Busy year for protests could cost Washington millions

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP)- The major protests in Washington that have greeted President Donald Trump’s first year in office are set to return in force, continuing an already expensive year for city officials who work to keep people safe during mass gatherings.

With polls showing Trump facing unusually strong disapproval of his agenda in the first 100 days of a presidency, organizers are promising spring rallies for a variety of mostly liberal causes including science, climate change, immigrants’ rights, gay rights and arts funding. Last weekend, demonstrators called on Trump to release his tax returns.

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‘Stranger Things’ star Shannon Purser comes out as bisexual

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, courtesy of The National Gay Media Association
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Shannon Purser, best known for her roles as Barb on “Stranger Things” and Ethel Muggs on “Riverdale,” has come out as bisexual.

The 19-year-old actress revealed her sexuality on Twitter after fans of “Riverdale” accused the show of queerbaiting. Two of the main characters, Betty and Veronica, share a kiss in an earlier episode of the show. Nothing romantic has been explored between the two characters since and fans of the relationship, known as “Beronica”, have taken to social media to tweet their disappointment.

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Katy Perry ‘wasn’t allowed to interact with gay people’ as a child

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, courtesy of The National Gay Media Association
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Katy Perry opened up about her conservative, Christian upbringing in a recent interview with Vogue.

Perry, 32, grew up with evangelical Pentecostal pastors as parents. She admits her family would picket Madonna and Marilyn Manson concerts and watch Bill O’Reilly. They also didn’t celebrate Halloween.

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RuPaul, Sarah Paulson, ‘Moonlight’ director, trans teen activist make TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list

By : Staff Report
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(Images from TIME magazine’s 100 list.)

Actress Sarah Paulson, “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins, trans teen activist Gavin Grimm and drag superstar RuPaul are among the 100 Most Influential People, according to TIME magazine’s annual list.

The magazine breaks the list down into five categories; Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Titans and Icons.

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Miami street to be renamed in honor of ‘Moonlight’

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“Moonlight” will be getting a permanent honor in Miami.

Miami New Times reports that a street located in Miami-Dade County’s Liberty City will be renamed “Moonlight Way.” The street stretches from NW 22nd Avenue from NW 61st Street to NW 66th Street.

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Equality Florida, Democratic Progressive Caucus call for removal of Artiles from Florida state senate [UPDATE]

By : Alexis Vilaboy
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(Image from Florida House of Representatives website.)

UPDATE:

As of April 21, Sen. Artiles has resigned over the issue of his insensitivity.

“My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State,” Artiles wrote, according to the Miami Herald. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate.”

“It’s clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth.”

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Media Matters For America looks to ‘eliminate hate’ with new campaign

By : Felicia Roopchand
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Hateful speech and actions seem to be around every corner these days, especially with the current state of politics in our country; however, we have those who are fighting to make sure that hate is silenced.

Media Matters For America has launched the Eliminate Hate Campaign  a new effort aiming to expose, undermine and mitigate the increasing influence and harmful impact of anti-LGBTQ hate groups while empowering and supporting local leaders and community members confronting extremism in their daily lives.

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Anti-gay pastor gets reality show on Oprah Winfrey Network

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Oprah Winfrey has added “The Book of John Gray,” a docuseries featuring pastor James Gray who has shared his anti-gay views on social media, to her network OWN.

“John, who is an associate pastor at Houston’s Lakewood Church under Pastor Joel Osteen, is just beginning to achieve success. Known for his loud, hilarious, unconventional ways, John will give viewers unprecedented and intimate access into his church and home life. John uses his deep convictions, hard-earned wisdom and famous sense of humor to help people overcome their greatest challenges, all while facing his own everyday struggles as a husband and father,” reads the show’s description on the OWN website.

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2nd Circuit (again) finds anti-gay discrimination legal under Title VII

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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In a case filed by a now deceased gay skydiver who alleged sexual-orientation discrimination in the workforce, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals April 18 declined to accept the legal argument that anti-gay discrimination is prohibited under current federal civil rights law.

In a 13-page decision, the three-judge panel cites a 2000 decision in the Simonton case, a 2nd Circuit ruling that determined Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of the 1964, which bars sex discrimination in the workforce, doesn’t apply to sexual orientation. As a result of that precedent, the panel concludes Title VII cannot be applied in the pending case, named Zarda v. Altitude Express.

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Texas governor gives first clear support for ‘bathroom bill’

By : Wire Report
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for the first time Tuesday endorsed a “bathroom bill” and breathed new life into North Carolina-style efforts that businesses and LGBT rights groups hoped had stalled with time running out to sign into law.

Abbott’s sudden public support following months of silence is significant. By now calling on the Republican-controlled Legislature to send him a bill before the end of May, Texas is thrust closer to joining North Carolina as the only states in the U.S. with so-called “bathroom bills” that critics condemn as discriminatory.

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Sen. Baldwin prepares for re-election fight in 2018

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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As Democrats gear up for the congressional mid-term elections in 2018, one race that will be critical for the LGBTQ community and potentially a challenge to win is the re-election bid of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the only out lesbian in Congress.

After becoming the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Baldwin will face re-election in a state Trump won in a surprise last year. Her race will almost certainly be a priority for the LGBTQ community seeking to ensure visibility in Congress and to strike back at Trump after his victory there.

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Ex-Iowa official’s discrimination lawsuit goes to trial

By : Wire Report
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP)- A former University of Iowa athletic administrator was an outstanding employee on track to head a college program until she was unfairly transferred and later laid off for discriminatory reasons, her attorney argued April 18 during opening statements of the trial over her lawsuit against the school.

The trial is expected to offer a behind-the-curtain glimpse at big-time college sports, with testimony from athletic director Gary Barta, head football coach Kirk Ferentz and others. Jurors must decide whether former administrator Jane Meyer suffered workplace discrimination as a gay woman in a relationship with a Hawkeye coach, whether the school retaliated against her and whether she was paid far less than deputy athletic director Gene Taylor for similar work.

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