December, 2017 News (88 Articles with 127,224 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for December, 2017 Newly-elected Erie City School Board Member Tyler James Titus, first transgender elected official in Pennsylania. Photography by Niko 2017

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.

Entertainment and Travel

Daniel Burke: Callings December 1, 2017 – April 8, 2018 at Erie Art Museum

For six decades, Daniel Burke has answered a calling to make art and to teach. This retrospective exhibition looks back across the career of a prolific artist to explore highlights from each decade and reveal connections across his various series.
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Pride Journey: San Antonio, Texas

My recent visit to San Antonio began with not knowing if I was even going to be able to go. It was at that time in the path of Hurricane Harvey, which ultimately took a turn towards Houston as we all now know, I was debating whether or not I should even attempt to visit the city. If I did go, would I be able to visit all of the attractions I wanted to see? Would it be raining and miserable? Would the city be flooded as predicted? Well I decided to roll the dice and flew into San Antonio a day early to arrive before the storm hit. It would be my first time visiting the city, so I didn't want to lose this opportunity.
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Local and Regional News

Marshall Blount creates series of asexuality videos

Marshall Blount creates series of asexuality videos
Photographer and artist Marshall Blount is creating a series of videos offering support and raising awareness around asexuality. Check them out on his YouTube Channel: Marshall John Blount.
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Crawford Area LGBT+ new public page

Crawford Area LGBT+ now has a public facing page for the group. This page will be for public events where we will want to get the broader community involved so that these events can more easily be shared by others. I will keep the current group closed for meetings and group only events.
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Holiday Sale benefit for PERSAD Center Dec 1-3

Persad Center - western Pennsylvania's leading human service organization whose mission is to improve the well-being of the LGBTQ communities, and the HIV/AIDS communities-is having a fundraiser just in time for Holidays. The event will be held Dec 1-3 at Riverside Design Group Warehouse, 3485 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA. This year will be the biggest sale in Riverside's history as the warehouse is moving early next year and they want to clear the shelves! and come help make this our biggest fundraiser ever.
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Over 40?...So What!

Over 40?...So What!
The social support group Aging With Pride has been renamed. The group will now be known as Over 40?...So What! Meetings will continue to be held the 2nd Sunday of the month from 4pm to 6pm. The next meeting will be held December 10th . The location will remain the same at Lake Erie Counseling Inc. 301 West 10 th Street, Erie The group strives to be a warm, welcoming space for LGBT individuals age 40 and over to socialize, meet friends, finds support and discuss issues of importance to those of us in the prime of our lives.
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NW PA Pride Thanks 2017 Donors

Thanks to donors and supporters , 2017 was a great year for the NW PA Pride Alliance. We celebrated 25 years of pride this year and embraced this milestone as our theme. With this added focus on the history of the local LGBTQIA community, we honored six groups and one individual with Visibility Awards at Pridefest for their work over the past 25 years. With accessibility in mind, the board made changes to our marquee summer events, moving Pridefest to the last weekend in June and the Pride Picnic to the final weekend in August. In addition to the new date, Pridefest had a new location-the freshly renovated Perry Square. Because of these changes, we attracted roughly 750 people, the largest pride event in NWPA history. And for the second year in a row, Erie Pridefest was covered by MIC Media as part of the Google-sponsored "Small Town, Big Pride" series.
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Dr Ashley Sullivan interview about LGBT children on YouTube

Dr Ashley Sullivan interview about LGBT children on YouTube
Ashley Lauren Sullivan, Ph.D., MSW was interviewed on Ask the Expert - Quality Early Learning Radio Show Program #76 9-1-17. Dr. Ashley Sullivan, professor of Early Childhood Education at Penn State-Erie, the Behrend campus. In the interview she discusseds her research on social justice and equity, as it relates to working with LGBT children as well as her soon to be released book, Voices of Transgender Children in Early Childhood Education: Reflections on Resistance and Resiliency. Dr. Sullivan was also included in Erie Reader's 2017 edition of the top 40 professionals in the Erie area having an impact under the age of 40.
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Painting with Pride Dec 21

NWPA Pride Alliance, Inc. and Dramashop team up to present a joint fundraiser, Painting With Pride. The event, hosted by instructor Angela Howell, will be held on Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 PM) at Dramashop (Renaissance Center – 1001 State St – Second Floor). This event is "bring your own drinks and snacks" (a limited selection of non-alcoholic drinks will be available for purchase). Tickets are $35 (plus service charge), which includes all painting supplies, and are available here and MUST be purchased prior to 12:01am on December 20. Put an end to your ordinary day and sip your way to a masterpiece.
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Conneaut Area High School GSA Approved By School District

Conneaut Area High School GSA Approved By School District
On Wednesday, November 8, the Conneaut School District School Board voted at its monthly meeting to allow a Gay-Straight Alliance Club to be formed. Mr. David Moore and Mrs. Melissa Flinchbaugh were named as co-advisers to the club. At the meeting, Mr. Moore addressed the school board and said that such a club "would allow the LGBT students of the school to have a safe space to discuss issues relevant to them." He stressed that the LGBT students of the high school are the most underserved segment of the student population.
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Deadline for December 2017 print edition (issue # 265) of Erie Gay News is Monday, November 13

Deadline for December 2017 print edition (issue # 265) of Erie Gay News is Monday, November 13
For the next print edition of Erie Gay News (issue # 265, cover dated for December 2017), please send in calendar events, news items, and other info for late November 2017 and beyond by Monday, October 13. We expect that the next print edition will come out on Tuesday, November 21.
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Former Teacher Creates New Endowment Fund

Former Teacher Creates New Endowment Fund
EDINBORO, PA (November 1, 2017) – If you ever stepped into Jean Smith's classroom, there was something obvious that stood out – there was no desk. Instead, she'd pull up a chair and get down to the student's level.  For her, it was all about making her classroom student-focused.
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11th Annual Trigon/Penn State Behrend Drag Show

11th Annual Trigon/Penn State Behrend Drag Show
On Thursday, November 2, 2017, Trigon, Penn State Behrend's LGBTQIA student group held their 11th annual Drag Show in McGarvey Commons in Reed Student Union Building. The event's theme was Dungeons and Drag Queens and was headlined by Lola Lecroix, and performers also included Sasha Nolan, Anna Steezia, Blade Matthews, and Danyel Vasquez. There was also an amateur drag performer contest.
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Identity/EUP HalloQueen Ball

Identity/EUP HalloQueen Ball
On Tuesday, October 31, 2017, Identity, Edinboro University's LGBTQIA student group held a HalloQueen Ball in the Franklin Pogue Student Center. The evening included a screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show, a costume contest, and dancing.
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LGBT Walking Unit in Meadville Halloween Parade

On Saturday, October 28, 2017, there was an LGBT contingent in the 51st Meadville Halloween Parade, a first for that event. Groups participating included Crawford Area LGBT+, Why Not Us? (Allegheny College camp group to stand up to and bring an end to rape culture), Allegheny College Gender Sexuality Alliance. Showing Up for Racial Justice Crawford County,, and members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville. The contingent was well-received. Meadville’s Halloween Parade is the largest night-time parade in Pennsylvania.
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Political, Activism and Legal

Mr. President, for World AIDS Day, the National LGBTQ Task Force would like to give you an education on HIV

WASHINGTON-DC: December 1, 2017 Looking at President Donald Trump's proclamation for World AIDS Day one might think HIV was not an issue for people of color or the LGBTQ community, since the president's statement did not mention either. Perhaps the president forgot, or didn't know any better, so we at the Task Force would like to give the president a much-needed education on HIV
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HRC Responds to Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidate Paul Mango's Support for Anti-Transgender Legislation

WASHINGTON - December 1, 2017 -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, responded to Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango's support for discriminatory laws that would bar transgender people from using public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
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Vermont High Court Rules for Lesbian Mom

December 1, 2017 - Vermont's Supreme Court today ruled in favor of Sarah Sinnott whose former partner sought to block her relationship with the daughter they jointly brought into their family through adoption. This decision is an important step forward for many families including those where parents are unmarried, where one does not have a genetic tie to a child, or, as in this case, where one parent formally does an adoption and the other does not.    
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New Discriminatory Anti-Transgender Bill Moving Through PA Assembly

December 1, 2017 - Following the introduction of the "Taxpayer-Funded Gender or Sex Reassignment Services Act" (HB1933) in the Pennsylvania House, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, released the following statement: "Weeks after their attempt to hold health care for Pennsylvania children hostage during CHIP re-authorization, some state lawmakers have doubled down with new legislation that will not only harm children, but all Pennsylvanians who rely on Medicaid," said JoDee Winterhof, HRC's Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs. "It is despicable that these lawmakers are willing to sacrifice lifesaving programs in order to attack the LGBTQ community in a cynical attempt at making political gains. We urge the Pennsylvania House to do the right thing and reject this bill."
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Equality California Observes the 30th Annual World AIDS Day

Los Angeles - November 30, 2017 - Tomorrow, Equality California will observe the 30th annual World AIDS Day. Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement "On this thirtieth year of World AIDS Day, we remember the millions we have lost to AIDS, celebrate the numerous scientific and policy advances in treatment and prevention, and pledge to support the worldwide 'getting to zero' efforts – zero HIV transmissions, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero stigma against people living with HIV.
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LGBT Asians/ South Asians file innovative amicus briefs

December 1, 2017 - The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) filed two amicus ("friend of the court") briefs in federal courts defending the rights of LGBT people, Asian Americans, and immigrants.  Those cases involve a claim of religious exemption to allow anti-LGBT discrimination in Colorado and a harsh anti-immigrant, anti-sanctuary city law in Texas SB4.
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Lambda Legal Brings Together 28 Other LGBT Organizations to Oppose Nominations of L. Steven Grasz and Mark Norris

Washington, DC - November 30, 2017Lambda Legal and 28 other national, state, and local LGBT organizations sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of a vote today urging them to oppose the nominations of Leonard Steven Grasz to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and Mark Norris to the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, stressing that their records "demonstrate that their appointments to the bench would cause grave harm to the LGBT community, as well as many other communities who rely on the federal judiciary to administer fair and impartial justice."
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Trans people of color speak out for World AIDS Day

(Oakland, CA - November 30, 2017) -- In advance of World AIDS Day on December 1, 2017, Transgender Law Center (TLC) is releasing three new videos created by trans people of color living with HIV. The videos from Positively Trans members Aryah Lester, Arianna Lint, and Marcus Ecks, developed at Story Center workshops, provide a more personal look at the lives and stories behind data showing the epidemic's disproportionate impact on transgender communities.
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Lambda Legal: Chairman Grassley & Senate Judiciary GOP Bulldoze Judicial Nominations Process to Stack Federal Courts

Washington, DC - November 29, 2017 – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on two judicial nominees for lifetime appointments to the federal bench: Kyle Duncan for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and David Stras for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The hearing took place as a result of Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley breaking with precedent to override the “blue slip" process, which traditionally gives the Senators from each nominee's home state the opportunity to weigh in on the nomination and prevent them from moving forward by refusing to return the blue slip. Senator Franken (D-MN) refused to turn in his blue slip for David Stras, and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) turned in a negative blue slip for Kyle Duncan.
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A Return to "We Don't Serve Your Kind Here"?

(New York-November 29, 2017) In the context of a nation rocked by racial discrimination at levels unseen in decades, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on December 5th in a case that could gut not only state nondiscrimination laws but also erode the Civil Rights Act-and turn back the clock to a time when businesses could tell people, "we don't serve your kind here."
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Lambda Legal Condemns U.S. Senate for Handing Architect of Trump Administration's Anti-LGBT Agenda Lifetime Appointment

Washington, DC - November 28, 2017 – The United States Senate this evening confirmed Gregory Katsas – the legal architect of many of Donald Trump's anti-LGBT efforts – to the powerful U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Lambda Legal strongly condemned the Senate GOP leadership and those Senators who confirmed Katsas for this lifetime position on the federal bench, and noted that this evening's vote marks the beginning of a year-end surge by the GOP leadership and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to jam through a series of similarly dangerous nominees to other federal courts.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Rebukes Confirmation of Gregory Katsas

WASHINGTON - November 28, 2017 – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Senate voted to confirm Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit: "The Republican-led Senate has rubber stamped yet another extreme Trump judicial nominee. As one of Trump's top White House lawyers, Gregory Katsas has worked to restrict voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and access to women's health, and he has sought to expand executive power at the expense of civil liberties. His record demonstrates that he will not serve as a fair and independent judge.
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Federal Judge Denies Trump Administration Attempt to Delay Transgender Enlistment

(WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2017)-Today, U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denied a Trump administration request in Doe v. Trump to delay the January 1, 2018 effective date for transgender enlistment. Doe v. Trump-filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)-was the first of four federal lawsuits to challenge President Trump's transgender military ban and the first to secure a nationwide injunction halting the ban
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Federal Judge: Pentagon Must Allow Qualified Transgender Americans to Enter the Military

WASHINGTON, DC - November 27, 2017  - Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families, responded to a federal judge's ruling that the military must move forward with previous plans to allow transgender individuals to enter the military starting on January 1, 2018. The Trump administration is appealing the decision. The ruling clarifies an earlier decision in the case of Doe v. Trump that blocked President Trump's transgender military ban. The court order can be found here.
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Lambda Legal to U.S. Senate: Architect of Administration's Anti-LGBT Agenda Has No Place on Powerful DC Circuit Court

Washington, DC - November 27, 2017 Lambda Legal today urged the United States Senate to reject the nomination of Deputy White House Counsel Gregory Katsas to the powerful U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A vote on Katsas' nomination is expected this evening.
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Equality California Commends the Second Preliminary Injunction Halting Transgender Military Ban

Los Angeles, November 21, 2017 —Today, Equality California applauded U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis in the District of Maryland as he issued a preliminary injunction in Stone v. Trump, a case brought by the ACLU challenging Trump's transgender military ban. This new ruling affirms the nationwide preliminary injunction issued in Doe v. Trump on October 30.
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Trump administration appeals Doe v. Trump, "digging in its heels" on transgender military ban

(WASHINGTON, D.C., November 21, 2017)—Today, the Trump administration filed an appeal in Doe v. Trump, the first lawsuit filed to stop Trump's transgender military ban. On October 30, U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted the National Center for Lesbian Rights' (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders' (GLAD) motion for preliminary injunction, placing a nationwide halt on the ban. Earlier today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled in Stone v. Trump, another of the four federal lawsuits filed challenging Trump's ban, and issued a second preliminary injunction. NCLR and GLAD issued the following statements in response to today's Trump administration appeal:
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Federal Court Blocks All Aspects of Trump's Transgender Military Ban

BALTIMORE - November 21, 2017 - A federal court today granted the American Civil Liberties Union's request for a complete halt to implementation of the president's directive banning transgender service members from serving in the military while the ACLU's lawsuit challenging it moves forward.
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PA LGBTQ Youth Commend House Passage of Discrimination-Free CHIP Reauthorization

Lambda Legal Brings Together 40 Other LGBT Orgs to Oppose Nomination of Gregory Katsas to Powerful D.C. Circuit

Washington, DC - November 20, 2017 – Today, Lambda Legal and 40 other national, state, and local LGBT organizations sent a letter to the United States Senate urging members to oppose the confirmation of Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, citing his central role in the anti-civil rights efforts of the Donald Trump administration, including "morphing the trans military ban from tweet to policy," as well as his record outside the administration of "litigation seeking to dismantle legal protections for LGBT people," all of which together make it impossible for him to be viewed as a fair and impartial judge.
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Lambda Legal: Senate Judiciary Must Set New Hearing for Federal Bench Nominees Brett Talley and Thomas Farr

Washington, DC - November 17, 2017 – Today, Lambda Legal joined the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund in calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold additional hearings on two district court nominees: Brett Talley, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, and Thomas Farr, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Talley, who was already deemed "not qualified" to become a federal judge by the American Bar Association, has since made news for failing to disclose directly relevant information to the Committee. Farr appears to have misled the chamber about his role in a campaign to intimidate black voters, according to media reports. Both nominees should require new hearings on their nominations to lifetime appointments on the federal bench.
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State of California is Now a Plaintiff in Lawsuit Against Trump's Transgender Military Ban, as Court Grants Attorney Gen

Lambda Legal: America Deserves Better – Rather Than Attacking ABA, Senators Should Reject Unqualified Judicial Nominee

Washington, DC - November 15, 2017 – At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, the American Bar Association defended its unanimous rating of "Not Qualified" on Leonard Steven Grasz's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Prior to the Trump Administration, the ABA only issued two ratings that were unanimously not qualified since 1989, and those two nominees were not confirmed. Two of Trump's nominees have already received this non-partisan rating, including Grasz, while 49 of his 53 nominees have received a qualified or well qualified rating from the Association. Lambda Legal has opposed Grasz's nomination and demanded that his nomination be blocked.
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Victory Fund Endorses Nine Congressional Candidates; Wins Can Secure Pro-LGBTQ Majority in House

Lambda Legal: Don Willett Does Not Reflect the "Best of Texas"

Washington, DC - November 15, 2017 – Today, Lambda Legal continued standing up against Donald Trump's long line of dangerous nominees to the federal bench, specifically around a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning on the nomination of Don Willett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. This hearing comes on the heels of a letter sent to the entire committee yesterday, organized by Lambda Legal with 26 other national, state, and local LGBT groups to oppose Willett's nomination, citing his extreme anti-LGBT agenda and track record. In the letter, the groups also oppose to two other nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench: Stuart Kyle Duncan to the Fifth Circuit and Matthew Kacsmaryk to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
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National Report on Intimate Partner Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities

Civil Rights and Health Advocates Express Strong Concerns about HHS's Draft Strategic Plan

November 14, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updates its strategic plan every four years, and last month invited the public to comment on its draft plan for FY 2018–2022. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, members of our Health Care Task Force, and other stakeholders submitted comments to the agency with concerns about the draft plan and recommendations to ensure that the opportunity to access quality health care and live a healthy life is equally available to all.
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The Leadership Conference: Oppose the Confirmation of Don Willett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Victory Fund Endorses Three Gubernatorial Candidates; Potential to Triple LGBTQ Representation in 2018

Washington, DC - November 14, 2017 –  Today Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed three candidates in their races for governor – with the potential to triple the number of LGBTQ governors in the nation in 2018. The endorsees include Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the first openly LGBTQ elected governor in U.S. history who is up for reelection; Representative Jared Polis, who would become the first openly LGBTQ governor in Colorado; and Maryland state Senator Rich Madaleno, who would become the first openly LGBTQ governor in his state.
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Lambda Legal on the Front Lines This Week Opposing Trump's Extremely Dangerous Nominees to the Federal Bench

Washington, DC - November 14, 2017 – This week, Lambda Legal will be out front in its continued opposition to President Donald Trump's nominations for lifetime appointments on the federal bench. Lambda Legal's Director of Strategy, Sharon McGowan, will kick off the week of activities by speaking at a rally outside of the Capitol opposing the nomination of Jeff Mateer, a nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, whose hateful, anti-LGBT and anti-civil rights record notably includes his reference to transgender children as part of "Satan's plan."
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UN Member States Maintain Non-Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation in Olympic Truce Resolution

(New York - November 13, 2017) Today, all 193 United Nations Member States adopted the Olympic Truce Resolution maintaining language protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The resolution, which passed by consensus, included the contested reference to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter. The non-discrimination clause is housed in Principle 6 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at the Olympic Games.
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California's Attorney General Seeks to Join Equality California in Suit Defending Transgender Members in the Military

LOS ANGELES - November 9, 2017 – Attorney General Xavier Becerra yesterday filed a motion to intervene as a party plaintiff in Stockman v. Trump, the suit fighting the transgender military ban. Filed on behalf of Equality California members and seven individual plaintiffs being harmed by the ban, Stockman v. Trump challenges the constitutionality of President Donald Trump's August 25 directive banning transgender people from enlisting or serving openly in the military.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Criticizes Senate Judiciary Committee Approval of Ideological, Inexperienced Nominees

WASHINGTON - November 9, 2017 – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee today voted, on a party-line basis, to advance the nominations of Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Brett Talley to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama: "Despite rising opposition to President Trump's agenda across the country, Senate Republicans are continuing their rush to pack the courts with his extreme judicial nominees. Recognizing that they cannot deliver legislative victories, the Republican-led Senate is seeking to advance Trump's radical agenda by altering the makeup of the federal judiciary.
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HRC Scores Pennsylvania Companies' LGBTQ-Inclusive Workplace Policies in New Corporate Equality Index

WASHINGTON - November 9, 2017 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced a record number of the nation's major companies and law firms are advancing vital policies and practices to protect LGBTQ workers around the world, according to the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual report assessing LGBTQ inclusion in major companies and law firms across the nation, including 44 in Pennsylvania.
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Lambda Legal: Senate Judiciary Republicans Moving Forward With Gregory Katsas' Nomination to Federal Bench

Washington, DC - November 9, 2017 – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to move forward with the nomination of Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is often described as the second most powerful court in the country behind the U.S. Supreme Court. Gregory Katsas is currently the Deputy White House Counsel for the Trump Administration – which has routinely attacked the LGBT community, all people living with HIV, and overall civil rights in this country. Lambda Legal today brought together 20 additional national, state, and local LGBT groups urging members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to stop this nomination. The nomination will now go to the full United States Senate for confirmation.
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Federal Court Hears Arguments in ACLU Challenge to Trump's Ban on Military Service by Transgender People

BALTIMORE - November 9, 2017 -The American Civil Liberties Union was in federal court today for a hearing in its lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's ban on military service by transgender individuals.
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Election Night Victories Expand LGBTQ Political Power; Trans Candidates Become Historic Firsts

Washington, DC - November 8, 2017 – While returns continue coming in, election results so far demonstrate LGBTQ political power is strengthening nationwide, and that transgender candidates are breaking down barriers like never before. 38 of 61 Victory Fund endorsed candidates won their elections, with four still undecided and one heading to a run-off – wins including historic victories by transgender candidates in school boards, city councils and the Virginia House of Delegates. Among the victorious candidates are Jenny Durkan, lesbian candidate for mayor of Seattle; Danica Roem, trans candidate for Virginia House of Delegates; and Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham, trans candidates for Minneapolis City Council. Throughout the election cycle Victory Fund raised more than $350 thousand for its endorsed candidates.
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NCLR, GLAD Attorneys Leading Fight Against Transgender Military Ban Celebrate Historic Vote for Danica Roem

WASHINGTON (November 7, 2017) – Tonight, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the legal advocates leading the fight against President Trump's transgender military ban, celebrated the historic victory of Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person to be elected to public office in Virginia. Roem was elected as a Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates.
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Minneapolis Candidate Andrea Jenkins Becomes First Trans Woman to Win City Council Seat in Major U.S. City

Washington, DC - November 8, 2017 – Minneapolis made history Tuesday night – electing Andrea Jenkins the first openly trans woman ever elected to the city council of a major U.S. city. Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement about the win: "Andrea Jenkins shattered a glass ceiling tonight – becoming the first out trans woman ever elected to the city council of a major U.S. city. Andrea ran on improving the lives of constituents in her ward, but the significance of her victory for the trans equality movement is undeniable. Americans are growing increasingly aware of trans equality and people, and this win will surely inspire other trans people to run for office and further inclusion in their communities."
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Jenny Durkan to Become First Out Lesbian Mayor of Seattle

Washington, DC – Victory Fund endorsed candidate Jenny Durkan is victorious tonight and will become the first out lesbian mayor of Seattle. Currently there is just one openly lesbian mayor of a major U.S. city (Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski). Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement about the win: "We are thrilled Jenny will become the first lesbian mayor of Seattle – and just the second woman elected to the position," said Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills. "Both women and lesbians are severely underrepresented in all levels of government, especially executive positions. While Seattle voters chose Jenny because of her proven track record of leading innovative reforms and fighting for all communities, it is also an undeniably proud moment for the LGBTQ community, which continues to see this strong leader break down barriers."
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Lisa Middleton Wins Election to Palm Springs City Council

Los Angeles - November 8, 2017 – Palm Springs City Council Candidate Lisa Middleton will become the first out transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California with her commanding first place win in today's election. Additionally, Palm Springs City Council Candidate Christy Holstege will become another LGBTQ voice on the Palm Springs City Council as the winner of the second open seat. Equality California endorsed both candidates and spent thousands of dollars in direct contributions, independent expenditures and member-to-member communications to help elect them.
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Athletic Stars Call on UN States to Protect Sexual Orientation in Olympic Truce

November 8, 2017 - Today, 17 professional athletes came out against attempts by Egypt and Russia to thwart non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation in the United Nations Olympic Truce Resolution. The letter, endorsed by respected athletes such as Billie Jean King, Greg Louganis and Martina Navratilova, is part of the #OlympicSpirit campaign spearheaded by OutRight Action International and Athlete Ally. It calls on countries to ensure that sexual orientation remains grounds of protection in the Olympic peace agreement.
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Tyler Titus Is First Trans Person Ever Elected in Pennsylvania

Washington, DC - November 7, 2017 – Tyler Titus won his race for the Erie School Board this evening, becoming the first out trans person ever elected in the state of Pennsylvania. Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement about his win: "Tyler Titus shattered a lavender ceiling in Pennsylvania today – and his victory will resonate well-beyond state boundaries. Trans people remain severely underrepresented in our politics and government, and now more than ever we need trans voices like Tyler's in the halls of power. This is a historic night for trans candidates across the country – and Tyler is part of a vanguard of leaders who are determined to be part of the conversation on issues that affect their lives."
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Equality California, NCLR and GLAD Hit Back Again at Trump's Transgender Military Ban in Powerful New Filing

LOS ANGELES (November 6, 2017) –The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed a response today in the Equality California case Stockman v. Trump challenging Trump's transgender military ban in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Today's court filing is the first in Stockman since Judge Kollar-Kotelly's ruling last week in NCLR and GLAD's other case Doe v. Trump, finding Trump's ban to be unconstitutional and issuing a nationwide injunction against the ban. 
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Victory Fund to Track LGBTQ Candidates' Election Results Live

Washington, DC - November 6, 2017 – Victory Fund will share election results live for 61 LGBTQ endorsed candidates on the ballot this Tuesday. The election tracker will allow reporters and LGBTQ politicos to be among the first to know about election night victories and learn about the significance of our history-making races. Big wins Tuesday night could strengthen LGBTQ political power nationwide and break down barriers in the Deep South, Virginia and other states and municipalities. The live results can be seen at victoryfund.org/election2017 beginning Tuesday at 6pm ET.
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Lambda Legal: Senate Republicans Sprint Forward This Week to Stack Federal Courts with Toxic Judges

Washington, DC - November 2, 2017 – Senator Mitch McConnell continued his push to deliver to President Trump four highly controversial, anti-civil rights, and anti-LGBT judicial nominees to federal courts of appeals. Casting aside even the appearance of careful deliberation, the Senate today confirmed the remaining two nominees placed on the agenda for this week – Allison H. Eid to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Tenth Circuit and Stephanos Bibas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
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Civil Rights Organizations: Our Immigration Policies Must Reflect Our Nation's Values

WASHINGTON - November 2, 2017 -- Following President Trump's meeting with Republican senators to discuss the future of immigrant youth who have been thrust into legal limbo, civil rights leaders from across the country unite to call on President Trump and policymakers on both sides of the aisle to adopt inclusive immigration policies instead of racially divisive ones. The organizations issued the following joint statement: "Congress has an opportunity to do something positive for the country by passing a bipartisan Dream Act by the end of this year. Doing so would allow young immigrants to finally be recognized as Americans on paper, allowing them to more fully contribute to their families, communities, and the country they call home. The clock is ticking for Congress to do its job: every day, DACA recipients run the risk of losing the work authorization they need to live free from fear of deportation.
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Lambda Legal: Rush by Sen. McConnell to Jam Through Anti-LGBT Judicial Nominees Threatens to Choke Justice Across the Co

Washington, DC - November 1, 2017 – The United States Senate this week continues to run roughshod over the judicial nomination process, forcing through confirmations of two controversial anti-LGBT nominees – Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Joan Larsen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit – and lining up two more – Allison H. Eid to the Tenth Circuit, and, later this week, Stephanos Bibas to the Third Circuit.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Disappointed by Confirmation of Joan Larsen to U.S. Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON - November 1, 2017 – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the Senate's confirmation of Joan Larsen, a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit: "For the second time this week, the Senate Republicans have rubber stamped another one of President Trump's extreme judicial nominees. As a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court and as an academic before that, Justice Larsen has established a record that is antagonistic to civil and human rights.
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Lambda Legal Condemns U.S. Senate's Effort to Jam through Controversial Judicial Nominees

Washington, DC - October 31, 2017 – The U.S. Senate moved ahead today with an effort to force through four controversial judicial nominees to lifetime appointments to federal courts of appeals. This afternoon, the Senate confirmed the first of these nominees, Amy Coney Barrett, for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and is now pushing ahead with the nomination of Joan Larsen for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Condemns Confirmation of Amy Barrett to U.S. Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON - October 31, 2017 – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the Senate's confirmation of Professor Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit: "Today's vote continues the Senate Republicans' record of rubber stamping all of President Trump's judicial nominees. Our federal courts should be comprised of fair and independent judges who will safeguard the rights of all people in America, but Professor Barrett's record shows that she will not be such a judge.
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Health

Allies For Health + Wellbeing Receives Staunton Farm Foundation Funding For Full-Time Mental Health Therapist Position

Pittsburgh, PA - November 28, 2017 – Allies for Health + Wellbeing (Allies), formerly Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, the region's most comprehensive provider of HIV treatment and support, is pleased to announce the addition of mental health therapy to our continuum of services.  Through a generous grant from the Staunton Farm Foundation, Allies is adding a full-time therapist position and actively seeking a professional to fill the post.
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New Analysis Shows That HealthCare.Gov Plans Continue To Be Better Than Ever For Transgender People

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On November 29, 2017, Out2Enroll released the results of an analysis of nearly 550 health insurance plans in 18 states showing that the vast majority of plans no longer include discriminatory transgender exclusions.
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Frequency of HIV Testing and Time from Infection to Diagnosis Improve

November 28, 2017 - A new CDC Vital Signs report published today finds that HIV is being diagnosed sooner after infection than was previously reported. According to the report, the estimated median time from HIV infection to diagnosis was three years in 2015. CDC previously estimated that, in 2011, the median time from HIV infection to diagnosis was three years and seven months.
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"It's Just One Big, Ambiguous Mess"

My book "The Gay Man's Guide to Open and Monogamous Marriage" came out in June. Ever since, I have been getting new clients whose relationships are similar to the couples I talk about in the book: "if you write about it, they will come".
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World AIDS Day Program at Erie County Public Library on Dec 1

Join the Erie County HIV Task Force for a World AIDS Day program to raise awareness and show support for people living with HIV on Friday, December 1 from 9 to 11 AM at the Erie County Public Library, 160 E Front St, Erie PA. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! The event will be held in the Admiral Room. Program includes Tree of Hope and Healing, Community Resource Information, Reflection: Peer Survivor Story. Refreshments Provided. Presentation at 10 AM.
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New AHF Billboard Campaign Highlights Troubling Global HIV/AIDS Statistics As World AIDS Day Approaches on Dec 1

LOS ANGELES (November 2) In anticipation of World AIDS Day on December 1st, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has launched a new billboard outdoor advertising to call attention to the millions of people still affected by HIV/AIDS around the globe today.  Inspired by vintage fuel pump counters, the billboards draw attention to staggering statistics from UNAIDS on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, including "1,000,000 AIDS Deaths in 2016"; "1,800,000 New HIV Cases in 2016" and "20,000,000 Untreated HIV Cases in 2016."  The final number on each billboard appears to be rolling, a visual allusion to the fact that the numbers of individuals directly affected by HIV/AIDS continue to increase.  
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AHF & Heather Heyer Foundation Launch Youth Essay Contest to Honor Ms. Heyer and Empower Young Advocates

LOS ANGELES (October 30, 2017) For the seventh year in a row, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), this year in partnership with The Heather Heyer Foundation, will take part in the Rose Parade  with a float titled 'Keeping the Promise.' The float will highlight community heroes by honoring the courage and sacrifice of civil rights and social justice activists throughout history-from iconic Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Heather Heyer, who was tragically killed in the violent white supremacy demonstrations in Charlottesville, VA earlier this year. Surviving family members of Ms. Heyer and other high-profile advocates for justice will ride on the AHF float, along with three young essay contest winners.
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

Giving thanks for community

Ah, Thanksgiving - the start of what we call the holiday season, but if you've seen any TV, looked at a newspaper or been on a website recently, you've likely noticed that the season seems to have already started. Many people call this the "joyous season." But for many LGBT people, this is not a joyous season, especially the most disenfranchised in our community - youth who were forced out of their homes or, worse, forced into "conversation-therapy" camps; trans people who were disowned by family and friends; and seniors, most of whom came out in a time when there were no rights and little tolerance, especially from family.
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Michael dithers

Michael dithers
What a busy past few months! It was fun walking with the Edinboro students and NW PA Pride in the Homecoming Parade. Two weeks later, I went down to march with Crawford Area LGBT+ and several Allegheny Colege students in the Meadville Halloween Parade. Randy, the organizer for our unit, had said that it was going to be wet and suggested that folks wear a poncho or something. I must admit that I tend to not be very good at costuming, but I picked up both a red ponco and a red clown nose, and told folks that I was Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Raingear. Speaking of costumes, there were some terrific costumes at the Identity/EUP HalloQueen Ball, and also some wonderful performers at the Penn State Behrend Drag Show.
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Trump Human Rights - LGBT Disaster

Much has been made of the lack of attention to human rights by President Trump on his recent excursion to Asia. This, by and of itself, represents the United States giving up the mantel on this subject since we first gained prominence on the issue during the Jimmy Carter administration in the 1970s. We were the international leader for this proud cause, and president after president - regardless of being a Democrat or a Republican - raised it on foreign trips. We are told that Trump mentioned the topic of human rights only in passing to the president of the Philippines during this trip. This is a warning sign for many in the LGBT community throughout the world. Recall a nation called Uganda: If it were not for the intervention of the United States, its legislature would right now have a "Kill the Gays" law.
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The Amazon Trail: Dorky Dykes

I suppose I'm at my dorkiest about my stuffed animals. I have my first teddy bear, Buzz. I have the two cats Carol from Connecticut sent: Elga Wasserman (after my first attorney) and the appealingly homely Samo. Of course, I've kept the last one my mother gave me, a high femme rabbit in an extraordinary Easter bonnet who I may finally name. I'm thinking: Karin Kallmaker.
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With Pence the lapdog, is a Trump impeachment a bad thing?

Is it not obvious by now who is controlling President Donald Trump and his anti-LGBT crusade? Vice President Mike Pence, who made a national name for himself as governor of Indiana by pushing "religious-liberty" laws to allow citizens to ignore LGBT rights for religious reasons. That's not to mention anti-trans legislation he supported, and his backing of conversion therapy - all of which Pence sees as his contribution to the moral fiber of America, and his legacy.
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Contests

Enter to win Love Is Love from Trey Pearson!

Enter to win Love Is Love from Trey Pearson!
Enter to win Love Is Love from Trey Pearson! Love Is Love, the debut solo pop album from out artist and GLAAD Award Nominee, Trey Pearson. Including "Love Is Love" - Featured On Billboard's "30 Gay Love Songs" Spotify Playlist. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 22 and Friday, January 12.
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Enter to win "Bad At Love" from Halsey!

Enter to win 'Bad At Love' from Halsey!
Enter to win "Bad At Love" from Halsey!  "Bad At Love", the new hit single from Platinum-selling pop superstar Halsey. From Billboard #1 album hopeless fountain kingdom. Enter to win special "Bad At Love" download cards with remixes By Dillon Francis, Hook N Sling & More! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, December 12 and Tuesday, January 2.
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Enter to win All Male, All Nude Documentary DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!

Enter to win All Male, All Nude Documentary DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!
Enter to win All Male, All Nude Documentary DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 8 and Friday, December 29.
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Enter to win Hidden Kisses DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!

Enter to win Hidden Kisses DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!
Enter to win Hidden Kisses DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, December 5 and Tuesday, December 26.
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Enter to win a The Shape of Water Prize Pack!

Enter to win a The Shape of Water Prize Pack!
Enter to win a The Shape of Water Prize Pack! Fox Searchlight Pictures presents The Shape of Water/ Enter to win a The Shape of Water Prize Pack including a long-sleeve t-shirt, egg timer, water revealing umbrella, and heat revealing mug! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 1 and Friday, December 22. 
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Enter to win The Thrill Of It All from Sam Smith!

Enter to win The Thrill Of It All from Sam Smith!
Enter to win The Thrill Of It All from Sam SmithThe Thrill Of It All, the sophomore album from Sam Smith. Featuring the hit single "Too Good At Goodbyes" and "Pray". Out NOW: samsmith.world/TTOIATW. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 1 and Friday, December 22.
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Enter to win Waves from Rachel Platten

Enter to win Waves from Rachel Platten
Enter to win Waves from Rachel Platten! The sophomore album from "Fight Song" pop powerhouse Rachel Platten. Ft. "Broken Glass," "Perfect For You" and more. Out NOW: smarturl.it/WavesRP. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, November 28 and Tuesday, December 19.
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Enter to win 'Meaning of Life' from Kelly Clarkson

Enter to win 'Meaning of Life' from Kelly Clarkson
Enter to win 'Meaning of Life' from Kelly Clarkson! "This Is A Grown Ass Woman's Record. . . " – Kelly Clarkson. MEANING OF LIFE , the brand-new album from international superstar KELLY CLARKSON. Featuring the hit single "Love So Soft" and "Whole Lotta Woman" Out NOW: https://atlantic.lnk.to/Meaningoflife. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, November 24 and Friday, December 15.
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Enter to win Listen Without Prejudice/MTV Unplugged Reissue by George Michael

Enter to win Listen Without Prejudice/MTV Unplugged Reissue by George Michael
Enter to win Listen Without Prejudice/MTV Unplugged Reissue by Goerge Michael! To enter the contest, fill out the form below between Tuesday, November 21 and Tuesday, December 12.
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Miscellaneous

Important Tips for Homebuyers

Thinking about buying a home? For many, the idea of owning their own house is very exciting. It's a huge purchase, though-it's probably the most expensive thing you'll ever buy. That means it's not a purchase you want to make on a whim. You'd be surprised, though, at how many people buy a house without truly knowing what they're getting. Someone who may take days comparing and contrasting different cell phones or printers may jump right into buying a house without doing much investigating at all. If you're buying a house, here are a few important tips to remember so that you not only get the best deal financially, you also get a property that will be your home for years to come.
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