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Friday, June 09, 2017

LGBTQ News Compilation- June 9

Justice Clarence Thomas Justice Clarence Thomas

Supreme Court suggests national age-of-consent of 16

Washington, D.C. – As reported by McClatchy DC Bureau, Juan Esquivel-Quintana was a legal permanent resident of the U.S. after legally emigrating from Mexico with his parents when he was 12. Then he had sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend when he was 20, went to jail and faced deportation back to Mexico. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed that decision May 31, allowing Esquivel-Quintana to remain in the U.S. after a series of failed appeals. He pleaded no contest to statutory rape in 2009, which under California law is defined as “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is more than three years younger than the perpetrator.” That would make it illegal for a person who is about to turn 18 to have sex with someone who just turned 21, the Supreme Court’s majority opinion pointed out. Because the sexual abuse of a minor is considered an aggravated felony, the Department of Homeland Security was seeking to have Esquivel-Quintana stripped of his citizenship and deported to Mexico.

Esquivel-Quintana argued that his statutory rape conviction under California law did not equate to the sexual abuse of a minor. The Supreme Court agreed with him, ruling that in cases of statutory rape based solely on the ages of the participants, sexual abuse of a minor requires that the victim be younger than 16. The court was quick to note that their decision does not change age of consent laws in any state, only whether legal immigrants can be removed from the U.S. based on statutory rape laws.

“The generic crime of sexual abuse of a minor may include a different age of consent where the perpetrator and victim are in a significant relationship of trust,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote. “As relevant to this case, however, the general consensus from state criminal codes points to the same generic definition as dictionaries and federal law: Where sexual intercourse is abusive solely because of the ages of the participants, the victim must be younger than 16.” (McClatchy DC – Kate Irby at http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article153329159.html)

Twenty percent of millennials identify as LGBTQ

Twenty percent of millennials identify as LGBTQ, according to a new study by campaign group GLAAD. These 18- 34-year-olds are almost twice as likely to identify as LGBTQ than those over 35, according to survey results from 2,037 US adults. The poll was conducted as part of a study called Accelerating Acceptance. The survey results also show that more young people are more likely to identify outside of traditional gay/straight and male/female binaries. As well as the 16 per cent of millennials who said they don't identify as straight, 12 per cent said they identify as transgender or gender non-conforming. This is double the amount of Generation X-ers who say the same.

In the UK, the percentage identifying as LGBTQ is even higher. YouGov research shows that 23 per cent of British people identify as something other than “completely straight” when asked to plot themselves on a sexuality scale, and this figure rises to 49 per cent among 18- to 24-year-olds. Similarly to the GLAAD research, the YouGov data showed gender and sexuality becoming more fluid with each generation, with 43 per cent of 18- 24-year-olds identifying as non-binary, and only 46 per cent identifying as “completely heterosexual”. GLAAD noted that their study is particularly timely as LGBTQ rights seem to have come under attack by the Trump administration despite campaign pledges to the contrary.

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO said: As the administration begins to fulfil its pledges to move the country backwards, many are concerned about progress made in recent years for the LGBTQ community. However, this report shows a remarkable new era of understanding and acceptance among young people – an inspiring indication of the future. Though laws can be unwritten, hearts and minds in America have been changed for the better – and that is a reality less easily unraveled. (Indy100 at https://www.indy100.com/article/fifth-millennials-identify-survey-lgbtq-glaad-queer-7660741)


Trailblazing 70s song considered Transphobic? Really?

Ontario, Canada - The student association at a Canadian university is apologizing to members of the transgender community who may have felt “hurt” or devalued by overhearing Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” In a statement on Facebook, Ontario’s University of Guelph Central Student Association apologized to anyone who was upset by the “hurtful” “transphobic lyrics” played during a campus event. The student association claimed the song “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” was picked for a playlist of ‘70s and ‘80s songs out of “ignorance” and showed “an error in judgement” [sic]:

“It’s come to our attention that the playlist we had on during bus pass distribution... contained a song with transphobic lyrics (Lou Reed, Take a Walk on the Wild Side). The playlist was compiled by one of the Executives with the intent of feeling like a road trip from the 70s and 80s. The song was included solely on those terms and made in ignorance as the person making the list did not know or understand the lyrics. We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the Trans community and we’d like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement.”

The “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” lyrics that are presumably offensive are: “Holly came from Miami F.L.A. Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A. Plucked her eyebrows on the way, Shaved her legs and then he was a she. She said, ‘Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.’ Said, ‘Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.” (MRC-TV - http://www.mrctv.org/blog/canadian-student-association-apologizes-playing-transphobic-take-walk-wild-side)


California may recognize other genders

Sacramento, CA - California has taken a huge step towards legally recognizing non-binary people.

The state Senate has passed a bill which would allow people to choose a third gender on official forms like driving licenses and birth certificates. Currently, Californians who want to change their gender on government documents have to submit proof that they have undertaken medical treatment to change physically.

The Gender Recognition Act, as it will be called if it passes into law, would instead let people choose the gender they identify with, according to KXTV, a Californian TV channel. And the options would include a third, non-binary choice. In the words of SB 179, which was first proposed in January, the bill would “ensure that intersex, transgender, and non-binary people have state-issued identification documents that provide full legal recognition of their accurate gender identity.” “It would take some time obviously to put into place, but that opportunity would be there where it currently doesn’t exist,” said Jo Michael, legislative manager for LGBT rights organization Equality California. “That would mean a great deal to a lot of people who use identification every day that doesn’t reflect who they are.”

Michael expected the bill to pass the Assembly within the next few weeks. From there it will go to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. If the governor signed the bill, a third gender option would be available starting in January next year. Last month, the Oregon state legislature passed a bill which would offer drivers the option of ‘X’ instead of the binary ‘M’ or ‘F’ options on licenses. Oregon’s governor, also coincidentally named Governor Brown, could aid up to 20,000 Trans and non-binary people in the state if she signs the bill into law. (Pink News at http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/06/01/california-has-taken-a-huge-step-towards-legally-recognising-non-binary-people/)


Company of Trump’s son-in-law owns many apartments in MD.

Essex, MarylandThe New York Times and Pro Publica report that Baltimore-area renters complain about a property owner they say is neglectful and litigious. Few knew their landlord was the president’s son-in-law. The townhouse on High Seas Court in the Cove Village development, in the Baltimore suburb of Essex, was not exactly the Cape Cod retreat that its address implied: It was a small unit looking onto a parking lot. When Kamiia Warren, a tenant, decided to move out, she submitted the requisite form giving two months’ notice and the complex’s on-site manager signed the form a week later, stating that “The tenant gave notice in accordance with the lease.” So Warren was startled in January 2013, three years later, when she received a summons that she was being sued for $3,014.08 by the owner of Cove Village, claiming that she owed the money for having left in advance of her lease’s expiration, though she had received written permission to leave. And the company suing her was JK2 Westminster L.L.C. When she could not produce the manager’s approval from a judge ruled against her, entering a judgement of nearly $5,000.

If the case was confounding to Warren, it was not unique. Hundreds like it have been filed over the last five years by JK2 Westminster and affiliated businesses in the state of Maryland alone, where the company owns some 8,000 apartments and townhouses. Nor was JK2 Westminster quite as anonymous as its opaque name suggested. It was a subsidiary of a large New York real estate firm called Kushner Companies, which was led by a young man whose initials happened to be J.K.: Jared Kushner.

In 2011, Kushner Companies, with Jared now more firmly in command, pulled together a deal for distress-ridden, Class B spread across 12 sites in Toledo, Ohio; Pittsburgh; and other Rust Belt cities. Kushner’s largest concentration of multifamily units is in the Baltimore area, where the company controls 15 complexes in all. And, there is a clear pattern of Kushner Companies’ pursuing tenants over virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease — even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side. Not only does the company file cases against them, it pursues the cases for as long as it takes to collect from the overmatched defendants — often several years. The court docket of JK2 Westminster’s case against Warren, for instance, spans more than three years and 112 actions. When Kushner Companies finally responded to questions about the cases, Kushner Companies’ chief financial officer, Jennifer McLean, in a written response said as manager for the Baltimore complexes, the company had a “fiduciary obligation” to its ownership partners to collect as much revenue as it could, said. She said the company’s legal costs have been “minimal” compared with what it seeks to recover. (The New York Times & Pro Publica - Alec MacGillis at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/23/magazine/jared-kushners-other-real-estate-empire.html?_r=0)


World OutGames abruptly canceled most events

Miami, FL - An international sporting event scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend in Miami Friday is now the focus of a fraud investigation — and, for thousands of excited participants and spectators a source of major disappointment, too. Warren Cass had just stepped off the plane in Miami when he received an email from the organizers of the fourth annual World OutGames informing him that virtually all of its roughly 450 events — with the exception of aquatics, country western dance and soccer — had been cancelled, just hours before they were set to begin. "I was shocked. People have paid registration fees," he said. "There are people literally coming from all over the world that have been training for this for years ... and made a very large financial commitment to as well." A water polo player, Cass is one of the few who will compete.

CBC Toronto has confirmed the Miami Beach Police Department and Florida State Attorney's Office have opened a joint fraud investigation into the games. The investigation follows an alleged "potential misappropriation of funds," states a release from the City of Miami Beach, which said it was "deeply concerned" about the cancellations.

The World OutGames is one of the largest high-profile competitions for LGBT athletes. They branched out from the Gay Games after a disagreement between organizers a decade ago, leading to the first World OutGames being staged in Montreal in 2006. The Gay Games were held that year in Chicago.

There's been no word about compensation, nor any word on why participants weren't told earlier. CBC Toronto reached out to the games' organizers Friday afternoon, but has yet to receive a response. The Board of Directors, World OutGames Miami issued this notice, "It is with deep regret that due to financial burdens, World OutGames must cancel opening and closing ceremonies and sports programming with the exception of aquatics, country western dance and soccer. The Human Rights Conference and cultural programs will continue as planned. We thank everyone who has supported the effort and apologize to those who will be impacted by this difficult decision. (CBCNews - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/world-out-games-cancelled-miami-1.4133995)


United says gay dad’s hands ‘too close’ to son’s genitals

Raleigh, NC - Henry Amador-Batten and husband Joel were flying to North Carolina with their five-year-old son Ben when a flight attendant made a “completely unfounded” accusation. Joel said his husband was made “to feel like a criminal” as he was led away in front of other passengers and detained at Raleigh–Durham International Airport.

In a Facebook post on DADsquared, Joel said: “Tonight my husband was detained after disembarking a United flight to RDU because a member of the flight crew made an accusation that my husband’s hand/arm laying across my sleeping son’s lap was too close to the ‘child’s genitals’.” To make matters worse, Joel had just spent two weeks in Puerto Rico “dealing with his father’s quick decline and subsequent death.” Joel continued: “This is not how anyone deserves to be treated. . .My husband and I are parents.” But the father said it will not stop him showing love for his son, adding “I’ll continue to show the same affection I always have.”

Issuing an apology after the complaint, a United Airlines spokesman wrote: “Our customers should always be treated with the utmost respect. We have followed up with the customer directly and we apologized for the situation.” The couple now plan on seeking damages from the airline. (Metro at http://metro.co.uk/2017/05/25/united-airlines-accuses-gay-dad-of-having-hands-too-close-to-sons-genitals-6659575/#mv-b)


Arizona HRC youth ambassador brings commitment

Tucson, AZ - You may have spotted him holding a “I stand with Planned Parenthood” sign at the State Capitol or volunteering at the one•n•ten booth at Rainbows Festival last fall. Maybe you recognize him from one of his signature photo pose – he’s captured shots with everyone from former NFL player Michael Sam and author, activist and reality star Jazz Jennings to HRC president Chad Griffin and Echo Magazine Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Bobbi Lancaster. In fact, it was Dr. Lancaster, a mentor and a friend to local volunteer extraordinaire Justin Jones who set the wheels in motion for his most recent opportunity to get involved.

The HRC Foundation’s Youth Well-Being Project introduced this year’s group of youth ambassadors, which included Jones and 15 others. “This program is designed to amplify the important voices of teens and young adults, and engage them in helping HRC Foundation improve the lives of LGBTQ youth at home, at school, at work, and beyond,” explained Vinnie Pompei, As HRC Foundation’s director of Youth Well-Being Project and Time to THRIVE conference chair. “These youth have real and meaningful contributions to make to HRC’s work and to their communities.” This class of young people was selected to participate in the program “because of their courage in sharing their own stories and their demonstrated commitment to speaking out about issues facing all LGBTQ youth.” As youth ambassadors, Jones took part in HRC’s annual Time to THRIVE Conference April 27-30 in Washington DC.

Jones said, “HRC sent me a blog post announcing that I was an HRC Youth Ambassador. I could not believe it, that moment was so surreal. I’ve never felt so much joy in one day, something that will have a lasting impact in my life. . . My primary role as a Youth Ambassador is bringing awareness to issues that youth are facing, such as HIV/AIDS, immigration, diversity inclusion in the LGBTQ community and youth LGBTQ education.” He added, “. . . areas that I am specifically focused on are LGBTQ homelessness (Arizona is one of the highest in the country), immigration and LGBTQ education. . . I was homeless. Thanks to One.n.ten Promise Of a New Day (P.O.N.D) they taught me the soft skills to maintain a job and then to eventually I got a place on my own.” (Echo Magazine - KJ Philp at echomag.org)

Beyond the Beltway

Beyond the Beltway

Compiled by Jim Becker

These news notes have been compiled, with permission, from the online version of various newspapers and other websites. We thank these publications for allowing us to bring you their news stories. Usually the reports have been significantly edited and you can read the full story by going to the website mentioned following the item. Comments are strictly the opinions of Jim Becker and not of Baltimore Outloud or Pride Media.

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