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NATIONAL Mysterious death, Tennesee law, lesbians of color, Guam
by Andrew Davis
2022-06-05

This article shared 733 times since Sun Jun 5, 2022
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Gay bilingual mental-health counselor Julio Ramirez died in April after he fell unconscious in a taxi following a night out at gay bars in Hell's Kitchen—and then his bank accounts were allegedly drained days later, leaving his family and friends searching for information about the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, Gay City News reported. After leaving the gay bar The Ritz, Ramirez ultimately rode in a vehicle with three other individuals—but it's not known what happened with the other passengers. In addition, a new twist unfolded April 25 when Carlos Ramirez went to his late brother's apartment and noticed Julio's Apple iCloud password had been changed and that his savings ($20,000) had been spent through money-sharing apps.

A federal judge recently struck down Tennessee's first-of-its-kind law requiring businesses to post special signs if they allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice, Yahoo! News noted. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger makes permanent her previous decision from July 2021 that blocked enforcement of the law just days after it took effect. Businesses had sued over the law, arguing the signs would violate their First Amendment rights by compelling them to communicate language they find offensive.

The Masculine Identified Lesbians of Color Collective (MILCC)—a community and peer support organization formed to build intergenerational bonds of solidarity between lesbians of color who are masculine-identified or masculine of center (MoC)—will hold a convention and gala on June 11 in NYC, per a press release. Workshops will take place at the Silberman School of Social Work while the gala/awards ceremony will be at The Alhambra Ballroom. See www.masculineidentifiedlesbiansofcolorcollective.com .

During Pride Month, Guam's LGBTQ+ community is celebrating by carrying on the commitment to equality while sending a strong message against hate and discrimination, Pacific Daily News reported. "I haven't felt this afraid for my life since high school because of the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ discrimination laws being proposed across America, and now it's here on our island," said Hagatna Restoration and Redevelopment Executive Director Lasia Casil. Members and supporters of Guam's LGBTQ+ community gathered in person for Proclamation Signing and Wave at the Chief Kepuha Park to declare June 2022 as Pride Month.

Queer|Art, NYC's home for the creative and professional development of LGBTQ+ artists, announced the new mentors for the 2023 Queer|Art|Mentorship (QAM) program cycle in a press release. Joining five returning mentors are director and choreographer Will Davis; interdisciplinary artist, producer, activist and actress Zackary Drucker (This Is Me; Transparent); author and artist T Fleischmann (Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through); visual artist, educator and 2012-2013 QAM Fellow Camilo Godoy; and writer, director and producer Lilly Wachowski (The Matrix franchise, Sense8). Applications are open through July 31; learn more at www.queer-art.org/mentorship.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed proposed a five-year plan to end all transgender homelessness in the city, per PinkNews. Breed vowed that San Francisco would aim to end trans homelessness by 2027, announcing that she would add a $6.5-million plan to her upcoming budget proposal. The plan would see the mayor's team work with transgender and gender non-conforming homeless groups on housing and community development.

It was barely an hour into Pride Month when a suspect hurled homophobic slurs and stabbed a man on a northbound subway train in the Bronx on June 1, Gay City News reported. According to The New York Post, the suspect was identified as Runadieo Jordan, 52. Jordan stands accused of hurling homophobic insults at the 31-year-old victim before plunging "a sharp object" into his right arm and fleeing from the train, cops said.

In North Carolina, a Wake County Public School System preschool teacher resigned after she was accused of using LGBTQ+-themed flash cards depicting a pregnant person, WRAL News reported. The district did not release the name of the teacher, but said it had removed the materials from the school. "The district is concerned to learn of the inappropriate instructional resource found in a preschool classroom," Wake County Public School System spokesperson Lisa Luten emailed WRAL.

Lambda Legal filed a second complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society, Inc. on behalf of a second former employee who was demoted and then fired after he revealed that he was gay, a press release noted. Also, as with the first complaint, Lambda Legal filed a Human Relations Discrimination Complaint (HRDC) with the City of Dallas under its "Unlawful Discriminatory Practices" ordinance that bars discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. In November 2021, Lambda Legal filed complaints on behalf of a genderqueer lesbian who was fired after they started putting their pronouns in the email signature line, wearing pronoun pins at work and encouraging their employees to be their authentic selves at work.

The Human Rights Campaign PAC (HRC PAC) announced its endorsement of nine pro-LGBTQ+ equality U.S. senators for re-election: Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Tammy Duckworth, Patty Murray, Alex Padilla, Brian Schatz, Charles Schumer, Chris Van Hollen and Ron Wyden, a press release noted. Among other things, they support important legislation such as the Equality Act, which will enshrine protections against discrimination for LGBTQ+ people; helped pass the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which makes lynching a federal crime; and voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

After raising the Progress Pride Flag outside of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) headquarters building, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and other department leaders released a statement to celebrate Pride Month. Becerra said, in part, "This year, we have unfortunately seen an alarming rise in state laws and other actions that discriminate against our LGBTQI+ children and youth. To anyone who feels targeted or alone in these times, you are not—we see you, are standing with you, and will do everything we can to protect your health and human services. This Pride Month, we as a Department recommit to ensuring every American can access [healthcare]—including gender-affirming care, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

South Carolina Athletics defended the LGBTQ+ community after receiving some hostile reactions to its Pride Month tweet, Greenville News noted. After one tweet read, "Being LGBTQ is nothing to be proud of," South Carolina Athletics responded, "Well, *we* are forever proud of our LGBTQ+ student-athletes, students, staff, and faculty. Have a nice day."

The McNay Art Museum announced that after completing his contract this fall, Director/CEO Dr. Richard Aste will depart San Antonio to launch his own coaching practice on the West Coast and join the executive coaching team at the University of California, Irvine, per a press release. Aste (who has been with the museum since 2016) will join his partner of 10 years, Max Goodman, in Los Angeles. Out of great admiration for the McNay, Aste will remain in his role through January 2023 to afford ample time for the Board to identify a successor and ensure a smooth transition for staff.

ONE Archives Foundation announced that Chiedu Egbuniwe (he/him), previously the board secretary and a member of its board of directors since October 2018, has been appointed as the new board chair, per a press release. Egbuniwe succeeds David Farneth, who will remain on the board of directors as an executive committee member-at-large. Among the ONE Archives Foundation programs in which Egbuniwe's leadership has been influential was a groundbreaking virtual presentation of Larry Kramer's Tony-award winning play The Normal Heart (that featured a predominantly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ cast), for which he served as executive producer.

The historic Castro Theatre is a step closer to an upgrade in its status as a landmark with the support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Supervisors voted unanimously May 24 to approve the enhancement of the historic theater's landmark status—a move that extends that designation from, essentially, just the facade of the building to its grand interior. Submitted by gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman during the May 10 meeting of the Board of Supervisors, the resolution amends the historic theater's landmark status.

Queer teen activist Jack Petocz experienced Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' security guards kicking him out of an event for demanding an answer on DeSantis' lack of action against gun violence in the wake of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Queerty noted. At the event, he was joined by fellow activists like Students' Rights Organization founder Jen Cousins and congressional candidate Maxwell Frost in calling out DeSantis' inactivity against gun violence. In March, Petocz was suspended from Flagler Palm Coast High School for leading protests against the "Don't Say Gay" bill (and, reportedly, for handing out rainbow flags at one of them); in April, he was honored at the 2022 PEN America Literary Gala, receiving the Freedom of Expression Courage Award for his activism in fighting the "Don't Say Gay" bill in Florida.

From exploring Ithaca, New York's drag history to researching AIDS activism on campus to offering a tour/history of Cornell University's Loving House, students in that school's Introduction to LGBTQ Studies class this semester brought key events in Cornell's history to light through short documentaries, per the Cornell Chronicle. Sara Warner—associate professor of performing and media arts and director of the LGBT Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences—said the eight student groups used the Cornell University Library's digital Cornell Daily Sun archives and History of Sexuality collection for research before bringing their works to life on film.

All Elite Wrestling pro wrestler Jake Atlas is facing one charge of misdemeanor battery domestic violence in connection to an incident involving his partner on May 23, Outsports noted. Atlas (real name: Kenny Marquez) and his partner got into a "huge verbal argument" that allegedly escalated to a physical altercation initiated by the out pro wrestler at an Orlando-area residence. The argument reportedly started after Atlas believed his partner was showing more attention to a female friend after the two went to her home "to take part in sexual activities" at Atlas' request.

Dr. Mehmet Oz (backed by former President Donald Trump) is now the presumptive GOP candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, per a Deadline item that cited Politico. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick bowed out of the Republican primary which, while votes were cast weeks ago, has been held in limbo by Oz's razor-thin lead of about 1,000 votes. Oz will face off against Democratic nominee John Fetterman in November.


This article shared 733 times since Sun Jun 5, 2022
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