04.02.20 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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I had been in the U.S. Air Force for seven months when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened.

It being nearly 20 years ago since that life-changing event happened, I can’t remember everything that occurred in my life after Sept. 11, 2001; however, I do remember people being shocked and scared. I remember my family and friends being worried and not knowing what was coming next.

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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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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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Pete Buttigieg surges in new Iowa poll

By : Wire & Staff Reports
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WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) | John McAnear, a 77-year-old Air Force veteran, stood in an audience of hundreds in suburban Des Moines with an oxygen tank at his side, wheezing as he implored Pete Buttigieg to protect the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Democratic presidential hopeful offered a respectful, if perfunctory, “thank you for serving” and skipped any attempt to bond over their mutual military service. Instead, Buttigieg offered a list of proposals to fix the VA.

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The hopes and fears of Pete Buttigieg’s mom

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Anne Montgomery, Pete Buttigieg’s mom. (Photo from Facebook)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) | Several times a week, Anne Montgomery makes her way a few miles from her home to a fifth-floor office in downtown South Bend that teems with young adults working to elect her son president. She reads letters that bring back anxieties about being the mother of Pete Buttigieg, the first gay man to become a leading presidential candidate.

The ones that touch her most are testimonials of people who have come out as gay, or from their parents, praising Pete.

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Mattis claims Joint Chiefs had no input on trans service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: James Mattis. Public domain photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis continues to defend the transgender military ban, making a dubious claim the military service chiefs had no input when openly transgender service was implemented during the Obama years.

Mattis made the remarks in an interview with Time Magazine on the publication of his book, “Call Sign Chaos” in response to a question about why he agreed to roll back policy allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

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LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Kristian “Kris” Aponto

By : Jeremy Williams
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19 | Transgender Male | He/Him/His

Kris has known two truths about himself since a very young age — that he wanted to join the Navy when he was older and that he was transgender.

“I was 14 when I came out,” Kris says. “My parents sat me down and asked if I was transgender.”

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Gay State Dept. official oversees sale of military tech to allies

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Assistant Secretary Cooper consults with a senior U.S. Air Force Pilot as he tours the U.S. corral at the Paris Air Show. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

If you hear about the United States announcing the sale of military technology to a foreign ally, R. Clarke Cooper will have had a hand in it.

As assistant secretary for political-military affairs at the State Department, Cooper is charged with advancing national security interests by coordinating with allied nations the sale of U.S. conventional weapons, such as F-35 aircraft, bombs, missiles and firearms. Each year, his bureau facilitates more than $190 billion in U.S. defense transfers.

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Military reports no discharges under trans ban, advocates have doubts

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump’s tweets, image via The Washington Blade.

More than two years after President Trump tweeted he’d ban transgender people from the U.S. military “in any capacity,” the military services say the policy hasn’t resulted in denials of service for otherwise qualified individuals—a claim transgender advocates say is dubious at best.

The Washington Blade reached out to each of the military services—the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard—to obtain numbers of discharges and denials of enlistment of transgender people since the Defense Department implemented the policy, DTM-19-004, on April 12.

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House votes to defund trans military ban in rebuke to Trump

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. House delivered on Tuesday evening a stinging rebuke to President Trump’s transgender military ban, adopting an amendment that would bar the use of U.S. funds to pay for the policy.

The vote on the amendment, introduced by Reps. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), was 243-183 and largely along party lines. The measure was adopted as part of $983 billion minibus legislation for fiscal year 2020 seeking to fund the Defense Department, as well as labor, health and human services, education, state-foreign operations and energy and water development.

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Federal workers plan Pride celebrations, despite Trump’s anti-LGBTQ attacks

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Amid continuing news of anti-LGBT attacks from the Trump administration, LGBT federal employees are still making plans to celebrate Pride in June with events at U.S. agencies, including celebrations at the Pentagon and the State Department.

In the face of President Trump’s recently implemented transgender military ban, DOD Pride is planning an event for LGBT service members and civilian employees June 12 in the Pentagon courtyard.

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Air Force Academy removes commandant of cadets amid inquiry

By : wire report
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Above: Brig.(Gen. Kristin Goodwin makes remarks during the Graduation Tapping Ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, May 21, 2018. (Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez/Air Force)

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) | The U.S. Air Force Academy has removed its commandant of cadets amid an investigation, but officials didn’t release any details.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported on April 29 that Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin was relieved from her duties as head of military training at the school.

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