June, 2016 News (85 Articles with 424,590 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for June, 2016 Drenched Fur 12: Phillip B., Webby, Rick V. at Drenched Fur 12 held in Erie April 7-10. Recap of the event here. Photo by Devin L.

This began publication in December 2002 after a hiatus

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Calendar of Local GLBT Events

Up to date listing of events and meetings.

Local and Regional News

Deadline for July 2016 print edition (issue # 248) of Erie Gay News is Monday, June 13

Deadline for July 2016 print edition (issue # 248) of Erie Gay News is Monday, June 13
For the next print edition of Erie Gay News (issue # 248, cover dated for July, 2016), please send in calendar events, news items, and other info for late June 2016 and beyond by Monday, June 13. We expect that the next print edition will come out on Tuesday, June 21. If you are writing an article for Erie Gay News, please try to keep it to 500 words or less; we generally try to have most articles be a page or less. (250 words is a half-page, which is also a good length.) We can post longer articles to our web site.  If you have anything happening in late June 2016 (or even later-we can always add items to the internal calendar for later listing), please get it to us by Monday, June 13. Please always bear in mind the "6 week" rule; if you are having a special event that you want to let folks know about, you need to get us the details even preliminary/tentative is okay) 6 weeks before the event takes place. You can find an extensive list of upcoming deadlines and distribution dates at https://www.eriegaynews.com/printedition/deadlineschedule.php. This has our editorial schedule through the end of 2016.
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Drenched Fur 12 scores big


During the second weekend of April, once again the Erie community hosted Erie's exclusive Bear Weekend known as Drenched Fur. This time the 'Best Little Run for Fun' brought together hundreds of men hailing from around the tri-state area and as far away as Chicago, San Francisco, DC, and Toronto.
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Announcing the 6th Annual Afternoon for Equality


For the past five years, the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality has hosted our signature fundraising event: An Afternoon for Equality in honor of the advancements in equality for the LGBT community throughout the greater Erie area and beyond. Last year, we initiated an LGBT Community Progress Award, given to two Keystone allies in addressing issues of equality in the greater Erie community; Erie Insurance and GE Transportation.
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Info Table deadline for Pride Picnic is May 28

Does your group or organization want to have an info table at the 24th Annual Pride Picnic on Saturday, June 4? The deadline for info tables is Saturday, May 28 and the Pride Picnic will be at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park. The picnic runs from 1 to 6 PM. Please note that selling from tables is not permitted. There is no charge for having a table, but we request that you bring your own table and chairs. To request a table, you may email tables@nwpapride.org, call (814) 314-9075 or fill out the online registration form and request a table here.
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Donations at Pride Picnic for Food Bank of NW PA

As we gather to celebrate Pride on Saturday, June 4, we ask attendees to bring non-perishable donations for the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW PA At all major Pride events, NW PA Pride Alliance has collected items to help those less fortunate, and we ask your help to keep this tradition going. You may drop off your donations when you check in at the registration table upon arrival at the Pride Picnic at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park. The picnic runs from 1 to 6 PM.
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Community Health Net National HIV Testing Day on June 27

June 27th is National Aids Testing Day. Community Health Net, 1202 State St, Erie PA, will be offering free, confidential HIV testing to anyone interested. The first 100 people to come in and be tested will receive a gift card to a local establishment. The testing will be between 9 and 3 on the 2nd floor. Get tested and know your status!
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Get your 2016 Pride Shirt!

We here at the Northwest PA Pride Alliance, Inc. are so glad that you like the contest winning new design for this years Erie Pride shirt. The response has been so great that they're selling out fast, so if you want to have yours in time for Pride Month, now is the time!
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Help keep Pride events in Erie free!

We'd like to thank you, each and every one of you who have helped us grow into who we are today.   As the Northwest PA Pride Alliance, Inc. heads into our 5th season of Pride events we want to thank you form the bottom of our rainbow hued hearts for all the love and support you've shown us.
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2016 Intersections of Equality Symposium Recap

The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, Inc. (GEAE) would like to thank those who sponsored the highly successful Intersections of Equality Symposium on April 30, 2016 at Penn State Behrend. Special thanks to our major sponsor, Erie Insurance! Additional generous donors were; Penn State Erie, Highmark, Northwest Savings, UPMC Health, and Sunset Inn. Table sponsors included Lake Erie Counseling, the Cultured Purl, Safe Net, Safe Harbor, Erie Gay News, and NWPA Pride Alliance.
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24th Annual Pride Picnic on June 4

This event is free and open to the public, so bring your buns down to the beach and see what's cooking! The Northwest Pennsylvania Pride Alliance, inc. would like to invite you to join us for the 24th Annual Erie Pride Picnic on Saturday, June 4th at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle (near Beach 7) from 1 to 6 PM. Please note that once again this year's picnic is the first weekend in June, rather than the second. You can see the Facebook event page here.
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Erie LGBTQIA Team in March for Babies

On Sunday, May 1. 2016, representatives from various LGBTQ & affiliated groups, including NW PA Pride Alliance, LBT Women of Erie and The Table participated in the March of Dimes fundraiser, March for Babies, which was held at Penn State Behrend. In addition to walking in the march, members of the community donated over $300. Everyone had a good time and was glad to help out a worthy cause!
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Entertainment and Travel

Dreams of Hope Presents Love Your Selfie An EP and Music Video Release Party Hosted by LGBTQA+ Youth

Pittsburgh, PA – Dreams of Hope presents Love Your Selfie, an EP and music video release party hosted by LGBTQA+ youth, on Friday, June 10, from 7:00 until 10:00 p.m. at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 South Highland Avenue. Suggested donation at the door is $5.00, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. One of the highlights of the evening will be the release of the six-song EP, Home. More information about the event is available at www.facebook.com/dreamsofhopeorg. Earlier in the week, Dreams of Hope will release their new music video, also titled Home. It is intended to bring visibility to several issues affecting LGBTQA+ youth, including homelessness and discriminatory school policies and practices, and to help Dreams of Hope raise money to support more LGBTQA+ youth. To view the new Home music video, please visit www.dreamsofhope.org/ImHomeWhen starting at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 8. #ImHomeWhen
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MTV Sets Programming for 2016 Pride Month

MTV Sets Programming for 2016 Pride Month
New York, NY (May 2, 2016) - MTV today continued its celebration of LGBT inclusion and representation with "MTV's Proudest Moments," a 30-minute special set to premiere during Pride Month on Saturday, June 4th at 12:00 p.m. ET/PT. Additionally, MTV will add to its diverse legacy with the launch of the digital series "No ID Required " on Monday, June 6th.
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Logo Announces Summer TV Slate Featuring New Specials, Groundbreaking Docs and RuPaul

New York, NY, May 26, 2016 – Logo today announced a summer programming line-up packed with new specials and returning series to inspire, entertain, and get viewers through the dog days of summer. Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos launch the all-new summer block on Monday, May 30 at 10:00 PM ET/PT as the Executive Producers of "Secret Guide To Fabulous: Summer," hosted by curators of taste John Gidding, Ronnie Woo, Theodore Leaf and Rob Younkers. Michael Urie's "Cocktails & Classics" returns for a third season on Sunday, June 5 at 8:00 PM ET/PT. Urie and a panel of special guests welcome celebrities including Dolly Parton and Mel B. to revisit classic and campy films.  RuPaul turns up the heat with "RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 8 RuVealed, " premiering Sunday, June 5 at 7pm ET/PT and a second season of "RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race " coming later this summer.  Vivica A. Fox joins as host of "Gay Skit Happens:  Summer Edition," a hysterical sketch comedy show, which returns for a summer special on Wednesday, June 29 at 10:00 PM ET/PT. 
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Political, Activism and Legal

Youth Suicide Prevention Bill Clears California Assembly

Sacramento, Calif. - June 2, 2016 – The California Assembly has approved a bill that would require the adoption of comprehensive suicide prevention plans by local California school districts with students attending grades 7-12.  Assembly Bill (AB) 2246 was authored by Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach) and sponsored by Equality California and The Trevor Project.
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Equality PA Thanks Sen. Casey for Co-Sponsoring the Equality Act

Pittsburgh - June 2, 2016 – Equality PA Executive Director, Ted Martin, thanked Sen. Bob Casey today for signing on to co-sponsor the Equality Act (S 1858). The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.
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BREAKING: VA Proposes Rule Change to Lift Ban on Gender Confirmation Surgery for Transgender Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC - June 2, 2016 – Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, praised the news that the U.S. Department of Veterans (VA) is proposing a rule change to lift its outdated ban on gender confirmation surgery for transgender veterans.
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DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Statement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender Pride Month

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Statement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender Pride Month
WASHINGTON-  DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement on LGBT Pride Month: "As we begin LGBT Pride Month, members of the LGBT Community and their allies have many victories to celebrate. Our nation has made enormous progress in recent years in the fight for equality – the result of courageous individuals and dedicated groups in every corner of our country standing up for what is right, often facing the cruelty of discrimination, bigotry and even violence to effect real and lasting change. Democrats are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community in that fight.
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Federal Appeals Court Denies Request for Review in Transgender Bathroom Case

RICHMOND, Va. - May 31, 2016 - The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will not rehear the case of a Gloucester County transgender high school student suing his school board over discriminatory bathroom policies.
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Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Equality California-Sponsored HIV+ Organ Donation Bill

Sacramento - May 27, 2016 - California Governor Jerry Brown today signed a bill that allows organ transplants between HIV-positive donors and HIV-positive recipients.  Senate Bill (SB) 1408 was authored by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and co-sponsored by Equality California, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and Positive Women's Network-USA.  The four organizations are part of the coalition Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform (CHCR), itself a supporter of the bill. SB 1408 brings state law in line with federal law and passed both the Assembly and Senate unanimously earlier in the day.
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California Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Donation of HIV-Positive Organs

Sacramento - May 27, 2016 - The California legislature today passed a bill that would allow organ transplants between HIV-positive donors and HIV-positive recipients. Senate Bill (SB) 1408, authored by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and co-sponsored by Equality California, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and Positive Women's Network-USA, would bring state law in line with federal law. The bill passed both the Assembly and the Senate unanimously.
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Senate Approves Bill to Protect LGBT Students Against Discrimination at Private Universities

Sacramento, Calif. - May 26, 2016 - The California State Senate has approved a bill, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and sponsored by Equality California, to close a loophole that allows private universities to discriminate against students and staff based on their gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Senate Bill 1146 would require universities that are granted a Title IX exemption to disclose that information to the California Student Aid Commission and disseminate the information to students and staff. The bill would also allow an individual who has encountered discrimination at a school claiming a Title IX exemption to pursue a remedy through a civil action. SB 1146 cleared the Senate Education Committee this morning and passed the Senate floor by a vote of 25-13.
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Campus Pride calls on CA State Assembly to pass AB 1888, support LGBTQ youth at religious colleges

Campus Pride fully supports the California State Assembly Bill 1888 (AB 1888) authored by Assemblymember Evan Low.   We call upon the California State Assembly to pass this bill in support of LGBTQ youth in California and set an example for others.
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New report finds human rights violations pervasive against transgender women in Mexico

Oakland, CA May 26, 2016 - Transgender Law Center and the Cornell Law School LGBT Clinic today released a publication, "Report on Human Rights Conditions of Transgender Women in Mexico," demonstrating that transgender women in Mexico face pervasive discrimination, hatred, violence, police abuse, rape, torture, and murder. The report, intended to assess country conditions in Mexico to inform immigration judges and asylum officers in the U.S., found that conditions have actually worsened for transgender women since same-sex marriage became available in Mexico in 2010.
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ACLU of Illinois Intervenes in Lawsuit against the Federal Gov on Behalf of Transgender Students

CHICAGO - May 26, 2016 - Student A, the young woman at the center of a very public debate in suburban Chicago about use of locker room facilities for students who are transgender, today joined with others to file a motion in federal district court to join the lawsuit filed by two anti-LGBT rights groups in early May.  She joined her parents, two other families with students (Student B and Student C) who are transgender in District 211, and a statewide group that works with LGBT youth.
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Vermont Joins Growing Number of Jurisdictions Protecting LGBTQ Kids from Conversion Therapy

(Vermont, Montpelier, May 25, 2016)-Today, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed Senate Bill 132 into law, making Vermont the eighth jurisdiction-behind California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Washington D.C., and Cincinnati-to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of conversion therapy.
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Extremist Officials in 11 States File Lawsuit Attacking Transgender Students, Workers

May 25, 2016 - Today, officials in 11 states, led by indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, filed yet another political lawsuit attacking basic protections for transgender students and workers. The federal lawsuit claims that despite recent court rulings, the practical and proven guidelines recently provided to schools by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education are illegal.
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ACLU Comment on Lawsuit Filed by 11 States Challenging Obama Administration Transgender Guidance

NEW YORK - May 25, 2016 - Eleven states have announced legal action against the Obama administration following the release of guidance on how schools treat transgender students.
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General Officers Question Army Chief of Staff's Statement on Transgender Service

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - May 24, 2016 – Two retired General Officers have sent a letter to Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley in response to his concerns about transgender military service. Despite extensive study by a Pentagon Working Group, the RAND Corporation, and an independent commission of retired General Officers and leading scholars and experts, General Milley suggested recently that before the military can lift its ban on transgender personnel, "serious significant issues need to be completely vetted and studied."

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Bathroom Laws Targeting Transgender People Further Criminalize Their Lives

Washington, D.C. May 24, 2016- Bathroom laws targeting transgender people contribute to a pattern of criminalizing individuals solely based on their gender identity, according to a landmark report released today. The report offers a snapshot of how the U.S. criminal justice system fails transgender people, targeting them through police profiling and harassment and subjecting them to abuse and violence in prison and detention facilities.
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Vermont's High Court Hears Parentage Case Involving Lesbian Co-Parents

May 24, 2016 - Today Vermont's Supreme Court heard arguments in Sinnott v. Peck, a case involving a lesbian couple who raised two adopted children together for over ten years. Following the dissolution of their relationship and after jointly parenting for over three years, the adoptive mom began limiting Sarah Sinnott's contact with the children.
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Equality California Condemns U.S. House Vote Reinstating Federal LGBT Discrimination

Los Angeles - May 20, 2016 – In response to yesterday's narrow vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to reject an amendment that would have removed anti-LGBT provisions from a defense spending bill, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:
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Historic Confirmation As Eric Fanning Becomes First Openly-Gay Secretary of the U.S. Army

WASHINGTON - May 17, 2016 -- Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the Senate for confirming Eric Fanning to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Army. Fanning is the first openly-gay leader of a U.S. military service, and is now the highest-ranking, Senate-confirmed openly-LGBT appointed official.
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23 Civil Rights Groups Voice Support for Transgender Title IX Guidance from DoJ & DoE

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the 22 undersigned organizations, we write in strong support of the joint guidance issued by the Departments of Education and Justice on May 13, 2016, regarding the responsibility of schools, districts and states to protect transgender and gender non-conforming students from discrimination.  The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States.  This guidance follows in the greatest of our American traditions of protection from discrimination and the advancement of justice.  As a coalition representing African American, Latino, Asian American, LGBTQ and Native American people, women, immigrants, people with disabilities, people of faith, working families, and low-income people, we know both that there are transgender people within and across all of our communities who contribute significantly to our society and that an attack on the civil and human rights of some is an attack on the civil and human rights of all.    
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Oklahoma Introduces Two Anti-Transgender Bills

OKLAHOMA CITY - May 20, 2016– After the Oklahoma Legislature filed two pieces of anti-transgender legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma issued the following statement:
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Transgender Student Resource Launched for Pennsylvania Schools

HARRISBURG, Pa. - May 20, 2016 - The Pennsylvania Youth Congress (PYC) has launched the Dignity for All project as an online resource for school districts in supporting transgender students. The statewide LGBT youth organization has additionally released a model policy for supporting transgender and gender expansive students. The model policy is being sent today to the fifty largest school districts in the commonwealth for their consideration to adopt. The resource and model policy can be accessed at http://dignityforall.payouthcongress.org
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ACLU Tells Military Appeals Court Chelsea Manning Prosecution Was Unconstitutional

FORT BELVOIR, Va. - May 19, 2016- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a brief supporting the appeal of Chelsea Manning's conviction for giving classified documents to Wikileaks, arguing that her prosecution under the Espionage Act of 1917 violated the Constitution and should be overturned.
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House Introduces Bill to Modify RFRA to Prevent Discrimination and Harm

WASHINGTON - May 18, 2016- With support from the American Civil Liberties Union, Reps. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) today introduced the Do No Harm Act in Congress to ensure that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not used in ways that result in discrimination and harm.
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GLSEN Statement on Education Ministers' Global Call to Action to End Anti-LGBT Violence in Education

NEW YORK (May 18, 2016) – GLSEN's Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, made the following statement in response to the global Call to Action issued at the International Ministerial Meeting on Education Sector Responses to Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression, held this week by UNESCO in Paris. The Call to Action urges governments to implement responses to the issue of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) violence in schools, including policy, inclusive curricula, professional development for educators and ongoing evaluation of the effect of interventions.
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DNC Chair Statement on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

DNC Chair Statement on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
WASHINGTON - May 17, 2016 -  DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement: "On International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia we reaffirm the dignity and worth of those in the LGBT community. Observing this day is especially important this political season, when negative rhetoric aimed at our LGBT brothers and sisters and efforts to pass anti-LGBT legislation in states around the country threaten to inflame hatred and deepen divisions in our communities. These actions are wrong, and do nothing but encourage bullying, cruelty and harassment, and we must stand against them.
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Logo Launches 'Global Ally' Campaign + Largest Survey on LGBTI People Around the World

New York, NY – May 17, 2016 – Today, on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Logo, the leading entertainment brand inspired by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, launched the Global Ally multiplatform storytelling project and released initial findings from the inaugural ILGA-RIWI 2016 Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI People in partnership with Logo, the largest survey of attitudes toward LGBTI people around the world. The survey of nearly 100,000 individuals in 65 countries including Brazil, China, Congo, Egypt, France, Iraq, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, and the United States, conducted by global survey technology company RIWI Corp. and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), found that acceptance of the LGBTI community is growing both in the United States and around the world, but there is a long road ahead for equality.
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Aaron Belkin's Statement on New RAND Report on Transgender Military Service

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - May 17, 2016 – Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, released the following statement in response to the RAND report commissioned by the Pentagon to study transgender military service:
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GLSEN Statement on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

NEW YORK (May 17, 2016) – GLSEN's Chief Research & Strategy Officer, Dr. Joseph Kosciw, made the following statement in recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), celebrated on May 17.
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ACLU and Lambda Legal Ask Court to Block Enforcement of North Carolina's Anti-Transgender Law

RALEIGH, N.C. - May 16, 2016 - The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal today asked a federal court to order an immediate halt to enforcement of a North Carolina law that targets transgender people for discrimination in single-sex facilities.
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Representative Mike Honda Encourages California State Leaders to Support the Transgender Community

San Jose, CA May 14, 2016 - – U.S. Representative Mike Honda (Silicon Valley, Calif.) today joined individuals from the transgender community, statewide LGBT organizations, businesses, faith-based leaders and community members to promote Transform California – a statewide campaign 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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Another win: Federal Government bans anti-trans discrimination in health care and insurance coverage

Harrisburg - May 13, 2016 - Earlier this month, Pennsylvania became the 17th state to ban discrimination against gender identity in health insurance practices.  Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took an important step forward by issuing Affordable Care Act regulations banning anti-trans discrimination in health care and insurance coverage.   By issuing the Section 1557 of the ACA final rule, HHS is advancing health equity and reducing healthcare disparities for a number of minority communities. Under the rule, individuals are "protected from discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity and sex stereotyping."
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Palm Center Questions Pentagon Claim that Transgender Service is 'Complicated'

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - May 13, 2016 --  As the Obama administration signals that defending transgender equality will be a major priority of its last year, Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter said this week that transgender military service "is complicated," and he has so far declined to end the Pentagon's discriminatory policy. His remarks come four months after the Pentagon missed its own deadline to review its transgender service ban, and experts are now warning that time may be running short. Military officials are aware of at least 77 transgender service members who are currently serving in limbo as they await a new policy, and scholars estimate that 12,800 transgender personnel are currently serving.
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NCLR Applauds Federal Guidance on Title IX and Transgender Students

(San Francisco, CA, May 13, 2016) – Today, the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the United States Department of Justice issued guidance on Title IX and the right of transgender students to attend school free from discrimination based on sex.
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Transgender Law Center takes legal action against Wisconsin school district denying transgender boy access to boys' rest

May 12, 2016 - Transgender Law Center filed a complaint today with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights on behalf of a 16-year-old transgender boy who has been barred from using the boys' restroom by the Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin.  Ashton Whitaker, 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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Lambda Legal and Transgender Law Center Petition VA to Provide Surgery for Transgender Veterans

(Washington, D.C., May 10, 2016) –Late yesterday, Lambda Legal and Transgender Law Center, with co-counsel WilmerHale, petitioned with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to change the rule that categorically excludes transition-related surgery for transgender veterans. The petition was filed on behalf of two individual veterans, Dee Fulcher and Gio Silva, and a group representing transgender veterans, the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA).  
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Historic U.S. Department of Education Guidance Affirms the Rights of Transgender Students

May 13, 2016 - Today, the U.S. Department of Education released a historic letter to the nation's school districts that affirms that discriminating against transgender students is illegal under Title IX.
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Transgender Law Center applauds new federal guidance on transgender students

May 13, 2016 - In a "Dear Colleague " letter, the Department of Education and Department of Justice issued guidance today making it clear that schools must treat transgender students according to their gender identity in all respects and cannot ban transgender students from using facilities that match the gender they live as every day.
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TLDEF Applauds Obama Administration for Directing Schools to Allow Transgender Students to Use Appropriate Bathrooms

New York, NY - May 13, 2016 - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) applauds the Obama Administration for issuing a directive to all public schools in the nation stating they must allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match who they are as boys and girls.
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Obama Admin. Tells Public Schools: Embrace Transgender Students

May 13, 2016 - Today the Obama Administration's Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Justice (DOJ) signed a groundbreaking letter that was sent to public schools directing them to embrace transgender students by allowing them to participate fully and use the facilities that match the gender they live every day. Accompanying the letter is a 25-page guide of best practices to ensure all students, including transgender students, have a fair opportunity to succeed in school.
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ACLU Comment on HHS Rule Implementing Nondiscrimination Provision of the Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON - May 13, 2016 - The Department of Health and Human Services today issued a final rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would, among other aspects, prohibit sex discrimination for patients seeking health care. 
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds White House's Latest Historic Move to Advance Fairness and Equality

WASHINGTON - May 13, 2016 – Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president and director of policy at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement in response to the Obama administration's move to protect transgender students' rights to use the restroom that matches their gender identity:
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HHS Issues ACA Regulations Banning Anti-Trans Discrimination in Health Care and Insurance Coverage

May 13, 2016 - Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced final regulations around the non-discrimination section of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The regulations state that it is now clearly illegal to deny healthcare coverage related to gender transition. Given that coverage exclusions still exist in many health insurance plans, these regulations will benefit a huge number of transgender people across the country who have been denied the healthcare they need.
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Educators, LGBT Advocates Slam General Assembly for Refusing DOJ Order to End Civil Rights Violations Under HB 2

RALEIGH, NC - May 9, 2016  -- Today at a press conference in Raleigh, NC, the Human Rights Campaign, Equality NC, the North Carolina Association of Educators, and Campus Pride blasted Governor Pat McCrory for filing a lawsuit defending his deeply discriminatory HB2.
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Travel Ban and All-Gender Restroom Bills Clear California Assembly

Sacramento - May 9, 2016 – Two Equality California-sponsored bills advancing the civil rights of LGBT people in California and across the country were approved by the California Assembly today.  Assembly Bill (AB) 1887 was approved by a vote of 54-21 and AB 1732 passed by 55-19.
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ACLU and Lambda Legal Support DOJ Lawsuit Against NCa Anti-LGBT Bill

RALEIGH, N.C. - May 9, 2016 - The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory challenging House Bill 2, a law that removes local legal protections for LGBT people and prohibits transgender people from using public facilities that correspond to their gender identity.
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NCTE Statement on NC Gov. Pat McCrory's HB2 Announcement

May 9, 2016 - Today, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced that he is suing the U.S. Department of Justice, and that the state will not stop implementing HB 2, the state's anti-transgender law. In response to this disappointing but unsurprising development, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said:
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ACLU and Lambda Legal Statement on North Carolina's Lawsuit Against Federal Government

RALEIGH, N.C. May 9, 2016 - North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice that asks a federal court to determine that House Bill 2, the discriminatory law that removes local legal protections for LGBT people and prohibits transgender people from using public facilities that correspond to their gender identity, does not violate civil rights laws.
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GLSEN Condemns NC Leaders for Deepening Their Commitment to Violating Federal Law

WASHINGTON (May 9, 2016) – GLSEN's Director of Public Policy, Nathan Smith, condemned North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the state's legislative leaders for filing suit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) after DOJ last week found the state's discriminatory House Bill 2 to be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
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ACLU Sues to Challenge Unconstitutional Anti-LGBT Mississippi Law

JACKSON, Miss. - May 9, 2016 - The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi today filed a lawsuit to challenge an anti-LGBT law passed this spring that allows public officials and businesses to refuse to serve gay and transgender individuals.
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Business Leaders Urge Washington Supreme Court to Uphold Ruling Against Florist Who Denied Service to Gay Couple

WASHINGTON - May 6, 2016 - Fourteen businesses and four trade associations today submitted a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Washington Supreme Court to uphold a ruling that a Richland florist violated state anti-discrimination laws by refusing to provide flowers to a gay couple for their wedding celebration. A list of some of the businesses and associations follows at the end of this announcement.
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Health

Grindr, Facebook and the New Image Culture

The power of images, specifically, photos, is not to be underestimated. With apps like Grindr and Facebook, many of us interact less-and-less with people face-to-face. We don't hear their voice, see how they move or observe them with their friends.
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New Analyses Offer Clearer Picture of Where to Target HIV Prevention and Care Efforts to reach Gay and Bisexual Men

In the United States, the burden of HIV is disproportionately high for men who have sex with men (MSM), who account for approximately two-thirds of all new diagnoses each year. Results from a new study estimating rates of HIV prevalence (number of people living with an HIV diagnosis) among MSM at local levels highlight areas where gay and bisexual men are at greatest risk for HIV infection. Focusing on these areas will allow health departments and community-based organizations to provide HIV prevention and care resources to MSM who need them most.
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Spirituality and Religion

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie Garage Sale June 17th & 18th

You're invited!  To the 27th annual YARD SALE, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie -  June 17th & 18th 9am-2pm.  Your donated items are also welcome - evenings, June 12th thru the 16th. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie is located at 7180 Perry Highway, Erie PA.
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

You asked, I answered

This week's column is (mostly) not about Donald Trump. Instead, as I do from time to time, I asked my Facebook friends to suggest topics. So here goes:
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Mark My Words: Change through communication

This last sleepy, dreary, overcast Saturday, you might have missed President Barack Obama as he gave what many might say in the future was one of his best speeches of his presidential years. It was a commencement address at Howard University, and it was a call for what he has consistently stood for: hope. It was also an urge to those in attendance to get involved, and not be afraid to engage with those who do not agree with us, for change only happens with communication.
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The Amazon Trail: Emily Dickinson's Desk

The Amazon Trail: Emily Dickinson's Desk
How do gay writers celebrate the end of a book, a poem, a story? I don't know about Sarah Orne Jewett, Langston Hughes, Willa Cather, or Allen Ginsberg, but after that brief moment of relief, before the serious editorial worrying begins, after my sweetheart takes me for a long walk on the beach and a romantic dinner with a view, I clean my desk.
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Contests

Enter to win Last Year Was Complicated from Nick Jonas!

Enter to win Last Year Was Complicated from Nick Jonas!
Enter to win Last Year Was Complicated from Nick JonasLAST YEAR WAS COMPLICATED, the new album from NICK JONAS. Featuring "Close," "Chainsaw" and "Champagne Problems" Available NOW: http://smarturl.it/LastYearComplicated. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 17 and July 8.
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Enter to win an autographed copy of The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story from Scott D. Pomfret!

Enter to win an autographed copy of The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story from Scott D. Pomfret!
Enter to win an autographed copy of The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story from Scott D. Pomfret! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 17 and July 8.
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Enter to win Imagine from Sir Ivan!

Enter to win Imagine from Sir Ivan!
Enter to win Imagine from Sir Ivan! "IMAGINE" - the new single from Billboard chart topper and "Peaceman" SIR IVAN. From the album Peaceman Shines (available now): https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/peaceman-shines/id1069198216. Win special "Imagine" The Remixes USB flash drives including incredible mixes by Mike Rizzo, Jason Nevins, Chris Cox, Ralphi Rosario & more! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 14 and July 5.
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Enter to win BOYSTOWN Season Five by Jake Biondi!

Enter to win BOYSTOWN Season Five by Jake Biondi!
Enter to win BOYSTOWN Season Five by Jake Biondi! To enter the contest, fill out the form below between June 10 and July 1.
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Enter to win When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know

Enter to win When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
Enter to win When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 7 and June 28.
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Enter to win a copy of Hero from Maren Morris!

Enter to win a copy of Hero from Maren Morris!
Enter to win a copy of Hero from Maren MorrisHero - the new album from Country music star Maren Morris! Featuring the smash hit "My Church" plus "80s Mercedes," "Rich," "Drunk Girls Don't Cry," and "I Wish I Was."  Available NOW: http://smarturl.it/mmhero. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 3 and June 24.
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Enter to win Dangerous Woman from Ariana Grande!

Enter to win Dangerous Woman from Ariana Grande!
Enter to win Dangerous Woman from Ariana Grande! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between June 3 and June 24.
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Enter to win a copy of Love You To Death from Tegan and Sara!

Enter to win a copy of Love You To Death from Tegan and Sara!
Enter to win a copy of Love You To Death, the new album from Tegan and Sara! Featuring the hit single "Boyfriend" plus "U-Turn" and "100x." Pre-order and instantly receive all three tracks plus "Stop Desire."  Available June 3:  Tegan & Sara Store: http://teganandsara.com/shop/ iTunes: http://smarturl.it/LY2DiTunes To enter the contest, fill out the form below between May 31 and June 21.
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Enter to win I'm In Control from AlunaGeorge ft Popcaan

Enter to win I'm In Control from AlunaGeorge ft Popcaan
Enter to win I'm In Control from AlunaGeorge ft Popcaan! "I'M IN CONTROL" ft. Popcaan. The new single from pop alchemists ALUNAGEORGE. From the sophomore album I Remember - Available Spring 2016. Win special remix CDs including "I'm In Control" ft. Popcaan mixes by Fakear and The Magician! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 31 and June 21.
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Enter to win Memo EP download from Grace!

Enter to win Memo EP download from Grace!
Enter to win Memo EP download from Grace! "YOU DON'T OWN ME", the hit single from vocal powerhouse GRACE ft. G-Eazy. From her debut EP Memo. Available Now on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/MemoEP?IQid=f. Stream on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/MemoEPs?IQid=f. Enter now to win a digital download of the Memo EP! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 27 and June 17.
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Enter to win a Digital HD download of TOP GUN!

Enter to win a Digital HD download of TOP GUN!
Enter to win a Digital HD download of TOP GUN! Celebrate 30 years of the need for speed and enter to win a Digital HD download of the adrenaline-fueled classic TOP GUN! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between May 24 and June 14.
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History

Exhibit at State Museum: PA's Pioneering role in LGBT rights

Exhibit at State Museum: PA's Pioneering role in LGBT rights
Open April 13 through October 30, 2016, this exhibit focuses on the equality movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the late 1960s and its progress in the Commonwealth during the 1970s. The show focuses on the partnership between dedicated LGBT activist coalitions and Governor Milton J. Shapp, leading to unprecedented executive action in Pennsylvania for LGBT equality and features photographs, documents and objects related to this movement.
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First ally governor

Listen up, LGBT history fans. When you think of LGBT history, you likely think of San Francisco or New York City, but the truth is, 40 years ago, Pennsylvania was at the vanguard of the American struggle for LGBT equality. You're probably thinking I'm going to mention those pickets outside Independence Hall every July 4 from 1965-69, or the Dewey's sit-in in 1965. None of the above.
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Miscellaneous

Curb Appeal - Making Your Home Attractive to Buyers

Once a homeowner has decided to sell their home, one of the first things they do is start to clean up the property. Making basic repairs to the interior of your home, such as putting down new flooring or painting the walls, is a start, but if potential buyers never get inside your home, they will never see these improvements. That's why real estate professionals stress curb appeal, or the view of your home from the curb. Those listings that have great curb appeal are much more likely to bring in more potential buyers, which in turn results in a greater chance of selling your home quickly. Some potential buyers will walk away if they see an exterior that appears to be in disrepair, even if the interior of the home is amazing.
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