White House mum on Trump’s anti-LGBT meeting with Ginni Thomas

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The White House remains silent on President Trump’s reported meeting with anti-LGBT activist Ginni Thomas, the spouse of conservative U.S. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, despite objections from LGBT rights advocates who say the meeting was inappropriate.

On Jan. 28 during the regular news briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders ignored the Washington Blade, which was prepared to ask questions about the discussion. (The White House spokesperson has declined to call on the Blade for more than a year.) No other media outlet asked about the meeting.

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29 Senate Democrats call on OPM to restore trans employee guidance

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A group of 29 Senate Democrats led by Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) is calling on the U.S Office of Personnel Management to restore to its website guidance ensuring fair treatment of transgender federal employees, which was deleted during the week of Thanksgiving.

In a letter dated Dec. 19 to Acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert, the senators write “to express our serious concern” about removal of the guidance from the website.

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State Dept.: US not seeking trans people’s removal from UN documents

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The State Department on Oct. 24 denied a report that says the U.S. wants to remove transgender people from U.N. human rights documents.

The Guardian newspaper reported U.S. diplomats are “seeking to eliminate the word ‘gender’ from U.N. human rights documents, most often replacing it with ‘woman,’ apparently as part of the Trump administration’s campaign to define transgender people out of existence.”

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CDC chief on anti-trans memo: Stigma ‘not in the interest of public health’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump’s own director of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention pushed back Oct. 23 on the reported memo within the administration seeking to eliminate federal protections for transgender people, according to the Boston-based STAT news life science website.

Although Robert Redfield reportedly declined to criticize the proposal restricting the definition of “sex” under federal law to biological gender, the CDC director suggested the plan would heighten stigma for transgender people.

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Outrage over report of sweeping Trump administration anti-trans plan

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Transgender advocates were vocal in their indignation Oct. 21 over a report in the New York Times about a sweeping anti-transgender plan within the Trump administration to limit the definition of “sex” in U.S. government policies to biological gender.

According to the New York Times, the Department of Health & Human Services is set to spearhead the initiative with the proposed rule that has been drafted and circulating since last spring and will be presented to the Justice Department by the end of the year. In the words of the New York Times, the proposal would amount to “defining transgender out of existence.”

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‘Transparent’ will conclude final season with musical episode

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“Transparent” will say goodbye with a musical episode.

Jill Soloway, the series’ creator, told the New York Times that the fifth and final season will end with a two-hour musical episode.

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#FreePress: We are not the enemy of the people; we are the people

By : The Watermark Editorial Team
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Beginning Aug. 16, prompted by The Boston Globe, over 400 news outlets nationwide shared their support for the free press and their opposition to Donald Trump’s relentless attacks on it.

“A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press. Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather ‘The enemy of the people,’” the outlet wrote. “This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences. We asked editorial boards from around the country – liberal and conservative, large and small – to join us today to address this fundamental threat in their own words.”

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John Waters teases ‘Polyester’ reissue

By : Ed Gunts OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“Polyester” is the next John Waters movie that will be released on DVD and Blu-ray and the Baltimore-based filmmaker is hoping an updated version of his Odorama card will go along with it.

“I want to add the 11th Odorama odor: Wig odor,” Waters told an audience in New York City at a Q&A last month. “Hair and sweat.”

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New York Times’ Trump-Putin cartoon criticized as ‘homophobic’

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The New York Times has come under fire for its cartoon depicting Donald Trump fantasizing about having a love affair with Vladimir Putin which some felt was a homophobic dig.

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Corey Johnson elected speaker of NYC Council

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: New York City Councilman Corey Johnson on Jan. 3, 2018, was elected speaker of the legislative body. He is the first person with HIV to hold the position. Photo courtesy of Corey Johnson

A gay member of the New York City Council on Wednesday was elected speaker of the legislative body.

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White House: Trump backs ‘religious liberty’ in Cakeshop case

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump backs the U.S. solicitor general in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

Hours after oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case concluded Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump backs the position articulated by the U.S. Justice Department that bakers should be able to put up signs saying they won’t serve gays.

Sanders made the comments in response to a question from the New York Times on whether Trump backs the view posed by U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco during his first time in that role presenting arguments before the Supreme Court.

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Paula Poundstone looks for happiness in her new book and on the road as her tour brings her to Florida

By : Jeremy Williams
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Paula Poundstone is what one would call an old-school standup comedian. She got her start at 19 doing open mic nights in Boston, then hopped on a bus and went city to city, examining the different comedy scenes in different regions of the country. Now after almost 40 years in the business, she is comedy royalty (she was named one of the top 100 comics of all time by Comedy Central), an accomplished writer (her new book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, comes out May 9) and extremely intelligent (she’s on NPR!).

Poundstone brings her witty, smart and hilarious standup to Florida with stops at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater March 10 and the Plaza Live in Orlando March 11; but before hitting the Sunshine State, Poundstone took a few minutes to talk with us about comedy, happiness and why she has so many cats.

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