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news briefs january 31
Written by Craig Ogan
Warren, Biden debate ‘Pence niceness’

At a security conference in Europe, former VP Joe Biden, putative 2020 Presidential candidate made the mistake of calling current VP Mike Pence, “a decent guy.” His competitors for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination, especially Sen. Elizabeth Warren disagreed, “I’m sorry, I followed Pence’s history on LBGTQ Americans and I don’t think that is a decent position.”

Openly gay South Bend, Ind. mayor and 2020 presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, in 2017 said, “The thing about Mike Pence is, he’s a super-nice guy, who just genuinely believes this stuff [ed: being against marriage equality, adoption, and non-discrimination].” Joe apologized for saying something nice and there have been no recriminations against Buttigieg, yet.

No slice for you!

In Israel, a pizza parlor refused to serve a slice to a gay American rabbinical student. A Jerusalem court fined the pizzeria 4,500 US dollars for the service refusal. The student said he was wearing a T-shirt with a nickname for his hometown, Cincinnati, emblazoned in rainbow colors when he stopped in for a slice during Pride Weekend in Jerusalem.  According to the student, “The guy behind the counter said ‘Atah Homo (are you gay)?’ I said yes. “He said ‘out’ and pointed at the door.”

Club closures

Gay life in Washington D.C. and Baltimore has taken a hit as two major gay clubs have discontinued operation. Cobalt, a cruise bar in D.C’s DuPont Circle area, was closed outright and Baltimore’s large gay dance club, Grand Central, was purchased by owners who will move away from a gay dance palace to a fern bar. Owner of Cobalt blamed the high cost of doing business in the DC real estate market and that dating apps have changed the way gay men meet.

Hate chicken at the White House

Another college football championship team showed up at the White House and was served fast food. Clemson received Wendy’s, Burger King, and McDonald’s when they went in for a photo op. Another time North Dakota State was served gay bete’ noir, Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches and waffle fries to celebrate their championship. No one took a knee at the ceremony and wings were not on the menu.

Discrimination ordinance veto baffles

The mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska vetoed an LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance passed by the city council. The odd thing is the mayor was a co-sponsor of the ordinance.

He explained, “I do not take this action lightly. I became a sponsor because I believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect, and the concept behind this ordinance is sound. As with most concepts, the details become challenging when they affect so many people with different priorities and opinions.”

Who got to him is not revealed, but he said he hopes the ordinance will end up on the ballot during the October’s election. Fairbanks would have joined Anchorage, Juneau, and Sitka with LGBTQ protections.

US military transgender policy affirmed by court

A federal judge unblocked proposed transgender military policy so the DOD can now legally remove people currently enlisted who seek gender transitions and sets conditions for transgender people to sign up. The US Supreme Court has not “ruled” on the policy, but sent the case back to the judge for clarification, effectively ruling out a SCOTUS appeal.

The policy generally bars transgender individuals from serving unless they serve “in their biological sex” and prohibit gender transition while in service. The policy exempts transgender military personnel who began transition before the reviewed policy becomes official. Since this is not a law passed by Congress, policy on transgender military service will remain fluid depending on the whim of current and future presidents.

More gay, bi men are PrEPpy

The CDC reported at the 2019 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections that more than one-third of sexually active gay and bisexual men used pre-exposure prophylaxis in 2017, up from 6 percent in 2014. However, the CDC notes “PrEP use remains too low, especially among gay and bisexual men of color”, and blames high cost of the drugs, difficulty with sticking to a daily plan, and insurance companies’ policies keeping more people liable to exposure from using the drugs.

Awareness of PrEP and its benefit is in the mid-eighty percent ratios with gay and bi men, but usage is only in the 30-40 percent range. CDC expressed optimism about the “non-daily” schedule currently in clinical trial. Non-gay /bi male populations remain very low in knowledge and even lower in usage of PrEP.

Where you been Chelsea? ‘In jail, again’

Erstwhile Senate candidate, convicted traitor, and high profile transgender female, Chelsea Manning, has been sent to jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury about WikiLeaks. She says she doesn’t object to testifying but does object that the testimony will be secret. This will break her practice of never doing anything which doesn’t result in publicity.  The prosecutors said that putting her in jail will not effect on her transition as the transition drug regime would be continued and the jail she is going to has experience with high profile and difficult prisoners.

Colorado baker

The Colorado Attorney General and the attorneys representing a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition announced an end to The Colorado Civil Rights Commission legal action. Also announced was the withdrawal of action relating to his previous refusal to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple.

The Supreme Court partially vacated that suit due to the states “overt antipathy” to his religion. A transgender woman asked the baker make a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside for a celebration of her transition. The baker’s attorney said, “We hope that the state is done with obvious efforts to harass.”

The plaintiff can still pursue civil action.

Country singer dance

Country artist Cameron Hawthorn has made a very sweet video to showcase his new track: “Dancing in the Living Room”. See it here: bit.ly/hawthorndance

The song is about love and intimacy and is one he thinks that couples will dance to in their living rooms. As well, the video also serves as his official coming out. Said Hawthorn, before coming out, “I remember always thinking how special it was to dance freely with my boyfriend living room of our apartment. It’s not as easy to dance as a [gay] couple in public together as it is for a straight couple.”

Grande show at Manchester Pride

The online scold mob does not like Ariana Grande being the headliner for this year’s Manchester Pride Festival. First, it has somehow become inappropriate for a lesbian and gay audience to hear a straight woman sing at a Pride Festival. Second the festival announced higher than expected ticket prices following the announcement of her headline status.

Appearing in Manchester, England is a sentimental return for her as 23 people were killed in a terrorist bombing at a venue there hosting a Grande concert in 2017. She defended herself, “I have nothing to do with ticket pricing. I just wanna put on a show that makes my LGBTQ fans feel special and celebrated and supported.” The twitter mob replied, it’s time for pride festivals to book more LGBTQ artists and not charge so much.

Jay-z, Beyonce’ bag GLAAD Award

Beyonce and Jay-Z will receive GLAAD’s Vanguard Award later this month. GLAAD says the couple will receive the honor, which is “presented to allies who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people.” GLAAD cites the money-making activities of the two — like hiring Laverne Cox as a spokesperson for a clothing line, denouncing “religious liberty laws,” Beyonce dedicating a song to the families of the 49 victims killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting, and featuring Jay-Z’s mother discussing being a lesbian on an album ― as their criteria for giving what they call, “this iconic couple” the award.

House Dems exclude LGBTQIA from hate resolution

In the US Congress, haste makes wasted opportunity. In making a list of the “hating” the US House of Representative Democrats “hate” they forgot hate for LGBTQIA. The list was used in a House Resolution to protect first-year Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments from criticism as anti-Semitic. The resolution condemned bigotry; listing anti-Semitism, white supremacy and “every form of bigotry and hatred against people based on religion, race, or place of birth and origin.” It even managed to bring in the internment of Japanese US citizens in WWII and anti-Catholic bias against JFK in 1960. It passed the House on a party line vote.

Irish for a day, gay for breakfast

For the second St Patrick’s Day holiday in a row, VP Pence, notorious in gay and lesbian circles for his opposition to marriage equality, hosted the gay-identifying Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach in Celtic-Irish) for a breakfast meeting. This time it was at the VP Mansion in DC and with the PMs husband in tow. The Irish PM traditionally celebrates the day in the US as it’s a “meh” day in Ireland.


About the author

Craig Ogan

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