Kevin Jennings: new leadership at Lambda Legal

By : Karen Ocamb OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Kevin Jennings, photo courtesy of Lambda Legal.

Kevin Jennings is not a lawyer so why was he tapped to lead Lambda Legal, one of the LGBTQ community’s most important national organizations?

“Well that was sort of what I said when Lambda called me,” Jennings told the Los Angles Blade by phone before officially starting on Dec. 2. “They said, ‘We’re not looking for a lawyer. We have lots of brilliant lawyers. We’re looking for an experienced organizational leader,’ — and that I am. I’ve been a leader of the LGBT movement for over 30 years and this is really a critical time for a movement, particularly for Lambda. The right wing has a very clear strategy to use the court and all of [President] Trump’s horrific judicial appointments to roll back everything we’ve won over the last 40 years. Lambda is going to be a key player in stopping that.”

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Free PrEP program unveiled under Trump’s HIV initiative

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the same week World AIDS Day was recognized, the Trump administration has unveiled a new program to provide free PrEP as part of the initiative to beat the epidemic by 2030.

Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar announced the plan, known as “Ready, Set, PrEP,” in a conference call Tuesday with reporters, calling the initiative “a major step forward in the president’s plan to end the HIV epidemic in America.”

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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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11.27.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As singer Andy Williams (no relation) stated in 1963 — and nearly every other singer and musician since then — “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

That’s right, it’s the holiday season, and this Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk publishes the day before Thanksgiving and my next one, the final one of 2019, will be out the day after Christmas. So this is my final opportunity to let you all know what I want for Christmas this year.

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11.27.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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My husband and I recently marked three years of marriage, which is as strange to type as it was to celebrate. Not because I didn’t think we’d make it, I looked forward to our decades to come long before our wedding day, but because I’ve lost my perception of time.

A number of factors have contributed to my inability to understand the calendar year, Tampa Bay Bureau Chief among them operating in Watermark’s two-week press cycle, but I mostly attribute it to living in Florida. Even though I moved here more than a decade ago, I have yet to adjust to the lack of proper seasons; time flies when you’re having sun.

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DOJ Pride warns Barr of employee ‘dismay’ over Title VII cases

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: DOJ Pride marches at Pride 2017 in D.C. Photo via DOJ Pride’s Facebook page.

The affinity group for LGBTQ employees at the Justice Department has a warning for U.S. Attorney General William Barr: The Trump administration’s litigation position against protections for LGBTQ workers under federal civil rights law has left employees with “concern, dismay and even distress about the cases.”

In a letter dated Nov. 22 and made public Monday, the leaders of DOJ Pride said they undertook a survey of LGBTQ lawyers and law enforcement officials within the Justice Department and found “every response but one” was negative about the U.S. government arguing against LGBTQ protections.

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Victory Institute chief: Nationalism, populism ‘eroding democracies’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: LGBTQ Victory Institute President Annise Parker. Photo courtesy of LGBTQ Victory Institute.

The head of the LGBTQ Victory Institute blamed fundamentalism, populism and nationalism as three factors “eroding democracies” Wednesday night at the welcome reception for its annual conference for international LGBTQ leaders.

Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund & Victory Institute, said the remarks at the event at the Atlantic Council in a speech welcoming attendees to the 2019 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference.

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Another judge deals blow to Trump’s anti-LGBTQ ‘conscience rule’

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

A second federal judge has ruled against Trump administration’s “conscience rule” allowing health care workers to get out of procedures with which they have religious objections, such as gender reassignment surgery or abortion.

U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian, an Obama appointee, ruled against the measure from the bench in Spokane, Wash., in litigation filed by the state of Washington, according to multiple sources in the courtroom.

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Judge vacates Trump admin’s anti-LGBTQ ‘conscience rule’ for health workers

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump, photo by palinchak via Bigstock.

A federal judge in New York has vacated a Trump administration “conscience rule” allowing health care workers to get out of procedures with which they have religious objections, such as abortion or gender reassignment surgery.

In a lengthy 147-page decision against the “conscience rule,” U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer, an Obama appointee, concludes the measure was enacted in contravention of the Administrative Procedures Act, calling the violations “numerous, fundamental and far-reaching.”

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Trump admin to allow adoption agencies to refuse placement in LGBTQ homes

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

The Trump administration is moving forward with a proposed regulation that will allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse placement into LGBT families over religious objections.

The Department of Health & Human Services went public on Friday with the regulation, which will undo an Obama-era policy prohibiting discrimination discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation among federal grantees.

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Filmmaker Jaymes Thompson checks into ‘The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Whether your personal nightmare is a right-wing religious bigot with a knife, a mongoloid mutant slug-spawn in overalls or a low thread count, independent filmmaker Jaymes Thompson has the perfect B-movie for you. Assuming you like comedic horror.

Thompson is the writer, director and producer of MoDean Pictures’ 2007 cult classic “The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror,” in which he also co-stars. His independent production company exists to make films by, for and about the LGBTQ community in all genres, from comedic romances to science fiction.

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Trump’s gay ambassadorial pick handles questions on Russia’s hostility

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

Russia’s belligerence — which manifested itself during the 2016 election — was a key issue Tuesday during the confirmation hearing for President Trump’s pick to become the next U.S. ambassador to Lithuania.

Robert Gilchrist — who’s gay and a former president of GLIFAA, the affinity group at the State Department for LGBT employees — was skilled in drawing on his foreign policy expertise to answer the questions before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Russia’s aggression.

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