May, 2016 News (100 Articles with 537,297 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for May, 2016 Alex Sphon, Gov. Tom Wolf, Tony Gressley, and Caitlyn Strohmeyer at Keystone Pride Conference on March 20, 2016 in Harrisburg.

This began publication in December 2002 after a hiatus

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Calendar & Upcoming Events

Calendar of Local GLBT Events

Up to date listing of events and meetings.

Local and Regional News

Deadline for June 2016 print edition (issue # 247) of Erie Gay News is Sunday, May 15

Deadline for June 2016 print edition (issue # 247) of Erie Gay News is Sunday, May 15
For the next print edition of Erie Gay News (issue # 247, cover dated for June, 2016), please send in calendar events, news items, and other info for late May 2016 and beyond by Sunday, May 15. We expect that the next print edition will come out on Tuesday, May 24. Please note that the upcoming issue will be on display at the 24th Annual Pride Picnic on Saturday, June 4 at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park.
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In Memoriam: Matthew William Robison


In Memoriam: Matthew William Robison

Matthew Robison of Erie, passed away while camping in Idaho. He was 42. Matthew was a strong advocate for human rights. One way that he demonstrated this was his concern for LGBT rights, serving on the Board of NW PA Pride Alliance.
 He was a photographer and artist, and contributed his creative talents to NW PA Pride Alliance and elsewhere.
 He loved nature and the environment, and was kind and compassionate to people and animals alike. The world has lost a gentle and beautiful soul.
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Keystone Pride Conference Roundtable


On March 20, the Keystone Pride Conference brought together ten pride organizations from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. NW PA Pride Alliance was represented by board president Alex Sphon and entertainment coordinator Tony Gressley. TransFamily of Erie was represented by their organization's president, Caitlyn Strohmeyer.
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Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Proud Haven Proclaim April 27, 2016 '40 to None Day' to end LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness

Pittsburgh, PA – Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Proud Haven, a local nonprofit organization, have proclaimed Wednesday, April 27, 2016 "40 to None Day" in the City of Pittsburgh, with the goal of bringing the percentage of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer) from 40% to none. Studies have repeatedly shown that up to 40 percent of the approximate 1.6 million youth experiencing homelessness each year in the United States identify as LGBTQ+, yet they make up only 5-7 percent of the general youth population.
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CVC's Martine Barclay Holquist wins Sexual Assault Awareness Month national contest


FORGE is a national organization based out of Wisconsin whose mission is to support, educate and advocate for the rights and lives of transgender individuals and SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies). In honor of April's Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), FORGE held a contest to design an adult coloring page to be used for both trans survivors of sexual violence and victim serving agencies to assist trans survivors, in conjunction with the prompt, "how do you help transgender survivors weather the storms?"
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TransFamily of NW PA seeks board members

TransFamily is in the process of organizing as a nonprofit under the name TransFamily of NW PA, and we recently began putting together a board of directors. All officer positions are filled, and we are in need of 3 more people to reach our full compliment of 11 board members. Board members are expected to serve for a period of two years.
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Candidate Forum held by Erie Gay News and MHA on March 24

Candidate Forum held by Erie Gay News and MHA on March 24
Erie Gay News and Mental Health Association of NW PA (MHA) jointly held a candidate forum on Thursday, March 24 at MHA, 1101 Peach St, Erie PA. The forum focused on LGBT, mental health and poverty issues. Erie Gay News had previously sent out candidate questionnaires on LGBT issues to all major party candidates for US Senate, US Congress PA-3 and PA-5, PA State Senate District 49 and PA State House Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 and invited candidates from both parties to the forum.
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Entertainment and Travel

Gallery Night scheduled for May 20, 2016

April 28, 2016, Erie, PAThe Erie Art Museum is organizing the next Gallery Night, scheduled for Friday, May 20 from 7 until 10 p.m. A city-wide art gallery crawl through local, independent galleries and the Museum, participating Gallery Night venues will open their doors after-hours for visitors to get up close and personal with art and artists in a unique way. Each gallery offers a different experience, from artist meet & greets to wine samplings to live music, and visual art, featuring local, regional, and national artists. Admission is free to the public.
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Eurovision Song Contest Finale To Air LIVE Exclusively on Logo on May 14

New York, NY, May 02, 2016 – Logo announced today that the network will be the first U.S. home of the annual Eurovision Song Contest and will air the 61st annual Grand Final live and commercial free on Saturday, May 14 at 3PM ET on Logo. The 2016 Grand Final competition and winner's ceremony will also be streamed exclusively in the U.S. on www.logotv.com and the LogoTV mobile app.
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HavenCon, Only Texas LGBTQA Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Gaming Convention Returns to Austin in April for Second Year

Austin, Tex. (April 11, 2016) – The only Texas lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and allied (LGBTQA) comic book and gaming convention, HavenCon, is back for an action-packed second year. The event will be held at the Holiday Inn Midtown (6000 Middle Fiskville Rd) in Austin, Texas on Friday, April 22 through Sunday, April 24.
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BUA Mondays New Play Series Concludes Monday April 25 With James Marzo's Emile and Benny

From Buffalo United Artists: On Monday, April 25 at 7:00 in the Alleyway's Main Street Cabaret (672 Main Street, Buffalo, NY), we will have a reading of Emile and Benny by James Marzo. The reading feature Tyler Brown, Timothy Patrick Finnegan, Preach Freedom, Becky Globus, Corey Grant, Shabar Shabazz Rouse, and Brandon Williamson with stage management by Carly Weiser and direction by Christopher Standart.
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Political, Activism and Legal

Trans United Fund Responds To Attacks With Moving Historic Ad

Washington, DC, May 5, 2016…….In response to continued attacks on trans people across the nation, recently nationalized by failed Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, the Trans United Fund (TUF), a recently formed political advocacy organization, has produced a moving and historic ad utilizing the voices of parents of trans children and speaking directly to the impact of the increasingly hostile rhetoric faced by the trans community.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Justice Department Leadership on Anti-LGBT North Carolina Law

WASHINGTON - May 4, 2016 – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice informed North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory that the anti-LGBT law HB2 violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and that enforcement of HB2 could lead to a federal lawsuit and the loss of millions in state education funding:
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U.S. Justice Department: North Carolina's HB2 Violates Civil Rights Act

RALEIGH - May 4, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Justice today notified North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory that HB 2, the sweeping anti-LGBT law that prevents transgender students, employees, and visitors from using restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, has placed the state in violation of Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, Title IX, and the Violence Against Women Act.
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GLSEN Acknowledges Progress of the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2016) – GLSEN's Director of Public Policy, Nathan Smith, recognized the achievements of the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights upon today's release of the Department's Fiscal Year 2015 Report to the President and Secretary of Education.
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Equality California Endorses 33 Pro-Equality Incumbents in Congressional Races

Los Angeles - Equality California today announced the endorsements of 33 incumbent candidates for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives.
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House Amendment Threatens LGBTQ Protections for Federal Contractors

Washington, DC - April 29, 2016 - On Thursday, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909) intended to overturn an executive order by President Obama that prohibits lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender discrimination in the employment practices of federal contractors. The amendment creates a broad religious exemption that would allow federal contractors to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers, effectively rescinding protections for 28 million Americans. The executive order this amendment targets generated little controversy and was implemented with no major problems. Pride at Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, issued the following statement:
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Victory for South Carolina student suspended for using boys' bathroom

April 28, 2016 - Today, a week after Transgender Law Center sent a demand letter on behalf of a transgender student who was suspended for using the bathroom matching his gender identity, Horry County Schools reversed course on school policies around bathroom use and agreed to adopt new policies to treat transgender students fairly.
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Ohio nondiscrimination bill introduced, but lacks transgender protections

COLUMBUS - April 28, 2016 –Today Representative Bill Hayes introduced HB 537, which attempts to make discrimination in housing or employment on the basis of sexual orientation unlawful. However, the bill does nothing for the most vulnerable in the LGBTQ community, transgender Ohioans, and is silent on discrimination in public accommodations
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Rep. Suzan DelBene Calls for Judiciary Hearing on Equality Act

Rep. Suzan DelBene Calls for Judiciary Hearing on Equality Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. -April 28, 2016 – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today joined more than 100 colleagues in calling on House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) to hold a hearing on the Equality Act (H.R. 3185), a comprehensive bill that aims to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
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NCLR Applauds U.S. Senators Murray and Booker for Introducing Bill to Protect LGBT People from Conversion Therapy

(San Francisco, CA, April 28, 2016)—Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, a companion bill to HR 2450, introduced in the House of Representatives by Ted Lieu in 2015. The bill would define the provision of conversion therapy for profit as consumer fraud and, additionally, take Rep. Lieu's bill one step farther by empowering states to take their own action against these dangerous and discredited practices. The senators' move comes just two months after the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), along with partner organizations Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission encouraging the federal government to investigate conversion therapy as a violation of existing consumer fraud laws.
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GLSEN Releases Kit Espacio Seguro, Spanish-Language Version of its Safe Space Kit, for Use in U.S. and Puerto Rico

NEW YORK (April 28, 2016) – GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students, today released Kit Espacio Seguro, the Spanish-language version of its Safe Space Kit, one of the organization's flagship resources, for use throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
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Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Allowing Therapists to Discriminate Against LGBT People

NASHVILLE - April 27, 2016 – Gov. Bill Haslam today signed SB 1556 into law, the measure that allows counselors to deny services to clients based on "sincerely held principles," with some limited exceptions. 
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Malaysian Raid of Transgender Fundraiser Underscores Bad Trade Deal

Washington, DC- April 27 - A recent raid on a fundraiser organized by Malaysian transgender activists has once again put the country's abuses of LGBTQ human rights under the spotlight. As the US Congress contemplates passage of the massive and destructive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement that includes Malaysia, that country continues to demonstrate why it should not be given preferential trade status with any country that believes in basic human rights. Pride at Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, issued the following statement after learning about the raid and arrest of tra nsgender activists:
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Gov Wolf Applauds PA Insurance Commissioner for Issuing Non-Discrimination Guidance to Insurers

Gov Wolf Applauds PA Insurance Commissioner for Issuing Non-Discrimination Guidance to Insurers
Harrisburg, PA- April 27, 2016 – Governor Tom Wolf today applauded Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller for announcing new Insurance Department expectations for non-discrimination provisions in health insurance policies, including language prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. This guidance, submitted for publication in the April 30 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, will apply to all health insurance plans regulated by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, which includes individual and group policies purchased through the federal marketplace.
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The NAACP Legal Defense Fund Statement on North Carolina Forward Together/Moral Mondays Movement

New York, NY- April 26, 2016- The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) joins the North Carolina Forward Together/Moral Mondays movement in calling for the repeal of North Carolina House Bill 2. We are not this.
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Colorado Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case of Bakery Who Turned Away Gay Couple

DENVER - April 25, 2016 – The Colorado State Supreme Court decided today to let stand an appellate court ruling that Masterpiece Cakeshop violated Colorado's anti-discrimination law when it refused to sell a same-sex couple a cake for their wedding reception.
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Tens of Thousands Call for Repeal of North Carolina Anti-LGBT Law As Legislature Returns

RALEIGH, N.C. - April 25, 2016 - More than 150,000 signatures demanding the repeal of North Carolina's anti-LGBT House Bill 2 were delivered to the office of Gov. Pat McCrory today by a collection of civil rights, faith, business, and advocacy groups as the state legislature returns for the first time since it introduced and passed the law limiting legal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in a one-day special session on March 23. Thousands of people are expected to rally for the discriminatory law's repeal outside the legislature throughout Monday.
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Transgender Student Speaks Out About Discrimination in High School

More and more transgender and gender fluid youth are finding the courage to express their authentic selves.  Unfortunately, many school systems aren't setting policy or providing guidance to staff about how to make sure all students are safe and included.
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NFL's Michael Sam: Video Statement on LGBT Rights and Fight in Missouri

April 20, 2016 - NFL star Michael Sam was on the ground in Missour today to fight an anti-LGBT bill that would authorize discrimination in the name of religion. The bill is up for a vote in committee and he joined hundreds of advocates and allies to call on the Missouri legislature to stop this harmful measure.
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Transgender Law Center Demands that Wisconsin School District Reverse Discriminatory Policy

April 20, 2016 -- Transgender Law Center sent a letter to the Kenosha Unified School District yesterday demanding that transgender students be allowed to use facilities that match their gender identity or face legal consequences for violating federal law. Ashton Whitaker, a 16-year-old transgender boy and a student at Tremper High School, had been using the boys' restrooms without incident since the beginning of the school year, until school administrators intervened and threatened him with disciplinary action if he continued to use the boys' restroom.
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NCDP Launches Website Highlighting HB2's Economic Costs

NCDP Launches Website Highlighting HB2's Economic Costs
RALEIGH, N.C. - April 20, 2016 – The North Carolina Democratic Party today launched a website to highlight how Gov. Pat McCrory's job-killing discrimination law, HB2, is hurting North Carolina's economy. The site lists the more than 400 businesses and organizations that oppose HB2 and spotlights the many good-paying jobs put at risk by this bill.
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Belinda Carlisle Denounces Anti-LGBTQ Law in Mississippi

BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI - April 19, 2016 -- Pop star Belinda Carlisle, of "The GoGo's" fame, is calling on Governor Phil Bryant to repeal the recently-passed HB 1523, which attacks lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Mississippians by permitting businesses, individuals, and social service agencies to freely discriminate based on personal religious beliefs. In that open letter, she invoked the stories of two LGBTQ Mississippians -- Kaylee Bradshaw and Brandiilyne Mangum-Dear -- to demonstrate the courage and resilience of those who are most harmed by this law.
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12K Fans Sign Letter to NBA Team Owners Demanding they Pull the 2017 All-Star Game from NC Until HB2 is Repealed

12K Fans Sign Letter to NBA Team Owners Demanding they Pull the 2017 All-Star Game from NC Until HB2 is Repealed
NORTH CAROLINA - April 19, 2016 -- Late last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, in conjunction with NBA team owners, announced that they would not be moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina at this time. The decision comes in the wake of the state's new anti-LGBTQ law that prevents transgender individuals from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, nullifies existing LGBTQ protections passed by North Carolina cities, and prevents the those cities from passing future anti-discrimination measures to protect LGBTQ individuals
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Group Slams NBA Commissioner Adam Silver For Failing to Stand with NC's LGBTQ Community

Group Slams NBA Commissioner Adam Silver For Failing to Stand with NC's LGBTQ Community
April 18, 2016 - Last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, in conjunction with NBA team owners, announced that they would not be moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina at this time.  The decision comes in the wake of the state's new anti-LGBTQ law that prevents transgender individuals from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, nullifies existing LGBTQ protections passed by North Carolina cities, and prevents the those cities from passing future anti-discrimination measures to protect LGBTQ individuals.
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TLC represents South Carolina transgender student suspended for using boys' bathroom

(April 22, 2016) -- Yesterday, Transgender Law Center sent a letter to Horry County Schools warning that the district would face legal action unless they act immediately to ensure transgender students are able to use the restroom that matches the gender they live as every day. Transgender Law Center is representing a high school senior and transgender boy, R., who had been using the boys' bathroom without incident until Socastee High School suddenly banned him from the boys' bathroom in his senior year.
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Three More Plaintiffs Join Lawsuit Against NC's Discriminatory Anti-LGBT Law

RALEIGH, N.C. - April 21, 2016 -The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of North Carolina, joined by counsel from the law firm of Jenner & Block,  announced today that they have added three new plaintiffs - a transgender student and a married lesbian couple - to the federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's sweeping anti-LGBT law, HB 2.
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Coalition of Leading 250+ Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Groups Condemn Anti-Transgender Legislation

April 21, 2016 - Amid the national uproar over a North Carolina law that codified discrimination against transgender people, more than 250 sexual assault and domestic violence organizations around the country today released a landmark statement calling for an end to legislation that harms transgender people and excludes them from restrooms and other facilities.
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ORAM - Organization for Refugee, Asylum & Migration Launches New Website

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - April 20, 2016 – Today, ORAM - Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration, a leading international non-profit organization devoted to advocating on behalf of the world's most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers, including sexual and gender minorities, launched its new website at oramrefugee.org.
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Springfield Adopts First Transgender Student Policy in Pennsylvania; Additional Policies Move Ahead

ORELAND, Pa. April 20, 2016 — The Pennsylvania Youth Congress congratulates the Springfield Township School Board on adopting the first formal, recognized, comprehensive transgender student district policy in Pennsylvania. The suburban Philadelphia school board introduced Policy 253 on March 15, 2016 and unanimously adopted the regulation at their meeting last night, April 19, 2016.
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DNC Chair Statement on 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling

DNC Chair Statement on 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling
In response to news that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a discriminatory policy barring transgender students from using the correct bathroom, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement:
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GLSEN Responds to Court Ruling Upholding Nondiscrimination Protections

WASHINGTON (April 19, 2016) – GLSEN Director of Public Policy Nathan Smith applauded the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, which upheld nondiscrimination protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
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Fourth Circuit Rules to Protect Virginia Transgender High School Student Under Title IX

(Richmond, VA, April 19, 2016) —Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Gloucester County student Gavin Grimm can proceed with his claims in court to challenge the school board's discriminatory restroom policy of separating transgender students from their peers.
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New Report Finds LGBT Elected Officials Key to Blocking Anti-LGBT Laws

(Washington, D.C. - April 19, 2016) Today the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute (Victory) released a new research brief titled More Than Represent: LGBT Elected Officials Drive Equality in the States that shows the relationship between the number of openly LGBT public officials a state has and its level of LGBT equality. There is clear evidence that openly LGBT people form relationships with their colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, and change minds about LGBT equality – and votes.
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GLAD and NCLR on Decision Which Affirms U.S. Dept of Education Rule Mandating Equal Treatment of Transgender Students

(San Francisco, CA, April 19, 2016)—GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) today applaud a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit which confirms policy set by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, that ensures Gavin Grimm, a 15-year-old transgender student in Virginia, will be fully respected as a boy at his school including in being able to access the boys' room.
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Federal Court of Appeals Rules In Favor of Transgender Student in Virginia Restroom Access Case

RICHMOND, Va. - April 19, 2016 – A federal court of appeals today ruled in favor of transgender male student Gavin Grimm in his challenge to Gloucester High School's discriminatory restroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers by requiring them to use "alternative, private" facilities.
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Launch of Coalition to Support the Transgender Community and Encourage Others to Follow

Los Angeles, CA - April 18, 2016- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti today joined individuals from the transgender community, statewide LGBT organizations, local officials, civil rights groups, businesses, faith-based leaders and community members to launch Transform California - a statewide movement founded by Equality California and the Transgender Law Center to promote respect, understanding and safety for the transgender community. As part of the effort, coalition members signed a Transform California pledge - opposing discrimination against transgender people.
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Equality Pennsylvania and People of Faith Across State Worship for a Fair Commonwealth

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Eighteen congregations with faith leaders and people of faith from over 10 denominations  including Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Jewish and Episcopalian faith traditions took action this past weekend to run petition drives, share sermons, and celebrate diversity while encouraging law makers in Harrisburg to ban discrimination against gay and transgender Pennsylvanians. Equality PA and Faith Leaders had this to say:
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Trans 9th Grader in NC Sends Open Letter to Gov. Pat McCrory

April 18, 2016 - Today, Skye Thomson, a transgender 9th grader from North Carolina, sent an open letter to Gov. Pat McCrory explaining what it's like to be a transgender student and asking the Governor to meet with him.
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International Humanitarian Org Releases First-of-its-Kind Glossary of Terminology for LGBT Individuals

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - April 17, 2016 – Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM), a leading international non-profit organization devoted to advocating on behalf of the world's most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers, has released a first-of-its-kind glossary of terminology to assist humanitarian professionals to communicate with people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. 
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NCTE Condemns South Carolina Sheriff Chuck Wright for Threatening Violence Against Trans Women

April 15, 2016 - Last week, in remarks at the Greenville-Spartanburg Republican Women's Meeting, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright addressed the anti-trans bill moving through South Carolina's legislature. S. 1203 would restrict access to restrooms in public buildings based on the sex listed on an individual's birth certificate and is currently being heard in a Senate subcommittee.
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Defense Department Adds South Korea To List of Duty Stations Approved for Same-Sex Military Couples

WASHINGTON - April 14, 2016 – Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military spouses and families, responded to the news that the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has been added to the list of duty station assignments outside of the United States approved for same-sex couples.
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DNC Chair Statement on Louisiana's LGBT Protections

DNC Chair Statement on Louisiana's LGBT Protections
WASHINGTON - April 13, 2016 –  DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement in response to Louisiana Governor John Edwards' executive order that protects state workers and contractors from being harassed or fired due to their gender identity or sexual orientation: 
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Lawsuit Filed by GLAD, etc Paves Way for Improvements to Overpayment Collection Practices for LGBT Couples Receiving SSI

Keystone Progress PAC endorses Shapiro, DePasquale, 32 legislative candidates

[READING, PA, April 13, 2016 ] –The political action committee of Keystone Progress announced its primary election endorsements today, highlighted by a unanimous endorsement of Josh Shapiro for Attorney General. (www.keystoneprogresspac.org)
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SPLC: NC Gov's Executive Order Does Not Stop Discrimination Against Transgender People in the State

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - April 12, 2016 – The following statement regarding North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's signage today of an executive order changing the equal employment policy for state workers to apply to discrimination claims related to sexual orientation and gender identity is by David Dinielli, deputy legal director at the Southern Poverty Law Center:
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GLSEN Responds to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory's Executive Order 93

WASHINGTON (April 12, 2016) - GLSEN Director of Public Policy Nathan Smith condemned North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory's issuing of Executive Order 93 in response to the backlash against his signing of HB 2.
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NC Exec. Order is Not Enough, Anti-LGBT and Anti-Worker Law Should be Repealed

April 12, 2016 -- Today, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory responded to an overwhelming backlash against House Bill 2 from his constituents, the civil rights community, the faith community, and the business sector and signed an executive order that attempts to backpedal on this abhorrent law.
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Transgender Law Center and Southerners on New Ground statement on NC Governor's executive order

April 12, 2016 - Today, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory issued an executive order related to House Bill 2, the state law that has garnered widespread outrage for targeting LGBT people and workers for discrimination. The executive order reaffirms nearly all the provisions of HB2, including the exclusion of transgender people from restrooms that match their gender identity, and adopts nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity for state employees only. 
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ACLU Statement on NC Governor's Executive Order on LGBT Discrimination

RALEIGH - April 12, 2016 - North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) today issued an executive order that maintains House Bills 2's provisions that force transgender people to use the wrong restroom while prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for state employees.
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DNC Congratulates LGBT Leader Chris Sgro on his appointment to the North Carolina Legislature

DNC Congratulates LGBT Leader Chris Sgro on his appointment to the North Carolina Legislature

70,000 sign petition in support of men arrested under Morocco's anti-gay law

London - April 8, 2016 - More than 70,000 signed a petition in support of two Moroccan men arrested under the country's anti-gay law after being brutally attacked in their own home. The petition was delivered today to Morocco's Minister of Justice, urging him to release both men immediately, to properly investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.
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Groups Applaud Gov. Markell for Personal Message on Recent Wave of Anti-Transgender Legislation

April 8, 2016 - Today, in response to a wave of anti-transgender legislation in several states around the country, Gov. Jack Markell (D-DE) released a personal, detailed video message standing up for transgender equality and combatting the misinformation and scare tactics being utilized by proponents of these discriminatory bills. Gov. Markell, who is the only sitting governor to have signed both sexual orientation and gender identity protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations, is uniquely positioned to address the mean-spirited attempts that seek to undermine LGBT nondiscrimination laws and require discrimination against the transgender community.
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Erie Transgender Day of Visibility

On Thursday, March 31, Erie observed the International Transgender Day of Visibility for the first time. Transgender community members and their friends and family came together to talk about the discrimination and difficulties faced by transgender people, but also their strength and growth, and to advocate for Pennsylvania to pass the Fairness Act. Currently, there is nothing at the state level that protects people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations on the bases of gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. Those categories have been covered by the Erie County Human Relations Commission since March 8, 2002.
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With Legislation Stalled, Governor Wolf Expands Non-Discrimination Protections for State Workers, Contractors

With Legislation Stalled, Governor Wolf Expands Non-Discrimination Protections for State Workers, Contractors
Harrisburg, PA - April 7, 2016 – Governor Tom Wolf today signed two executive orders that expand protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender expression or identity for state employees and, for the first time, employees of contractors doing business with the commonwealth. Governor Wolf's executive orders come as the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, which would apply these protections to all Pennsylvania workers, remains stalled in the General Assembly. 
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EQCA-Sponsored Travel Ban Clears Assembly Judiciary Committee

Sacramento, Calif. - April 7, 2016 – A bill sponsored by Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights that would ban state-funded travel to Mississippi, North Carolina, and other states that enact laws that permit discrimination against LGBT people has cleared the California Assembly Judiciary Committee this week.  Assembly Bill 1887, authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), would ban non-essential, state-funded travel to those states by California state employees.
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Point Foundation LGBTQ Scholars Answer the Call to Become Community Leaders Thanks to the Support of the Verizon Foundat

LOS ANGELES, April 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Point Foundation (Point), the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit, is committed to helping young people acquire leadership skills. Thanks to the generosity of the Verizon Foundation, Point is able to bring its 84 current scholars and many of its alumni together for leadership training events in 2016.
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Palm Center Concerned by Pentagon Delay on Transgender Ban

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - April 6, 2016 – The Palm Center, an independent research center publishing state-of-the-art scholarship on transgender personnel in the military, questioned today whether the Pentagon's promised six-month review of its transgender service ban is on track. Last July, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter created a working group to study overturning the ban, calling the current discriminatory policy "outdated, confusing [and] inconsistent," and saying that it "distracts commanders from our core missions." He promised that the review would be completed in six months and would proceed "with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly… unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified."
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ACLU of Pennsylvania Applauds Governor Wolf for Expansion of Non-Discrimination Protections

HARRISBURG (April 7) – Governor Tom Wolf today will sign executive orders to boost legal protections for gay and transgender workers in the business of the commonwealth, a move that drew praise from the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.
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Groups Challenging HB2 Respond to UNC Position on Discriminatory Law

RALEIGH - April 7, 2016 – The University of North Carolina system today announced that it has chosen to follow House Bill 2, a sweeping anti-LGBT law that would prevent transgender students, employees, and visitors from using the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
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Governor Wolf Urges Legislative Action In Light of North Carolina Anti-LGBT Law

Governor Wolf Urges Legislative Action In Light of North Carolina Anti-LGBT Law
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Wolf issued the following statement: "What North Carolina did is wrong, and equally as troubling is the Pennsylvania General Assembly's inaction on passing non-discrimination legislation in the commonwealth to ensure that all people - regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression, and identity - are treated equally under Pennsylvania law. This fundamental right is essential, and enjoys broad, bipartisan support.
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Health

Research: Saying 'I'm gay' to family, friends doesn't boost wellbeing equally for gay men of every ethnicity

Research: Saying 'I'm gay' to family, friends doesn't boost wellbeing equally for gay men of every ethnicity
LAWRENCE - A new study of gay Latino and gay White men suggests different ethnic groups experience "coming out " differently.
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Hepatitis C Kills More Americans than Any Other Infectious Disease

New CDC studies underscore urgency of hepatitis C testing and treatment, especially for baby boomers

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Porn/Condom Study: 'Porn is Not Just A Fantasy. Performers are having actual sex; contracting STDs-and the audience know

LOS ANGELES (April 29, 2016) A groundbreaking new research study undertaken by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health (Schrimshaw et al. 2016), has documented a notable increase in condom use among viewers of adult films in which the performers wore condoms.
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AHF Calls on CDC for National STD Prevention Campaign to Address Rising STD Rates

LOS ANGELES (April 26, 2016) As STD Awareness Month winds down, recent announcements from domestic and international health agencies reveal that rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have continued to rise annually, particularly among gay men, where syphilis is now hitting rates not seen since before the start of the HIV epidemic. In addition, the spread of drug-resistant strains of infections including gonorrhea and syphilis threatens the efficacy of medicines commonly used for treatment. With young people aged 15–24 and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continuing to be at greatest risk for infection, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and roll out a new national STD prevention campaign. While AHF acknowledges the efforts of the CDC's "Get Yourself Tested Campaign," its funding and scope has failed to match the severity of the growing STD epidemic.
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American Counseling Association Condemns The Passage of Tennessee's Hate Bill 1840

Washington, DC - April 27, 2016 - Today, Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee followed in the footsteps of North Carolina's Governor Pat McCrory and Mississippi's Governor Phil Bryant to become the latest to sign into law discriminatory "religious freedom" legislation targeting the LGBTQ community. Tennessee's HB 1840/SB 1556 permits counselors to deny services and refer clients based on the provider's "strongly held beliefs" and makes Tennessee the only state in the country to invalidate the American Counseling Association's Code of Ethics. 
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Retire, but don't quit

From Life Beyond Therapy: I am turning 63 this year, and am being increasingly asked by friends: "When are you going to retire?" It's a fair question, since AARP started sending me membership cards 13 years' ago. In my case, I don't want to retire because I really like the work I do: having a private practice, doing workshops and writing books and newspaper columns is (mostly) fun for me, so why would I quit?
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United Nations HLM Political Declaration Zero Draft Released: Early Highlights and Important Next Steps

(April 19, 2016 Oakland, CA) – Yesterday, the UN Mission co-facilitators Zambia and Switzerland released the "Zero Draft" of the political declaration for the United Nations High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS (HLM). MSMGF thanks the governments of Zambia and Switzerland for facilitating an inclusive process in developing and releasing the Zero Draft. This draft builds on the 2011 Political Declaration, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and emphasizing evidence-based strategies needed to effectively fast-track the end of AIDS:
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ACA Responds to Governor Haslam's Comments on Hate Bill 1840

April 21, 2016 - In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition today, Governor Bill Haslam discussed HB 1840, a bill recently passed by the Tennessee legislature that would permit counselors to deny services to clients passed on the providers' personal beliefs.
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American Counseling Association and Tennessee Equality Project Call on Gov. Haslam to Veto Hate Bill 1840

The Tennessee General Assembly recently voted to pass HB 1840/SB 1556. Also known as Hate Bill 1840, HB1840 will permit counselors to deny services and refer clients based on the provider's "strongly held beliefs." Not only is the proposed legislation discriminatory in nature, but it is also an unnecessary government intrusion that could result in costly unintended consequences for the state of Tennessee. Today, national and state leaders gathered on a press call to discuss the implications of this harmful legislation and call on Governor Haslam to do the right thing and veto the bill.
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Transgender College Students At Higher Risk For Suicide Attempts After Denial of Access To Bathrooms, Appropriate Housin

Transgender College Students At Higher Risk For Suicide Attempts After Denial of Access To Bathrooms, Appropriate Housin
ATLANTA-Transgender university and college students are at a significantly higher risk for suicide attempts when their campus experience includes being denied access to bathrooms and gender-appropriate campus housing, a Georgia State University study finds.
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Today Is Gonna Be Funny... And Healthy

Today Is Gonna Be Funny... And Healthy
It is always today. And today is tell a joke and laugh day. My best advice is to go ahead and make it a super funny day for yourself. Such an amazing way to get and stay healthy. Laughter is incredible for well-being. Remember…it's not yesterday or tomorrow. It's today. So let me get you laughing with some awesome wellness.
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Advocacy Next Steps for the United Nations High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

MSMGF has provided recommendations on several key advocacy entry points to influence the document drafts that lead-up to the High-Level Meeting (HLM) in June. These include:
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National Attention Turns to Tennessee's Discriminatory Counseling Bill

April 11, 2016 - Last week, Tennessee General Assembly voted to pass House Bill 1840, also known as Hate Bill 1840, which will permit counselors to deny services and refer clients based on the provider's "strongly held beliefs." Not only is this legislation discriminatory in nature, but it is also an unnecessary government intrusion that has the potential to negatively impact Tennessee's economy and damage the counseling profession as a whole.
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Make Your Voice Heard on LGBTQ Health

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is conducting a survey of LGBTQ people throughout the state to better understand the health needs of the community. It's time to hear from the people of Erie, Crawford, Mercer and Venango Counties! The surveys are completely anonymous and only take about 5-10 minutes to complete. The deadline to complete the survey has been extended to June 7, 2016.
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Spirituality and Religion

Reform Movement Leaders Speak Out Against State-Level Anti-LGBT Legislation

Washington, D.C., May 2, 2016 – In response to numerous anti-LGBT laws being introduced, and in many cases passed, at the state-level, the leadership of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the North American Federation of Temple Youth issued the following statement:
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

MARK MY WORDS: Historic honors

Last week, this newspaper was informed that, for the third year in a row, we have won a Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award. This time it was for our staff's coverage of last year's Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. The award is given for deadline reporting of a major story: how the staff covered the issue, how that coverage affected readers = essentially, that the publication gets the basic of reporting and does so well, and on a deadline.
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A 40-year PGN journey

From Philadelphia Gay News (April 11, 2016): Last Friday I attended a meeting of the National Gay Media Association, an organization of the publishers of the LGBT legacy publications. At one point when we came back from a break, Lynn Brown, publisher of The Washington Blade, asked all to rise but me. She then asked all the other publishers to toast me and PGN on our 40th anniversary.
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The Amazon Trail: Gender Buttons

Where do little kids get their urgent need to know my gender? Is it intrinsic, some part of survival of the species? Parents should at least teach them that their question is rude. But no, the parents are as unsettled by what they perceive to be gender non-conformance as their children. That leads to bullying, even at home. "Darling, you're a pretty little girl! Wouldn't you rather play with your dollies?" Well, no. I had not the slightest interest in dolls. Dressing them up? Pretending they were living infants? Bor-ing.
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Contests

Win Godless DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!

Win Godless DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!
Win Godless DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 17 and June 7.
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Win pair of tickets to Kiss Me Kate from Erie Playhouse!

Win pair of tickets to Kiss Me Kate from Erie Playhouse!
Win a pair of tickets to Kiss Me Kate from Erie Playhouse, 13 W 10th St, Erie PA! Five lucky winners will get a pair of tickets to see this delightful musical! Please only enter this contest if you will be in Erie for the the run of the show (June 10, June 11, June 16-19, June 22-June 26) 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. 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 May 17 and June 7.
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Enter to win a digital copy of Playing with Fire from Jennifer Nettles!

Enter to win a digital copy of Playing with Fire from Jennifer Nettles!
Enter to win a digital copy of Playing with Fire from Jennifer NettlesPlaying with Fire, the highly-anticipated new album from Grammy Award-winning Country superstar Jennifer Nettles. Including "Unlove You," "Sugar," and "Drunk In Heels" Available NOW: http://smarturl.it/GetPlayingWithFire. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 13 and June 3.
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Enter to win Only If You Want To EP by Lexxica!

Enter to win Only If You Want To EP by Lexxica!
Enter to win Only If You Want To EP by Lexxica! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 13 and June 3!
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Win Hunter from Ariztical Entertainment!

Win Hunter from Ariztical Entertainment!
Win Hunter from Ariztical Entertainment. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 10 and May 31.
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Enter to win All My Friends from Snakehips ft. Tinashe & Chance The Rapper!

Enter to win All My Friends from Snakehips ft. Tinashe & Chance The Rapper!
Enter to win All My Friends from Snakehips ft. Tinashe & Chance The Rapper! "ALL MY FRIENDS" - the hit single from Snakehips ft. Tinashe & Chance The Rapper. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 6 and May 27. Win special remix CDs with mixes from 99 Souls, DJ Kue and more!
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Enter to win NOW That's What I Call Broadway!

Enter to win NOW That's What I Call Broadway!
Enter to win NOW That's What I Call Broadway! NOW That's What I Call Broadway! The essential collection of Broadway's biggest hits including definitive performances from Rent, Wicked, Dreamgirls, Evita and more! Available now! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 3 and May 24.
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Enter to win cult classic Death Becomes Her on Blu-ray!

Enter to win cult classic Death Becomes Her on Blu-ray!
Enter now for your chance to win the Death Becomes Her Collector's Edition Blu-ray! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between April 29 and May 20!
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Win MASH FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Best Care Anywhere

Win MASH FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Best Care Anywhere
Win MASH FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Best Care Anywhere. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between April 26 and May 17.
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Enter to win an autographed copy of Free Days With George by Colin Campbell

Enter to win an autographed copy of Free Days With George by Colin Campbell
Enter to win an autographed copy of Free Days With George by Colin Campbell! The author, Colin Campbell, will autograph it and George signs the books with his paw print!To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 20 and June 10.
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Miscellaneous

LGBT Community Survey - Let your voice be heard and enter a drawing to win $50!

Erie Gay News would like to invite you to take a new survey about your opinions and preferences, from an LGBT perspective. You can also enter a drawing to win a $50 cash prize just for filling out the survey!
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