Lawsuit prompts decision to repeal NYC conversion therapy ban

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: NYC. Photo by Daniel Schwen, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Corey Johnson, the openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council, introduced a bill Sept. 12 to repeal a law the Council passed in 2017 that prohibits mental health professionals from performing so-called conversion therapy on both adults and minors.

Johnson said he remains convinced the practice of attempting change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is harmful and ineffective based on assessments by virtually all of the nation’s mainstream mental health advocacy organizations, which have issued statements opposing conversion therapy.

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Bucking Trump’s promise, Labor Dept. to undercut Obama LGBTQ order

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump, photo by Michael Vadon via Flickr.

In an apparent contradiction to President Trump’s promise to keep “intact” an Obama-era executive order against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, the Department of Labor has signaled it would expand the scope of the religious exemption for federal contractors seeking to deny employment to LGBT workers.

In the proposed rule, the Labor Department proposes regulations to clarify the scope and application of the religious exemption in Executive Order 11246, an 1965 executive order signed by President Johnson which bars federal contractors from discriminating against workers based on race, sex and other characteristics.

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Mary Rowland is first LGBTQ Trump judicial nominee confirmed by Senate

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Mary M. Rowland, Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

With little fanfare, the U.S. Senate confirmed lesbian judicial nominee Mary Rowland to a seat on the federal bench in Illinois, marking the first confirmation to the judiciary of an out LGBT Trump nominee.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Rowland—who has ties to the LGBT group Lambda Legal—to a seat in the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois by voice vote on Wednesday with no recorded opposition.

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LGBTQ groups, HHS clash over asking youth in foster care about sexual orientation

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBT rights groups and the Department of Health & Human Services are clashing over the proposed elimination of questions seeking to identify the sexual orientation of youth in foster care, which the Trump administration concluded could be “intrusive and worrisome.”

Julie Kruse, director of federal policy at the pro-LGBT Family Equality Council, said in a statement the planned removal from HHS is an “abdication of its statutory responsibilities to promote the safety, well-being, and permanency of foster youth, including those who are LGBTQ.”

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North Carolina sued again over transgender rights

By : wire report
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) | North Carolina is being sued again over its treatment of transgender people, as state employees argue that their health plan violated federal law by dropping coverage of medically necessary procedures.

The new lawsuit comes amid unresolved litigation over North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill and the law that replaced it.

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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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Group of 30 LGBTI migrants enter Mexico from Guatemala

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico | A group of 30 LGBTI migrants entered Mexico from Guatemala on Feb. 1.

Estuardo Moscoso of Asociación Lambda, a Guatemala City-based advocacy group that provides assistance to LGBTI migrants, told the Washington Blade the migrants who are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador crossed the Suchiate River, which marks the border between Guatemala and Mexico, and arrived in Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico’s Chiapas state. Moscoso said the migrants are currently traveling to Tapachula, a city that is roughly 30 miles northwest of Ciudad Hidalgo.

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Transgender military personnel in limbo over Trump plan

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) | Long term, lawyers and activists battling to ensure that transgender people can serve openly in the U.S. military are convinced they will prevail. Short term, they are braced for anguishing consequences if the Trump administration proceeds with its plan to sharply restrict such service.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote Jan. 22, gave the administration the green light to put the policy into effect even as legal challenges continue.

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LGBT legal groups urge Supreme Court to resist Trump on trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBT legal groups urged the U.S. Supreme Court to decline to intervene in cases challenging President Trump’s transgender military ban, asserting action at this point would amount to “short-circuiting” the litigation process.

The groups submitted the briefs in response to two separate filings from the U.S. Justice Department under the Trump administration, one calling on the Supreme Court to take up the cases on a interlocutory basisanother calling for a stay on lower court orders against the ban.

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Trans teacher sues P.G. County alleging ‘horrifying’ abuse

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A lawsuit filed against Prince George’s County Public Schools and the county’s Board of Education charges that a female transgender teacher was subjected to five years of discrimination, harassment, abuse and retaliation by school administrators, fellow teachers, students and parents after she transitioned in 2011 from male to female.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 28, 2018 in United States District Court for the District of Maryland by the nationally known law firm Arnold and Porter on behalf of Jennifer Eller, an English teacher. On Dec. 20, the LGBT litigation group Lambda Legal joined Arnold & Porter in representing Eller.

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ICE official defends treatment of transgender detainees

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Dec. 18 defended the agency’s treatment of transgender people who are in its custody.

Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, the openly gay deputy assistant director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Custody Programs, during an interview with the Washington Blade at ICE headquarters in Southwest Washington noted a 2015 memorandum that then-ICE Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations Thomas Homan signed.

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Trump admin turns to Supreme Court to ban trans people from military

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With court orders in place from four judges barring the U.S. military from enacting President Trump’s transgender ban, the Trump administration is seeking recourse from the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the policy to go into effect.

U.S. Solicitor General Neil Francisco submitted petitions Nov. 23 for certiorari in three cases calling on the court to review the litigation and reverse the preliminary injunctions enjoining enforcement of Trump’s transgender ban.

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