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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State Department spokesperson acknowledges Spirit Day

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Thursday acknowledged a campaign that seeks to combat bullying.

Nauert at the beginning of a press briefing told reporters that “today, along with many of my colleagues here at the State Department, including members of the LGBTI community, in association with GLIFAA (a group that represents LGBT and intersex Foreign Service members), we are — many of us are wearing purple today to celebrate Spirit Day.”

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Gay former U.S. ambassador drops congressional bid

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A gay foreign policy expert who worked on international LGBT rights and served as U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe has dropped his short-lived bid for a congressional seat in Colorado.

Daniel Baer, who had sought the Democratic nomination to run in Colorado’s 7th congressional district, announced in a statement Thursday he’d suspend his campaign in the aftermath of incumbent Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) deciding to run for re-election.

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Tillerson raises anti-gay Chechnya crackdown with Russian counterpart

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The State Department on Tuesday confirmed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has expressed concern about the ongoing anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya with his Russian counterpart.

The Washington Post in a Sept. 1 article about a transgender Chechen woman who has received asylum in the U.S. noted Tillerson wrote a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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LGBT envoy to remain in State Department overhaul

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday indicated the special U.S. envoy for the human rights of LGBT and intersex people will remain in place under a State Department overhaul.

Tillerson in a letter to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the position “will be retained and continue to be organized under the” State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Tillerson wrote the position “will continue to be held by a deputy assistant secretary.”

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Russian group claims to have evacuated 64 people from Chechnya

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A Russian LGBT advocacy group says it has evacuated 64 people from Chechnya over the last four months.

A 31-page report the Russian LGBT Network released on Monday notes those it has helped leave the semi-autonomous Russian republic in the North Caucuses “were relocated” to shelters in central Russia. The Russian LGBT Network, which is based in St. Petersburg, also said more than 130 people from Chechnya and neighboring republics have “requested assistance of a different nature because of the persecution from the local authorities and hostile relatives.”

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State Dept. dodges question about Tillerson’s silence on Chechnya

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday did not say why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has yet to publicly condemn the ongoing crackdown against gay men in Chechnya.

Nauert noted to the Washington Blade during a press briefing the State Department has urged the Russian government to conduct an investigation into the crackdown.

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State Department: Chechnya extrajudicial killings are ‘troubling’

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A State Department spokesperson on Tuesday expressed concern over reports that authorities in Chechnya killed more than two dozen people who were arrested without charge earlier this year.

Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, on Sunday published the names of 27 men who it said authorities shot to death in the Chechen capital of Grozny on Jan. 26.

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Federal court reopens intersex passport applicant case

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A federal court in Denver on Tuesday reopened the case of an intersex person who sued the State Department after it denied them a passport.

Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy veteran who is the associate director of the U.S. affiliate of the Organization Intersex International, applied for a passport in 2014 in order to travel to Mexico City for a conference. The State Department told Zzyym it denied the passport application because it was “unable to fulfill your request to list your sex as “X.””

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State Dept. allows embassies, consulates to acknowledge Pride month

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A State Department spokesperson on Friday said embassies and consulates have received guidance that allows them to recognize Pride month.

“Advancing the human rights of vulnerable groups including LGBTI persons is a core component of U.S. foreign policy,” the spokesperson told the Washington Blade. “All people should be protected from discrimination and violence, and must be allowed to exercise their human rights, including their rights to the freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and religion or belief.”

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LGBTQ rights leaders flunk Trump on first 100 days

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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With the 100-day mark of President Trump’s time in the White House fast approaching, LGBTQ rights supporters are giving him failing grades as the nation evaluates him at the benchmark.

Since he took the oath of office on Jan. 20, the White House has asserted Trump is “respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights,” but at the same time he has taken anti-LGBTQ actions — such as undoing guidance protecting transgender students — and filled his administration with opponents of LGBTQ rights.

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Joe Biden condemns gay Chechnya arrests

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday condemned the arrests of gay men in Chechnya.

“I am disgusted and appalled by reports from both the Russian media and non-governmental organizations that authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya have rounded up, tortured and even murdered individuals who are believed to be gay,” said Biden in a statement he posted to the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement’s Facebook page. “When faced with such crimes of hate and inhumanity, it is the responsibility of every person of conscience to speak out — to oppose this campaign of violence before it continues further.”

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