LGBT activist interrogated at Miami International Airport

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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MIAMI — I left the Dominican Republic on Sunday with the expectation that my trip home to D.C. was going to be uneventful. An agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection who was working at Miami International Airport ensured that it was not.

Here is what happened.

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Equality Virginia to honor Gavin Grimm at annual dinner

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Equality Virginia will honor Gavin Grimm at its annual Commonwealth Dinner that will take place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond on Saturday.

Grimm is a transgender student at Gloucester County High School who filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School District’s policy prohibiting students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that don’t correspond with their “biological gender.” The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in Grimm’s case on March 28, but it remanded it to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond after President Trump rescinded guidance to public schools that said Title IX requires them to allow trans students to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

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Mariela Castro promotes pro-LGBT ‘legislative package’ in Cuba

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro on Wednesday said there is a “legislative package” that would extend rights to LGBT Cubans.

Diario de Cuba, an independent website that is blocked in Cuba, reported Mariela Castro, who is director of the country’s National Center for Sexual Education, did not provide specific details when she spoke to reporters at her organization’s headquarters in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood. Mariela Castro said the Cuban National Assembly could consider the package once they approve proposed constitutional reforms, which Diario de Cuba said could take place in 2018.

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‘Love is Love’ comic raises $165,000 for Pulse victims

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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“Love is Love,” a 144-page anthology comic book, has raised more than $165,000 for the victims of the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando, according to Washington Post.

The comic book, created by DC Comics and IDW Publishing, featured characters such as Superman, Harry Potter, Batwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Contributors included Patton Oswalt and Taran Killam. “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins penned the book’s forward.

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Caribbean pastors ask U.S. to stop promoting LGBT rights abroad

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Nearly 300 religious officials from the Caribbean and Guyana have urged the U.S. to no longer promote LGBT and intersex rights abroad.

The 289 ministers who are from the Bahamas, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana made the request in a letter they sent to President Trump on Jan. 31.

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State Senator Linda Stewart pushing for ‘Orlando United’ specialty license plate

By : Staff Report
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To commemorate the unity of the City of Orlando in the aftermath of the Pulse tragedy last June, State Sen. Linda Stewart is pushing for the creation of an “Orlando United” specialty license plate, with proceeds funding various mental health organizations.

The three designated organizations that would be receiving the proceeds are The Mental Health Association of Central Florida, the Hispanic Federation, and Two Spirit Health Services Inc., which focuses mainly on the LGBTQ community in Orlando.

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All Hampton Roads cities now have police LGBT liaisons

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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All seven cities in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region now have LGBT liaisons in their respective police departments.

Hampton Roads Pride on March 15 announced the Newport News Police Department appointed Sgt. Jessica Pennington as its LGBT liaison.

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German Cabinet OKs plan to annul homosexuality convictions

By : Wire Report
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BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill that would annul the convictions of thousands of gay men under a law criminalizing homosexuality that was applied zealously in post-World War II West Germany.

The decision also clears the way for compensation for those still alive who were convicted under the so-called Paragraph 175 outlawing sexual relations between men.

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HHS seeks to dump LGBT elders from U.S. health survey

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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LGBT advocacy groups are opposing the Trump administration’s announced plans to remove questions seeking to identify gay, lesbian and bisexual elders in a U.S. health survey, saying the move represents a systematic plan to undermine LGBT progress.

Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders announced Monday the launch of a campaign to oppose the Department of Health & Human Services’ proposed elimination of the questions from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, or NSOAAP. The survey is intended to evaluate the effectiveness of programs funded by the Older Americans Act, such as services for home-delivered meals, homemaker services and the National Family Caregiver Support Program.

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State Dept. defends anti-LGBT activist’s appointment to UN delegation

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The State Department on Monday once again defended the decision to appoint a representative of an organization that strongly opposes LGBT and intersex rights to the U.S. delegation to an annual U.N. women’s conference.

“The United States does seek to include individuals from civil society organizations with diverse viewpoints and allow them to observe the U.N. in action during the Commission on the Status of Women,” Acting spokesperson Mark Toner told the Washington Blade during his daily press briefing.

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Ky. governor signs ‘religious freedom’ bill against LGBT students

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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On the same day President Trump came to visit his state for a “Make America Great Again” rally, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin penned his name to a bill allowing student groups at high schools and public colleges to turn away LGBT people out of religious objections.

Motivated in reaction to a school cutting a Bible verse from a student production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Senate Bill 17 was ostensibly intended to protect the religious expression of students. The measure permits them to express religious viewpoints, wear clothing with religious messages and use school media to announce student religious meetings free from discrimination.

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Montana lawmaker seeks voter referendum on transgender bathroom use

By : Wire Report
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) A Montana lawmaker introduced a bill Friday calling for a voter referendum on whether to ban transgender people from school and public restrooms and locker rooms that don’t match their gender at birth.

The bill sponsored by Republican state Rep. Carl Glimm of Kila was written with the assistance of the conservative Montana Family Foundation. It inserts Montana into a national debate over lesbian, gay and transgender people’s rights and is similar to controversial legislation that has passed or is under consideration in states like North Carolina, Arkansas and Texas.

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