Trump’s transgender military ban now in effect

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Pentagon initiated April 12 the transgender military ban in accordance with Trump administration plans for the policy, returning the U.S. military to restrictions on LGBT service that harken to the days of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Transgender service members — who had been able to serve openly and obtain transition-related health care since the final year of the Obama administration in 2016 — will now face significant impediments on their service and an outright ban for many of them seeking to enlist.

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John McCain leaves complicated legacy on LGBT rights

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday at 81, leaves a legacy of patriotism, service to country — and being a thorn in the side of President Trump — but his legacy on LGBT issues is more complicated.

Throughout his decades in Congress, the Arizona Republican took widely different stances on LGBT issues — at times mocking them as unimportant, at other times embracing equal rights for the LGBT community. McCain would often oppose LGBT rights to align with his party and for the sake of political expediency, although the general direction of the positions he took as time went on demonstrated increasing acceptance of LGBT people.

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Trump names former Log Cabin chief to senior State Dept. post

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: President Trump has nominated R. Clarke Cooper to senior State Department position. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

President Trump has nominated a former head of Log Cabin Republicans to a senior position at the State Department for political and military affairs.

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Sen. Hatch recognizes Pride, LGBT youth suicide on Senate floor

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) recognized Pride month and LGBT youth suicide on the Senate floor. Photo by Gage Skidmore; courtesy Creative Commons.

Sen. Orrin Hatch took an unusual step for a Republican from Utah on Wednesday and recognized June as Pride month, invoking the occasion to draw attention to LGBT youth suicide.

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06.14.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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We live in an age where it can be easy to forget your pride. The White House certainly does. Even with orange prominently displayed in our flag, the current administration declined to issue a proclamation acknowledging LGBTQ Americans for the second year in a row.

The Pentagon followed suit, opting for the first time since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to not formally acknowledge LGBTQ Pride Month. It was a bold reflection of the administration’s ever-looming transphobic military policies.

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Awkward tension as Pentagon hosts Pride while pushing to ban trans members

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Pride is supposed to be a time for celebration, but there was palpable tension Monday at the annual Defense Department Pride event as LGBTQ civilians and members of the armed forces recognized the occasion.

The event — hosted by DOD Pride, an affinity group for LGBTQ Pentagon employees — has been held each year within the Defense Department since 2011 when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal was certified. But the elephant in the room was President Trump’s transgender military ban. It was the first such celebration since Trump announced in July 2017 on Twitter he’d ban transgender service members “in any capacity.”

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GetEQUAL to shut down

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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GetEQUAL Executive Director Gaby Garcia-Vera on Tuesday announced the organization will shut down.

Garcia-Vera in a letter acknowledged their decision to fire Aaryn Lang as GetEQUAL’s Movement Building and Campaign Manager earlier this month “struck a nerve in the community.” Garcia-Vera also wrote several board members “had announced their plans to transition out” of GetEQUAL “before Aaryn’s transition out of the organization” and others “resigned in the midst of the social media controversy that followed.”

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Anti-LGBT Democrat narrowly holds seat in Ill. primary

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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One of the last remaining Democrats with an anti-LGBT record narrowly clung to his seat Tuesday night when the smoke cleared after a primary battle against an opponent backed by progressive groups.

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) was declared the winner early Wednesday morning against challenger Marie Newman, according to the election results from the Chicago Sun-Times,. With 483 of 500 precincts reporting, Lipinksi claimed 50.9 percent of the vote compared to the 49.1 percent won by Newman.

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Pence criticized for excluding media from breakfast with gay Irish PM

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Vice President Mike Pence (center) and Second Lady Karen Pence (right) met with the gay Irish PM Leo Vardakar for St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. Photo courtesy Twitter.

Vice President Mike Pence is taking heat for excluding the media from his breakfast meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who is gay.

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Tillerson out as secretary of state

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump on Tuesday announced he has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Trump in a tweet that announced the decision said he plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to succeed Tillerson. Trump also said he will nominate Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to succeed Pompeo.

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First active duty gay couple wed at West Point

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A gay couple wed in a historic ceremony on Jan. 13 that marked the first same-sex wedding at West Point, according to the New York Times.

Capt. Daniel Hall, 30, and Capt. Vinny Franchino, 26, exchanged vows in their blue mess uniforms at the Cadet Chapel in front of a crowd of 150 family, friends and other military officers. The couple, who both serve as Apache helicopter pilots in El Paso, Texas, exited the chapel under an archway of sabers.

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Equality Florida’s Todd Richardson shares his story of being discharged from the United States Air Force because he is gay

By : Jeremy Williams
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“Airman Richardson, I am here to escort you to the commander’s office.”

Long before Todd Richardson, the Pinellas County Regional Coordinator at Equality Florida, was an openly gay man living in Tampa Bay, he was an airman in the United States Air Force. He was also in the closet.

“Escort me?” Richardson said to the Technical Sergeant who had just walked into his office. The sergeant’s tone let Richardson know that he was in trouble, but for the life of him he could not figure out what he had done. Richardson’s performance reports showed he was an exemplary airman with an impeccable record. As they approached the commander’s office door, Richardson noticed several airmen standing in front of the office. Richardson suspected he knew what they were there for, probably the same reason he was there.

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