures Utah child over his 2 dads

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | A substitute teacher berated a Utah fifth grader after he said during a pre-Thanksgiving lesson that he was thankful he’s finally going to be adopted by his two dads, the parents said.

The boy’s classmates said the teacher told him, “that’s nothing to be thankful for” and lectured the 30 kids in the class about her views on homosexuality. She said that “two men living together is a sin” and “homosexuality is wrong.”

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Shelley Morrison, Rosario on ‘Will & Grace,’ dies at 83

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: (L-R) Sean Hayes, Shelley Morrison and Megan Mullally in an episode of “Will & Grace.” (Screenshot from Hulu)

LOS ANGELES (AP) | Shelley Morrison, an actress with a 50-year career who was best known for playing a memorable maid on “Will & Grace,” died Dec. 1, her publicist said.

Morrison died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness, publicist Lori DeWaal told The Associated Press. She was 83.

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Indiana residents speak out on proposed ID rule to update gender options

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Branch of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. (Photo by Huw Williams, From Wikimedia Commons)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) | Indiana residents spoke out at a hearing about a proposed rule regarding a policy that allows residents who do not identify as male or female to choose a nonbinary option on driver’s licenses.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ (BMV) new rule would require nonbinary applicants to go through the Indiana State Department of Health to change gender on licenses and identification cards, but State Attorney General Curtis Hill stalled the measure in September because the public wasn’t sufficiently notified.

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Warhol Museum covers walls with blood for World AIDS Day

By : John Paul King of the washington blade, courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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ABOVE: Jordan Eagles’ Blood Mirror, Illuminations, 2015-2017. (Image courtesy the artist)

To commemorate World AIDS Day, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh covered one of its galleries with queer blood.

Jordan Eagles, a New York-based artist who has been exploring the aesthetics and ethics of blood as an artistic medium since the late 1990s, teamed with the museum on Dec. 1 to take over a section of its current exhibition, “Andy Warhol: Revelation,” with an immersive light installation called “Illuminations,” ruminating on the politics around queer blood, the prejudice facing LGBTQ people because of the stigma of HIV and the FDA’s discriminatory blood ban against men who have sex with men.

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Trump again omits LGBTQ people in World AIDS Day proclamation

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In a proclamation Nov. 27 recognizing World AIDS Day, President Trump again omitted any recognition of LGBTQ people as among the groups primarily affected by the epidemic.

Such was the case in proclamations issued in 2017 and 2018. But the latest absence of LGBTQ people stands out even more because Trump takes the occasion to tout his administration’s plan to beat HIV by 2030.

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