New NRA chief once compared fighting gay rights to fight against slavery

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
Comments: 0

Oliver North, the new head of the National Rifle Association, has a controversial past as the central figure in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair — a scandal in which the Reagan administration illegally sold arms to Iran with the intent to use proceeds to fund rebels in Nicaragua — but he has also courted controversy for his views on gay rights.

In a speech at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, North, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps, compared fighting against gay rights to the abolitionists’ fight during the 19th century against slavery.

Continue Reading >>

Never again, but why now?

By : Jamie Hyman
Comments: 0

In the weeks since a shooter killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., survivors have been featured in a town hall on national television, visited the Florida Legislature and led a march of more than a million protesters nationwide, demanding sensible gun control.

In the weeks following the shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016, the levels of advocacy and response were far more muted, which is forcing members of the LGBTQ community to wonder why, after a mass shooting that at the time was the deadliest in U.S. history, government officials, the media and the nation failed to rally behind the Pulse survivors with the volume and intensity that are leading millions to take action today.

Continue Reading >>

Central Florida’s Overheard: Remembering Billy Manes through activism

By : anonymous
Comments: 0

The Pride Fund To End Gun Violence’s Orlando Reception, held at The Abbey on March 14, was not only an event to kick off the Political Action Committee’s 2018 election efforts, but also to officially launch the Billy Manes Advocacy Fellowship.

“Billy was on our board and he had such a history of activism and advocacy when he passed away, in his honor we created Billy Manes Advocacy Fellowship,” says Pride Fund founder and executive director Jason Lindsay. “D.C. is where a lot of people love to go for their internships, which is great because they can gain valuable work experience there, but it’s expensive. Now most internships are unpaid, so we created a fellowship program with the specific goal of helping with that financial burden.”

Continue Reading >>

Pride Fund To End Gun Violence looks to the November mid-terms for answers

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

Pride Fund To End Gun Violence founder and executive director Jason Lindsay remembers in detail the moment he decided to start the organization.

“It all began the day of Pulse,” Lindsay recalls. “I was watching the news like so many other people and saw the tragedy unfold and a pivotal moment was seeing a mom, Christine Leinonen, who was waiting to find out whether her son had survived or not, and she pleaded in a clip that’s been played over and over again asking for somebody to please do something about the assault weapons.”

Continue Reading >>

Parkland shooting inspires new calls for gun reform. Will it be enough?

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
Comments: 0

ABOVE: Gay candidates are seizing upon the energy for gun control after the Parkland shooting. Screen capture courtesy of ABC News YouTube.

In the aftermath of America’s most recent mass shooting — a tragedy at a high school in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead — gun control has emerged as a defining issue ahead of the congressional mid-term elections and LGBT candidates are among those bringing it the forefront.

Continue Reading >>

Hundreds turn out for D.C. vigil for Pulse victims

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
Comments: 0

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined several hundred people in Dupont Circle Monday night in a candlelight vigil to commemorate the first-year anniversary of the June 12, 2016 shooting rampage at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Fla., that claimed the lives of 49 mostly LGBT people.

Many of those attending Monday night’s vigil wept as D.C. gay activist Jose Gutierrez, co-founder of D.C.’s Latino Pride, read the names and ages of the 49 mostly Latino LGBT people who were shot to death in what authorities say was the worst mass shooting incident in U.S. history.

Another 53 Pulse patrons were wounded in the incident before police shot and killed the perpetrator, Omar Mateen, 29, who police said had targeted Pulse for a hate crime and a terrorist attack that he carried out with a powerful assault rifle.

“We are here today for a very important reason,” said Jason Lindsay, founder and executive director of the national political action committee Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, which organized the vigil.

“We are here to reflect and to mark the one year since the Pulse tragedy,” he said. “It was one year ago that the horror was being told.”

Continue Reading >>

In the wake of the Pulse massacre, the LGBT community inadvertently intersects with the gun-rights battle

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine for the 49,” was just one of the transcendent protest hymns echoing through the lobby outside the Orlando office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on July 11.

While organizers representing the full panoply of Central Florida staged their “#sitinforthe49” – a clear reference to the 49 people gunned down by a semi-automatic rifle in the early hours of June 12 – echoes of unrest from the fringes were everywhere. Members of Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, Equality Florida and Organize Now, among others, assembled peacefully, even mournfully, for a morning of conscientious objection.

Continue Reading >>