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New Trump communications chief Scaramucci backs LGBT rights

‘I’ve given to Human Rights Campaign, I’m for marriage equality’

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Anthony Scaramucci is the new White House communications director.
(Photo by Jdarsie11; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Marking an unusual shift for the Trump administration, the new White House communications chief has declared support for LGBT rights and professed to have donated to LGBT groups.

Anthony Scaramucci, a prominent New York financier, was named White House communications director on Friday, pledging during a news conference to work to reshape Trump’s image amid widespread disapproval of his administration.

“I think there’s been at times a disconnect between the way we see the president and how much we love the president, and the way some of you perhaps see the president,” Scaramucci said. ” … To use a Wall Street expression, there might be an albatross spread between how well we are doing and how well some of you guys think we are doing, and we’re going to work hard to close that spread.”

A Trump fundraiser, Scaramucci is a founder and co-managing partner of Skybridge Capital hedge fund and a former employee at Goldman Sachs. No stranger to defending Trump on cable news, Scaramucci was the host of “Wall Street Week” on the Fox Business Network and a regular contributor to Fox News.

It was not long ago that Scaramucci professed his support for LGBT rights and defended Trump as an LGBT rights supporter.

In November, Scaramucci criticized the progressive movement for instituting political correctness, which he said “the average person” rejects, but nonetheless insisted he’s a supporter of LGBT rights and has donated to the Human Rights Campaign and the American Unity PAC, a pro-LGBT Republican group.

“I’m also a gay rights activist,” Scaramucci said. “You can look it up. I’ve given to American Unity PAC, I’ve given to the Human Rights Campaign, I’m for marriage equality. And by the way, this’ll be the first American president in U.S. history that enters the White House with a pro-gay rights stance.”

Scaramucci erroneously said during the interview gay singer Elton John would perform at Trump’s inauguration. John denied that was the case. Scaramucci later admitted his error on Twitter, but also reiterated his support for LGBT rights.

The Blade has confirmed Scaramucci donated to the American Unity Fund, a non-profit pro-LGBT Republican organization. Scaramucci seems to have misspoken by saying he contributed to the American Unity PAC, a political action committee.

It’s hard to say what Scaramucci meant by Trump having a “pro-gay rights stance,” let alone being the first president to have that position following the milestone LGBT achievements of the Obama administration.

Since Trump has taken office, he’s rescinded guidance assuring transgender kids have access to school restrooms consistent with their gender identity, failed to issue a Pride proclamation for the month of June and made numerous anti-LGBT appointments. Nonetheless, the White House has said Trump is “respectful and supportive of LGBT rights” and would keep President Obama’s 2014 executive order against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination.

The announcement Scaramucci would become White House communications director preceded news White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned over objections to the appointment. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, formerly deputy White House press secretary, has been promoted to Spicer’s old role after his resignation.

Also reportedly objecting to Spicer was White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House strategist Steve Bannon. It’s unclear whether Scaramucci’s positions on LGBT rights were among the views to which Spicer and other administration officials objected.

Scaramucci’s support for LGBT rights isn’t limited to those remarks. As an organizer of SALT, an annual political and business conference in Las Vegas for hedge fund managers, Scaramucci had invited as a speaker TV personality and transgender Republican advocate Caitlyn Jenner. A report last year in the Huffington Post on business support for LGBT rights quotes him as saying, “We don’t want to be on the wrong side of history.”

On Twitter, Scaramucci has also criticized North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2, calling the measure prohibiting transgender people from using the restroom in schools and government buildings “shameful.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement to the Washington Blade he sees an opportunity for the Trump administration to reverse course in the aftermath of Scaramucci’s appointment.

“Anthony has been strong supporter of LGBTQ rights in the past, and we hope he is able to influence the Trump administration to abandon their attacks on all those who make up our diverse community,” Griffin said.

The Human Rights Campaign didn’t respond to an email inquiry to confirm whether Scaramucci was in fact a donor to the organization.

For a supporter of LGBT rights, Scaramucci has made unusual choices in his selection of presidential candidates to back. In 2012, Scaramucci supportedRepublican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. In the 2016 election, Scaramucci initially backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, then former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush before moving to Trump.

In a New York Times report last year on the SALT conference, Scaramucci was quoted as deriding Hillary Clinton moving to the left in the Democratic primary, reportedly saying, “You can search and see the weather vane on top of her head.”

At the time he was supporting Romney, a 2012 profile in The Daily Beast quoted him as describing himself as “socially progressive, pro-choice, and against the death penalty.”

Notably, Scaramucci wasn’t among the more than 300 Republicans in 2015 who jointly signed the Republican friend-of-the-court before the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage.

Scaramucci was initially named head of the White House Office of Public Engagement at the start of the Trump administration. However, that appointment was rescinded months before Trump ultimately named him communications director.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. TimCA

    July 22, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Talk is cheap. Who cares what Trump or Scaramucci say? The reality is this administration is in the process of stacking the federal judiciary with some of the most rabid anti-LGBT bigots imaginable. At the end of the day it won’t be Trump and Scaramucci who will be stripping us of our civil rights, it’ll be Trump’s judicial appointments.

    #resist

    • Katrina Rose

      July 22, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Translated: He’s the very model of a modern major Republican. His morality is a windsock.

      Ask him about Zyklon B sometime.

      • patricia dawson

        July 22, 2017 at 11:39 pm

        Katrina Rose i don’t like surprises thanks for the heads up

  2. patricia dawson

    July 22, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Only time will tell i think if you are going to call yourself a republican you would follow republican views and values if a person doesn’t why are they calling themselves republican it seems like people just do whatever they want and still call themselves republicans i guess nothing is sacred anymore even the RNC is quiet and let’s this fall by the wayside such persons are really coming to the forefront and their colors are being seen like ocare they do NOT have any intention of passing it or anything else President Trump made campaigns promises on but yet and still they call themselves republican just saying

    • lnm3921

      July 24, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Republican “values”? What is that? All Your Republicans care about is power at any costs. Doesn’t matter who gets crushed in the process including GLBT Americans, the poor or Middle Class! Trump is a chronic flip flopper, his promises mean nothing! Machiavelli incarnate!

      Trump’s recent call to rescind Obamacare without a replacement just shows how callous he is and only concerned with checking off boxes he can point to for support from his base! We know that he simply wants the money saved by depriving people of healthcare coverage goes to pay for his corporate welfare and tax cuts for the rich! Greed and selfishness, are those your Republican values?

  3. lnm3921

    July 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Scaramucci has not integrity. He called Trump a Political Hack prior to his election as Fake POTUS and now grovels to him with apologizes for a job as his mouthpiece and front man. He has no integrity and can’t be trusted! He is simply yet another following the doctrine of Machiavelli for political and personal gain!

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Politics

Pete Buttigieg calls out Tucker Carlson over attack

Fox News host mocked transportation secretary over paternity leave

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Washington Blade file photo)

Appearing remotely on MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace’s politics program Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the attack on his parental leave.

“This attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk, ” Buttigieg said.

During his Thursday evening program Carlson said, “Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child—paternity leave, they call it—trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went. But now he’s back in office as the transportation secretary and he’s deeply amused, he says, to see that dozens of container ships can’t get into this country.”

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En Espanol

‘Mercenarismo’: El delito que la Seguridad del Estado de Cuba usa para presionar al activista LGBTQ Raúl Soublett

Se realizó la interrogación el 9 de octubre

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Raúl Soublett López ((Foto cortesía de Twitter de María Matienzo)

Tremenda Nota es el socio mediático del Washington Blade en Cuba. Esta nota salió en su sitio web el 9 de octubre.

LA HABANA — El activista LGBTIQ+ Raúl Soublett López fue amenazado este sábado durante una entrevista con la Seguridad del Estado con un proceso penal por “mercenarismo”.

“Cualquier tipo de lucha en #Cuba puede ser criminalizada. A Raúl Soublett López ahora lo quieren procesar por mercenarismo y la notificación se la hace un tipo que tiene tanto miedo que no da ni su nombre real”, denunció la periodista María Matienzo en sus cuentas de Facebook y Twitter.

Según Matienzo, el argumento de la Seguridad del Estado para probar el «mercenarismo» de Raúl Soublett es una serie de videos contra el racismo y la homofobia que produjo el activista.

Al menos uno de esos videos fue publicado por Tremenda Nota.

Camino al Código de las Familias, uno de los videos de Raúl Soublett señalados por la Seguridad del Estado como “mercenarismo”

La Alianza Afro-Cubana, una organización independiente que coordina el propio Soublett, informó este viernes que el activista había sido citado en la mañana del sábado para una entrevista con “agentes de la Seguridad del Estado” en una unidad de policía ubicada en Playa, La Habana.

En coincidencia con la citación, este sábado Raúl Soublett debió asistir a la universidad, donde cursa el último año de una licenciatura en Pedagogía.

María Matienzo advirtió en Facebook que “las citaciones con menos de 72 horas de antelación son ilegales también”.

El mismo día que citaron a Soublett, el presidente Miguel Díaz-Canel se reunió con activistas LGBTIQ+ y funcionarios del Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (Cenesex). Malú Cano, la coordinadora de la red TransCuba, que fue una de las invitadas, calificó el encuentro como una evidencia de la “voluntad política de avanzar en el reconocimiento de los derechos de las personas LGBTIQ+”.

Matienzo, que también es lesbiana, observó la coincidencia entre ambos incidentes.

“Ante una comunidad #LGTBIQ que se reúne con el poder en #Cuba, quieren procesar al activista @RaulSoublett”, observó en Twitter.

El propio Soublett posteó en Facebook: “Mientras hay activistas LGBTIQ+ que no se les escuchan, que los acosan, los citan para interrogatorios ilegales, en fin. Esa es la Cuba de ponle corazón. Hipócritas”.

El pasado 25 de febrero, Raúl se reunió con la Seguridad del Estado y acabó autoagrediéndose como resultado de la presión.

“Fue interrogado por más de cuatro horas, según me describe las cuatro horas más horribles de su vida, en la cual usaron los más bajos recursos de intimidación, chantaje, coacción y sobre todo mucha violencia tanto psicológica como verbal”, relató en esa ocasión el periodista Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho.

Según el Código Penal vigente en Cuba, el delito de “mercenarismo” consiste en incorporare “a formaciones militares integradas total o parcialmente por individuos que no son ciudadanos del Estado en cuyo territorio se proponen actuar” a cambio de “un sueldo u otro tipo de retribución material”. 

Las sanciones previstas para estos casos son hasta 20 años de cárcel o muerte. 

Un experto en Derecho consultado por Tremenda Nota, que pidió reservar su identidad, considera que “esta amenaza no pasa de ser un recurso de tortura psicológica”.  “Ese delito es improcedente en este caso y eso sería obvio para cualquiera”, añadió. 

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Texas

Texas House approves anti-trans youth sports bill

HB 25 now heads to state Senate

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GenderCool Project leader and Trans activist Landon Richie (Photo courtesy of Landon Richie)

Texas House Republicans were able to push through the anti-trans youth sports measure Thursday evening after hours of emotional and at times rancorous debate, passing the bill in a 76-54 vote along party lines.

Under the provisions of Texas House Bill 25, all trans student athletes in grades K-12 will be prohibited from competing on sports teams aligned with their gender identity. The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

The Texas Tribune reported that the University Interscholastic League, which governs school sports in Texas, already requires that an athlete’s gender be determined by the sex listed on their birth certificate. Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, the author of HB 25 has said the bill would simply “codify” existing UIL rules.

However, UIL recognizes any legally modified birth certificates. That policy could accommodate someone who may have had their birth certificate changed to match their gender identity, which can sometimes be an arduous process.

HB 25 would not allow recognition of these legally modified birth certificates unless changes were made because of a clerical error. It’s not clear though how it will be determined if a birth certificate has been legally modified or not. According to the UIL, the process for checking student birth certificates is left up to schools and districts, not the UIL the Tribune reported.

“To say that tonight’s passage of HB 25 is devastating is an understatement. For the past 10 grueling, exhausting, and deeply traumatic months, trans youth have been forced to debate their very existence—only to be met by the deaf ears and averted eyes of our state’s leaders,” Landon Richie, a GenderCool Project leader, University of Houston student and Transactivist told the Washington Blade after the vote.

“Make no mistake: This bill will not only have detrimental impacts on trans youth, who already suffer immense levels of harassment and bullying in schools, but also on cisgender youth who don’t conform to Texas’s idea of ‘male’ or ‘female.’ To trans kids everywhere: you belong, you are loved, you are valued, you are deserving of dignity, respect, care and the ability to live freely as your true and authentic selves, no matter where you are. We will never stop fighting for trans lives and a future where trans kids are unequivocally and unwaveringly celebrated for who they are,” Richie said.

“The cruelty of this bill is breathtaking, and the legislators who are pushing it forward are doing irreparable harm to our state. Texas is a place where people value freedom and respect for diversity. This bill is a betrayal of those cherished values, and future generations will look back on this moment in disbelief that elected officials supported such an absurd and hateful measure,” Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights told the Blade. “The families of these kids deserve better, and the burden is now on the rest of us to do everything in our power to stop this dangerous bill now,” he added.

During the debate on the measure, state Rep. James Talarico, (D-Round Rock), a former middle school teacher, began his remarks by apologizing to the trans kids and families who have gone to the Capitol time and time again this year. He tells the chamber he speaks now as a legislator, and educator, and a Christian.

He quoted Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, the author of HB 25 who said “if one girl wins a game, it’s worth it.” He says he has a different moral yardstick. “If one trans kid dies for a trophy, this bill is grotesque.”

He ended speaking to his “fellow believers” in the chamber. “The worst part in these hearings have been in hearing the Bible used against trans kids to support these bills. Even tonight, ‘God’s law’ was used to present an amendment.” He then quoted the first two lines of the Bible, where God is referred to with two different Hebrew words, one masculine/one feminine. “God is non-binary.” He then prevented an interruption in the chamber and continued telling trans kids that he loves them.

Fellow Democratic state Rep. Jessica González, (D-Dallas County), vice-chair of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus asked the chamber how many trans Texas kids they are willing to hurt. She reminded her fellow representatives that cisgender women and girls will also be hurt by the bill. She shared a personal story about being outed in high school by a friend, having her locker, home, and car vandalized and losing all of her friends. “Kids are cruel.”

González told lawmakers that her brother encouraged her to try out for soccer, and she was bullied with comments like “shouldn’t she be trying out for the boys’ team.” She went from feeling a bit accepted to being an outsider again. She then reflected on carrying those feelings into adulthood and said that this bill will have long-term affects on trans kids. She asked legislators to listen to the stories of the trans kids who have bravely testified, saying kids will contemplate suicide or complete suicide.

Representative Diego Bernal, (D-San Antonio), told the chamber that some representatives can’t wrap their heads around knowing that there is no problem but there is *real* harm to trans kids, and for whatever reason, that’s not enough it seems to stop moving these bills.

He said that he has heard “if they already have mental health issues and suicide ideation, this can’t make it worse” and “if the debate is harming them, let’s just vote.” The he breaks down the Texas statute’s definition of bullying, telling lawmakers, “The bullying statute doesn’t have an intent requirement. It doesn’t matter if you don’t mean to cause them harm. We are bullying these students. Know that by law … our own definitions and our own words, we are. And we don’t have to.”

“Texas lawmakers voted today to deliberately discriminate against transgender children. Excluding transgender students from participating in sports with their peers violates the Constitution and puts already vulnerable youth at serious risk of mental and emotional harm,” Adri Perez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas said in a statement to the Blade.

“There is no evidence that transgender kids pose any threat. It is indefensible that legislators would force transgender youth and their families to travel to Austin to defend their own humanity, then blatantly ignore hours of testimony about the real damage this bill causes. Trans kids and their families deserve our love and support—they’ve been fighting this legislation for months. Texans will hold lawmakers accountable for their cruelty,” she added.

The statewide LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Texas in a tweet after the vote said; ” We will not stop fighting to protect transgender children.” Then added “We’ll continue to educate lawmakers—replacing misinformation with real stories—and demand the statewide and federal nondiscrimination protections we need to prevent further harms.”

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