Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights http://www.washingtonblade.com America's Leading LGBT News Source Tue, 19 Jun 2018 18:02:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 When ‘free’ isn’t really free http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/when-free-isnt-really-free/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/when-free-isnt-really-free/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 18:02:58 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43423954 Juneteenth marks the 165th anniversary of emancipation

The post When ‘free’ isn’t really free appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.


David J. Johns is executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, nbjc.org. (Photo courtesy NBJC)

“Until all of us are free, none of us are free.” You will seldom hear me speak without noting this fact, but the truth is, it has historical context.

You see, slavery was formally abolished Jan. 31,1865 with the passing of the 13th Amendment, but it was not until June 19, 1853 — almost five months later — that this news reached slaves in the state of Texas, thus beginning the emancipation of enslaved Black people throughout the South. 

Fast forward 165 years to present day America, many in this country continue to keep Black people in bondage, and this is compounded if you are Black AND lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer/same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL). 

With each passing day our news tickers seem to report incidents of breakdowns in race relations, really everyday interactions where the humanity of Black people is disregarded or called into question, bringing forth the realization that what our ancestors hoped was settled more than a century ago is still hotly contested today. 

Take Roseanne Barr’s recent racially charged tweets about Valerie Jarrett (former senior adviser to President Obama), which led to the cancellation of the “Roseanne” sitcom reboot. It is baffling that we live at a time when anyone would think it acceptable to publicly refer to someone — an accomplished and well-respected Black woman at that — as “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.” 

In today’s political climate, supporters of President Trump like Barr flex their free license to carry their racism, stigma and bias proudly while blatantly, and in their own minds justifiably, violating basic human rights —  especially of those individuals who live at the intersection of being Black and LGBTQ/SGL. As if the fight for racial equality was not enough, now the fight for sexual-oriented freedoms makes it even more of an uphill battle for individuals in our community. 

Individuals like Anthony Wall, the 22-year-old Black gay man who was assaulted by police in May at a Warsaw, N.C., Waffle House — one of too many acts of violence by police against young Black men that we have seen recently. Wall was placed in a chokehold and slammed against the concrete by an arresting officer following an incident in which a Waffle House employee hurled racist and homophobic comments at Wall! 

Wall’s incident happened just weeks after Chikesia Clemmons was violently arrested and exposed by police officers at a Waffle House in Alabama after being charged for plasticware – a fee none of her fellow white patrons were assessed. And in the past week, another instance of racial bias, at a Florida Waffle House this time, that led to the unwarranted and unnecessary arrest of a Black couple was brought to light.

Despite what can now be reasonably deemed as a trend within the popular southern food chain, the corporation’s leadership refuses to denounce the egregious behavior of its employees, therefore, enabling their racially discriminatory practices, reflective of those seen in the Jim Crow south. 

Yet and still, over Memorial Day weekend, Deja Smith, a Black transgender woman and celebrity makeup artist, was denied service at a Texas Chicken and Burgers restaurant in Harlem, New York — a community that despite aggressive gentrification remains Black in occupants and culture. While we are fortunate to have evidence of onlookers and patrons affirming the discrimination that Ms. Smith and her colleagues experienced, I find it beyond frustrating that far too often we see tepid public demonstrations of support for the Black trans – community — and often, it is only in instances in which Black trans women are murdered.  We rarely see support provided during day-to-day injustices that challenge the core of one’s lived experiences. 

How unfortunate that in the same month that we celebrate both LGBTQ Pride and the emancipation of slaves in the South, we also witnessed the sanctioning of legal discrimination by the Supreme Court with its decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case — a decision that can make the aforementioned offenses OK.  

The irony that businesses like the Waffle House chain, which already has a record of discrimination resulting in unwarranted arrests of Black people, while the Supreme Court was deciding if businesses have the right to discriminate on the grounds of religion cannot be missed.  

Juneteenth is a day that we should be celebrating freedom and access to basic civil liberties for all, but unfortunately, that is not something we are all afforded. We have much more work to do to improve cultural competence in ways that make space for every member of the Black and LGBTQ communities. And while we work to challenge and change systems and laws, it is important that allies speak up and out against every day acts of discrimination and injustice experienced by the members of our communities that are most marginalized and too often rendered invisible.  

After all, the Emancipation Proclamation states that “the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, [must] recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons … in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”

The post When ‘free’ isn’t really free appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/when-free-isnt-really-free/feed/ 0
Leah Remini cast as conservative lesbian in Fox comedy pilot http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/leah-remini-cast-as-conservative-lesbian-in-fox-comedy-pilot/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/leah-remini-cast-as-conservative-lesbian-in-fox-comedy-pilot/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 17:12:11 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43422687 The untitled pilot comes from the creators of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

The post Leah Remini cast as conservative lesbian in Fox comedy pilot appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.


Leah Remini (Screenshot via YouTube)

Leah Remini has been cast as a conservative lesbian for an upcoming Fox comedy pilot.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Remini will play Jean, a conservative lesbian “who loves her country and firmly believes in everyone’s right to be left alone.” She is raising her two children with her wife and her ex-husband who lives in the garage.

The still-untitled series will come from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” creator Rob McElhenney and executive producer Rob Rosell.”It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” Sunny co-creator Glenn Howerton, star Charlie Day and Executive Producer Nick Frenkel will also executive produce the series. Howerton, Day and Frenkel are expected to make on-screen appearances.

Remini’s last comedy sitcom role was in “Kevin Can Wait” opposite Kevin James. She and James also appeared in the sitcom “King of Queens.”

The post Leah Remini cast as conservative lesbian in Fox comedy pilot appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/leah-remini-cast-as-conservative-lesbian-in-fox-comedy-pilot/feed/ 0
Harry Styles waves ‘Make America Gay Again’ flag at concert http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/43420357/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/43420357/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 16:40:37 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43420357 The singer is known to hold the Pride flag onstage

The post Harry Styles waves ‘Make America Gay Again’ flag at concert appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.


Harry Styles (Screenshot via Twitter)

Harry Styles waved a “Make America Gay Again” rainbow flag during his concert in Philadelphia on Friday.

The 24-year-old singer spotted a fan in the crowd holding the Pride flag and asked her to give it to him. Styles held the flag up on stage to the screams of the crowd.

Styles has brought a rainbow flag on stage before at previous shows. He’s also been outspoken that he believes gay rights aren’t politics but “fundamental.”

Some fans also believe Styles is hinting at being bisexual on his new track “Medicine,” which he performs on tour.

“The boys and the girls are here I mess around with them / And I’m okay with it / I’m coming down/ I figured out I kinda like it / And when I sleep I’m gonna dream of how you tasted,” reads the lyrics of the track.

The post Harry Styles waves ‘Make America Gay Again’ flag at concert appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/43420357/feed/ 0
‘Love, Simon’ wins Best Kiss at MTV Movie & TV Awards http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/love-simon-kiss-wins-best-kiss-at-mtv-movie-tv-awards/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/love-simon-kiss-wins-best-kiss-at-mtv-movie-tv-awards/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 15:35:59 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43418404 Lena Waithe, Lady Gaga also made appearances

The post ‘Love, Simon’ wins Best Kiss at MTV Movie & TV Awards appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.


Nick Robinson and Keiynan Lonsdale in ‘Love, Simon’ (Screenshot via YouTube)

The 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards was filled with LGBT representation including a Best Kiss win for “Love, Simon” and a Trailblazer Award honor given to Lena Waithe at the ceremony which aired on Monday night.

The cast of “13 Reasons Why” announced the winner for Best Kiss was Nick Robinson and Keiynan Lonsdale’s kiss at the end of the gay teen romance. This is the second year in a row that a same-sex kiss won the award. In 2017,  Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jermone’s kiss in “Moonlight” received the honor.

Lonsdale, 26, accepted the award as Robinson was unable to make the show.

“I just want to say to every kid, you can live your dreams and wear dresses,” Lonsdale told the crowd. “You can live your dreams and kiss the one that you love, no matter what gender they are. You can live your dreams and you can believe in magic. You can live your dreams and you can be yourself.”

Lonsdale came out as bisexual while filming the movie in 2017.

Lena Waithe was honored with the Trailblazer Award for her achievements in television. In 2017, Waithe became the first woman of color to win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for writing the “Master of None” episode “Thanksgiving.” The episode tackled her character Denise’s coming out to her family over a series of Thanksgivings. She is also the creator and executive producer of the Showtime drama “The Chi,” which follows the lives of people in the South Side of Chicago.

In her acceptance speech, the 34-year-old credited Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning,” which chronicled the ’80s ball culture in New York City, for paving the way in culture.

“Every time someone says shade or talks about reading or just decides to serve face for no reason at all, please look up to the sky and give thanks because we owe them a huge debt of gratitude,” Waithe says. “They strutted through a brick wall so we wouldn’t have to.”

Other highlights of the night included Chris Pratt receiving the Generation Award and Tiffany Haddish hosting the ceremony with gags like wearing Meghan Markle’s wedding dress and sporting a pregnant belly as a nod to Cardi B’s “Saturday Night Live” performance.

Lady Gaga also made an appearance to accept the award for Best Music Documentary for her documentary “Five Foot Two” and to present the award for Best Movie.

“I love you little monsters so much! And, Happy Pride Month,” Lady Gaga says. “I just have one problem, I recently found out that I am actually five-foot-three and three quarters … I am so, so sorry, but thank you so much.”

She announced the Best Movie winner with flair yelling “Black mother f—– Panther.'”

See the full list of winners below.

BEST MOVIE – “Black Panther”
BEST SHOW – “Stranger Things”
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A MOVIE – Chadwick Boseman in “Black Panther”
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A SHOW – Millie Bobby Brown in “Stranger Things”
BEST HERO – Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther) in “Black Panther”
BEST VILLAIN – Michael B. Jordan (N’Jadaka/Erik Killmonger) in “Black Panther”
BEST KISS – Love, Simon – Nick Robinson (Simon) and Keiynan Lonsdale (Bram)

MOST FRIGHTENED PERFORMANCE – Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) – “Stranger Things”
BEST ON-SCREEN TEAM – “It” – Finn Wolfhard (Richie), Sophia Lillis (Beverly), Jaeden Lieberher (Bill), Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie), Wyatt Oleff (Stanley), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben), Chosen Jacobs (Mike)
BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE – Tiffany Haddish – “Girls Trip”
SCENE STEALER – Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl Blossom) – “Riverdale”
BEST FIGHT – “Wonder Woman” – Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) vs. German Soldiers
BEST REALITY SERIES/FRANCHISE – “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”
BEST MUSICAL MOMENT – “Stranger Things” (Mike and Eleven dance to “Every Breath You Take”)


The post ‘Love, Simon’ wins Best Kiss at MTV Movie & TV Awards appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/love-simon-kiss-wins-best-kiss-at-mtv-movie-tv-awards/feed/ 0
Brother of Parkland shooter launches anti-bullying group http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/zachary-cruz-launches-anti-bullying-group/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/zachary-cruz-launches-anti-bullying-group/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 13:27:46 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43414546 Foundation funded by gay-owned company

The post Brother of Parkland shooter launches anti-bullying group appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Zachary Cruz, gay news, Washington Blade

Attorney Mario Williams, Zachary Cruz and Mike Donovan at the National Press Club last week. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro Jr.)

The younger brother of the 19-year old youth charged with killing 17 people in the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., has announced the formation of a national anti-bullying organization that he says will be supported by high school and middle school students from across the country.

Zachary Cruz, 18, told reporters at a June 14 news conference at the National Press Club in Washington that he hopes the newly launched organization, among other things, will be able to help troubled, isolated young people victimized by bullying like his brother, Nicholas Cruz, before they engage in destructive behavior that can endanger the lives of themselves and others.

“I cannot stand here today and defend my brother or make excuses for him,” Zachary Cruz said. “His story is complicated, tragic and can be told elsewhere,” he said. “However, I can say very clearly today that our schools all across the country have ticking time bombs in them. Bullying leads to abuse and violence and not the least isolation,” he said.

Zachary Cruz has said he believes the behavior of his brother Nicholas was shaped at least in part by bullying he suffered while in school, which Zachary Cruz believes resulted in Nicholas becoming isolated and highly troubled.

“If we don’t do something to bring isolated kids out of the shadows, if we don’t do something to help those kids build relationships with each other and with adults and ways to fit it,” he told the news conference, “then we can’t be surprised when the next bomb goes off.”

Cruz and Mike Donovan, president and CEO of Nexus Services, Inc., a Virginia-based immigrant oriented bail bond company that is funding the new group, said they have named the new organization, We Isolate No-One (WIN): The Zachary Cruz Foundation to End Bullying.

They said the nonprofit foundation has already begun operating a 24-hour anti-bullying hotline staffed by trained crisis responders employed by Nexus Services who will provide emergency assistance to bullying victims in crisis as well as report bullying cases to school principals.

Donovan told the news conference the trained hotline staff provides crisis counseling for Nexus’s clients from one of the company’s call centers in Harrisonburg, Va. He said it was an easy transition for them to take on the additional role in operating the anti-bullying hotline.

He said a nonprofit law firm funded by Nexus Services, called Nexus Derechos Humanos Attorneys, Inc., will follow up on the bullying incidents identified through the hotline or through WIN student chapters formed in schools to determine whether legal action should be taken if a school fails to appropriately respond to a bullying incident.

According to Donovan, he and Nexus Services would be contributing between $800,000 and $1.2 million for the startup phase of WIN. Donovan, who’s gay and founded Nexus Services with his husband, has emerged as an LGBT rights advocate in Virginia.

Cruz said his main focus this summer will be to encourage students in high schools and middle schools throughout the country to get ready to form WIN chapters in their schools at the start of the new school year in late August.

“We will train to spot bullying, abuse and isolation and how to intervene to head off the problem,” Cruz told reporters at the news conference. “And all of this work will be peer to peer,” he said, adding that adults and school officials will play a supportive role.

“While it may seem like a lot for kids to handle, we’re the ones who see this behavior,” he said. “It can be handled by teachers, but kids know. Since we know, it’s our responsibility to make changes.”

Donovan told the Washington Blade after the news conference that he and Zachary Cruz are aware that there are other existing organizations, including LGBT organizations, that address the issue of bullying.

“We have to work collaboratively with other organizations,” he said. “The benefit of WIN is that it has a national footprint immediately,” he said, adding, “It makes a ton of sense for WIN to work hand in hand with other agencies and with other organizations.”

At least three national LGBT groups – the Tyler Clementi Foundation, the Trevor Project, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) — work in various ways on bullying matters pertaining to LGBT youth. GLSEN initiated school-based student organizations called Gay-Straight Alliances, known as GSA clubs that students have formed in high schools and middle schools across the country.

GLSEN spokesperson Joanna Cifredo told the Blade bullying is one of many issues that GLSEN addresses in its school related programs.

“Bullying is a national issue and it’s a crisis,” Cifredo said. “We welcome all organizations that want to address bullying. There’s plenty of work to go around.”

Zachary Cruz surfaced in the news earlier this year when he was arrested for trespassing on the grounds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where his brother Nicholas is charged with fatally shooting 17 students and staff members on Feb. 14.

An arrest report says Zachary Cruz told Broward County, Fla., Sheriff’s deputies he skateboarded onto the school grounds because he wanted to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in.”

A short time later he pleaded no contest to the trespassing charge and was sentenced to six months’ probation.

Donovan said he first met Zachary Cruz when the law firm associated with Nexus Services challenged a decision by a judge to initially hold Cruz on a $500,000 bond for the trespassing charge that ordinarily would result in release on a $25 bond. With assistance and legal advice from the Nexus attorneys, Cruz requested and was granted from a judge a transfer of his probation obligation from Florida to Virginia, where Donovan offered him a job and a place to live and the chance to start a new life.

Cruz immediately impressed him, Donovan said, by expressing an interest in dealing with bullying and saying he wanted to form an organization to end bullying.

“And he was very clear that he believed that peer to peer work, that putting kids in charge of building better communities in schools was critically important,” Donovan recounted. “And he convinced me. Not only did he convince me that that was the right thing to do… But he convinced me that kids want that opportunity and it is our duty to empower them.”

Additional information about the Zachary Cruz WIN Foundation can be accessed at weisolatenoone.com.

The post Brother of Parkland shooter launches anti-bullying group appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/zachary-cruz-launches-anti-bullying-group/feed/ 0
Md. school district, trans student reach settlement http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/md-school-district-trans-student-reach-settlement/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/md-school-district-trans-student-reach-settlement/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 12:49:16 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43413199 Action follows favorable ruling by judge in boys’ locker room case

The post Md. school district, trans student reach settlement appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Title IX, Juan Venegas, shooting deaths, gay news, Washington Blade

Action follows favorable ruling by judge in boys’ locker room case.

The Talbot County, Md., Public Schools and attorneys representing a male transgender student reached a settlement on Monday in a 2016 lawsuit filed by the then 14-year-old student challenging his school’s refusal to allow him to use the boys locker room and bathrooms.

The settlement allows Max Brennan, who’s now 16, to freely use the boys’ restrooms and locker room at St. Michaels Middle High School in Talbot County, Md. His attorneys with the ACLU and the Maryland LGBT advocacy group Free State Justice consider the settlement a major victory for transgender rights.

It follows a ruling in March by a U.S. District Court judge finding that the school district’s policy banning Brennan from using the bathrooms or locker room consistent with his gender identity violated Title IX of the U.S. Education Act of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination.

“The settlement agreement is a resolution of the parties’ claims without any finding of liability,” Free State Justice said in a statement released on Monday. “However, in the agreement the defendants acknowledge the likelihood of liability in light of the Court’s Memorandum and Order dated March 12, 2018,” the statement says.

It was referring to the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge George L. Russell III in March denying the school district’s motion to dismiss the case and declaring that transgender students cannot be barred from sex segregated school restrooms or locker rooms that align with their gender identity under Title IX.

“Under the settlement agreement, Max will have permanent access to restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities owned and/or operated by the Board of Education that are otherwise designated for boys or men,” Free State Justice says in its statement.

“Bringing this lawsuit has been a long journey that I hope will be able to help other transgender students in the future,” Brennan said in the statement. “I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out and I am extremely hopeful for the future,” he said.

Jennifer Kent, Managing Attorney for Free State Justice, said the court ruling in March and Monday’s settlement would have a positive impact on similar transgender cases in the future.

“Though today’s case is over, Max’s bravery continues to ensure that students who are transgender are protected under the law,” Kent said. “Because of Max, Maryland school districts are now on notice that subjecting students who are transgender to separate and unequal treatment is illegal, pure and simple.”

Kent noted that the Talbot County Public Schools began to back down on the restrictions it initially placed on Brennan last year by allowing him to use the boys’ bathrooms but not the boys’ locker room. Then earlier this year following Judge Russell’s ruling the school district told Brennan he could also begin to use the boys’ locker room on a temporary basis while the school system continued to claim it had the authority to revoke its position.

Now, Kent points out, the settlement gives Brennan and other trans students the permanent right to use the bathroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity.

The post Md. school district, trans student reach settlement appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/19/md-school-district-trans-student-reach-settlement/feed/ 0
Three LGBTI activists killed in Mexico http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/three-lgbti-activists-killed-in-mexico/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/three-lgbti-activists-killed-in-mexico/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 23:25:44 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43383894 Unclear whether murders were anti-gay hate crimes

The post Three LGBTI activists killed in Mexico appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.


From left: Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega and Carlos Uriel López were murdered in Taxco, Mexico, on June 17, 2018. An activist in the state of Guerrero with whom the Washington Blade spoke said Estrada, Vega and López were killed after a group of men tried to extort money from them at a local nightclub. (Photo courtesy of Gaby Soberanis/Diversidad Guerrero)

Three well-known LGBTI rights advocates in the Mexican state of Guerrero were killed over the weekend.

Authorities on Sunday found the bodies of Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega and Carlos Uriel López in Taxco, a city between the state capital of Chilpancingo and Mexico City that is popular with tourists.

Estrada, 35, was the main organizer of Taxco’s annual Pride march and a local gay beauty contest. Vega and López, who was his partner, were also activists.

Gaby Soberanis, president of Diversidad Guerrero, an LGBTI advocacy group that is based in the resort city of Acapulco, on Monday told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview that Estrada, Vega and López were at a local nightclub early Sunday morning when a group of men tried to extort money from them.

Soberanis said Estrada, Vega and López refused to give them any money. She told the Blade the men returned, forcibly removed them from the nightclub and placed them into a van.

Authorities found their bodies a few hours later on a dirt road near the main highway between Mexico City and Acapulco.

A local newspaper published a picture of one of the murdered activists who appeared to have been shot in the back of the head. Another local media report indicates Estrada, Vega and López had been tortured before they were killed.

“We are sad, depressed,” Soberanis told the Blade. “They were young. They had a future ahead of them. The entire state’s LGBTI rights movement is sad, is in mourning.”

Other activists across Mexico also mourned their deaths.

“The loss is for a society that demands equality, freedom and an end to violence,” said Lol Kin Castañeda, a lesbian activist who is a member of the Mexico City Constituent Assembly in a tweet that tagged Guerrero Gov. Héctor Astudillo. “We demand justice.”

Local media reports say the manner in which Estrada, Vega and López were killed indicates they were victims of criminal gangs that operate throughout Guerrero.

“I don’t know if it was a hate crime based on homophobia,” Soberanis told the Blade.

The Blade has reached out to the Guerrero Ministry of Public Safety for comment.

Violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity remains commonplace throughout Mexico.

Drug cartels and criminal gangs that operate throughout Guerrero have made it one of the most violent states in the country. An advisory the State Department issued on March 16 urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Guerrero and the states of Colima, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas “due to crime.”

A group of 43 college students known as “normalistas” disappeared in Iguala, a city that is roughly an hour south of Taxco in Guerrero, on Sept. 26, 2014.

Mexican authorities have accused former Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda, of masterminding the kidnapping. The Associated Press reports Abarca allegedly ordered local police officers to turn the students over to members of a local criminal group who killed them.

The election to choose the successor to President Enrique Peña Nieto, who cannot run for a second term under the Mexican constitution, will take place on July 1. Violence and corruption are among the top issues for Mexican voters.

Tres conocidos activistas LGBTI asesinados en Guerrero

Tres conocidos activistas LGBTI en el estado mexicano de Guerrero fueron asesinados durante el fin de semana.

Autoridades el domingo descubrieron los cadáveres de Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega y Carlos Uriel López en Taxco, una ciudad entre la capital estatal de Chilpancingo y la Ciudad de México que es popular con turistas.

Estrada, 35, era el principal organizador de la marcha anual del Orgullo de Taxco y un concurso de belleza gay local. Vega y López, quién era su pareja, también eran activistas.

Gaby Soberanis, presidenta de Diversidad Guerrero, un grupo LGBTI basado en Acapulco, el lunes dijo al Washington Blade durante una entrevista que Estrada, Vega y López estaban a una discoteca local temprano el domingo por la mañana cuando un grupo de hombres trató de extorcionar el dinero de ellos.

Soberanis dijo que Estrada, Vega y López se negaron darles ningún dinero. Ella dijo al Blade que los hombres regresaron, los sacó por la fuerza de la discoteca y los pusieron en una camioneta.

Autoridades encontraron sus cadáveres unas horas después en un camino de terracería cerca de la carretera principal entre la Ciudad de México y Acapulco.

Un periódico local publicó una foto de uno de los activistas asesinados quién parecía haber recibido un disparo en la parte posterior de la cabeza. Otro informe de la prensa local indica que Estrada, Vega y López habían sido torturados antes de ser asesinados.

“Estamos tristes, deprimidos,” Soberanis dijo al Blade. “Eran jóvenes. Tenían una carrera futura. Toda la diversidad en el estado está triste, está de luto.”

Otros activistas en México también están de luto por sus muertes.

“La pérdida es para una sociedad que exige igualdad, libertad y fin a la violencia,” dijo Lol Kin Castañeda, una activista lésbica quien es miembra de la Asamblea Constituyente de la Ciudad de México en un tweet al gobernador de Guerrero Héctor Astudillo. “Exigimos justicia.”

Informes en la prensa local dicen que la manera en que Estrada, Vega y López fueron asesinados indica que son víctimas del crimen organizado.

“No sé si era un crimen de odio por homófobia,” Soberanis dijo al Blade.

El Blade se ha comunicado con la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública de Guerrero para comentar.

Violencia basada en la orientación sexual y la identidad de género sigue ser común por México.

Los cárteles y grupos del crimen organizado que operan por Guerrero se lo ha hecho uno de los estados más violentos en el país. Un aviso que el Departamento de Estado (EEUU) emitió el 16 de marzo insta a los ciudadanos estadounidenses de no viajar a Guerrero y los estados de Colima, Michoacán, Sinaloa y Tamaulipas.

Un grupo de 43 estudiantes conocidos como los ‘normalistas’ desaparecieron en Iguala, una ciudad que está casi una hora al sur de Taxco en Guerrero, el 26 de septiembre de 2014.

Autoridades mexicanas han acusado al exalcalde de Iguala José Luis Abarca y su esposa, María de los Ángeles Pineda, de orquestar el secuestro. El Associated Press reporta Abarca supuestamente ordenó a agentes de la policía local de entregar a los estudiantes a miembros de un grupo criminal quién los mataron.

La elección para elegir el sucesor del presidente Enrique Peña Nieto, quién no puede postularse para un segundo mandato bajo de la constitución mexicana, se celebrará el 1 de julio. La violencia y la corrupción están entre las principales preocupaciones para los votantes mexicanos.

The post Three LGBTI activists killed in Mexico appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/three-lgbti-activists-killed-in-mexico/feed/ 0
Mary’s House receives $1.19 million in D.C. funding http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/marys-house-receives-1-19-million-in-d-c-funding/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/marys-house-receives-1-19-million-in-d-c-funding/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 19:35:45 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43374515 Planned home for LGBT seniors appeals for private donors

The post Mary’s House receives $1.19 million in D.C. funding appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Imani Woody Macko, Mary's House, Washington Blade, gay news, Queery

Imani Woody, founder and CEO of Mary’s House, said she’s looking to raise a total of $4.4 million. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last week that the city has awarded $1,193,239 in funding for Mary’s House for Older Adults, a planned home for LGBT seniors to be built in a residential area in Southeast Washington.

Bowser said Mary’s House was one of nine projects selected as part of a $103 million city funding allocation aimed at preserving or producing affordable housing for more than 1,700 residents, including seniors and residents experiencing homelessness.

“Using every tool in our toolbox means preserving the affordable housing we already have available, building new units, and funding innovative projects that do both – that’s what these nine projects will do,” Bowser said in a statement.

Imani Woody, founder and CEO of Mary’s House, said the city funding allocation of $1.19 million was a major boost to efforts by Mary’s House to raise a total of $4.4 million needed for construction and related costs for completing the Mary’s House facility.

Wood has said Mary’s House will be built on a property at 401 Anacostia Road, S.E., which is the site of a single family house where she lived with her parents as a child. Plans call for replacing the existing house with a new structure that will include 15 individual suites with a common kitchen, private bathrooms, a library, and rooftop garden, among other amenities.

When completed it is expected to be D.C.’s only residential facility catering to LGBT seniors.

“The older you get you have to figure out whether you’re going to have to fight ageism or fight homophobia,” Imani said in discussing problems LGBT seniors often face when looking for a retirement home.

“And so this house, when you put the key in the door, you’re home and you don’t have to fight anymore,” she said. “You’re at a place where everybody knows your name you don’t have to put yourself back in the closet, which would be so hard to do.”

Polly Donaldson, director of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, which approved the city funding allocation for Mary’s House, said Mary’s House and other housing projects approved for the latest round of funding each met a series of criteria indicating they are viable projects that would boost the city’s and the mayor’s goal of increasing and preserving affordable housing in the District.

“This is really a way to say we can help,” Donaldson said about the funding allocation for Mary’s House. “This is a nonprofit development. Mary’s House is a nonprofit organization and we think it’s important to support some big projects and smaller projects like this one,” she said.

The announcement released by the mayor on the city funding for the nine projects says “Mary’s House (Ward 7) will produce 15 units for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) seniors.” It says the funding would come from the city’s Housing Production Trust Fund, which was created to help support affordable housing.

The announcement says Mary’s House is working in partnership with Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures, LLC, a real estate development company that Woody said has been involved in the Mary’s House project since its start several years ago.

Woody said the next hurdle for Mary’s House is the need to raise $200,000 for “pre-development costs.” She added, “We need 200 people to write a check for a thousand dollars.”

The Mary’s House website says its plans for financing the project include a “combination of bank loans, funding from the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, and grant money from foundations and individual donors.”

The post Mary’s House receives $1.19 million in D.C. funding appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/marys-house-receives-1-19-million-in-d-c-funding/feed/ 0
Judith Light draws parallels between gay rights movement and #MeToo http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/judith-light/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/judith-light/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 18:29:04 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43370404 The 'Transparent' star also reveals how her LGBT advocacy landed her the role

The post Judith Light draws parallels between gay rights movement and #MeToo appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.


TheWrap Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman and Judith Light (Screenshot via The Wrap)

Actress Judith Light compared the start of the gay rights movement with the newly sparked #MeToo movement in an interview with TheWrap Editor in-Chief Sharon Waxman.

“It goes back to the thing I was talking about the LGBTQ community,” the Emmy and Tony Award winner says. “Who will you be? Who is your authentic self? If you have secrets you need to tell them. You need to talk about them and that’s what’s happening and that is something that really thrills me.”

The actress also shared how her allyship with the LGBT community played a part in her interest in playing Shelly Pfefferman in “Transparent.”

“You always have to figure that there are a ton of people vying for any role,” Light says.

She explained that she used her audition time to speak on her LGBT advocacy instead of reading for a part.

“That was my audition, I didn’t read the script,” Light continued. “The community which I think is the most inspiring and extraordinary community was being shoved away, shoved in the closet. There was a level of homophobia that still runs deep in this country.”

Watch a clip from the interview below.

The post Judith Light draws parallels between gay rights movement and #MeToo appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/judith-light/feed/ 0
Samuel L. Jackson responds to backlash for ‘gay-shaming’ Trump tweet http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/samuel-l-jackson-responds-to-backlash-for-gay-shaming-trump-tweet/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/samuel-l-jackson-responds-to-backlash-for-gay-shaming-trump-tweet/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 18:07:29 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=43369554 The actor has not apologized

The post Samuel L. Jackson responds to backlash for ‘gay-shaming’ Trump tweet appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.


Samuel L. Jackson (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Samuel L. Jackson came under fire after he sent a birthday tweet for President Donald Trump that some people felt was homophobic.

“Must have been a party at The White House, Mitch, Paul, Rudy & others were spotted wearing knee pads & carrying these lined up outside. Happy Birthday,” Jackson captioned a photo of the product After Dick mints. The mints’ tagline is “Going down?”

Page Six reports that “Firefly” actor Adam Baldwin responded in a since-deleted tweet “Gay shaming?” Another person tweeted “Did you and Joy Reid get hacked by the same person?” and another user alerted Capital One of the tweet. Jackson serves as the bank’s spokesperson.

Jackson posted on Instagram that his tweet had been reported to Twitter but didn’t appear to regret it.

Other people supported Jackson with one person commenting on Instagram “Some folks were in their feelings…tell them to build a bridge and get over it!!!” and another writing “I bet it’s Trump reporting you, lmfao.”

The post Samuel L. Jackson responds to backlash for ‘gay-shaming’ Trump tweet appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/06/18/samuel-l-jackson-responds-to-backlash-for-gay-shaming-trump-tweet/feed/ 0