Transgender troops to attend State of the Union as Trump pursues ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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As the Trump administration pursues a transgender military ban, at least four lawmakers have invited transgender people with records of military service to attend to President Trump’s State of the Union address in the House chamber in protest over his policy.

Although courts had initially blocked the Defense Department from implanting Trump’s reversal, the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month issued stays on those decisions, essentially green lighting the ban. (One injunction issued by a federal court against Trump’s policy remains in place for the time being, but the Justice Department is challenging that order.)

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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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Gov. Kasich bars anti-trans discrimination in Ohio state workforce

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With less than a month remaining in office, Ohio Gov. John Kasich — a prominent critic of President Trump within his own party — signed on Dec. 19  an executive order barring anti-trans discrimination in the state workforce, instituting the first transgender statewide protections in Ohio.

The order, titled Executive Order 2018-12-K, bars discrimination on the basis of numerous protected categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity, revising policy for the first time to bar anti-trans discrimination. The order replaces Executive Order 2011-05K, which barred discrimination in the state workforce on the basis of sexual orientation, but not gender identity.

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No clear signal from court in arguments over Trump’s trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals gave no clear signal during oral arguments Dec. 10 on whether they’d keep in place one of four injunctions against President Trump’s transgender military ban, raising the real possibility the panel would reverse the order against the policy.

After one hour of arguments in which a dominant theme was hair-splitting over the difference between being transgender and having gender dysphoria, the questioning left no clear indication of the eventual ruling. One judge seemed poised to reverse the injunction, another seemed inclined to keep it and the other gave mixed signals.

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Nancy Pelosi makes surprise appearance at NGLCC National Dinner

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the Natioan LGBT Media Association
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Nov. 16 celebrated Democrats regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives when she made a surprise appearance at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s National Dinner Gala.

“The American people elected a Democratic majority,” said Pelosi to applause as she spoke at the National Building Museum in D.C.

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Rihanna sends Trump cease and desist letter for playing her music at rallies

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Rihanna has sent President Donald Trump a cease and desist letter for using her music to hype up the crowds at his rallies without her permission.

The pop star learned that her song “Don’t Stop the Music” was being played at a rally for Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn in Chattanooga, Tennessee through a tweet by Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker.

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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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Senate advances Kavanaugh nomination — but there’s a floor vote deal

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the aftermath of powerful testimony from Christine Blasey Ford asserting she’s “100 percent” Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her as a teenager, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 28 voted to advance his nomination — although a deal is in the works for an investigation before his final confirmation vote.

The Senate panel approved the nomination on 11-10 party lines. Republican members insisted on moving forward with the nomination despite objections from Democratic members, many of whom called for delay until the FBI could conduct an additional investigation.

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Puerto Rico: A year after Hurricane Maria

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SAN JUAN — Sept. 20 marked a year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

Many of the U.S. commonwealth’s more than 3 million residents are trying to return to some sense of normalcy, but signs of Maria’s destruction remain visible throughout Puerto Rico. Anger over the pace of recovery and President Trump’s response to Maria remain widespread across the island.

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Woodward book: Trump surprised top staff with trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The new book by journalist Bob Woodward depicting chaos in the White House asserts President Trump announced his transgender military ban before hearing from officials during a planned meeting as he privately made anti-trans remarks describing gender reassignment surgery as “getting clipped,” according to a report in the Washington Examiner.

When Trump announced in a tweet in July 2017 he’d ban transgender people from the U.S. military “in any capacity,” he said he’d consulted military experts on the issue. However, the book — “Fear: Trump in the White House” — reportedly says Trump made the announcement before a planned meeting with top officials on options for transgender service.

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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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Trump names former Log Cabin chief to senior State Dept. post

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: President Trump has nominated R. Clarke Cooper to senior State Department position. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

President Trump has nominated a former head of Log Cabin Republicans to a senior position at the State Department for political and military affairs.

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