Parents win lawsuits
A federal court in Maryland ordered the U.S. Department of State to recognize the U.S. citizenship and issue a U.S. passport to 1-year old Kessem Kiviti, a baby born abroad to a same-sex married couple who was refused recognition as a U.S. citizen from the moment of her birth by the Trump administration despite federal law giving her that right. The State Department insisted on treating Kessem as an immigrant because she was born abroad and is not related biologically to both parents. “We are tremendously relieved that the court recognized what we always knew: that our daughter was a U.S. citizen by birth,” said Kessem’s parents, Roee and Adiel Kiviti. The decision dovetails a similar lawsuit pending before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia also filed by Lambda Legal, Immigration Equality and Morgan Lewis on behalf of married U.S.-citizen couple Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg and their daughter, Simone Mize-Gregg, whose citizenship was similarly being denied recognition by the State Department.
Actress featured at Point
Point Foundation launched the online version of their Point Honors New York event on June 23. The online event featured Annette Bening and a special performance by Broadway’s Lauren Patten.
Atlanta center closes unexpectedly
On June 15, The Phillip Rush Center in Atlanta, Ga., closed abruptly after 12 years of service to the LGBTQ community. The closure came as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on center operations, Project Q Atlanta reported.
Town hosts Pride celebration
Inspire ENC moved their first Pride festival online on June 20 via Facebook, The Daily News reported. The celebration was created to bring unity to Kinston and Eastern North Carolina. Kinston Mayor Dontario Hardy recently proclaimed June as Pride Month in Kinston to celebrate the rights of the LGBTQ community, the news organization added.
Greensboro gala canceled
The 2020 Guilford Green Foundation Gala has been officially canceled, organizers announced. The event was slated for July 18. The safety of the community was considered of importance over hosting the annual event. To help offset the shortfall from the canceled gala, contributions are being accepted to defray the operational costs of the organization. Those who had already purchased tickets are being asked to consider their transaction a gift to Guilford Green. Tax receipt letters will be mailed out to holders beginning on July 1. Refunds can be requested by emailing email@example.com by June 30.
Jeweler creates Pride rings
Jared announced the creation of a limited-edition ring to commemorate the five-year anniversary of marriage equality. Through sales of the ring through July 5, it has committed to raising $400,000 to support the six charitable partners involved in iHeartMedia and Procter & Gamble’s Can’t Cancel Pride: A COVID-19 Relief Benefit for the LGBTQ+ Community virtual celebration.
Youth resources help abate COVID-19 isolation
Internet Service Providers has released an extended resource listing for LGBTQ youth who may be experiencing increased stress during isolation due to stay-at-home orders.
Streaming talk show launched
qlifestream has had a makeover during quarantine and has unveiled its new streaming Queerality nighttime talk show that airs at 6 p.m. Pacific time.
New ’Boystown’ series hits shelves in fall
Jake Biondi, author of the “Boystown” book series, has announced that the 10th season will be released on Sept. 22. Pre-orders are available on Kindle, Nook and iTunes.
info: jakebiondi.com. boystowntheseries.com.
Equality Act push underway
U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin, Jeff Merkley, Susan Collins, and Cory Booker — along with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer — are leading a call for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Equality Act to the Senate floor for a vote. The senators’ push comes after the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling to confirm that the nation’s landmark civil rights legislation preventing workplace discrimination protects LGBTQ Americans.
Film fests form alliance
Frameline (San Francisco), Inside Out (Toronto), NewFest (NYC) and Outfest (Los Angeles) announced their commitment to supporting LGBTQ film and filmmakers across their markets through the formation of NAQFA: the North American Queer Festival Alliance. This alliance will work collaboratively to produce, present and expand initiatives and programming while offering support to the LGBTQ film festival sector in the U.S. and Canada.
WNC celebrates Pride
A car parade that celebrated Pride Month meandered its way through downtown Hendersonville, N.C. on June 16, the Gaston Gazette reported. The caravan was escorted by local police as the nearly 60 participants honked their horns and waved to onlookers.
Brewery expresses LGBTQ unity
Samuel Adams announced Love Conquers All, a Pride platform created in partnership with GLAAD. This partnership solidifies Samuel Adams’ ongoing support of the LGBTQ community including its own coworkers, partners and drinkers. Labels Out, an inclusive network of Samuel Adams coworkers, is dedicated to supporting and celebrating our peers as members and allies of the LGTBQ community. The brewery has created a number of flavors in support of Pride.
info: samueladams.com. glaad.org.
West, Parton team up
The Nina West Foundation announced a first-of-its-kind partnership between Country Music legend Dolly Parton and Drag Superstar and LGBTQ activist Nina West. These two Queens of Kindness have teamed up for the Dolly x Nina: Kindness is Queen collection to foster kindness and hope during this difficult time.
Vonage steps up for suicide prevention
Vonage announced that longtime customer, The Trevor Project, has leveraged Vonage technology to transition to a full-time remote contact center during the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring uninterrupted operations for its life-saving suicide prevention programs. With Vonage Contact Center, The Trevor Project’s Lifeline counselors and operations staff can work safely from home, with the ability to securely and seamlessly counsel at-risk youth from anywhere.
info: bit.ly/2BtIy3l. vonage.com. thetrevorproject.org.
Village People order Trump to stop
Iconic performing group The Village People have ordered Donald Trump to stop using their gay anthem “Macho Man” and “YMCA” at his rallies, PinkNews reported. Lead singer Victor Willis said that if Trump had told the military to fire on its own citizens, …if he or any other candidate were to use any of our songs in a manner that would suggest our endorsement, or in a promotional advertisement, that would cross the line.”
Mental health blog shows support
The Trevor Project recently published a blog post, “Supporting Black LGBTQ Youth Mental Health,” to bring attention to the crisis that is prevalent in today’s social justice environment. The post includes tips for readers on how to gather support while recognizing this time of heightened anxiety and stress.
NYT op-ed focuses on black racism.
Roxanne Gay contributed a searing opinion piece, “Remember, No One Is Coming to Save Us,” in The New York Times that centers on finding a vaccine for the coronavirus, but sharing that African-Americans would continue to wait for a cure for racism.
BCBS conducts trans healthcare survey
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Trans Health Project has received reports of problems accessing transgender-related health care under Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health plans. They would like to identify how widespread these problems are. Those with or have had a BCBS NC plan are being asked to participate in their brief BCBS NC Survey. Responses will help improve access to care in North Carolina.
NBA player shares trans sister’s life, journey
WTVD in Kinston, N.C. reported that National Basketball Association player and North Carolina native Reggie Bullock shared his story about his transgender sister, Mia Henderson, on the Tamron Hall Show in early June. Henderson was murdered in 2014.
Legal org reports violence vulnerability
Lambda Legal submitted written testimony to the newly formed Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice highlighting the disproportionate levels of violence and abuse that LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ people of color, experience in the U.S. criminal legal system. “We have submitted this testimony notwithstanding our concerns about the Commission, which is composed entirely of law enforcement officials. The problems in our criminal legal system will not be solved by ignoring the expertise of communities who have suffered from over-policing and mass incarceration,” Lambda Legal said.
Well-being improved after marriage equality ruling
A new study by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law found that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which extended marriage equality nationwide in June 2015, had a positive impact on the happiness and life satisfaction of LGBTQ people. Using data from the Gallup Daily Tracking Well-Being Index Survey, researchers found that LGBTQ adults were less likely to be happy and less likely to rate their life satisfaction higher-than-average than non-LGBTQ adults before the Obergefell decision. However, these disparities disappeared immediately following the decision.
PGA welcomes LGBTQ community
The Professional Golf Association has reported that it is important to welcome the LGBTQ community to the sports industry. This came out as part of the association’s recognition of Pride Month. Currently, a study is underway that looks at “new ways” to further their [the LGBTQ community] inclusion in golfing circles.
HRC sues Trump administration
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David stated that the organization is suing the Trump administration over a new rule that would effectively sanction discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in their healthcare. Recently, Donald Trump issued an executive order that striped away protections for transgender and LGBTQ individuals. The American College of Emergency Physicians offered this statement in response to the roll backs: “Any form of discrimination in health care should be prohibited. Emergency physicians object to this final rule and believe it violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which requires clinicians treat every patient who comes to the emergency department. Every patient—regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnic background, social status, type of illness, or ability to pay—has the right to expect the best possible care and to receive the most appropriate treatment and information about their condition. By not addressing the rights and needs of all patients undergoing an emergency and the legal obligations of emergency physicians, this rule will undermine the critical role that emergency departments play in our communities,” said President William Jaquis, M.D., F.A.C.E.P.
info: hrc.org. acep.org. emergencyphysicians.org.
Research on conversion therapy findings released
A new report by the Williams Institute at University of California, Los Angeles School of Law found that non-transgender LGB people who experienced conversion therapy were almost twice as likely to think about suicide and to attempt suicide compared to their peers who had not experienced conversion therapy.
Fellowship class includes trans advocate
The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, a program of Wildacres Leadership Initiative , has named its 2020-2022 class. The William C. Friday Fellowship is a competitive statewide program for cross-sector leaders that seats fewer than 30 individuals across North Carolina every two-year cycle. Nineteen North Carolina counties are represented in this 11th Class of Friday Fellows. Among those named was Liam Hooper from Forsyth County who is a transgender advocate for radically revisioned, intersectional justice and serves as executive director of Ministries Beyond Welcome. Hooper lives with his now legally married spouse, Diana, and is author of the forthcoming book “Trans-Forming Proclamation” (OtherWise Engaged Publishing).
Distillery teams up with drag queens
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire has partnered with noted drag queens for “Drag Queen Mukbang,” a branded content series that pairs two popular Millennial food trends: mukbang and the drag queen brunch. It debuted during Pride Month on a four-episode series that featured YouTube’s Patrick Starrr, Gia Gunn (“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 6), Eugene Lee Yang (The Try Guys) and Laganja Estranja (“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 6) serving up a virtual dining experience filled with food, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, laughs and more. The stars have discussed the impact of COVID-19 on their lives and its impact in the LGBTQ community through storytelling and testimonials.
Mayors applaud SCOTUS workplace decision
Mayoral leaders from across the U.S. released the following statement praising the U.S. Supreme Court of the United States workplace decision: “The United States Conference of Mayors applauds the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision today that applies the language of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Mayors across the country have long championed efforts to ensure equality for LGBTQ Americans. For decades we have opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. More recently, including at our annual meeting last June, we have called for a federal prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under the Civil Rights Act. Today marks a bright moment in our country’s history and the Supreme Court’s decision paves a path for a more equal and just America. We celebrate today knowing that there is always more work to do and mayors will continue to lead and use our collective voices to advance the civil rights for all Americans.”
Key West installs rainbow crosswalks
On June 15, Key West city workers installed four permanent rainbow crosswalks spanning all four corners at the intersection of Duval and Petronia Sts., in the heart of the island’s LGBTQ entertainment district. Spearheaded by the city and the Key West Business Guild, the crosswalks are composed of pre-formed thermoplastic color stripes. After the stripes were laid on the street by city workers, they were heat-treated with propane torches to affix the colors permanently on the pavement. “The rainbow crosswalks, to us in the City of Key West, mean that everybody is welcome, everybody is equal, everybody is recognized and that we do really abide by the ‘One Human Family’ spirit,” said Key West Mayor Teri Johnston at the crosswalks’ dedication ceremony. “Everybody is a part of Key West.” The city adopted the official philosophy in 2000, proclaiming equality and acceptance for all.
Family org conference to meet
Rainbow Families announced their Annual Family Conference will continue this year as a virtual program from Aug. 8-9. “Our conference had been scheduled to take place on the campus of the Washington National Cathedral on May 16,” explained Executive Director Darren Vance. However, due to community demand, the organization decided to hold the event virtually. The program offers over 25 workshops on such subjects as pathways to parenthood, race and diversity in families, guidance for parents, financial, legal and other important topics. The conference will provide a robust way for attendees to engage with businesses and service providers who work with the LGBTQ+ community.