January, 2018 News (90 Articles with 141,624 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for January, 2018 AIDS Quilt Panels Members of Erie County HIV Task Force and friends by AIDS Quilt panel display at Erie County Blasco Memorial Public Library

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

Flock to the Erie Art Museum for Bird-Inspired Fun with Daniel Burke

January 5, 2018, Erie, PA – The Erie Art Museum offers the educational program, Second Sundays, every month. This free program features art on display in the Museum, a tour in the gallery, and a hands-on activity. The next program will take place on Sunday, January 14, from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. The Museum is excited to host exhibiting artist Daniel Burke, who will lead a tour of his retrospective: Callings, currently on display in the Main Gallery. After the guided tour, visitors can participate in an art-making activity inspired by the exhibit.
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2017 Gay Travel Award Winners Revealed!

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., December 28, 2017 (Newswire.com) - GayTravel.com - a trusted resource for LGBT travelers across the globe - today announced the winners of the 2017 Gay Travel AwardsSM. The mission of the Gay Travel Awards is to recognize and promote select LGBTQ welcoming properties, events, destinations and travel-related companies around the globe. These distinguished organizations lead by example and help to inspire other companies and brands around the world to follow their spirit of inclusiveness and acceptance.
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VH1's "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" Season Three To Premiere On January 25th

VH1's 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' Season Three To Premiere On January 25th
New York, NY – December 14, 2017 – After a three-time Emmy® Award-winning season of "RuPaul's Drag Race" left fans shook and grasping for their masks, fan-favorite queens from previous seasons will battle it out for their second chance at the crown on "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars." The new season will return with an explosive 90-minute premiere on an all-new night, Thursday, January 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.   
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Local and Regional News

A Look Back at 2017 for Erie's LGBT Community

A Look Back at 2017 for Erie's LGBT Community
Erie Gay News looks back at 2017 for our region's happenings and news for the year. This year include 25 years of Pride events in Erie, the first ever transgender candidate elected in Pennsylvania when Tyler Titus won his race for Erie City School Board, major events, milestones, charity fundraisers and much more! We also will have an updated LGBT history page for our region, which covers events from the 1960's up to the end of 2017.
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2017 - A look back in photos

2017 - A look back in photos
Check out our photo gallery for 2017! 2017 saw a record turnout for Erie's Pride Fest, 25 years of Pride events in Erie, TransFamily of NW PA celebrated their 5th anniversary with a picnic, Drenched Fur celebrated 13 years with a Rocky Horror theme, local vigils, rallies, and so much more! Erie Gay News is proud to have photo galleries for not only 2017, but years dating back to 1995!
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2017 in Videos

2017 in Videos
Check out our video gallery for 2017! Among the videos are a congratulations from US Sen. Bob Casey on Erie celebrating 25 years of Pride events, Erie's mayoral candidate forum in April, a VisitErie promotion celebrating our LGBT community and featuring local LGBT community members, as well as local LGBT community members in the media!
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NW PA Pride Alliance 2018 Pride Logo Design Contest - Win $100! Theme is "Remember the Past, Create the Future."

NW PA Pride Alliance will be accepting design entries through March 1 for the 2018 Pride logo. The theme for 2018 Pride is "Remember the Past, Create the Future." We hope that your design will include the official Pride theme.
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Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) Thanks For 2017

Greater Erie Alliance for Equality would like to thank all of our sponsors, advocates, allies, and friends for another successful year. We were able to continue our commitment to the LGBTQ community by providing educational opportunities and services, begin new programs, and forge partnerships throughout Erie city and county. Our 2017 annual report is posted on our website (www.greatereriealliance.com) and we encourage everyone to keep in touch by signing up for our regular newsletter and connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 2018 brings exciting possibilities and we hope that you will join us in those endeavors. May the new year bring you peace and joy.
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Erie Gay News 25th Anniversary

Erie Gay News 25th Anniversary
This issue of Erie Gay News marks our 25th anniversary. The first issue came out in late December of 1992 and was funded by dances held by Bridges, an organization that put on Pride picnics in the early 90's The purpose of the original issue was to help promote the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, held the weekend of April 25, 1993. Currently, there are only three LGBT-focused print publications in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Erie Gay News, The Central Voice (Harrisburg area) and Philadelphia Gay News. Gay Peoples Chronicle from Cleveland ceased publication at the end of 2015 after 30 years, and Pittsburgh has not had a print publication since Equal ceased after their November 2014 issue. Buffalo has Loop Magazine, and Rochester NY has Empty Closet.
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2017 Lake Erie Gala Recap

The 2017 Lake Erie Gala was held at the Clarion Hotel, 2800 W 8th St, Erie PA. The annual event, sponsored by the Lake Erie Group and Erie Sisters and Brothers (ES&B), began Wed. November 15th with the opening of registration, a pool and pizza party at the hotel, and optional bowling at Eastway Lane
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Deadline for January 2018 print edition (issue # 266) of Erie Gay News is Monday, December 11 - please get in earlier if

Deadline for January 2018 print edition (issue # 266) of Erie Gay News is Monday, December 11 - please get in earlier if
For the next print edition of Erie Gay News (issue # 266, cover dated for January 2018), please send in calendar events, news items, and other info for late December 2017 and beyond by Monday, December 11. We expect that the next print edition will come out on Tuesday, December 19. This issue is earlier than normal due to the holidays, and due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, it would be extremely helpful and appreciated if entries could be received as soon as possible. Thanks for your cooperation! This issue also marks our 25th anniversary!
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TransFamily of NW PA holds 4th Annual Transgiving Dinner

TransFamily of NW PA held their 4th annual Transgiving potluck dinner on Saturday, November 25 at Crime Victim Center of Erie, 125 W 18th St, Erie PA. As always, there was great food and even more wonderful company,
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TransFamily of NW PA holds Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil

On Sunday, November 19, 2017, TransFamily of NW PA held a Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Erie PA. The event was attended by transgender people, as well as their families, friends and supporters. Local TV covered the event. This was the fifth year that there had been a local observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
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Crawford Area LGBT+ Thanksgiving Dinner

On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, members of Crawford Area LGBT+ and friends gathered at Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville, 346 Chestnut Street, Meadville PA, for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. There was great food and wonderful company.
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Political, Activism and Legal

Civil Rights, Housing, and Community Development Organizations Urge HUD to Maintain Critical Fair Housing Tool

WASHINGTON - January 5, 2018 - Seventy-six national civil rights, faith-based, affordable housing, and other organizations have voiced their strong opposition to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's sudden decision to effectively suspend the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation.
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National LGBTQ Task Force: Trump lowers himself after shocking dismissal of the Presidential Council on HIV/AIDS

WASHINGTON-DC: January 2, 2018 President Donald Trump's dismissal of the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS is an eye-opening reminder that his strategy on HIV is to ignore the problem and ignore the people living with HIV.
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Trump administration drops attempts to delay transgender enlistment after repeated court losses in GLAD and NCLR lawsuit

(Washington, D.C., December 30, 2017)-Late yesterday, the Trump administration announced it would not ask the United States Supreme Court to stay the district court's order requiring enlistment of transgender individuals in Doe v. Trump, a case brought by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) challenging President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military. The Pentagon confirmed that the military will, as of January 1, begin implementing the enlistment policy announced by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in 2016 and adopted after exhaustive military analysis. This marks the first time in United States history that qualified transgender Americans will be authorized to openly enlist in the nation's Armed Forces.
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New York LGBT Network Attacks Trump, After He Fires White House HIV/AIDS Council

December 30, 2017 - from Dr. David Kilmnick, President/CEO of the LGBT Network - "The firing today of all the remaining members on the White House HIV/AIDS Council is another outlandish and despicable move by the Trump administration in his year-long effort to erase the LGBT community and the issues that disproportionately affect us" said Dr. David Kilmnick, President/CEO of the LGBT Network. "From ending protections against bullying for trans youth in our schools to his attempt to ban the transgender community from the military to no mention of Gay Pride month during June to leaving out the LGBT community on World AIDS Day to banning words such as transgender, diversity and others, this President has been nothing but a complete train wreck that is a danger to the safety and lives of all Americans. We have finally made significant progress in trying to end the epidemic once and for all and the irrational and immature moves by Trump will only set us back".
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Trump Administration Will Not Ask Supreme Court to Halt Trans Military Recruits

NEW YORK - December 29, 2017 - In response to media reports that the Department of Justice will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and prevent transgender people from entering the military as of January 1, Joshua Block, Senior Staff Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and HIV Project issued the following reaction: "This is a victory for our country and all of the brave men and women who are transgender, and are ready, willing, and able to serve. Thousands of men and women who are transgender are already serving and meeting the same standards of fitness and deployability that apply to everyone else.  We will continue to fight for our clients until a final judgment is issued striking down President Trump's unconstitutional ban for good."
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PA POLL: Voters Overwhelmingly Back LGBTQ Protections, Won't Tolerate Politicians Who Attack LGBTQ People

WASHINGTON - December 29, 2017-- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), civil rights organization and Equality Pennsylvania, the statewide organization working to advance LGBTQ equality, today released new polling data conducted by Hart Research Associates one year out from the 2018 midterm elections, showing that likely voters across Pennsylvania overwhelmingly support LGBTQ-inclusive policies and are less likely to vote for a candidate who does not. HRC is on the ground in Pennsylvania, a priority state through HRC Rising -- the largest and earliest grassroots expansion in its 37-year history.
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TLC wins rare Governor's pardon for celebrated trans advocate Lorena Borjas

(New York, NY - December 27, 2017) – Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo granted a rare pardon to Lorena Borjas, a transgender Latina woman and well-known advocate who has helped countless transgender women like herself survive trafficking and other abusive situations. Lorena was at high risk of deportation due to old convictions from when she herself was being trafficked, and this pardon will allow her to pursue immigration relief.
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Trump's Transgender Military Ban Fails Again in Court as California Federal District Judge Issues Nationwide Injunction

(LOS ANGELES, CA DECEMBER, 22, 2017)-Today, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction halting Trump's transgender military ban while it is challenged in the courts. With today's ruling, there are now four nationwide preliminary injunctions issued by federal courts across the country-the first was issued in Doe v. Trump on October 30. Plaintiffs in Stockman v. Trump include Equality California and individual current and aspiring transgender service members-represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and Latham & Watkins LLP. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra successfully petitioned to intervene in the suit as a plaintiff on behalf of the State, and was represented at oral argument on December 12.
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D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Denies Trump Administration Request to Delay January 1 Transgender Enlistment Date

(Washington, D.C., December 22, 2017)-The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today rejected a Trump Administration request to stay District Judge Kollar-Kotelly's order that the military allow qualified transgender people to enlist beginning January 1. On December 11, District Judge Kollar-Kotelly denied the same request. Both the appeals court and Judge Kollar-Kotelly rejected the Administration's argument that the military would not be prepared to accept transgender recruits by January 1-a claim undercut by a Department of Defense memorandum issued December 8 which lays out guidance for processing transgender enlistees.
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National Religious Leadership Roundtable calls out Catholic Bishops' ill-conceived, trans-denying letter

(December 22, 2017 - Washington, DC) After a group of anti-LGBTQ religious leaders drafted a letter about the transgender community that claimed transgender people are a "false" idea, the National LGBTQ Task Force's National Religious Leadership Roundtable offered up some advice: reach out and connect with transgender people – you obviously know little about their lives, struggles, victories and aspirations.  
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Appeals Court Blocks Trump Administration's Attempt to Delay Enlistment of Transgender Service Members

WASHINGTON - December 21, 2017 - A federal appeals court has denied the Trump administration's request to further delay enlistment of new transgender service members in the armed forces. The ruling comes in the American Civil Liberties Union's case, Stone v. Trump.
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TLC condemns passage of "devastating" tax bill

(Oakland, CA - December 20,2017) --Transgender Law Center (TLC) issued the following statement from executive director Kris Hayashi condemning the passage of the GOP tax bill, which will decimate health care, education, social services, and innumerable programs that many transgender people rely on. Trump, whose signature is the last remaining step for the bill to become law, has indicated he might wait until January to sign.
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Nearly One-Third of Trump's Judicial Nominees Have Anti-LGBT Records, Lambda Legal Reveals in New Analysis

Washington, DC - December 20, 2017 – Nearly one-third of President Donald Trump's federal judicial nominees have anti-LGBT records, Lambda Legal revealed today in a new analysis documenting the record speed with which President Trump is reshaping the courts, creating a judicial landscape that is growing increasingly hostile toward LGBT people. The brief analysis provides a snapshot of Trump's impact on the courts at the end of his first year in office, underscoring the breakneck pace with which Trump is filling judicial vacancies: in his first year alone, the analysis indicates President Trump has secured confirmations for 12 circuit court judges (which is more than the combined number of circuit court judges confirmed by Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton during their first year in office) as well as 6 district court judges and a Supreme Court justice. The record speed with which President Trump is reshaping the courts, coupled with the staggeringly high number of judges with anti-LGBT records whom he has nominated for lifetime appointments, is triggering a growing and vast judicial crisis for LGBT people, with sweeping consequences that will last decades after Trump is gone.
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Pentagon Document Proves Justice Department Misinformed Federal Court about Transgender Ban

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - December 20, 2017 – A Pentagon memo proves that the Justice Department misled a federal court by claiming that the military is unprepared to accept transgender applicants on January 1st. The memo, whose subject is "Transgender Applicant Processing," consists of a simple set of instructions for processing applications, and was distributed to commanders on December 8.
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Reading, PA Becomes Latest Municipality to Protect Youth from "Conversion Therapy"

WASHINGTON - Dece,ber 19, 2017 -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization praised the Reading, Pennsylvania City Council for unanimously passing a measure to protect LGBTQ youth from "conversion therapy." The ordinance prohibits licensed medical and mental health professionals from engaging in the dangerous and discredited practice upon minors within city limits. Reading is the fourth Pennsylvania city to pass such a measure following Allentown, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
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Equality PA congratulates City of Reading on passing ban on 'conversion' therapy; calls for statewide ban

READING, PA – On Monday, December 18, 2017, Reading (Pennsylvania) City Council unanimously voted to approve a ban on 'conversion' therapy in the city. The ordinance was introduced by Councilman John Slifko and proposed by Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Reading.
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ACLU Responds to Trump Administration Attempts to Delay Enlistment of Transgender Service Members

RICHMOND, Va. - December 18, 2017 - The American Civil Liberties Union today responded to the Trump administration's ongoing attempts to halt a court order that prohibits the Pentagon from implementing the ban on transgender people serving in the military.
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Former Military Leaders Dispute Claim That 23,000 Personnel Must Be Trained Before Transgender Enlistments Can Begin

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - December 18, 2017 – Three former military leaders are disputing the Trump administration's assertions that lifting the transgender enlistment ban on January 1 would require the military to train 23,000 medical examiners and recruiters, and that such training would injure the armed forces. According to new policy analysis, the administration's claims are incorrect because training recruiters and medical evaluators to process applications from transgender candidates is neither complicated nor time-consuming.
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National LGBTQ Task Force Statement: Our lives and our needs must not be censored

Washington, DC, - December 16, 2017:  Responding to Trump Administration attempts to censor CDC budget documents including the word "transgender," Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force stated: President Trump is clearly hostile to the LGBTQ community, women, and science.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Blasts Latest Trump Administration Move to Censor Truth and Science

WASHINGTON - December 16, 2017 - – Shin Inouye, director of communications and media relations of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement regarding the news that the Center for Disease Control has banned the use of certain words including transgender, evidence-based, and diversity: "President Trump and his administration have launched the latest salvo in their all-out war on truth and science. This latest tactic could be taken from a George Orwell novel, or taken by an oppressive authoritarian regime. Banning the use of words like transgender, science-based, and diversity will only harm the public health as the CDC carries out its important mission
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Former Military & Security Officials Oppose Trump Administration Trans Enlistment Delay, New GLAD, NCLR Filing

(WASHINGTON, D.C., December 15, 2017)-The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed their opposition today to the Trump administration's request for an emergency stay to prevent transgender people from being able to enlist on January 1. D.C. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denied the government's request on December 11, and the Trump administration then filed an emergency motion for a stay in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. District Judge Kollar-Kotelly noted that Trump administration claims that the January 1 date would cause "irreparable injury" are contrary to what the military itself has said on this issue and undercut by the five weeks it waited to even request this "emergency" stay.
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Transgender Law Center mourns Brandi Seals, 28th trans person murdered in deadliest year on record

December 14, 2017 - Transgender Law Center mourns news today that Brandi Seals, a 26-year-old Black trans woman from Houston, was murdered early yesterday morning. She is the 28th transgender person known to have been murdered this year. The majority of those murdered have been Black trans women.
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Lambda Legal: Senate Takes Two Steps Backwards with Dangerous Judicial Confirmations While Rest of the Nation Takes Gian

Washington, DC - December 14, 2017 – This week, the United States Senate confirmed three nominees to the federal bench with proven and extensive anti-LGBT records: Leonard Steven Grasz to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit who was confirmed on Tuesday, Don Willett to the Fifth Circuit who was confirmed on Wednesday, and James Ho to the Fifth Circuit who was confirmed today, Thursday. The Senate Judiciary Committee also progressed with the nomination of anti-LGBT crusader Matthew Kacsmaryk to the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas at a hearing on Wednesday, and is expected to vote soon on the nomination of fellow anti-LGBT crusader Kyle Duncan for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Lambda Legal, along with dozens of LGBT groups and civil rights organizations, has opposed Grasz's, Willett's, Kacsmaryk's and Duncan's nominations. Lambda also expressed grave concerns about the nomination of James Ho to the Fifth Circuit, and his ability to give a fair hearing to LGBT Americans in light of his history of advocating against their right to equal protection of their relationships and families under the law.
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GLAD Calls for Immediate Action and Release of Youth in Response to Alarming, Unsafe Conditions at Long Creek Youth Deve

December 14, 2017 - The Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) today released a long-awaited assessment on Long Creek Youth Development Center, Maine's juvenile prison. GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and other youth advocates have pushed for the independent assessment and for critical reforms in response to escalating concerns that youth are not safe at Long Creek, particularly following the November 2016 suicide of a transgender youth detained at the facility.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Withdrawal of Mateer, Decries Confirmation of Willett

WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the White House indicated the nomination of Jeffrey Mateer to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas will not be moving forward, while at the same time, the Senate voted, on a party-line basis, to confirm Don Willett to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit: "Jeffrey Mateer should not serve as a federal judge, and we welcome the decision to not move forward on his nomination. He failed to disclose to the Senate outrageous comments demonstrating clear bias. As is now widely known, Mateer described transgender children as proof of "Satan's plan." He also blasted efforts to prevent gay conversion therapy, a practice that groups like the American Pediatric Association and American Psychiatric Association have said is mentally harmful. Such a person is not worthy of a lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary.
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Lambda Legal Slams U.S. Senate for Continued Degradation of the Federal Judiciary This Week

Washington, DC - December 13, 2017 – Today, the United States Senate confirmed Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In addition, the Senate Judiciary Committee today held a hearing on the nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk to the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas. Lambda Legal recently organized a letter with 34 other national, state, and local LGBT groups opposing Willett's nomination in addition to the nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk, stating that "these dangerous nominees will increase the likelihood that LGBT people living in these states will continue to experience discrimination with no meaningful access to justice in their lifetime." Willett is one of three anti-LGBT nominees that will likely be confirmed by the Senate this week. L. Steven Grasz was confirmed to the Eighth Circuit on Tuesday, and the full chamber is expected to vote on the nomination of James Ho to the Fifth Circuit tomorrow.
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Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project launches to build community power

(Oakland, CA - December 13, 2017 ) -- The Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project (BLMP), a first-of-its-kind program housed at Transgender Law Center and made possible by a Open Societies Foundation, launched Wednesday with an accompanying 20-minute documentary and opportunities for community members to get involved.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Sounds the Alarm on Trump Administration Attacks on Federal Data and Civil Rights

WASHINGTON - December 13, 2017 – The federal government's collection, reporting, and protection of accurate, comprehensive data is central to implementing, monitoring, and evaluating civil rights laws and policies. But the Trump administration is taking steps that undermine all of these pillars of data collection. In response to this growing threat, today, The Leadership Conference Education Fund issued a paper, Misinformation Nation: The Threat to America's Federal Data and Civil Rights, which highlights the importance of data and the present threats to civil rights-related data collection.
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Lambda Legal to Senate: Indecent, Extremist, Anti-LGBT Nominees Have No Place on the Federal Bench

Washington, DC - December 13, 2017 – Following the confirmation of unqualified Leonard Steven Grasz to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit last night, the United States Senate is preparing to put two more of Donald Trump's extreme, anti-LGBT judicial nominees on the federal bench this week, beginning with of Don Willett to the Fifth Circuit today and James Ho to the same court tomorrow. Yesterday, Lambda Legal brought together 34 other national, state, and local LGBT groups to oppose the nomination of Willett in a letter to the full Senate chamber, citing their "grave doubts concerning his ability to impartially interpret the law and serious concerns about his strict approach to judicial review of economic regulations that would impact LGBT workers and all workers." Lambda Legal has also expressed grave concerns about the ability of James Ho to give a fair hearing to LGBT Americans in light of his history of advocating against their right to equal protection of their relationships and families under the law.
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Lambda Legal Condemns Senate for Confirming Unqualified, Anti-LGBT Judicial Nominee to a Lifetime Appointment on the Fed

Washington, DC - December 12, 2017 – Today, the United States Senate handed Leonard Steven Grasz a lifetime appointment to the federal bench on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, despite being one of only four nominees since 1989 to receive a unanimously unqualified rating by the non-partisan American Bar Association. Lambda Legal led a group of 28 national, state and local LGBT organizations in opposing his nomination, citing his controversial views in support of conversion therapy, his opposition to legal protections for LGBT Americans, and his view that marriage equality is a "threat," among other extremist, anti-LGBT positions he has promoted throughout his career.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Blasts Senate Confirmation of Leonard Steven Grasz

WASHINGTON - December 12, 2017 – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Senate today voted, on a party-line basis, to confirm Leonard Steven Grasz to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit: "Yet again, the Senate Republicans have rubber stamped an extreme and highly troubling Trump judicial nominee, one who is clearly not qualified to serve as a federal judge.
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Victory Fund Endorses Three Historic LGBTQ Candidates for 2018

Washington, DC - December 12, 2017 –  Today Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed three candidates who can make history with election wins in 2018. Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, running for Nevada Secretary of State, would become the first openly LGBTQ person to win statewide office in Nevada and one of just four openly LGBTQ statewide elected officials in the United States. New Hampshire Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, running for U.S. Congress, would become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Congress from the state, and Judge John Arrowood would become the first openly LGBTQ person to win a statewide race in North Carolina if elected to the Court of Appeals.
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ACLU Statement on Trump Administration Attempt to Delay Enlistment of Transgender Service Members

WASHINGTON - December 12, 2017 - The Trump administration filed a motion today to stay part of the district court's injunction in the American Civil Liberties Union's case, Stone v. Trump, which prohibited the government from implementing President Trump's unconstitutional ban on transgender people serving in the military.
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Equality California Mourns the Passing of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

San Francisco - December 12, 2017 – Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur today issued the following statement on the passing of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee: "The City of San Francisco and State of California have lost a key ally in the fight for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice. Throughout his career as a civil rights attorney, civil servant and eventually as the city's first Asian American mayor, Mayor Ed Lee was a tireless champion for equality for all the diverse communities that make up San Francisco. He was a founding member of the 'Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination' coalition, a coalition of city leaders that applies political and economic pressure to stop discriminatory laws from spreading in the United States. He fought to backfill tens of millions of dollars in federal cuts to essential HIV services, which saved thousands of lives. As the first mayor to attend the San Francisco Trans March, he reaffirmed his commitment to the transgender community by creating the nation's first position dedicated to transgender issues with the newly created post of senior advisor for transgender initiatives. He also barred public funding for city employees' travel to North Carolina in protest of the state's law prohibiting localities from passing legislation to protect LGBT rights. Equality California mourns the passing of Mayor Lee and will keep his wife, Anita, and his daughters, Brianna and Tania, in our thoughts and prayers."
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The Leadership Conference Opposes the Confirmation of Matthew Kacsmaryk to the U.S. District Court

December 12, 2017 - Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to the Senate urging opposition to the confirmation of Matthew Kacsmaryk to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.
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Since Trump won't let LGBTQ and Black reporters come to his holiday party, the Task Force will throw a party of its own

(Washington, DC, December 11, 2017) In response to the White House snubbing LGBTQ and Black reporters, the National LGBTQ Task Force is hosting its own holiday party for the press, titled Not The White House Holiday Party.
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Victory! Court Orders U.S. Military to Immediately Halt Ban of Transgender Troops

(SEATTLE, December 11, 2017) – Today, a federal court in Seattle ordered an immediate halt to the Trump Administration's discriminatory plan to ban transgender people from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Services. The ruling came in the lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN challenging the ban and prevents the ban from being implemented while the case proceeds.
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Palm Center Statement on Court Ruling Denying Trump Administration's Request to Delay Transgender Enlistment

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - December 11, 2017 – Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, released the following statement in reaction to today's court ruling denying the Trump Administration's request to delay transgender enlistment in the military: "Today's announcement that the US military will accept transgender applicants as of January 1, 2018 reflects a simple reality:  military and civil servants in the Pentagon have been preparing for accession for transgender Americans for more than two years. That is longer than the preparation the military had for repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and accession of openly gay Americans. While the White House has claimed that an order to follow the military's own plan for accession would impose 'extraordinary burdens,' numerous professionals involved in that process (including a former Acting Under Secretary of Defense and three former Service Secretaries) and more than half a dozen current and former military professors have spoken out to say that the military is ready. The Pentagon's extensive study and preparation already occurred. That preparation and study includes a comprehensive study of transgender service by DOD, the adoption by DOD of fully inclusive policy, and the promulgation of numerous specific standards for transgender applicants. This step reflects that judgment, and the Pentagon is following good order and its own internal processes -- as well as respecting the judgment of the courts."
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New NCLR and GLAD Doe v. Trump Court Filing Reveals Trump Administration is Distorting Evidence to Prevent Trans Enlistm

(WASHINGTON, D.C., December 8, 2017)—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed their opposition to yesterday's Trump administration request for a partial stay in Doe v. Trump, the first legal challenge filed against Trump's transgender military ban. If granted, the stay would permit the Trump administration to once again delay accepting transgender recruits, which it has been ordered to do starting on January 1, 2018. Today's NCLR and GLAD filing debunks Trump administration claims that the military is not ready to accept transgender recruits on January 1, citing a Palm Center policy report calling out the Trump administration for filing a court document that "rewrites the history of transgender military policy and distorts the evidence."
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Military Professors Refute Trump Administration Assertion that Armed Forces Are Not Ready for Transgender Recruits

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – December 8, 2017 - A distinguished panel of current and former military professors has challenged claims by the Trump Administration that the Pentagon is not ready to admit transgender applicants. The administration made the argument in a declaration filed in federal court seeking to delay the court's order that the Pentagon allow transgender candidates to apply for enlistment by January 1, 2018.
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Equality California Congratulates First LGBTQ and First Female Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins

Sacramento - December 7, 2017 – Today, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced that Senator Toni Atkins is the consensus pick of the Senate Democratic Caucus to succeed him as leader. The formal vote will be held in early January and the transition will be take place later in the year. Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement in response: "Senator Toni Atkins is one of the LGBTQ community's most respected and effective leaders and her upcoming election as the Senate President Pro Tem breaks multiple glass ceilings. Not only will she be the first woman to serve as leader of the California Senate, but Senator Atkins will also be the first LGBTQ person to serve in that role. This follows on her historic career in the Assembly where she became the first lesbian Speaker. Electing role models like Senator Atkins is important to the LGBTQ community because it sends a clear message to our community across the country, particularly LGBTQ youth, that LGBTQ people can achieve anything. By having a seat at the table, LGBTQ elected officials can speak with their colleagues with authenticity and first-hand experience on issues that affect our community.
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Out for America Report and Map Provides Most Comprehensive Look at LGBTQ Elected Officials in the U.S.

Washington, DC - December 7, 2017 – Today Victory Institute released its Out for America report and interactive Out for America map to provide the most comprehensive look ever at LGBTQ elected officials in the United States. The report provides demographic information for the nearly 450 known LGBTQ elected officials in the U.S. and documents the severe underrepresentation of LGBTQ people in key positions of power.
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Lambda Legal to Senate Judiciary Committee: Stop Advancing Trump's Dangerous Judicial Nominees on the Backs of LGBT Amer

Washington, DC - December 7, 2017 – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee continued their relentless push to stack the federal courts with Donald Trump's anti-LGBT nominees by advancing several nominations to the Senate floor along a party line vote, including the nominations of Leonard Steven Grasz to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Don Willett to the Fifth Circuit, and Mark Norris to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, all of whom Lambda Legal has opposed. The Judiciary Committee also advanced the nomination of James Ho to the Fifth Circuit. Lambda Legal sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary yesterday about its concerns over his nomination as well, citing his record which "suggests that he would be a consistent vote against the civil and human rights of LGBT Americans should he be confirmed." The full letter can be found here.   
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Former Army Secretary Questions Trump Administration Claim that Military Is Not Ready to Accept Transgender Applicants

SAN FRANCISCO, CA = December 7, 2017 – Eric Fanning, former Secretary of the U.S. Army, questioned the Trump administration's claim yesterday that the military is not ready to accept transgender applicants. According to Fanning, "the Department of Defense was on track to lift the accession ban for transgender service effective July 1, 2017. This was one year after Secretary Carter ordered the Services to ensure that all Americans who could meet the standards should be afforded the opportunity to serve. I can see no reason why the Department should not be fully prepared to execute Secretary Carter's policy change, particularly after being afforded an extra six months due to the Department's delay earlier this year." Fanning served as U.S. Army Secretary under President Obama.
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Former Senior Pentagon Official Disputes Trump Administration Claim that Military Is Not Ready for Transgender Applica

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - December 6, 2017 -- Brad Carson, a former senior Pentagon official, refuted the Trump administration's claim today that allowing transgender applicants to enlist in the military would compromise readiness. According to Carson, "the Pentagon had already done most of the preparation and training in anticipation of the lifting of the accession ban before the presidential transition, so to claim that the military is not ready to lift the ban now seems a stretch."
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Equality Pennsylvania, SEIU call on PA House Speaker Mike Turzai to strip Metcalfe of chairmanship after homophobic outb

HARRISBURG - December 5, 2017 -- On Tuesday, House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe went on a homophobic rant against minority Chairman Matt Bradford, who briefly touched Metcalfe's arm during a committee meeting.  Among other things, Metcalfe said, "Representative Bradford, I'm a heterosexual. I have a wife, I love my wife. I don't like men, as you might. But stop touching me all the time." Later, he said, "It's like, keep your hands to yourself. Like, if you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle that might like it. I don't."
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Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Case That Will Decide the Future of Anti-Discrimination Law

WASHINGTON - December 5, 2017 - The American Civil Liberties Union appeared before the Supreme Court today in oral arguments for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case that will have widespread impact on the future of anti-discrimination protection in the United States.
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Equality California Releases Statement on the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court Case

Los Angeles - December 5, 2017 – In light of today's oral arguments on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court case, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "This case has never been simply about cake – it is about discrimination in this country. If we allow businesses to pick and choose who they serve based on who an individual loves or how they identify, then we as a country relegate LGBTQ people to second class citizenship. The use of so-called religious exemptions is part of the strategy anti-LGBTQ forces use to gut hard-fought LGBTQ civil rights protections where they exist. The Supreme Court's decision will have far reaching consequences for more than the LGBTQ community, and we urge the court to continue to stand for freedom and justice for all."
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National LGBTQ Task Force: Masterpiece Cakeshop Case Could Roll LGBTQ Rights Back A Half-Century

(Washington, DC, December 5, 2017) -- The National LGBTQ Task Force was out at full strength on the steps of the Supreme Court to rally for the court to uphold the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the lead up to the court hearing oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case is about showing that religion should never be an acceptable reason to refuse services to anyone.
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Statement from GLAD and NCLR on Supreme Court Denial of Review in Turner v. Pidgeon

December 4, 2017 - "This case is not over. It will now return to the Texas trial court for a final decision. It was an uphill battle to persuade the Supreme Court to grant review at this juncture because of the Court's firm rule about taking cases only after a final judgment even where, as we noted in our friend of the court brief, a lower court ruling is subverting an important federal policy. We hope and expect the Texas trial court, on remand, will uphold spousal benefits for employees married to a person of the same sex, as Obergefell and common sense require."  
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40 LGBTIQ Activists, 29 Countries, 5 Days of Activism

(New York - December 4, 2017) OutRight Action International kicks off the Global Week of Advocacy, where dozens of LGBTIQ activists from 29 countries from every region of the world has come to participate in the organization's 6th annual United Nations (UN) Week of Advocacy. From December 4 to 8, human rights defenders meet with government representatives and UN officials.
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GLAD Applauds Portland's New Policy on Affirmation and Full Inclusion of Transgender and Gender Expansive Students

(PORTLAND, ME, November 28, 2017) - GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) applauds the comprehensive policy on fair treatment of transgender and gender expansive students adopted by the Portland School Committee tonight by unanimous vote.
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Health

Scott A. Gunder, MD, DCMS Presidential Scholarship Offered Through Foundation

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Scott A. Gunder, MD, DCMS Presidential Scholarship, in conjunction with The Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, is offering one $1,500 scholarship to a Pennsylvania resident attending Penn State College of Medicine as a second- year student Application period is Jan. 1 through April 15, 2018.
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Alliance Medical Education Scholarship Offered Through Foundation

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Medical Society Alliance, in conjunction with The Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, is offering one $3,000 scholarship and multiple $2,500 scholarships to Pennsylvania residents attending an accredited Pennsylvania medical school full-time as a second or third-year student. Application period is Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, 2018.
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Hepatitis C Rise Linked to Opioid Crisis

December 21, 2017 - Today, CDC published new research suggesting the recent steep increase in hepatitis C virus infection is associated with increases in opioid injection. Until the last decade, hepatitis C primarily affected older generations – mostly baby boomers, born between 1945 and 1965 - but as the opioid crisis has worsened, the virus has gained a foothold among younger people who inject drugs. The new report underscores the importance of an integrated response to these dual epidemics.
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"I Hate the Holidays"

A recent email I got sums up many people's attitude towards this time of year: Dear Doctor Kimmel:< I hate the Holidays! People are so fake and everyone competes with each other for the best gifts, best parties, best tree decorations, etc. What can I do to get through this falsely festive time of year?
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World AIDS Day Program at Blasco Public Library by Erie County HIV Task Force

On Friday, December 1, 2017, Erie County HIV Task Force had a presentation for World AIDS Day at the Blasco Public Library, 160 E Front St, Erie PA. The event included a display of AIDS quilt panels and HIV display cases created by a LECOM intern. Speakers included Erie County Department of Health CHES/Disease Investigation Specialist Laura Beckes, Erie County Department of Health Director Melissa C Lyon, Sonny Concepcion of NW PA Rural AIDS Alliance, and Miriam Pastor, a woman living with HIV. There was local media coverage by both TV news crews. There was also a group portrait taken of Erie County HIV Task Force members and supporters. The event was well-attended and well received.
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

Goals for the upcoming New Year

OK, someone has to say it. We've survived the first year of the trump administration, but it has done damage to both the country's reputation and our community.  And if you feel that way, 2018 is your year to correct that path.
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A Jewish Christmas tale

from Philadelphia Gay News: When I was young, about 11, Jewish kids didn't acknowledge Christmas as anything other than just another day, but we appreciated that it meant something important to our Christian neighbors. The reality was, since our neighbors were Christian, it was a boring day for us kids as our friends were with their families enjoying a day that in American culture is one for family, and we felt excluded.
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Michael Dithers - Looking back on 25 years of EGN

Michael Dithers - Looking back on 25 years of EGN
I wasn't quite sure when Erie Gay News started 25 years ago that we would be able to keep a local publication going for this long.
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Standing Up for Pennsylvania's LGBT Older Adults

In 2015, our country celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in favor of marriage equality. I hoped this landmark case would serve as a turning point from which LGBT Americans would have equal rights under the law. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is taking us backwards. As Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, I am particularly concerned about older LGBT Americans. There are at least 1.5 million gay and bisexual individuals ages 65 and older in the U.S. and that number is expected to double by 2030. Faced with prejudicial social stigma, this population experiences unique challenges including high poverty rates, difficulty accessing health care, and isolation.
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The Amazon Trail: Regrets, I Have a Few

Luncheonette. Darn it all, I just found the word I was looking for back in 2007 when I set a scene in a coffee shop in New York. It wasn't a coffee shop, it was a luncheonette. In that era, you could use the term coffee shop, but a reader might picture a Greenwich Village or a North Beach San Francisco dive that served espresso to long-haired women and men in berets. In my novel Beggar of Love, I wanted to evoke elbows on the counter, ham sandwiches and steaming cups of joe.
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An open letter to the citizens of Alabama

From Mark Segal of Philadelphia Gay News: I am an openly gay man, so you might say you hate the sinner part of me but love me as a person. You also might tell me my civil rights are special rights that infringe on your beliefs. But most importantly, you'd say the LGBT community is immoral.
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Contests

Enter to win The Revival DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!

Enter to win The Revival DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!
Enter to win The Revival DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, January 19 and Friday, February 9.
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Enter to win a pair of tickets to Deathtrap from Erie Playhouse!

Enter to win a pair of tickets to Deathtrap from Erie Playhouse!
Enter to win a pair of tickets to Deathtrap from Erie Playhouse, 13 W 10th St, Erie PA! Five lucky winners will get a pair of tickets to see this thrilling play! Please only enter this contest if you will be in Erie for the run of the show February 9, 10, 15-18, 21-25). Winners will need to call in to the box office (814-454-2852 x0), identify yourself as a winner, to make reservations before you come in. Tickets will NOT be sent, just pick them up at the theatre after contacting the box office. The Erie Playhouse will print out the list of winners to have here in the box office, but nothing will happen with the names until the winners call in. To enter the contest, fill out the form below between Tuesday, January 16 and Tuesday, February 6.
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Enter to win Kimberly: The People I Used to Know from K. Michelle!

Enter to win Kimberly: The People I Used to Know from K. Michelle!
Enter to win Kimberly: The People I Used to Know from K. Michelle! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, January 16 and Tuesday, February 6.
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Enter to win Jesus Meets the Gay Man DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!

Enter to win Jesus Meets the Gay Man DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures!
Enter to win Jesus Meets the Gay Man DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, January 12 and Friday, February 2.
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Enter to win Man Eater e-book from Riverdale Ave Books!

Enter to win Man Eater e-book from Riverdale Ave Books!
Enter to win Man Eater e-book from Riverdale Ave Books! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, January 9 and Tuesday, January 30.
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Enter to win a digital download of NEW remixes from Daya!

Enter to win a digital download of NEW remixes from Daya!
Enter to win a digital download of NEW remixes from Daya! "NEW" the hit single from multi-platinum, Grammy winning artist DAYA, Win a special digital download card with "NEW" remixes by Ryan Riback, Mokita & GOLDHOUSE and more! "NEW" is available now: http://smarturl.it/NewDaya. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, January 5 and Friday, January 26.
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Enter to win Best Gay Erotica of the Year Volume 3 autographed paperback by Rob Rosen!

Enter to win Best Gay Erotica of the Year Volume 3 autographed paperback by Rob Rosen!
Enter to win Best Gay Erotica of the Year Volume 3 autographed paperback by Rob Rosen! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, January 2 and Tuesday, January 23.
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Enter to win Rent FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Broadway's Blaze of Glory

Enter to win Rent FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Broadway's Blaze of Glory
Enter to win Rent FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Broadway’s Blaze of Glory by Tom Rowan from Backbeat Books! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 29 and Friday, January 19.
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Enter to win You Must Remember This e-book from Riverdale Ave Books!

Enter to win You Must Remember This e-book from Riverdale Ave Books!
Enter to win You Must Remember This e-book from Riverdale Ave Books! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, December 26 and Tuesday, January 16.
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Enter to win Red Pill Blues from Maroon 5!

Enter to win Red Pill Blues from Maroon 5!
Enter to win Red Pill Blues from Maroon 5! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, December 19 and Tuesday, January 9.
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Enter to win The Greatest Showman Prize Pack!

Enter to win The Greatest Showman Prize Pack!
Enter to win The Greatest Showman Prize Pack! Step inside the magical world of P.T. Barnum and experience the birth of show business. 20th Century Fox presents the greatest holiday movie of the season, The Greatest Showman! Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. Starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya, and featuring original songs by the Academy Award® Winning lyricists of La La Land, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. The Greatest Showman hits theaters everywhere December 20! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 15 and Friday, January 5.
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Enter to win You Make It Feel Like Christmas from Gwen Stefani!

Enter to win You Make It Feel Like Christmas from Gwen Stefani!
Enter to win You Make It Feel Like Christmas from Gwen Stefani! You Make It Feel Like Christmas, the new holiday album from Grammy winning superstar Gwen Stefani. Featuring a collection of holiday classics & originals. Out Now! Order/stream at gwenstefani.com! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 15 and Friday, January 5.
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Miscellaneous

Mortgages with Little or No Down Payments

One of the most daunting things about buying a house is coming up with the down payment. It used to be that you were expected to have twenty percent of the asking price ready to go when you bought a house. Today, that's not always the case. In fact, there are a number of mortgages that actually require a very low or even no down payment at all. Individuals and couples looking to buy a home, find these mortgages especially attractive since they may have had little time to save up such a large amount of money.
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