White House, LGBTQ groups clash over new religious freedom regs

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump, photo public domain.

Following the release of new regulations from the Trump administration with the stated intent of protecting the religious freedom of federal grantees, LGBTQ groups and the White House locked in a dispute over whether they enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Although the White House is denouncing the criticism as partisan bias, the LGBTQ advocacy groups are able to point to specific language in the regulations that would inhibit LGBTQ people from obtaining social services from religious-affiliated grantees.

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Bill to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in Va. introduced

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The Virginia State Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Virginia state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) has introduced a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination law.

Senate Bill 868 — also known as the Virginia Values Act — would prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit. The measure has been referred to the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee.

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FBI report shows increase in anti-LGBT hate crimes

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: ‘Bias-motivated crimes are a real, frightening problem in the United States,’ said HRC’s Alphonso David. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The number of hate crime incidents targeting gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in the United States in 2018 increased by nearly 6 percent over the previous year and the number of anti-transgender hate crime incidents increased by 41 percent during that same period, according to the FBI’s newly released annual Hate Crime Statistics Report.

The report, which covers 2018, the most recent year for which the FBI has released hate crimes data, shows that participating law enforcement agencies throughout the country reported to the FBI a total of 7,120 hate crime incidents for 2018, 55 fewer than the total reported for 2017.

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Black LGBTQ activists split over Harris, Buttigieg spat

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the aftermath of Sen. Kamala Harris criticizing Mayor Pete Buttigieg for bringing up the gay experience when confronted with his issues with black voters, black gay activists living at the intersection of the two groups are split in their reactions.

The responses from black gay activists ranged from backing Harris, saying neither was right and rejecting the spat in a call for unity against President Trump.

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Orlando, St. Pete, Tampa receive perfect HRC scores

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Nov. 19 that the cities of Orlando, St. Petersburg and Tampa each received a perfect score of 100 in the organization’s eighth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI).

The MEI examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are for LGBTQ people who live and work in the 506 cities rated. The score is based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership’s public position on equality.

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22 transgender murders of 2019 documented in new HRC report

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Days before the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, the nation’s leading LGBTQ group has issued a report detailing the murders of each of the 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people killed this year.

The report, produced by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and titled A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in the United States in 2019, includes a short bio for each the 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people killed in 2019.

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Pence extols Trump’s anti-LGBTQ adoption rule as ‘decisive action’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Vice President Mike Pence extolled an anti-LGBTQ adoption rule proposed by the Trump administration. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Vice President Mike Pence, in a speech intended to honor National Adoption Month, extolled Nov. 12 a proposed Trump administration rule that would allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse child placement in LGBTQ homes.

Pence made the comments at the Department of Health & Human Services in D.C., which was holding a celebration in promotion of adoption with top Trump administration officials, including Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar.

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Trans of Thought: Dying to be seen

By : Melody Maia Monet
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A few weeks ago, the very first National Trans Visibility March was held in Washington, D.C. As described in their call to action, the purpose of the march was to bring attention to “the social structures that have oppressed us and disenfranchised our communities.”

Thanks to the One Orlando Alliance and generous sponsors, about 50 transgender people, including myself and a few allies, made the road trip to our nation’s capital to participate. It was without a doubt a profound and inspiring experience for all of us who went, but perhaps not as successful in making our issues more “visible” to the cisgender, queer community.

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Data at forefront of congressional hearing on anti-LGBTQ bias in housing, credit

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: HRC President Alphonso David speaks at the House Financial Services Committee hearing Oct. 29. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

As LGBT rights advocates continue to press the Equality Act to ban anti-LGBT discrimination, data was at the forefront of a congressional hearing Tuesday as evidence that anti-LGBT discrimination in housing and credit continues to exist.

Among the key statistics that emerged in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee: About half of LGBT adults own their homes compared to 70 percent of the non-LGBT adult population; LGBT adults are twice as likely as non-LGBT people to report having been prevented by a landlord or owner from moving into a home; and same-sex couples experience about three to eight percent lower approval rates in acquiring a loan than different-sex couples.

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New HRC president lights up crowd at annual dinner

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David speaks at the 2019 HRC National Dinner. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Alphonso David energized the room at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual national dinner Sept. 28, receiving thunderous applause as he announced new initiatives for LGBT people facing challenging times.

As much of Washington reels from the Ukraine-call scandal that has landed President Trump at the center of an impeachment inquiry in Congress, the new president of the Human Rights Campaign made himself a beacon of hope for the estimated 3,500 people in attendance at the 23rd national dinner.

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Human Rights Campaign comes out for impeachment inquiry against Trump

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David, Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

The nation’s leading LGBT group has come out in favor of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump over allegations he pressured Ukraine to investigate his potential political rival Joseph Biden.

Alphonso David, the new president of the Human Rights Campaign, announced his organization’s support for the process set up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a statement late Friday.

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Trans March on DC called ‘first major step’ in visibility campaign

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The National Transgender Visibility March, photo by Michael Kay of The Washington Blade.

Organizers and observers said between 1,500 and 3,000 people turned out on Saturday for the first ever National Transgender Visibility March on Washington in which scores of participants held signs proudly declaring their status as transgender or gender nonconforming Americans.

The march kicked off at 11:35 a.m. on Sept. 28 from Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C. following the completion of a two-and-a-half hour rally. It traveled along Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., from 13th to 4th Streets, where the march ended four blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

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