Lawsuit prompts decision to repeal NYC conversion therapy ban

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: NYC. Photo by Daniel Schwen, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Corey Johnson, the openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council, introduced a bill Sept. 12 to repeal a law the Council passed in 2017 that prohibits mental health professionals from performing so-called conversion therapy on both adults and minors.

Johnson said he remains convinced the practice of attempting change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is harmful and ineffective based on assessments by virtually all of the nation’s mainstream mental health advocacy organizations, which have issued statements opposing conversion therapy.

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Fabulous Independent Film Festival returns for ninth outing

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: (L-R) Stills from “Family in Transition,” “Good Kisser” and “Sell By.” All photos courtesy Fabulous IFF.

The Harvey Milk Festival (HMF) will present Sarasota’s ninth annual Fabulous Independent Film Festival (IFF) Sept. 27-29. The celebration will follow a special screening Sept. 25 and a kickoff party Sept. 26.

The Fabulous IFF exists to bring the best in LGBTQ cinema to Sarasota. It was previously gifted to the HMF by founder Magida Diouri, who continues to oversee its annual programming. The move resulted in attendance and support more than doubling, HMF President Shannon Fortner says.

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PHOTOS: TIGLFF launches 30th year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) kicked off its upcoming 30th celebration with its annual launch party at the historic Rialto Theatre Sept. 12.

The party was first organized 12 years ago by TIGLFF Co-President Ed Lally. It has since become the festival’s largest fundraiser.

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Gay married couple in Md. sues after daughter denied US citizenship

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The Kivitis, photo via Twitter.

A gay married couple from Maryland on Sept. 12 filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department over its refusal to recognize their daughter’s U.S. citizenship.

Roee Kiviti and Adiel Kiviti of Chevy Chase married in California in 2013. Their daughter was born via surrogate in Canada in February.

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Will Trump appoint the first gay national security adviser?

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and President Donald Trump. (Photo via Twitter)

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-ranking openly gay person in the Trump administration, has a brusque style that has offended some in his host country and journalists alike, but that hasn’t stopped him from appearing on the short list for President Trump’s next pick for national security adviser.

In fact, that style might help him. Grenell’s open confrontation with German officials and members of the media echo Trump’s brashness with traditional U.S. allies and accusations of “Fake News.”

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Queerly Beloved: Seriously, It’s Not Pie

By : Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw
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Back in the day, when I was just a newly-out, wee, little, baby queer, we used the code word “family” to talk about LGBTQ folks. As in, “Oh, he’s cute, is he ‘family?’”

I sometimes still hear that term, but I have noticed that it is far less common today. Back then, in my baby queer days, I longed to find that magical LGBTQ family. I thought this family would pluck me out of my mundane teenage existence and take me away to a place where I felt affirmed and loved all the time.

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Edmund White to receive honorary National Book Award

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Edmund White. (Photo by David Shankbone, from Wikimedia Commons)

Winning an honorary National Book Award has Edmund White thinking about the more pleasurable moments of the writing life.

“Everybody always complains about it, but it occurred to me the other day that it is better than working and you meet lots of interesting people,” says White, this year’s recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, an award previously given to Toni Morrison and Philip Roth, among others.

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Student gets 14 years in prison for NYC school slaying

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Abel Cedeno (L) is sentenced to 14 years in prison for killing a fellow student. (Screenshot from News 12 The Bronx)

NEW YORK (AP) | A gay New York City high school student who police say fatally stabbed a classmate whom he claimed had been bullying him amid years of harassment from peers over his sexual orientation was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Abel Cedeno apologized at a sentencing hearing Sept. 10 for killing 15-year-old Matthew McCree and wounding another student at their Bronx school in 2017.

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Dan Baer bows out in Colorado race for U.S. Senate seat

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Gay U.S. ambassador Daniel Baerdropped his bid for U.S. Senate in Colorado. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Daniel Baer, an openly gay foreign policy expert who served as a U.S. ambassador during the Obama administration, has dropped his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Colorado.

Baer announced he’d suspend his campaign Sept. 12 and would endorse former Gov. John Hicklenlooper, who launched a bid to run for U.S. Senate after his failed campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

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Dems put gloves back on in third debate — except for Castro

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Democratic candidates in Houston before the third debate. (Photo courtesy of ABC News)

After the last debate in which the letting of blood was all but visible on the stage floor, Democratic presidential candidates eased up on each other in their third foray Thursday — although Julian Castro didn’t seem to have gotten the memo.

With a few exceptions during the health care portion of the debate, the 2020 hopefuls — rather than attacking each other over policies and records from decades ago — generally seemed more to be willing to agree to disagree rather than put the eventual Democratic nominee in a weaker position to take on President Trump in the general election.

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LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Elliott Darrow

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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21 | Transgender | He/Him/His

Whether surrounded by land or sea, St. Petersburg native Elliott Darrow is dedicated to making a difference.

As an educator at The Florida Aquarium, the University of South Florida student teaches children about conservation, ecology and animal welfare. He also volunteers with the Foundation for Sustainable Families, where for years he’s advocated for the LGBTQ community and focused on providing resources to all communities in need.

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LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Gabriell Rush

By : Jeremy Williams
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24 | Bisexual | She/Her/Hers

Gabriell experienced homelessness at the age of 20. She was involved in a domestic violence situation and even though she had nowhere to go she knew she couldn’t stay there.

“I was in a transitional housing program with another youth-related homeless group but I aged out when I turned 21,” Gabriell says. “By that time I wasn’t getting anymore services and I was not ready to be out on my own, I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have a stable job. I was dealing with depression, so someone told me to go to Zebra Coalition.”

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