Lebanon security officials pressure activists to shut down conference

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lebanese security officials late last month pressured human rights activists to shut down a conference that was taking place at a hotel outside of Beirut.

Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, a global LGBTI advocacy organization, was among the more than 80 people who were attending the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality’s annual conference on Sept. 29. Stern wrote on her organization’s website she was having lunch with Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality Executive Director Georges Azzi when “his colleagues alerted him” that two “plain-clothes officers” from Lebanon’s General Security Directorate had arrived at the hotel.

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Romania marriage referendum fails because of low voter turnout

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A referendum on whether to define marriage as between a man and a woman in the Romanian constitution’s definition of family has failed.

The Associated Press and other media outlets cited election officials who said turnout was below the 30 percent that was required to make the referendum valid.

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Victory Institute organizes workshops in Central America

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SANTA LUCÍA, Honduras | The LGBTQ Victory Institute is holding a series of workshops in Central America that are designed to bolster the LGBTI community’s involvement in the region’s political process.

Nicaraguans who are participating in protests against their country’s government were among the 28 people who attended the first workshop that took place outside the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa from Sept. 28-30.

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Billie Jean King, Abdul-Jabbar tackle homophobia in sports

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) | Billie Jean King and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are being honored for lending their names to the fight against homophobia in sports.

They are working with Athlete Ally, a nonprofit founded by former college wrestler Hudson Taylor.

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Transgender candidates in Brazil push to have voices heard

By : wire report
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) | Barbara Aires, who was born male, says she spent much of her childhood on the streets because her father, in the military and from the conservative state of Minas Gerais, refused to accept her sexuality.

By her late teenage years, Aires was taking hormones to transition to a woman and, because she couldn’t find other employment, working as a prostitute — the fate of many transgender people who are shunned by much of Brazilian society.

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Transgender policy studied in Georgia school assault case

By : wire report
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WASHINGTON (AP)| The Education Department said October 3 that it is investigating whether a Georgia school district’s policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice created a “hostile environment” for a 5-year-old girl who said she was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom.

The complaint, filed on behalf of the parent of the girl, has the potential to upend a heated national debate on transgender students and their access to education bathrooms and locker rooms. The Obama administration sided with transgender students in their choice of school bathrooms, but the Trump administration scrapped that policy and said it was a local decision for schools and states.

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Lambda Legal announces N.Y. activist Richard Burns as interim CEO

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lambda Legal has appointed a longtime N.Y. activist to take the helm as interim leader, following the recent departure of its CEO ahead of the mid-term elections, the Washington Blade has learned.

Richard Burns, who served as executive director of the NYC LGBT Community Center for 22 years, is set to take over as interim CEO as the search continues for a replacement for Rachel Tiven, who resigned in August.

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Libby’s Legacy kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a treasure hunt

By : Melanie Ararat
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ORLANDO | October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation is starting it off with its first-ever Treasure Your Chest Scavenger Hunt at the Wall Street Plaza in downtown Orlando on Oct. 6.

“Libby’s Legacy has been known for doing unique, fun, interactive events,” says Tracy Maynard-Harris, executive director of Libby’s Legacy and wife of founder Robin Maynard-Harris. “So we came up with the idea of a scavenger hunt. It’s a team-focused foot race type event.”

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Come OUT St. Pete: When and where to come out

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) returns for its second outing with an inaugural parade and five days of events Oct. 4-11.

COSP kicks off Oct. 4 with the Taste of Grand Central, a celebration of restaurants in the Grand Central District. It’s also where the majority of the celebration’s events will take place; something COSP Co-Chair Jimmy Biascan says is intentional.

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LGBTQ groups gather in South Florida to announce Gillum for Governor endorsements

By : Jeremy Williams
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MIAMI | Three LGBTQ organizations—one local, one statewide and one national—gathered at the CIC in Miami Sept. 24 to jointly announce their support for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in his bid to become Florida’s next governor.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) joined with Equality Florida, the state’s largest civil rights organization, and SAVE, a South Florida LGBTQ advocacy group, to commit working together to secure full equality for Florida’s LGBTQ community, according to an HRC press release.

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Log Cabin president to step down after 6 years

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The list of Republicans announcing their exits from leadership roles in Washington prior to Election Day expanded into LGBT circles Tuesday night when Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, announced plans to step down after six years heading the organization.

Angelo announced “this will be my final Spirit of Lincoln dinner serving as your president” before the estimated 250 attendees at the annual event in D.C., which this year was held at the Mayflower Hotel.

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Former U.S. ambassador to Vietnam criticizes new diplomatic visa policy

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius on Wednesday joined the chorus of criticism over a new State Department policy that requires partners of foreign mission personnel and employees of international organizations to be married in order to qualify for a diplomatic visa.

Osius, who is raising two young children with his husband, Clayton Bond, told the Washington Blade he agrees with former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power’s description of the new policy as “needlessly cruel and bigoted.”

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