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Trump rechaza número de muertes de María en Puerto Rico

Los comentarios provocan indignación entre activistas LGBTI

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El presidente Trump el 13 de septiembre provocó indignación cuando rechazó el número de muertes del huracán María en Puerto Rico (Foto de Washington Blade por Michael Key)

El presidente Trump fue ampliamente condenado el jueves cuando rechazó el número de muertes oficial del huracán María en Puerto Rico sin ninguna evidencia creíble para apoyar sus reclamos.

“3,000 personas no murieron en los dos huracanes que golpearon Puerto Rico,” dijo Trump en uno de sus dos tweets, refiriéndose a María, que tocó tierra en la costa sureste de Puerto Rico el 20 de septiembre de 2017, y el huracán Irma, que rozó el estado libre asociado estadounidense menos de dos semanas antes. “Cuando salí de la isla, después de que la tormenta había golpeado, tenían entre seis y 18 muertos. No subió demasiado con el paso del tiempo. Luego, mucho tiempo después comenzaron a reportar números realmente grandes, como 3,000.”

Trump en otro tweet acusó a los demócratas de inflar el número de muertes “para hacer que mirase lo peor posible cuando estaba recaudando miles de millones de dólares para ayudar a reconstruir Puerto Rico.”

“Si una persona murió por cualquier motivo, como la vejez, simplemente agréguela a la lista,” dijo Trump. “Malas políticas. Amo a Puerto Rico.”

Trump hizo sus comentarios menos de tres semanas después del gobernador de Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló aceptó los hallazgos de un estudio de la Universidad George Washington que atribuyó 2,975 muertos a María. Trump estaba twitteando mientras el huracán Florence comenzaba a azotar la costa de Carolina del Norte.

“Las declaraciones del presidente que cuestionan el número de muertes de los huracanes Irma y María son deplorables,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, un abogado para Lambda Legal que es puertorriqueño, dijo al Washington Blade el jueves desde la capital puertorriqueña de San Juan. “Demuestran que el presidente no solo está divorciado de la realidad, sino también su absoluta indiferencia por el sufrimiento de la gente y, francamente, su crueldad.”

“Casi 3,000 puertorriqueños murieron como resultado de los huracanes María e Irma,” añadió. “Sus vidas cuentan.”

Wilfred Labiosa, cofundador de Waves Ahead, un grupo que ayuda a los puertorriqueños LGBTI y otros grupos vulnerables recuperarse de María, estuvo de acuerdo con Gonzalez-Pagan cuando habló al Blade el jueves desde Puerto Rico. Labiosa añadió que los tweets de Trump “reflectan la falta de aceptación de puertorriqueños como ciudadanos estadounidenses.”

“Refleja que Puerto Rico no es un estado libre asociado, sino una colonia de los EEUU que podemos ser prescindibles para los EEUU,” Labiosa dijo al Blade.

La alcaldesa de San Juan Carmen Yulín Cruz es entre aquellos que siguen ser críticas vocales de la respuesta de Trump a María, que incluyó tirando papel toallas en una multitud de personas en una iglesia en las afueras de San Juan menos de dos semanas después del huracán tocó tierra. Cruz el jueves en una larga declaración dijo que las declaraciones de Trump muestran “una falta de respeto por nuestra realidad y nuestro dolor.”

“El simplemente no puede comprender el sufrimiento humano que su negligencia y falta de sensibilidad nos han causado,” dijo Cruz. “3,000 personas murieron en su vigilancia y su incapacidad de captarlo (es lo que) lo vuelven peligroso.”

Rosselló, que han sido reacio a criticar a Trump, también rechazó los tweets.

“Ni la gente de Puerto Rico ni las víctimas merecen que su dolor sea cuestionado,” Rosselló dijo a CBS News.

Un poste dañado en un barrio de Vieques, Puerto Rico, el 31 de enero de 2018. (Foto de Washington Blade por Michael K. Lavers)

Trump ‘dándole la espalda a todos los que sufren’

María tuvo vientos de 155 mph cuando tocó tierra.

Cientos de miles de puertorriqueños no tenían electricidad o acceso a agua potable durante meses.

Labiosa y otros activistas en Puerto Rico han dicho al Blade que personas con VIH/SIDA no tenían acceso a medicamentos antiretrovirales durante los días y semanas después de María tocó tierra. También han dicho que los puertorriqueños confrontaron discriminación en albergues de emergencia por toda la isla.

Casas con toldos azules como techos temporales todavía eran comunes en la zona metropolitana de San Juan y en el sureste de Puerto Rico en mayo cuando este reportero estuvo en la isla.

David Begnaud, un reportero de CBS News, el jueves reportó FEMA dijo que se mudó millones de botellas de agua a una vieja pista en Ceiba, un municipio en la costa noreste de Puerto Rico, que fueron fotografiadas esta semana con toldos azules resistidos sobre ellas.

BuzzFeed el martes reportó que FEMA solo aprovechó 75 de las 2,431 solicitudes de asistencia funeraria que recibió de puertorriqueños después de María. Trump en el mismo día defendió de nuevo la respuesta de su administración a María mientras hablaba sobre Florence con reporteros a la Casa Blanca.

“Mientras está ocupado tratando de ‘salvar la cara,’ continuará dándole la espalda a todos los que sufren,” dijo Cruz el jueves en su declaración. “En pocas palabras: Está completamente desquiciado de la realidad. Una cosa es segura, nuestras vidas importan y no necesitamos un tweet de Trump para recordarnos eso.”

Labiosa estaba de acuerdo, notando que su organización y otras todavía están ayudando a los puertorriqueños recuperarse de María e Irma. Labiosa también dijo al Blade que Waves Ahead, SAGE Puerto Rico y otros grupos que dan la asistencia a puertorriqueños LGBTI también están trabajando de responder a la creciente crisis de salud mental de la isla.

“La comunidad, la diáspora y las entidades no gubernamentales están haciendo la diferencia por trabajar duras para dar los servicios necesarios a aquellos devastados por los huracanes,” dijo al Blade.

Un poste y árboles dañados en Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, el 2 de febrero de 2018. (Foto de Washington Blade de Michael K. Lavers)

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The White House

Biden administration uses IDAHOBiT to highlight LGBTQ rights support

WHO on May 17, 1990, declassified homosexuality as mental disorder

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Biden administration on Tuesday publicly acknowledged the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

“Jill and I stand in support and solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people in the United States and around the world,” said President Biden in a statement the White House released. “We join with Americans across the country to reaffirm our commitment to the ongoing work of upholding human dignity for all people and advancing equality globally.”

Biden in his statement noted there “has been much progress” since the World Health Organization on May 17, 1990, declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. Biden also highlighted “we continue to witness disturbing setbacks and rising hate and violence targeting LGBTQI+ people in the United States and around the world.”

“This is wrong,” he said. “LGBTQI+ people are entitled to all the rights, opportunities, and protections that belong to every human on this planet. LGBTQI+ people are an essential part of families and communities—teachers, first responders, public officials, doctors, lawyers, front-line workers and friends who enrich and strengthen every single country.” 

“And make no mistake: Hateful legislative attacks against members of our own LGBTQI+ community cannot be tolerated in America or anywhere else,” added Biden. “They spur discrimination and can stoke violence. And they are rooted in the same ignorance and intolerance that we see around the world. Hate is hate—and all of us have a responsibility to speak out against hate wherever we find it.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday issued his own IDAHOBiT statement.

“The United States affirms today, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), that the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons are the same human rights to which all persons are entitled,” said Blinken. “As enshrined in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘[a]ll human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’”

Bliken further noted that “too many LGBTQI+ persons live under the shadow of discrimination, violence and fear.”

“Global data makes clear that the dehumanization of LGBTQI+ persons is systemic, pervasive, and often violent,” he said. “Homophobia, biphobia, interphobia and transphobia are deeply entrenched in societies across the world, including here in the United States. Countless persons are at extreme risk for being themselves.”

Biden shortly after he took office in 2021 issued a memorandum that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad.

The administration last June appointed Jessica Stern as the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad.

The U.S. Senate earlier this year in a bipartisan vote confirmed Chantale Wong, the U.S. director of the Asian Development Bank, as the first openly lesbian American ambassador. The State Department on April 11 began to issue passports with “X” gender markers.

The State Department on April 28 released a report that details the federal government’s implementation of Biden’s foreign policy memo.

“We remain committed to ending this intolerance. Everyone deserves to live with respect, dignity, and safety,” said Blinken in his IDAHOBiT statement. “The United States affirms that all LGBTQI+ individuals, couples, and their families are valid and valuable.”

Biden in his statement also referred to the report.

“By openly reporting on our own progress, the United States hopes to inspire other governments to take similar action to address the needs of their LGBTQI+ communities,” he said.

“To the LGBTQI+ community, my administration sees you,” added Biden. “We stand with you. And we will continue to defend human rights and dignity, at home and around the world.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović are among the other world leaders who have publicly acknowledged IDAHOBiT.

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the independent U.N. expert on LGBTQ rights, and other U.N. human rights experts in a statement they released on Monday highlighted the plight of LGBTQ people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.

“With the number of forcibly displaced persons continuing to rise, States, businesses and humanitarian and civil society organizations must invest in developing human rights-based policies and programs that take into full account the intersectional dimensions of forced displacement and sexual orientation and gender identity, fostering stronger collaboration and coordination among all actors responsible for the protection of displaced LGBT individuals,” reads the statement.

Advocacy groups around the world also commemorated IDAHOBiT.

“Today I want to thank my incredible team of Insight public organization who still works for LGBTQI+ people in Ukraine, saving life’s (sic) of our community during the war,” tweeted Olena Shevchenko, chair of Insight, a Ukrainian LGBTQ rights group. “We are here for equality.”

Sexual Minorities Uganda in a tweet said IDAHOBiT “is a significant day for the LGBTIQ+ community because it serves as a reminder of the ongoing violence and prejudice that our communities face.”

“The struggle for equality still continues,” added SMUG.

Pride House Tokyo in Japan also acknowledged IDAHOBiT.

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The White House

WNBA players back petition for White House to ‘prioritize’ Brittney Griner’s release

Phoenix Mercury center detained in Russia in February

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Russian state TV has released a photo of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested on drug charges in the country after Russian officials say cannabis oil was found in her luggage. (Screenshot)

The Women’s National Basketball Players Association has endorsed a petition that urges the Biden administration to “prioritize” WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release.

“It is imperative that the U.S. government immediately address this human rights issue and do whatever is necessary to return Brittney home quickly and safely,” reads the Change.org petition that Tamryn Spruill, a freelance journalist and author, created.

“The WNBPA and its members proudly join Tamryn Spruill, the creator of this petition, in demanding that lawmakers prioritize Griner’s return,” it continues. “White House and Biden adminsitration, we ask that you take action today—doing whatever is necessary—to bring Brittney Griner home swiftly and safely.”

More than 135,000 people have signed the petition.

Spruill on Saturday in a tweet said the WNBPA, a union that represents WNBA players, partnered with them and Change.org “in demanding that our elected officials work urgently to gain BG’s swift and safe release.”

Griner — a center for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is a lesbian and married to her wife — was taken into custody at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February. Russian officials said customs inspectors found hashish oil in her luggage.

The State Department earlier this month determined Russia “wrongfully detained” Griner. A Russian court on Friday extended her detention for another month.

“The Russian system wrongfully detained Ms. Griner,” then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday during her last White House briefing. “We take our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens seriously.  And we will continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for all U.S. citizens when they are subject to legal processes overseas.”
 
“Now, because the State Department recategorized her as wrongfully detained, it means that our Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs — it’s quite a title but a well-deserved one — is going to be overseeing this case and leading the effort,” added Psaki. “Because it’s a deliberative process and we know from experience of bringing other Americans home, we’re just not going to detail what those efforts look like at this point in time.”

Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.

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Wyoming

GOP Sen. Cynthia Lummis issues ‘apology’ after transphobic comments during graduation speech

“My reference to the existence of two sexes was intended to highlight the times- times in which the metric of biological sex is under debate”

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Screenshot/University of Wyoming YouTube

During her speech delivered to the University of Wyoming’s College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education commencement Saturday afternoon, Republican U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis told graduates that “the existence of two sexes, male and female” was a “fundamental scientific truth.” 

The audience’s immediate reaction to her transphobic remarks were loud expressions of disapproval including jeering, boos, and demands she leave the podium.

The senator’s remarks came in the latter third of her twenty-minute address which had primarily focused on the critical need for teachers and in the fields of agriculture and other endeavors she noted were Wyoming hallmarks.

In a statement released by her office Sunday, a spokesperson noted that Lummis was apologizing to those who felt “un-welcomed or disrespected” by the comments.

“My reference to the existence of two sexes was intended to highlight the times in which we find ourselves, times in which the metric of biological sex is under debate with potential implications for the shared Wyoming value of equality,” the statement read.

“I share the fundamental belief that women and men are equal, but also acknowledge that there are biological differences and circumstances in which these differences need to be recognized. That being said, it was never my intention to make anyone feel un-welcomed or disrespected, and for that I apologize. I have appreciated hearing from members of the University of Wyoming community on this issue, and I look forward to continuing this dialogue.” 

An Assistant Professor in the University of Wyoming’s Sociology Program in the College of Arts and Sciences tweeted pointing out the graduate’s reactions along with the fact that the UW campus community had recently lost a Trans student to suicide, making the senator’s remarks more hurtful.

The university’s president also issued a statement Sunday expressing support for all members of the UW campus and community:

May 15, 2022

To the UW community:

On Saturday, the university celebrated spring 2022 commencement with a series of events that showcased the best of what makes us special: our students, our staff, our faculty and our ability to openly embrace and debate complex issues. One of our speakers made remarks regarding biological sex that many on campus take issue with. While we respect the right of all to express their views, from students to elected officials, we unequivocally state that UW is an institution that supports and celebrates its diverse communities that collectively make us the wonderful place that we are.

Thank you to the many students and families who celebrated with us this weekend. We welcome the incredible individuality and intellect of all our dynamic and diverse students and never want you to feel otherwise.

Sincerely,

Ed Seidel, President

Senator Cynthia Lummis’ remarks are at the 50:11 time mark:

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