New Hampshire city elects 1st openly trans person to council

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Palana Belken (center) with supporters. (Photo from Belken’s Facebook)

ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) | An American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) representative has made history as the first openly transgender person to be elected to a city council in New Hampshire.

Seacoastonline.com reports 30-year-old Palana Belken was elected Nov. 5 in Rochester. She defeated longtime incumbent city councilor and Democratic state rep. Sandra Keans. The vote was 342-300. She was one of three LGBTQ residents elected to the 12-seat City Council.

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Briefing on LGBTQ asylum seekers takes place on Capitol Hill

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

A briefing on the plight of LGBTQ asylum seekers took place on Oct. 23 at the Russell Senate Office Building.

Two asylum seekers — a transgender woman from El Salvador and a gay man from Nigeria — spoke at the briefing that Sharita Gruberg of the Center for American Progress moderated. Jennifer Quigley of Human Rights First and Richard Kelly of Center Global also participated. The Human Rights Campaign, the Council for Global Equality, the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigration Equality and the Transgender Law Center are among the groups that co-sponsored the briefing.

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High stakes for LGBTQ Americans at Supreme Court next week

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set Tuesday to hear a trio of cases that will determine not just whether firing workers for being LGBT is legal under federal law, but will also have ramifications for LGBT people in education, health care and housing.

At issue is whether anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination and therefore prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex, but says nothing explicitly about sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Transgender group’s birth certificate suit advances in Ohio

By : wire report
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) | Four transgender people challenging an Ohio rule preventing people from changing the gender listings on their birth certificates have won their day in court.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson denied the state’s request that the lawsuit filed by the ACLU, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Ohio be dismissed.

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Ariz. court rules for wedding invitation business seeking to turn away gays

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled the City of Phoenix cannot apply its LGBT-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance to penalize a local business for refusing to make custom-made invitations for a same-sex wedding, delivering a victory for groups seeking to justify anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of “religious freedom.”

In a 4-3 decision written by Justice Andrew Gould, the court determines the guarantee of freedom of religion and speech under the Arizona state constitution permits Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studios, LC, to deny services to same-sex couples.

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Bee Love killed in South Florida, 18th trans murder this year

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: Bee Love Slater. (From Facebook)

Bee Love Slater was found burned in a vehicle in Clewiston, Florida the morning of Sept. 4, just a week shy of her 24th birthday.

The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office is investigating her death as a homicide. While they are still trying to establish a motive, Slater’s best friend Kenard Wade and many others believe that this was a targeted attack that had to do with her being transgender.

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WVa lawsuit: School official harassed trans teen in bathroom

By : Wire Report
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) | A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a West Virginia transgender male who said an assistant principal harassed him when he tried to use the boys’ bathroom, the latest in a string of court challenges to school policies for transgender students nationwide.

The lawsuit filed in state court accuses the Harrison County Board of Education of failing to create a safe school environment for teenager Michael Critchfield, the American Civil Liberties Union announced in a news release Aug. 28.

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LGBTQ advocates raise alarm over ‘facial recognition’ technology

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBTQ people, especially transgender people, could be subjected to discrimination, harassment and identity theft if careful government controls are not placed on rapidly developing and widely used facial recognition technology, according to the group LGBT Tech.

The Staunton, Virginia-based group has joined six other LGBTQ organizations in signing on to a June 3 letter written by the ACLU calling on Congress to place a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology for law enforcement and immigration enforcement purposes until privacy related restrictions can be developed for the technology.

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Supreme Court sets Oct. 8 to hear whether workers can be fired for being LGBT

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court has designated Oct. 8 as the date when it will hear arguments on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to cases of anti-LGBT discrimination, setting up a showdown for when LGBT rights in all areas of life will hang in the balance.

On Monday, the Supreme Court’s website modified the docket entries for each of three Title VII cases to indicate arguments will take place Oct. 8. During the proceedings, justices will consider whether anti-LGBT discrimination in a form of sex discrimination, and thus prohibited under Title VII, which bars discrimination on the sex in the workforce.

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Supreme Court rejects challenge to Pa. school’s pro-trans bathroom policy

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it won’t hear a case challenging a Pennsylvania school district’s pro-trans bathroom policy, averting a decision that could have had implications on protections for transgender students nationwide.

In an order list Tuesday, the Supreme Court indicated it has denied certiorari in the case of Doe v. Boyertown. That means the petition of certiorari—which has been pending before the Supreme Court since November 2018 — obtained fewer than the four votes needed from justices for review.

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Utah hate-crimes law to get hearing after years of gridlock

By : wire report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | A proposal to strengthen Utah’s hate-crimes law will get a hearing, marking a potential turning point for the idea long stuck in legislative gridlock, lawmakers said Feb. 19.

Republican sponsor Sen. Daniel Thatcher said the bill will be publicly discussed on Feb. 21, and he’s confident that a panel of lawmakers will approve it.

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Anti-LGBT petitions before Supreme Court could make for dire term

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A number of anti-LGBT petitions are before the U.S. Supreme Court, although legal experts say adjudication of these cases — if justices agree to take them up — may not be as bad as some observers fear.

With one exception, each of the petitions before the court calls for a rollback of LGBT rights or a reversal of decisions from lower courts affirming LGBT rights within those jurisdictions.

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