CLT publisher releases gay novel
Warren Publishing, Charlotte, N.C., has released author Angelle Petta’s first novel, “The Artist and the Soldier.” The book is a historical fiction love story about two boys, Bastian Fisher and Max Amsel, who meet and fall in love at the Nazi-American summer camp, Siegfried. When World War II breaks out, they are forced apart until they meet again in Nazi-Occupied Rome where Fisher is serving in the U.S. Army and Amsel is hiring Jews as extras in a movie. The Jews are actually able to use this ruse to escape the Nazis. The film’s use of the true stories of the real Camp Siegfried in New York and the making of the film, “La Porta del Cielo,” which saved hundreds of Jewish lives. This novel won a silver Benjamin Franklin award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. Petta is a registered drama therapist and Ph.D. student who resides in Northern Virginia.
License options available
Some states are now offering a non-binary option when choosing one’s gender identity on one’s driver’s license. This is especially helpful for those in their teenage years in the current society in America. The New York Times asked the question, “Which box do you check? in a recent article. The news agency posed questions to readers in a separate educational post and offered a list of gender identity terms and definitions they had obtained from CBS News.
info: nyti.ms/2IYuPBI. nyti.ms/2IZ1iI9.
Gay men’s health guide author offers new developments
Dr. Dudley Danoff, a urologist and author of “The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health,” stated that gay men and doctors across the nation are discovering that coming out is as good for one’s physical health as it is for psychological well-being. Issues discussed with patients include condom usage, PrEP, erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer.
info: towerurology.com. theultimateguidetomenshealth.com.
Bar gets new officer
The National LGBT Bar Association has announced that M. Dru Levasseur joined the organization as deputy program officer on June 10. Levasseur is a recognized leader in the LGBTQ legal equality movement, as well as an expert in transgender, employment and public accommodations law disciplines. He was formerly senior attorney and transgender rights project director for Lambda Legal.
Premiere launch of gaymers magazine announced
Gayming Magazine launched online on June 1 and founder and editor Robin Gray says that it “promises to be the go-to resource for the LGBTQ+ video game community, providing news, reviews, features and all things gaming with a queer twist.” The magazine’s goal is to be a conduit between the community and the gaming industry, helping to break down some of the barriers of homophobia and celebrate the “power of gaymer pride.” Gray added, “For too long, the LGBTQ+ community has sat on the fringe of the video games community, carving out their own niche. We want to celebrate that niche while also working with the community and with the industry to bring the two halves closer together, ensuring LGBTQ+ people feel welcome, included and represented within the gaming world they adore so much.”
Org seeks contributions
The Alliance for Full Acceptance in North Charleston, S.C., is seeking donations of items to help them make their new space their “home.” Needed are: blinds to cover windows, seating for visitors, TV and web conference platform, security system and signage. Contact them at email@example.com to learn more.
Charleston establishes LGBTQ working group
The West Virginia Gazette Mail reported that the city of Charleston has formed its first LGBTQ working group, which will address policy issues affecting the LGBTQ community.
The group will have representation from Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin’s administration, Charleston Police Department, Charleston City Council and the general public. Some of the goals of the working group are: establishing an anti-bullying youth council, developing anti-bullying and harassment policies for city Parks and Recreation facilities, developing LGBTQ-awareness training modules for city employees and reviewing city health insurance coverage to ensure it is LGBTQ-inclusive, the Gazette Mail added.
info: bit.ly/2J6oc05. fairnesswv.org.
Advocate retires, scholarship funded
The North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN) has recognized Carolyn McAllaster, a founding board member of the organization, with an annual scholarship in her honor to mark her retirement. NCAAN was awarded a challenge grant of $75,000 from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to establish the NCAAN Endowment at the NC Community Foundation in acknowledgement of McAllaster for her career contributions and long-standing impact on the HIV community in the state. The scholarship will go to an advocate to attend AIDSWatch. McAllaster is the Colin W. Brown clinical professor of law at Duke University School of Law. She is the founder of the Health Justice Clinic at Duke and currently the director of the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative. Contributions can be made to the endowment in McAllaster’s name online.
UNCC author publishes lez novel
In late spring, Charlotte, N.C. author Paula Martinac released “Clio Rising,” a novel about newly out Asheville resident Livvie Bliss and her experiences in the literary world of 1980s New York. It is published by Bywater Books. Martinac teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Country goes GLAAD
On June 9 GLAAD hosted its 5th Annual GLAAD + Ty Herndon Concert for Love and Acceptance. Herndon and CMT’s Cody Alan co-hosted the concert, which took place at the Wildhorse Saloon during CMA Fest in Nashville, Tenn. Daughtry performed a special acoustic set at the event, which featured a coalition of artists and celebrities appearing and performing to accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people. The concert also included appearances and performances by Herndon, Chely Wright, Harper Grae, Tayla Lynn, Billy Gilman, Brody Ray, Brandon Stansell, Antigone Rising, Lee Brice, Tyler Rich, Mickey Guyton, and WWE Superstars Sonya Deville, Paige, and Mandy Rose. During last year’s event, GLAAD also announced the Ty Herndon Rising Stars Grant, bestowed upon young people for their commitment to enhancing LGBTQ inclusion and representation in music. The grant is eligible to LGBTQ young individuals who are working to accelerate acceptance in the music industry. Applications for the grant are now available at glaad.org/risingstars.
Financial group publishes investing report
Cornerstone Capital Group announced the release of a new research report, “Two Lenses, One Vision: Investing for LGBTQI and Gender Equity,” which makes the case for the “thematic fusion of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.” The report discusses practical implications for how investors and asset managers can consider LGBTQ and gender equity in their investment
info: cornerstonecapinc.com. bit.ly/2J2AKpk.
Artist contributes to Stonewall
Drew Schiff released “Ride the Wave,” a song he wrote about the importance of leaning on loved ones in times of need. “This year marks the 50th year of the Stonewall Riots, the very first modern-day LGBTQ+ march,” Schiff said. “Back then it was against police oppression and basic human rights. It makes you stop, think and appreciate what the generations before us have done. The liberties we all have now to live our lives, be ourselves, and not just be accepted and tolerated but respected and celebrated.” All proceeds from the single are being donated to the Stonewall Community Foundation.
info: apple.co/2J81W6m. stonewallfoundation.org.
Panic defense act introduced
The National LGBT Bar Association announced that the Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act was introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives by Sen. Edward Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy III. The bills passage would do away with the use of the gay and transgender “panic” defenses, which use a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression as a legal rationale for violent assault and murder. It is used when a defendant cites their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression as cause for their violent and even deadly actions. These defenses have a long and dark history. They were used in high profile cases, such as the murders of Matthew Shepard, Ahmed Dabarran and Gwen Araujo, and have been successful in allowing violent offenders to walk free. Its passage would prohibit the justification or mitigation of a violent offense based on the gender identity/expression or sexual orientation of a victim. The bills also contain requirements that the attorney general submit a report annually to Congress, detailing prosecutions in federal court involving crimes committed against the LGBTQ community that were motivated by these factors. In mid-June the State of New York passed a bill, A8375, which prohibits the use of gay and transgender “panic” defenses.
Two states outlaw conversion therapy
The conversion therapy issue has become moot in two newly added states to the list of those whose legislatures have banned the practice. Maine was 17th and Colorado was 18th to condemn it, thus protecting LGBTQ youth and others. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s bill has yet to be heard.
Dating show makes history
MTV’s “Are You the One?” has introduced its first-ever sexually-fluid cast in the show’s history. Hosted by Terrence J, premiered on June 26 and features 16 singles who have to find their perfect match in order to split a $1 million cash prize. This season introduced Dr. Frankie, a relationship expert who works with the singles to help them become better daters and navigate between drama, poor choices and reoccurring patterns in relationships.
FCSJ retreat seeks workshop proposals
The Freedom Center for Social Justice will hold their fifth annual Trans Faith and Action Network Retreat from Aug. 15-18th at Montreat Conference Center and are currently seeking trans, non-binary, genderqueer and gender non-conforming community members to join them in leading workshops, panels, presentations and social/cultural programming at this year’s retreat. The deadline to submit proposals is July 1 at 11:59 p.m. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by July 8.
Survey shows millennials’ struggle
TD Bank released a workplace and financial equality survey of more than 1,200 full- and part-time LGBTQ U.S. workers which found that LGBTQ millennials are struggling to achieve financial stability and continue to face discrimination in their places of work. Only half of millennial LGBTQ workers rate their financial situation positively and over one-fifth feel that being out about their sexual orientation to senior staff will hurt their career advancement.
Author poses ‘love’ question
Attorney and author David Robinson asks the question: “Do we have a choice about who we love?? in his newly-released book, “Orientation and Choice: One Man’s Sexual Journey.” Robinson answers the question for himself and shares his experience in being attracted to men, but chooses to marry a woman with whom he fell in love. He details how he accomplished this. He did not let one community or another make decisions for him with regard to finding a mate.
Ministry issues responding statement to Vatican
Francis DeBarnardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, has responded to the Vatican’s new document on gender identity, “Male and Female He Created Them.” He says that it “is a harmful tool that will be used to oppress and harm not only transgender people, but lesbian, gay, bisexual people, too. The document associates sexual and gender minorities with libertine sexuality, a gross misrepresentation of the lives of LGBT people which perpetuates and encourages hatred, bigotry, and violence against them.”
Trevor applauds congressional act intro
The Every Child Deserves a Family Act was introduced earlier in June with bipartisan support and would would prohibit federally-funded child welfare service providers from discriminating against children, families and individuals based on religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status, and would protect LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system from the practice of conversion therapy. “Given the undeniable crisis in our foster care system today, where too many children age out without finding their forever home and LGBTQ youth are subject to harm from discrimination, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act is vital to the wellbeing of America’s most vulnerable youth,” said Casey Pick, senior fellow for Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “We are especially grateful that this legislation would protect LGBTQ youth in foster care from being subjected to attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through the pseudoscientific practice of conversion therapy.” Trevor is a member of the Every Child Deserves a Family Coalition, led by the Family Equality Council.
info: thetrevorproject.org. everychilddeservesafamily.com.
Astraea exec steps down
J. Bob Alotta has announced that she is leaving her post as executive director of Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. The board has begun the process of identifying an interim leader and creating a roadmap for its future.
Review of U.S. territories released
The Movement Advancement Project (MAP), in partnership with Lambda Legal, released a new report, “LGBT Policy Spotlight: LGBT Equality in the U.S. Territories,” which focuses on the status of LGBTQ equality for the more than 3.5 million residents of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more than 10 years, MAP tracked state-level LGBTQ laws and policies across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. With the release of this report, MAP is now actively tracking LGBTQ-related laws and policies in the five populated U.S. territories. The Equality Maps can be found online. “The United States’ long history of territorial expansion has resulted in a truly complicated system of governance and legal protections for territory residents, where even the U.S. Constitution doesn’t always apply,” said MAP executive director Ineke Mushovic. “By tracking LGBT laws and policies in the territories, MAP will advance increased understanding of the territories as a whole, and of LGBT equality within these regions.”
S.C. couples files suit over foster care waiver
The Associated Press reported that Eden Rogers and Brandy Welch, a lesbian couple from Greenville, S.C., were rejected as foster parents and has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the state and federal governments of discrimination. Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina and the South Carolina Equality Coalition are the representatives who filled the suit, Rogers v. HHS, against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the state of South Carolina on behalf of the couple. The couple was turned away by Miracle Hill Ministries which has come under fire for the denial of services to same-sex and non-Christian families, the news organization added. Gov. Henry McMaster was awarded a waiver that allowed Miracle Hill to navigate around the Obama-era non-discrimination policy. He said that it was an issue of constitutional protection of religion. “There is simply no place for discrimination in our state’s foster care system,” said Jeff Ayers, executive director of SC Equality Coalition. “South Carolina’s vulnerable children need loving families ready to give them loving homes. LGBTQ individuals and same-sex couples across South Carolina are those families, ready and able to provide those homes, and they should never be turned away just because they do not meet a foster care agency’s religious standard.” The attorneys working on the case are Malissa Burnette and Nekki Shutt from Burnette Shutt & McDaniel on behalf of SC Equality Coalition; Currey Cook, Karen Loewy and Law Fellow Cathren Cohen from Lambda Legal; Leslie Cooper and Daniel Mach from the ACLU; Susan Dunn from ACLU of South Carolina; and Peter T. Barbur and Katherine Janson from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. In related news, a a federal district court denied motions by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to dismiss Lambda Legal’s lawsuit challenging discrimination in a federal foster care program. Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit on behalf of a married same-sex Texas couple, Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin, who were denied the opportunity even to apply to serve as foster parents for refugee children by a USCCB affiliate because the couple did not “mirror the Holy Family.”
info: bit.ly/2J0tURj. scequality.org. aclu.org. aclusc.org. lambdalegal.org.
Report shows sex discrimination analysis
Since 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has allowed workers to file sex discrimination charges that allege sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination. A new study by the Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law analyzed more than 9,000 of these charges made between 2012 and 2016 and found about half of them included claims of discriminatory terminations and harassment. African-American workers and men had particularly high rates of filing sexual orientation charges. In contrast, women and white workers had high filing rates for gender identity. Many of these charges were filed against employers in low-wage industries, such as the retail sector and the food services industry. While there was a nationwide increase in LGBTQ people filing charges following the EEOC’s policy change, the greatest spike was seen in states without laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
New book releases depict progress
The New York Times reported that two memoirs, one “Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story” by Jacob Tobia and other “Real Queen America: LGBT Stories From Red States” by Samantha Allen, “bust through the dominant L.G.B.T.Q. narratives with poise and pride to further reveal the community’s wide diversity. While different in style and tone, these books share the common thread of highlighting parts of a marginalized population that too often remain invisible and ignored.” The piece was penned by Human Rights Campaign national press secretary Sarah McBride. The Times added, “They demonstrate that progress and pride in red-state America is a tangible reality. There’s no doubt there are significant challenges to that progress, but from North Carolina to Texas to Utah, L.G.B.T.Q. individuals are not just living, but thriving. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and nonbinary people exist in every corner of this vibrant nation; Tobia and Allen are simply showing us how to appreciate this great multiplicity of voices and experiences. In seeing this, we learn that the ground, whether red or blue, is more than ready for the seeds of change.”
Documentary premieres on PBS
“The Lavender Scare,” winner of over 20 Best Documentary awards, has premiered on PBS. The piece features the voices of Cynthia Nixon, Zachary Quinto, T.R. Knight and David Hyde Pierce tells the story of a time in history when government workers were fired for being gay.
info: thelavenderscare.com. pbs.org.
Church body affirms support for community
The Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches approved a unanimous reaffirmation in support of the LGBTQ community earlier in June. In part, its states: In response to recent ecclesial decisions that directly affect people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQ+), and by extension each of us in the human family, and in response to increasing discrimination and heightened hostility toward members of the LGBTQ+ community and by extension each of us in the human family, the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches reaffirms their advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ+ people.” A five-point position statement followed.
Companies celebrate Pride, donate to opposition
LGBTQ Nation reported that nine companies on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index that received a perfect score and deemed them “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” have actually contributed millions to anti-gay candidates and more. Those listed were: AT&T, $2,755,000 to 193 homophobic politicians; UPS, $2,366,122 to 159 politicians; Comcast, $2,116,500 to 154 politicians; Home Depot, $1,825,500 to 111 politicians; General Electric, $1,380,500 to 97 politicians; FedEx, $1,261,500 to 75 politicians; UBS, $1,094,750 to 72 politicians; Verizon, $1,022,803 to 74 politicians; and Pfizer, $959,263 to 52 politicians.
Minister expresses community support
Rev. Mark Sandlin has come out in support of the LGBTQ community, saying that in doing so it “was the Christian thing to do,” the Greensboro News & Observer reported.
Art on display for Pride Month
The Arts of the Pamlico has been showcasing artwork pieces from across North America in its 50 Years of Pride exhibit in Washington, D.C. The event continues through July 6.
NLGJA names award recipients
The NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists have announced the recipients of its 2019 Excellence in Journalism Awards and recognized exemplary work produced in 2018. The highest individual awards, NLGJA Journalist of the Year and Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year, have been awarded to Robert W. Fieseler and Lucas Grindley, respectively. The full list of recipients is available online.
Company suggests ‘recycling’ option
In honor of Pride month, Greyhound Recycling and Recovery launched an online tool called the “Bin of Old Behaviours” designed to help people recycle themselves, to own up to their past behavior and move forward in making the Internet a less toxic place. Developed to combat this trend which promotes an unhealthy witch hunt by holding people accountable for ideas that don’t reflect who they are anymore, this tool allows people to quickly find and review their old problematic tweets. This is done with a custom search facility which trawls old tweets for certain keywords associated with racist, sexist and homophobic behavior.
PRIDE Act introduced
Reps. Judy Chu and Andy Levin introduced H.R. 3299, the Promoting Respect for Individuals’ Dignity and Equality (PRIDE) Act of 2019. The PRIDE Act includes language from H.R. 1244, the Equal Dignity for Married Taxpayers Act, that would remove gendered language like “husband” and “wife” from the tax code to accommodate same-sex couples. Instead, tax filings will use “spouses” and “married couple.”
High schooler joins World Pride
LGBTQ Victory Fund announced that Nat Werth, the Wisconsin high school valedictorian who was denied a valedictory speech because he is gay, would march with Victory Fund at World Pride in New York City. He will also be provided a spot at a future Victory Institute Candidate & Campaign Training — a competitive, four-day intensive training where LGBTQ people from across the nation learn how to run for office.