Southerners on New Ground is recruiting for its Black Mama’s Bail Out Action with a sign-up date of Aug. 1 for the action. The Black August commemoration also includes transgender individuals. They have plans to initiate Free From Fear campaigns to end the practice of cash bail. “We see bail outs as an ongoing tactic to build a base, to expose the crisis of cash bail and the beast that is the criminal-legal system, to change hearts and minds, to make real and material impacts on the lives of our people, and to build power,” the organization said.
Kevin Troxall has released his book, “One Town’s Son,” which shares the story of Scotty Martin, a young man who was beaten and left for dead following his 10-year high school reunion. Troxall felt a kinship with Martin. They both were from the same town of Glasgow, Ky. and were gay. The book explores corruption, conspiracies and cover-ups. And, it was important to Troxall to tell Martin’s story as the case had gone cold and no resolve had been reached. Troxall hopes that through the publishing of this book, the public’s feedback and the subsequent coverage, the Kentucky State Police will reopen the case and complete a more thorough investigation.
The Scottish LGBTQ Equality Network shared that they have welcomed changes announced by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service which will reduce the deferment period for men from donating blood from 12 months to three months. The new donation policy will reduce the discrimination faced by gay and bisexual men, however, does not eliminate discrimination in blood donation completely. “These rule changes are a welcome and significant step forward which will inevitably allow more gay and bisexual men to donate blood. We remain concerned, however, that many low risk gay and bisexual men, for example those in monogamous relationships, will still not be allowed to donate under this new policy,” Equality Network Development Manager Scott Cuthbertson said. The rule change also affects commercial sex workers and individuals who have sex with partners who are classed as high risk. The changes are due to be implemented in Scotland in November 2017 and January 2018 in England.
The National LGBTQ Task Force has partnered with Trans Lifeline to launch the nation’s first transgender mental health survey. The first-of-its-kind research is intended to provide a deep insight into the mental healthcare experiences of those who are transgender in order to improve advocacy efforts. It is open to transgender-identified individuals over the age of 18 living in the U.S.
On July 23, Off-Broadway’s “The Crusade of Connor Stephens” partnered with Gays Against Guns NY and Moms Demand Action for a night of theater and conversation. Discussion topics included the importance of theater reflecting current headlines, the work that Gays Against Guns NY and Moms Demand Action are currently doing, and why “The Crusade of Connor Stephens” has relevance in today’s society.
info: crusade2017.com. momsdemandaction.org. facebook.com/MomsDemandAction.
Shyheim Selvan Hinnant, a 19-year-old Virginia Commonwealth University performance student, has taken on opera as his focus and has already experienced successes. He formerly was a R&B devotee and performer using the name Shy Lennox and in high school recorded “Cloud Nine.” He was featured in a story on GayVA.com.
Hunter College’s Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training was the recipient of a $2.9 million two-year milestone-based grant from the National Institute on Allergies and Infectious Diseases and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to address the sustained HIV epidemic among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). If milestones are achieved, it will be given an additional grant for three more years with a $3.9 million commitment.
info: hunter.cuny.edu. chestnyc.org.
Reconciling United Methodists will have an ecumenical gathering from Aug. 11-13 for transgender and gender non-conforming Christians in Chicago, Ill. Registration deadline is July 31. They have also updated their “Three Steps to Affiliate.”
The Associated Press has reported that Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has “harshly denounced claims that his southern Russian republic has tortured and even killed gay men, denying that there even are any homosexual men in his region.”
A new report, “HIV Prevention Research & Development Investments, 2016: Investment priorities to fund innovation in a challenging global health landscape,” was released by the Resource Tracking for HIV Prevention R&D Working Group on July 20 ahead of the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science. It documents 2016 funding and highlights a continuing trend of flat or declining funding and its potential impact on further innovation in HIV prevention research and development. Additionally, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced new results that highlight accelerating progress in providing HIV prevention, treatment and care services.
info: avac.org. theglobalfund.org. hivresourcetracking.org.
San Diego Pride held its largest several-day philanthropic economic event in the city’s history, Claery and Hammond, LLP reported. This was due to an increase in sponsorship diversity.
info: sdpride.org. claerygreen.com.
The New York Times ran an article last month entitled “Is Pride Still for Queer People Like Me?”
Singapore’s Registry of Marriages has voided the marriage of a transgender woman and her partner and has been condemned by OutRight Action International. When the two were married, they were an opposite-sex couple. However, when they went to apply for subsidized housing, the government’s agency for housing and development saw that they were two women and their marriage violated the law.
The Consortium of MSM and Transgender Networks have announced that three individuals have been chosen to serve on its developing country non-governmental organization delegation to the Global Fund board. They are: Carolyn Gomes, executive director of Caribbean Vulnerable Communities; Simon Cazal, co-founder and executive director of SomosGay; and Berry Nibogora, law and human rights advocacy manager at the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights.
Spelman College professor, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D., has established the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Scholars Program, as well as a companion lecture series at Spelman that will explore contemporary issues of race, gender and sexuality, beginning in 2018. The scholars program and lecture series were launched with a pledge of $100,000 in May 2017. Watkins was the first surgeon to successfully implant an automatic heart defibrillator in a human. Two sophomore students, who are self-identified LGBTQ advocates, will be named Levi Watkins Jr. Scholars in 2017 and awarded renewable $25,000 scholarships. The scholars will call attention to the “importance of making visible the courageous and significant work of LGBTQ scholar activists within and beyond the academy, especially at HBCUs,” said Guy-Sheftall.
Power couple Paul Yandura and Donald Hitchcock ditched their Washington, D.C. careers and relocated to the Red State of West Virginia for a major life change where they are working to create a getaway spot for Washingtonians in Wardensville. So far they have opened a hybrid coffee shop, art gallery and home-goods store, The Washingtonian reported. The couple are working to bring other LGBTQ individuals and companies to the Appalachian nook. They are seeking investors to rehabilitate empty businesses and to create others.
The Reconciling Ministries Network reported that a resolution was reached in June between Rev. Anna Blaedel and the appointive cabinet of the Iowa Annual Conference. Blaedel faced a complaint for being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual,” the conference said.
Maj. Margaret Witt, along with Tim Connor (investigative reporter) and Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer (early lesbian activist and appointed government employee), have written a memoir, “TELL: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights,” which will be available for purchase on Oct. 3. The book tells the story of Witt’s military service in the Air Force, her committed relationship with a civilian and her subsequent discharge from duty based upon allegations that she had engaged in sexual conduct with another woman. Lucky for Witt, the American Civil Liberties Union took up her case and sued, claiming that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and its application to Witt, violated her rights of liberty and equal protection. She won her case. The success of the Witt case at the Ninth Circuit and the district court contributed to Congress’s passage of legislation finally allowing the executive branch to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
info: blankenshippr.com. upne.com.
Blood Systems Research Institute announced a collaboration to more precisely and efficiently measure the HIV latent reservoir in clinical samples using the Panther system from Hologic, Inc. As part of this collaboration, Blook Systems will provide access to the Panther system to key thought leaders at the amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research, an innovative collaborative enterprise focused on developing and validating new approaches in HIV research that could ultimately lead to a cure. Preliminary data from the collaboration was presented earlier in the month at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Paris, France.
info: bsrisf.org. hologic.com. amfar.org/institute.
Metropolitan Community Churches Interim Moderator Rev. Rachelle Brown was the featured in The Advocate’s “Queer Families” issue. Rev. Brown is in a seven-year polyamorous partnership with Michelle Jestes and Dama Elkins-Jestes, a married couple, and said that she honored the “primacy of her partners’ relationship.” The church’s fellowship embraces diversity and its leaders have been supportive of Brown’s relationship.
The National Catholic Register reported that author Daniel Mattson “found freedom, peace and joy by living according to Church teaching.” His new book, “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,” details his same-sex attraction to men and his decision to follow The Catechism and not act on his desires and rest in his faith. He asserts that following church teachings is the “real bridge” for LGBTQ Catholics. Previously, the news organization reported that Jesuit Fr. James Martin considered himself a “‘bridge-builder’ between the Church hierarchy and ‘LGBT’ Catholics,” but was drawing criticism over his approach from those who say that it undermined fundamental church teachings with regard to sexuality. His new book, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity,” and his approach was not welcomed by Mattson either.
Youth Speaks hosted its 20th Annual Brave New Voices International Slam Poetry Festival from July 19-22. Over 600 participants, representing over 50 cities and organizations from around the world, addressed critical topics including immigration, social justice, police brutality and women’s rights. During the event a Queeriosity was held that featured LGBTQ spoken word poets from across the globe.
NLGJA – The Association of LGBTQ Journalists will hold their national convention Sept. 7-10 in Philadelphia, Pa. and will hold its 20th anniversary celebration CONNECT: Student Journalism Training Project preceding the convention’s opening reception. CONNECT will honor 12 students who make up the organization’s CONNECT class and those who participated in the project. Registration for the conference is still open for members. A full convention agenda is available online.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) led 96 Members of Congress in reintroducing bicameral legislation requiring federal surveys to include data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity. Senate co-sponsors are, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced the world premiere of “Families Like Yours,” a documentary exploring the love, compassion, sacrifice and success of LGBTQ families in America. The film’s production was underwritten by the chamber, along with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dk Realizadores and Wells Fargo. Deutsche Bank and Hilton presented the premiere screening in New York on July 17.
News Medical reported that at-risk alcohol use has been linked to lower antiretroviral therapy adherence among those with HIV/AIDS.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, has awarded more than $3.5 million for 13 new research grants to support innovative approaches to depleting or eliminating the persistent reservoirs of HIV not cleared by antiretroviral therapy, considered the main barrier to a cure. The gene therapy grantees include: Hildegard Büning, Ph.D., of Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany; Keith Jerome, M.D., Ph.D., University of Washington in Seattle, Wash.; Hans-Peter Kiem, M.D., F.A.C.P., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash.; Scott Kitchen, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, Calif.; Yasuhiro Takeuchi, Ph.D., of University College London, U.K.; Drew Weismann, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.; and Richard Wyatt, Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif. Eradication researchers include: Andrew Badley, M.D., Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn.; Joshua Schiffer, M.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash.; Andrew Henderson, M.D., Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass., and Fabio Romero, Ph.D., from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; Brad Jones, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore, Md.; and Benjamin Burwitz, Ph.D., Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Ore.
A movement spearheaded by New Ways Ministry is underway to canonize Franciscan friar Mychal Judge, OFM, a gay priest who, as chaplain to the New York City Fire Department, ran into the World Trade Center on “that tragic day,” New Ways Ministry’s Francis DeBernardo shared. He added that Pope Francis instituted a change in the Catholic Church’s canonization process earlier in the month which paves the way to allow people like Fr. Judge, who heroically offer their lives for others, to be considered for official sainthood.
The American Military Partner Association and OutServe-SLDN praised a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives voting down an amendment that would have taken away medically necessary healthcare for transgender service members and military dependents. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement when the amendment was proposed by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO). It said in part: “The Hartzler Amendment is specifically designed to discriminate against transgender members of the Armed Forces and their families. By barring them from receiving medically necessary health care, this amendment would put the health of members of our military and their families at risk by undermining the ability of military doctors to provide care for their patients. … All members of our military willingly put their lives on the line in defense of our freedoms. The least that Congress can do is ensure that their health care needs are not ignored. Congress should reject this unconstitutional amendment and protect the rights and dignity of transgender military service members and their families.”
info: outserve.org. militarypartners.org.
Chicago, Ill. LGBTQ community leaders are hosting a benefit concert on Aug. 26 for Artem Kolesov, a 23-year-old gay man who caught the world’s attention when he came out earlier this year on YouTube as part of a Russian “Children-404” project which invites teenagers to share their stories and discuss LGBTQ issues in Russia. Kolesov now resides in “The Windy City” where he serves as first violinist in the Yas Quartet. Earlier this season, he was honored at the Logo TV Trailblazers Awards.
Community Marketing & Insights has released its 11th Annual LGBT Community Survey report. Over 41,000 respondents from the LGBTQ communities in 131 countries participated. Over 180 LGBTQ media (including qnotes), events and organizations worldwide partnered with the survey company in this year’s study, helping to gain wide representation from across the community.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP filed a complaint on behalf of Katherine McCobb against California-licensed marriage and family therapist Lloyd Willey on the basis that Willey told McCobb that being a lesbian is unnatural and pathological and that her sexual orientation could be changed using therapy. McCobb paid Willey more than $70,000 over eight years for harmful conversion-based therapy in which Willey pressured McCobb to change her clothes and appearance and begin dating a man and shamed her as well.
Twin Oaks, a communal-living community in Louisa, Va., will holds its first annual Queer Gathering from Aug. 4-6 and will include workshops, performances and camping for “queers and allies,” GayRVA reported.
info: gayrva.com. twinoaks.org/events-twinoaks-81/queer-gathering.
California’s domestic violence organization Laura’s House has partnered with the LGBT Center OC to provide resources and services addressing the effects of domestic violence.
info: laurashouse.org. lgbtcenteroc.org.
“Some Freaks” will open in selected theatres and on demand on Aug. 4. The film tells the story of young love that follows a plus-sized girl, a one-eyed guy and a closeted gay teen along their journey to confront who they are and who everyone thinks they’re supposed to be.
LGBTQ people of color and their experiences with law enforcement in New Orleans, La. are being explored by Rutgers University – Camden by Brandi Blessett and Marist College researcher Tia Sherèe Gaynor through a $150,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice’s W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship Program of Research on Race and Crime. The two-year project is called “Intersectional Subjection and Law Enforcement: Examining Perceptions Held by LGBTQ People of Color in New Orleans, La.”
College Choice has published a ranking of the 50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students. College Choice developed its list by looking at data from individual college websites, the Campus Pride Index, U.S. News and World Report and the National Center for Education Statistics.
A video curriculum led by Rev. Liam Hooper, “Trans-forming the church: Blessed bodies and gender justice,” has been made available to faith communities to help with the conversation surrounding transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in the church and in society at large through Reconciling United Methodists.
Quest Diagnostics has made a $5,000 contribution to the OUTMiami Foundation for obtaining the most pledges to get tested for HIV/AIDS during June and in recognition of National HIV Testing Day. The campaign took place in the Miami, Fla. and Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C. areas with around 15 non-profits participating.