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World and National News Briefs

Written by Craig Ogan

Sigh! Alabama, again
Dueling petitions have appeared at an Alabama high school over a teacher’s decision to display the Pride flag in her classroom. One petition says having the rainbow flag around makes the LGBTQ haters feel uncomfortable, so it should go. The opposing petition reads in part, “The flag creates a hostile and provocative learning environment for students not comfortable openly supporting the LGBTQ Community.”
Another group of students created a counter petition, which argues the high school is a “diverse and equitable school … attempting to insulate a student from political discourse would be an insult to their intelligence.”

WH guidance on transgender in the military
The White House will give the Pentagon six months to develop regulations on transgender servicemen and women in the military. The ACLU has filed an injunction to stop the order while cases move through the court system. The guidelines give confirmed bachelor, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the power to remove transgender individuals serving in the military for reasons of deploy-ability, war zones service and participation in training. The Pentagon can cease paying related medical bills for transgender men and women and to deny enlistment.
Senator Tammy Duckworth of Wisconsin, a decorated veteran who was injured in Iraq resulting in the loss of both legs, tweeted: “I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white or brown.”

Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers on professional sports players coming out
Green Bay quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, said players still fear the consequences of coming out while active players. He told OutSports.com, “Society is finally moving in the right direction, as far as treating all people with respect. And in the locker room, I think the sport is getting closer.”
But closeted players still worry about reaction from teammates and executives, pointing to the absence of guaranteed contracts. Rodgers is not a new SJW. In 2016, he blasted homophobic fan chants at games. In 2013 he denied some personal rumors, “I’m not gay. I really, really like women.” One “really” too many?

Illinois, 2nd state to ban “gay panic” defense
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill banning gay and trans “panic defense” in murder cases, making Illinois the second state to do so after (not Utah or Wyoming) California. The law prevents claiming the murder victim was gay, bisexual or transgender and made a sexual advance that caused a violence. The American Bar Association has come out against the gay and trans panic defense, and urged local, state and federal governments to pass legislation banning it.

Discrimination is okay with BART?
The San Francisco Bay Area Transit Authority (BART) Board of Directors is considering giving preference to LGBTQ contractors in an update to the agency’s Small Business Program. If passed, LGBTQ contractors receive a 5 percent bid preference on small-business prime contracts.
To qualify, contractors must be certified as a small business by California’s Department of General Services, as well as be certified (process for LGBTQ certification not spelled out) by either the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce or the California Public Utilities Commission.

De-transitioning Down Under
A 12-year-old Australian schoolboy, taking estrogen hormones for two years after doctors diagnosed “gender dysphoria,” has decided to stop the hormone therapy. He reports to Aussie TV he rejected his masculine body at first, but now, “Hated looking in the mirror. I didn’t know who the person staring back at me was.” He was not worried about telling his mother he had made a mistake and wanted to stay a male because, “She’d been so open and supportive of me in my transition,” he said.

Sleepless in Seattle
The mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, resigned after several men came forward accusing Murray of sexually abusing them decades ago, when they were underage. The announcement came just hours after The Seattle Times published a story with an account by a fifth man, Murray’s cousin, charged Murray of abuse in the 1970s.
Murray, 62, is the city’s first openly gay mayor, and generally considered a father of Washington’s same-sex marriage law, which he pressed in the State legislature for years.

A frizzy Colton Haynes
A bio-pic called “Bigger” will portray the lives of bodybuilding pioneers Joe and Ben Weider, who launched the modern bodybuilding movement and brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to the world. “Teen Wolf” actor, Tyler Hoechlin, will play Joe and Austrian bodybuilder, Calum Von Moger, will play Arnold. Jack LaLanne will be played by Colton Haynes, currently appearing in “American Horror Story.” (Note: if you have any idea who Jack LaLanne is, you are over 40 years old with a propensity for wearing tight-fitting, short-sleeve, one-piece and stretchy workout clothes with stirrups).

AIDS/LifeCycle registration underway
Registration for the 2018 AIDS/LifeCycle is open. This year’s theme is the T-shirt busting: “Ride with LOVE so that others can LIVE. Let’s end AIDS together.” Register with the code JOINUS for $30 off: aidslifecycle.org/join-us.
AIDS/LifeCycle, June 3-9, 2018 is a fully supported, 7-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, co-produced by and benefiting San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The event raises awareness about the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic and funds services such as HIV testing, prevention, care and much more.
Since 1993, when the Ride began as a for-profit event called “California AIDS Ride,” participants have raised more than $200 million and completed more than 42,000 journeys on bikes from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Dutch Double (or triple) up on parenthood
A Member of The Netherland’s Parliament, Liesbeth van Tongeren, is sponsoring legislation to make it possible for a child to be adopted by more than two parents. The MP (House of Representatives) says children are considered to have only two parents because parenthood is based on the notion of blood relationship. But nowadays children now grow up with two mothers and a father somewhere in there. MP Tongeren wants that to change; to her, it’s a question of equal rights for hetero- and homosexual couples; it’s about simplifying family life. “For lesbian parents, for example, the problems already start with small daily things such as the fact that only one mother can sign a permission slip for their child to go on a school excursion.” From there the problems go on to include taxes, insurance and inheritance.

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Craig Ogan

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