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Trump’s nat’l security pick outed gay brother dying of AIDS

McFarland said the disease caused by father’s alleged abuse

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KT McFarland, gay news, Washington Blade

KT McFarland outed her gay brother before he died of AIDS. (Photo courtesy U.S. Naval Academy)

One of Donald Trump’s latest picks for his administration outed her gay brother to her parents before he died of AIDS in 1995, refusing to see him in his dying days and blaming his condition on paternal abuse her family said never happened.

On Friday, President-elect Trump announced he has selected as his deputy national security adviser Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland, who works as a Fox News commentator and unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in New York to challenge Hillary Clinton for her U.S. Senate seat in 2006.

“I am proud that KT has once again decided to serve our country and join my national security team,” Trump said in a statement. “She has tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing is more important than keeping our people safe.”

A Pentagon official in the Reagan administration, McFarland in 2006 sought to run against Clinton for her Senate seat and was considered a moderate in her bid for the Republican nomination.

A profile piece for New York Times Magazine in 2006, however, reported she “couldn’t abide” her brother being gay. The article unearthed a 1992 letter to her parents in which she reportedly outed her brother, Michael Troia, shortly after she discovered he had AIDS, and blamed her family’s troubles as a result of childhood abuse.

“Have you ever wondered why I have never had anything to do with Mike and have never let my daughters see him although we live only fifteen minutes away from each other?” McFarland reportedly wrote. “He has been a lifelong homosexual, most of his relationships brief, fleeting one-night stands.”

Pressed about her brother by New York Magazine for the 2006 profile piece, all McFarland would reportedly say about him was “Ummmm. He was sick and then he died.” According to the article, McFarland said her memory of her father’s behavior toward her family surfaced as a recovered memory and a therapist put her up to writing the letter.

An obituary in The New York Times listed three “companions” for Michael Troia, who died of AIDS on June 8, 1995, and said after graduating from George Washington University he became a longtime credit analyst at Merrill Lynch, according to a report in The New York Post,

Seeking to tamp down the impact of the New York Magazine article, McFarland in other media reports — which cited advisers publicly fearing she would appear homophobic — emphasized she allegedly grew up in a physically abusive home.

”In seeking to put a painful past behind me, I wrote two candid letters to my parents in 1992 at the advice of a counselor,” McFarland said in a statement at the time. “Now, in the midst of a political campaign, those letters have found their way into the hands of a magazine reporter.”

In a subsequent interview with the New York Times, McFarland reportedly said she grew up in a home where from the age of 2 onward she was beaten and whipped with belts along with her brother. At times, McFarland reportedly said, her father would wave a gun in her face, threatening to kill the family.

After they grew up and left home, McFarland and her brother lived only a few miles apart in New York City from 1985 to 1995, but McFarland admitted she largely cut him out of her life after she learned he had HIV and refused to let her young children see him.

“I was really living a life of going to Central Park with my kids, and he was increasingly living — there was no secret about it — he was openly gay,” McFarland was quoted as saying. “I had no problem with that, I loved him. But I was increasingly concerned because he talked about a very promiscuous lifestyle. And it saddened me a great deal.”

During the interview, McFarland reportedly denied the abuse made him gay, but said it contributed to his reported “promiscuity.”

“I think the abuse absolutely affected his riskier behavior, his more promiscuous — I don’t want to use the word self-destructive — is there another word like that?” McFarland reportedly said. “I don’t think it’s something that made him gay; he was always gay. That stuff leaves emotional scars on everybody, and everybody copes with it in different ways.”

According to the New York Times, McFarland said her brother was often sick during the 1990s and she would visit him at his home or the hospital, but she didn’t have any contact with him during the last two years of his life.

“Do I wish I spent more time with him? Of course I do,” McFarland is quoted as saying. “It’s the great regret that I have of my adult life, that I didn’t spend more time with him, that I was not with him in his final months.”

McFarland’s parents reportedly denied the household was abusive. The New York Magazine profile piece quotes McFarland’s mother, Edith Troia, denying the account and accusing the publication of “casting dark shadows on this whole race.”

A New York Post reporter seeking comment went to the Madison, Wis., home of McFarland’s father, Augie Troia, who denied at the time he had abused his family. After telling the reporter “you know darn well I never did any of that” and offering to take a lie detector test to verify his story, Troia threatened him, saying “you’d better get out of here or they’re going to carry you out of here,” the Post reported.

Also at the time, McFarland’s brother, Tom Troia, of Janesville, Wis., accused McFarland of lying about family abuse in an interview with the New York Post, saying, “If I had one word to describe my sister, it would be ‘evil.’”

Asked by the New York Post why McFarland would make up charges her father abused her family, Tom Troia reportedly said, “Evil needs no reason.” Although Tom Troia acknowledged his siblings growing up were sometimes spanked — sometimes with a belt — for misbehavior, he said the punishment “was on an acceptable level of the time. McFarland never threatened the family with a gun, Tom Troia said, because there was never one in the house.

McFarland in 2006 would end up the losing the race for the Republican nomination to run for U.S. Senate in New York to John Spencer, a former mayor of Yonkers whom the state Republican Party organization endorsed. Before the primary, McFarland dropped out of the race following news that her 16-year-old daughter was charged with petty theft and possession of stolen goods after being caught shoplifting.

The Trump transition team didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether McFarland’s views of gay people have changed or whether the president-elect is OK with the way she treated her brother. McFarland also didn’t respond to a request for comment for this article.

McFarland’s relationship with her family is but one controversial aspect of Trump’s addition to his team. At the time of her Senate bid, the New York Post reported McFarland maintained two voting addresses in the period between 1996 to 2006, which could be a felony. Additionally, McFarland claimed helicopters were flying over her home taking pictures and were sent by Clinton because she was so worried about the challenge to her seat, although McFarland later said she was joking.

As a Defense Department official, McFarland also was accused of exaggerating her contribution to President Reagan’s “Star Wars” speech and her claims of being the highest-ranking woman in Reagan’s Pentagon. The latter was demonstrably not true because there were two other women with ranks higher than hers.

According to Media Matters, McFarland as a Fox News commentator made dubious claims, such as saying the Benghazi CIA compound under attack in 2012 didn’t receive additional security because Chris Stevens couldn’t contact Clinton via a State Department email address. Requests for security do “not rise to the level of the secretary of state” and it’s not unusual for ambassadors to not have the email address of a secretary of state, according to the Council for Foreign Relations.

In a discussion about the Iran nuclear deal, McFarland made a racially tinged comment, suggesting Saudi Arabia is dishonest about supporting the agreement because “they’re Arabs” and “not going to say to your face something that they know is going to upset you.”

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, said his organization opposes the outing of gay people, but vouched for McFarland based on the experience he’s had with her over the years.

“Log Cabin Republicans opposes outing, and always has,” Angelo said. “Beyond that, family matters should be left to families to work out. All I can say is that my interactions with KT over the years — and there have been many, from my time as chairman of Log Cabin Republicans of New York State to CPAC to today — have always shown me KT supports a big-tent approach to politics.”

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66 Comments

66 Comments

  1. tristram

    November 28, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Sounds like a nice family.

  2. Shinji's Soul Reaver

    November 28, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Trash human being. tRump keeps picking one piece of crap after the other.

    • lnm3921

      November 28, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Is that a surprise?? It only get worse from here.

  3. T Jensen

    November 28, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Another of Fuhrer Drumpf’s “all the best people”.

  4. scottrose

    November 28, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Who are these vile Log Cabin Auntie Toms defending an indefensible person like this?

    And never mind that during the campaign, Trump vowed to overturn the “shocking” Obergefell decision.

    • turbo27

      November 29, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Trump said it’s “settled law.” just 2 weeks ago. Not an issue to him.
      Relax.

      • Paul Simon Hay

        November 29, 2016 at 10:01 pm

        While he may not care, Pence and Ryan and McConnell and Chief of Staff Priebus understand that they will lose the evangelicals if they dont follow through on the Party platform. Here’s a quote from an assessment of Judge William Pryor, a leading candidate for Scalia’s seat: “[Pryor] believes that it is constitutional to imprison gay men and lesbians for expressing their sexuality in the privacy of their own homes and has voluntarily filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court urging the Court to uphold a Texas law that criminalizes such private consensual activity.” If you believe Trump on this issue you are naive. This is no time to relax.

        • turbo27

          November 29, 2016 at 11:41 pm

          Relax.
          People didn’t vote for Trump based on the platform specifics. they voted for him and his promise to shake things up in Washingston (whether true or not.) They also voted against at least for more years of the current direction, and of course some voted for him because he was perceived as the lesser of two evils.
          Pryor is one of at least fifteen people who have been mentioned for the seat.
          I’m tired of hearing “the sky is falling!” before the newly elected President is even in office.

          • kate sarginson

            November 30, 2016 at 5:02 pm

            Then you are in for a real shock when he really gets going.

          • turbo27

            November 30, 2016 at 5:26 pm

            I’m one of those lesser of two evils people. Whatever he does it can’t be worse than what Clinton would have done, my opinion ony, of course.
            But I’m willing to give him a chance. He won.

          • Paul Simon Hay

            December 2, 2016 at 6:40 pm

            You aren’t paying attention then. The cabinet picks alone are sufficient to indicate his course. And any of the 15 will be anti Obergfell and Roe and pro discrimination on the basis of religious belief. He said it and Pence and the Fundies will hold him to it. You may be tired but not half as tired as most of the country will be after this guy who was elected by 25.5% of registered voters is done. “Relax”, my butt.

          • turbo27

            December 3, 2016 at 8:04 pm

            I agree with his picks, satisfied he is chosing people who are qualified, to this point. 25’5 % means nothing, it’s not how we elect a president.

          • Floyd Wilson

            December 8, 2016 at 8:46 am

            He hasn’t selected a single qualified person yet.

          • turbo27

            December 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm

            OK FLoyd, then you are going to have a long 4-8 years.

          • Floyd Wilson

            December 15, 2016 at 9:44 am

            He will be impeached or resign in less than two, besides I live in a civilized country not the 3rd world cesspool of the united states.

          • Im Just Sayin

            December 3, 2016 at 4:11 pm

            Relax? I think we all know what aspects of Trump’s platform attracted the vast majority of people who voted for him.

          • turbo27

            December 3, 2016 at 7:56 pm

            No I don’t think so, as it was pretty much a moving target on anything of substance. Still moivng to some extent now.
            Build a wall, tighten immigration, ok you may disagree.
            But racist, misogynist, terms for him are nonsense.

          • Floyd Wilson

            December 15, 2016 at 9:44 am

            Funny how the two things you mention he has already aid he wouldn’t do.

          • turbo27

            December 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm

            What he says and what he actually does are two different things (you never know.). We’ll have to wait to see once he’s in office.

      • kate sarginson

        November 30, 2016 at 5:02 pm

        Sorry Dumpf flip flops so often and often in the same sentence I wouldn’t believe anything he ever said. First he would never prosecute Clinton then all of a sudden he is threatening her with prosecution if she goes ahead with the recount. The man is insane.

        • turbo27

          November 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm

          That’s why we need to see what he does, not what he says. He’s a typical New York businessman. I worked with them for many years.

          • kate sarginson

            November 30, 2016 at 5:34 pm

            Sorry. If that is an example of NY businessman I want nothing to do with them. I believe in honesty, straight forward dealings with customers and
            decency. I don’t want a POTUS who plays games for the fun of it and Tweets people in the middle of the night spewing hate.

          • turbo27

            December 1, 2016 at 12:21 am

            He doesn’t spew hate, aren’t you tired of repeating that line yet. I do agree he needs to lose twitter.

          • Im Just Sayin

            December 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm

            Then you know Turbo, that like a typical CEO he will never let not knowing what he doesn’t know stop him from plowing forward. Of course failures will always be the fault of staff who let him down, never his leadership, which I am sure he will describe as great.

          • turbo27

            December 3, 2016 at 7:52 pm

            Oh, I agree that his picture should be in the dictionary next to narcissist. I won’t disagree with that. All politicians are, but yeah, I think he’d be at the top.
            I still would rather see what he does, what he’s able to accomplish instead of looking at his presidency as years of dread.

      • Floyd Wilson

        December 1, 2016 at 2:58 pm

        He said he would release his tax returns, arrest Hillary and repeal Obamacare, before he said he wouldn’t do any of those things. Wake up idiot you got played.

        • turbo27

          December 1, 2016 at 6:18 pm

          I’m an idiot because I’m not trying to guess what he will try to do. Why don’t we wait to see what actions he takes.
          I don’t care about his tax returns– he lied, but it’s none of my business, he’s been audited enough to know he didn’t do anything illegal there. Beyond that, I don’t care. Hillary- not interested, she lost, let her fade into the past, regardless of the server issues. Obamacare we don’t know what will occre, though pre-existing conditions need to be protected. Other provisions can change, but overall something needs to be done to reign in healthcare expenses. Not an easy answer from anyone on either side.
          I see you are someone who believes if Trump does it , it must be wrong. I don’t. I never voted for Obama, but I’m not bad mouthing him and all of his poliices every chance I get.
          It would be nice to try to be fair, but you are free to do what you want.
          Re gay marriage, even if he cared, it should be way down the list in terms of importance. It’s just government micro managing our lives.
          Hey, thanks for being rude.

          • Im Just Sayin

            December 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm

            What was it he just said in Ohio? Oh yes, I believe it was: “I am just really the messenger, although I have been a pretty good messenger.” Sounds like we should be paying a lot of attention to his messaging then, doesn’t it. Actions for a man like Trump are distractions delegated to lesser beings.

      • Im Just Sayin

        December 3, 2016 at 4:03 pm

        It is as settled as “Roe v. Wade is settled meaning, it is until it doesn’t suit Trump’s purpose. All it takes is one new case and a new mix of justices who want to roll back the clock in order to “Make America Great Again.” One need only look to Trump’s choice of AG to understand the agenda that will come out of the justice department when it comes to defending things like a woman’s right to choose or marriage equality.

        • turbo27

          December 3, 2016 at 7:57 pm

          We don’t agree. Like the rest of the US. That’s ok.

  5. Bob

    November 28, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Tom Troia lives or lived in Janesville, Wisconsin? That would be Paul Ryan’s hometown. Wonder if they are acquainted.

  6. Isleguy

    November 28, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Let thee who has not sinned cast the first stone. I am surprised she’s not roadkill by now! (And I am Atheist https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1cc1cb1ae8d8644ccfc70e3a4b00051303096b46f10fc6325b9f8a2633edbb17.jpg !)

    • Thisoldspouse

      November 29, 2016 at 11:06 am

      Leftists tend to be the biggest judgers, hypocrite.

      • thecyberczarina

        November 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm

        Wait… McFarland espouses bigotry (and ignorance) and LIES but if people call her out on it, that makes them judgemental hypocrites?! What a false equivalent. Talk about making excuses to avoid “personal responsibility”! .. People like her and other haters need to OWN their prejudices and quit claiming their deity demands them to be bigots, racists, misogynist, etc.

      • George Kelley

        November 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm

        Judging someone’s actions to decide if they should have a job or not is normal. She is a liar and hateful person.

        • Count Dracula

          November 30, 2016 at 7:38 am

          Bwa ha ha. Her “hate” is nothing compared to the filth in these comments.

        • Ichabod

          December 28, 2016 at 11:28 am

          Do you have VERIFIABLE PROOF of the veracity of this story? No? Didn’t think so, so this story is a false “Hit piece”.

      • Isleguy

        November 30, 2016 at 4:58 pm

        And people who ASSume know nothing!

      • kate sarginson

        November 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm

        No we leave the bigotry, xenophobia, hypocritic hate speech to the right wingers like you.

  7. LesbianTippingHabits

    November 29, 2016 at 12:21 am

    KT McFarland is also a parsimonious tipper.

  8. Dr.Excellent,AstonishinglyMD.

    November 29, 2016 at 12:47 am

    is there any group that wins less than Log Cabin Republicans?…like liberal Oklahomans

    • Jack M.

      November 29, 2016 at 12:53 am

      You’re such an ignoramus. Because of their work, every single GOP senator in Rhode Island voted for marriage equality and won the day. Republicans in Maryland voted for marriage equality and pushed us over the top. 8 GOP US Senators voted to repeal DADT. There are victories. Yes, Log Cabin operates in a harsh, hostile environment, and they often are defeated. But their willingness to do the work in such an unforgiving environment should earn them praise, not contempt.

      • Ninja0980

        November 29, 2016 at 1:15 am

        A couple of victories in really blue states doesn’t change the fact they aren’t doing a damn thing for LGBT rights for the most part other then making excuses for the bigots in their parties.

      • Culture Club Warrior

        November 29, 2016 at 2:32 am

        Would you disagree with the suggestion that the LCRs’ main function is to provide cover to the Republican Party when it needs to look inclusive, and that they let the progressive LGBT orgs do the heavy lifting? That seems to be the source of the contempt.

  9. Jack M.

    November 29, 2016 at 12:49 am

    If she kept her kids away from her brother not because her brother was gay, but because he was promiscuous and talked about his casual s*x, then I have no problem with her shielding her kids. I wouldn’t want kids in my care to be exposed to that. Sexual orientation is one thing, promiscuity is something entirely different. That having been said, I doubt that she was telling the truth about her motivations.

    • Culture Club Warrior

      November 29, 2016 at 2:05 am

      Not sure what, exactly, she is trying to say here. Was she concerned about her brother giving her children the lowdown on all of the action that he was getting? Seems unlikely.

    • Drt

      November 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Yeah because the last thoughts a dying person has is telling children about sexual exploits…..Jesus F Christ whats wrong with people

      • Dee

        November 29, 2016 at 5:34 pm

        I know ur serious but this made me lol. You’re right.

  10. La Cieca

    November 29, 2016 at 5:25 am

  11. Dan Pennywell

    November 29, 2016 at 10:25 am

    This article made me physically ill to read.

  12. S. Valenti

    November 29, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Hope someone asks Dr. Tom Price about his history with prostitutes and alcohol.

  13. George Kelley

    November 29, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    she like Trump is a pathelogical liar.

  14. Tracy

    November 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Kakistocracy

    • Tracy

      November 29, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      My mistake, she was referring to the Saudis.

  15. Bruce Majors

    November 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Rofl. The Blade and the gay press continue the anencephaly that lost you the election. A woman says she loves her brother and didn’t care that he was gay, but didn’t want her children to be around him because he was promiscuous, and didn’t want him to be promiscuous as he ended up with AIDS. Another sibling has some fight with her and calls her names. She criticized Hillary for letting American embassy employees get killed on the job – Clinton’s fecklessness with workers’ occupational health and safety. And this means to you she is anti-gay.

    You are again raving lunatics and your headlines are usually crap and your paper too often approaches Pravda lows of propaganda.

    • Count Dracula

      November 30, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Lol. I came here by accident a few months ago. And lo and behold, I discovered they use disqus. There’s a handful of people that seem reasonable and sincere, but for the most part it’s just a bunch of lunatics.

  16. Parker Lewis

    November 29, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    the buffoon president and his followers. I wish I had enough money to leave this country for 3 1/2 years.

  17. Phyllis Weiss

    November 29, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    the lowest forms of life are involved with Drumpt..Get rid of them all..period..

  18. thatgirlinnewyork

    November 29, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Why do you keep posting this?

    • Count Dracula

      November 30, 2016 at 7:43 am

      The fact that it’s a very good post may be one reason.

      Last sentence not withstanding

  19. Rita Jane Clark-Smith

    January 17, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    “She has tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement
    the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing
    is more important than keeping our people safe.” She might keep Americans safe, except for gay people. Another dumb choice by Trumpf.

  20. meir

    February 16, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    At least she is not killing gays in mass shooting like card carrying Democrat pig did in Oranldo last year.

  21. Bow to Trump!

    February 16, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Liberals love the teachings of the Bible when it comes to the poor, but despise it when it comes to its teachings on homosexuality.

  22. Rick Stokes

    February 16, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    What a c*nt.

  23. enolayol

    February 17, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    How sad, any port in the storm proves true.

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Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise

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Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition.

Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.

In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.

If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass. Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.

“I haven’t really heard an update either way, which is usually not good,” one Democratic insider said. “My understanding is that our side was entrenched in a no-compromise mindset and with [Sen. Joe] Manchin saying he didn’t like the bill, it doomed it this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed.”

The only thing keeping the final nail from being hammered into the Equality Act’s coffin is the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Equality Act is “alive and well,” citing widespread public support he said includes “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents and a growing number of communities across the country engaging and mobilizing every day in support of the legislation.”

“They understand the urgent need to pass this bill and stand up for LGBTQ people across our country,” David added. “As we engage with elected officials, we have confidence that Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents and continue fighting for the Equality Act through the lengthy legislative process.  We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all. We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, also signaled through a spokesperson work continues on the legislation, refusing to give up on expectations the legislation would soon become law.

“Sen. Merkley and his staff are in active discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get this done,” McLennan said. “We definitely see it as a key priority that we expect to become law.”

A spokesperson Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the Equality Act in the Senate on the day the U.S. House approved it earlier this year, pointed to a March 25 “Dear Colleague” letter in which he identified the Equality Act as one of several bills he’d bring up for a vote.

Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U.S. House approved the legislation earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t even reported out the bill yet to the floor in the aftermath of the first-ever Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic aide, however, disputed that inaction as evidence the Equality Act is dead in its tracks: “Bipartisan efforts on a path forward are ongoing.”

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for inaction on the Equality Act, but with Manchin withholding his support for the legislation they can’t even count on the entirety of their caucus to vote “yes” if it came to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 party split.

The office of Manchin, who has previously said he couldn’t support the Equality Act over concerns about public schools having to implement the transgender protections applying to sports and bathrooms, hasn’t responded to multiple requests this year from the Blade on the legislation and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having signed onto the legislation in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead.

“There continues to be bipartisan support for passing a law that protects the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokesperson. “The Equality Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form, it cannot pass. That’s why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a path forward.”

Let’s face it: Anti-LGBTQ forces have railroaded the debate by making the Equality Act about an end to women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and danger to women in sex-segregated places like bathrooms and prisons. That doesn’t even get into resolving the issue on drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be litigated in the courts as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections.

For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt.

Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, disputed any notion the Equality Act is dead and insisted the legislation is “very much alive.”

“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” Keisling said. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working fruitfully on the Equality Act with senators. In fact, we are gaining momentum with all the field organizing we’re doing, like phone banking constituents to call their senators. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.”

But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outnumbered calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.

No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.

“I know for a fact there is a supermajority level of support in the Senate for a version of the Equality Act that is fully protective of both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” Deaton said. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in getting something done this Congress.”

Deaton, however, didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on what evidence exists of agreeing on this compromise.

Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the 2020 election to sign the Equality Act into law within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call to pass the legislation in his speech to Congress last month, as things stand now that appears to be a goal he won’t realize for the remainder of this Congress.

Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority. One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself.

To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, signing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County to the fullest extent possible and dismantling former President Trump’s transgender military ban. Biden also made historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health.

A White House spokesperson insisted Biden’s team across the board remains committed to the Equality Act, pointing to his remarks to Congress.

“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Act to his desk so he can sign it into law and provide long overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans, and he remains committed to seeing this legislation passed as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “The White House and its entire legislative team remains in ongoing and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to push the Equality Act forward.”

But at least in the near-term, that progress will fall short of fulfilling the promise of updating federal civil rights law with the Equality Act, which will mean LGBTQ people won’t be able to rely on those protections when faced with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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D.C. bill to ban LGBTQ panic defense delayed by Capitol security

Delivery of bill to Congress was held up due to protocols related to Jan. 6 riots

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New fencing around the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented some D.C. bills from being delivered to the Hill for a required congressional review. (Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A bill approved unanimously last December by the D.C. Council to ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense has been delayed from taking effect as a city law because the fence installed around the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented the law from being delivered to Congress.

According to Eric Salmi, communications director for D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who guided the bill through the Council’s legislative process, all bills approved by the Council and signed by the D.C. mayor must be hand-delivered to Congress for a required congressional review.

“What happened was when the Capitol fence went up after the January insurrection, it created an issue where we physically could not deliver laws to Congress per the congressional review period,” Salmi told the Washington Blade.

Among the bills that could not immediately be delivered to Congress was the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020, which was approved by the Council on a second and final vote on Dec. 15.

Between the time the bill was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and published in the D.C. Register under procedural requirements for all bills, it was not ready to be transmitted to Congress until Feb. 16, the Council’s legislative record for the bill shows.

Salmi said the impasse in delivering the bill to Congress due to the security fence prevented the bill from reaching Congress on that date and prevented the mandatory 60-day congressional review period for this bill from beginning at that time. He noted that most bills require a 30 legislative day review by Congress.

But the Evangelista-Hunter bill, named after a transgender woman and a gay man who died in violent attacks by perpetrators who attempted to use the trans and gay panic defense, includes a law enforcement related provision that under the city’s Home Rule Charter passed by Congress in the early 1970s requires a 60-day congressional review.

“There is a chance it goes into effect any day now, just given the timeline is close to being up,” Salmi said on Tuesday. “I don’t know the exact date it was delivered, but I do know the countdown is on,” said Salmi, who added, “I would expect any day now it should go into effect and there’s nothing stopping it other than an insurrection in January.”

If the delivery to Congress had not been delayed, the D.C. Council’s legislative office estimated the congressional review would have been completed by May 12.

A congressional source who spoke on condition of being identified only as a senior Democratic aide, said the holdup of D.C. bills because of the Capitol fence has been corrected.

“The House found an immediate workaround, when this issue first arose after the Jan. 6 insurrection,” the aide said.

“This is yet another reason why D.C. Council bills should not be subject to a congressional review period and why we need to grant D.C. statehood,” the aide said.

The aide added that while no disapproval resolution had been introduced in Congress to overturn the D.C. Evangelista-Hunter bill, House Democrats would have defeated such a resolution.

“House Democrats support D.C. home rule, statehood, and LGBTQ rights,” said the aide.

LGBTQ rights advocates have argued that a ban on using a gay or transgender panic defense in criminal trials is needed to prevent defense attorneys from inappropriately asking juries to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is to blame for a defendant’s criminal act, including murder.

Some attorneys have argued that their clients “panicked” after discovering the person against whom they committed a violent crime was gay or transgender, prompting them to act in a way they believed to be a form of self-defense.

In addition to its provision banning the LGBTQ panic defense, the Evangelista-Hunter bill includes a separate provision that strengthens the city’s existing hate crimes law by clarifying that hatred need not be the sole motivating factor for an underlying crime such as assault, murder, or threats to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

LGBTQ supportive prosecutors have said the clarification was needed because it is often difficult to prove to a jury that hatred is the only motive behind a violent crime. The prosecutors noted that juries have found defendants not guilty of committing a hate crime on grounds that they believed other motives were involved in a particular crime after defense lawyers argued that the law required “hate” to be the only motive in order to find someone guilty of a hate crime.

Salmi noted that while the hate crime clarification and panic defense prohibition provisions of the Evangelista-Hunter bill will become law as soon as the congressional review is completed, yet another provision in the bill will not become law after the congressional review because there are insufficient funds in the D.C. budget to cover the costs of implementing the provision.

The provision gives the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D.C. Attorney General authority to investigate hate related discrimination at places of public accommodation. Salmi said the provision expands protections against discrimination to include web-based retailers or online delivery services that are not physically located in D.C.

“That is subject to appropriations,” Salmi said. “And until it is funded in the upcoming budget it cannot be legally enforced.”

He said that at Council member Allen’s request, the Council added language to the bill that ensures that all other provisions of the legislation that do not require additional funding – including the ban on use of the LGBTQ panic defense and the provision clarifying that hatred doesn’t have to be the sole motive for a hate crime – will take effect as soon as the congressional approval process is completed.

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D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011

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shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

A D.C. man arrested in August 2020 for allegedly threatening to kill a gay man outside the victim’s apartment in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood and who was released while awaiting trial was arrested again two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill another man in an unrelated incident.

D.C. Superior Court records show that Jalal Malki, who was 37 at the time of his 2020 arrest on a charge of bias-related attempts to do bodily harm against the gay man, was charged on May 4, 2021 with unlawful entry, simple assault, threats to kidnap and injure a person, and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon against the owner of a vacant house at 4412 Georgia Ave., N.W.

Court charging documents state that Malki was allegedly staying at the house without permission as a squatter. An arrest affidavit filed in court by D.C. police says Malki allegedly threatened to kill the man who owns the house shortly after the man arrived at the house while Malki was inside.

According to the affidavit, Malki walked up to the owner of the house while the owner was sitting in his car after having called police and told him, “If you come back here, I’m going to kill you.” While making that threat Malki displayed what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, but which was later found to be a toy gun, the affidavit says.

Malki then walked back inside the house minutes before police arrived and arrested him. Court records show that similar to the court proceedings following his 2020 arrest for threatening the gay man, a judge in the latest case ordered Malki released while awaiting trial. In both cases, the judge ordered him to stay away from the two men he allegedly threatened to kill.

An arrest affidavit filed by D.C. police in the 2020 case states that Malki allegedly made the threats inside an apartment building where the victim lived on the 2300 block of Champlain Street, N.W. It says Malki was living in a nearby building but often visited the building where the victim lived.

“Victim 1 continued to state during an interview that it was not the first time that Defendant 1 had made threats to him, but this time Defendant 1 stated that if he caught him outside, he would ‘fucking kill him.’” the affidavit says. It quotes the victim as saying during this time Malki repeatedly called the victim a “fucking faggot.”

The affidavit, prepared by the arresting officers, says that after the officers arrested Malki and were leading him to a police transport vehicle to be booked for the arrest, he expressed an “excited utterance” that he was “in disbelief that officers sided with the ‘fucking faggot.’”

Court records show that Malki is scheduled to appear in court on June 4 for a status hearing for both the 2020 arrest and the arrest two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill the owner of the house in which police say he was illegally squatting.

Superior Court records show that Malki had been arrested three times between 2011 and 2015 in cases unrelated to the 2021 and 2020 cases for allegedly also making threats of violence against people. Two of the cases appear to be LGBTQ related, but prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not list the cases as hate crimes.

In the first of the three cases, filed in July 2011, Malki allegedly shoved a man inside Dupont Circle and threatened to kill him after asking the man why he was wearing a purple shirt.

“Victim 1 believes the assault occurred because Suspect 1 believes Victim 1 is a homosexual,” the police arrest affidavit says.

Court records show prosecutors charged Malki with simple assault and threats to do bodily harm in the case. But the court records show that on Sept. 13, 2011, D.C. Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Eilperin found Malki not guilty on both charges following a non-jury trial.

The online court records do not state why the judge rendered a not guilty verdict. With the courthouse currently closed to the public and the press due to COVID-related restrictions, the Washington Blade couldn’t immediately obtain the records to determine the judge’s reason for the verdict.

In the second case, court records show Malki was arrested by D.C. police outside the Townhouse Tavern bar and restaurant at 1637 R St., N.W. on Nov. 7, 2012 for allegedly threatening one or more people with a knife after employees ordered Malki to leave the establishment for “disorderly behavior.”

At the time, the Townhouse Tavern was located next door to the gay nightclub Cobalt, which before going out of business two years ago, was located at the corner of 17th and R Streets, N.W.

The police arrest affidavit in the case says Malki allegedly pointed a knife in a threatening way at two of the tavern’s employees who blocked his path when he attempted to re-enter the tavern. The affidavit says he was initially charged by D.C. police with assault with a dangerous weapon – knife. Court records, however, show that prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office lowered the charges to two counts of simple assault. The records show that on Jan. 15, 2013, Malki pleaded guilty to the two charges as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

The records show that Judge Marissa Demeo on that same day issued a sentence of 30 days for each of the two charges but suspended all 30 days for both counts. She then sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for both charges and ordered that he undergo alcohol and drug testing and undergo treatment if appropriate.

In the third case prior to the 2020 and 2021 cases, court records show Malki was arrested outside the Cobalt gay nightclub on March 14, 2015 on multiple counts of simple assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon – knife, possession of a prohibited weapon – knife, and unlawful entry.

The arrest affidavit says an altercation started on the sidewalk outside the bar when for unknown reasons, Malki grabbed a female customer who was outside smoking and attempted to pull her toward him. When her female friend came to her aid, Malki allegedly got “aggressive” by threatening the woman and “removed what appeared to be a knife from an unknown location” and pointed it at the woman’s friend in a threatening way, the affidavit says.

It says a Cobalt employee minutes later ordered Malki to leave the area and he appeared to do so. But others noticed that he walked toward another entrance door to Cobalt and attempted to enter the establishment knowing he had been ordered not to return because of previous problems with his behavior, the affidavit says. When he attempted to push away another employee to force his way into Cobalt, Malki fell to the ground during a scuffle and other employees held him on the ground while someone else called D.C. police.

Court records show that similar to all of Malki’s arrests, a judge released him while awaiting trial and ordered him to stay away from Cobalt and all of those he was charged with threatening and assaulting.

The records show that on Sept. 18, 2015, Malki agreed to a plea bargain offer by prosecutors in which all except two of the charges – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon and simple assault – were dropped. Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. on Oct. 2, 2015 sentenced Malki to 60 days of incarnation for each of the two charges but suspended all but five days, which he allowed Malki to serve on weekends, the court records show.

The judge ordered that the two five-day jail terms could be served concurrently, meaning just five days total would be served, according to court records. The records also show that Judge Irving sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for each of the two counts and ordered that he enter an alcohol treatment program and stay away from Cobalt.

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