National News Briefs

Military leaders okay with transgender service members

The Air Force Chief of Staff General Dave Goldfein told the U.S. Senate that he’s not aware of any adverse effects of transgender military service, joining the sentiment of the other chiefs. Goldfein agreed with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s statement: “In the last two weeks (other service chiefs of Army, Marine Corps, and Navy) General Milley, General Neller, and Admiral Richardson have told me that they have seen zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale as a result of open transgender service in their respective service branches.”

Ryan strikes a Pose

FX’s Pose, created by Glee and American Horror Story developer, Ryan Murphy, reputedly features the largest cast of transgender actors in a TV series and the most significant LGBTQ cast in a scripted series. Murphy has announced plans to donate all profits from the new 1980s-themed dance musical to LGBTQ charitable organizations, especially transgender-focused groups.

PFLAG de-flags Joy-Ann Reid

PFLAG pulled MSNBC host, Joy-Ann Reid’s “ally-ship” award due to a report of “homophobic” posts found on her old blog. Reid has apologized for old posts about Florida Congressman Charlie Crist. Yet, she says she didn’t write the newly revealed blog posts. “Nefarious actors planted them to damage my reputation,”  she claims. Many media figures question her explanation. Plus, she hasn’t provided proof of “hacking.”

PFLAG President Jean Hodges said they dismissed the Crist blogs but, “in light of new information, and the ongoing investigation of that information the organization must at this time rescind our award to Ms. Reid.”

No White House visit

Choosing to honor the roar of the crowds at Dancing with the Stars and the GLAAD Media awards, out Olympians Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy skipped a historic White House visit by openly gay U.S. Olympic athletes. Rippon tweeted: “Olympians from the 2018 Games have been invited to go to the White House today. I will not be going. I will not stand with people who discriminate against those that they perceive as different.”

HUD shakes a cane at gay bar

The Underground Niteclub, a Buffalo, New York gay bar in operation since 1974, was forced to close by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development over a noise complaint. Since the early 90s, the bar operated as the Underground or Buffalo Underground on the first floor of a federally-subsidized apartment building from which the complaints came.

HUD stated, “While HUD recognizes the community sentiment surrounding the closure of The Underground, the department’s primary duty is to provide safe and decent housing for low-income seniors.”

Gay Grenell goes German

Finally, the U.S. Senate confirmed a nominee to be ambassador to Germany. The Senate voted 56-42 to confirm Richard Grenell, filling the vacant position since January 2017. Grenell is a Republican foreign policy writer and commentator who was an aide to national security adviser, John Bolton. Grenell’s confirmation made him the highest-ranking openly gay official in the Trump Administration.

Pizza at a wedding? Guffaw!

An Indiana pizzeria that sparked uproar when in 2015 owners Kevin and Crystal O’Connor said they would sell pizzas to LGBT people but not cater to same-sex weddings. Gay men laughed at the idea of pizza at a wedding. The Indiana legislature passed a since-revised Religious Freedom Restoration Act, validating the pizzeria’s stand. However, Memories Pizza’s closing appears unrelated to the 2015 controversy as the O’Connors said they merely wanted to retire.

Conversion therapy ban in Hawaii

Hawaii is the 12th state to ban “conversion therapy” for minors.

Kansas, Oklahoma pass anti-LGBT adoption rights

The state legislatures of Kansas and Oklahoma passed legislation forbidding their governments from blocking any foster or adoption agency from participating in state programs solely because it refuses to adopt or place children with LGBT individuals. Furthermore, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer has indicated he will sign the bill. And Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed the law allowing private adoption agencies the right to refuse LGBT parents adoption services based on religious beliefs.

PHOTO | Crystal and Kevin O’Connor, owners of Memories Pizza. By Ben Franklin, South Bend Tribune

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