We look back on 2018, a midterm year for a country that’s just living on a prayer

By : Jeremy Williams and Ryan Williams-Jent
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It’s been two years since we, as a country, entered into the reality that is the Trump Administration. The country feels more divided than ever and the phrases “fake news” and “it’s all a witch hunt” are commonplace.

The violence that seems to define who Americans are these days is also there, particularly in Florida, where there has been no justice for the five transgender women of color who were murdered and yet another mass shooting—this time at a high school in Parkland, Fla.—pulled the focus of the world to our state.

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Anti-LGBT Sessions out, but new anti-LGBT Trump pick leads DOJ

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The firing of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who used the Justice Department to undermine LGBT rights — has led to the interim appointment of another official with an anti-LGBT record that makes a change in direction for the department unlikely.

On Nov. 7, one day after the 2018 congressional mid-term elections, Sessions announced in a letter to President Trump he made public that he’d resign as attorney general, making clear that action was “at your request.”

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HHS falsely blames Obama amid outrage over anti-trans memo

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Under fire for a reported anti-trans plan that would eliminate federal protections for transgender people, the Trump administration is pushing back in defense of its enforcement of the law — but with a statement that is filled with errors and blames the Obama administration for undercutting transgender rights.

Caitlin Oakley, an HHS spokesperson, said the department has no comment on “alleged, leaked documents,” which the New York Times reported Oct. 21 was being spearheaded by the Department of Health & Human Services and would restrict the definition of “sex” under federal law to biological gender.

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Sessions announces the creation of a ‘religious liberty task force’

By : Wire and Staff Reports
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WASHINGTON (AP) | American culture has become “less hospitable to people of faith,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said July 30 in vowing that the Justice Department would protect people’s religious freedom and convictions.

Sessions spoke at a Justice Department summit on religious tolerance at a time when courts across the country have been asked how to balance anti-discrimination laws against the First Amendment’s religious freedom guarantees.

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Justice Department set to host annual LGBTQ Pride event on June 26

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Department of Justice is set to host an event recognizing Pride month and LGBTQ employees on June 26, the Washington Blade has learned.

A spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday to the Blade the event is set to take place on that date in the Justice Department’s Great Hall per the annual tradition for DOJ Pride, the LGBTQ affinity group for Justice Department employees.

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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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Trans women struggle to survive in El Salvador city

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Three transgender women were killed in San Luis Talpa, El Salvador, in February 2017. Gang-related violence has made the small city one of the most dangerous parts of the Central American country. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Andrea, a transgender woman who lives in San Luis Talpa, a small city that is near El Salvador’s main international airport, was walking to her mother’s home on Aug. 29 when a man stopped his motorbike and began to yell at her.

Andrea was talking with her friend on her cell phone when the man confronted her. Three cars stopped on the highway on which she was walking a few minutes later and men with guns stepped out.

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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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Supreme Court won’t hear case seeking Title VII protection for gays

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced it won’t hear a case seeking protecting for lesbian, gay and bisexual workers under existing civil rights law barring sex discrimination.

The court announced it denied a writ of certiorari in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital as part of an order list Monday reflecting decisions made justices at a conference last week Friday. It takes a vote of four justices to agree to take up a case, although the vote isn’t made public.

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Opponents in LGBT case agree: It’s not about wedding cake

By : wire report
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In a legal case with profound implications for LGBT rights and religion’s place in public life, the opposing sides agree on this: It’s not about the cake.

At its core, the case that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments on Dec. 5 is a showdown between a gay couple from Colorado and a Denver-area baker who in 2012 cited his Christian faith in refusing to make a cake for their wedding celebration.

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Anti-LGBTQ Senate candidate Roy Moore accused of sexual contact with a 14-year-old

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) — A month before Alabama’s special election, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore abruptly faced lurid allegations Thursday of sexual misconduct with minors decades ago — and an immediate backlash from party leaders who demanded he get out of the race if the accusations prove true.

The instant fallout followed a Washington Post report in which an Alabama woman said Moore, then a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, had sexual contact with her when she was 14. Three other women interviewed by the Post said Moore, now 70, approached them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s. All four women spoke on the record to the Post.

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DOJ seeks time to argue for anti-gay baker in Supreme Court case

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. Justice Department under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seeking a time slot of 10 minutes before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue on behalf of a Colorado baker who wishes to refuse the sale of make wedding cakes for same-sex couples.

U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed the two-page request Wednesday before the Supreme Court in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

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