Victory in Florida: Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel overturns Florida's same-sex marriage ban

WASHINGTON, DC, July 25, 2014 - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is celebrating the decision by a circuit judge to strike down Florida's same-sex marriage ban.
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Second Florida Judge Strikes Down Marriage Ban

New York - July 25, 2014 – Today Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel struck down Florida's ban on marriage for committed same-sex couples in what is now the 28th consecutive ruling by a federal or state court in favor of the freedom to marry in the past year. This decision affirms what another court found recently in a case out of Key West -- Florida's denial of the freedom to marry violates the U.S. Constitution.
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Your Opinion Needed-Help Reduce the Stigma of HIV

Did you know that 1 in 6 people with HIV don’t know they have it?  The NWPA Pride Alliance is interested in learning more about perceptions regarding HIV testing, and invites you to take a brief survey.  Click on the link here to take the survey by August 11th.  All responses are anonymous.
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GLSEN Calls on Department of Education to Provide Further Guidance on Gender Identity Protections Under Title IX

July 25, 2014—As reported today, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has granted religious exemptions under Title IX to Simpson University in California and Spring Arbor University in Michigan that allow the colleges to discriminate against transgender students. This news comes a few weeks after an identical exemption to George Fox University was made public.
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GLAAD'S 'Studio Responsibility Index' Finds Lack of LGBT Images, Offensive Content in Films Released by Seven Largest Studios

Los Angeles, CA, Tuesday, July 22, 2014 GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today released its second annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios during the 2013 calendar year.
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Federal Judge in Colorado Rules Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

New York - July 23, 2014 -- Today U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore ruled that Colorado's discriminatory state ban excluding same-sex couples from the freedom to marry is unconstitutional.
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Statement from National Gay and Lesbian Action Fund on HR Res. 678

WASHINGTON, DC: July 23, 2014 "Thank you Congressman Polis for listening and acting on our deeply held concerns. We are extremely pleased to see a revised version of ENDA emerge in the US House with both strong protections for LGBT employees and new reasonable religious exemption language that we have been calling for - treating LGBT people the same as other protected classes. LGBT people need strong protections from discrimination; we have waited too long for anything less. Legal equality is legal equality, and now that President Obama has signed the LGBT federal contractor and federal employee executive order, it's time for Congress to finish the job and pass legislation that would protect all LGBT workers from discrimination. We urge law makers to seize this moment to create long-lasting change."
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Casting Notice for LGBT Business Owers and non-profit leaders

Casting Notice for LGBT Business Owers and non-profit leaders
Dan Bell Casting is searching nationwide for LGBT business owners and non-profit leaders with compelling and engaging stories. We are looking for someone on a mission for change striving towards socially positive goals. Their business or organization plays a key role in achieving those goals. ** Must have a business or organization with a physical location and address** You and your business will be featured in an exciting new LGBT documentary. If this is you or anyone you know please send the following information to [email protected]
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Task Force: Malaysian Airlines disaster and 20th International AIDS Conference

WASHINGTON, DC, July 22, 2014 -- "Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in the Malaysian Airlines disaster. We stand with the friends, colleagues and loved ones of those that were on board flight MH17 heading to the International AIDS Conference taking place this week in Melbourne, Australia.
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Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) Announces Support for Florida Marriage Ruling

New York - July 21, 2014 – Today Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) stated that he supports same-sex couples' freedom to marry in Florida. His announcement follows a ruling by Republican-appointed Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, which struck down Florida's ban on marriage for same-sex couples in a case out of Key West.
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Erie Transgender Community Included in Trans Across America Documentary

Erie Transgender Community Included in Trans Across America Documentary
Erie Sisters President, Melanie Shubitowski, and Erie Sisters member, Chelsea Jones, were recently honored to be selected for an upcoming documentary entitled "Trans Across America".  Trans Family of Erie founder, Caitlyn Strohmeyer, and Melanie's fiancé, Julie Flagella, were also appearing in this segment of the upcoming film which was filmed at Melanie's home in Conneaut, Ohio. The documentary is headed by Chloe Prince, founder of the PinkEssence Transgender network, and her friend, April Wilks, and is to include multiple stops across America showing selected transgenders throughout the country. The film is being produced by Hollywood producer, T. Smith III, and should be out for viewing in film festivals around the country in late Summer or early Fall. At each filming location along the journey, Chloe and April are doing a bigger, better trade up with participants, where the participants are trading an item acquired for something bigger, better and of more value. At the end of the tour, Chloe and April will donate the final item collected to charity. Look for "Trans Across America" later this year in your area.
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Task Force Applauds USDA Adoption of Transgender Protections

WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2014 -- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for adding gender identity protections to its federal non-discrimination regulations regarding programs or activities conducted by the department.  The USDA is the first federal agency to issue federal regulations that ban gender identity discrimination in all activities conducted by any employee of the department.
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5th Annual PFLAG Butler Rainbow Picnic

On Sunday, July 20, PFLAG Butler had their 5th Annual Rainbow Picnic at Alameda Park. Attendees enjoyed a delicious potluck, fun games, and great friends! Photos are by Michael Mahler, Erie Gay News co-editor.
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Bob Howden appointed to Erie County HRC by Kathy Dahlkemper


Bob Howden appointed to Erie County HRC by Kathy Dahlkemper

Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper has appointed Bob Howden to a 4-year team on the Erie County Human Relations Commission. His term will expire on June 30, 2018. Bob is a past president and Board member of the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE).
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NW PA Pride Float in Millcreek 4th of July Parade


About 17 people rode on NW PA Pride Alliance's float in Millcreek's 4th of July parade. There were about 110 units in the parade and about 20,000 people saw the parade.
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President Obama Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBT People from Workplace Discrimination

WASHINGTON - July 21, 2014 – President Obama signed an executive order today to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from workplace discrimination during a ceremony at the White House.
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Kathy Dahlkemper letter of apology


Kathy Dahlkemper letter of apology

On Tuesday July 1, a letter written and circulated by Michael Wehr, head of faith outreach in President Obama's re-election campain, was sent to President Obama asking him to provide an exemption for religious organizations in a planned executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Among the 14 signatures on the letter was Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper.
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Living your Sexual Ethics

Have you ever wondered how to live a life that is both sexually ethical and free of outdated notions about sex? I find the topic quite interesting: it comes up quite often in my psychotherapy office as I help my clients – both single and coupled – explore their ever-evolving sexual desires and the best ways to realize them.
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LGBTQ Activists Celebrate President Obama's Announcement That LGBTQ Executive Order Will Be Signed Without Religious Exemptions

July 18, 2014 - Today GetEQUAL congratulated the White House in its announcement that President Obama will sign an executive order on Monday barring LGBTQ discrimination by federal contractors, and that the order will not include religious exemptions.
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ACLU of Oklahoma Statement on 10th Circuit Decision Affirming Marriage Equality for Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - July 18, 2014 – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma joins numerous Oklahomans and their families in celebrating the latest victory for marriage equality in Oklahoma and throughout the United States. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case of Bishop v. Smith, affirmed an Oklahoma Federal District Court's order striking down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriages. The ACLU of Oklahoma, along with several other civil liberties and LGBT advocacy organizations, filed a friend of the court brief in the case urging today's historic decision.
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Only 1 in 5 sexually experienced U.S. students ever tested for HIV

Only 1 in 5 sexually experienced U.S. students ever tested for HIV
Only 22 percent of sexually experienced U.S. high school students have ever been tested for HIV, even though young people account for a disproportionate share of new infections, researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will report at the 2014 International AIDS Conference.
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American Jewish World Service Applauds House Intro of Bill to Protect Global LGBT Rights, Urges Swift Passage

American Jewish World Service Applauds House Intro of Bill to Protect Global LGBT Rights, Urges Swift Passage
WASHINGTON, DC - July 16, 2014 – Efforts to protect and advance the global rights of LGBT people took a significant step forward today when Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA), along with Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY), introduced the International Human Rights Defense Act. American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading Jewish international development and human rights organization, applauds the introduction of this bipartisan piece of legislation and calls on the House of Representatives to act quickly to pass the bill. The other cosponsors of the bill are Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
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First Mississippi Mayor Announces Support of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

New York- July 16, 2014 – Today Southerners for the Freedom to Marry announced Mayor David Garcia of Waveland, Mississippi supports marriage for same-sex couples. He is the first mayor in Mississippi to do so and is among a number of mayors in southern states who back freedom and dignity for all loving couples and their families. Southerners for the Freedom to Marry, a project of Freedom to Marry, works to bring marriage for same-sex couples to the South.
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Report: 10% of the World's Population Live in Places Where Gay Couples Have the Freedom to Marry

New York - July 15, 2014 – A new analysis released by Australian researcher Tony Pitman and confirmed by Freedom to Marry shows that more than one in every ten people across the world live in a nation or state where same-sex couples have the freedom to marry. Out of a global population of approximately 7.2 billion people, 725 million now live in a freedom-to-marry jurisdiction. It was the U.S. state of Pennsylvania that pushed the world percentage beyond 10% for the first time in history when gay couples won the freedom to marry there on May 20, 2014. 
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United Nations Free & Equal Bollywood Music Video for Gay Rights Exceeds One Million Views

NEW YORK CITY, USA - July 15, 2014-- A Bollywood-inspired United Nations music video with a message of gay acceptance has rapidly become one of the most watched UN videos of all time. "The Welcome", released on 30 April 2014 as part of the UN's ongoing Free & Equal campaign, has been watched by more than a million people on the video-sharing site YouTube. To view the video, visit: www.unfe.org/the-welcome.
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REUNITED Aims to Raise Money

ERIE, PA -- No LGBT pride is complete without a sharp-tongued drag queen and a snarky DJ. This year, Lovin Heart and DJ Tony G-Spot reunite to bring together the largest collection of entertainers any show in this area has ever seen! All proceeds will be split evenly between NWPA Pride Alliance, Inc and Dramashop.
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The Amazon Trail: Lesbian Hero: Nancy Garden

People all over the world were heartbroken to hear of Nancy Garden's death in June. The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) was only weeks from presenting her an award for her beloved 1982 novel Annie On My Mind. Thousands upon thousands of kids worldwide found understanding of themselves or others by reading the classic young adult romance between two teenage girls. Annie made a difference in adult lives too. I fell in love with the book in my forties; what a comfort it would have been to read it at age 15!
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ACLU Reaction to Supreme Court Granting Stay in Marriage Recognition Case

NEW YORK - July 18, 2014 – The U.S. Supreme Court has granted an emergency stay requested by Utah governor in Evans v. Utah.  The district court had issued an injunction requiring Utah to immediately recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who were married between December 23, 2013 and January 6, 2014 when a court struck down Utah's marriage bans as unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court's order is not a ruling on the merits of the injunction.  Instead, the stay stops that injunction from going into effect until it is reviewed on the merits by the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit:
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10th Circuit Affirms the Freedom to Marry in Oklahoma

New York - July 18, 2014 – Today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of same-sex couples' freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Oklahoma back in January. This is the second consecutive ruling in favor of marriage by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals; the same three-judge panel also found Utah's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
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Task Force Calls on U.S. Sentencing Commission to Treat All LGBT Prisoners Fairly

WASHINGTON, DC, July 16, 2014 -- In April, the U.S. Sentencing Commission unanimously passed the "All Drugs Minus Two Amendment," which reduces sentences for most defendants -- about 70% -- accused of drug trafficking. The Commission is now considering whether to make the new policy retroactive. The National Gay and LesbianTask Force led a coalition of LGBT and civil rights organizations in urging the Commission to apply the new policy to all previously sentenced defendants. The memo the coalition sent to the Commission underscores the importance of this issue to LGBT people, who are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.
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FACT SHEET: Progress in Four Years of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

FACT SHEET: Progress in Four Years of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
On July 15, 2010, President Obama released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which envisions that "the United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination."
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Men Who Have Sex with Men across Africa Report Low Access to Basic HIV Services

Men Who Have Sex with Men across Africa Report Low Access to Basic HIV Services
OAKLAND, Calif., July 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new regional study indicates that less than half of men who have sex with men (MSM) across Sub-Saharan Africa report easy access to basic HIV services. Conducted by the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) in partnership with African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR), the study shows that homophobia, violence, and stigma among healthcare providers are linked with reduced access to HIV services.
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Bush-Appointed State Judge Strikes Down Florida's Marriage Ban

New York - July 17, 2014 – Today a Republican-appointed state judge struck down Florida's ban on marriage for committed same-sex couples in what is now the 25th consecutive ruling by a federal or state court in favor of the freedom to marry in the past year. Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush and reelected in 2002 and 2008. The case, Huntsman v. Heavilin, was filed in Key West, and as of now the ruling ony applies to Monroe County.
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Task Force Calls for Swift Investigation into Recent String of Murders of Transgender Women in Baltimore

WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2014 -- Yesterday, Baltimore City Police announced they are investigating the murder of Mia Henderson, a transgender woman and sister of NBA player Reggie Bullock. The murder of Ms. Henderson is the latest in a string of Baltimore area homicides in the last two months in which transgender women have been killed.
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Victory: state same-sex marriage ban struck down in Florida Keys

WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2014 - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is celebrating the decision by a judge to strike down Florida's same-sex marriage ban as it pertains to the Florida Keys.
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Federal Appeals Court Orders Recognition of Valid Marriages of Utah Same-Sex Couples

SALT LAKE CITY - July 11, 2014 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit denied Utah's request to suspend a lower court's ruling ordering the state to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who were legally married after a federal court struck down a state ban, but before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted additional marriages from taking place. Over 1,000 same-sex couples married in Utah during that time period. In May, a federal court ordered the state to recognize those marriages as legally valid, but Utah had asked that the lower court's order be suspended as the appeals process continued. Today's ruling denies that request, but does give the state 10 days to decide to seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Game Change Educational Conference in Akron on August 13

We are pleased to announce the Game Change Educational Conference to be held at the University of Akron, Ohio Wednesday August 13, 2014 from 8 AM to 5 PM.  The keynote speaker is Stud Maddux. The Game Change conference will provide professional development opportunities through the exploration of LGBTQ issues in sports and culture in the 21st Century with an emphasis on LGBTQ elder, youth, and transgender issues. The conference will be held during the 2014 Gay Games taking place in Akron and Cleveland. Register today! Ticket includes registration to Game Change Conference, lunch, and post conference reception.
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Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical Celebrating BUA's 22nd Anniversary!

BUA Summer Camp is in session! Audiences went cuckoo for THE BIRDS ATTACK!, flipped their wigs for MOMMIE QUEEREST, and died laughing for L'IMITATION OF LIFE. Jimmy Janowski and a full manifest of Buffalo stage stars embark on POSEIDON: THE UPSIDE DOWN MUSICAL. One of the first and best specimens of the disaster movie genre, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE is archetype in full bloom: huge sets, big budget, a star-studded, award winning ensemble cast, and an over the top premise. As the celebratory clock strikes midnight, the luxury liner SS Poseidon is hit by a 90' high tidal wave and capsizes, forcing the cast of characters to climb from the top, now the bottom, up through the ship to safety. The production promises fabulous special effects and jaw dropping musical production numbers such as Just Panties… (What Else Do I Need?), Keep On Climbing!, Bad Girls Need Love Too and (In The Water) I'm A Very Skinny Lady, sang by Janowski as Mrs. Rosen, the part played in the movie by Shelley Winters
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Task Force Action Fund Says No to ENDA

WASHINGTON, DC: July 8 - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund today announced that it is withdrawing its support for the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The decision comes as broad religious exemptions, such as the one in ENDA, are creating gaping legal loopholes to discriminate in federal, state and local legislation.
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Task Force Outraged by Report of FBI Surveillance of Muslim Community Leaders

WASHINGTON, DC, July 9, 2014: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is deeply concerned over reports that the FBI has targeted U.S. Citizens for surveillance on the basis that their religious identity is evidence of terrorist activity.
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Task Force Welcomes Castro Confirmation

WASHINGTON, DC, July 9, 2014: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is welcoming the confirmation of Julian Castro as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
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Republican-Appointed State Judge Overturns Colorado's Marriage Ban

New York - July 9, 2014 – Today Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree struck down Colorado's ban on marriage for same-sex couples, becoming the latest of more than 20 federal and state judges to rule in favor of the freedom to marry in recent months. Judge Crabtree was appointed by Republican Governor Bill Owens in June 2001. The ruling was immediately stayed pending appeal.
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Utah Attorney General to Appeal Freedom to Marry Case to U.S. Supreme Court

New York - July 9, 2014 -- Today Utah attorney general Sean Reyes announced that he will ask the Supreme Court to review a June ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert. The ruling, by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, found that Utah's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional, and upheld a lower court ruling by a Utah federal judge in December.
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Researcher Seeks To Interview Lesbian and Bisexual Women Living in Rural Areas

Researcher Seeks To Interview Lesbian and Bisexual Women Living in Rural Areas
Dr. Julie Hartman-Linck, an Associate Professor in Women's Studies and Sociology at Frostburg State University is seeking to interview women who identify themselves as lesbian or bisexual and who consider themselves to have a more masculine/butch or androgynous gender presentation. These interviews are part of a research on the experiences and invisibility of lesbian and bisexual women in rural communities throughout the Appalachian region.
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UN: Ensure Access to Education for Lesbians, Bisexual and Intersex Women and Girls, and Transgender People

(Geneva—7 July 2014) The United Nations' independent expert committee on women's rights should spell out state obligations to protect lesbians, bisexual and intersex women and girls, and trans people (LBTI people) in education, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) said today.
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United Nations Secretary General Announces Benefits for Employees in Legally Recognized Same-Sex Unions

(New York—7 July 2014) On Thursday, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon formally announced on iSeek, the UN Secretariat intranet, a landmark policy change, introduced through a Secretary-General’s Bulletin (official administrative directive), entitled "Personal status for the purposes of United Nations entitlements," which he signed on 26 June 2014. This will transform workplace entitlements for employees of the UN system who are in legally recognized same-sex unions.
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Two Transgender Women Told to Remove Makeup and Wigs for License Photos and Called 'It' by Staff at West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles

New York, NY - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) calls upon the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles to allow two transgender women to take their driver's license photos as they appear on a regular basis. DMV officials at separate offices previously ordered the women to remove their makeup and wigs before the agency would photograph them and used defamatory language towards the women in the process.
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Internship Connects the Generations in the LGBTQ Community

LOS ANGELES & NEW YORK, July 2, 2014Saidzhan Abdul ( "Sy") is 24 years old, but he has chosen to spend his summer helping people who are more than twice his age. A student at the University of Pennsylvania, Sy is interning at the New York headquarters of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), thanks to the internship opportunities made available to him through his Point Foundations Scholarship and support of The Palette Fund.
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ACLU Withdraws Support for ENDA

WASHINGTON - July 8, 2014 – The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that it is withdrawing its support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in a statement also signed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Transgender Law Center. The ACLU objects to a provision in the bill that would allow religiously affiliated employers to continue to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
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LGBT Table at Erie Blues and Jazz Fest

NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc. will have an LGBT community table at the Blues and Jazz Festival. The Blues and Jazz Fest runs from Saturday August 2 to Sunday, August 3 in Frontier Park at W 8th and the Bayfront Highway, Erie PA. The event is organized by the Erie Art Museum, and draws thousands of people. There has been an LGBT table for several years now, and this is a great way to reach out to the greater Erie community in a fun and relaxed setting. Individuals are welcome to stop by to just say hello or to help staff the table. We usually run from noon to about 8 PM each day. Other related groups are very much welcome to also share table space, but we do ask that your group has representatives to help staff at least part of the event. To let us know, either register online at http://www.nwpapride.org and fill in the name of your organization for Group name for info table or contact Michael Mahler at (814) 456-9833 or [email protected].
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Erie Pride Fest 2014 on August 23

On Saturday, August 23, NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc. will put on the Erie Pride Fest, which will kick off with the Pride Parade. You can register for the Pride Fest here.
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