Microsoft to reassess PAC money for anti-LGBTQ lawmakers

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Microsoft last week became the first of 49 LGBTQ supportive corporations identified by a new LGBTQ group as collectively contributing millions of dollars through their Political Action Committees to members of Congress with the “worst of the worst” anti-LGBTQ records, to consider halting those contributions.

The new group, Zero for Zeros, identifies itself as a campaign aimed at persuading the nation’s most prominent and well-known pro-LGBTQ corporations to stop a seemingly contradictory practice of giving PAC money to the re-election campaigns of members of Congress who oppose and undermine the LGBTQ supportive policies that corporations like Microsoft say they support.

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Trump’s safety panel seeks to revoke school discipline rules

By : wire report
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President Donald Trump’s school safety commission on Dec. 18 called for a rollback of an Obama-era policy that was meant to curb racial disparities in school discipline but that critics say left schools afraid to take action against potentially dangerous students.

The panel, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, made the recommendation in a report that lays out dozens of suggestions to improve safety in America’s schools. Trump created the commission in March following a Parkland, Florida, school shooting that killed 17 students and staff members.

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Sen. Hatch recognizes Pride, LGBT youth suicide on Senate floor

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) recognized Pride month and LGBT youth suicide on the Senate floor. Photo by Gage Skidmore; courtesy Creative Commons.

Sen. Orrin Hatch took an unusual step for a Republican from Utah on Wednesday and recognized June as Pride month, invoking the occasion to draw attention to LGBT youth suicide.

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Ros-Lehtinen talks retirement, slams Trump’s military trans ban

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-Fla.) speaks with the Washington Blade at her office on Capitol Hill on May 21. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) last week reiterated her criticism of President Trump over a host of issues that includes his effort to ban transgender people from the military.

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Never again, but why now?

By : Jamie Hyman
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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.

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Air Force lifts penalty on officer who won’t recognize gay airman’s spouse

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Air Force Col. Leland Bohannon won’t recognize his subordinate’s same-sex marriage. Photo public domain.

In a move LGBTQ rights supporters say amounts to allowing discrimination in the U.S. military, the U.S. Air Force has lifted the penalty on an officer who refused to recognize the marriage of a gay subordinate in retirement materials.

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Anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ bill is back — and Trump has promised to sign

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has reintroduced legislation in the U.S. Senate seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of “religious freedom” — and President Trump made signing the legislation a campaign promise during the 2016 election.

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How Trumpcare, or its Senate component, may affect the LGBT community

By : Billy Manes
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“This is a funeral procession. When we get to Sen. Marco Rubio’s office, we’ll have speakers and then we’ll have a die-in,” was the rallying call on June 28 as protesters took to the streets to march against the competing Republican agendas meant to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. The march, which started at Orlando City Hall and ended up across the street at Rubio’s home away from home, was blotted by rain and was suitably somber.

“What do we want? Healthcare. When do we want it? Now,” was the refrain as dozens of people walked the street in favor of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and those who were simply blocked out of coverage by Florida’s refusal to expand Medicaid to nearly one million people caught in the coverage gap. Likewise, others just saw the crumbling pieces of the nation’s healthcare conundrum, currently being argued between the U.S. House and U.S. Senate regarding a complete overhaul of medical care in the United States.

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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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Sen. Rubio denounces gay Chechnya arrests on Senate floor

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) denounced on the Senate floor Monday the ongoing reports of anti-gay arrests and detention in Chechnya, blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for allowing them to happen.

Rubio, who previously denounced the alleged atrocities on Twitter, called on the U.S. government to “do more to ensure that all people are protected and those who harm them are held responsible.”

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State Department releases 2016 human rights report

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The State Department’s annual human rights report that it released last week notes discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity were commonplace throughout many parts of the world in 2016.

The report notes René Martínez, a prominent LGBT rights advocate in the violence-plagued Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, was killed in June after he left his home. It also highlights Hande Kader, a transgender sex worker and activist who was found dead in Istanbul in August.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Safety last

By : Staff Report
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Protesting Marco
Everybody already knows about Sen. Marco Rubio’s absence of affinity for the LGBTQ community, his general towing of the party line, his teeter-totter take on immigration and his (alleged) past of defrauding taxpayers via his party when he was in the Florida Legislature. Everybody also already knows that he ran for president this one time and he lost. He also was noticeably absent from many votes in his previous senatorial stint. It’s easy to get bored when your laundry list gets long, but Rubio remains a bit of a bore, regardless of any of those terms. Somebody shake him and wake him up!

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