HRC pushes lawmakers to expand background checks, protect LGBTQ community

By : Amanda Espinosa
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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, reiterated the request for Congress to advance H.R.8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. This will enforce a background check for every sale that involves a firearm, and prevent anyone who has a violent criminal history from easy access to firearms.

Under the current federal law, there is a loophole that permits access to non-licensed dealers to sell guns to individuals without a background check. This gap in the law is allowing private gun sales to be done online or at gun shows.

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102 LGBT leaders ‘enthusiastically endorse’ Nancy Pelosi for speaker

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of The National LGBT Media Association
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Amid uncertainty over whether House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will be elected speaker next year despite a Democratic majority in the House, a group of 102 LGBT leaders have come out to “enthusiastically endorse” her to become presiding officer of the chamber.

The leaders expressed support for Pelosi in a joint statement Nov. 16 asserting they “understand that the progress we have made is progress we must protect.”

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Openly lesbian candidate sees path for success in Minnesota Congressional race

By : Wire Report
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EAGAN, Minn. (AP) | Angie Craig came so close to winning a seat in Congress that she wasn’t ready to give up.

The former medical technology executive turned Democratic politician lost by less than 2 points in 2016 to Jason Lewis, a conservative former talk radio host who styled himself on the air as “Mr. Right” and whose past on-air remarks continue to be an issue. Within a few months, she filed for a rematch.

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Speaker Ryan becomes latest Republican to announce retirement

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With Republicans fretting about losing control of Congress in the mid-term elections, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has announced he won’t seek re-election, leaving an uneven record on LGBTQ rights and the door open for another Republican to take his place as leader of his caucus.

The 10-term member of Congress, who has served as speaker since 2015, announced during a news conference Wednesday he wouldn’t seek re-election to represent Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district in order to spend more time with his family, confirming news reports about his intended plan earlier in the day.

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LGBT groups place blame on Trump for government shutdown

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the wake of Congress failing to approve funding to avert a U.S. government shutdown, LGBT groups are placing the blame squarely on President Trump for refusing to agree to deal allowing young, undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers to stay in the United States.

The U.S. government shutdown took place at midnight after the U.S. Senate failed reached the 60-vote threshold needed to advance debate on a continuing resolution to fund the government. The shutdown comes exactly on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

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Chelsea Manning takes steps to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A transgender former Army intelligence who rose to national prominence for leaking sensitive information to Wikileaks has taken steps to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland.

The Federal Election Commission website indicates Chelsea Manning on Thursday filed for candidacy to run as a Democrat in the mid-term election.

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U.S. agency to Congress: Pass law against LGBT workplace discrimination

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Employment Non-Discrimination protest in May, 2010. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key).

An independent, bipartisan U.S. agency is set to deliver to President Trump on Wednesday a report calling on Congress to “immediately enact a federal law” against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, although lawmakers are unlikely to act any time soon given the current makeup of Congress and the long history of stalling on the issue.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights details in the 154-page report the history of discrimination against LGBT people and the lack of non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in federal law, citing a 2015 hearing the agency held on the issue.

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Transgender Day of Remembrance observed on Capitol Hill

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: From left, Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) (Washington Blade file photos by Michael Key)

As the nation observes the deadliest recorded year ever for transgender people on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, members of Congress are lending their voices to raise attention to anti-trans violence.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), chair of the Congressional Transgender Task Force, introduced a resolution in the U.S. House on Monday to recognize violence against transgender people.

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Stalled in Congress, LGBT rights advance at the local level

By : Wire Report
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At the U.S. Capitol and in most statehouses nationwide, supporters of LGBT rights are unable to make major gains these days. Instead, they’re notching victories in seemingly unlikely venues, such as Morgantown, West Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama.

They are among scores of cities and towns in Republican-governed states that have acted on their own, passing resolutions and ordinances pledging nondiscrimination protections for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in the absence of comparable statewide laws.

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The Other Side of Life: The Other Hands, The Other We

By : Jason Leclerc
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Hands, it seems, are the new eyes: tools for feeling our way through the many ways we see our America.

Given the flurry of historical reassessments we are currently experiencing, I find that many of my conservative friends are torn between seeing and feeling, between their commitment to their ideals and their short termer’s allegiance with political expediency.

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Lawmakers seek proof Pentagon advised Trump on trans military ban

By : Karen Ocamb of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Virginia Rep. A. Donald McEachin is spearheading a call for all correspondence and documentation from the Pentagon to show the process that informed President Trump’s directive to institute a ban on all transgender military service.

In a letter to Defense Sec. Jim Mattis dated Oct. 10 and signed by 114 members of Congress, including many from California, McEachin writes: “We request information about what discussions or correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon, if any, led President Trump to make his assertion. If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes or other materials that document such requests.”

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Army nominee forced to withdraw over anti-LGBT views runs for Congress

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A Tennessee state senator forced to withdraw his nomination as Army secretary under the Trump administration after calling being transgender a “disease” has launched a campaign to run for Congress.

Mark Green will pursue the seat representing Tennessee’s 7th congressional district in the aftermath of its current occupant, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), declaring her bid to run for U.S. Senate.

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