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Friday, June 23, 2017

LGBTQ News Compilation- June 23

Delvonn Heckard Delvonn Heckard

Man drops case against Seattle mayor

Seattle, WA - Delvonn Heckard, the man who accused Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of paying him for sex when he was underage, has dropped his lawsuit against Murray. Heckard's attorney, Lincoln Beauregard, filed a motion to withdraw the complaint on June 13, and it was granted by a King County Superior Court. Beauregard filed the suit on Heckard's behalf in April. The suit was dismissed “without prejudice,” which means it can be filed again and Beauregard said his client would definitely do so after he completes his drug rehab program next year.

Murray, who always denied Heckard's allegations, dropped his run for re-election last month. At a June 14 press conference, Murray said he'd been “vindicated” by withdrawal of the lawsuit and did not rule out running for re-election as a write-in candidate. Murray called Beauregard a “publicity-hungry lawyer with special connections to certain members of the press” and repeated his charge that the lawsuit was politically motivated. Murray did not name the “members of the press,” but the Seattle Times chose to cover Heckard's allegations - as well as similar charges made by other men who said Murray had sex with them when they were teenagers - after passing on the story in 2008 when the charges against Murray first surfaced.

“This lawsuit was a painful experience,” Murray said. “It was a painful experience for victims of abuse, sexual abuse. It was a painful experience for the vulnerable people who seemed to have been exploited by an attorney with a publicity agenda. It was a painful experience for people in the LGBT community who were subjected to the most despicable stereotype of who gay men are.” Both Murray and his husband, Michael Shiosaki, told reporters they were angry over the charges and the apparent end to Murray's political career. Murray's attorney, Malaika Eaton, was even more explicit in condemning Beauregard. The timing of his motion to withdraw the suit “raises questions, given that it occurred only one day before Plaintiff was required to provide answers to questions under oath that we believe would have, along with the objective and undisputed medical evidence, shown his accusations against Mayor Murray to be false,” she said in an email. Beauregard was fined $5,000 for his flamboyant conduct of the case. (Seattle Gay News – Mike Andrew at sgn.org)


To make appoint, legislator wants men fined for masturbating

Austin, TXThe Texas Tribune reports that when it comes to issues related to health, state Rep. Jessica Farrar, an outspoken proponent of abortion rights, says that men should have to undergo the same “unnecessary” and “invasive” procedures that she says Texas women are subjected to under recently passed state laws. That’s why the Houston Democrat on filed House Bill 4260, which would fine men $100 for masturbating and create a required booklet for men with medical information related to the benefits and concerns of a man seeking a vasectomy, a Viagra prescription or a colonoscopy. The bill would also let doctors invoke their "personal, moralistic, or religious beliefs" in refusing to perform an elective vasectomy or prescribe Viagra, among other proposed requirements in the bill.

While Farrar knows her "proposed satirical regulations" will not become law, she hoped the bill's filing would at least foster a deeper discussion about what should be a priority during session years. “What I would like to see is this make people stop and think,” Farrar told The Texas Tribune. “Maybe my colleagues aren’t capable of that, but the people who voted for them, or the people that didn’t vote at all, I hope that it changes their mind and helps them to decide what the priorities are.” Farrar said her bill, titled the “Man’s Right To Know Act,” takes the argument that “we’re looking at the sanctity of life,” a term that has already been highly debated this legislative session as several Texas Republicans have proposed legislation aimed at abortions.

In proposing a fine for masturbation, Farrar says that if a man’s semen is not used to create a pregnancy, “then it’s a waste ... because that semen can be used — and is to be used — for creating more human life.” Farrar continued: “Men have to answer for their actions and so forth. So if there’s going to be an emission, it would have to be done in a hospital where the semen could be preserved for future pregnancies or it would be directly deposited into the vagina of a woman.” (The Texas Tribune – Alex Samuels at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/12/rep-farrar-bill/)


Juneteenth can mean Black Pride, too

Dallas, TX - Juneteenth is “the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States,” according to the website, Juneteenth.com. It marks the day — June 19, 1865 — that Union soldiers led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Galveston and announced that slavery was ended. Yes, that announcement came more than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. But it marked, at least in Texas, the real beginning of freedom for the men and women brought to this country, or born here, in chains, to be bought and sold and used as property.

So the month of June is special to African-Americans in the South, especially those in Texas. But for LGBT and same-gender-loving African- Americans, the month is doubly special: it is also national LGBT Pride Month. That’s why, according to Ahmad Goree, Dallas Southern Pride’s annual Juneteenth celebration is one of the fastest-growing Black Pride events around. Goree, communications manager for Dallas Southern Pride, said the Juneteenth party holds a special place in his heart. “It’s really an enlightening activity,” Goree said. “I mean, it brings together Juneteenth and Pride Month. Those two connections are both really important to me, so celebrating them both at the same time — being African-American and being gay — it’s something I look forward to every year, somewhere I can feel welcome and share experiences with people like me.”

In addition to his job with the Small Business Administration, Goree keeps busy in the LGBT community. He has worked with Stonewall Democrats and also with Abounding Prosperity Inc., a nonprofit founded in 2005 focused on providing services to address health, social and economic disparities among black men, with a particular emphasis on gay, bisexual and male-to-female transgender individuals. It was his work with Abounding Prosperity — led by CEO Kirk Meyers — that prompted him to get involved with Dallas Southern Pride, also headed up by Meyers. While Dallas Southern Pride has long been known for its annual Black Pride celebration held each fall, over the first weekend in October, now that the organization has taken over planning for the Juneteenth celebration, the summer event is quickly becoming DSP’s main event. “The whole idea of it is celebrating life and unity and freedom,” Goree said. (Dallas Voice - Tammye Nash at dallasvoice.com)


Fashion blogger comes out on YouTube; had felt suicidal

London, England - Fashion and lifestyle blogger and model Carl Cunard made a big reveal on his YouTube channel. “I’d been debating about recording the video for quite some time,” he told his 250,000 followers. “And I’ve seen that a lot of people had done videos like this before and I didn’t want to just jump on the bandwagon.” He continued, “It’s not necessarily something I hide, I am who I am and I’m so proud and happy of who I am and who I’ve become.” However, he adds, “I don’t feel I need to be running around the streets screaming it from the rooftops.”

If you haven’t guessed where this is going yet, Cunard is gay. In the video, titled “Coming Out The Real Me,” the 26-year-old Brit describes the first time he realized he was gay, his first relationship with a man (with a guy who was 18 years older than him), and how he came out to his family. He did so after breaking up with his older partner.

“I was in really bad place when it happened and felt that life wasn’t worth living,” Carl recalls. One evening, he texted his parents saying he wanted to end his life. They had no idea he was gay at the time. “They asked me if I was having relationship with a married (female) friend, had a drug problem, money problems, and, finally, if I was in a relationship with a man?” Cunard replied by telling them, “I am gay.” “My parents didn’t know how to react and what to say initially and even cracked jokes to make me feel at ease. Even now, my dad still doesn’t love to discuss it, but that’s OK.” So far, the video has received over 60,000 views and 1,700 likes. Cunard says he hopes that by sharing his story, he can be “an inspiration for people” and help “encourage them to be who they want to be as well.” (QUEERTY – David Grant at  https://www.queerty.com/instagram-star-comes-gay-emotional-video-20170613?utm_source=Queerty+Subscribers&utm_campaign=1d56734931-20170613_Queerty_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_221c27272a-1d56734931-430080809)


New and old children’s books for Pride

Boston, MA - This Pride, share with your kids the history and meaning behind the month through two new books and several older ones. When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community, by Gayle Pitman, tells of the transformation that LGBTQ-rights pioneers Lyon and Martin helped bring to San Francisco and its LGBTQ community. The picture book begins with them falling in love, buying a house, and observing the lack of rights for women and gay people in their neighborhood. “So we worked to change that,” they say.

Pitman’s 2014 picture book, This Day in June, won the Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association, and is also well worth a read this month. In bouncy rhymes and energetic images, it takes us on a joyous trip to a Pride Parade, where we meet a diverse group of dykes on bikes, people in leather, drag queens and others of varying gender expressions, politicians, marching bands, and parents with their children.

Queer There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World, by Sarah Prager, aims for the teen audience, but adults will also learn much from her engaging profiles. “The version of history we learn in school puts a straight, cisgender mask on almost everyone,” she writes. In fact, though, “queer people have existed for as long as people have existed…. Recognizing the world’s rich history of queerness helps reduce homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, and helps welcome queer identities to the mainstream with love and acceptance.” Other Pride books for younger children: Try M Is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book, by Catherine Hernandez (2015), which takes us through an alphabet of Pride-related words through the eyes of a Filipino American child. Published in 1991 and now out of print, but worth finding used (or borrowing from the Open Library online) is Gloria Goes To Gay Pride, by Lesléa Newman, author of the classic Heather Has Two Mommies. Older elementary school children may also want to read Kari Krakow’s The Harvey Milk Story. (Bay Windows – Dana Rudolph at baywindows.com)


Can you believe it? Study says men cause Lesbianism!

Nicosia, Cyprus - This just in: men are at the center of everything, even lesbianism. A new study has claimed that lesbianism - which in case you didn't realize is attraction between women - evolved because it's a turn-on for men. The gay community, suffice it to say, adamantly disagrees.

The research, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences comes from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. It surveyed 1,509 heterosexual people, and not a single openly gay person. (Emphasis supplied). It found that 30 per cent of men in short-term relationships and 15 per cent of straight men in long-term relationships want their partner to have a sex with another woman. Whereas only 7.8 per cent of straight women said the same about their partners. From this, without talking to any lesbians, they hypothesized that men's desire for women to sleep with other women has made women actually attracted to each other. The paper, which was surprisingly published in 2017, not 1817, says: “A woman, driven by her sexual desires, may seek sexual contact outside of her long-term intimate relationship. When this woman has sex with another woman she does not have sex with another man which translates into same-sex contact reducing the risk of cuckoldry.

After the study was shared by Pink News and the International Business Times the gay community were a little bit annoyed. Speaking to the International Business Times, Diana Fleischman, a psychologist at the University of Portsmouth said, the paper is showing the influence of porn on men's preferences as supposed to actual science. The paper totally ignores a lot of other possible hypotheses and makes claims that are really not supported by the evidence they provide. Two women having sex with one man is such a common theme in pornography that I think it is very difficult to parse out that particular variable. There’s a big cultural influence of porn because men are more likely to form associations through classical conditioning and stimulation and sexual arousal. It only takes a few trials to get a man aroused at a piggy bank or a boot. (Indy100 at https://www.indy100.com/article/scientist-suggest-lesbianism-evolved-straight-men-like-what-happened-next-lgbt-gay-rights-twitter-7760436)


Dallas gets first out councilmember in a decade

Dallas, TX - Omar Narvaez is one of the four newly-elected members of the Dallas City Council, making him the first openly-gay Dallas City Council member in more than a decade. Narvaez defeated incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo in a June 10 runoff to become the representative for District 6, which includes West Dallas and the Design District as well as a few neighborhoods in North Dallas along Loop 12 and LBJ Freeway. Narvaez’s win makes him the first openly-gay person on the council since Ed Oakley left the council in 2007, and the first openly-gay person to represent District 6.

Narvaez said he ran a non-traditional race, finding solutions, not making promises. As he knocked on doors across the district and attended town hall meetings, he said he quickly learned to act as an incumbent, working with city hall and fixing problems. Narvaez said he had three priorities in his campaign and will maintain those priorities as city councilman — housing, streets and public safety.

For now, Narvaez plans to continue his day job working at Lambda Legal, an organization providing legal aid and advice to those in the LGBT community, where he recently changed positions and now serves as Texas policy advocate. Before, he was community educator, covering an eight-state area. The new position means he travels less. How do they feel about having a co-worker on city council? “Lambda Legal didn’t endorse me, but my coworkers are very excited to have someone like me at the horseshoe in Dallas,” he said. Lambda Legal’s interim regional director Chuck Marlett agreed: “We’re excited and thrilled.” (Dallas Voice – David Taffet at dallasvoice.com)


Toronto Pride keeps grant despite banning police in uniform

Toronto, CanadaCTV reports that Canada's largest Pride parade will continue to receive an annual grant from the City of Toronto despite calls to cut the funding over a decision to ban uniformed police officers from the event. The majority of city council members voted to uphold the $260,000 grant, rejecting a motion to have it revoked.

A Toronto city councilor had called for the grant to be pulled over Pride Toronto's decision to ban police floats from the colorful summer parade, saying the event had become exclusionary. The union representing Toronto police officers had also pushed for the funding to be withdrawn, arguing it would be unacceptable for the city to sponsor an event that shuts out certain municipal employees.

Pride Toronto, meanwhile, has consistently said police officers are welcome at the parade so long as they appear as civilians rather than in an official capacity. Toronto Mayor John Tory had said he would support moving forward with the grant, noting both Pride Toronto and Toronto's police chief told him cutting it would not help resolve the issue. (CTV at http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/toronto-to-keep-funding-pride-parade-amid-controversy-over-police-participation-1.3431266)

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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