June 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm EDT | by Staff reports
National News in brief: June 10

The San Francisco Giants were the first professional sports team to join the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign. (Photo courtesy San Francisco Giants)

Cubs, Red Sox join ‘It Gets Better’ campaign

CHICAGO — On the heels of a new “It Gets Better” video recorded by the San Francisco Giants — the first professional American sports team to record a video for the project to stem LGBT youth suicide — the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs have announced they will join the campaign.

The Cubs, who play at Wrigley Field just blocks from Chicago’s gay neighborhood known as “Boys Town,” are owned by openly gay Laura Ricketts and her siblings.

“The Cubs applaud the Giants for their stand against anti-LGBT bullying. Bullying of anyone for any reason is unacceptable,” Ricketts told Chicago’s LGBT newspaper, the Windy City Times, Saturday. “We are proud to join the Giants in taking a stand against bullying and encourage other professional sports organizations to do the same.”

On Monday, the Boston Red Sox announced they would be the third professional sports team to add to the library of 10,000 “It Gets Better” videos, in answer to a Change.org petition started by 12-year-old Sam Maden of New Hampshire. A similar petition has been launched to encourage the Baltimore Orioles to record a video; it’s available at change.org.

Conn. adds trans protections to bias law

HARTFORD, Conn. — The first state to bring about marriage equality by legislative vote, rather than judicial intervention, is poised to extend employment protections to transgender residents.

Though 21 states and the District of Columbia ban employment and public accommodations discrimination based on sexual orientation, only 14 states ban such discrimination based on gender identity. The bill, HB6599, which adds gender identity and expression as a protected class to race, age, sex, marital status and physical ability, passed 20-16, and heads to Gov. Dan Malloy (D) who has vowed to sign it.

Meghan Stabler, a national advocate and educator on transgender rights, who testified at the Judiciary Committee hearing in March, hopes Connecticut’s strategy will be duplicated elsewhere.

“This was the result of a lot of consistent work by a number of organizations for several years, not just pushing for a bill that’s inclusive, but education and outreach to legislative people and state and local organizations — both of faith as well as other allied organizations,” Stabler told the Blade.

White House to host Pride celebration

WASHINGTON – The White House plans to host a reception on June 29 to commemorate June as Pride month, the Washington Blade learned this week.

A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the celebration would take place, but added further information isn’t yet available.

“Later this month, the White House will hold a reception to observe LGBT Pride month,” the official said. “Further details will be provided at a later date.”

The White House has hosted Pride celebrations in June for each of the two previous years in which President Obama has been in office.

Hendricks to run for Va. Assembly seat

An official with the National Black Justice Coalition announced this week that he would seek the Virginia Assembly seat opening up in his hometown upon the retirement of independent Del. Watkins Abbitt.

Jasper Hendricks, III, has worked for the National Black Justice Coalition for three years, and has previously worked in politics, including on the staff of Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami as well as serving as political director of the Wisconsin Democratic Party during the 2006 governor’s race.

Hendricks, however, has lived in the 59th District his entire life.

“I’m originally from here. I went to school in Appomattox,” he said, “I have been commuting via Amtrak to D.C. three days a week.” He says he spends long weekends with his family at home.

“Right now I’m the first Democrat to announce. I’ve heard there are others who are considering it, but taking advice from locals, I was the first person to file.”

When asked about his chances in this sometimes red, sometimes blue district, Hendricks expressed confidence.

“The district is very rural, encompasses Appomattox County of the famous Civil War battles … so it’s a very rural district.”

The current state delegate of 26 years, Watkins Abbitt, was originally a Democrat, but he switched to independent about 15 years ago, and now caucuses with Republicans. His father, Watkins Abbitt Sr. is a former member of Congress.

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