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NATIONAL Trans murder milestone, Victory Fund, Matthew Shepard, Palm Center
by Windy City Times staff
2021-12-05

This article shared 543 times since Sun Dec 5, 2021
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Nikai David was fatally shot in Oakland, California—becoming at least the 50th trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming person reported killed in the United States in 2021, PGHLesbian.com noted. Forty-four of the victims have been BIPOC, and David is the 34th victim who identified as Black. David was well-known at the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, which is planning to honor her legacy.

LGBTQ Victory Fund-endorsed candidate Liliana Bakhtiari (District 5) won her runoff election for the Atlanta City Council—becoming the first out LGBTQ+ Muslim elected in the state of Georgia and one of less than five currently serving in the entire country, an organizational press release noted. Bakhtiari will also be the only non-binary person currently serving on the city council of a major U.S. city. During the general election on Nov. 2, Bakhtiari competed in a field of five candidates and received 49.5 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent needed to win outright and avoid a runoff. Bakhtiari is a curator of the Atlanta-based art organization Black Futures Matter, and is on the boards of PEDS, Georgia Equality and the Southern women platform gloATL

The Victory Fund honored an openly gay Guatemalan congressman who has faced death threats because of his efforts to fight corruption in his country, The Washington Blade reported. In 2019, Aldo Ivan Davila Morales—a member of the Winaq movement, a leftist party founded by Rigoberta Menchu, an indigenous human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner—in 2019 became the first openly gay man elected to Guatemala's congress. Davila, who also lives with HIV, has had to personally deal with violence: In April, three men attempted to rob him (a bodyguard shot one of the men), and he and his partner have installed cameras in their apartment after someone killed their dog.

The parents of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard—who was murdered in a 1998 hate crime that drew international attention to anti-LGBTQ violence—were among those attending a day of religious services commemorating Shepard's 45th birthday at the Washington National Cathedral, The Washington Blade reported. The services, which the cathedral organized in partnership with the Matthew Shepard Foundation, included tributes to Shepard at the Cathedral's St. Joseph's Chapel, where his remains were interred in a ceremony in 2018.

Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin published a public letter saying the facility needs $500,000 to stay open another year and to secure a few more important policy changes during its final year. The TAWANI Foundation (the organization's core supporter for the past decade, and one helmed by transgender retired Col. Jennifer Pritzker) has offered to provide $250,000 if the center can find an equal amount to match. Michael Palm, whom the center is named after, died of complications from AIDS in Telluride in August 1998, served on the board of directors of Gay Men's Health Crisis and was a strong supporter of civil rights. See www.palmcenter.org/donate/ .

The former president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) revealed to investigators more details than previously known about how he advised Andrew Cuomo's team during the former governor's sexual harassment scandals, CNBC.com noted. Records from the New York attorney general's office show that Alphonso David told New York state investigators that he talked to the then-governor's aides on at least two different instances of how to handle accusations ions of sexual harassment during 2020 and 2021. Both of these instances happened while he was running HRC. He was fired from running the group earlier this year after it was revealed that he provided a confidential file on Lindsey Boylan, one of Cuomo's accusers who once worked for the governor, to a press aide.

On a related note, CNN fired journalist Chris Cuomo after new revelations detailed his role in advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the face of sexual-harassment allegations, NPR reported. According to CNBC.com, the New York attorney general's office revealed that Chris was actively in touch with Melissa DeRosa, who was the then-governor's top aide, about incoming media reports that detailed alleged sexual harassment by Andrew. "This is not how I want my time at CNN to end. But I have already told you why and how I helped my brother," Cuomo said in a statement after the news broke.

Despite meeting with a group of HIV organizations and promising to work with the organizations and donate money to them, several groups said they never heard from controversial rapper DaBaby again, per out.com . At the end of July, at the Rolling Loud music festival, DaBaby made hateful remarks about individuals living with HIV and gay people. The backlash was swift, and DaBaby quickly started losing sponsorships and appearances. That's when a group of 11 HIV/AIDS organizations reached out to him, and a meeting took place in August. "Since then, we have not received any outreach, partnership or funding from DaBaby," Pavni Guharoy, of the Black AIDS Institute, told The Daily Beast.

In NYC, a man was in Chelsea one weekend last month when an individual allegedly walked up to him, started arguing with him, brandished a knife and made an anti-LGBTQ statement, Gay City News reported. According to amNY, law enforcement sources said the incident occurred when the victim was en route to a UPS store. After a run-in, the suspect asked the victim what his problem was before the victim proceeded to ask, "Was that necessary?" The suspect then followed the victim before confronting him again, pulling a knife, and blurting out, "Don't mess with me, fa****."

In Minnesota, a school administrator filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the Marshall public school district for alleged discrimination after hanging an LGBTQ Pride flag in the school cafeteria as part of an inclusivity project, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Fifteen years into her tenure as Marshall Middle School principal, Mary Kay Thomas developed a display of 30 or more flags representing different cultural backgrounds and life experiences. The complaint stated that a "small" group made up of parents, local clergy and staff attempted to have Thomas remove the Pride flag from the cafeteria. She declined and provided rainbow stickers for staff to support the Gay-Straight Alliance, a student organization.

The University of Colorado athletics department created a full-tuition scholarship for athletes seeking to use their platform to create positive change for the LGBTQ community, according to Outsports. It is believed to be the first university to ever create a scholarship like this. This year's recipients are volleyball player Alexia Kuehl, a middle blocker for the women's volleyball team; and Evan Battey, a forward for the men's basketball team. Kuehl is LGBTQ.

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Grubhub announced three recipients of $100,000 grants given by the NGLCC/Grubhub Community Impact Grant Program, a press release noted. FOODE + Mercantile, Cafe Gabriela, and Pitchers DC and League of Her Own—serving communities in Fredericksburg, Virginia; Oakland, California; and Washington, D.C.—were granted $100,000 each at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Back to Business (B2B) Summit 2021. For more information on the Community Impact Grant Program, visit www.nglcc.org/ghgrant.

After four years of overseeing the country's first municipal office dedicated to transgender issues, as well as advising three mayors on various concerns of San Francisco's LGBTQ community, Clair Farley is departing to pursue other opportunities outside of the city, per The Bay Area Reporter. Later this month, for example, she is expected to begin consulting with a trans-owned provider of telemedicine. Since 2017, Farley has led San Francisco's Office of Transgender Initiatives. First established by the late mayor Ed Lee in June 2016, he hired Farley after the office's inaugural director Theresa Sparks, a trans woman and longtime community advocate, retired.

Sultan Shakir, executive director of D.C.'s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31, per The Washington Blade. "SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go," Shakir said in a statement.

Actor Matthew McConaughey announced that he will not run for governor next year, CNN.com noted. After acknowledging he had taken time exploring politics and considered a gubernatorial run, McConaughey said in a video message on Twitter that he's decided to focus his efforts in the private sector. The decision brings an end to months of speculation about McConaughey's political ambitions in Texas after he publicly signaled interest.

However, Dr. Mehmet Oz (who heads the Dr. Oz show) is running as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Politico noted. The surgeon-turned-talk-show-host made his Senate bid official recently, rolling out a campaign video in which he declared that the coronavirus pandemic "showed us our system is broken" and vowed to "put America first." "It's a good sign for the Republican Party that somebody of his standing and stature would want to run under the Republican banner," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a close ally of former President Donald Trump.


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