News Round-Up: April 2, 2021

With the warmer weather finally here, make sure you get out in the sun and enjoy the warmer weather.
With spring finally here, make sure you get out in the sun and enjoy the warmer weather.
Time to get outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather (stock image via Depositphotos)

Some news items you might have missed:

Andrew Christian: With the weather finally warming up, it’s time to get out to the great outdoors for a date that includes some Vitamin D. Check out these ideas for you and your boo to do.

LGBTQ Nation: On March 31, Karine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy White House Press Secretary, became the first out Black woman to host an official White House Press Brief. She delivered the briefing standing mid-flight aboard Air Force One.

Kenneth-in-the-212: Don’t miss Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the best in LGBTQ publications including the feature in Hot Spots Magazine (below) on LGBTQs and our furry family members.

Hot Spots Magazine covers LGBTQ people and their furry family members
(image via Hot Spots Magazine)

Broadway Cares: The virtual edition of Broadway Backwards delivered an exuberant evening of performances and raised a record $749,555 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. The free online event can now be viewed by clicking here through 11:59 pm Eastern on Saturday, April 3.

Instinct Magazine: Virginia is now the 13th state to ban ‘gay panic’ and ‘trans panic’ legal defenses in cases of violence and murder on LGBTQ people.

Tostitos: The chip maker brings out Emmy Award winners Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek) and Kate McKinnon (SNL) together for this cute new ad spot where the comic geniuses one-up each other describing the flavor of new Habanero Tostitos. McKinnon thinks the chips are “drama” but Levy says they are “pelvicular.”

Virginia Gov Restores Voting Rights For Those Who Serve Their Prison Sentences

Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia
Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia
Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia

From the office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam:

Governor Ralph Northam today restored the civil rights of more than 69,000 Virginians using new eligibility criteria that mirror a proposed change to the Constitution of Virginia that would automatically restore voting rights to individuals upon completion of their sentence of incarceration.

With today’s announcement, Governor Northam has restored civil rights to more than 111,000 people since he took office.

Under current law, anyone convicted of a felony in Virginia loses their civil rights, including the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for office, become a public notary, and carry a firearm. Virginia remains one of the three states in the nation whose constitution permanently disenfranchises citizens with past felony convictions, but gives the governor the sole discretion to restore civil rights, excluding firearm rights.

I personally believe if you are found guilty of a crime, go to prison and serve your sentence, by definition you have paid your debt to society as determined by the justice system.

And so, yes – you should have your right to vote restored.

Read the full public statement here.

Virginia Moves To Ban Gay/Trans Panic Defense

Virginia could be the next state to ban the gay/trans legal defense.

House Bill 2132, introduced by state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), was approved on Friday in the House Courts of Justice Subcommittee by a vote of 6-2.

All of the Democrats on the committee plus Carrie Coyner (R-Chesterfield County) voted in favor of the legislation. State Dels. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) and Les Adams (R-Pittsylvania County) opposed it.

From the Washington Blade:

Judy Shepard, Wesley Bizzell of the National LGBT Bar Association and Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth are among those who testified in support of the bill. Out and Equal Workplace Advocates and other groups also submitted testimony in favor of HB 2132.

“Filing this bill as a constituent service request from an out student in Manassas Park reminds me that young LGBTQ people today in 2021 still live with the same fear I did as a 14-year-old freshman in 1998 when Matthew Shepard was tortured and killed for simply existing as a gay man in America,” Roem told the Washington Blade after the vote. “Equality is constituent service and the lives of my LGBTQ constituents need to be protected by the Virginia General Assembly.”

The American Bar Association denounces the gay/trans panic legal defense saying it “legitimizes and excuses violent and lethal behavior against members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

“The defense is defined by the LGBT Bar as ‘a legal strategy which asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction, including murder.'”

Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia prohibit using the legal strategy. The state of Maryland is also looking at banning the practice.

Rudy Giuliani Claims Trump ‘May Have Actually Won Virginia’

Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani

Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, told Republican lawmakers at a meeting in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that – in addition to believing Donald Trump won the Keystone State (he didn’t) – Trump “may have actually won Virginia” as well.

Trump lost Virginia to Joe Biden by a margin of 451,138 votes. If Team Trump had come within 1 percent of winning in Virginia, don’t you think those results would have been bandied about and challenged publicly these last few weeks???

At the end of the day, Rudy and his team did not present ANY actual evidence of vote tampering or voter fraud.

But keep talking Rudy…

Bloomberg reporter Josh Wingrove followed the event on Twitter here.

Long Lines As Early Voting Begins In Virginia

(screen capture via CNN)

Today is the first day of early voting in Virginia, and CNN reports the lines at polling stations are very long with folks waiting over 2 hours to cast their ballot.

One gentleman told CNN, “I don’t trust the mail right now – If I got to stand here all day, I’m going to vote today.”

News Round-Up: July 2, 2020

Some news items you might have missed:

Instagram: If you don’t already, click over and follow @BigKidProblems (above) on the Gram of Insta….I like the way they think 🙂

Christian Post: A professional photographer has filed a lawsuit against a new Virginia law that he says would force him to violate his sincerely held Christian beliefs by requiring him to provide his services to same-sex weddings.

NBC News: The Trump administration is moving to repeal transgender protections in homeless shelters. If the proposal is implemented, transgender women could be placed in sex-segregated shelters for men.

NY Times: U.S. payrolls grew by 4.8 million in June, according to the Labor Department. It was the second month of gains after a loss of more than 20 million in April when the pandemic put a large swath of economic activity on ice. The unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent, down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April but still higher than in any previous period since World War II.

(image via NY Times)

American Journal of Managed Care: A new study of nearly 78,000 HIV+ people diagnosed with coronavirus indicates that antiretroviral therapy (ART) medications may reduce a person’s risk of getting coronavirus and/or reduce the severity of the disease should they contract it.

Hollywood Reporter: Hugh Downs, the congenial broadcaster whose thousands of hours on network television included two decades on the ABC’s  20/20 and 9 years as the host of NBC’s Today Show, has died. He was 99. Downs also hosted the game show Concentration for nearly a decade as well as five years as announcer and side-kick to Jack Paar on The Tonight Show.

Reuters: Democrat Joe Biden edged out Republican Donald Trump in fundraising for a second straight month in June, according to reports from the rival U.S. presidential campaigns. Biden and allied Democratic groups raked in over $141 million during the month, while Donald Trump and closely tied groups hauled $131 million.

Karen Chronicles: A Costco customer refused to wear a face mask while returning an item. So she staged a sit-in.

For perspective, the second video shows you how a Black man was treated when he refused to wear a face mask. Please note the difference in how the two were treated.

Even Amid Coronavirus Epidemic, Pro-LGBTQ Legislation Progresses Across The U.S.

Even as the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting lives around the world, pro-LGBTQ legislation is progressing in legislative chambers across the U.S.

Virginia’s Gov. Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Values Act into law on Saturday. The legislation, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the commonwealth’s existing nondiscrimination laws, makes Virginia the first in the South to pass such protections.

The General Assembly approved the bill earlier this year after gaining control of the chamber in November. Although the legislation had passed in the state Senate several times in the past, Republicans had successfully blocked the measure in the Assembly for years.

When Virginia Values Act goes into effect on July 1, Virginia will join 20 other states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in explicitly banning discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in public employment, housing, and credit.

In Florida, the City Commission of Tallahassee unanimously passed an ordinance protecting LGBTQ youth and vulnerable adults from so-called ‘conversion therapy’ this week.

The Trevor Project’s 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health showed  LGBTQ youth who had undergone the harmful practice were twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who had not.

Forty-two percent of LGBTQ young people who had been subjected to the conversion therapy reported a suicide attempt in the previous 12 months. The reported suicide attempts in the previous year jumped to 57 percent among transgender and non-binary youth forced to undergo ex-gay therapy.

States banning conversion therapy (via Movement Advancement Project)

Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia have banned the practice as well as at least sixty cities and counties in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, issued a statement applauding the Tallahassee City Commission for taking action to protect young LGBTQs from the harmful pseudo-science. 

“This conduct has been discredited by prominent medical associations and proven to be dangerous,” wrote Brinton. “According to The Trevor Project’s 2019 national survey, LGBTQ youth who had undergone conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who did not. This new ordinance will send a message to the LGBTQ youth of Tallahassee that they should be proud of who they are, and hopefully, it will inspire other localities in Florida to take similar action as well.”

Scott McCoy, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, also cheered the ban, writing:

“We applaud the Tallahassee city commissioners for unanimously enacting an ordinance to ban conversion therapy for minors, but also going even further to ensure the protection of vulnerable adults. This bogus practice is premised on the lie that LGBTQ+ individuals have a ‘condition’ that needs to be cured by changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Taking a stand against conversion therapy is an extremely important step in the right direction to support the well-being of Tallahassee’s LGBTQ+ residents. But the commission has also sent an important message to LGBTQ+ youth: you are perfect the way you are and do not need to be fixed.

“We urge the rest of Florida to follow the example set by Tallahassee, and pledge to protect our youth from this heinous practice.”

(source: Washington Blade) 

News Round-Up: March 6, 2020

Jim Newman (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Jim Newman (above) can wear a flannel plaid onesie like no one. Totally giving us lumbersexual in the pic above. #amiright?

NowThisNews: Donald Trump continues to spread dangerous misinformation on COVID-19 to millions of Fox News viewers.

Washington Blade: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday signed three pro-LGBTQ measures into law ranging from ensuring transgender students are treated fairly, expanding the definition of a hate crime to include sexual orientation and gender identification, and allowing localities to ban discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, or education based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

KIT212: Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the what’s what in local LGBTQ publications like the latest issue of South Florida Hot Spots featuring Bar Mizrahi.

The Advocate: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit just upheld a preliminary injunction against the Air Force, which appealed the decision of a district court in order to continue the discharge of personnel simply because they are living with HIV.

Netflix: The streaming platform has canceled RuPaul’s scripted series, AJ and the Queen, after only one season.

News Round-Up: March 3, 2020

Some news items you might have missed:

Super Tuesday: Fourteen states are holding primaries or caucusing for the Democratic presidential candidate today, so make sure you get out and vote! Interesting factoid: CBS News reports early exit polling shows slightly more voters in Super Tuesday states want a return to Obama’s policies rather than more liberal policies.

The Advocate: Donald Trump’s Justice Department is weighing in on the side of a Kentucky photographer who doesn’t want to provide services to same-sex weddings, continuing its history under the Trump administration of supporting discrimination. Chelsey Nelson, a photographer in Louisville, filed a preemptive lawsuit in federal court against the city challenging its LGBTQ-inclusive Fairness Ordinance. Note – has never been asked to photograph a same-sex couple’s wedding.

NowThis News: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill Monday banning conversion therapy for minors. According to the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit that tracks LGBTQ+ legislation, Virginia will become the 20th state — and the first in the South — to ban the controversial therapy for minors.

The Verge: Apple has tentatively agreed to a $500 million settlement after admitting to slowing down older phones. It covers people who bought any product in the iPhone 6 and 7 lineup — which Apple secretly throttled to conserve battery life. By default, Apple will offer $25 to any current or former owner of a covered iPhone. Named class members will receive $1,500 or $3,500.

NewNowNext: Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted a number of new amendments to the country’s Constitution, including one that would define marriage as between “a man and a woman.” Last month, he said same-sex marriage will not be permitted in the country as long as he is president.

KHOU: After Pete Buttigieg announced he was ending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden told reporters he would definitely approach the former mayor of South Bend to take a role in his administration.