FDA eases ban on gay blood donations amid coronavirus crisis

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Faced with tremendous pressure during the coronavirus crisis to lift its policy barring gay men from donating blood, the Food & Drug Administration announced on Thursday it has eased the restrictions.

While the previous policy, established in 2015, barred men who have had sex with men in the 12 months from making a donation, the new policy would shorten the deferral period, requiring abstinence for only three months.

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LGBTQ people urged to ‘get counted’ in Census

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The National LGBTQ Task Force is encouraging supporters to “Queer the Census.” Photo via the Task Force’s Facebook page.

The D.C.-based National LGBTQ Task Force has announced it will celebrate Census Day on April 1 by “mobilizing LGBTQ people across the country to get counted in the 2020 Census.”

The Task Force is part of a coalition of national civil rights and progressive advocacy groups that launched the “Queer the Census” campaign last year to encourage members of marginalized communities to make sure they are counted in this year’s Census.

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Dr. Birx faces call to affirm LGBTQ people won’t face bias in coronavirus relief

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Dr. Deborah Birx, center. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.

Amid concerns a lack of federal protections leaves LGBTQ people open to discrimination, a group of 87 House Democrats are calling on Dr. Deborah Birx to affirm anti-LGBTQ discrimination will be prohibited in coronavirus relief efforts.

The March 26 letter, coordinated by Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) and the LGBTQ Equality Caucus, draws on the assertion LGBTQ people are disproportionately vulnerable to the coronavirus.

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Risks to LGBTQ people in coronavirus crisis cited in new lawsuit against HHS

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump’s administration is being sued for refusing to enforce a non-discrimination rule (Screen capture via YouTube)

LGBTQ legal advocates highlighted the dangers of the coronavirus in a lawsuit Thursday challenging the Trump administration’s refusal to enforce an Obama-era rule barring federal grantees from discriminating against LGBTQ people.

Because medical practitioners are among federal grantees, LGBTQ legal advocates say the Department of Health & Human Services’ refusal to enforce the rule puts LGBTQ people at risk as the coronavirus pandemic escalates.

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Dream of a lifetime: Transgender man yearns to join military

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE, Center: Nic Talbott, photo via Facebook.

LISBON, Ohio (AP) | Nic Talbott keeps himself busy, working as a substitute teacher, studying for a master’s degree, helping with chores at his grandmother’s farm. He also finds time, almost daily, for rigorous workouts, to ensure he is in shape in case his dream job, serving in the U.S. military, becomes available.

For now, that door is closed to him by the Trump administration for one reason: He’s transgender.

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Cutler’s Caucus: Blue No Matter Who

By : Dave Cutler
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Every election is important, from choosing your local city council or commission all the way up to selecting the president of the United States.

This election is the most important in the last 100 years of our nation, however, if not in the country’s entire history. That’s because Donald Trump and his administration have systematically undone or threatened all of the progress made under President Obama for LGBTQ Americans.

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U.S. agency seeks to cut LGBTQ protections in union contract talks

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Photo via the National Labor Relations Board Facebook page.

The National Labor Relations Board is seeking under the Trump administration to axe LGBTQ non-discrimination language — as well as protections based on race, sex and religion — from its union contract with professional attorneys within the U.S. agency as part of collective-bargaining negotiations, according to union representatives.

The union, known as the National Labor Relations Board Professional Association, is made up of about 120 attorneys at the NLRB headquarters in D.C.

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Biden unveils extensive LGBTQ plan, drawing on Obama-era achievements

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

Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden unveiled on Thursday a comprehensive plan to advance LGBTQ rights, pledging to support policies and legislation against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and to protect LGBTQ human rights advances across the globe.

“As president, Biden will stand with the LGBTQ+ community to ensure America finally lives up to the promise on which it was founded: equality for all,” the plan says. “He will provide the moral leadership to champion equal rights for all LGBTQ+ people, fight to ensure our laws and institutions protect and enforce their rights, and advance LGBTQ+ equality globally.”

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03.05.20 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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One of the interesting things about my position as Tampa Bay Bureau Chief, a self-enforced rule more so than a mandated one, is that I work diligently to check many of my personal positions at the door.

It isn’t always easy when you’re writing a column. This space exists so that we’re able to connect with readers; so that to a certain extent you’re able to know us as we work to know you. I’m thankful to have this column for that reason, even if it’s the most self-scrutinized thing that I write, because I care deeply about our community.

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Buttigieg’s White House bid ensures place in LGBTQ history

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Pete Buttigieg, photo courtesy Buttigieg’s Facebook page.

NEW YORK (AP) | A divisive debate over same-sex marriage animated the 2004 presidential election as voters across the country approved constitutional amendments banning such unions. Sixteen years later, with those bans invalidated and his husband by his side, Pete Buttigieg became the first openly gay man to become, however briefly, a leading presidential candidate.

Buttigieg fell short of his goal to win the Democratic nomination and defeat Donald Trump. But his candidacy will likely be remembered as an example of the remarkable advances made by LGBTQ Americans in their quest for equality and acceptance.

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Biden has big comeback, routs opponents on Super Tuesday

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Former Vice President Joe Biden, photo via Biden’s Facebook page.

Coming back from disappointing results at the start of primary, former Vice President Joseph Biden won big on Super Tuesday by routing his competition for the Democratic presidential nomination in multiple states.

By early Wednesday, the Associated Press declared Biden had won or was leading in most of the 14 states up for grabs. In particular, Biden had a strong showing in the South, which has a heavy black electorate that turned out for him during the South Carolina primary and resurrected his campaign.

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Equality Florida Tampa Gala raises awareness, more than $310K

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith delivers her Tampa Gala keynote address Feb. 21. (Photo by Dylan Todd)

TAMPA | Equality Florida welcomed supporters to Armature Works Feb. 21 for the nonprofit’s annual Tampa Gala, raising more than $310,000 in its statewide fight for equality.

The sold out gathering featured live auctions led by former Hillsborough County Commissioner and current Clerk of the Circuit Court candidate Kevin Beckner, all benefiting the organization’s efforts. It also honored activists Don Murray and Wayne Spiwak with the 2020 Voice for Equality Award.

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