July, 2015 News (108 Articles with 602,869 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for July, 2015 Matthew Robison at the 23rd Annual Pride Picnic on June 6.

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Local and Regional News

23rd Annual Erie Pride Picnic recap


NW PA Pride Alliance held the 23rd Annual Erie Pride Picnic on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park. About 230 people total attended and enjoyed a day in the sun with great food and friends old and new.
 There was a tragic auto accident at about 8 AM that morning near Beach 5. The 17 year old passenger was killed and the 21 year old driver was seriously injured. Access to the park was restricted/unavailable for several hours and the start of the picnic had to be delayed until 3 PM.
 Staff and volunteers worked very hard to make this a great event for all in probably the most challenging set of circumstances that a local Pride event has faced yet. People who made the Pride Picnic happen include Season Crannell, Chris Dye, Daniel Thomas, Alex Sphon, Kelly Kidd, Melanie Shubitowski, Julie, Collis Allen, Kim and Andrea, Jodi, Gary Snyder, Jeremy Snyder, Jeff Hill, Audrey, Johauna, the group of women who helped free the U-Haul when it got stuck in sand, Matthew Robison, and Deb Spilko.
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Decision Day Rally and Victory Celebration TONIGHT at 7 PM

The US Supreme Court has made marriage equality legal nationwide!!! Please join us tonight for a Decision Day Rally and Victory Celebration on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Erie PA! A program of speakers is planned. Please feel free to bring banners.
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Invitation to 5th Annual Afternoon for Equality July 19

The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality invites you to participate in our 5th Annual Afternoon for Equality on Sunday, July 19 at 21 La Rue Dix, 21 W 10th St, Erie PA.
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NW PA Pride is now 501(C)(3)


NW PA Pride Alliance has been determined by the Internal Revenue Service to ahave 501(C)(3) status. The effective date of exemption is May 30, 2015. Donations made to NW PA Pride are now tax deductible. NW PA Pride wishes to thank our treasurer, Alex Sphon, for completing the forms and handling the submission for this.
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Needs Assessment Survey for the Greater Erie LGBT Community

In conjunction with the Edinboro University Social Work Department, we are conducting a Needs Assessment Survey for the greater Erie LGBT community. Your opinion and experiences (whether you identify as LGBT or are a valued ally) are needed to help us have an accurate understanding of what it is really like for the LGBT community in the greater Erie area. Please take 10 minutes to complete this survey. You can find it online at here or at one of the many LGBT events taking place in our area throughout the summer! Survey results will be used to address the needs and service gaps identified in the survey. For further information, you can contact Dr. Hilary Copp at hcopp@edinboro.edu or Will Koehler, LCSW at wkoehler@edinboro.edu.
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Community Awareness Night on July 7

Crime Victim Center of Erie County is hosting our third installment of the FREE Community Awareness Night event on July 7, 2015 at All An Act Theatre, 652 W 17th St, Erie PA from 5 to 7 p.m.
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Elder Abuse-Know the Signs

June is a month for many things, but did you know that June 15th was Elder Abuse Awareness Day?  We don’t like to think about elder abuse, for many reasons.  Unfortunately, the reality is that senior citizens are at risk for sexual, physical, mental and financial abuse as well as neglect, abandonment and exploitation.  Abusers could be family members, spouses, friends, neighbors, strangers or professionals.  For many of these victims, the abuse is hidden.  They are isolated by the situation, the abuser, their own shame or a combination of the three. 
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Pride Night at the Erie SeaWolves

NWPA Pride is having a Pride Night at the Erie Seawolves in Jerry Uht Park, 110 E 10th St, Erie PA 16501 on Wednesday, July 8. We will have our own section and welcome any one to come out for a family and friends night at the ball park! A portion of the ticket costs will go directly to NWPA Pride and help us with future events. Tickets will be $9 and you must get a voucher from NWPA Pride prior to purchasing your ticket. Please note that this will also be a special Wednesday Buck Night. If you have any questions please contact Mike Mahler at president@nwpapride.org

See you there!

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Entertainment and Travel

US Premiere of Bette and Joan: The Final Curtain at Buffalo United Artists

Buffalo United Artists proudly presents the United States premiere of BETTE & JOAN: THE FINAL CURTAIN originally created by Foursight Theatre Co. UK, devised by Sarah Thom, Sarah Toogood & James Greaves, with script by James Greaves. The play is part of Buffalo Summer Camp 2015 and runs from July 24 through August 16.
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New LGBT Radio Show Launches in Valley

New LGBT Radio Show Launches in Valley
Youngstown, OH: The "Left of Str8" podcast launches Tuesday, June 30th, and every Tuesday thereafter, from 5-7pm, on the Insight Radio Network.  Topics include local and national LGBT Interests, Entertainment, Foodies, and Books.  Each week, a rotation of co-hosts talk with personalities and celebrities from around the country.  The intended audience is for LGBT adults and their allies around the country and world.  A corresponding website launches Tuesday as well at www.leftofstr8.com.
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Political, Activism and Legal

BREAKING: Navy & Marine Corps Raise Level of Authority Required To Discharge Transgender Sailors & Marines

WASHINGTON - July 2, 2015 – Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, responded to the news that the Secretary of the Navy has raised the level of authority required to discharge transgender Sailors and Marines. According to the memorandum dated July, 1, 2015, "Separations initiated under the provisions of the references for service members with a diagnosis or history of gender dysphoria, who identify themselves as transgender, or who have taken steps to externalize the condition, must be forwarded to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) for decision."
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HRC Foundation's Groundbreaking Conference Supporting LGBTQ Youth to be Held in Dallas

WASHINGTON - July 2, 2015 - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in partnership with the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA), is proud to announce that it will be holding its nationally-acclaimed Time to THRIVE conference for educators and youth-serving professionals at the Marriott Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center outside Dallas from February 12 - 14, 2016.
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Federal Judge in Alabama: Marriage Equality Must Begin in Every County. Now.

Washington, D.C. - July 1, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, put the spotlight on a new and crystal-clear order from Judge Callie V.S. Granade, a federal judge in Alabama, declaring in a matter argued by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) that all probate judges in the state must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately.
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TLDEF Applauds New York on Continued Efforts to Improve Transgender Health Care

New York, NY - July 1, 2015 - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund applauds New York State for continuing the expansion of transgender health care in its Medicaid program. New policy guidance clarifies that medically necessary care affecting an individual's appearance must be covered. Such care, which includes facial reconstructive surgery, hair transplantation, electrolysis, and other procedures affecting appearance, is often excluded from health insurance coverage as "cosmetic." But for many transgender people, such care is medically necessary for the treatment of gender dysphoria, the diagnostic term used to refer to discomfort or distress caused by a difference between a person's gender identity and their sex assigned at birth.
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Federal Court Confirms That All Alabama Counties Must Stop Enforcing Unconstitutional Marriage Ban

(MOBILE, Ala., July 1, 2015)–U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade today issued an order confirming that her injunction directing all Alabama probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is now in effect and requires immediate compliance. A violation of Judge Granade's order could result in a county probate judge being held liable for contempt of court, attorneys' fees, financial penalties, and any other remedies the court deems proper.
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Statement from the Pennsylvania Youth Congress on the General Assembly's Passage of HB 229

HARRISBURG, Pa.- July 1, 2015 - The Pennsylvania Youth Congress expresses its concern with the unanimous passage on Monday of HB 229 from the State Senate. The legislation, championed by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-105), was approved by the State House of Representatives in a 193-5 vote in February 2015, and now awaits approval from Governor Wolf. The cyber-harassment bill provides for the specific criminalization of sexual-based cyberbullying - by both adults toward minors, and minors toward other minors.
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DOJ Filing Supports Transgender Student's Right to Appropriate Restroom Facilities in ACLU Case

WASHINGTON - June 30, 2015 – The Department of Justice today filed a statement of interest in federal court explaining that transgender students must be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity under Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972.
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U.S. Department of Justice Affirms Title IX Protection for Transgender Students

(Washington, DC, June 30, 2015)—Today, the Department of Justice affirmed that Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use the restroom that matches their gender identity. Earlier this month, G.G., a transgender boy in Virginia sued his school district for denying him access to the boys' restroom and is seeking a court order requiring the school to allow him to use the boys' restroom before the new school year begins.
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IGLHRC Condemns Turkish Police Response to Pride Event

(New York - June 30, 2015) - The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) today condemned the Turkish government's use of pepper spray, water cannons, and rubber bullets to stop the 13th Istanbul lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) Pride Parade, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 28.
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PG&E Contributes $250K to NCLR's Groundbreaking Work

(San Francisco, CA, June 30, 2015)—Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has awarded the National Center for Lesbian Rights a $250,000 contribution as part of the utility company's long-standing commitment to LGBT workplace equality. The contribution comes on the heels of the NCLR's landmark U.S. Supreme Court marriage victory and will provide thousands of LGBT individuals with continued resources.
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Bronze Star Marine to be denied marriage license in San Saba County Texas

(Washington, DC - June 30, 2015) This is a developing story. Today, Jason White and his fiancé Jonathan Means are planning to obtain a marriage license from the San Saba County Clerk in Texas. However, the clerk, Kim Wells has indicated that she will deny their application for a marriage license presumably based on Attorney General Ken Paxton's nonbinding opinion that clerks may claim religious exemptions in performing marriages for same-sex couples. The Texas Department of Vital Statistics has updated the forms necessary to issue marriage licenses to same-sex partners and therefore there is no justifiable basis for the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
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Gov. Chris Christie Vetoes Important Pro-LGBT Surrogacy Bill

TRENTON, NJ - June 30, 2015 – Last night, on the day before announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Governor Chris Christie shamefully vetoed important bipartisan legislation passed by the New Jersey Legislature – the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act – that would have modernized New Jersey law by giving legal parental rights of a child carried by a gestational surrogate to the intended parent at birth.  Garden State Equality, New Jersey's statewide advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization, decried Governor Christie's veto of this important legislation impacting LGBT people and their families.
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VA To Extend Benefits To Same-Sex Couples Following Supreme Court Ruling

WASHINGTON – On Monday, June 29, 2015, the VA confirmed they would begin extending benefits to legally married same-sex couples nationwide as a result of the historic marriage equality ruling by the Supreme Court last week. Previously, the VA had denied some benefits to same sex couples who lived in states where their marriages were not recognized. Last week's Supreme Court ruling negated the legal basis for those denials and the VA confirmed they are currently drafting guidance for their benefits offices to begin issuing benefits to those couples.
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TLDEF Responds to New Guidance Impacting Transgender Immigrants

New York, NY - June 29, 2015 - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund responded to news that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had issued new guidance on the treatment of transgender immigrants who are held in its detention centers. The guidance sets forth practices for identifying transgender detainees, processing them, and holding them in ICE detention centers.
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OutServe-SLDN Applauds VA for extending benefits to LGB veterans and families

(Washington, DC - June 29, 2015) Moments ago the Veterans Affairs Department announced that same-sex couples in states across the country will now have access to previously denied benefits following the Supreme Court's landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision that granted marriage equality in all 50 states.
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CT Governor Signs Bill Modernizing Process to Change Gender on Birth Certificates

June 29, 2015 - Last week, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law a bill that updates the state's birth certificate procedures, enabling transgender people to change their birth certificates to the appropriate gender without having to undergo invasive and sometimes unnecessary surgical requirements.
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Justice at Stake Campaign Statement in Response to Attacks on SCOTUS

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29 - Justice at Stake and Justice at Stake Campaign Deputy Executive Director Liz Seaton issued the following statement in response to statements and proposals aimed at the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of recent rulings:
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Advocates, Members of Congress Call for Release of LGBTQ Immigrants as ICE Announces Transgender Detention Measures

Washington, DC - June 29, 2015 - Last week, 35 members of Congress sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) calling for sharp limits on the use of detention of LGBTQ immigrants due to their vulnerability to sexual assault. And today, DHS's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued guidance on the detention of transgender non-citizens.
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GLSEN Reflects on Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality, Calls for Focus on Employment Protections

NEW YORK (June 29, 2015) – As marriage equality becomes the law of the land in practice, GLSEN's Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, calls on legislators and the public to focus on the work still to be done to ensure equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
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HRC Takes on The World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY - June 27, 2015–  During a press conference with local and international stakeholders in Salt Lake City today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced its sponsorship of  a gathering of local leaders, citizens, and advocates that promotes a positive vision of LGBT people and their families.  Set to begin just days before the World Congress of Families (WCF) will host its own international convention in October, the Inclusive Families Conference will aim to preempt the deeply divisive and destructive anti-LGBT animus and collaboration of the anti-LGBT hate group and their affiliates. Alongside the announcement, HRC released a new edition of its scathing report on the organization, Exposed: The World Congress of Families.
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With Sweeping New Ruling, Marriage Equality Must Begin in All 50 States

June 26, 2015 - In a historic 5-4 ruling, today the Supreme Court of the United States found bans on marriage equality to be unconstitutional—and that the fundamental right to marriage is a fundamental right for all. The majority's opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, represents a clear mandate for governors, state attorneys general and officials everywhere to cease their attempts to uphold these discriminatory statutes."Today's ruling makes perfectly clear that there is no legal or moral justification for standing in the path of marriage equality. Couples from Mississippi to North Dakota to Texas shouldn't have to wait even a moment longer to be treated equally under the law," said HRC president Chad Griffin."State officials across the country must act swiftly to ensure that every obstacle to obtaining a marriage license is removed. To do anything less is a shameful attempt to cement their state on the wrong side of history. But what's clear today is that our work isn't done until every discriminatory law in this nation is wiped away. The time has come in this country for comprehensive federal LGBT non-discrimination protections. We now have to work harder than ever before to make sure LGBT Americans cannot be fired, evicted or denied services simply on the basis of the marriage license that they fought so hard to achieve."
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ACLU of PA Statement on Marriage Equality Decision

PHILADELPHIA - June 26, 2015 – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which found that the federal Constitution protects same-sex couples' freedom to marry in all fifty States, D.C., and the U.S. territories.
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TLDEF Celebrates Historic U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Extending Marriage Protections to LGBT Couples Nationwide

New York, NY - June 26, 2015 - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) joins millions of advocates across the nation in applauding the United States Supreme Court's landmark ruling extending the freedom to marry throughout the nation. The decision will improve the lives of tens of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families who have experienced tremendous hardship as a result of discriminatory restrictions on the freedom to marry.
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NCTE Celebrates Marriage Ruling; Renews Call for Full Equality

Washington, DC —June 26, 2015- Today, the US Supreme Court issued their long-awaited ruling bringing the freedom to marry to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people nationwide. In response to the historic ruling, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said:
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Equality Federation Executive Director Rebecca Isaacs on Supreme Court Marriage Equality Decision

"Today, I think back to 2008, when I was finally able to marry the woman I have shared my life with for nearly 25 years. It was an incredibly joyous day and so important to us and our daughter. My heart is so full knowing all loving couples across our great nation will now be able to share in the freedom to marry. Our community owes much gratitude to the legal groups, plaintiffs, state-based organizations, and, especially, to all the couples and families who bravely shared their stories for the past several decades. I've never felt more energized to get the work done so that all Americans can be fully equal and protected under the law."
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Historic Supreme Court Ruling Brings Joy to Families and Victory to Decades-Long Freedom to Marry Movement

Washington, DC - June 26, 2015 – Today the Supreme Court held that same-sex couples can no longer be denied the freedom to marry guaranteed by the Constitution, assuring that soon all loving and committed couples will be able to marry throughout the United States.
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Message to Those Gathered Outside Supreme Court for Marriage Equality: 'Liberation Can't Wait'

WASHINGTON DC - June 26, 2015 -- Following the Supreme Court's release of its decision on Obergefell v Hodges, GetEQUAL leaders and partners are taking action this morning to call attention to the long list of other needs facing the LGBTQ community. Organizers with GetEQUAL and partner organizations are standing outside the Supreme Court dressed in black and holding a banner reading "Liberation Can't Wait" -- reminding the American public, mainstream media, and other LGBTQ organizations that we must continue to work toward liberation for all LGBTQ people.
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OutServe-SLDN Applauds Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality

WASHINGTON (June 26, 2015) – OutServe-SLDN Interim Executive Director Matt Thorn issued the following statement in response to today's Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which will require states to license a marriage between two people of the same sex:"Today, our community was told by the Supreme Court of the United States that you are an American, and a citizen of the United States. Your relationship, your marriage and your family matters to our community as a country and must be respected and treated fairly under the law.
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Supreme Court Marriage Equality Decision Means LGBT Military Finally Have Full Access to Veterans Benefits

WASHINGTON - June 26, 2015 - Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, responded to the news that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of nationwide marriage equality.
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TLDEF Denounces New York State Senate's Failure to Pass Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)

New York, NY - June 25, 2015 - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) denounces the New York State Senate's failure to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. The bill would have added transgender people to New York's hate crimes law and protected them from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. The bill was not brought up for a vote before the legislative session came to a close today, ending its chances for passage this session. The legislation has passed the New York State Assembly 8 times since it was first introduced 12 years ago, but the Senate has never voted on it. Governor Andrew Cuomo has voiced support for GENDA and promised to sign it into law if it ultimately passes.
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State Department Report Documents LGBT Human Rights Violations

WASHINGTON - June 25, 2015 - Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, lauded the 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for once again including information about the rights of LGBT people worldwide. A compilation of the information from the report regarding sexual orientation and gender identity can be found here. Included in this compilation is information about new anti-LGBT laws as well as the ongoing persecution and violence facing LGBT people around the world.
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NCTE Joins Rally for Voting Rights on 2nd Anniversary of Shelby County v. Holder

Roanoke, VA - June 25, 2015 - Today, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Executive Director Mara Keisling joined hundreds civil rights advocates at a rally organized by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, held on the second anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which nullified important protections in the Voting Rights Act.
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A Day After President's Condemnation Of Conversion Therapy, NJ Jury Finds JONAH Guilty of Consumer Fraud

(San Francisco, CA, June 25, 2015)—After hours of deliberations, a New Jersey jury found Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) liable for consumer fraud. JONAH, a group that promised gay men that it would turn them into heterosexuals, was sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2012 under New Jersey's consumer fraud law.
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HUGE LEGAL VICTORY: Jury Finds That Anti-LGBT Conversion Therapy Is Fraud

WASHINGTON - June 25, 2015 – Today, in Michael Ferguson v. JONAH – a case brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center in New Jersey Superior Court against practitioners of so-called"conversion therapy" – the jury found that the defendants providing this dangerous and discredited anti-LGBT practice are guilty of fraud under New Jersey's consumer protection laws. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the decision as an important legal victory.
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NJ Group's Gay 'Conversion' Program Violates Consumer Fraud Act and is Unconscionable

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - June 25, 2015 – After a three-week trial in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, a jury today determined that Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) violated New Jersey consumer fraud protections and committed unconscionable business practices by telling clients and potential clients that they were disordered and by offering"conversion therapy" services it claimed could turn their gay clients straight.
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New Study Defies Anti-LGBT Parenting Critics

WASHINGTON - June 24, 2015 - Today, with an imminent ruling expected from the highest court in the land on marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, highlighted a new study that found"the literature on outcomes for children of same-sex parents is marked by scientific consensus that they experience ‘no differences' compared to children from other parental configurations." Co-authored by professors from the University of Oregon and the University of Colorado at Denver, the study reviewed 19,000 studies and articles from between 1977 to 2013.
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NCLR Applauds Supreme Court Rulings on Obamacare and Fair Housing Act

(Washington, DC, June 25, 2015)—This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Affordable Care Act permits subsidies to be provided to persons in the 34 states that refused to set up their own exchanges. In a separate decision, the Court also ruled that disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act.
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Kyrgyzstan Passes Draft Anti-LGBT 'Propaganda' Bill That's Worse Than Russia's Law

WASHINGTON - June 24, 2015 –– Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, condemned the vote by the Kyrgyzstan National Assembly to pass new and discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation during its second reading.  The legislation passed through an initial reading in October, but had been stalled until today's vote. Another parliamentary vote is required before the legislation is submitted to Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, whose signature is necessary for the legislation to become law.  Proposed over a year ago, this legislation emulates Russia's anti-LGBT"propaganda" law.  However, Kyrgyzstan's version mandates even harsher punishments, including jail time, for expressing sentiments that could"create a positive attitude to unconventional sexual orientation."  This law solidifies the ongoing harassment and violence waged against LGBT Kyrgyz.
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How Can the Obama Administration Advance Fairness & Equality for Transgender Americans?

WASHINGTON - June 24, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, highlighted specific steps the Obama Administration should take to improve the lives of transgender people. Following an initial release highlighting important actions needed for LGBT service members and veterans, this second release in a series of highlights from HRC's 2015 Blueprint for Positive Change – actions the administration can take to change the lives of LGBT Americans for the better – identifies some of the numerous areas significantly impacting transgender people that the Obama Administration can address within various departments of the federal government.
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Rep. Speier to Introduce Legislation to Lift Transgender Military Ban

WASHINGTON, DC = June 23, 2015 - Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, responded to the news that Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) plans to introduce federal legislation to lift the ban on transgender service members in the military caused by outdated regulations.
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OPM Announces Healthcare Plans Cannot Have Blanket Exclusions On Transition-Related Care

WASHINGTON - June 23, 2015 – Today, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that Federal Health Benefit Plan (FEHB) providers will no longer be permitted to have blanket exclusions on all transition-related services in their federal employee healthcare plans. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the news as a victory for transgender federal employees.
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Cochranton trans teen's grad robe accurately reflects gender


Cochranton trans teen's grad robe accurately reflects gender

COCHRANTON—Cochranton Area Junior Senior High School graduate Tanner Hunter accespted his high school diploma wearing the gown that represented his gender. The school originally denied Tanner's request to wear red, as the other male students would be wearing.
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Here's why we all need to #ThankFrank

Here's why we all need to #ThankFrank
Where would I be without the work I love? There is nothing more rewarding to me than working on behalf of American workers. Serving U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is both an honor and a joy, and I'm proud of what I've accomplished as a public servant during my"tour of duties" as a political appointee in the Clinton and Obama administrations. The work is exhilarating, interesting every day and has become a central part of who I am.
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Out of Touch With America? With New Anti-LGBT Marriage Legislation Introduced, Congress Must Prove Otherwise

WASHINGTON - June 19, 2015 — This week, anti-equality Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (S. 1598, H.R. 2802) – legislation that would create a breakdown of government services and runaway litigation by giving federal employees and contractors a right to sue the federal government over opposition to marriage equality. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization condemned the legislation as reckless, calling on Congress to prove they are not out of touch with the far majority of Americans who support marriage equality.
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Pennsylvania Equality Project: Celebrate Marriage Equality and T-shirts

It is with a sense of Pride and eagerness that I unveil our newest t-shirt design. We are selling them through http://www.booster.com/paequalityproject. Each shirt sells for $15, plus $5 flat rate for shipping your order. Sizes for these unisex t-shirts range from Youth Small up to 4XL. All other details about the shirts are available from the page.
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Pride at Work Reacts to Murders at Emmanuel AME Church

WASHINGTON, DC - June 18, 2015 - Wednesday night, a young white man walked into the historic Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina and murdered nine African-American parishioners. Witnesses heard the killer make racially motivated statements before he opened fire. Pride at Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, responded with grief and disgust:
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OutServe-SLDN remains cautiously optimistic to the report that Governor Jeb Bush is open to transgender military service

WASHINGTON (June 15, 2015) – Today presidential candidate and former Governor Jeb Bush stated that he was open to transgender military service.
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NCLR Statement on Hate Murders at Historic A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC

(San Francisco, CA, June 18, 2015)—Last night in Charleston, South Carolina, a white gunman opened fire on a prayer group at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Church during Bible study. Nine people were murdered, including state senator and pastor of the church Rev. Clementa Pinckney and his sister. The alleged gunman, Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was captured early this morning. The murders are being investigated as hate crimes.
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Married Same-Sex Couples File Preliminary Injunction against Social Security in Class Action Lawsuit

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Justice in Aging, and Foley Hoag LLP filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the Social Security Administration (SSA) yesterday (June 17) . As the country awaits an historic Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that could bring marriage equality to all states, same-sex couples who are already married and living in poverty have faced extreme financial hardship because of discriminatory actions by the Social Security Administration. The parties seek to permanently stop SSA from withholding or otherwise pursuing funds from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients whose same-sex marriages the agency failed to recognize after the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
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New Poll Shows Indiana Gov. Pence's Re-Election on the Ropes Because of Anti-LGBT Legislation

WASHINGTON - June 17, 2015 – Today, a new poll revealed Indiana Governor Mike Pence's deeply damaged political reputation continues to decline over two months after signing into law an anti-LGBT"religious refusal" bill – a law that put LGBT Hoosiers at risk of discrimination, causing an overwhelming outcry from fair-minded people and businesses demanding the bill be fixed. As the Indianapolis Star reported, the new poll is"bad news for Gov. Mike Pence on the eve of his formal re-election announcement: A majority of voters want a new governor." In light of the new poll, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, warned other state legislatures and governors considering similar anti-LGBT legislation not to make the same mistake.
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How Would 50-State Marriage Equality Affect Same-Sex Couples in Healthcare? Adoption? And the Workplace?

WASHINGTON - June 17, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released resources that answer questions many same-sex couples are asking in advance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could make nationwide marriage equality a reality.
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HRC Encourages Business Community to Maintain Domestic Partner Benefits

WASHINGTON - June 16, 2015 - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today strongly urged employers to maintain domestic partner benefits for their workers going forward as a sign of sustained commitment to family diversity, inclusion and protection of LGBT employees whose rights outside the workplace are not guaranteed under law in many states.
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Jeb Bush Launches Campaign Days Before SCOTUS Ruling on Marriage Equality: Where Does He Stand?

WASHINGTON - June 15, 2015 – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made his long-expected campaign launch official today, entering the race just days before the U.S. Supreme Court is widely expected to issue its ruling in Obergefell v Hodges -- a case that could lead to nationwide marriage equality. During the lead-up to his campaign launch, Bush has expressed support for"traditional marriage," and has pointedly refused to say if he would consider a Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality final and decline efforts to reverse it.
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HRC Statement On Charleston Church Shooting

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2015 – Today, Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, issued the following statement regarding the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. In coordination with state and local authorities, the case is being investigated by federal authorities as an apparent hate crime."Today we are once again tragically reminded of the serious and widespread problem we face as a nation with violent, hate-motivated crimes – a problem which we as a nation must commit to addressing. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the communities impacted by this horrific and senseless tragedy in Charleston seemingly targeted because of their race. As this heinous crime reverberates across the entire country, we stand united with allies and friends nationwide to end the cycle of violence motivated by hatred."
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Pennsylvania Equality Project Candlelight Vigil

In its first event ever , the Pennsylvania Equality Project held a small candlelight vigil across from the Federal Courthouse at 6th and State St. in Erie, PA on Sunday, April 26 at 7 PM. Although only 12 people braved the cold weather to attend this event, the vigil was the first of many related events throughout the United States. On Tuesday, April 28, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments stemming from various cases in the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld bans against marriage for same-sex couples. The purpose of the evening was to draw attention to the upcoming cases, and to press the issue that marriage for same-sex couples is not legal across the US. A decision from the US Supreme Court is expected by late June and could potentially allow for nationwide marriage equality.
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N.C. House Overrides Veto, Enacts Anti-LGBT Law

June 11, 2015 - Equality Federation denounced today the enactment of North Carolina Senate Bill 2, an anti-LGBT law that allows magistrates and other public officials to opt out of performing marriage services for couples if they have religious objections to certain marriages. The law had been vetoed by Governor Pat McCory, but today the House of Representatives voted 69-41 to override his decision, which means SB 2 will become law.
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HRC Condemns Michigan Governor Snyder for Signing Extreme Anti-LGBT Adoption Legislation Into Law

WASHINGTON - June 11, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, condemned Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for signing a package of extreme anti-LGBT adoption bills into law. In the name of “religious freedom,” the dangerously broad bills have enshrined special taxpayer-funded discrimination into Michigan law and permit rampant discrimination against committed and loving LGBT couples, putting thousands of Michigan children at risk of not finding the loving homes that they need.
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NC Legislature Overrides Governor McCrory's Veto of Mean-Spirited Public Official 'Opt-Out' Legislation

WASHINGTON - June 11, 2015– Today, by a vote of 69-41, the North Carolina House of Representatives voted to override Governor Pat McCrory's veto of SB 2 - a needless and mean-spirited law allowing "magistrates, assistant registers of deeds, and deputy registers of deeds to recuse themselves from performing duties related to marriage ceremonies due to sincerely held religious objections."
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ACLU Sues Va. School Board for Discriminatory Transgender Restroom Policy

RICHMOND, Va. - June 11, 2015 – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board for adopting a discriminatory bathroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers. The policy effectively expels trans students from communal restrooms and requires them to use "alternative private" restroom facilities.
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Michigan Poised to Repeat the Mistakes of Indiana with Anti-LGBT Bills

WASHINGTON - June 10, 2015 – Today, ignoring the outcry around the nation to stop the attacks on LGBT people and their families, the Michigan Senate passed three dangerously broad and extreme anti-LGBT adoption bills that would enshrine special taxpayer-funded discrimination into Michigan law. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, urged Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to veto the toxic legislation that is now headed to his desk.
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LGBTI People Gain Ground on Rights Advocacy in Turkish Parliamentary Elections

(New York) - June 10, 2015- The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) welcomes the results of the June 7 parliamentary election in Turkey, which has seated an unprecedented 22 outspoken advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights. These new members of Parliament are allies of the LGBTI community who have signed a pledge to support LGBTI rights.
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SPLC's Intelligence Report: American Muslims Under Siege

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - June 10, 2015 – Almost 14 years after the 9/11 terror attacks sparked a violent backlash against American Muslims, anti-Muslim hatred is again on the rise as activists and politicians exploit atrocities committed by the Islamic State and other jihadists, according to the latest issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, released today.
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Arkansas Judge Orders State to Respect Legal Marriages of Same-Sex Couples

New York- June 9, 2015 – Today Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in favor of respecting the marriages of the over 500 same-sex couples who were married in the "window" of the freedom to marry in Arkansas in 2014.
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Frankel welcomes 'history-making' confirmation of Pa. physician general

Frankel welcomes 'history-making' confirmation of Pa. physician general
HARRISBURG, June 9 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, welcomed today's confirmation of Dr. Rachel Levine as Pennsylvania's physician general.
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Secretary of Defense Announces Non-Discrimination Protections For Gay & Lesbian Troops

WASHINGTON - June 9, 2015 - Today, at the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride month observance for the Department of Defense (DoD) at the Pentagon, Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the Department of Defense has "completed the process for updating its military equal opportunity policy to include sexual orientation, ensuring that the department, like the rest of the federal government, treats sexual orientation-based discrimination the same way it treats discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, age, and national origin."
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Department of Defense to Extend Non-Discrimination Protections for LGB Troops

WASHINGTON - June 9, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the news that the Department of Defense plans to extend non-discrimination protections to LGB troops by updating the Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) program to include sexual orientation as a protected class.
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American Medical Association To Department of Defense: There Is No Medical Rationale In Transgender Military Ban

WASHINGTON - June 8, 2015 - Today, the American Medical Association (AMA) approved a resolution saying there is "no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from service in the U.S. military." The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, hailed the resolution saying it should compel Secretary Carter to take action.
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Rep. Lowenthal and Sen. Markey Lead Coalition Asking President Obama To Extend LGBT Protections To All Federally Funded

Rep. Lowenthal and Sen. Markey Lead Coalition Asking President Obama To Extend LGBT Protections To All Federally Funded
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 8, 2015) – Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today joined with Senator Edward Markey (MA) and nearly 60 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Barack Obama calling for further executive action to ensure that federal funds are not used to subsidize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) discrimination either in the United States or abroad.
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American Medical Association Says There is No Medical Rationale in Transgender Military Ban

WASHINGTON, DC - June 8, 2015 - Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, responded to the news that the American Medical Association (AMA) passed a resolution saying there is there is no medical rationale for firing transgender personnel from the militar
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GLAD is Wicked Proud of Its History

June 8, 2015 - To celebrate the 2015 Pride season, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has produced an interactive timeline of its history at http://www.glad.org/about/history.
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Health

Healthy Inspiration for This 'Lost Generation'

Healthy Inspiration for This 'Lost Generation'
Our stories of yesterday can inspire this new lost generation to get healthy and stay healthy. I walked uphill both ways to and from school and I'm ready to tell my story of how my pals and I did things when we were young and class was dismissed for summer. We actually did… (wait for it)…exercise back then!
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Million Hearts Expo: Be One in a Million

Million Hearts Expo: Be One in a Million
The Erie County Department of Health and American Heart Association are proud to host the inaugural Million Hearts Expo on Saturday July 18th from 9:00AM – 12:00PM at the Bayfront Convention Center, 1 Sassafras Pier.
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CDC awards $216 million to community-based organizations to deliver the most effective HIV prevention strategies to thos

July 1, 2015 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today that it has awarded $216 million over five years to 90 community-based organizations (CBOs) nationwide to deliver effective HIV prevention strategies to those at greatest risk, including people of color, men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender individuals, and people who inject drugs.
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National HIV Testing Day this Friday, June 26!

National HIV Testing Day this Friday, June 26!
Know your status! Community Health Net (1202 State Street, Erie PA) is pleased to share its National Testing Day event on Friday, June 26th. Testing will be available from 9:00 am - 3:30 pm. Get tested and receive a 5 gift card (while supplies last). Rapid testing is available! For questions or more information, call 814-455-7222 x477
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What Do You Think of This Kind of Sex?

Last week a friend of mine invited me to go with him to a sex party that he heard about on Adam4Adam. It was in someone's hotel suite and there were a lot of naked men there. I've been to bathhouses before, but this was more intense. Guys were having sex with each other all over the place. There was no privacy anywhere, and that made me uncomfortable. The worst part is that lots of the guys were having unsafe sex, even though there were jars of condoms available. What do you think of this kind of sex?
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Simple Summer Change

Simple Summer Change
Summer is here and I've decided I want this to be a hugely happy heck of a healthy season. So I made some cool changes to my routine on this hot summer day today. I am really now inspired and think I can do this healthy thing all throughout June, July, and August.
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With Sexual Health Concern for LGBT Community, New Guide Provides Advice on Prevention, Treatment

WASHINGTON - June 8, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in collaboration with Whitman-Walker Heath (WWH), released an updated guide to practicing safer sex that includes essential tips to minimize the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
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Spirituality and Religion

HRC Expresses Deep Disappointment in Pope Francis' Specious Assertion That Children Must Have Opposite-Sex Parents

WASHINGTON June 16, 2015 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, strongly urged Pope Francis to reconsider assertions he made Sunday in Rome that good parenting can only be provided by opposite-sex couples.
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

SCOTUS: Why should I marry?

From Philadelphia Gay News: You'll read a lot of marriage-equality articles and news items in the next few weeks thanks to the pending ruling on the subject by the U.S. Supreme Court - but likely none like this one.
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The Amazon Trail: Worst Job Ever

No, I never switched boxcars on the Southern Pacific Railroad, I never strip mined mountaintops with pick and shovel—my worst job ever wasn't even wrapping meat in a supermarket, a job I really did.
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MARK MY WORDS: We have arrived

From Philadelphia Gay News: Listen up, LGBT America. The history of your struggle for LGBT equality is about to go mainstream. Just like the struggle of the black community, the Polish-American immigrant story or the Jewish heritage experience, we as a people have a story that also deserves to be told. For many years, society has tried to keep it hidden, and some in our very own community still wish many of us activists would simply just shut up.
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Contests

Enter to win Chingalinga remix CDs from Alyxx Dione feat. Jason Derulo!

Enter to win Chingalinga remix CDs from Alyxx Dione feat. Jason Derulo!
Enter to win Chingalinga remix CDs from Alyxx Dione feat. Jason Derulo! Chingalinga feat. Jason Derulo, the infectious new single from rising superstar artist ALYXX DIONE. Available Now on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/iChingalinga. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 21 and August 11.
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Enter to win Kiss Me Quick remixes from Nathan Sykes!

Enter to win Kiss Me Quick remixes from Nathan Sykes!
Enter to win Kiss Me Quick remixes from Nathan Sykes! "KISS ME QUICK" the incredible debut single from NATHAN SYKES. Available NOW on iTunes: http://nathansyk.es/KMQiTunes1. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 17 and August 7. Winners will receive special download cards redeemable for four "Kiss Me Quick" remixes! 
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Enter to win Stewart Taylor's self-titled EP!

Enter to win Stewart Taylor's self-titled EP!
Enter to win Stewart Taylor's self-titled EP! STEWART TAYLOR, The self-titled debut EP from the glam pop performer. Featuring the empowering new single "Liberation." Available Now on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/stewart-taylor-ep/id982006312. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 14 and August 4.
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Enter to win Communion from Years & Years!

Enter to win Communion from Years & Years!
Enter to win Communion from Years & YearsCOMMUNION , the highly anticipated debut album from British electronic pop trio, YEARS & YEARS. Featuring the hit single "King". Out Now: http://smarturl.it/YYCommunion. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 10 and July 31.
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Win Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person by Sherrie Campbell, PhD

Win Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person by Sherrie Campbell, PhD
Win Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person by Sherrie Campbell, PhD. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 10 and July 31.
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Enter to win Ego Death from The Internet

Enter to win Ego Death from The Internet
Enter to win Ego Death from The Internet. EGO DEATH, the new album from R&B/soul band , THE INTERNET. Including "Special Affair" and "Girl" and featuring guest appearances from Janelle Monae, Vic Mensa and more! Available Now: smarturl.it/egodeath. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 7 and July 28.
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Win The Manservant by Michael Harwood

Win The Manservant by Michael Harwood
Win The Manservant by Michael Harwood. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 7 and July 28.
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Enter to win Pageant Material from Kacey Musgraves!

Enter to win Pageant Material from Kacey Musgraves!
Enter to win Pageant Material from Kacey Musgraves! PAGEANT MATERIAL, the new album from GRAMMY® Award-winner, KACEY MUSGRAVES. 13 songs including "Biscuits." Available Now! https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/pageant-material/id999886769. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 3 and July 24.
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Win The 10 Year Plan DVD and Soundtrack

Win The 10 Year Plan DVD and Soundtrack
Win The 10 Year Plan DVD and Soundtrack. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 3 and July 24.
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Win The Holy Mark by Gregory Alexander

Win The Holy Mark by Gregory Alexander
Win The Holy Mark by Gregory Alexander. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between July 3 and July 24.
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Win Saugatuck Cures from Breaking Glass Pictures!

Win Saugatuck Cures from Breaking Glass Pictures!
Win Saugatuck Cures from Breaking Glass Pictures. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 30 and July 21.
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Enter For A Chance To Win A Magic Mike XXL Prize Pack!

Enter For A Chance To Win A Magic Mike XXL Prize Pack!
Enter For A Chance To Win A Magic Mike XXL Prize Pack! Magic Mike XXL reunites Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez and Gabriel Iglesias, stars of the 2012 worldwide hit "Magic Mike.". Picking up the story three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game,"Magic Mike XXL" finds the remaining Kings of Tampa likewise ready to throw in the towel.  But they want to do it their way: burning down the house in one last blow-out performance in Myrtle Beach, and with legendary headliner Magic Mike sharing the spotlight with them.  To enter, fill out the form here between June 30 and July 21.
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Enter to win Venus from Joy Williams!

Enter to win Venus from Joy Williams!
Enter to win Venus from Joy WilliamsVENUS, the stunning new solo album by the voice from The Civil Wars, JOY WILLIAMS. Featuring "Woman (Oh Mama)". Out June 29: http://smarturl.it/venus_itunes. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 26 and July 17.
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Win Dangerous When Wet by Jamie Brickhouse!

Win Dangerous When Wet by Jamie Brickhouse!
Win Dangerous When Wet download by Jamie Brickhouse! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 26 and July 17.
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Win Take This Man: Gay Romance Stories from Cleis Press!

Win Take This Man: Gay Romance Stories from Cleis Press!
Win Take This Man: Gay Romance Stories from Cleis Press! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 23 and July 14.
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Miscellaneous

Seeking Research Participants - LGBTQ Women in Rural Spaces

Seeking Research Participants - LGBTQ Women in Rural Spaces
Amanda Stewart, a Sociology PhD Candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago is looking for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*  and/or queer identified women who are currently living in the rural United States to participate in individual, in-depth interviews. This research will explore the experiences of queer women in rural settings. This research will challenge assumptions that are often made about rural living and will explore how rural queer women construct their identities and explore their sexuality within these spaces.
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EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Announces Event Line-Up

EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Announces Event Line-Up
PITTSBURGH, PA, Tuesday, May 12, 2015 – The largest inland regatta in the country – the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta – is going full throttle in its preparations for Fourth of July weekend and promises to be bigger and better than ever.
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