#Washington LGBT

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Activists, politicians, celebrities join forces in New York for Pride

Posted: 02 Jul 2019 09:30 AM PDT

Stonewall 50, gay news, Washington Blade
Confetti showered down in New York's Times Square in the finale of Stonewall 50 World Pride New York's closing ceremony Sunday night, June 30. (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

A Stonewall 50 Commemoration Rally at the site of the Stonewall Inn gay bar last Friday and a World Pride closing ceremony in New York's Times Square on Sunday brought together top New York elected officials, LGBT activists, some of whom were present during the Stonewall riots, and big name entertainers.

All of them proclaimed the importance and historic significance of the June 1969 Stonewall riots in New York's Greenwich Village that are credited with igniting the modern LGBT rights movement.

Among those who spoke at the Friday rally on Christopher Street outside the Stonewall Inn were New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

De Blasio and Gillibrand, who are candidates for U.S. president, told the several thousand people at the rally that they would work hard to advance LGBT rights gains at the federal level and would strongly oppose the Trump administration's efforts to roll back LGBT rights gains.

Singers Melissa Etheridge and Deborah Cox were among the entertainers that performed at the Times Square closing ceremony. Lesbian comedian Margaret Cho served as master of ceremonies. Elsewhere, Madonna performed a set that included her smash "Vogue" on Pride Island.

Throughout the event, including during the performances and speeches, several of the giant electronic billboard signs on the skyscrapers surrounding Times Square flashed messages in support of LGBT Pride next to images of rainbow flags.

Several of the speakers at both events came from countries in Europe as part of New York City Pride serving as the 2019 host for World Pride, the international LGBT Pride event that takes place every two years in a different country. This year marked the first time World Pride has taken place in the United States.

At the closing ceremony in Times Square, Lars Hendriksen of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Franciska Rosenkilde, Copenhagen's Deputy Mayor for Culture and Leisure, announced that Copenhagen will be the host for the 2021 World Pride. The two thanked New York City for serving as an excellent host for this year's World Pride and urged New Yorkers and others attending the 2019 World Pride to come to Copenhagen in 2021.

At the Friday rally, de Blasio said he was delighted that World Pride was taking place in his home city.

"I want to tell you I have a tremendous special honor," he said. "I am the mayor of the largest LGBT community on the face of the earth. And I'm proud of that," he told the crowd.

"We are proud of that. We should be so proud of how far we have come because remember, when they said the love that dare not speaks its name? Now we can shout that love from every rooftop, can't we?" he said.

De Blasio told the rally that he announced a few weeks ago that the city is arranging for a first of its kind program to build statues of two transgender "heroes who helped fight for the liberation of everybody" – the late New York trans activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

"In this city we are honoring heroes who got ignored and who were taken out of the history book and were not given their place, but they led the way too," he said.

Gillibrand said she too was honored to commemorate the significance of the Stonewall rebellion.

"There is no place better than New York City for Pride celebrations," she said. "Right here celebrating Pride at the Stonewall Inn we have the ability to start the national conversation about the future of gay rights in America and the fights we are taking forward and the fights we will achieve," she told the gathering.

"Right here 50 years ago this is where it all started. Our community rose up and fought back," she said. "People were willing to risk everything, their lives, what they did, what they loved. They risked all of this," she said. "And 50 years later all those battles were not fought in vein. Gay marriage is now the law of the land. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is in the dustbin of history."

Nadler, who serves as chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said he would continue to push for LGBT rights advances in the Democratic-controlled House at a time when the GOP-controlled Senate and the Trump White House are not supportive.

"I'm here to deliver a message on behalf of the United States House of Representatives because the rest of our federal government won't do it," he said. "That message is happy Pride."

Nadler noted that the House recently passed the Equality Act, the LGBT civil rights bill that's now stalled in the Senate.

"We have a lot further to go and we will be standing with you every step of the way until I can bring you a greeting not just from the House of Representatives but from the Senate of the United States and the presidency of the United States and hand over a copy of the Equality Act that's signed into law," he said.

The post Activists, politicians, celebrities join forces in New York for Pride appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Queer Liberation March retraces route of world’s first Pride march

Posted: 02 Jul 2019 06:32 AM PDT

Queer Liberation March, gay news, Washington Blade
Queer Liberation March (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

The Queer Liberation March, the second of two marches in New York City on Sunday that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, drew more than 45,000 marchers according to one of its lead organizers.

Longtime lesbian activist Ann Northrop, who is among the leaders of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which organized the Queer Liberation March as an alternative to the official New York City Pride March, said organizers believe the Queer march was highly successful and are considering making it an annual Pride event.

The march followed the same route that the world's first ever LGBT Pride march took in June 1970. It was organized by activists who were inspired by the now famous Stonewall Riots that erupted in New York's Greenwich Village in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar on June 28, 1969.

That first march was named the Christopher Street Day Liberation March after the street where the Stonewall Inn is located and where the rioting began and continued for several days and that has been credited with launching the modern LGBT rights movement.

Northrop and others involved with the Reclaim Pride Coalition said they wanted the Queer Liberation March to retrace the route of the 1970 march, which travelled from the site of the Stonewall Inn to Central Park, where a rally was held, and using 6th Avenue to reach the park.

Organizers of Sunday's Queer Liberation March and its own rally held in Central Park noted they chose not to allow floats, including the large corporate sponsored floats that participated in the official New York City Pride March, saying such displays were not in keeping with the atmosphere of protest and rebellion associated with Stonewall.

"This exceeds our wildest expectations," Northrop told the Blade at the rally. "This was spectacular, and we're thrilled that everybody took the leap of faith with us to come out, because this was a whole new thing," she said.

"And we just organized it from the ground up. And we had no idea how many would put themselves on the line and show up. And they did," Northrop said. "They did with full hearts and they did with total creativity."

Among the speakers at the rally held in Central Park's Great Lawn was Larry Kramer, the playwright and nationally recognized gay and AIDS activist who co-founded the AIDS protest group ACT UP.

Kramer, who appeared on a stage set up at the rally site in a wheelchair, gave a pessimistic view of the state of the nation's fight against AIDS and anti-LGBT oppression and bias close to 40 years after he began that fight in the early 1980s.

"There is no cure for this plague," Kramer told the rally. "Too many among us still get infected. We have become too complacent with PrEP," he said, referring to the HIV prevention drug. "We search for a cure and we're still in the Stone Age. The treatments we have are woefully expensive and come with troublesome side effects. And their manufacturers are holding us up to ransom," he said.

"I almost died three times," said Kramer. "I started a couple of organizations to fight against the plague. In the end, we failed. I certainly feel that I failed."

That comment drew shouts from people in the audience saying, "No you haven't" and "We love you."

Kramer responded calling on the LGBT community to "fight back" against what he called a current dangerous political climate.

"If you love being gay as much as I do, fight back," he said. "Our world needs every bit of help it can get, because I do not see enough of us fighting this fight and performing our duty," said Kramer, adding: "Please all of you do your duty of opposition in these dark and dangerous days."

Kramer was joined on stage by more than a dozen activists, with some displaying ACT UP signs and who chanted the slogan that Kramer and his 1980s era activists coined at numerous protests: "Act Up! Fight back! Fight AIDS!"

Larry Kramer at the Queer Liberation March. (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

Transgender activists Sasha Alexander and Olympia Sudan were among more than a dozen other speakers at the rally who reminded the gathering of the violence and threats faced by transgender people, especially transgender women of color.

The two joined other speakers, both trans and cisgender, in calling on the LGBT community and the public at large to remember and give credit to the late Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two trans women of color who played an important role in the Stonewall riots and subsequent organizing for LGBT rights.

Several speakers called for he decriminalization of sex work, saying the current criminalization of prostitution adversely impacts trans women of color who are forced into sex work as a means of economic survival due to job discrimination.

The lesbian singing group Betty was among the singers and other artists performing at the rally.

Northrop said the city's parks department required that the rally take place in the Great Lawn, which is located one mile from where the march entered Central Park at 6th Avenue, making the total length of the march four miles. She said organizers will consider shortening the march if organizers decide to hold the Queer Liberation March again next year and in subsequent years.

"Everyone's talking about it," she said in discussing whether another Queer march should take place. "Now that we've seen this become a reality and people can believe it's possible I hope then we would just grow bigger and bigger every year and that the corporate takeover of Pride would gradually phase out."

The post Queer Liberation March retraces route of world's first Pride march appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Marcha del Orgullo LGBTI en El Salvador proclama ‘ni un paso atrás’

Posted: 02 Jul 2019 06:13 AM PDT

Más de 15.000 personas participaron en una marcha del Orgullo LGBT en San Salvador, El Salvador, el 29 de junio de 2019. (Foto de Ernesto Valle por el Washington Blade)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador En El Salvador, al igual que en otros países que alrededor del mundo se conmemora en junio el Orgullo LGBTI, han estado cargados de muchas actividades en favor de la visibilidad y las luchas del movimiento en el país.

Entre cines foros, exposiciones de fotos y un foro por el rescate memoria histórica, eventos deportivos, entre muchos otros eventos, tanto las organizaciones que se aglutinan en la Federación Salvadoreña LGBTI, como negocios LGBTI y el portal de noticias LGBTI, han estado de manera muy activa trabajando para que la realización de los mismo sea todo un éxito para llegar a la fecha en la que se culmina con la marcha.

Entre una de las actividades con las que se contó en el mes del Orgullo LGBTI, fue la iluminación del Palacio Nacional ubicado en el Centro Histórico de la capital, el día 18 de junio y permanecería iluminado hasta el fin del mes, esto estuvo a cargo de la gestión del Hoyo, negocio histórico LGBTI ubicado en las cercanías del Palacio y con el apoyo del Ministerio de Cultura del actual Gobierno.

Por su parte la Asociación Entre Amigos realizó la VIII Plegaria Rosa, en las instalaciones del Teatro Roque Dalton, en donde Bessy Ríos, directora de la Fundación de Familiares y Amigos por la Diversidad, participó dando unas palabras, entre las que resaltan, “Nuestros hogares tienen que ser lugares de paz. Lugares donde se ame sin tener que dar explicaciones. Eso es ser familia”.

Dos días antes de la marcha el Colectivo Normal, en apoyo de la Casa Tomada y el Centro Cultural de España, realizaron la pinta de un paso peatonal arco iris sobra calle la Reforma en la ciudad capital, dicho paso conecta La Casa Tomada y el Centro Cultural de España; el objetivo fue visibilizar y concientizar que las personas LGBTI también son peatones y por ende sujetos de derechos que deben ser respetados. 

Para el sábado 29 Junio, miles de personas ya estaban listas para la vigésimo tercera Marcha del Orgullo LGBTI, bajo la consigna Ni Un Paso Atrás, todo se enmarcó en la conmemoración del 50 aniversario de los disturbios suscitados en Stonewall en la ciudad de New York, los cuales dieron la pauta al movimiento LGBTI en el mundo, de los cuales se honra la memoria de sus principales pioneras Sylvia Rivera y Marsha Johnson, ambas mujeres trans.

En su pronunciamiento la Federación Salvadoreña LGBTI hacen el llamado a que se hagan justicia a los crímenes por odio por orientación sexual, identidad y expresión de género. De igual manera piden, "que se continúe la labor de la Dirección de Diversidad Sexual ya que representa un espacio muy importante no solo de trabajo en el Órgano Ejecutivo sino también de representación e incidencia para los avances en el respeto a nuestros derechos", expresaron.

Además exigieron al actual Gobierno que fomente y aplique el Decreto Ejecutivo No 56, el cual prohíbe toda forma de discriminación en razón de la orientación sexual e identidad de género, pues hacían alusión a las palabras que han sido declaradas en varias oportunidades; "se gobernará para todos, no solo para unos cuantos".

La marcha tuvo como punto de salida las afueras de la Universidad de El Salvador, bajando sobre la 25 avenida norte, para luego incorporarse a la Alameda Roosevelt hasta el Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo, recorrido en el cual los asistentes a la marcha exigieron respeto a sus derechos y reivindicar la lucha contra la discriminación.

La marcha contó con la presencia por primera vez de embajadores de Alemania, la Unión Europea, España y el representante de las Naciones Unidas. Al final del recorrido en el punto de meta se encontraban diferentes locales de productos, comidas y bebidas para el deleite de todas y todos; un grupo de estudiantes de la Universidad de El Salvador realizaron atrás de la tarima principal un performance en el que se realizó una boda de dos seres sin rostro en representación todos aquellos que se esconden para amar. Luego en la tarima principal, las personalidades de las entidades antes mencionadas, brindaron unas palabras de apoyo a los asistentes, para luego dar inicio al Pride Fest Sv, organizado por El Salvador G, el cual contó con artistas nacionales e internacionales para deleitar a las más de 15.000 personas que acompañaron la marcha hasta el Divino Salvador del Mundo.

The post Marcha del Orgullo LGBTI en El Salvador proclama ‘ni un paso atrás’ appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

206 companies urge Supreme Court to rule Title VII covers LGBT workers

Posted: 02 Jul 2019 05:00 AM PDT

206 companies are urging the Supreme Court to find Title VII covers gay workers. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A total of 206 companies have signed onto a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to find Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination against LGBT people in the workforce.

The friend-of-the-court brief — organized by the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Out & Equal, Out Leadership and Freedom for All Americans — is signed by the nation’s top businesses and argues anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus illegal under the Title VII.

Among the signers are food companies like Domino’s Pizza and Coca-Cola Company, tech companies like Facebook and Mozilla Corp., and defense contractors like Northrup Grumman Corp.

“Even where companies voluntarily implement policies to prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, such policies are not a substitute for the force of law,” the brief says. “Nor is the patchwork of incomplete state or local laws sufficient protection —for example, they cannot account for the cross-state mobility requirements of the modern workforce. Only a uniform federal rule can enable businesses to recruit and retain, and employees to perform, at their highest levels.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, the brief has more corporate signers than any previous business brief in an LGBT non-discrimination case.

The brief was written by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, a Los Angeles-based law firm that also represents the signers in the case along with Robinson Curley P.C. and Taylor & Cohen LLP.

Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, said in a statement the brief “exposes the lie that affirming Civil Rights protections for LGBTQ Americans is somehow anti-business.”

"The opposite is true,” Uritus said. “Equality is good for businesses and employees. And consumers — who are increasingly savvy and intentional about their spending power — are demanding equality. I’m inspired by all of the leaders who have joined with us today in submitting this brief. The Civil Rights Act needs to be affirmed in a way that serves and protects all Americans."

The post 206 companies urge Supreme Court to rule Title VII covers LGBT workers appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Iggy Azalea pauses Chicago Pride show to speak on trans equality

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 02:16 PM PDT

Iggy Azalea at Chicago Pride. (Photo by Kevin Welch via Twitter)

Iggy Azalea chose to use her platform at Chicago Pride on Saturday to speak out on transgender equality.

“I really want to say something important. Because we're all here for a reason, right?” the 28-year-old Australian rapper addressed the crowd. “I don't want us to forget the meaning of Pride or why we came here. To a lot of people, you guys are still invisible and you have to fight every day just to be who you are. That's why we've gotta be here tonight because we gotta be loud as f—. This shows you exist and you are valid.”

Azalea launched into a story about Michelle, a transgender woman of color and her friend.

“I see the struggle she goes through every day just to be herself just to walk out the door, the shit that I have the privilege to do every day,” Azalea says.

She then began to share statistics about the threats to the transgender community.

“I want to read everybody that’s going to watch this online statistics quickly about trans people that a lot of people need to hear. 50 percent of trans people have been raped or sexually assaulted. 41 percent of trans people have attempted suicide. 80 percent of trans students feel unsafe at school,” Azalea says.

Azalea brings attention to the fact that 11 transgender women of color have died this year. She also shares that Michelle being a transgender woman of color gives her friend a life expectancy of 35.

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Todrick Hall calls Scooter Braun ‘homophobic’ amid Taylor Swift drama

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 01:59 PM PDT

Capital Pride Festival, gay news, Washington Blade
Todrick Hall was one of the headliners at the 2019 Capital Pride Festival. (Washington Blade photo by Drew Brown)

Dancer and singer Todrick Hall defended his friend Taylor Swift after she expressed she feels "grossed out” that talent manager Scooter Braun acquired the rights to her old music.

On Sunday, it was announced that Braun has purchased Swift’s old label Big Machine Records and therefore owns the masters of her early albums.

Swift, who claims she found out about the deal when the news broke, took to Tumblr to slam Braun.

"For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work," Swift wrote. "Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and 'earn' one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, [Big Machine president] Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums."

She continued: "Scooter has stripped me of my life's work, that I wasn't given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it," she wrote. "This is my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term 'loyalty' is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says 'Music has value', he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it."

Hall, who appeared in Swift’s pro-LGBTQ anthem “You Need to Calm Down,” came to Swift’s defense and accused Braun of being homophobic. He also explained that he is no longer represented by Braun.

"For those asking, I left Scooter Braun a long time ago…I am saddened by this news, but not shocked. He is an evil person who's (sic) only concern is his wealth and feeding his disgusting ego. I believe he is homophobic & I know from his own mouth that he is not a Swift fan," Hall posted on Twitter. "I truly hope justice is served and that my friend's music will fall into the hands of a better human," he tweeted. "I would normally not say anything because I'm sure scooter will threaten me like he has before to keep me quiet, but guess what Scooter, nothing you can do to me would be worst (sic) than the 6 years of my life I can't get back from when & I was ignored as your 'artist.”

An employee of Braun’s called Hall’s tweet "disgusting and defamatory" and accused Hall of stealing from fans on his Christmas tour. The employee also claims that Hall was dropped and didn’t leave on his own accord.

Then Hall posted a screenshot of an email he sent to Braun informing him that he would be looking for other representation.

Demi Lovato, who hired Braun as her manager in May, defended Braun against Hall’s homophobic claims on her Instagram story.

“Hey boo, idk you or anything and this isn't hate, but making claims that someone is homophobic is really serious," Lovato wrote. "Please don't spread information that isn't true because I can guarantee you Scooter isn't. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, he wouldn't have signed me if he was. No hate just trying to clear that up."

Hall responded tweeting, "Just because you have a black friend doesn't mean you can't still be racist. And just because you're not picketing against gay marriage doesn't mean you're not homophobic. I said what I said and I believe what I believe. Also, stop using your one client who identifies as queer to stand up for you. There's no way Demi saw my tweet, that means someone from your team is reaching out to them, using them to defend you. Fight your own battles.”

Braun is also the manager for Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

The post Todrick Hall calls Scooter Braun ‘homophobic’ amid Taylor Swift drama appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Buttigieg boasts $25 million haul in second-quarter fundraising

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 01:30 PM PDT

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, Ind.) has raised $25 million in the second quarter. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is boasting a major haul of nearly $25 million in second quarter funds, an impressive figure demonstrating the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., has prowess as a top-tier candidate and fundraiser.

According to the Buttigieg campaign, the candidate has raised $24.8 million from 294,000 individual donors, who have each contributed an average less than $48. Further, the campaign says it has more than $22 million in cash on hand.

News of Buttigieg’s impressive second quarter numbers comes the week after the LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed the candidate during an event in New York City as well as a well-received performance during the debates in Miami.

"Mayor Pete is competing in the polls and in fundraising with the best-known names in American politics – placing him among the strongest contenders for the Democratic nomination,” Victory Fund spokesperson Elliot Imse said. “LGBTQ donors helped fuel the early months of his candidacy, but his appeal now extends far beyond our community, as these latest fundraising numbers show. As more Americans hear his message on the campaign trail and from the debate stage, we believe this momentum will accelerate."

Buttigieg isn’t the only openly gay candidate with impressive fundraising numbers.

The campaign for Daniel Baer, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe and is now running for U.S. Senate in Colorado, announced a second-quarter haul of $1.35 million, including $1.1 million in total contributions.

According to the Baer campaign, both numbers are the highest ever in the first quarterly report for an openly LGBT candidate for either U.S. House or U.S. Senate.

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Supreme Court sets Oct. 8 to hear whether workers can be fired for being LGBT

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 12:44 PM PDT

The Supreme Court has set Oct. 8 for oral arguments in the Title VII cases. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The U.S. Supreme Court has designated Oct. 8 as the date when it will hear arguments on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to cases of anti-LGBT discrimination, setting up a showdown for when LGBT rights in all areas of life will hang in the balance.

On Monday, the Supreme Court's website modified the docket entries for each of three Title VII cases to indicate arguments will take place Oct. 8. During the proceedings, justices will consider whether anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, and thus prohibited under Title VII, which bars discrimination on sex in the workforce.

The consolidated case of Zarda v. Altitude Express and Bostock v. Clayton County will determine whether sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, while Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC will determine whether anti-transgender discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.

Although the litigation is set to determine whether Title VII, which covers workplace discrimination, applies to cases of anti-LGBT discrimination, the ruling will affect all federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of sex, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Fair Housing Act.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the estate of Donald Zarda, which is suing Altitude Express on the basis of the late gay skydiver being terminated from his job for being gay, and Aimee Stephens, a funeral worker who was terminated from Harris Funeral Homes after coming out as transgender.

Last week, the ACLU submitted its respondent brief for the Zarda case to lay out its arguments for why anti-gay discrimination should be considered a form of sex discrimination. Among other things, the ACLU argues anti-gay bias amounts to sex stereotyping and associational sex discrimination.

"Firing a man because he is attracted to other men is like refusing to hire a woman because she has school-age children, failing to promote a woman because she is too 'macho,' or countenancing the sexual harassment of a man who is perceived by his coworkers to be vulnerable," the brief states.

The ACLU also filed its respondent brief in the case of EEOC v. Harris Funeral Homes to make the argument anti-transgender discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.

"Had Ms. Stephens been assigned a female rather than a male sex at birth, Harris Homes would not have fired her for living openly as a woman," the brief says. "Because Harris Homes would have treated Ms. Stephens differently had her assigned sex at birth been different, its decision to fire Ms. Stephens violated Title VII."

Representing Gerald Lynn Bostock, a municipal worker alleging anti-gay discrimination within Clayton County in Georgia, is the Atlanta-based law firm Buckley Beal, LLP.

In the aftermath of President Trump remaking the court with a conservative majority, many legal observers have privately expressed skepticism justices will reach a conclusion in favor of LGBT rights.

Optimists, however, point to comments made by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, the new swing justice on the court, during the Obergefell arguments in 2014. At the time, Roberts speculated bans on same-sex marriage are a form of sex discrimination.

"I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can't," Roberts said. "And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn't that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?"

(Roberts ended up being in the minority of the court, which found bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional.)

It remains to be seen whether the Trump administration will participate in oral arguments. Since the time the Supreme Court agreed to hear the cases in April, the U.S. Justice Department has refused to say whether it will submit a friend-of-the-court brief or send the U.S. solicitor general to argue during oral arguments.

Previously, the Justice Department under the Trump administration has articulated its view Title VII doesn't cover anti-LGBT discrimination.

It made that case with respect to anti-gay discrimination when the Zarda case was pending before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Similarly, the Justice Department in a friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court asserted the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals wrongly concluded Title VII covers anti-trans discrimination in the Harris case.

The post Supreme Court sets Oct. 8 to hear whether workers can be fired for being LGBT appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Madonna closes out WorldPride with nod to Stonewall anniversary

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 12:39 PM PDT

Madonna performing at WorldPride. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Madonna capped off the massive WorldPride celebration in New York City with a concert on Pier 97 for the Pride Island concert on Sunday.

She acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which ignited the gay liberation movement, in between her set.

"Fifty years of revolution," Madonna told the crowd via Variety. "Fifty years of freedom and fighting. Fifty years of putting up with discrimination, hatred and ignorance. Fifty years of not bowing down to fear. I'm so proud and honored to share this historical event with you. Fifty fu*king years. It's insane. Are you with me?"

The pop legend also explained why the LGBTQ community has always been an important part of her life.

“Since I came to New York as a wee-little girl, I have always been embraced by queer nation. I always felt like an outsider, but you made me feel like an insider, like somebody. So you must know how much I love and appreciate everyone here from the LGBTQ community,” she explained.

Madonna treated the crowd to her iconic songs “Vogue” and “American Life” and included her new singles “God Control,” a message against gun violence, and “I Rise.”

Watch clips from her performance below.

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‘Old Town Road’ rapper Lil Nas X comes out

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 11:13 AM PDT

Lil Nas X. (Photo by DiFronzo via Wikimedia Commons)

Rapper Lil Nas X came out as part of the LGBTQ community on the last day of Pride month.

“Some of y'all already know, some of y'all don't care, some of y'all not gone fwm no more. but before this month ends i want y'all to listen closely to ‘c7osure’,” Lil Nas X wrote on Twitter along with a clip from his song “C7osure” and a rainbow emoji.

“True say/ I want and I need/ To let go/ Use my time to be free/ It’s like it’s always what you like/ It’s always what you like/ Why it’s always what you like?/ It’s always what you like, huh/ Ain’t no more actin’, man that forecast say I should just let me grow/ No more red light for me, baby, only green, I gotta go/ Pack my past up in the back, oh, let my future take a hold/ This is what I gotta do, can’t be regretting when I’m old,” the song’s lyrics read.

Lil Nas X also tweeted out his album’s cover art which features the colors of the rainbow displayed on a building.

“Deadass thought i made it obvious,” he tweeted.

The 20-year-old is best known for his breakout hit song “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus. The song, which Lil Nas X describes as “country-trap," is the longest running number one song of 2019.

The post ‘Old Town Road’ rapper Lil Nas X comes out appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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