February, 2017 News (92 Articles with 148,269 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for February, 2017 ERIE WOMEN’S MARCH Erie Women’s March on Jan. 21 At least 2,000 people participated. The march was one of over 600 held in the US and around the world in solidarity with the National Women's March in Washington DC, sending a message to President Trump. Its main theme was women’s rights but the marches embraced a broader array of persons and issues affected by the Trump agenda: the environment, health care, civil rights, civil liberties, LGBTQ rights, disabled persons, working people, immigration, and so on. Photo by Deb Spilko

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Entertainment and Travel

Logo's Emmy Award-Winning Competition Series RuPaul's Drag Race Ru-Veals Cast Of Gag-Worthy New Season

NEW YORK, NYFebruary 2, 2017 – Emmy® Award-winning host RuPaul is taking the new season of Logo's "RuPaul's Drag Race" to the nines with the highly anticipated return of the groundbreaking competition series and revealing the next royal court of Queens set to compete for the crown. 
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Logo Hits the Slopes Again for Aspen Gay Ski Week

NEW YORK, NY – January 18, 2017Logo, the Emmy® award-winning and leading entertainment brand inspired by the LGBTQ community, today announced it is returning as the premiere sponsor for Aspen Gay Ski Week, the longest running week-long gay ski event in the nation. Logo will air programming from Aspen, titled Logo Snow Days, beginning January 22 and running through January 29. RuPaul's Drag Race favorites Katya, Ginger Minj, Alaska and Shangela, along with Comedian Matteo Lane, will host a week of mayhem from the slopes, giving viewers a taste of Aspen's most exciting events, parties and ski bunnies.
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Buffalo United Artists proudly presents 'STEVE' to celebrate its 25th anniversary

As Steven, a failed Broadway chorus boy turned stay-at-home dad, celebrates yet another birthday, he finds himself filled with fear and uncertainty. Is his partner of 16 years, Stephen, cheating on him? Is his best friend really dying? And what, exactly, has he done with his life? A portrait of a group of longtime, theater-loving friends as they navigate the many facets of midlife and mortality, Mark Gerrard's STEVE is a biting and bittersweet comedy about relationships and the unavoidable consequences of aging and the passage of time. The play is directed by Jessica K. Rasp and stars Zachary Bellus, Caitlin Coleman, Timothy Patrick Finnegan, David Granville, Eric Rawski, Michael Seitz. STEVE runs January 20th – February 11th , on Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. at Buffalo United Artists, Alleyway Theatre – Main Stage, One Curtain Up Alley, Buffalo NY. Tickets are $25.00 general admission, $23.00 for seniors, $20.00 for members, $15.00 for students. For reservations or more info, call the box office at (716) 886-9239.
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Local and Regional News

GOP's Anti-LGBT Votes Send Message VA Not Open for Business

GOP's Anti-LGBT Votes Send Message VA Not Open for Business
RICHMOND, Va. - February 1, 2017 – By killing an amendment that would have stripped discriminatory language from Virginia's Constitution and advancing a bill that reaffirmed the right of religious officials to refuse to marry same-sex couples, Virginia House Republicans this week sent the message that Virginia is not open for business.
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More than 400 Faith Leaders send letter to Trump Discouraging LGBT Discrimination

More than 400 Faith Leaders send letter to Trump Discouraging LGBT Discrimination
Washington, D.C. - Feburary 1, 2017 -- Today, more than 400 national faith leaders signed a letter sent to President Donald Trump urging him to not encourage tax-payer funded discrimination by signing an expected religious exemptions executive order, which could permit government contractors to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans-and potentially others. The letter comes just days after the White House touted Trump's support for LGBT rights – an assertion met with strong skepticism from many Americans who fear Trump will advance anti-LGBT policies through religious exemptions.
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USS Bonhomme Richard Introduces Navy's Transgender Policy Change

USS Bonhomme Richard Introduces Navy's Transgender Policy Change
SASEBO, Japan (Jan. 25, 2017) Capt. Jeffrey Ward, commanding officer of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), facilitates transgender training with chiefs and officers in the ship's wardroom. The training was conducted to provide command leadership guidance on transgender policy in accordance with Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) instructions. Bonhomme Richard, forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, is serving forward to provide a rapid-response capability in the event of a regional contingency or natural disaster. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Carlstrom/Released)
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GEAE needs assessment survey

In 2015, Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) developed a needs assessment survey for the LGBT community to determine what perceptions were regarding services available in the Erie area. 184 people participated in this survey.
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VisitErie's new LGBT page

VisitErie's new LGBT page
VisitErie now has a page at http://www.visiterie.com/explore/lgbt/ targeting LGBT visitors to our region that includes a listing of friendly resources, as well as major events. This is part of a long term collaboration effort between VisitErie and area LGBT organizations.
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PACA wants commercial renters

PACA wants commercial renters
Just before the New Year, PACA became the owner of 1501-1509 State Street. They are presently looking for renters. PACA needs help getting commercial renters for our first floor units. Help PACA out. The largest unit is up to 5,700 square feet but we can subdivide. The two other first floor units are each up to half that size. The architectural components for each of the three sites are amazing.
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NW PA Pride Alliance new board and officers

NW PA Pride Alliance board now includes Andrew Caswell, Kyle Hannon, Steve Wadsworth, and Jodi Shay. Officers are President Alex Sphon, Vice President Season Crannell, Secretary Daniel Thomas and Treasurer Michael Mahler. Advisory board has also added Christine Temple, Ashton James Smitham and Brittany Arment. You can see a complete list of NW PA Pride Alliance board members here.
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Minutes After Killing Bathroom Bill, VA GOP Kills LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

Minutes After Killing Bathroom Bill, VA GOP Kills LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill
RICHMOND, Va. January 19, 2017 – Minutes after killing Del. Bob Marshall's "bathroom bill," a GOP-controlled House subcommittee killed a bill that would have protected LGBT individuals from being fired for being gay.
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Penn State Behrend to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.

Penn State Behrend to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.
ERIE, Pa. – Jan. 11, 2017 – Penn State Behrend will honor Martin Luther King Jr. with a week of events and activities beginning Monday, Jan. 16.
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Erie Sisters and Brothers Transgender Support Group Cabin Fever Weekend Feb 24-26

Erie Sisters & Brothers Transgender Support Group’s Cabin Fever Weekend will be held February 24th through the 26th at the Bel-Aire Clarion Hotel, 2800 W 8th Street in Erie. The event coincides with the annual Bar Stool Open in Erie. For more info or to register a team to participate in the Bar Stool Open, visit www.mecaerie.org. For reservations at the Clarion, call (814) 833-1116.
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Deadline for February 2017 print edition (issue # 255) of Erie Gay News is Sunday, January 15

Deadline for February 2017 print edition (issue # 255) of Erie Gay News is Sunday, January 15
For the next print edition of Erie Gay News (issue # 255, cover dated for February 2017), please send in calendar events, news items, and other info for late January 2017 and beyond by Sunday, January 15. We expect that the next print edition will come out on Tuesday, January 24
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Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) End of Year Celebration

Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held their annual end-of-year celebration on Monday December 12, 2016 at the Ambassador Banquet and Conference Center, 7794 Peach St, Erie PA, to thank partners, sponsors, donors, and volunteers for their work this past year. GEAE president Will Koehler spoke of the organization’s accomplishments and events for 2016, including several awareness fundraisers, continuing education and trainings, a new office location, Intersection of Equality held at Penn State Behrend, and an improved website. In 2017, GEAE plans to continue their focus on raising the Municipal Equality Index for the Erie city and surrounding areas, and provide more services for LGBT seniors and youth.
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Local Faces and Photos

LBT Women Annual Holiday Dinner

On Sunday, January 8, 2017, LBT Women of Erie held their annual Holiday Dinner at The Colony Pub & Grille, 2670 W 8th St, Erie PA. In addition to great times and great company, there was also a gift exchange and donations were collected for the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW PA.
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Trigon Annual Drag Show

Trigon Annual Drag Show
On November 2, 2016, Trigon, Penn State University-Behrend's LGBTQ student group, again held their annual Drag Show in the Reed Union Building. The event was very well attended and there was also an amateur drag competition.
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Political, Activism and Legal

Report: Hostile Laws & Lack of LGBT Protections Leave Trans People at Risk

Denver, CO, February 2, 2017 - The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has seen both significant progress and painful setbacks recently. The 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of the freedom to marry was a major step toward legal equality, and there have been many successes since then at the federal, state, and local levels, including increased protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people. However, since the ruling, there have also been more than 200 anti-LGBT bills introduced in 20 states-and a recently leaked executive order draft suggests that the current administration intends to undermine established non-discrimination protections and open the door to a wide range of harms to the LGBT population.
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SAGE Stands Firmly Against Possible Executive Order Promoting Anti-LGBT Discrimination

[New York, NY - February 2, 2017] SAGE and our LGBT elder constituents are deeply troubled by detailed media reports indicating that the President intends to sign an unprecedented, sweeping order that would allow religious-based discrimination in federally-supported services and programs.  As reported, the Executive Order would subject many millions of Americans – including LGBT people and women in need of health care – to pernicious bias and mistreatment.
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Senator Wiener Introduces EQCA-Sponsored LGBT Seniors Long-Term Care Bill of Rights

Sacramento - February 2, 2017 –  Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) today announced the introduction of SB 219, the California LGBT Seniors Long-Term Care Bill of Rights, which will strengthen protections for LGBT seniors living in long-term care facilities against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status. The bill would protect all seniors living in skilled nursing facilities, immediate care facilities, and residential care facilities. The bill is co-authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California. It is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
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Pride at Work Reacts to Leaked Religious Exemptions Executive Order Draft

Washington - February 2, 2017 - Last night, a draft leaked of a potential executive order that would extend broad religious exemptions that amount to a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Pride at Work executive director, Jerame Davis, issued the following statement in response to the potential of such an order: "If enacted, this order could have devastating consequences for LGBTQ Americans, particularly our working brothers and sisters in the federal government. It is chilling that any administration would suggest such an expansive policy designed to curtail rights and protections, some of which have been in place for more than half a century.
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GLSEN Statement on Religious Exemptions Executive Order

NEW YORK (February 2, 2017) – GLSEN's Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, released the following statement in response to the public release of a sweeping executive order on religious exemptions that would allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) people "This executive order does not increase freedom of religion; rather, it creates a license to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans, women and other groups.
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Equality Federation Statement on Leaked Trump Possible Religious Exemption Executive Order

February 1, 2017 - In response to the leaked text of a proposed religious exemptions executive order that would give license to discriminate order Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation, said: "Donald Trump claimed on Monday to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights. If he signs this leaked executive order it will be clear that he is anything but respectful and supportive. Freedom of religion is a core American value that we all share, and that's why it is already firmly protected by our constitution. This staggeringly broad executive order would single out LGBTQ people and give a license to discriminate. It is unfair and out of step with the belief a majority of Americans share, that all of us should have a fair opportunity to provide for ourselves and our families without fear of discrimination."
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OutRight Reacts to Confirmation of Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State

(New York City - February 1, 2017 ) --- In reaction to Rex Tillerson's confirmation as the United States Secretary of State, OutRight Action International examined his responses to questions during his Senate confirmation hearing and Questions for the Record (QFR) about protecting LGBTIQ rights internationally. When Senator Chris Coons asked Secretary of State Tillerson during the Senate confirmation hearing about whether LGBTIQ rights are human rights, he responded, "American values don't accommodate violence or discrimination against anyone." Senator Coons also asked Secretary of State Tillerson if he thought advancing LGBTIQ rights was "a piece of our human rights advocacy and agenda around the world" to which Tillerson responded, "That's part of that American values that we protect."
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Anti-LGBTQ Zealot Jerry Falwell Jr. Appointed to Education Task Force

January 31, 2017 - Equality Federation condemns President Trump for appointing one of the nation's most prominent anti-LGBTQ leaders, Jerry Falwell Jr., to the Task Force on Higher Education. "Jerry Falwell Jr. espouses an extreme anti-LGBTQ and anti-science worldview. He poses a real threat to our community, especially young people who should have a fair opportunity to learn free from discrimination and prejudice," said Mark Daniel Snyder, Director of Communications. "It is deeply troubling that Mr. Trump has surrounded himself with the 'who's who' of homophobic, racist, and xenophobic leaders. We will resist any attempt to poison our educational system with anti-LGBTQ and anti-science extremism."
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Equality California Opposes Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to U.S. Supreme Court

January 31, 2017 - In response to today's nomination by Donald Trump of 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "Judge Gorsuch gained national attention for his opinions in two federal cases supporting an employer's right to refuse to pay for contraception as part of employee health coverage if doing so violates the employer's religious beliefs. That bodes ill for LGBT people who are facing an onslaught of laws sanctioning discrimination in the name of religious liberty.
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Outpouring of support for transgender student Ash Whitaker in the 7th Circuit

(Kenosha, WI - January 31, 2017) – Individuals and organizations representing youth, parents, school administrators, and women filed five amicus briefs yesterday in support of Ash Whitaker, a transgender boy and student at Tremper High School. Ash's school denied him access to the boys' bathroom and illegally singled him out to require him to use a separate bathroom from all other students. Ash, represented by Transgender Law Center, the largest national transgender advocacy organization, and Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights law firm, sued his school and in September won a preliminary injunction forcing the school to halt these discriminatory policies while the case moves forward. Ash has used the boys' restrooms at school without issue since the injunction was granted.The school district has appealed that ruling to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which in November denied the school district's request to put the injunction on hold pending the appeal.
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Senator Wiener Announces EQCA-Sponsored Bill Requiring Insurance Coverage of Medical Procedures for Long-Term HIV Surviv

Sacramento January 31, 2017–  Today, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) will introduce the HEAL (Help End Antiretroviral-related Lipodystrophy) Act, requiring insurance companies and government programs to cover medical treatment for lipodystrophy. The condition, causing changes in body fat distribution, impacts many HIV-positive people who took life-saving early, highly toxic HIV medication. Equality California is sponsoring the bill.
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NWLC Files Amicus Brief in Support of 16-year-old Male Trans Student Barred from Using Boys' Bathrooms at His Wisconsin

(Washington, D.C. - January 31, 2017) The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) and law firm Mayer Brown LLP submitted an amicus brief late afternoon yesterday in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District that challenges the school district's decision to exclude 16-year-old transgender student Ash Whitaker from using boys' bathrooms at George Nelson Tremper High School. School administrators and teachers steadily monitored Whitaker to make sure he used the girls' restrooms and insisted on using only female pronouns and his birth name when addressing him.
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Comcast's Xfinity On Demand To Feature GLAAD Media Awards Nominees And Award Shows

PHILADELPHIA, PA – January 25, 2017 -- Comcast today announced a partnership with GLAAD, the world's leading LGBTQ media advocacy organization, to curate more than 100 titles of GLAAD Media Awards-related content on Xfinity On Demand. Starting on January 31, in conjunction with the announcement of this year's 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards nominees, newly announced nominees, as well as previous award recipients will become part of the growing list of titles within the recently created Xfinity LGBTQ Film & TV Collection.
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National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance Blasts Trump's Executive Order on Immigration

January 26, 2017 - The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) blasted Mr. Trump's executive orders calling them "detrimental to the interest of the American public - immigrants and citizens alike," according to Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA's Executive Director.
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Equality California: Trump Immigration Executive Orders Are 'Appalling'

Washington, D.C. - January 26, 2017 -- President Donald Trump issued twin executive orders on Wednesday directing the Department of Homeland Security to begin constructing a $20 billion wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and to hire 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and 5,000 Border Patrol agents to carry out deportations. The executive actions also block "sanctuary cities" from receiving federal funding.
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Atkins, Wiener Announce Bill to Create New Gender Marker and Ease Process for Gender Change in Court Orders and on State

Sacramento - January 26, 2017 -Senators Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) today announced legislation to enable more transgender, intersex and nonbinary people to obtain state-issued identity documents that accurately reflect their gender. The bill is sponsored by Equality California and the Transgender Law Center.
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OutRight Reacts to Confirmation of Nikki Haley as US Ambassador to the United Nations

Pride at Work Condemns New Anti-Immigrant Executive Orders

Washington - January 25, 2017 - Today at the White House, the President announced several executive orders that deny entry to the United States for citizens of certain countries, authorizes the construction of a wall at the southern border, and punishes sanctuary cities that provide safety and security for undocumented people. Pride at Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, reacted strongly: "The President's new executive orders on immigration are shameful and dangerous. These actions will do nothing to make our nation more safe or secure. For many LGBTQ immigrants who've fled repressive regimes, deportation to their country of origin could be a death sentence.
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Transgender Law Center Rallies Resistance to Presidential Actions Targeting Immigrants and Muslims

Oakland, CA - January 25, 2017 – President Donald Trump today, according to news sources, issued an executive order containing sweeping attacks on immigrant communities, and plans to issue another order tomorrow further targeting refugees and Muslims. Transgender Law Center executive director Kris Hayashi issued the following statement in response: "Let's be clear: with today's actions and the actions he has promised tomorrow and going forward, President Trump is ordering the deaths of thousands, if not millions, of people who sacrificed everything for a chance of safety and freedom for their families. With the coded language of 'increasing enforcement,' he is ordering local police to target immigrants and tear parents away from their children, never to see them again. With 'building a wall,' he is ordering state officials at the borders to stop and detain transgender women fleeing murder, rape, and torture, and then march them back at gunpoint to the violence and death they narrowly escaped. With talk of refugee bans and restrictions, he would be ordering that, as Muslim refugees of persecution, war, and genocide seek safety in our shores, we turn them back and deny them their last chance at life simply because of their religious beliefs.
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American Majority Sides with LGBT Rights, Though so-called 'Bathroom Bills' Cause Division

American Majority Sides with LGBT Rights, Though so-called 'Bathroom Bills' Cause Division
NEW YORK, N.Y. – January 24, 2017 – With 40 state legislatures convened thus far in 2017, analysts report there are more than 30 measures introduced in 11 states that are intended to weaken or remove civil rights safeguards for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
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Pride at Work Reacts to TPP Withdrawal

Washington - Janaury 24, 2017 - On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order removing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which Pride at Work has opposed for more than two years. Pride at Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, made the following statement in response: "We are cautiously pleased that President Trump has removed the United States from the TPP. Aside from being a bad deal for working people, the environment, and our food supply, TPP would have elevated the trade status of countries that abuse, criminalize, and, in some cases, kill their LGBTQ citizens. What's more, the extensions on patents for certain biologically derived medicines would have driven up the cost of life-saving medications for severe illnesses like HIV.
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Women's March on Erie Draws Thousands

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, members of Keystone Progress joined thousands of women and men at the Women's March on Erie. This was one of the largest demonstration's in our city in years, and the largest march in national history. Thanks to all who participated. The event started off at the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, and marched around Perry Square, and concluded with a program of speakers and performers in Perry Square. Emcee was Heather Cole. Speakers and performers included Tiffany McCloud, Cindy Purvis, Marisa Moks-Unger, Christina Rieger, PhD., Rev. Beth Marshall, Karen Risser, Niken Astari-Carpenter, Brit Soule, Traci Andrews, Sarah Everett, Rabbi Emily Losben-Ostrov, Jessica Semler, and Doris Cipolla. The speakers addressed multiple issues including women's rights, immigrant rights, worker rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, environmental rights, rights for all races, rights of religious freedom, and rights of persons with disabilities.
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Equality California Pledges Vigilance as Trump Takes Power

Los Angeles - January 20, 2017 - In connection with today's inauguration of Donald Trump, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement "After a campaign that targeted women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color and LGBT people and was more divisive than any in living memory, the LGBT community has reason for great concern today. Since his election, Donald Trump has demonstrated a troubling lack of respect for many of the laws and traditions that are at the heart of our democracy-including freedom of the press and governmental transparency and ethics requirements. President Trump's attacks on critics, vilification of reporters and his threats to deny press access to the White House signal surprising hostility to institutions that are vital to a free people. In addition, he has appointed to his cabinet a line-up of nominees that reads like a who's-who of the anti-LGBT right, a cabinet more hostile to LGBT people than any in the past two decades.
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ACLU Announces First Legal Action on Trump Conflicts of Interest, Lays Out Plan to Challenge Proposed Policies

NEW YORK - January 20, 2017 - The American Civil Liberties Union has taken legal action seeking documents on conflicts of interest and violations of the Constitution and federal law posed by President Trump's and his family's business interests. The organization also released a Seven-Point Plan laying out how it intends to challenge other Trump policies and protect the Constitution.
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Anti-Transgender Bathroom Ban Laws Shot Down

January 19, 2017 - Proposed anti-Transgender bathroom ban laws were shot down today in Indiana and Virginia, and the House Speaker in Texas said a similar proposal was not a high priority and warned that it could be bad for business.
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State Rep Brian Sims, Mayor Jim Kenney call for statewide protection from anti-LGBT 'conversion therapy' for PA minors

State Rep Brian Sims, Mayor Jim Kenney call for statewide protection from anti-LGBT 'conversion therapy' for PA minors
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 19 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., Mayor Jim Kenney and other elected officials today called for passage of statewide legislation to protect minors from anti-LGBT "conversion therapy."
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Transgender Law Center launches Trans Immigrant Defense Effort (TIDE)

Oakland, CA - January 18, 2017 – In preparation for the Trump administration, Transgender Law Center has launched an emergency response project, the Trans Immigrant Defense Effort (TIDE), devoted to expanding legal support and services available to transgender and gender nonconforming immigrants. TIDE builds on Transgender Law Center's existing immigration programs and campaigns, including leadership in the #Not1More Deportation coalition, by recruiting and training pro bono attorneys to meet urgent legal needs.
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First Ever America's LGBT Economy Report Suggests LGBT Businesses Add $1.7 Trillion to US Economy

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, has released the first ever snapshot demonstrating the economic and social impact of America's LGBT business owners and entrepreneurs. The "America's LGBT Economy" report explores the revenues, types, sizes, and geography of LGBT-owned businesses currently certified by the NGLCC, as well as the number of jobs they create and the personal narratives of successful LGBT business owners who reflect the very best about America's innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.
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GLSEN Statement on Betsy DeVos' Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Education

NEW YORK (January 17, 2017) - GLSEN's Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, released the following statement in response to the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-Elect Trump's nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education. DeVos is a prominent school-choice and anti-public education advocate. "Today's confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos was not nearly long enough for the thorough discussion our children's education requires. Short as it was, it raised a lot of additional deeply troubling issues of grave concern to all parents. While we are relieved to hear DeVos rejecting the dangerous and thoroughly discredited practice of conversion therapy her family has previously supported, it was chilling to hear DeVos dodge questions about whether she would keep essential protections for transgender students, and basically refer all other civil rights protections for students with disabilities, students of color, and religious minority students "back to the states."
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Equality Federation Statement on Chelsea Manning

Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director: "Equality Federation applauds President Obama’s decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning. She has served more time in prison than any whistleblower in United States history, and, like many other transgender prisoners, was treated unfairly on multiple occasions based on her gender identity and expression."
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Equality California Urges Senators to Question HHS Nominee Tom Price on LGBT Record

Washington, D.C. - January 17, 2017 - Equality California has requested that members of the United States Senate probe the views and record of Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia), Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), regarding challenges facing LGBT people. Price's confirmation hearing is currently scheduled for 10:00 am Eastern time tomorrow.
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President Obama Grants Commutation to Chelsea Manning

WASHINGTON - January 17, 2017 - The Obama administration announced today the commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence for disclosing classified information that raised public awareness regarding the impact of war on innocent civilians. Manning will reportedly be freed in May 2017.
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NCAVP learns of the hate violence and intimate partner violence related homicides of Felicia and Miguel Barahona in NYC

January 17, 2017 - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has learned of the hate violence and intimate partner violence related homicides of Felicia Barahona, age 36, and Miguel Barahona, age 4. According to media reports, Felicia and Miguel were found dead in their apartment on Monday, December 26th, 2016, and the child's father, Isaac Duran Infante, age 23, has been arrested in connection with the homicide. Infante allegedly told police that part of the motivation for the killing was that Felicia dressed their son in "girl's clothing" and referred to the child as a girl on Facebook. Felicia Barahona had been Duran's teacher at Dewitt Clinton High School, and she had initiated their relationship when he was underage.
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Youngstown passes historic LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections

YOUNGSTOWN––At 2016 Youngstown Pride, Mayor John McNally struck up a conversation with Equality Ohio's Gwen Stembridge. The topic was a recent law change in Newark that made the city's laws more inclusive of LGBTQ people. The Mayor was curious about what Youngstown could do to be more inclusive of all citizens.
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Equality California Urges Senators to Question DeVos on Anti-LGBT Ties

Washington, D.C. - January 16, 2017 - Ahead of Tuesday's confirmation hearing of Betsy DeVos, nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education, Equality California requested that U.S. senators carefully examine her views on challenges facing LGBT students, including bullying, access to school bathrooms, other facilities and programs for transgender students, and the application of Title IX to sexual assault in K-12 schools and on college campuses.
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Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education would be a Blow to Students, says NWLC

Janaury 16, 2017 - The following is a statement by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women's Law Center (NLWC): "If Betsy DeVos is confirmed as Secretary of Education, America's students will suffer-especially our girls and young women. DeVos's record stands in stark contrast to the Department of Education's crucial function of protecting equal access to high-quality education for all students. Her efforts to oppose commonsense oversight of charter schools and dramatically expand vouchers, not only damages public schools but also threatens quality education for students nationwide. Her actions in Michigan demonstrate how much is at stake. Last summer, DeVos aggressively lobbied state legislators, spending over $1.45 million to derail provisions to increase oversight of Detroit charter schools, even including one that would 'stop failing charter operators from creating new schools.' Her efforts to shield charter schools from oversight remove accountability, including for basic civil rights principles of equality of opportunity. Detroit's charter school system has been recognized as one of the greatest school reform failures in the country.
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156 LGBT Elected Officials Call On President-elect to Advance LGBT Equality During His Presidency

Washington, D.C. - January 13, 2017 -Today, Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute commended LGBT elected officials representing millions of Americans from across the country for calling on President-elect Donald Trump to respect LGBT Americans and continue efforts to advance equality. In an open letter to the President-elect, 156 elected officials express grave concerns about his Cabinet appointees, and implore Trump to "be a president for all Americans." The letter is signed by U.S. Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Mark Pocan, as well as openly LGBT mayors, state legislators, city councilmembers and other LGBT elected officials.
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Equality California Urges Congress to Preserve the Affordable Care Act

Washington, D.C. - January 13, 2017 - Equality California has sent a letter to members of the California congressional delegation urging them not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement that provides better healthcare for the American people. 
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Equality California Requests Senators to Question HUD Secretary Nominee Ben Carson on LGBT Housing Issues

Washington, D.C. - January 12, 2017 - In connection with Thursday's confirmation hearings, Equality California has requested that senators thoroughly address the record of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development nominee Dr. Ben Carson on LGBT civil rights, and, if confirmed, whether he would continue existing HUD policies and programs protecting LGBT people and their families from discrimination in housing.
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General Mattis Indicates He Will Not Roll Back Open LGBT Military Service As Secretary of Defense

WASHINGTON - January 12, 2017 -- Today, the nation's leading organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members and their families -- the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) and OutServe-SLDN -- issued the following joint statement following comments made by President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Defense, retired General James Mattis, during confirmation hearings this morning. General Mattis indicated he will not work to reverse the current policies that allow any qualified person to serve, including LGBT people.
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Equality California Requests Senators to Probe Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson on LGBT Human Rights

Washington, D.C. - January 11, 2017 - In connection with ongoing confirmation hearings, Equality California has requested that senators question Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson on whether he would continue the State Department's existing broad commitment to global LGBT human rights if he is confirmed as U.S. secretary of state.
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Pennsylvania Schools Remain Hostile for Many LGBTQ Secondary Students, GLSEN Report Finds

PENNSYLVANIA (January 11, 2017) – GLSEN today released state-level data from its benchmark National School Climate Survey, which shows that U.S. secondary schools are slowly improving but remain hostile environments for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students.
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Mattis's Past Positions on LGBT Troops and Women in Combat Raise Concerns

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, released the following statement in anticipation of General James Mattis's confirmation hearing. "The military spent years studying LGBT troops and women in combat, and inclusive approaches are now established military policy. According to research by outside scholars as well as the military itself, inclusion strengthens readiness. General Mattis has expressed views regarding service by LGBT troops and women in combat that are inconsistent with the research, with established military policy and with the attitudes and expectations of a majority of Americans, military and civilian alike. Service members who have volunteered to risk their lives for our country deserve to know whether they can continue to serve on the basis of existing DoD policies, whether the General supports assessing service members on the basis of merit rather than social judgment, and whether he views combat as an exclusive zone for straight men."
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Equality California: Confirmation of Jeff Sessions Presents a 'Grave Threat' to LGBT Community

Los Angeles–In advance of U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) as U.S. attorney general, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "Sen. Jeff Sessions' long record of disinterest in, at best, or outright hostility to protecting the civil rights of LGBT people, women and communities of color disqualifies him from serving as U.S. attorney general. His record has demonstrated that he is incapable of performing one of the chief duties of the office: ensuring that our nation's civil and voting rights laws are enforced fairly and thoroughly.
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NCAVP mourns the homicide of Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, a two-spirit transgender woman killed in Sioux Falls, SD

January 9, 2017 -The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has learned of the homicide of Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, a 28-year-old two-spirit transgender woman found dead in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on January 6th, 2017. According to Mic, her death is being investigated as a homicide. Jamie identified as two-spirit, a Native American/First Nations term that has historically encompassed many mixed-gender roles; she also identified as a transgender woman. Since her death, friends and family have expressed their love for Jamie on Facebook, describing her as "originally from the Pine Ridge Indian reservation and a proud Oglala Lakota trans woman" and concluding: "our hearts are broken as we will miss her very much."
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ACLU Acts to Block Court Order That Permits Discrimination Against Women, Transgender People Seeking Health Care

FORT WORTH, Texas - January 9, 2016 - The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a motion to stay a nationwide court order preventing the federal government from enforcing an Affordable Care Act regulation that protects transgender people and women from discrimination in healthcare. The ACLU also asked the court to issue a formal ruling on its request to intervene in the lawsuit.
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ACLU Legal Director to Testify at Sessions' Confirmation Hearing

WASHINGTON - January 9, 2017 - The American Civil Liberties Union announced that its new national legal director, David Cole, will testify at Sen. Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing for attorney general on January 11. The ACLU is nonpartisan, and as a matter of longstanding policy does not support or oppose nominees for federal office. As a result, the ACLU rarely testifies in confirmation hearings. However, the organization is taking the extraordinary step of testifying in this hearing because Sen. Sessions' record raises significant, serious questions about his hostility to civil rights and civil liberties. The ACLU believes he must satisfactorily answer questions on these issues before a confirmation vote proceeds.
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Confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General Would Threaten the Rights of Women, says NWLC

"No window dressing can camouflage the simple fact that the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General would seriously threaten the rights of women and their families. Senator Session's record on women's legal rights and protections is dismal. And it is those very rights that the Attorney General must enforce. He has described Roe v. Wade as one of the worst, 'colossally erroneous Supreme Court decisions of all time.' And his repeated opposition to legislation providing women access to reproductive care, including abortion and contraception, underscores his hostility to women's right to this basic health care. He has consistently opposed laws protecting women's right to equal pay, including the bipartisan Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He has repeatedly taken positions hostile to the rights of women subjected to violence and sexual assault-including voting against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and voting to block a bill that would have increased protections from sexual assault for military members. When a tape in which Donald Trump described sexually assaulting and harassing women was released in October 2016, Sessions said that he wasn't even sure that grabbing a woman by her genitals is sexual assault. He has opposed bedrock civil rights protections such as the Voting Rights Act and even called the NAACP and the ACLU 'un-American' and 'Communist-inspired.' Sessions has been a leading voice in Congress against immigration reform and favored drastically reducing legal immigration. He has regularly opposed antidiscrimination protections for LGBTQ individuals."
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NCAVP mourns the homicide of India Monroe, a transgender woman of color killed in Newport News, VA

January 6, 2017 - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has learned of the intimate partner violence related homicide of India Monroe, a Black transgender woman killed in Newport News, Virginia on December 19th 2016. Original media initially misgendered Monroe, who was found dead in a home along with Mark Gray; both had died of gunshot wounds. According to a more recent article, Monroe's death has been determined a homicide and police are investigating it as a domestic incident. On social media, India's friends remembered her life and her sense of style, saying that she liked "looking amazing" and that she was always "so sweet and so kind and will truly be missed."
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NCAVP mourns the homicide of Mesha Caldwell, a transgender woman of color killed in Canton, Mississippi

January 6, 2017 - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has learned of the homicide of Mesha Caldwell, a Black transgender woman, killed in Canton, Mississippi on January 4th, 2017. According to Mic, she was initially misgendered by local press. In the wake of her death, friends, family and loved ones flooded social media with messages of love for Mesha.
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Equality California Calls on the LGBT Community and Allies to Support Planned Parenthood

Los Angeles - January 5, 2017 - In response to today's announcement by House Speaker Paul Ryan that he intends to target Planned Parenthood funding in his attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "Equality California is calling on all members of the LGBT community and our allies to contact their members of Congress today to protect healthcare for LGBT people and all Americans provided through Planned Parenthood. Federal law already prohibits Planned Parenthood from using federal funds for abortion services. But Speaker Ryan's plan endangers a vital health lifeline not only for women, but for tens of thousands of LGBT Californians and for hundreds of thousands of LGBT people across the country. Planned Parenthood offers transgender health services, lifesaving cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and sexual healthcare  information and education, among other things.  Planned Parenthood is a strong ally in the fight for full LGBT equality--including supporting the recently introduced federal Equality Act and other legislative priorities.  Planned Parenthood also has joined Equality California in strongly advocating for comprehensive, LGBT-inclusive sex education for our nation's young people.
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Discriminatory Restroom Ban Law Introduced in Texas

January 5, 2017 - Today Lt. Governor Dan Patrick introduced a bill cosponsored by Senator Lois Kolkhorst, that would discriminate against transgender people under the guise of protecting women's and students' privacy. The bill would ban transgender people from using the restroom that matches the gender they live as every day and ban cities and towns from passing nondiscrimination ordinances that protect transgender people from discrimination.
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Anti-LGBT 'License to Discriminate' & 'Bathroom Bill' Filed in KY House

(Frankfort, KY - January 4, 2017) Two anti-LGBT bills were filed on the first day of the Kentucky General Assembly--a "License to Discriminate" House Bill 105 and anti-transgender "Bathroom Bill" House Bill 106. Both measures were filed by Middlesboro Democrat Representative Rick Nelson. They come on the heels of critical statements from Republican Governor Matt Bevin, who recently eschewed anti-transgender bathroom legislation, calling it "silly" and "unnecessary." Similarly, newly-elected Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover has repeatedly reiterated his focus on legislation that fosters economic expansion and job growth over anti-LGBT measures.
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Health

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2017

Statement by Eugene McCray, M.D., Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the National Center for HIV/AIDS Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, CDC: This year's National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (February 7) offers us a moment to reflect on the tremendous toll HIV has taken on a generation of African-Americans in this country. It is also an opportunity to recognize the collective progress we've achieved in the African-American community: new diagnoses among African-Americans dropped by 14 percent from 2010 to 2014.
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Health Needs of LGBTQ Community Are Focus of New Interprofessional CE Courses

Health Needs of LGBTQ Community Are Focus of New Interprofessional CE Courses
BROOKFIELD, Wis., Jan. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthcare professionals can gain a greater understanding of the health needs and challenges of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community in OnCourse Learning's new series of interprofessional continuing education courses.
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Your own worst enemy

Are you a jealous person? What makes you jealous? Jealousy is a form of self-sabotage. It rarely helps you get what you want. Jealousy usually is a sign that something is "off" in you. Not necessarily in others; but in yo
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Download the MSMIT in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese

January 18, 2016 - MSMGF is pleased to make the MSMIT available for download on its website in four languages: English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. You can download these translated versions by clicking here.  A Russian translation separately led by the Eurasian Coalition for Male Sexual Health and UNFPA is available here. The MSMIT (or the MSM Implementation Toolkit) is the most recent operational guidance available on the design and implementation of HIV and STI programs targeting gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men worldwide. This tool was developed and launched in 2015 by UNFPA, USAID, and MSMGF in close partnership with UNDP, WHO the Gates Foundation and over 100 experts from around the world. The publication targets public-health officials and program managers, as well as NGOs and health workers implementing HIV and STI programs with gay men.
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Groundbreaking Public-Private Partnership Exceeds National Viral Suppression Rates by More than 25 Percent

WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 12, 2017 – The AIDS United Access to Care initiative expanded access to high-quality, life-extending care to over 5,000 people living with HIV, exceeded national viral suppression rates by 27 percent and saved up to $8.83 in future HIV-related medical care for every $1 spent These innovative models put client health first and move communities closer to achieving the goals and progress indicators in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy Updated to 2020.
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Spirituality and Religion

Reform Jewish Leader Applauds Historic Move by the Boy Scouts of America to Begin Including Transgender Members

WASHINGTON - January 31, 2017 -In response to the Boy Scouts of America's announcement that they will begin accepting members based on the gender listed on their application, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis and wider Reform Movement: "We applaud the Boy Scouts of America for taking this important step towards full equality for all of their members. As Reform Jews, we believe that every person is created in the image of God and that the Divine spark is present in each of us, thus we are all equally deserving of dignity and respect. This announcement is a momentous step toward broader inclusion and equality of transgender and gender non-conforming youth and adults in our society."
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

Donald Trump: Don't Use LGBTQ Communities As Political Wedge

It's a hard time to be part of our LGBTQ Asian Pacific Islander (API) community. As queer and  trans Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders, we are facing a moment of repression and rollbacks that we have not experienced since the Reagan years. In his first week in office, Donald Trump has already begun to implement the extremist campaign promises he ran on. We hold our Muslim members close as Mr. Trump enacts the promised Muslim ban. For 30 days, individuals from Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Iran will be banned from entering the U.S., simply because they live in a Muslim-majority country.
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No charges in officer-involved fatal shooting of transgender man, 23

No charges in officer-involved fatal shooting of transgender man, 23
Mercer County District Attorney Miles Karson Jr. announced there will be no charges in the fatal officer-involved shooting of Sean Hake, a transgender man. The announcement was made at a Jan. 17 press conference following an investigation by Pennsylvania State Police. Karson said the shooting occurred after an "escalation," and was justified.
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Obama made us cool

There is no other U.S. president who can stand even close to the legacy of President Barack Obama on LGBT issues. In fact, you could stack all the LGBT gains accumulated from every president before Obama together and they wouldn't come close to those made during his administration. No one column could simply list all his achievements on behalf of the LGBT community but there is one that most of our community, seems to be blind to: Thanks to President Obama, it became cool to support LGBT equality.
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The Amazon Trail: The Mightiest of Books

As an adult, I've had no interest in children's books. I left them behind half a century ago. Or did I? Chicken Little, for example, has been a powerful influence in my life. I was a nervous child-that hasn't changed-and the Little Golden Book didn't help. First my mother read it to me, then I read and re-read it on my own. I didn't have many books then, which might help to explain why visitors never see walls in the home my sweetheart and I share. The walls are covered by bookcases
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Contests

Enter to win Jonathan DVD from Wolfe Video!

Enter to win Jonathan DVD from Wolfe Video!
Enter to win Jonathan DVD from Wolfe Video! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, February 17 and Friday, March 10.
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Enter to win SweetSexySavage from Kehlani!

Enter to win SweetSexySavage from Kehlani!
Enter to win SweetSexySavage from Kehlani! SweetSexySavage, the debut album from R&B powerhouse KEHLANI. Featuring "Do U Dirty," "CRZY," "Distraction" and more! Available now: http://kehlani.mu/sic/sss. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, February 14 and Tuesday, March 7.
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Enter to win FALL DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!

Enter to win FALL DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!
Enter to win Fall DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, February 10 and Friday, March 3.
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Enter to win Move Your Body from Sia on vinyl!

Enter to win Move Your Body from Sia on vinyl!
Enter to win Move Your Body from Sia on vinyl! "MOVE YOUR BODY", the new single from global pop icon SIA. From the hit album This Is Acting - Available Now! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, February 7 and Tuesday, February 28.
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Enter to win a digital copy of Slumber Party remixes from Britney Spears!

Enter to win a digital copy of Slumber Party remixes from Britney Spears!
Enter to win a digital copy of Slumber Party remixes from Britney Spears! "SLUMBER PARTY" ft. Tinashe, the new club banger from pop icon BRITNEY SPEARS. Win a "Slumber Party" remix EP download card with mixes by Bimbo Jones, Danny Dove and more! Available Now! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, February 3 and Friday, February 24.
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Enter to win Book Tales by David G. Hallman!

Enter to win Book Tales by David G. Hallman!
Enter to win Book Tales by David G. Hallman! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, January 31 and Tuesday, February 21.
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Enter to win a digital copy of Alarm from Anne-Marie!

Enter to win a digital copy of Alarm from Anne-Marie!
Enter to win a digital copy of Alarm from Anne-MarieAlarm, the hit single from emerging artist ANNE-MARIE. Win special download cards ft. "Alarm" and "Alarm" remixes by Cahill, Toby Green and more! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, January 27 and Friday, February 17
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Enter to win a pair of tickets to A Chorus Line from Erie Playhouse!

Enter to win a pair of tickets to A Chorus Line from Erie Playhouse!
Enter to win a pair of tickets to A Chorus Line from Erie Playhouse, 13 W 10th St, Erie PA! Five lucky winners will get a pair of tickets to see this beloved musical! Please only enter this contest if you will be in Erie for the the run of the show (February 17-18, February 23-26, Mar 1-5) Winners will need to call in to the box office (814-454-2852 x0), identify yourself as a winner, to make reservations before you come in. Tickets will NOT be sent, just pick them up at the theatre after contacting the box office. The Erie Playhouse will print out the list of winners to have here in the box office, but nothing will happen with the names until the winners call in. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, January 24 and Tuesday, February 14.
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Miscellaneous

Should You Bring in a Professional Stager?

When you and your real estate agent are preparing to sell your home, one of the most important tasks is to make sure it looks amazing. Potential buyers are going to start making snap judgments about your home the instant they pull up, so you have to make certain everything from the front yard to the back fence looks great. Many sellers work with their agent to make their home look great. However, there's a new trend that's becoming very popular and is getting better results: working with a professional stager.
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LGBTQ students - scholarship deadline approaching

Los Angeles, January 9, 2017 – Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students seeking financial assistance for their undergraduate or graduate school education are encouraged to apply for a Point Foundation Scholarship. Students enrolling in undergraduate or graduate programs for the 2017-2018 academic year are eligible to apply for Point's multiyear scholarship.
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2017 LEAGUE Scholarship Application Period is Open

We are pleased to announce the 2017 LEAGUE Foundation LGBT Scholarship Program is now open for high school senior student applicants online at http://www.leaguefoundation.org/apply/. The application deadline for scholarships is midnight April 30, 2017 Eastern Time and awards will be dispersed in the summer of 2017. Full applicant qualifications are detailed online.
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How to Increase Your Home's Value Before You List It

Everyone wants to sell their home for more money than they bought it for, but that's not always easy. In some cases, your property value may actually decrease after you buy your home due to the value of the properties around you decreasing. Since you have no control over that, you have to look at what you do have control over: the state of your own house. If you make your house a wonderful, inviting home that potential buyers can imagine themselves settling down in, you're likely to get your asking price and perhaps a bit more.
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