19 senators urge Trump’s HHS to restore LGBT questions to elder surveys

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A bipartisan group of 19 senators led by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) are calling on the Department of Health & Human Services to restore LGBT questions to a federal survey intended to evaluate government services for older Americans.

In a two-page letter dated April 27, Collins, chair of the U.S. Senate Special Commission on Aging, and Casey, the top Democrat, lead other senators in saying the Trump administration’s removal of the questions “will limit HHS’s ability” to evaluate whether federal programs are reaching LGBT elders effectively.

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Dan Savage raises $100K with ‘Impeach the Mother F**ker Already’ gear

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Dan Savage has donated $100,000 to organizations threatened by the Trump administration with funds from the sale of ITMFA, an acronym for “Impeach The Mother F*cker Already,” merchandise.

The LGBT author and activist chose Planned Parenthood, American Civil Liberties Union and International Refugee Assistance Project as the recipients. Buttons, T-shirts, hats, stickers, coffee cups, and lapel pins emblazoned with “ITMFA” are all on sale.

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Chechnya president again denies gay arrests

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov on Wednesday once again denied reports that more than 100 gay men have been arrested in the semi-autonomous Russian republic.

Kadyrov told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting that Vesti, a Russian television station, broadcast that “even talking about this is uncomfortable.”

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Busy year for protests could cost Washington millions

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP)- The major protests in Washington that have greeted President Donald Trump’s first year in office are set to return in force, continuing an already expensive year for city officials who work to keep people safe during mass gatherings.

With polls showing Trump facing unusually strong disapproval of his agenda in the first 100 days of a presidency, organizers are promising spring rallies for a variety of mostly liberal causes including science, climate change, immigrants’ rights, gay rights and arts funding. Last weekend, demonstrators called on Trump to release his tax returns.

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Uprisings: Walking forward

By : Billy Manes
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It was 1991, if my memory serves correct, that I got the call from my stepbrother Michael. He knew that I had just come out of the closet. He knew, also, that he was dying of AIDS. “Welcome to the club,” he said, very kindly. I shivered a bit at the time, knowing that we were in the thick of a crisis, and even with all of the pats on the head and begrudging support that finally came from the White House – too late – there were still people dying en masse.

This year, in part to honor Michael, I attended the Hope & Help AIDS Walk. What’s most interesting about AIDS walks, at least to me, is that there are people from the entire spectrum of society in attendance. There were children. There were activists. There were corporations. There were advocates. It’s not a pride parade by any measure – there was not blaring music but that from the bagpipes behind me – but it’s incredibly sincere.

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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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Gorsuch confirmed to the dismay of LGBT rights supporters

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The U.S. Senate confirmed on Friday Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court much to the dismay of LGBT rights supporters who think he’ll oppose LGBT rights and Democrats who say the seat was unfairly awarded to him.

The Senate confirmed him to the seat by a largely party-line vote of 54-45, although Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) joined Republicans to confirm the nominee. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who’s recovering from back surgery, missed the vote.

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Gavin Grimm testifies on civil rights after 100 days of Trump

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Transgender student Gavin Grimm testified before Congress Thursday on the experience of his Virginia high school denying him access to the bathroom consistent with the gender identity as well as harms the Trump administration’s withdrawal of pro-trans guidance has caused for transgender people.

Gavin made the remarks during a congressional forum hosted by U.S. House Democrats on the state of civil rights after the first 100 days of the Trump administration. Witnesseses sharply criticized the Trump administration — in particular the U.S. Justice Department under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — for failing to live up to equal protection under the law.

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Trans of thought: Being Trans in the age of Trump

By : Melody Maia Monet
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As you read this, Transgender Day of Visibility will have just passed on March 31. It is a day where some trans people choose to make themselves known for the sake of putting a human face you know on a previously hidden condition.

No doubt, greater awareness of us in society has improved our fortunes, but it has also been greeted with a backlash of resistance. I recently read of a bus touring the east coast of the United States from Boston to Washington, D.C. with a message painted on its side that reads, “It’s biology: Boys are boys, and always will be. Girls are girls, and always will be. You can’t change sex. Respect all.” For emphasis, silhouettes of boys and girls, with the letters XX and XY printed conspicuously close to the genital region, adorn the sides.

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Trump’s U.S. Census proposes, immediately cuts LGBT survey questions

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The inclusion of LGBT categories in the Planned Subjects for the 2020 Census Report unveiled on Tuesday must have been music to the ears of LGBT advocates seeking to include sexual orientation and gender identity in federal surveys. But the celebration was short-lived: The U.S. Census on the same day announced those categories were included in error.

Just days before its deadline, the U.S. Census delivered to Congress its report on planned subjects for the survey, including gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship and homeownership status. Under law, the report is due three years before Census Day, with the next one set to occur April 1, 2020.

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The Other Side of Life: Totem polls

By : Jason Leclerc
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Jason Leclerc

Who might have imagined that the irrelevance of Hollywood would become a totem to the nation writ large in the age of Trump? When I say totem, of course, I intend to conjure images of poles: the biggest poles, polls that now accurately misstate everything from presidential popularity to Academy Award winners.

We are pole-driven, metaphor-driven partisans who have bought into cults of personality if only for the fleeting moments needed to crush other cults. In 2017, we pit irrelevant reality stars against their replacements as if one were the President of the United States and the other were the former governor of California.

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Jussie Smollett of ‘Empire’ gets political in new video

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – While TV star Jussie Smollett was in the recording studio working on his own music apart from “Empire,” set for release later this year, he couldn’t help but write a song about what’s going in the world, from injustice to President Donald Trump.

That’s when he penned “F.U.W.,” short for “(expletive) up world,” around President’s Day and immediately directed a music video to bring his words to life. The clip debuted late Wednesday on his YouTube page.

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