Gender identity bill faces criticism at Missouri Capitol

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: The Missouri Capitol (Photo by KTrimble on Wikimedia Commons)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) | A Republican lawmaker has proposed a bill that would let Missouri parents remove their kids from classes and school events that touch on sexual orientation and gender identity, causing some parents to protest the measure at the state Capitol.

Rep. Chuck Basye said he introduced the measure after hearing concerns about posters that were given out by the student Gay/Straight Alliance Club at Gentry Middle School in Columbia. The students had posted signs describing various sexual orientations and genders.

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South Carolina sued over its ban on LBGTQ sex ed discussions

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: The Campaign for Southern Equality team at the Charleston Capitol. (Photo from Facebook)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) | It is against state law in South Carolina for public school sex education classes to mention anything other than heterosexual relationships, unless the talk involves sexually transmitted diseases. A federal lawsuit now aims to change that.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal said their lawsuit filed Feb. 26 seeks to overturn the Comprehensive Health Education Act of 1988 as an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

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Gay NRA official says gun group supports LGBTQs

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: NRA Digital Director William ‘Billy’ McLaughlin. Screen capture via NRATV on YouTube.

Gay D.C. resident William ‘Billy’ McLaughlin, who serves as Digital Director for the National Rifle Association, told members of Log Cabin Republicans of D.C. on Feb. 20 that the controversial gun rights advocacy group has welcomed him as an out gay employee.

McLaughlin, 24, was the guest speaker at the LGBTQ GOP group’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting held in a conference room at the Chastleton Apartments on 16th Street, N.W., where more than 50 people turned out to listen to him.

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Sen. Collins: Grenell ‘does not have’ experience to oversee intelligence

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Susan Collins, photo via Collins’ Facebook page.

A top member of the Senate Intelligence Committee from President Trump’s own party said Monday Richard Grenell, the gay official Trump tapped to oversee intelligence agencies, lacks the right experience for the role, according to Politico.

“I care deeply about that position and believe the person needs experience in the intelligence community which regrettably ambassador Grenell does not have,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was quoted as saying.

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Big Freedia bounces into Gasparilla Music Festival and beyond

By : Gregg Shapiro
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Music has always been an escape for Big Freedia, the out and proud Queen of Bounce. The New Orleans-based entertainer is a worldwide ambassador of bounce music, indigenous hip hop characterized by Mardi Gras Indian chants, energetic call-and-response vocals, heavy bass and up-tempo beats.

Freedia, who grew up singing in church choirs and admiring artists like Patti LaBelle and the openly gay “Queen of Disco” Sylvester, was first introduced to bounce music by drag entertainer Katey Red in the late 90s. Red is considered the first transgender emcee to rise to prominence in New Orleans and is credited with creating the LGBTQ-inclusive subgenre sissy bounce. She also welcomed Freedia as her backup dancer.

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#LoveHandlin: Oppression

By : Jerick Mediavilla
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In my previous collaborations, I have navigated general topics with an underlying personal touch that speaks to how we can address a specific issue with love and compassion. These are, by no means, a way to simplify, much less minimize, how someone experiences different phases of their lives. On the contrary, one can only value more and more the intrinsic differences with which everyone can tell their own story about love, life, family, circumstances and letdowns; and that is a beautiful freedom most of us can share.

I say “most of us” because we can never be entirely certain that “everyone” has had the same privilege, freedom or experience that many of us have. It keeps bringing me back to one of Martin Luther King’s most memorable quotes: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

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2020 hopefuls commit to equality ahead of Florida’s primary

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “DEMZ” featuring Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden by Chad Mize.

It’s been more than three years since Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States, succeeding LGBTQ ally Barack Obama to become the nation’s 45th commander in chief. It’s been longer still since he became the first Republican to acknowledge the LGBTQ community from the podium of the Republican National Convention. On June 21, 2016, he vowed to protect LGBTQ citizens from “violence and oppression” while accepting his party’s nomination.

The promise drew the immediate ire of journalist Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter who was credited as the co-author of “The Art of the Deal,” Trump’s bestselling biography. Schwartz shadowed and studied the real estate developer for nearly two years to write the 1987 memoir for him, which he says today he would name “The Sociopath.”

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2020 Presidential Preference Primary Election Guide

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “DEMZ” featuring Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden by Chad Mize.

Ahead of Florida’s presidential preference primary March 17, Watermark contacted each presidential campaign that will appear on the statewide ballot to ask nine yes (Y) or no (N) questions and one open-ended question pertaining to LGBTQ equality.

Below, you’ll find their abbreviated answers of the remaining candidates, compiled via each campaign’s direct response or the websites of Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

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The Other Side of Life: Fighting Deficits

By : Jason LeClerc
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Resources are, by their nature, scarce. In fact, value or price for a resource is derived from its relative scarcity: how much we have of something we need or want versus how much we need or want it.

We vote with our dollars. In America, we vote with our votes. This applies to fresh drinking water during a hurricane, watches and, apparently, presidential candidates. In a free (unfettered) market, the supplier of a resource produces as much of that resource as they expect to sell at a reasonable profit; the consumer of the resource will continue buying it until the price becomes prohibitive. This is equilibrium.

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Empath Health, Stratum Health System announce merger

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Stratum Health System President and CEO Jonathan Fleece and Empath Health President and CEO Rafael Sciullo. Photo courtesy National Strategies PR.

TAMPA BAY | Empath Health and Stratum Health System announced Feb. 26 that the organizations have entered into formal discussions to merge and become one of the largest nonprofit, hospice-based care networks in the nation.

Empath Health’s nonprofit, integrated network of care supports patients facing chronic or advanced illnesses throughout Tampa Bay. It began in 1977 as Suncoast Hospice and its members include Empath Partners in Care (EPIC), which formed in 2016 after the merger of the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Francis House.

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Gabbard ignores LGBTQ survey questions from Human Rights Campaign

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Tulsi Gabbard (Photo from Michael Key of the Washington Blade)

Seven current candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination were the among the respondents to an LGBTQ survey the nation’s leading LGBTQ group unveiled Feb. 24, but Tulsi Gabbard — who has been criticized for having an anti-LGBTQ past — wasn’t among them.

The seven current candidates who responded — Joseph Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren — responded affirmatively to each of HRC’s questions on LGBTQ issues, including whether they support the Equality Act, oppose President Trump’s transgender military ban and will commit to tackling anti-trans violence.

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In SC, Buttigieg faces some black voters wary of a gay candidate

By : Wire Report
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Above: Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (Photo courtesy from CNN)

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) | South Carolina state Sen. Gerald Malloy is fine with a gay presidential candidate like Pete Buttigieg. His older male relatives are not, and that may be the defining challenge of Buttigieg’s campaign.

As Buttigieg tries to sustain his early success in Iowa and New Hampshire, he has to prove that he can win over African American voters, who make up the vital core of the party base. A relatively small but nonetheless influential number of black South Carolinians may be resistant to him because of his sexuality.

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