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Fight to derail Mark Green intensifies as House Dems urge opposition

31 House Democrats urge Senate to reject nomination over anti-trans views

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LGBT advocates are trying to derail the nomination of Tenn. state Sen. Mark Green as Army secretary. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Mark Green for Tennessee)

The effort to derail the appointment of Mark Green as Army secretary intensified this week as the nominee lashed out over LGBT rights supporters campaign against him and House Democrats urged the Senate to reject his confirmation.

In a letter dated April 24, 31 House Democrats call on the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee to oppose Green on the basis that the anti-LGBT positions he’s taken over his political career have “made it clear that he cannot be trusted to ensure that LGBT soldiers are able to serve their country without discrimination or harassment.”

“LGBT soldiers are willing to make tremendous sacrifices to protect our rights and freedoms,” the letter says. “It would be deeply disrespectful to their service to appoint a secretary of the Army whose history of homophobia and transphobia makes it clear that he is not willing to do the same for them.”

Spearheading the letter was Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), who said in an interview with the Washington Blade he hasn’t yet had conversations with senators about the nomination, but thinks the letter makes the clear the opposition of signers to the nominee.

Kennedy, the chair of the Congressional Transgender Task Force, pointed out as Army secretary Green would be in charge of as many as 11,000 transgender people serve the U.S. military, according to a RAND Corp. estimate.

“Given what he said, what he has made clear his beliefs are, he has no business being overseeing the Army or any other branch of the armed services, or the United States writ large,” Kennedy said.

Nominated by President Trump earlier this month, Green spearheaded legislation as a Tennessee state legislator that would have barred municipalities from enacting pro-LGBT non-discrimination ordinances and another bill seeking to bar transgender students from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity. Green also supported a law signed by Gov. Bill Haslam allowing mental health practitioners to reject LGBT patients for religious reasons.

But it’s Green’s remarks on LGBT people that have particularly raised eyebrows. During a town hall event in Tennessee before the Chattanooga Tea Party last year, Green equated being transgender to having a “disease,” a view major medical organizations have rejected.

The LGBT media watchdog GLAAD also uncovered audio of an interview of Green last year on an online radio show in which he said he wants to “crush evil” by keeping transgender women from the restroom, comparing them to ISIS.

“So that means as a state senator, my responsibility very clearly in Romans 13 is to create an environment where people who do right are rewarded and the people who do wrong are crushed,” Green said. “Evil is crushed. So I’m going to protect women in their bathrooms, and I’m going to protect our state against potential infiltration from the Syrian ISIS people in the refugee program. And whoever wants to stand up and take me on that, I’m ready to fight.”

Defending himself in a Facebook post, Green accused the “liberal left” of splicing his words and “blatantly falsifying what I’ve said,” denying that he ever called transgender people evil. (The quote from the radio interview is accurate.) The Facebook post links to an article on anti-LGBT website, ChristianFighterPilot.com, which asserts “homosexual activists” are target Green because he’s a Christian.

Asked whether he thinks Green’s nomination will ultimately be derailed, Kennedy said he’d urge senators to take a close look at Green and “ask a pretty simple question as to whether they believe somebody who has described a significant portion of the American population as ‘evil’ should be in charge of our Army.”

“This gets back to just a fundamental principle of whether our government is going to recognize, see and celebrate diversity and inclusion and be able to acknowledge and lift up those who are willing to put their life on the line to defend the rest of us,” Kennedy said.

The Blade has sought comment on the letter from House Democrats from the offices of Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), top Democrat on the committee.

Although the Trump administration has made other anti-LGBT appointments, such as Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, Kennedy said the nomination of Mark Green as Army secretary is “beyond the pale” compared to the other actions.

“I think we’ve seen a pattern of actions by this administration that have targeted the LGBT community,” Kennedy said. “All of them, I believe, have been horrible. This one, I think, the idea that somebody who holds these beliefs about the trans community, you elevate that believes such view to the secretary of the Army, I think is just beyond the pale.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. LesbianTippingHabits

    April 29, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Well, the real question re Tennessee State Senator Mark Green (R), President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Army, is, how does he tip?

    Remember, tips are good karma. And karma never lies.

    And only the wait staff knows for sure. Suggest asking them – they’ll tell you.

    Parsimonious tipping habits will sink the nomination. Thank you.

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Politics

Rachel Levine: Efforts to deny health care to trans youth are ‘politics’

Former Pa. health secretary opened Victory Fund conference

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Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine speaks at the Victory Fund's 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in D.C. on Dec. 2, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine on Thursday criticized efforts to prevent transgender youth from accessing health care.

“Unfortunately, some have fought to prevent transgender youth from accessing the health care that they need,” she said in a speech she delivered at the opening of the Victory Fund’s 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference that took place in-person at the JW Marriott in downtown D.C. “This is politics and this politics has no place in health care and public health and they defy the established standards of care written by medical experts.”

Levine was Pennsylvania’s Health Secretary until President Biden nominated her to become assistant secretary of health.

She became the first openly trans person confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March. Levine in October became a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.

The conference will take place in-person and virtually through Sunday.

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VIDEO: Biden addresses advocates on World AIDS Day

President says end to transmission ‘within striking distance’

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President Biden addressed advocates on World AIDS Day.

President Biden, in remarks delivered Wednesday at the White House in recognition of World AIDS Day, said to advocates in the fight against HIV/AIDS the end to HIV transmission was near.

“It’s because of you and it’s not hyperbole to suggest that we are within striking distance of eliminating HIV transmission, within striking distance,” Biden told attendees in the East Room.

Joining Biden in the East Room were Secretary of Health & Human Services Xavier Becerra and Gabriel Maldonado, an HIV/AIDS Advocate and founder of TruEvolution, a Riverside, Calif.-based LGBTQ group.

Biden also during his remarks touted having made the appointment of Harold Phillips to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy — a position that had gone vacant throughout the entirety of the Trump administration.

Notably, Biden talked about the Ending the HIV Epidemic plan, an initiate health officials started in the Trump administration, by saying was to beat HIV domestically by 2030. That was initial target date when the initiative, but Biden had campaigned on defeating by HIV by 2025 to the skepticism off observers.

Watch Biden full remarks below:

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National

Matthew Shepard honored at National Cathedral

Daylong services held to mark his 45th birthday

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Matthew Shepard, gay news, Washington Blade
Matthew Shepard Thanksgiving and Celebration at the National Cathedral in 2018. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The parents of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in a 1998 hate crime that drew international attention to anti-LGBTQ violence, were among those attending a day of religious services commemorating Shepard’s 45th birthday on Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral.

The services, which the Cathedral organized in partnership with the Matthew Shepard Foundation, included tributes to Shepard at the Cathedral’s St. Joseph’s Chapel, where his remains were interred in a ceremony in 2018.  

“Matthew Shepard’s death is an enduring tragedy affecting all people and should serve as an ongoing call to the nation to reject anti-LGBTQ bigotry and instead embrace each of our neighbors for who they are,” the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral, said at the time of Shepard’s interment.

“In the years since Matthew’s death, the Shepard family has shown extraordinary courage and grace in keeping his spirit and memory alive, and the Cathedral is honored and humbled to serve as his final resting place,” Hollerith said.

The first of the Cathedral’s Dec. 1 services for Shepard began at 7 a.m. with prayers, scripture readings, and music led by the Cathedral’s Rev. Canon Rosemarie Logan Duncan. The service was live streamed on YouTube.

An online, all-day service was also held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. that Cathedral officials said was intended to “connect people around the world to honor Shepard and the LGBTQ community and pray for a more just world.”

The Shepard services concluded with a 5:30 p.m. in-person remembrance of Shepard in the Cathedral’s Nave, its main worship space. Among those attending were Shepard’s parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, who have said they created the Matthew Shepard Foundation to continue their son’s support for equality for all.

A statement released by the Cathedral says a bronze plaque honoring Matthew Shepard was installed in St. Joseph’s Chapel to mark his final resting place at the time Shepard was interred there in 2018. 
Following the Cathedral’s Dec. 1 services for Shepard, the Adams Morgan gay bar Pitchers hosted a reception for Dennis and Judy Shepard, according to Pitchers’ owner David Perruzza.

One of the two men charged with Shepard’s murder, Russell Henderson, pleaded guilty to the charge after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty for him. The second of the two men charged, Aaron McKinney, was convicted of the murder following a lengthy jury trial.

Prosecutors said McKinney repeatedly and fatally struck Shepard in the head with the barrel of a handgun after he and Henderson tied Shepard to a wooden fence in a remote field outside Laramie, Wy., on Oct. 6, 1998. Police and prosecutors presented evidence at McKinney’s trial that McKinney and Henderson met Shepard at a bar in Laramie on that day and lured him into their car, where they drove him to the field where authorities said McKinney fatally assaulted him.

Shepard died six days later at a hospital in Ft. Collins, Colo., where he was taken after being found unconscious while still tied to the fence.

In a dramatic courtroom scene following the jury’s guilty verdict for McKinney, Dennis Shepard urged the judge to spare McKinney’s life by not handing down a death sentence. He said that out of compassion and in honor of his son’s life, McKinney should be allowed to live. The judge sentenced McKinney to two consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole, the same sentence given to Henderson.

(VIDEO COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL VIA YOUTUBE)
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