U.S./World: News Shorts 06.30.17

Beyond the Carolinas

The Radical Faeries, co-founded in Los Angeles, Calif. in 1979 by Harry Hay and Don Kilhefner, will have its Summer Solstice Gathering for all “fae-spirited queer folk” from Dec. 16-23 in the Faeryland Sanctuary in Australia. Registration opens Sept. 1. Email ozfaeriegather2017@gmail.com for more information.
info: ozfaeries.com.

MoveOn has been showcasing its Pride in Resistance video campaign throughout June, celebrating LGBTQ leaders who are opposed to Donald Trump and the “harmful” Republican agenda. The videos also feature lessons that these leaders have learned as members of the resistance, as well as celebrating the LGBTQ movement and highlighting the impact of Trump administration policies on the LGBTQ community.
info: moveon.org.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde marched in Toronto’s 37th annual Pride Parade on June 25, thus becoming the first chief to march in the parade. The last year marked many milestones for First Nations LGBTQ2S. Last spring the city of Winnipeg hosted a Two-Spirit pow-wow, the first in Pride Winnipeg’s 30 year history. Additionally, the Saskatchewan’s Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation hosted a Two-Spirit Festival which included raising the Pride flag and a parade. According to the National Aboriginal Health Organization, a recent report found that Two-Spirited people are more likely to experience violence than straight First Nations. They are twice as likely to experience all forms of assault than LGBTQ individuals in the general population.
info: afn.ca.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. (GMCW) embarked on its Southern Equality Tour from June 15-18. This was the chorus’ first-ever bus tour across the South. They traveled to states that have discriminatory laws against the LGBTQ community. Among its tour venues, GMCW performed a benefit concert at Binkley Baptist Church, sang at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church in Knoxville, Tenn., and at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham in Alabama, where they were joined by the Steel City Men’s Chorus. The chorus collaborated with the Midlands Men’s Chorus at Reformation Lutheran Church in Columbia, S.C. to benefit the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center, and it sang with the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus at the Georgia State Capitol at the invitation of the office of Rep. Karla Drenner, the first-ever openly gay member of the Georgia General Assembly. GMCW also appeared at Tennessee’s Knoxville Pride, side by side with the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus, and ended the tour with a benefit concert at the Roanoke Diversity Center in Roanoke, Va.
info: gmcw.org.

AIDS.gov has undergone a name change and has become HIV.gov. The change reflects a “commitment to respond to the changing dynamics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and an acknowledgment of the many scientific and treatment advances we’ve made in recent years.”
info: hiv.gov.

Jennifer Polhemus, editor, is collecting entries for an anthology of poetry entitled “Her Believing Heart: Poems by Survivors of Abuse in Lesbian Relationships.” This anthology will be the presentation piece of her capstone research project on domestic violence in lesbian relationships for her university studies. Submitters can send up to three pieces related to the subject matter in Word format. Deadline is April 30, 2018. Accepted poem(s) may be published anonymously, if requested. Include a brief (75 words maximum) contributor’s bio with submissions and include mailing information in order to receive a copy of the book once it is published. Submit via email. If unable to submit via email, mail submissions to Jennifer Polhemus, 255 Lamb’s Gap Rd., Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17050.
info: herbelievingheart@outlook.com.

We Are One+Together launched its Mr. Gay Syria initiative to secure asylum for Mr. Gay Syria contestants, including financing legal aid, generating political and public support. The competition helps to illuminate urgent issues facing LGBTQ+ individuals in the Middle East. It also premiered the short film “War Within” along with Visionaire World and Grindr.
info: weareonetogether.org.

The Knot released results in The Knot and Q.Digital LGBTQ Weddings Study 2017. Included were wedding and ring costs, age, guests, length of engagement, month popularity and percentage of destination weddings, among other statistics.
info: theknot.com.

Cleve Jones, founder of the Names AIDS Quilt Project, received a VH1/Logo Trailblazer Award on June 23 for his gay rights activism and leadership work. He has also served as a union leader with UNITE HERE. A protégé of Harvey Milk, his life has been dedicated to championing HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ and other causes. He received his award alongside pop legend Cyndi Lauper.
info: vh1.com. unitehere.org. clevejones.com.

The Williams Institute has released a report that says that over 150,000 same-sex couples have married since the U.S. Supreme Court extended marriage equality nationwide. In total, there are 547,000 married same-sex couples in the U.S., meaning that nearly 1.1 million LGBT individuals are married to a same-sex partner. Prior to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, 390,000 same-sex couples were married. The number of married same-sex couples increased to 513,000 by June 2016, one year after the Obergefell decision.
info: williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu.

Subaru of America, Inc. announced its partnership with Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) for the Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools for All program and its Top Ten Ways to Keep Schools Safe publication. Since 2015, Subaru has partnered with PFLAG National and its network of chapters across the country to ensure that all youth — regardless of their family background or personal identity — are welcomed and accepted at school, the company shared.
info: subaru.com. pflag.org.

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The American Military Partner Association responded to news that the Department of Defense may be poised to delay by six months the implementation of a new policy allowing transgender recruits to enter the military. The proposed delay will not prevent currently serving transgender service members from continuing to serve, however, it would delay the change in policy allowing qualified and talented transgender people from entering the military.Two retired admirals, Michael Smith and Alan M. Steinman, published an op-ed in the Military Times urging opponents to stop using long-discredited arguments from the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era to justify a delay in lifting the ban on transgender enlistment, Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin shared.
info: militarypartners.org. militarytimes.com.

New York City Council candidate Mel Wymore participated in the New York City Pride March on June 25. “For centuries, LGBTQ people have had to suppress the most life-giving aspects of their identity in order to survive in society. To be your authentic self was to attract ridicule, exclusion or violence. Pride marks a social shift—an attempt to end that suppression. Pride pushes each of us to bravely and openly love ourselves and each other without fear or shame. This year, we continue that tradition, prouder than ever and ready for the fights ahead,” Wymore shared. He is running a campaign on New York’s Upper West Side and if elected will become the first-ever transgender elected official in any major U.S. city. He is also New York’s first transgender candidate for public office, his organization said.
info: melwymore.com.

The San Francisco Trans March, “Celebrating Resilience with Love & Resistance,” held its 14th annual event on June 23 in San Francisco, Calif.’s Dolores Park. The march is the largest transgender Pride event in the U.S., organizers said.
info: sfcenter.org.

On June 22, PEN America held its “Readings for AIDS Remembrance” at the New York City AIDS Memorial. It brought together poets, storytellers and performers, as well as others. Featured were Reinaldo Arenas, Tory Dent, Melvin Dixon, Tim Dlugos, Essex Hemphill, Arthur Russell, and David Wojnarowicz, along with Kate Bornstein, Timothy DuWhite, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Rickey Laurentiis, Jaime Manrique, Ethelbert Miller, sam sax, Sarah Schulman and Jean Valentine.
info: pen.org.

Queerty reported that Rhode Island’s Teacher of the Year Nikos Giannopoulos has become an “internet sensation” with his “sassy” photograph from the Oval Office where he stood with a fan in hand with Donald and Melania Trump.
info: queerty.com.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin helped introduce the Lavender Offense Victim Exoneration Act of 2017, to correct the injustice perpetrated against approximately 1,000 people who were fired during the Lavender Scare by the State Department in the 1950s and 1960s because of their perceived sexual orientation which was thought to render them vulnerable to blackmail, prone to getting caught in “honey traps” and a general security risk. Along with Baldwin the legislation is sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and co-sponsored by Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Tom Udall (D-NM).
info: baldwin.senate.gov.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant III challenging Mississippi’s anti-LGBTQ legislation, HB1523, had not been personally harmed by the law, and therefore does not have standing to sue. Plaintiffs will appeal this ruling, seeking review by the full 5th Circuit.
info: southernequality.org.

The Rockefeller Foundation announced that it would make grants of $100,000 each to the New York City LGBT Community Center, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Campaign for Southern Equality. The organizations will use the funds at their discretion to provide a variety of legal, advocacy and social services to the LGBTQ community as they respond to an environment of increased violence, hostility and prejudice, the foundation said. Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of North Carolina-based Campaign for Southern Equality, said “This support from the Rockefeller Foundation comes at such a critical time for LGBTQ Southerners, as our community contends with new anti-LGBTQ legislation and threats. The grant will allow CSE to be nimble in responding to emerging needs and organizing in our new political climate.”
info: rockfound.org.

The Point Foundation announced its 2017 scholarship recipients with a total of 52 individuals named. This is the largest and most diverse group in the organization’s history, the foundation shared. Those selected were divided into groups, one consisting of 27 Point Scholars and another one made up of 25 Community College Scholarship Program recipients.
info: pointfoundation.org.

Irregular Labs announced the launch of Arts Not Parts, a creative call to action in support of and solidarity with transgender and gender-fluid youth. Supporters include: musician Sia, activist Jacob Tobia, NYLON, musician Trevor Moran, Dazed Digital, photographer Cass Bird, model Hunter Schafer, musician JD Samson, Trans Youth Equality Foundation, DoSomething.org, Visionaire and model Adwoa Aboah’s Gurls Talk.
info: artsnotparts.com.

Five voices were lent to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research’s Epic Voices video series in honor of Pride Month. They included: Hydeia Broadbent, HIV/AIDS activist born with HIV; Ongina (Ryan Palao), television personality who came out as HIV-positive on “RuPaul’s Drag Race;” Teo Drake, a transgender man and long-term HIV survivor; Ken Williams, public speaker and founder of video blog, “Ken Like Barbie;” and Mykki Blanco, rapper and performer.
info: amfar.org.

In a victory for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a federal court in Florida dismissed claims in a whistleblower lawsuit (Case 0:14-cv-61301-KMW) brought by three former foundation employees who challenged the organization’s proactive and successful approach to finding and linking HIV-positive individuals in Florida to lifesaving medical care and treatment with unfounded allegations about the legality of the foundation’s model of HIV testing and linkage.
info: aidshealth.org.

Equality Florida called on Gov. Rick Scott to keep his promise to the LGBTQ community by issuing an executive order protecting state employees and government contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. A year after the Pulse shootings, Gov. Scott has refused to issue an executive order, Equality Florida said. Community advocates, business leaders and clergy also called on the governor to take meaningful action.
info: equalityflorida.org.

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the National Endowment for the Arts’ second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $25,000 to Lambda Literary to support the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, a residency designed to offer intensive and sophisticated instruction to selected writers over a carefully designed week; LGBTQ Writers in Schools which brings LGBTQ writers into high school and college classrooms for readings and discussions; and Lambda Literary national reading series surrounding the Lambda Literary Awards, the Writers Retreat, and Lambda’s LGBTQ literary journals, Emerge and Nepantla.
info: lambdaliterary.org. arts.gov.

Absolut Vodka’s limited edition Absolut Mix bottle, which was designed in celebration of diversity and acceptance, returned to Canada this summer in honor of Pride Month. Inspired by the six colors of the Pride flag, the bottle’s label features overlapping semi-transparent triangles that symbolize the connection that is created when diverse individuals mix together.
info: absolut.com/ca.

Portland, Ore. attorney Lake Perriguey, Esq., of Law Works LLC, who successfully petitioned Jamie Shupe’s case that resulted in the first legal recognition of a non-binary person in the U.S., will be at the downtown Portland Department of Motor Vehicles on July 3 to celebrate his efforts urging the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles to begin issuing licenses and ID cards that will now include a third gender option using the letter “X.”
info: law-works.com.

LGBTQ advocate Andreja Pejic has landed the July cover of Glamour Spain, and her first cover that does not label her as “transgender” and acknowledges her as a model. In 2014, Pejic publicly announced her sexual reassignment surgery. In May 2015, she became the first transgender model to feature in American Vogue and has gone on to be the first to land the covers of Marie Claire Spain, and GQ Portugal.
info: brandswaycreative.com.

The California Legislative LGBT Caucus honored Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and nine other advocates for LGBTQ civil rights during ceremonies in both the Senate and Assembly. The ceremonies were part of the adoptions of House Resolution 41 and Senate Resolution 46, both in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month.
info: eqca.org.

Pandora celebrated Pride Month with the launch of “Sounds Like Pride,” a campaign that highlighted diversity, individuality and solidarity. The campaign included a special station, exclusive content from emerging LGBTQ+ musicians and Pandora employees, and a charitable donation to The Ally Coalition.
info: pandora.com.

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From Aug. 15-17, Fierté Montréal Pride will be hosting a National LGBTTIQA2S Human Rights Conference as part of the inaugural Canada Pride Montréal 2017. The conference will examine complex issues from Queer Representation in the Media, to Rape Culture + Sexual Violence in the Gay Community, to Parental Advocacy under Trump/Trudeau.
info: fiertemontrealpride.com.

Path2Parenthood (P2P) (formerly known as The American Fertility Association), hosted LGBTQ family-building tents at Pride festivals nationwide throughout June, and will also do so in September. Tents housed free materials produced by the organization, including handbooks for gays, lesbians, those who are HIV-positive and transgender individuals. Consultations on family-building options were provided.
info: path2parenthood.org.

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued new guidance on handling cases of transgender student discrimination and the American Civil Liberties Union’s James Esseks issued a statement which said, “The Trump administration’s decision to revoke the guidance on Title IX and transgender students was a shameful move. That guidance provided clarity to schools, as well as to transgender students and their families. These new instructions from the Department of Education are far from clear, and federal court rulings are increasingly on the side of transgender students. The ACLU will continue to fight in the courts for the basic dignity and equality of transgender students.”
info: aclu.org.

Hundreds took to the streets of New York City, N.Y. on June 14, Flag Day (also Donald Trump’s birthday), to honor the memory of LGBTQ rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker, who died in late March. The protest march, targeting the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ policies, included banners created by Baker, reading “Republican Hate Kills” and “Don’t Buy Trump’s Lies.” The march was preceded by a memorial rally in front of the Stonewall Inn, where speakers included “When We Rise” author and The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt creator Cleve Jones and City Councilmember Corey Johnson. The ceremony ended with a raising of the rainbow flag in Hudson River Park.
info: gilbertbaker.com.

AIDS/HIV researcher and advocate Perry Halkitis will begin serving as Rutgers University School of Public Health’s dean in August and will be one of the few openly gay leaders in higher education. He seeks to shatter perceptions and improve LGBTQ health and serve as a role model for students.
info: rutgers.edu.

Findings in the June 15 Journal of Graduate Medical Education say that by acting out scenarios commonly seen in the clinic, real-life transgender actors can help residents learn to provide more sensitive care to people with a different gender identity than the one they were assigned at birth.
info: nyumc.org.

American Express announced a $100,000 grant to the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks for Capturing LGBTQ History, a project led by New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center to chronicle and communicate the narrative of the Stonewall uprising to visitors at the Stonewall National Monument. The grant, which is part of the National Park Foundation’s effort to raise $2 million to fund essential projects at the new national park site, will provide critical support for the extensive historical research and outreach needed to establish the foundation for interpretive materials and programs for the site.
info: aexp.com. nationalparks.org. nps.gov.

WovenWell, a profit-for-good company that donates 20 percent of each sale to fulfill their mission of supporting mental health initiatives, sponsored a series of job readiness workshops called “Work It.” WovenWell’s mission is to promote mental wellness through real life skills and empowerment.
info: wovenwell.com.

The Truth Initiative has reported that tobacco is a social justice issue affecting the LGBTQ community the hardest, with rates of up to 2.5 times higher than straight peers. It said that this was due in part to profiling by Big Tobacco where they target LGBTQ consumers with specialized advertising in the gay press, cigarette giveaways and free tobacco industry merchandise.
info: truthinitiative.org.

In face-to-face conversations with 784 working- and middle-class central Ohio voters, Working America canvassers linked values of fairness and equality to bathroom access for LGBTQ individuals. The new Front Porch Focus Group report, “Tackling Transphobia in the Heartland,” explores attitudes about SB100, Ohio’s legislative proposal to outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in employment, housing and public accommodations. The project also surfaced effective messages to advance non-discrimination policies.
info: workingamerica.org.

The Colin Higgins Foundation announced its 17th Annual Youth Courage Award winners for their extraordinary leadership and advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ youth. The winners are: Daniel Garcia, 18, of Gulfport, Miss.; Julieta Ramirez-Solis, 18, of Gresham, Ore., and Dafahlia Mosley, 21, of Lodi, Calif.
info: colinhiggins.org.

Danica Roem beat three Democratic primary challengers to become the first out transgender candidate to win a state legislative primary in Virginia, and taking her one step closer to becoming the only out transgender state legislator in the U.S. As the Democratic party representative in the District 13 Virginia House of Delegates race, she will challenge incumbent Bob Marshall, a champion of anti-LGBTQ issues and the self-described “chief homophobe” of the state legislature.
info: victoryfund.org.

Rep. Suzan K. DelBene (D-WA) introduced the Voices for Veterans Act which expands the membership of the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans to include LGBTQ veterans and to extend the commission through Dec.31, 2019. It was referred to the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs.
info: delbene.house.gov.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released its 20th annual report “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2016.” The organization collected data on 1,036 incidents of hate violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people from 12 local member organizations in 11 states including: Arizona, California, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Virginia, Vermont and Wisconsin.
info: avp.org.

Orange County Government, the City of Orlando and the Historical Society of Central Florida through the Orange County Regional History Center announce the launch of the One Orlando Collection, digital gallery. The center is the guardian of more than 5,000 memorial items, which were collected and preserved in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy.
info: oneorlandocollection.com.

Metropolitan Community Churches announced the result of its virtual General Conference vote addressing the motion to increase rates for contributions to the fellowship’s USA Pension Plan. The motion passed with 41 out of 53 clergy and 64 out of 74 lay delegates voting in favor of the motion. There were no abstentions. The schedule would begin in 2018 with $1 per member per month and would rise to $1.75 in 2021.
info: mccchurch.org.

Emmy-nominated writer/director Jon Garcia and Grammy Award-winning out singer/songwriter Matt Alber announced their “Room to Grow” project, a new documentary series which will share real-life stories of today’s LGBTQ+ teens, their families and their allies. In order to complete production, it is seeking tax-deductible contributions to support it.
info: moreroomtogrow.org.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement on the accomplishments of the government since January. One offered said: “This month, we announced that we will introduce legislation to make it possible to erase the convictions for Canadians who were found guilty of consensual sexual activity with a same-sex partner under historical, unjust laws.” He added that an important piece of legislation passed Parliament in which full protection of transgender people across Canada is ensured.
info: pm.gc.ca.

NYC & Company and Heritage of Pride have announced the two-year countdown campaign, “One World, One Pride, One New York City — Unite in 2019,” to WorldPride 2019 set to take place in New York City in June 2019. The celebration of Pride will coincide with the historic 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, making it a year to underscore New York City’s progress and resilience as a global LGBTQ capital.
info: nycgo.com/worldpride.

Victor Asal, Ph.D., director of the Center for Policy Research and co-director of the Project on Violent Conflict at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, University at Albany, along with Suzanne Weedon, program manager of the same institution, have been engaged in tracking the treatment of LGBTQ individuals across the globe. Even with strides that have been made, there are still issues that persist. Along with their colleague Udi Sommer, they have created the LGBTQ+ Activity Tracker. In real time, the online tool offers users a look at locations throughout the world where it may be safe or unsafe for LGBTQ individuals to travel. It features an interactive map that indicates where the trouble spots exist on a negative to positive scale.
info: albany.edu.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.