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NATIONAL Foster-parent case, stars speak out, Texas youth, 'Queer Eye,' HIV
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 946 times since Sun Oct 17, 2021
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Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Lambda Legal, together with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with several HHS officials and programs, for allegedly enabling and sanctioning discrimination against LGBTQ foster-parent applicants by organizations that receive taxpayer funds to care for unaccompanied refugee children, a press release noted. The case, Easter v. HHS, was filed on behalf of Kelly Easter—a lesbian from East Nashville, Tennessee, who wishes to become a foster parent for a child in a federal foster-care program for immigrant children.

More than a dozen artists—including Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish, Finneas, Cautious Clay, Gracie Abrams, St. Vincent, Remi Wolf, Band of Horses, White Reaper, La Dona, Jessie Murph, Kathy Valentine and Phoebe Bridgers—used their performance time at the recent Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival to speak out against Texas's new abortion ban, S.B. 8, according to a Planned Parenthood press release. Artists across ACL took the stage in front of Jumbotrons displaying the "Bans Off Our Bodies" message, wore clothing bearing the slogan, spoke out against the ban from the stage, and/or posted on social media. Megan Thee Stallion posted on her Instagram account, "Y'all know I'm a Texas girl and we deserve better! Politicians want to cut off abortion access and control our bodies, lives, and futures — I'm speaking up. Take action today and text ACCESS to 22422. #BansOffOurBodies."

Speaking of Texas, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) quietly removed information intended to help prevent LGBTQ youth suicide from one of its websites after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) was criticized by a primary opponent for "promoting transgender sexual policies to Texas youth," according to LGBTQ Nation. In August, Don Huffines, who is challenging Abbott in the Republican primary, criticized the site in a video posted to Twitter. "The state is responsible for these kids' lives, yet it intentionally removed a way for them to find help when they need it the most," said Ricardo Martinez, of Equality Texas. "This action is unconscionable, and it reminds us that political aspirations are part of every attack on LGBTQ+ kids in Texas."

Queer Eye co-host Antoni Porowski hosted GLSEN's Respect Awards, per a press release. The virtual event, which took place Oct. 14, honored outgoing GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard for her 20 years of service to the organization, celebrated the accomplishments made during her tenure and looked toward the organization's future. Some of the event and honorary co-chairs included Chely Wright; Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak; Billy Porter; Jennifer Beals; Elizabeth Stribling-Kivlan; Wilson Cruz; Rosario Dawson; and Matt Bomer and Simon Halls.

Speaking of Queer Eye, another co-host—Jonathan Van Ness—decided to reply to Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's recent tweet about HIV, noted. "The fascist NBA won't let Kyrie Irving play for refusing a vaccine," Greene tweeted, adding, "But yet, they still let Magic Johnson play with HIV." Van Ness responded, "What a dumb ass. HIV is sexually transmitted not a respiratory virus not to mention HIV+ folks who take ART and are undetectable are untransmittable. #UequalsU."

Pennsylvania's House Democratic Policy Committee, led by Philadelphia Reps. Mary Isaacson and Malcolm Kenyatta, recently heard from people personally affected by the commonwealth's HIV-criminalization statutes, noted. "'HIV criminalization' is the criminalization of behaviors that would not be a criminal act for anyone that is not living with HIV," said Positive Women's Network USA co-chair Michelle Troxell, who herself lives with the disease. Pennsylvania is one of 22 states that has HIV-specific statutes and regulations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Jaime Harrison and LGBTQ Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes released a statement on National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11. In part, it read, "National Coming Out Day serves as a reminder of the importance, courage and strength that living authentically can require. As we recognize this critically important day, we must also remember those who have not yet come out and provide them with the support they need to live bravely, boldly and openly. … From his first day in office, President Joe Biden has prioritized protecting the LGBTQ community and affirming the rights and protections the community deserves."

One of North America's oldest denominations confronted its gridlock over LGBTQ ordination and same-sex marriage, Episcopal News Service noted. Votes cast in Tucson, Arizona, at the Reformed Church in America's General Synod—delayed 16 months due to the pandemic—will chart the course for the already splintering denomination. The RCA is a historically Dutch Reformed denomination dating back to the 1620s, when New York was known as New Amsterdam. Next year, the United Methodist Church is expected to vote on a proposal to split the denomination over the inclusion of LGBTQ members, and the RCA's sister denomination, the Christian Reformed Church, will grapple with its contentious human sexuality report at its own synod.

This October, Prism United and Mobile, Alabama-area trans videographer Max Kuzma will raise the visibility of Southwest Alabama's LGBTQ youth through the Who We Are Campaign, a series of short documentaries featuring area LGBTQ youth sharing their lived experiences in their own words, a press release stated. Two of the first videos in the campaign feature Adrian (he/him) and Patrick (he/him), LGBTQ youth in Mobile; the campaign will release seven additional short documentaries throughout the month. Who We Are videos can be viewed on social media or at

Approximately 200 people showed up to the annual Philly Trans March (PTM)—the peaceful rally demanding justice, liberation, equity and safety for Philadelphia's trans community, especially for queer and trans, Black and indigenous people of color (QTBIPOC), Philadelphia Gay News reported. Organizers and supporters assembled Oct. 9 in Washington Square Park and wound their way around the Society Hill neighborhood. Trans activist Christian A'Xavier Lovehall founded PTM in 2011.

A female NYPD officer was charged with the attempted murder of her ex-girlfriend and the murder of her ex's new lover, noted. Yvonne Wu, 31, was arrested after she allegedly admitted to the double shooting of ex Jenny Li, 23, and Li's new love interest, Jamie Liang, 24. Friends of Liang have set up a GoFundMe page, "Remembering Jamie Liang," to help her family cover the funeral expenses.

Part of the New York Police Department's latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting LGBTQ cops to the force, marking the first time the city department has launched an advertising effort to draw queer police officers, Gay City News reported. The department is embarking on the new initiative following the rise of the NYPD's new LGBTQ liaison, Sergeant Ana Arboleda, who took over the role after the retirement of Detective Carl Locke. In June, the NYPD and the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL)—composed of queer cops—had announced a multi-pronged plan intended to make the department more LGBTQ-inclusive.

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) Virtual Symposium & Awards Luncheon took place Oct. 14, according to the organization's website. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center BCRF Founding Scientific Director Larry Norton, MD, provided remarks, while Harvard Medical School Dana-Farber Cancer Institute BCRF Scientific Director Judy Garber, MD, MPH, moderated a panel. Honors were bestowed upon Dame Lesley Fallowfield, DBE, BSC, DPHIL, MEDSCI (Jill Rose Award for Scientific Excellence); and fashion designer Stella McCartney, OBE (Sandra Taub Humanitarian Award). Among celebrities who took part were comedian Chelsea Handler as well as actors Norbert Leo Butz and Rosario Dawson.

Dale Kildee, a member of Congress from the Flint, Michigan area for 36 years, passed away at age 92. In a statement, Human Rights Campaign Michigan State Director Amritha Venkataraman said, "Throughout his tenure in Congress, he was a steadfast partner to the LGBTQ+ community, pulling the country [toward] full equality for LGBTQ+ individuals under the law during times when the community had few friends in the halls of Congress. In the early 1990s, he voted for domestic partnership benefits in the District of Columbia and voted against 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' and then voting for its repeal seventeen years later. We are grateful for his life's work in the U.S. House as a champion for LGBTQ+ people. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time."

Days after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge and accepting an agreement to cooperate with federal authorities, openly gay conservative activist and Capitol insurrection participant Brandon Straka called for his followers to defend his name on social media and send him money (despite receiving over $30,000 in federal pandemic relief last year), LGBTQ Nation reported. Straka is a hairdresser from New York who got some fame in 2018 for his #WalkAway organization that encouraged groups that usually vote for Democrats to support Republicans instead.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate (and former pro-football player) Herschel Walker canceled a fundraiser after the event's host was exposed for using a swastika composed of hypodermic needles in her Twitter profile, Yahoo! Sports noted. The former NFL and University of Georgia running back—who is campaigning for Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock's Senate seat in the 2022 midterms, and whom former President Donald Trump is endorsing—was scheduled to attend a campaign fundraiser in Texas hosted by conservative filmmaker Bettina Sofia Viviano-Langlais. Per the Journal-Constitution, a Walker spokeswoman initially downplayed the Nazi imagery in Viviano-Langlais' profile.

This article shared 946 times since Sun Oct 17, 2021
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