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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Trump calls O’Rourke a ‘wacko’ for proposing to tax anti-LGBTQ churches

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

President Trump is the latest to see an opening against Democrats for supporting for LGBT rights, criticizing Beto O’Rourke for proposing to lift the tax-exempt status on churches that oppose same-sex marriage.

Trump laid into O’Rourke, calling him a “wacko,” during a marathon speech at the Values Voter Summit, an annual summit hosted by the anti-LGBT Family Research Council, without explicit referring to the presidential candidate by name.

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Pence urges voters to back Trump over anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ acts

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Vice President Mike Pence counted on Saturday President Trump’s actions in favor of “religious freedom” — considered by LGBT rights supporters as means to enable anti-LGBT discrimination — as reasons for why conservative voters should turn out in the congressional mid-term elections to back Republican candidates and the Trump administration.

Pence made the remarks before attendees at the Values Voter Summit, an annual D.C. confab for social conservatives hosted by the anti-LGBT Family Research Council.

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House panel approves ‘religious freedom’ anti-LGBTQ adoption amendment

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) introduced a “religious freedom” anti-LGBTQ adoption amendment. Photo via public domain.

A House committee approved on Wednesday as part of major appropriations legislation an amendment seen to allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny placement into LGBTQ families over religious objections.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), would bar the federal government and state or localities from denying funds to adoption agencies that have “declined or will decline to provide, facilitate or refer for a child welfare service that conflicts with, or under circumstances that conflict with, the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs of convictions.”

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Trump’s new faith initiative raises concerns among LGBTQ advocates

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump’s new initiative to support faith-based organizations with federal assistance is stirring unease among LGBTQ rights supporters, who say they’ll keep watch to ensure the program doesn’t enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Trump, who created the initiative by executive order on Thursday on the National Day of Prayer, said during a signing ceremony in the White House Rose Garden the program will “help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities, and our great country.”

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Pompeo grilled over anti-LGBTQ statements during confirmation hearing

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The confirmation hearing on CIA Director Mike Pompeo‘s nomination to become the next secretary of state took place before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 12, 2018. Washington Blade by Michael Key.

Mike Pompeo on Thursday during his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of state faced questions about his previous anti-LGBTQ statements.

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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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Air Force lifts penalty on officer who won’t recognize gay airman’s spouse

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Air Force Col. Leland Bohannon won’t recognize his subordinate’s same-sex marriage. Photo public domain.

In a move LGBTQ rights supporters say amounts to allowing discrimination in the U.S. military, the U.S. Air Force has lifted the penalty on an officer who refused to recognize the marriage of a gay subordinate in retirement materials.

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Trump issues (moot) memo affirming ban on transgender military service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Consistent with expectations for timing for the new policy, ban on transgender military service issued a memo late Friday on transgender military service that — while moot thanks to court orders against banning transgender troops — nonetheless reaffirms policy against their service.

In the memo dated March 23, Trump defers on the transgender military issue to Defense Secretary James Mattis and based on his recommendation asserts transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to serve “except under certain limited circumstances.”

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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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New HHS division slammed as tool for anti-LGBT discrimination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Roger Severino hailed the creation of a conscience division at HHS. Image courtesy C-Span.

Consistent with media reports indicating the move was coming, the Department of Health & Human Services on Thursday formally established a conscience division that critics say will allow medical practitioners to deny abortion-related services and treatment to LGBT people on religious grounds.

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Social conservatives thank Trump at White House for anti-LGBT policy

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Social conservatives like James Dobson thanked President Trump at the White House for his anti-LGBT policy. Washington Blade photo by Chris Johnson

A host of anti-LGBT leaders met with the President Trump on Monday afternoon to thank him for keeping his promises from Election 2016, including his administration’s actions against LGBT people.

The meeting at the White House was timed with Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — a move long sought by social conservatives that many leaders in the international community have warned is dangerous.

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