Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Clinton promises to defend ‘all rights’ in convention speech

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech Thursday night mentioned LGBT people only once – saying the country must “defend all our rights,” including “the rights of women, workers, LGBT rights, and rights of people with disabilities.”

(Hillary Clinton delivers her acceptance speech Thursday. Photo: Michael Key/Washington Blade)

(Hillary Clinton delivers her acceptance speech Thursday. Photo: Michael Key/Washington Blade)

Given the prominence of LGBT people and issues throughout the four-day Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, the single explicit reference probably seemed perfunctory – especially when compared with that of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during his acceptance speech last week.

Trump spoke of the “49 wonderful Americans” killed by a gunman in an Orlando LGBT nightclub who was “targeting the LGBTQ community.” He promised to “stop it.”

“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful, foreign ideology – believe me,” said Trump.

Clinton mentioned Orlando in her speech, saying the enemies of America must be defeated. And many LGBT viewers probably felt included with her statement that “When any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone.”

But LGBT people were still highly visible throughout the convention this week – both as speakers on the main stage at the Wells Fargo Center and through the speeches of nearly every speaker during primetime coverage for a national audience.

Lesbian Sheriff Lupe Valdez of Dallas spoke just a couple of hours before Clinton did Thursday night, urging communities to do what they can to restore good relations between police and minorities. In giving an example of how she has felt respected in her community, she recalled being at a restaurant in uniform with a person she described as both her “partner” and her “girlfriend” and having a waiter tell her that four different patrons asked to pay for their meal. Valdez also said she has her deputies attend various community events, including Pride events, because “the only way to serve your community is to know your community.”

Other LGBT speakers Thursday included Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (New York), co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Caucus. Maloney introduced himself as the “first openly gay person ever elected to Congress from the state of New York.”

“Last week, a speaker at the Republican convention called equality a ‘distraction. Who cares?’ he asked,” noted Maloney. “Well, I care.”

Though he didn’t mention the person’s name, Maloney was referring to PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. In his remarks, Thiel was making the point that the controversy over transgender use of bathrooms was “a distraction from our real problems – who cares?”

“My husband Randy and our three children care,” continued Maloney. “These LGBT leaders standing with me and throughout this hall and country care. The authors of our Declaration of Independence signed right here in Philadelphia – they cared. Americans in Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall – they cared. And Hillary Clinton cares, too.”

Maloney introduced Sarah McBride, “the first transperson ever to address a national convention.”

(Sarah McBride was the first out trans person to address a Democratic convention. Photo: Michael Key/Washington Blade)

(Sarah McBride was the first out trans person to address a Democratic convention. Photo: Michael Key/Washington Blade)

McBride, who is a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, came out as transgender while in college four years ago. She has since interned at the White House. She said the struggle for equality became especially urgent for her when she learned that her transgender husband had cancer. He, too, was active in the fight for transgender equality, but died shortly after they married in 2014.

“More than anything else, his passing taught me that every day matters when it comes to building a world where every person can live their life to the fullest,” said McBride. “Hillary Clinton understands the urgency of our fight.”

And it was clear that most other speakers at the Democratic convention understand, too. Nearly every non-LGBT speaker made explicit mention of their support for ending discrimination against LGBT people. Even a conservative evangelical minister from North Carolina –where the legislature has passed a law prohibiting local jurisdictions from passing laws to stop discrimination against LGBT people and to bar transgender people from using a public restroom that corresponds with their gender identity – expressed understanding.

The Reverend William Barber II, speaking Thursday night, told the primetime convention audience that he is concerned that, “when religion is used to camouflage meanness,” then America has a “heart problem.” People must stand together for the rights of everyone, he said, including LGBTQ rights.

Without explicitly tackling so-called religious freedom laws, Clinton later seemed to echo that sentiment, saying, “We will stand up against meanness and divisive rhetoric whenever it comes.”

And many of the top Democratic leaders made their support for LGBT people and equality a prominent part of their speeches and biographical videos.

On Wednesday night, a biographical video about Vice President Joseph Biden made conspicuous mention of his early support for marriage equality.

Vice presidential running mate Senator Tim Kaine (Virginia) invoked the name of slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk in his speech Wednesday night.

The biographical video introducing President Barack Obama highlighted his support for the U.S. Supreme Court decision for marriage equality.

And Obama also mentioned marriage equality, the tragedy of the Orlando nightclub massacre, and gays in the military in his speech Wednesday night.

“… When we change enough minds; when we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen. Just ask the 20 million more people who have health care today. Just ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband he loves,” said Obama, to huge applause from the arena. “Democracy works, but we gotta want it – not just during an election year, but all the days in between.”

– reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, July 29, 2016 @ 9:24 am PST
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Woman charged with embezzlement in SF, ex-girlfriend sought

Deanna Millsaps (Photo: Facebook)

Deanna Millsaps (Photo: Facebook)

A woman who once worked as a San Francisco construction company’s bookkeeper pleaded not guilty this morning (Thursday, July 28) to nine felony embezzlement counts for allegedly stealing more than $400,000 from the company, according to the district attorney’s office.

Deanna Larre Millsaps, 45, of Vallejo, worked at Krueger Brothers Builders from 2007 to 2012. Millsaps alone was responsible for bookkeeping and issuing checks to employees and vendors, DA’s spokesman Max Szabo said in a news release, citing court documents.

“Ms. Millsaps began issuing herself fraudulent checks, above and beyond her pay and any expense reimbursements, as soon as she began her employment and continued until her fraud was discovered in late 2012,” Szabo said.

Millsaps also allegedly made out fraudulent checks to Caren Jeffries, her then-girlfriend and co-worker and current co-defendant. A warrant has been issued for Jeffries’ arrest.

Additionally, Szabo said, Millsaps issued checks to six others, including members of Jeffries’ family, none of whom worked for Krueger Brothers.

On top of the embezzlement charges, Millsaps, who’s being held without bail, faces allegations of excessive taking of funds and an aggravated white collar crime enhancement.

Authorities transferred her to San Francisco to face the charges from Nevada State Prison, where she’s been serving a sentence of four to 10 years for first-degree burglary. She was arrested in March 2015 in that case and sentenced in January.

“Fraud and deceit inevitably catches up with those that think they can cheat their employers,” District Attorney George Gascón stated. “Big or small, ripping off the company you work for will be met with consequences.”

According to the public defender’s office, Millsaps hasn’t been assigned an attorney, and the date of her next court appearance wasn’t available. Millsaps’ booking photo hasn’t been released.

No one at Krueger Brothers was available for comment.

Robert Steger of the San Francisco Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit conducted the investigation. Assistant District Attorney Phoebe Maffei is prosecuting the case.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 28, 2016 @ 4:07 pm PST
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Trans woman released from jail early reportedly violates Castro stay away order

Patrick McClellan (Photo: SFPD)

Patrick McClellan (Photo: SFPD)

A transgender San Francisco woman sentenced in April to a year in jail has been released early and has reportedly already violated a judge’s order to stay out of the Castro district, according to a neighborhood safety advocate.

Patrick McClellan, 25, received her sentence after pleading no contest to misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and being a public nuisance.

In a community update distributed Thursday, Greg Carey, chair of Castro Community Patrol, said that although McClellan, also known as “Crackers,” was released early the stay-away order from the Castro is still effective until 2019.

However, Carey said, “Several merchants have reported seeing McClellan” in the area, which is bounded by Market Street on the north, 19th Street on the south, Sanchez street on the east, and Collingwood Street on the west.

“If found within this area, McClellan is subject to immediate arrest,” Carey said. He encourages people to call 911 and report that McClellan “is breaking a current stay-away order,” among other steps.

“DO NOT try to apprehend or follow this person as they have exhibited violent tendencies in the past,” Carey said. He also encouraged people to provide the exact address of where they saw McClellan and save any time/date-stamped video footage of McClellan.

Carey, whose update was shared in an email blast by Castro Merchants President Daniel Bergerac, added, “Some people confuse Patrick with another street person named Dane. CCOP does not have a photo of Dane, but Patrick is much younger (25) and physically aggressive, while Dane tends to be verbally shocking without making physical threats.”

McClellan didn’t respond to a Facebook message. The Bay Area Reporter wasn’t able to find a phone number for her.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:15 pm PST
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US Navy set to name ship after gay icon Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk in his Navy days. (Photo: Courtesy GLBT Historic Task Force San Diego)

Harvey Milk in his Navy days. (Photo: Courtesy GLBT Historic Task Force San Diego)

The U.S. Navy is set to name a ship after gay icon Harvey Milk, the former San Francisco supervisor who was killed within his first year in office.

According to a report by USNI News, it obtained a Congressional notification dated July 14, and signed by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, that indicates he intends to name a planned Military Sealift Command fleet oiler the USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO-206).

The ship is the second of the John Lewis-class oilers being built by General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, noted the news site. A Navy spokesman told USNI that Mabus’s office would not comment until the official naming announcement was made.

According to USNI’s report, Mabus has said he will name the ships in the John Lewis-class – which is named after civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) – after civil rights leaders. Other ships are expected to be named in honor of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, women’s right activist Lucy Stone, and abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth.

LGBT leaders in San Diego first proposed the idea of naming a naval ship in honor of Milk, as the Bay Area Reporter noted in 2012. San Francisco leaders endorsed the proposal, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, who holds the board seat considered to be Milk’s.

But others perceived it as ill-conceived, such as Milk photographer and close friend Dan Nicoletta. Queer economic justice activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca also panned the proposal as “inappropriate and insensitive” in a statement at the time.

Reacting to the report from USNI News, the American Military Partner Association, the nation’s largest organization of LGBT military families, released a statement today (Thursday, July 28) praising the Milk naval ship naming.

“Harvey Milk is an American hero and an icon for LGBT equality, and it’s phenomenal that the U.S. Navy is going to honor his legacy by naming a ship after him,” stated AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “Harvey Milk’s incredible leadership in the face of adversity continues to inspire all of us in our ongoing fight for full LGBT equality. By breaking down barriers and fighting for the dignity and worth of all Americans, he left behind an example for all of us in his service to our nation, both in and out of uniform.”

Wiener, in his own statement to the news, said it was “an incredible day” for not only the LGBT community but also the country.

“As a gay man and a San Franciscan, I’m incredibly proud that the Navy is honoring Harvey Milk – and the entire LGBT community – by naming a ship after him. This momentous decision sends a powerful message around the world about who we are as a country and the values we hold,” stated Wiener. “When Harvey Milk served in the military, he couldn’t tell anyone who he truly was. Now our country is telling the men and women who serve, and the entire world, that we honor and support people for who they are. Harvey Milk’s strength continues to reverberate throughout our city, our country, and the world.”

Milk served in the U.S. Navy and was on active duty during the Korean War. He trained as a deep-sea diver, and advanced to the rank of chief petty officer on the U.S.S. Kittiwake, according to a bio created by the organizers of the campaign to push for a USS Harvey Milk Navy vessel.

Commissioned an ensign in late 1953, Milk was transferred to Naval Station at San Diego to serve as a diving instructor. In 1955, he was discharged from the Navy at the rank of lieutenant, junior grade, states the bio.

“Milk was proud of his military service, and wore a brass belt buckle bearing his Navy diver’s insignia until the day he died,” states the bio.

In the early 1970s Milk moved to San Francisco’s Castro district where he opened a camera shop and penned a political column for the B.A.R. After several failed attempts, Milk became the city’s – and state’s – first gay person to win elective office in 1977.

Tragically, a year later former disgruntled Supervisor Dan White assassinated Milk and then-Mayor George Moscone inside City Hall. USNI reported that Milk was wearing his U.S. Navy Master Diver belt buckle when he was shot.

Milk’s death turned him into an international LGBT icon. He has been honored in numerous ways over the years, with parks, schools, and streets named after him.

President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. And in 2014 the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in honor of Milk, the first time it had done so specifically to celebrate the contributions of an LGBT person.

And last night, in his remarks accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination to be its vice presidential candidate, former Virginia Governor and now U.S. Senator Tim Kaine referred to Milk toward the end of his speech among a litany of American political figures.

“Thomas declared all men equal, and Abigail remembered the women. Woodrow brokered peace, and Eleanor broke down barriers. Jack told us to ask, and Lyndon answered the call. Martin had a dream, Cesar y Dolores said si se puede and Harvey gave his life,” said Kaine. “Bill bridged a century, and Barack gave us hope. And now Hillary is ready. Ready to fight, ready to win, ready to lead.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:11 pm PST
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Man behind SF Pride parade’s Orlando tribute moving back to Florida

The 29-year-old Florida transplant who organized the “We are Orlando” contingent in this year’s San Francisco LGBT Pride parade has decided to move back home later this month.

Richard Sizemore, a queer man who has lived in the Castro for the past five years, told the Bay Area Reporter in an email that his decision to move stemmed from “many things.”

(Richard Sizemore organized the Orlando tribute contingent in this year's LGBT Pride parade. Photo: Richard Sizemore)

(Richard Sizemore organized the Orlando tribute contingent in this year’s LGBT Pride parade. Photo: Richard Sizemore)

“I don’t belong here anymore,” said Sizemore, who, until April worked at Falcon Studios in San Francisco.

“I feel completely disconnected from the city,” he said. “I can’t seem to find a space here that I feel comfortable in anymore. We live in a progressive city and state, which is why I moved here. Florida isn’t very gay-forward, so it seemed amazing to live in a state where the laws on the books were there to protect you and not persecute you. Now I feel like instead of moving here to be safe, I ran.”

Sizemore said he’d like to help bring about “political and social change for gay rights” when he returns to Florida.

“I also have an aching need to be there. To see Pulse, to cry my heart out with my friends in Florida, and to be closer to my mother and father,” he said, referring to the LGBT nightclub where 49 mostly gay men of color died and 53 others were injured in the June 12 mass shooting.

Sizemore moved to San Francisco in 2011, and for a time volunteered with Haus of Starfish, which raises money for the Leather Walk.

While organizing the parade contingent, Sizemore’s roommate asked him to move and after a monthlong search, he concluded it was impossible to find anything affordable.

Sizemore initially loved living in San Francisco.

“I lusted after it in the beginning, but that’s just changed. It requires such a hustle just to make it by, and we’ve just lost unique, quirky people that I loved that it’s just time,” he said.

Just after the Pride parade, where he organized and led a contingent of marchers honoring those lost in Orlando, Sizemore told the B.A.R., “Walking the three quarters of a mile in the parade turned out to be the most moving moment of my life.”

He said “the response we got – the clapping and the crying – people really appreciated our efforts to memorialize” the victims.

Over the past month, Sizemore said he’s “received so many thank yous and heartfelt messages from people around the world. It was just amazing to experience. An amazing group of people came together to make what was an amazing tribute. It still blows my mind.”

“It’s bittersweet to be leaving, but I know it’s the right thing to do,” he added.

When Sizemore returns to Florida, he plans to initially live with his mother in Melbourne, a beach town 70 miles east of Orlando. He is planning to ask the San Francisco Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – who marched with the Orlando contingent – to reach out to their colleagues in Florida to connect him like-minded people in central Florida.

“It will probably take me six months or a year to try and establish a footing with the gay community there again, and develop my reputation in regards to volunteer work,” Sizemore said.

Until then, he’s packing his belongings and hoping to couch surf in San Francisco for the next week or two.

– reported by Sari Staver

— Cynthia Laird, July 25, 2016 @ 3:00 pm PST
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Kaine has solid LGBT rights record

Many political observers have described Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as a moderate, but his record on equal rights in fact shows a commitment to LGBT citizens.

(Hillary Clinton, with her vice presidential running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Photo: Courtesy CNN)

(Hillary Clinton, with her vice presidential running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Photo: Courtesy CNN)

After signaling her intent through a Twitter post Friday night, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Saturday (July 23) afternoon formally announced Kaine as her vice presidential running mate.

Clinton said Kaine is “a progressive who likes to get things done.” She praised his “commitment to social justice,” noting that his early work as an attorney was as a civil rights attorney and praising his leadership on LGBT equality.

Kaine used his first speech on the campaign trail to criticize Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He also talked about his faith, his interest in social justice, and caring for everyone in the “rainbow of cultural diversity that embraces all people … regardless of sexual orientation.” He praised Clinton for fighting for the rights of minorities, including LGBT Americans. He said the Clinton-Kaine ticket would have a “strong progressive agenda.”

Since entering his first term in the U.S. Senate in 2013, Kaine, 58, earned a 90 score from the Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard. The 10-point deduction appears to have been his decision not to co-sponsor two bills: the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.

But Kaine is a chief sponsor of Equal Dignity for Married Taxpayers Act, seeking to provide for equal treatment of LGBT citizens under federal tax codes. He is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, which seeks a federal law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace and housing. And he voted for and co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2013, when the Senate passed the measure.

He also urged President Barack Obama to issue an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by contractors doing business with the federal government.

Last month, following the attack on an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Kaine joined lesbian Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and 22 other senators in a letter to urge the Food and Drug Administration to end its “discriminatory blood donation policy for men who have sex with men.” He was also among 40 senators to ask the Department of Education to provide guidance to schools on how to best provide for the “protection of LGBT students.”

Also last month, Kaine signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief in a case in the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kaine began elective office in 1994 as a member of the city council of Richmond, Virginia; then as mayor. He next served as lieutenant governor and governor of Virginia before being elected to the Senate.

As governor, Kaine banned discrimination based on sexual orientation for state employees. Although he was for giving same-sex couples the same rights as straight couples in marriage, he initially referred only to giving same-sex couples “relationship equality,” which many took to mean he preferred civil unions or domestic partnerships. But he campaigned against an effort to amend the state constitution to explicitly ban marriage for same-sex couples and, by the time he reached the Senate, he became a co-sponsor of a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Gay Virginia state Senator Adam Ebbin called Kaine “a great choice.”

“He is a genuine and authentic leader who is respected by Virginia politicians from both sides of the aisle. As a governing partner with Hillary Clinton, all Americans will benefit from Tim Kaine’s leadership – including the LGBT community,” said Ebbin.

“It is worth noting that, on then-Governor Kaine’s first day in office, in 2006, he issued an executive order barring discrimination in state hiring based on sexual orientation,” said Ebbin. “Later in 2006, when Virginia voters were faced with an anti-marriage equality constitutional amendment, then-governor Kaine announced his opposition to the measure on the steps of the Governor’s Mansion with his wife and her parents.”

Kaine is married to the daughter of another former governor of Virginia, Republican Governor Linwood Holton. Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton, was appointed by Virginia’s Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, as state secretary of education.

In the Senate, Kaine serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee.
Kaine is a Catholic and attends a predominantly black church. He spent a year as the principal of a Jesuit school in Honduras as a missionary. There, he became fluent in Spanish. He has said that his religious beliefs render him personally opposed to abortion, but he has stood up for a woman’s right to have an abortion if she chooses. He is opposed to capital punishment but did not stop several executions from taking place when he was governor of Virginia.

The Human Rights Campaign praised the selection of Kaine, saying he has demonstrated “a solid commitment to LGBTQ equality.”

“While Donald Trump doubled down on discrimination by picking Mike Pence,” said HRC President Chad Griffin, referring to the Indiana governor who has made a name for himself by opposing equal rights for LGBT people. “Hillary Clinton has bolstered her campaign’s historic commitment to LGBTQ equality by choosing Tim Kaine.”

Kaine’s nomination for vice president will be approved by the Democratic National Convention, which begins Monday in Philadelphia.

– reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, July 24, 2016 @ 7:52 am PST
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Clinton taps Kaine for running mate

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Friday announced that Virginia Senator Tim Kaine would be her vice presidential running mate.

(Virginia Senator Tim Kaine)

(Virginia Senator Tim Kaine)

Kaine, 58, a former Virginia governor, was expected to appear with Clinton at a Miami rally Saturday. The two are also set to appear on CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday for a joint interview.

Clinton announced her choice Friday evening via Twitter.

The Democratic National Convention begins Monday in Philadelphia.

— Cynthia Laird, July 23, 2016 @ 8:07 am PST
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Trump receives applause at mention of LGBTQ people

It was an odd moment in Republican National Convention history: The nominee of the nation’s most conservative party thanked the arena filled with the GOP faithful for “cheering for what I just had to say.”

(Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech Thursday. Photo: Michael Key/Washington Blade)

(Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech Thursday. Photo: Michael Key/Washington Blade)

Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump had just said that, “Only weeks ago, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist – this targeting the LGBTQ community. No good, and we’re gonna stop it.”

“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful, foreign ideology – believe me,” said Trump.

A few in the audience at Quicken Arena in Cleveland had begun to applaud after he said “oppression” but, after he specified “foreign ideology,” the larger crowd roared.

Departing from the text of his nomination acceptance speech Thursday night – at least a draft of the speech that was leaked late Thursday afternoon – Trump then added, “And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just had to say. Thank you.”

Having a Republican nominee describe LGBT people as “wonderful Americans” and promise to protect them from foreign hatred and oppression is new for the GOP, and many LGBT Republicans were ecstatic.

“This night keeps getting better!! DJT recognizes LGBTQ community re: Orlando and thanks the convention for supporting him on that issue and our community!” said gay Trump delegate Charles T. Moran, former president of the California chapter of Log Cabin Republicans.

“Incredible,” said Gregory Angelo, president of the national Log Cabin Republicans group, Friday morning, when asked how he felt about the convention.

Angelo said Trump’s remarks Thursday night were the first time in any political party that a nominee “explicitly referenced the LGBTQ community.”

While acknowledging that the party platform is the most anti-LGBT in history, Angelo said the platform is “not the GOP I know and the convention in many ways proved that.”

He noted, among other things, that right-wing Republican presidential hopeful Senator Ted Cruz said, in his speech Wednesday night, “Whether you are gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience.”

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel was given a prime-time slot on Thursday night’s dais and acknowledged being gay. Others speakers, signaling support for LGBT people included former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Eric Trump Foundation Vice President Lynne Patton, and a minister delivering Thursday’s invocation.

“I am proud to be gay, I am proud to be a Republican, but most of all, I am proud to be an American,” Thiel said during his remarks, drawing big applause.

Thiel referenced anti-gay laws such as North Carolina’s HB 2 that requires trans people to use public restrooms that correspond with their gender assigned at birth. Now, said Thiel, the debate is about “who gets to use which bathroom. Who cares?”

But mostly, Thiel stuck to economic themes and the tech industry, although he noted that he doesn’t agree with every plank in the party’s platform, a nod to its anti-LGBT positions on conversion therapy and marriage.

He also gave a full-throated endorsement to Trump.

“Stand up and vote for Donald Trump,” Thiel said.

Angelo said that he has long maintained Trump being gay-friendly.

“I’ve said time and again since August of last year that, if Donald Trump were to become the Republican nominee, he would be the most pro-gay nominee. What we saw, not only last night but throughout the GOP convention, was absolutely crescendo affirming that fact,” said Angelo.

Angelo said Log Cabin has made a request to meet with the campaign and hasn’t heard back yet. The group will not make an endorsement until that happens, he said.

A news release from LGBTrump, a group organized by gay conservative Chris Barron, said more than 500 people attended its event Tuesday night.

“We could not be any happier with how this event went,” said Barron. “We set out to hold an event that would both highlight the threat that radical Islam poses to LGBT Americans and show that there are lots of gay people and gay-friendly people supporting Donald Trump. It is clear that we succeeded by any metric.”

Not everyone was happy.

The Human Rights Campaign sent out a news release following Thursday night’s address, calling Trump’s expression of support for the LGBT community “appallingly feigned.” And social media postings from others criticized Thiel for dismissing the controversy over transgender use of bathrooms as “a distraction from our real problems – who cares?”

The Democratic National Convention opens Monday in Philadelphia.

– reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, July 22, 2016 @ 10:20 am PST
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NBA will move All-Star Game out of North Carolina

The NBA is poised to announce it will move next year’s All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, because the state’s anti-LGBT law remains in effect, according to published reports Thursday in USA Today and other outlets.

Update:The NBA released a statement Thursday afternoon confirming the 2017 All-Star Game would be moved.

“The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019,” the league stated.

(NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Photo: Courtesy

(NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Photo: Courtesy

The city stands to lose millions of dollars in hotel stays and other revenue from the move; All-Star weekend typically includes numerous associated activities in the city where it’s held.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been saying for months that he hoped North Carolina’s governor and lawmakers would modify the law, which went in effect this spring and forces trans people to use restrooms that correspond to their gender assigned at birth, rather than the gender with which they identify. The state has already seen cancellations of concerts and other events as a result of the law, known as House Bill 2.

“We were frankly hoping that they would make some steps toward modifying the legislation, and frankly I was disappointed that they didn’t,” Silver said at the league’s board of governors meeting in Las Vegas last week, according to USA Today.

The Bay Area Reporter, in an editorial, called on the NBA to move the All-Star Game back in April, citing North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law.

It was not immediately clear where the game would be moved, though reports said that New Orleans was being eyed as a possible site. The league said the new site would be announced in the coming weeks.

The Vertical was first to report the move.

— Cynthia Laird, July 21, 2016 @ 1:56 pm PST
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Lesbian GGNRA superintendent being sent to Grand Canyon

Christine Lehnertz, the superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, has been reassigned to the Grand Canyon. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Christine Lehnertz, the superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, has been reassigned to the Grand Canyon. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Christine Lehnertz, the superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is being reassigned to oversee the Grand Canyon National Park, which is still reeling from a sexual harassment scandal.

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis made the announcement Tuesday afternoon. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was reportedly instrumental in selecting Lehnertz for the new position.

The news comes after Dave Uberuaga announced he would retire as superintendent of the Grand Canyon park June 1. His decision followed the release of a scathing report in January that criticized him for failing to address “evidence of a long-term pattern of sexual harassment and hostile work environment’’ among park service employees assigned to the Grand Canyon.

“Chris brings outstanding leadership skills and an outsider’s perspective to the National Park Service. Since she joined the NPS, she has helped us think differently about conservation, preservation, employee engagement and public collaboration,” Jarvis stated, according to a story on SFGate.

A lesbian and one of the highest-ranking LGBT employees with the National Park Service, Lehnertz, 54, will be the first female superintendent of the internationally renowned Arizona park. She is scheduled to relocate in August with her wife, Shari Dagg, and Choco, a “courageous cat” they rescued when she worked at Yellowstone National Park.

“Like all organizations, the NPS has its ups and downs. In the midst of a very bright up, the Centennial year, we have learned of some very dark downs – sexual harassment in at least two national park units. The sexual harassment at Grand Canyon National Park and Cape Canaveral National Seashore means that some of our NPS colleagues have suffered immeasurable harm, and the outrageous misconduct of a few park employees has driven dedicated professionals away from federal service,” Lehnertz wrote in an email announcing her departure to her staff at GGNRA that was obtained by National Parks Traveler. “We can’t wait another moment for this to change dramatically, or for the NPS to honestly, directly, and completely address these issues. As part of that change, Secretary Jewell and Director Jarvis have asked me to report to the Grand Canyon as the park’s new superintendent.”

Born in Texas but raised in Colorado, Lehnertz graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and began her career in the Rocky Mountains. She worked for a variety of conservation agencies, including the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before joining the park service in 2007 as Yellowstone’s deputy superintendent.

In 2010 she was named the regional director for the park service’s Pacific West region. And last year she was named superintendent of the sprawling Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which encompasses multiple properties in three Bay Area counties.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a story in April, Lehnertz is no stranger to handling park service controversies. Her yearlong tenure overseeing the GGNRA has included a series of public outcries.

She has had to respond to inflamed opinions over everything from bonfire policies at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, restricting access to more popular sites like Muir Woods in Marin, and the rewriting of rules for where dogs can be walked off leash and are banned outright throughout the park’s many sites.

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 20, 2016 @ 5:31 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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