The Good Fight: Looking beyond the memorials

By : Chad Griffin
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At the stroke of noon on June 12, churches from Ecuador to Michigan will ring their bells 49 times in memory of the lives lost at Pulse Nightclub one year ago. This moment will honor the remarkable people taken that night – and mourn the lives that were tragically cut short.

Luis S. Vielma, 22, worked at Universal Orlando’s Harry Potter ride and was set to start Emergency Medical Technician training just weeks after the massacre.

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Chad Griffin urges U.S. to grant visas to gay Chechen men

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin on Monday described reports that the U.S. has discouraged Russian LGBT rights advocates from helping men who have fled anti-gay persecution in Chechnya apply for visas as “greatly disturbing.”

Griffin in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote that while he understands “it is indeed difficult for them to obtain U.S. visas, it is imperative that the U.S. immediately take every possible step to help the victims find their way safely — and to clearly communicate that the U.S. is pursuing every option, so that the victims do not lose hope.”

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‘Eyes on Chechnya’ protest targets Russian ambassador

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Protesters gathered before the D.C. residence of the Russian ambassador to the United States on Tuesday to call on Russia to investigate reports of anti-gay abuses and concentration camps in Chechnya and bring them to an end.

An estimated 75 people gathered before the residence of Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a demonstration organized by the Human Rights Campaign intended to highlight the arrests and detentions of gay and bisexual men in the semi-autonomous Republic.

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Anti-LGBT state senator withdraws nomination for Army Secretary

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Mark E. Green, who President Trump nominated last month to be Secretary of the Army, withdrew from contention for the position on Friday following a month-long campaign by LGBT advocacy groups to publicize his anti-LGBT record as a Tennessee state senator.

His withdrawal came less than a week after the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, said it generated 6,800 calls to Congress from constituents strongly opposing Green’s nomination.

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Vermont’s gender-free restroom bill running against deadline

By : Wire Report
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP)- Vermont is moving ahead with a statewide measure to take gendered signs off single-occupancy public bathrooms, but time is running out to pass the bill during this year’s lawmaking session.

After an identical California law passed last year, nearly a quarter of Vermont’s 150-member House signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. New York is the only other state that is considering a similar legislation this year. A Hawaii bill in the same vein failed last year. Washington, D.C., and many cities and colleges have already enacted similar policy.

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Cooper signs deal to replace HB2 as LGBT advocates cry betrayal

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed Thursday a proposal to replace North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 with another law enabling anti-LGBT discrimination, prompting cries of betrayal from LGBT advocates who say he disregarded his campaign promise to sign the bill in full.

The measure, House Bill 142, was approved on a bipartisan basis Thursday in the Senate by a vote of 32-16 and the House by vote of 70-48 after Republican leaders and Cooper announced the deal late Wednesday night. Cooper announced during a news conference later in the day he signed the bill.

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Katy Perry speaks about praying the gay away at HRC event

By : Wire Report
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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Katy Perry says she “prayed the gay away” during her “unconscious adolescence.”

The 32-year-old singer opened up about her sexuality and praised the gay community while receiving an award from the Human Rights Campaign on Saturday in Los Angeles.

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HRC gets Disco Fever at Colonial Lanes

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Human Rights Campaign of Central Florida held the sixth annual Disco Bowl at Colonial Lanes in Orlando March 5.

Miss Sammy and Gidget Galore hosted the annual bowl-a-thon to a full house. HRC not only had a day of bowling, but food, raffles and a costume contest.

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Revised travel ban allows Kurdish activist to travel to U.S.

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A human rights activist from Kurdistan can now travel to the U.S. to attend a Human Rights Campaign conference next month after President Trump signed a revised executive order that allows Iraqi citizens to enter the country.

The original executive order that Trump signed on Jan. 27 banned citizens from Iraq and six other predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya — from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

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HRC prefers ‘Lion’ over ‘Moonlight’ for Best Picture?

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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One week before the 89th Academy Awards ceremony was set to take place in Hollywood on Sunday night, Feb. 26, a full-page ad appeared in the New York Times arts section on Feb. 17 listing Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin as one of “21 voices on why Lion is the Best Picture of the Year.”

The ad includes a quote from Griffin praising “Lion,” a highly acclaimed film about an adopted child from India who, as a young adult, searches for his biological family and self-identity. The film doesn’t have any LGBT-related content or storyline.

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LGBT groups urge Trump admin to keep trans protections

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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PHOTO: GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard is among the LGBT advocates who signed a letter urging the Trump administration to keep trans protections. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Following a signal from the U.S. Justice Department that guidance protecting transgender students may be on the chopping block, a trio of LGBT groups — as well as an LGBT-supportive women’s organization — are calling on the Trump administration to keep the policy in place.

The letter, dated Feb. 13, is addressed to newly confirmed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who would be responsible for any decision to rescind the guidance.

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Kentucky Senate advances bill that would allow religious expression in public schools

By : Wire & Staff Reports
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky Senators voted Feb. 10 for the measure that defends the rights of students to express religious beliefs in public schools and allows the Bible to be used for the study of religion.

Senate Bill (SB) 17 passed with a vote of 31-3. It now moves to the House.

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