Mattis claims Joint Chiefs had no input on trans service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: James Mattis. Public domain photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis continues to defend the transgender military ban, making a dubious claim the military service chiefs had no input when openly transgender service was implemented during the Obama years.

Mattis made the remarks in an interview with Time Magazine on the publication of his book, “Call Sign Chaos” in response to a question about why he agreed to roll back policy allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

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2020 hopefuls highlight Medicare for All, PrEP in plans to combat HIV/AIDS

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE, L-R: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, Ind.) Washington Blade file photos by Michael Key.

The reinvigoration of the White House Office of HIV/AIDS, access to generic PrEP and the award of cash gifts for HIV/AIDS innovations as opposed to U.S. patents were just three ideas 2020 hopefuls articulated in responses to a survey conducted by HIV/AIDS advocacy groups.

The candidates expressed those ideas in a survey conducted by AIDS United, which composed its questions in conjunction with a coalition of HIV/AIDS groups and made the responses public Monday.

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Military reports no discharges under trans ban, advocates have doubts

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump’s tweets, image via The Washington Blade.

More than two years after President Trump tweeted he’d ban transgender people from the U.S. military “in any capacity,” the military services say the policy hasn’t resulted in denials of service for otherwise qualified individuals—a claim transgender advocates say is dubious at best.

The Washington Blade reached out to each of the military services—the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard—to obtain numbers of discharges and denials of enlistment of transgender people since the Defense Department implemented the policy, DTM-19-004, on April 12.

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Trump defense pick rebuked for ‘misleading’ testimony on trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Trump’s defense nominee Mark Esper is being criticized for “misleading” comments on the trans military ban. (Image public domain)

President Trump’s choice to become the next secretary of defense Mark Esper was rebuked July 16 during his confirmation hearing for “misleading” testimony in which he asserted transgender people who “can meet the standards with special accommodations” can serve in the military.

Esper made the comments, which largely defer to the Trump administration’s anti-trans report on transgender people in the military, in response to written responses to advance policy questions made public the day he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Congressional Dems say Title VII ‘makes clear’ anti-LGBT discrimination unlawful

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A group of 151 congressional Democrats—113 House members and 38 senators—have signed a legal brief insisting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “makes clear that workplace discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity is unlawful.”

The lawmakers submit the 25-page friend-of-the-court brief to the U.S. Supreme Court as justices are set to determine whether Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination in the workforce applies to cases of anti-LGBT discrimination.

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Home state politics complicate message for some 2020 Dems

By : wire report
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NASHUA, N.H. (AP) | Democrat Beto O’Rourke uses his home state as a cautionary tale, ticking through Texas’ Republican-backed policies as warning flags for the rest of the country.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg mentions once worrying about how coming out as gay in deeply Republican Indiana might have cost him re-election, even in his more moderate college town of South Bend.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks of evolving away from defending gun rights during her early years in Congress representing a conservative House district in upstate New York and notes, “I have uncles who voted for Trump. I get it.”

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Senate confirms former Log Cabin chief to State Dept. post

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Senate confirmed R. Clarke Cooper to a senior State Department position. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

With little opposition, the U.S. Senate confirmed on May 30 a former head of Log Cabin Republicans instrumental in finding Republican votes to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to a high-ranking State Department position.

R. Clarke Cooper, who’s gay, was confirmed as assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs by a vote of 90-8 nearly a full year after President Trump nominated him in June 2018.

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Kirsten Gillibrand spends time with drag queens in Iowa gay bar

By : Mariah Cooper OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) dropped by gay bar Blazing Saddle in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday night where she spent some quality time with the drag queens.

The Democratic presidential hopeful hung out with the queens backstage at Blazing Saddle, known as the “Gay Cheers” since its 1983 opening, did her makeup with them and even lent one queen her dress.

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Gillibrand declares support for third-gender option on federal IDs

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a 2020 Democratic hopeful, has come out in favor of a non-binary gender marker on federal identification documents, according to CBS News.

The New York Democrat’s support for the third-gender option — a practice adopted in at least two states — Oregon and New Jersey — for birth certificates and driver’s licenses — makes her the first 2020 candidate to take that position.

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Rep. Kennedy leads congressional resolution against Trump trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) is set to introduce a resolution in the U.S. House rejecting President Trump’s transgender military ban as a discriminatory policy based on junk science, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

Kennedy, chair of the Congressional Transgender Task Force, is set to introduce the non-binding resolution against the policy in the U.S. House on Feb 11. A Kennedy aide said 103 co-sponsors have signed on to the legislation, but that list is expected to grow.

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Bipartisan group of lawmakers introduce bills to protect transgender servicemembers

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A group of bipartisan lawmakers on Feb. 7 introduced bills that would allow openly transgender people to enlist in the military and protect trans servicemembers who are already serving.

U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.) and Anthony Brown (D-Md.) introduced House Resolution 1032 in the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) introduced an identical bill in the U.S. Senate.

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John McCain leaves complicated legacy on LGBT rights

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday at 81, leaves a legacy of patriotism, service to country — and being a thorn in the side of President Trump — but his legacy on LGBT issues is more complicated.

Throughout his decades in Congress, the Arizona Republican took widely different stances on LGBT issues — at times mocking them as unimportant, at other times embracing equal rights for the LGBT community. McCain would often oppose LGBT rights to align with his party and for the sake of political expediency, although the general direction of the positions he took as time went on demonstrated increasing acceptance of LGBT people.

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