Annual HRC global summit takes place in DC

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Above: (Damián Cabrera is among the more than two dozen LGBTQ activists from around the world who participated in the Human Rights Campaign’s Global Innovative Advocacy Summit that took place in D.C. this week. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

More than two dozen LGBTI activists from around the world participated in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Global Innovative Advocacy Summit that took place this week in D.C.

Activists from Barbados, Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Ukraine, Pakistan, Malawi and other countries took part in workshops and attended events that included a reception on April 23 at Spanish Ambassador to the U.S. Santiago Cabanas Ansorena’s official residence in Northwest D.C. Wanuri Kahiu, director of “Rafiki,” a Kenyan film about two women who fell in love with each other, spoke with the activists on Wednesday.

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Eleven big firms say Tennessee bills discriminate against LGBTQ

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) | Eleven large companies are urging Tennessee’s Republican legislative leaders to oppose bills they say discriminate against LGBTQ people.

The Human Rights Campaign announced April 23 the letter from Hilton; IKEA North America Services; InterContinental Hotels Group; Lyft; Marriott International; MassMutual; Nike; Replacements Ltd.; Salesforce; Unilever; and Warby Parker. They wrote that bills targeting LGBTQ people are bad for employees and their families, customers and business.

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Tampa Mayor-Elect Jane Castor, equality organizations celebrate historic win

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa’s former chief of police Jane Castor made history April 23 when she was elected the city’s first openly LGBTQ mayor.

Mayor-Elect Castor faced retired banker and philanthropist David Straz in the city’s runoff election. According to unofficial returns from the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, 23.19% of Tampa’s 230,193 registered voters cast 53,385 ballots April 23. Of the 53,144 votes cast for mayor, Castor received 38,854, or 73.11% of the vote. Straz received 14,290, or 26.89%.

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Members of Congress, activists rally against trans troop ban

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) speaks at a rally against the Trump administration’s policy of banning openly transgender servicemembers that took place at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool on April 10, 2019. The policy is scheduled to take effect tomorrow. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Members of Congress joined activists who gathered at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool April 10 to rally against the ban on openly transgender servicemembers that is scheduled to go into effect at the end of the week.

California Congressman Gil Cisneros, a Democrat who served in the U.S. Navy, noted he was in the armed forces during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

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Bill to ensure US foreign policy promotes LGBTI rights reintroduced

By : Michael K. Lavers Of The Washington Blade, Courtesy Of The National LGBT Media Association
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Two lawmakers on April 1 reintroduced legislation that would ensure U.S. foreign policy promotes LGBTI rights.

The International Human Rights Defense Act — which U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) introduced in their respective chambers of Congress — would also codify into law the position of special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTI rights abroad. A Human Rights Campaign press release notes Markey and Lowenthal have previously introduced the measure.

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UCF celebrates International Transgender Day of Visibility

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ABOVE: Gender nonconforming performance artist, writer and educator Alok Vaid-Menon was a special guest at UCF’s TDoV event on March 28. Photo courtesy Alok’s Facebook

ORLANDO | The University of Central Florida (UCF) celebrated the 10th Annual International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) on its main campus March 28, creating a safe place for students and community members to come and discuss issues transgender and gender nonconforming people face.

“I think as a whole, especially after the tragedy Orlando has faced, I think it’s really important to stand together in solidarity with different people in the community, and understanding the importance of the work and the advocacy that transgender and nonconforming people do,” said Vilma Portocarrero, Pride Director for the Multicultural Student Center at UCF.

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Google drops ‘conversion therapy’ app after uproar

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Internet giant Google announced March 28 that it has removed from its online store a controversial app submitted by an anti-LGBT religious group that promotes so-called conversion therapy to “help homosexuals leave their destructive lifestyles.”

The action by Google came after more than 142,000 people signed a petition initiated in January by the LGBT rights group Truth Wins Out on Change.org that demanded Google pull the app, which was created by Living Hope Ministries.

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Human Rights Campaign endorses Jane Castor for Tampa mayor

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has endorsed Tampa mayoral candidate Jane Castor ahead of the city’s runoff election April 23.

HRC, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights advocacy organization, gathered with supporters in Ybor Square March 28 to make the announcement. They were joined by the Hillsborough County LGBTA Democratic Caucus—dedicated to electing progressive candidates—as well as Equality Florida Action PAC, the state’s largest political committee dedicated to electing pro-equality candidates. Each of the latter organizations previously endorsed Castor in the race.

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Puerto Rico governor signs executive order banning conversion therapy for minors

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (center) speaking in Utuado, Puerto Rico in March 2018.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed an executive order March 27 that bans so-called conversion therapy for minors in the U.S. commonwealth.

“These therapies lack scientific basis,” said Rosselló in a tweet that shows him signing the order. “They cause pain and unnecessary suffering to LGBTT people.”

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United Airlines becomes first U.S. airline to offer non-binary gender booking option

By : Mariah Cooper Of The Washington Blade, Courtesy Of The National LGBT Media Association
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United Airlines announced they will now offer non-binary booking options for customers who do not identify as male or female. This makes United Airlines the first U.S. airline to provide a non-binary option.

Customers now have the option of choosing “(U) undisclosed” and “(X) unspecified,” as well as “(M) male” and (F) female,” when booking as it corresponds to their authorized identification. They can also choose the gender-neutral honorific “Mx” when booking and for their MileagePlus customer profile.

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Joe Solmonese named chief executive for 2020 Democratic National Convention

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Joe Solmonese, a former head of the Human Rights Campaign, has been named chief executive for the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee in Milwaukee.

The pick was made less than three weeks after the Democratic Party announced next year Milwaukee would host the Democratic National Convention, where the Democratic presidential candidate who will challenge President Trump in 2020 will be anointed as the party’s nominee.

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Bill threatening every LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance in Florida moves forward

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | The Florida House State Affairs Committee debated HB 3 on March 14, a bill threatening to repeal every local LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance and conversion therapy ban across Florida.

Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, along with the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group, condemned the bill at the state capitol March 12. The groups noted 13 million LGBTQ Floridians are protected by the ordinances being targeted.

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