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Prominent Russian LGBTI activist stabbed to death

LGBTQ Washington Blade

Yelena Gregoryeva's body discovered in St.
'Yelena Gregoryeva , a prominent Russian LGBT rights activist, was murdered in St.Petersburg on July 21, 2019. (Photo via Facebook) A prominent Russian LGBTI activist was found dead in St.Petersburg on Sunday, according to activists and local media.The woman, Yelena Gregoryeva, 41, was an outspoken and prominent activist in the city.Authorities on Sunday said they found the body of a woman who had been stabbed.She was later identifiedas Gregoryeva by activists and family, the Russian outlet Fontanka reported.Police have detained a 40-year-oldman in connection to the killing.Gregoryeva campaigned with the Alliance of Heterosexual and LGBT for Equality .Svetlana Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian LGBT Network, told the WashingtonBlade she also worked with other civil society groups.Zakharova said not enough details about what exactly happened have been released yet.However, she said that Gregoryeva had been targeted recently on a website that drew inspiration from the horror movie franchise “Saw” and targeted LGBT people. “What we know is that her name wason the so-called Saw website,” Zakharova said.The website, “collected andpublished personal information on LGBT activists like names, photos andaddresses.” The site, which called for peopleto hunt those listed on it, was taken down by Russian authorities last week.It had appeared in 2018.The fact it took so much time for the police torespond to the website, Zakaharova said, shows anti-LGBTI attitudes among theauthorities.Another activist, Dinar Idrisov, wrote on Facebook that Gregoryeva had beenthreatened leading up to her murder.Idrisov wrote that Gregoryeva hadeven asked a friend to take care of her cat in case of her death.St.Petersburg was named the mostLGBTI-friendly city in Russia by a marketing agency back in January.However, last year tens of LGBTI rights activists were detained by authorities after participating inan unauthorized LGBTI event.Zakaharova said the city’s LGBTIpopulation had been shocked over Gregoryeva’s death.Russia has been in the spotlight of international LGBTI rights discussions since 2013 when the Russian legislature passed a law to ban so-called LGBTI “propaganda” that targets minors.Rights groups have noted an increase in harassment and violence at LGBTI people after the law passed.The European Court of Human Rights last week ruled that Russia had to pay 42,500 euros in damages to three LGBTI rights organizations after refusing to register them over the course of a few years. . The post Prominent Russian LGBTI activist stabbed to death appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights .'

Why the 'Queer Eye's 'Disabled But Not Really' Episode Is Dividing Fans

LGBTQ SheKnows

Last week, Queer Eye released its fourth season on Netflix, in which the Fab Five travel to Jonathan’s hometown in Illinois and Kansas City, Missouri. One of the most hotly debated issues with the new season is the Queer Eye “Disabled But Not
'Last week,  Queer Eye   released its fourth season on Netflix , in which the Fab Five travel to Jonathan’s hometown in Illinois and Kansas City, Missouri. One of the most hotly debated issues with the new season is the Queer Eye “Disabled But Not Really” episode, which is dividing fans on whether or not the show perpetuates an ableist view. Members of the disabled community have argued both sides on Twitter, alternately praising and critiquing the Fab Five’s approach. Some were thrilled to see a hero with a disability represented on the show and became emotional about the improvements made to his home. Others felt the core message (“disabled but not really”) was flawed from the start and that the Fab Five’s attitudes only compounded the problematic implication. The episode features hero Wesley Hamilton, a “former bad boy” who became paralyzed from the waist down after being shot six years prior. While Hamilton suffered acutely for many years, he ultimately feels he’s been given a new lease on life. He started over as a community activist and adaptive athlete and founded the organization Disabled But Not Really to instill “a physically limitless mindset that breeds courage, confidence and competence” in people with disabilities, according to its website. Hamilton helps people with disabilities improve their physical fitness and nutrition: two areas he found invaluable to regaining a sense of confidence after losing the use of his legs. As many viewers point out, it’s impossible for one disabled person to represent the community as a whole. But given the sad, limited state of disabled representation in movies and TV today, some members of the disabled community were still disappointed by the framing of the story the Fab Five chose to tell. Dan Freeman, a disabled writer and academic, created a popular Twitter thread on the subject, focusing largely on the internalized ableism he believed the message of “disabled but not really” represented. “This framing of disability isn’t all together surprising,” Freeman wrote. “We aren’t even three minutes in and the dominant narrative is ‘Disability is something that I’ve overcome, but other ppl still worry about it, so I try to fit into their narratives around disability.'” This will be the throughline in this episode, I think. We aren’t even three minutes in and the dominant narrative is “Disability is something that I’ve overcome, but other ppl still worry about it, so I try to fit into their narratives around disability”. — Dan Freeman (@DanFreem) July 19, 2019 The issue of internalized ableism struck a chord with many members of the disabled community, particularly those whose activism have focused on taking pride in one’s status as disabled, which is exemplified by the #SayTheWord , a campaign that reminds those to not erase one’s disability. Again, Hamilton can’t exactly be blamed for the attitude he takes toward his own disability. But given that this is the first disabled hero Queer Eye  has chosen, many wish they had chosen someone who embraced their disability and how it made them different — instead of trying to pretend it didn’t exist. Y’all I really want to enjoy the new season of #QueerEye coming this weekend but that trailer has me cringing. ‘Disabled but not really’ like?? Can a show that sees its self as progressive not just #SayTheWord & see that there’s pride in that identity? Please don’t mess this up. — Belle (@bellavenom) July 16, 2019 Overall, I still feel a little cringey about the phrase. But maybe that’s my own bias? Ultimately, I just want society to recognize that the words “Disability” and “Disabled” are NOT bad. I’m disabled and proud – and Wes is too #QueerEye @schwegs14 — Annesley Clark (@AnnesleyClark) July 19, 2019 A THREAD: S4E2 of @QueerEye features their first hero w/ a disability & disappointingly the ep is full of inspiration porn & internalized ableism. This isn’t the fault of the hero (whose charity is called “Disabled But Not Really”) who became paralyzed 7 years ago — probably on the red line (@tojustBe) July 21, 2019 I have pretty severe EDS and I can't do a lot the things Wesley's organization encourages. Hense why I think it would have been good to have someone to say say how disabled is not a bad word. It wouldn't have taken much to just have a little note at the end of the ep. — Madi Armstrong (@YourDadIsIzzy) July 22, 2019 Problematic aspects (momentarily) aside, it’s worth noting that a large faction of viewers were deeply moved by the content of this episode, particularly seeing Bobby transform Hamilton’s house into an accessible space, and Tan tailor Hamilton’s wardrobe to mitigate wheelchair-specific concerns. me watching this episode of Queer Eye where they made a man's whole house wheelchair-accessible AND tailored his entire wardrobe pic.twitter.com/xc2FZsh0nz — priscilla page (@BBW_BFF) July 23, 2019 Jesus episode 2 of #QueerEye got me in the feels. As a disabled person and wheelchair user I truly hope people open their minds when watching it to the struggles we face with shopping, accessible homes, appliances and just how society see us. — † 𝔊𝔢𝔬𝔯𝔤𝔦𝔫𝔞 † (@piercedmermaid) July 19, 2019 I will never get over Queer Eye. @bobbyberk making a man with a disability a WHOLE NEW ACCESSIBLE HOUSE?! My special ed. teacher self is sobbing. — Julia Allspaw (@julia_allspaw) July 21, 2019 Karamo facilitated a conversation between the dude & the guy who shot him, Tan got an entire wardrobe of clothes tailored to work with his wheelchair, Jonathan helped him get his hair cut for the first time since he got shot… and Antoni showed him how to make a chicken salad — PINKY FANG (@PINKYFANG) July 20, 2019 Others felt that Hamilton’s attitude toward his disability should be celebrated for its positivity — even if it isn’t representative of the larger community. “ We’re always harping about how we should ask disabled people what they want to be called. Well, Wesley is disabled and he named his foundation “Disabled But Not Really”, and that’s how he wants to be seen,” one tweet reads. “Is everyone like that? No. But that doesn’t mean we should shame him or #QueerEye for shining on a light on him or helping him out.” Y’all…episode 2 of the new season of Queer Eye is a BIG mood! So happy for more disabled people shown in a positive way. It makes me feel normal and that’s something we all need💖💖💖 — Theo (@geekygaymerguy) July 23, 2019 When I saw @QueerEye ep titled Disabled But Not Really I was skeptical. But I watched it anyway and: thank you. Thank you, QE, for highlighting disability and the institutional ableism that we struggle with every day. And in such a powerful episode beyond disability too. Wow. — Premed PhD (@PreMedPhD) July 21, 2019 May be an unpopular opinion among the #disabled community, but I just watched the disabled but not really episode of #queereye and I loved it. We’re always harping about how we should ask disabled people what they want to be called. Well, Wesley is disabled and — Jen McSpoonie (@Jentowe86) July 20, 2019 He makes me SO happy, and as a disabled person myself that episode meant the world ❤️ — Cilla (@SuperfruityPhan) July 23, 2019 Finally, other members of the disabled community pointed out that the race plays an important role in Hamilton’s story too — and should be considered when critiquing the attitude he takes toward his own disability. Social worker and activist Vilissa Thompson posted another popular Twitter thread on the topic, pointing out that many of the people most vocal about the episode lacked the appropriate context for what they chose to critique. “We need to notice how doting of a father Wesley is to his daughter & how his daughter views him,” Thompson wrote, noting an element of the episode that has been largely overlooked. “It’s critical to observe the fatherhood of Black disabled men. Again, something you all won’t get fully.” Many on Twitter applauded Thompson’s statements and directed other Queer Eye  viewers to read the opinions of black disabled people first and foremost. Watching the Queer Eye episode with Wesley & it’s very layered. The layers explains a lot, particularly the cultural dynamics of a Black man who admits he was living the “bad boy” life before his injury. This is definitely out of a lot of you all’s range to discuss properly. — Vilissa Thompson (@VilissaThompson) July 20, 2019 Now I'm awake again and this And I think this has put a glaring light on yall needing to SIT DOWN. and let black disabled people and POC Take the lead on topics about Black disabled people and POC #ChronicLoaf #FilmDis #QueerEye #QueerEye4 pic.twitter.com/ZsenkgNu23 — 💚Maelee Thee Unicorn🦄 (@Mae_DayJ) July 23, 2019 for everyone asking about my opinion of the ‘disabled but not really’ episode of queer eye it is this: i am white so it’s not my place to comment k bye✌️ — ellen (she/her) (@ellenblunsdon) July 23, 2019 Ultimately, expanding onscreen representation of any underrepresented group is bound to spark discussion like this, both from those unfamiliar with what they’re seeing and those who see themselves in the depiction.  Queer Eye  doesn’t bear sole responsibility for educating the masses on how to discuss disability and treat the disabled community. But given the show’s massive platform, it does seem fair to ask the Fab Five to carefully consider the implications of the episode’s message, and certainly to consult other members of the disabled community when crafting that message. What we need, more than anything else, is to continue broadening the diversity of experiences we show onscreen. Right now, the burden remains on marginalized groups to present perfectly representative individuals and to educate the masses when existing representation leaves them frustrated. Including Hamilton’s story in this season of Queer Eye  was a step in the right direction — but not a perfect one, and far from the only one we need.'

Lil Nas X scores top MTV VMA nominations

LGBTQ Washington Blade

'Lil Nas X. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons) Lil Nas X is among the most-nominated artists for the 2019 MTV Music Video Awards with eight nominations.The 20-year-old “country trap” artist, who recently came out as gay, received nominations for his breakout hit single “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.The video received nominations for Song of the Year, Video of the Year, Best Collaboration, Best Hip Hop, Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Art Direction.Lil Nas X also is nominated for the Best New Artist category.Fellow newcomer Billie Eilish came in with nine nominations for her single “Bad Guy.” Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift were the highest nominated artists with 10 nominations a piece.The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards will air on MTV on Monday, Aug. 26 at 9 p.m. live from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.Check out the list of nominees below.Video of the Year 21 Savage- “a lot” [ft.J.Cole] Billie Eilish- “bad guy” Ariana Grande- thank u, next” Jonas Brothers- “Sucker” Lil Nas X- “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft.Billy Ray Cyrus] Taylor Swift- “You Need to Calm Down” Artist of the Year Cardi B Billie Eilish Ariana Grande Halsey Jonas Brothers Shawn Mendes Song of the Year Drake- “In My Feelings” Ariana Grande- “thank u, next” Jonas Brothers- “Sucker” Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper- “Shallow” Lil Nas X- “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft.Billy Ray Cyrus] Taylor Swift- “You Need to Calm Down” Best New Artist presented by Taco Bell Ava Max Billie Eilish H.E.R.Lil Nas X Lizzo ROSALÍA Best Collaboration Lil Nas X- “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft.Billy Ray Cyrus] Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper- “Shallow” Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello- “Señorita” Taylor Swift- “ME!” [ft. ft.Brendon Urie] Ed Sheeran / Justin Bieber- “I Don’t Care” BTS- “Boy With Luv” [ft.Halsey] Push Artist of the Year Bazzi CNCO Billie Eilish H.E.R.Lauv Lizzo Best Pop 5 Seconds of Summer- “Easier” Cardi B / Bruno Mars- “Please Me” Billie Eilish- “bad guy” Khalid- “Talk” Ariana Grande- “thank u, next” Jonas Brothers- “Sucker” Taylor Swift- “You Need to Calm Down” Best Hip-Hop 2 Chainz- “Rule the World”[ft.Ariana Grande] 21 Savage- “a lot” [ft.J.Cole] Cardi B- “Money” DJ Khaled- “Higher” [ft.Nipsey Hussle and John Legend] Lil Nas X- “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft.Billy Ray Cyrus] Travis Scott- “SICKO MODE” [ft.Drake] Best R&B Anderson .Paak- “Make It Better” [ft.Smokey Robinson] Childish Gambino- “Feels Like Summer” H.E.R.- “Could’ve Been” [ft.Bryson Tiller] Alicia Keys- “Raise a Man” Ella Mai- “Trip” Normani- “Waves” [ft. 6LACK] Best K-Pop BTS- “Boy With Luv” [ft.Halsey] BLACKPINK- “Kill This Love” Monsta X- “Who Do You Love” [ft.French Montana] TOMORROW X TOGETHER- “Cat & Dog” NCT 127- “Regular” EXO- “Tempo” Best Latin Anuel AA / Karol G- “Secreto” Bad Bunny- “MIA” [ft.Drake] benny blanco / Tainy / Selena Gomez / J Balvin- “I Can’t Get Enough” Daddy Yankee- “Con Calma” [ft.Snow] Maluma- “Mala Mía” ROSALÍA / J Balvin- “Con Altura” [ft.El Guincho] Best Dance The Chainsmokers- “Call You Mine” [ft.Bebe Rexha] Clean Bandit- “Solo” [ft.Demi Lovato] DJ Snake- “Taki Taki” [ft.Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B] David Guetta / Bebe Rexha / J Balvin- “Say My Name” Marshmello / Bastille- “Happier” Silk City / Dua Lipa- “Electricity” Best Rock The 1975- “Love It If We Made It” Fall Out Boy- “Bishops Knife Trick” Imagine Dragons- “Natural” Lenny Kravitz- “Low” Panic!At the Disco- “High Hopes” twenty one pilots- “My Blood” Video for Good Halsey- “Nightmare” The Killers- “Land of the Free” Jamie N Commons / Skylar Grey- “Runaway Train” [ft.Gallant] John Legend- “Preach” Lil Dicky- “Earth” Taylor Swift- “You Need to Calm Down” Best Direction Billie Eilish- “bad Guy” (dir.Dave Meyers) FKA twigs- “Cellophane” (dir.Andrew Thomas Huang) Ariana Grande- “thank u, next” (dir.Hannah Lux Davis) Lil Nas X- “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft.Billy Ray Cyrus] (dir.Calmatic) LSD- “No New Friends” (dir.Dano Cerny) Taylor Swift- “You Need to Calm Down” (dir.Drew Kirsch and Taylor Swift) Best Visual Effects Billie Eilish- “when the party’s over” (visual effects: Ryan Ross, Andres Jaramillo) FKA twigs- “Cellophane” (visual effects: Matt Chandler, Fabio Zaveti for Analog) Ariana Grande- “God is a woman” (visual effects: Fabrice Lagayette, Kristina Prilukova & Rebecca Rice for Mathematic) DJ Khaled- “Just Us” [ft.SZA] (visual effects: Sergii Mashevskyi) LSD- “No New Friends” (visual effects: Ethan Chancer) Taylor Swift- “ME!” [ft.Brendon Urie] (visual effects: Loris Paillier & Lucas Salton for BUF VFX) Best Editing Anderson .Paak- “Tints” [ft.Kendrick Lamar] (editing: Elias Talbot) Lil Nas X ft.Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” (editing: Calmatic) Billie Eilish- “bad guy” (editing: Billie Eilish) Ariana Grande- “7 rings” (editing: Hannah Lux Davis & Taylor Walsh) Solange- “Almeda” (editing: Solange Knowles, Vinnie Hobbs, Jonathon Proctor) Taylor Swift- “You Need to Calm Down” (editing: Jarrett Fijal) Best Art Direction BTS- “Boy With Luv” [ft.Halsey] (art direction: JinSil Park, BoNa Kim (MU:E)) Ariana Grande- “7 rings” (art direction: John Richoux) Lil Nas X- “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft.Billy Ray Cyrus] (art direction: Itaru Dela Vegas) Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello- “Señorita” (art direction: Tatiana Van Sauter) Taylor Swift- “You Need to Calm Down” (art direction: Brittany Porter) Kanye West / Lil Pump- “I Love It” [ft.Adele Givens] (art direction: Tino Schaedler) Best Choreography FKA twigs- “Cellophane” (choreography: Kelly Yvonne) ROSALÍA / J Balvin- “Con Altura” [ft.El Guincho] (choreography: Charm La’Donna) LSD- “No New Friends” (choreography: Ryan Heffington) Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello- “Señorita” (choreography: Calvit Hodge, Sara Biv) Solange- “Almeda” (choreography: Maya Taylor, Solange Knowles) BTS- “Boy With Luv” [ft.Halsey] (choreography: Rie Hata) Best Cinematography Anderson .Paak- “Tints” [ft.Kendrick Lamar] (cinematography: Elias Talbot) Billie Eilish- “hostage” (cinematography: Pau Castejon) Ariana Grande- “thank u, next” (cinematography: Christopher Probst) Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello- “Señorita” (cinematography: Scott Cunningham) Solange- “Almeda” (cinematography: Chayse Irvin, Ryan Marie Helfant, Justin Hamilton) Taylor Swift- “ME!” [ft.Brendon Urie] (cinematography: Starr Whitesides) . The post Lil Nas X scores top MTV VMA nominations appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights .'

Marvel Phase 4 Includes Its First Gay Superhero, Female Thor & Other Diversity Milestones

LGBTQ SheKnows

After the massive hit that was Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios truly must have felt like the world was its playground — and judging from Marvel’s Phase 4 timeline, announced at Comic-Con 2019, that’s exactly how they’re treating it. The line-up,
'After the massive hit that was  Avengers: Endgame , Marvel Studios truly must have felt like the world was its playground — and judging from Marvel’s Phase 4 timeline , announced at Comic-Con 2019, that’s exactly how they’re treating it. The line-up, presented by Marvel president Kevin Feige, includes many MCU firsts: their first superhero of Asian descent, Shang-Chi; their first “scary” movie, the Doctor Strange  sequel; and of course, the first onscreen female Thor, played by Natalie Portman . Marvel isn’t just breaking its own MCU mold with its Phase 4 choices. As the film and TV industry continues to struggle with diversity , at least two of Marvel’s upcoming Phase 4 features are directed by women, and three by people of color. With the immense popularity Marvel has gained in recent years, other industry players will no doubt look to them for how to replicate their success. Marvel is wise to make it clear that diversity is essential to that success — and to make Phase 4 their most diverse (on- and off-screen) yet. Finally, even the method of viewing will change for Marvel’s Phase 4 titles, with six Disney+ TV series announced in their line-up. Disney+ is an upcoming streaming platform that will have exclusive access to all titles by Marvel, Disney, Pixar and more — scheduled to launch in November 2019. So, to catch over half of Marvel’s upcoming Phase 4, you’ll need to get access to Disney+. But on the bright side, more TV = more hours of content, right? Here’s everything we know is coming for Marvel’s Phase 4. Black Widow (May 1, 2020) Jay Maidment/Marvel/Walt Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock. Scarlet Johansson is reprising her role as Natasha Romanoff (AKA Black Widow) in a solo film scheduled for a May 1, 2020 release. The film will be directed by Cate Shortland, and will co-star Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, O-T Fagbenle, and David Harbour. The main villain was revealed at Comic-Con as Taskmaster. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier  (Fall 2020) Broadimage/Shutterstock. Set for a fall 2020 release,  The Falcon and the Winter Soldier  is one of Marvel’s Disney+ TV series, starring Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes. The villain will be Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo, last seen in  Captain America: Civil War.  The Eternals (November 6, 2020) Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Shutterstock. The Eternals  comes out November 6, 2020 and features a new group of superheroes for MCU to explore. Directed by Chloe Zhao, the film tells the story of a group of immortals watching over Earth, who are asked to intervene against a group called the Deviants. The film will feature MCU’s first disabled character : the deaf character Macary, who will be played by deaf actor Lauren Ridloff. Other stars of the film include Angelina Jolie , Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani , Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek , Lia McHugh, and Don Lee. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12, 2021) Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton,  Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings  will feature MCU’s first superhero of Asian descent. The film stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina, and Tony Leung and is set for a February 12, 2021 release. Leung will be playing the film’s villain, the Mandarin. Loki (Spring 2021) Marvel Enterprises/Kobal/Shutterstock. Loki  is another of Marvel’s Disney+ series and features Tom Hiddleston reprising his eponymous role. The show is set for a spring 2021 release and follows Loki’s storyline after he steals the Tesseract in Endgame . WandaVision  (Spring 2021) Marvel/Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock. Plenty of familiar faces are returning in this Disney+ series: Paul Bettany as Vision, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) and Captain Marvel ‘s Monica Rambeau, now played by Teyonah Parris. Set for a Spring 2021 release, the series is rumored to be set in the 1950s — but how and why Vision is now alive and interacting with Monica Rambeau, remains to be seen. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 7, 2021) The Moviestore Collection Ltd/Shutterstock. Benedict Cumberbatch ’s Doctor Strange is back — and apparently, scarier than ever. Director Scott Derrickson teased that the film will be “the first scary MCU film ,” while Marvel president Feige added that the film will have a connection to the events of WandaVision . Elizabeth Olsen will co-star as Scarlet Witch, and the film is set to debut May 7, 2021. What If…? (Summer 2021) Rob Latour/Shutterstock. In a truly wacky twist,  What If…?  will be an animated Disney+ series that explores alternate storylines from the Marvel universe, which will be different than the comics-inspired plots the MCU has often followed. The insanely star-studded voice-acting cast includes Michael B. Jordan , Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Neal McDonough, Dominic Cooper, Sean Gunn, Natalie Portman, Jeff Goldblum, Stanley Tucci, and Jeffrey Wright. The Disney + series is due in summer 2021. Hawkeye (Fall 2021) Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock. Set for Fall 2021, this Disney+ series will star Jeremy Renner ’s Clint Barton (AKA Hawkeye) and will heavily feature superhero Kate Bishop. The artwork revealed at Comic-Con suggests the series will draw on Matt Fraction and David Aja’s comic book run. Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5, 2021) Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock. Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is taking on  Thor: Love and Thunder  next, set for a November 5, 2021 release. The cast includes Natalie Portman as Jane Foster Thor and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie. Thompson confirmed the rumors at Comic-Con that Valkyrie will be openly bisexual in the film (as she is in the comics). The character will be MCU’s first openly LGBTQ+ superhero since Deadpool ‘s Negasonic. Blade (TBA) Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Shutterstock. Marvel hasn’t set a release date or a director for  Blade  yet, but they did announce the star: Mahershala Ali , who apparently called up Marvel after winning an Oscar for  Green Book  and proposed the idea. Judging from the response at Comic-Con, the story of Ali’s half-immortal vampire hunter will be one of the most hotly anticipated of Phase 4. Captain Marvel 2 (TBD) C Zlotnick/Disney/Marvel/Kobal/Shutterstock. Naturally, Phase 4 will include  Captain Marvel 2 : no date set, no director set and not even Brie Larson officially confirmed — but Marvel has indicated that another installment of the series is coming up. Black Panther 2 (TBD) Marvel/Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock. The next Wakanda adventure has confirmed writer-director Ryan Coogler and is set to begin shooting at the end of this year. Other details of the cast and plot remain unknown. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBD) Marvel Studios /Kobal/Shutterstock. Now that writer-director James Gunn has been un-fired from  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 , Marvel can once again move forward with the Chris Pratt-led feature. Likely due to the crew re-shuffling, Guardians  was not officially included on Marvel’s upcoming schedule, but both the studio and Gunn have confirmed that plans are in place to shoot the third installment as soon as possible.'

North Carolina Reaches Settlement In Long Battle Over Bathrooms And Gender Identity


The deal, approved by a federal judge on Tuesday, enshrines the right of transgender individuals to use bathrooms that match their gender identities in many North Carolina public buildings.
'The deal, approved by a federal judge on Tuesday, enshrines the right of transgender individuals to use bathrooms that match their gender identities in many North Carolina public buildings. (Image credit: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)'

Opposition to State Department human rights advisory commission grows

LGBTQ Washington Blade

'More than 1,000 activists, advocacy groups, clergy and former government officials have signed letters that urge Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to disband the State Department’s controversial Commission on Unalienable Rights.More than 1,000 activists, advocacy groups, clergy and former government officials have signed letters that urge the State Department to disband its controversial human rights advisory commission.The Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights First, Amnesty International USA, Equality California, OutRight Action International, Council for Global Equality and PFLAG are among the 178 advocacy groups on Tuesday that signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the Commission on Unalienable Rights.FormerNational Security Advisor SusanRice, former U.S.Ambassador to the U.N.SamanthaPower, former U.S.Ambassador to the Organization and Cooperation in Europe DanielBaer and U.S.Rep.Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) and 37 other former governmentofficials signed the letter.Amy Lehr of the University of Virginia School ofLaw, HRC Press Secretary Charlotte Clymer and Bi Women Quarterly Editor RobynOchs are among the hundreds of other signatories. “We,the undersigned U.S. foreign policy, human rights, civil liberties, socialjustice, and faith leaders, experts, scholars, and organizations, write toexpress our deep concern with the Department of State’s recently announced Commissionon Unalienable Rights,” reads the letter.The commission, which Pompeo announced on July 8, will stress “natural law and natural rights.” Mary AnnGlendon, a Harvard Law School professor who is known for her vocal oppositionto marriage rights for same-sex couples, will chair it. “We object to the commission’s stated purpose, which we find harmful to the global effort to protect the rights of all people and a waste of resources; the commission’s make-up, which lacks ideological diversity and appears to reflect a clear interest in limiting human rights, including the rights of women and LGBTQI individuals; and the process by which the commission came into being and is being administered, which has sidelined human rights experts in the State Department’s own Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor,” reads the letter. “We urge you to immediately disband this body, and to focus your personal attention on the significant challenges currently facing the protection of human rights globally.” New York Congressman Eliot Engel and 49 other Democratic membersof the U.S.House of Representatives, including Minnesota Congresswoman IlhanOmar, last week in their own letter to Pompeo said they are “deeplyconcerned” over the commission.NBC Newson Tuesday reported 22 Democratic members of the U.S.Senate sent their own letter to Pompeo inwhich they too express their concerns.A number of presidential candidates —including U.S.Sens.Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) andKristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) — signed the letter.More than1,200 Catholic leaders in their own letter to Pompeo on Tuesday also urged himto disband the commission. “We are Catholic theologians, community leaders and advocates working on a variety of human rights concerns,” their letter reads. “As persons who live and serve in this nation, we cherish and affirm the American Declaration of Independence’s assertion of the truth that all persons ‘are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ We write to express our strongest objections to the goals and composition of the new Commission on Unalienable Rights.” “Our faith and our commitment to the principles of democracy require us to view every person on earth as a full human being,” it adds. “We staunchly support the fundamental human rights of all people and proudly carry on the long tradition in our country of advocating for expanding human rights around the world.It is our belief that this commission will undermine these goals by promoting a vision of humanity that is conditional, limiting and based on a very narrow religious perspective that is inconsistent with the beliefs and practices of billions in this country and around the world.” The Washington Blade hasreached out to the State Department for comment on the letters.Pompeo last week defended the commission in a speech he delivered at the State Department’s second annual religious freedom conference in D.C.A senior administration official with whom the Blade spoke on July 8 said the commission was “never an intention to single out a group of people, whether it be LGBTQ people, whether it be women.” Bill seeks to ensure US foreign policy promotesLGBTI rights The three letters were sent toPompeo a day after U.S.Rep.Dina Titus (D-Nev.) introduced a bill — theGreater Leadership Overseas for the Benefit of Equality (GLOBE) Act — thatwould ensure U.S. foreign policy continues to promote LGBTI rights.The measure, among otherthings, would codify into a law the position of special envoy for the promotionof LGBTI rights abroad.Other lawmakers have introduced similar measures in Congress over the last year. “No person should suffer fromdiscrimination because of who they are or whom they love,” said Titus in apress release. “Under the Trump Administration, the U.S. is failing to protectthe rights of LGBTI people at home and abroad.” “This bill will helprestore our role in promoting LGBTI rights around the world and punishingregimes that persecute people based on their sexual orientation or genderidentity,” she added.The Trump administration earlier this year announced openly gay U.S.Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell will lead an initiative that encourages countries to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations.The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S.Agency for International Development continue to support efforts to curb the global HIV/AIDS epidemic among LGBTI people as the Blade has seen this week at the IAS Conference on HIV Science in Mexico City.The State Department earlierthis year faced criticism over its failure to publicly acknowledge Pride monthand the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.TheTrump administration’s opposition to LGBTI rights and its overall foreignpolicy continue to spark outrage among activists in the U.S. and around theworld. . 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Marianne Williamson: ‘I honor gay love because it’s love’

LGBTQ Washington Blade

'Marianne Williamson says love can defeat President Trump. (Photo by Marcn via Facebook) One underdog Democratic presidential candidate with firsthand experience of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s wants to wield love — including gay love — as her weapon of choice to take on President Trump in 2020.Marianne Williamson, an author whose vision for a “ Politics of Love ” is the subject of her latest book and drew attention at the first Democratic debate, said in an interview Thursday with the Washington Blade her vision applies to LGBT people. “I don’t think that there’s gender to love, I don’t think there’s sexuality to love,” Williamson said. “I think that sexuality and gender are the containers and the ways we express our love, but I think love is love.I honor gay love because it’s love.I honor love.” Williamson, 67, said her work during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s is “well-documented.” At the time, she founded the Los Angeles and Manhattan Centers for Living, which sought to provide free non-medical care to people with HIV, and Project Angel Food, which delivers food to homebound people with AIDS. “I’ve worked with thousands of people during that time, during the AIDS crisis, spiritual support groups, food, etcetera.,” Williamson said. “So actually, my activism on behalf of that community has been ongoing and began during the AIDS crisis, so my connection to that community has been strong and has been going on for a very long time.” In the aftermath of racist tweets from President Trump and presiding over a rally in which supporters chanted “send her back” in reference to Rep.Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Williamson likened the current administration to Nazi Germany before World War II.Asked what aspect of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT record bothers her the most, Williamson identified the transgender military ban, saying Trump “in many ways, leads the pack” in cultural attitudes against transgender people.When the Blade asked Williamson why she thinks Vice President Mike Pence, seems so uncomfortable with the idea of gay rights, she laughed and referenced rumors that Pence is himself gay without explicitly saying so. “Well, there are all kinds of theories about that, aren’t there?” Williamson said. “Everyone can have their own — can have their own.I have no idea, but I have a sense that other people do.” Remembering Los Angeles as being hard hit by AIDS in the 1980s because it affected many people in the entertainment industry and LGBT people, Williamson became emotional and unable to speak when she reflected on the ravages of the disease. “Those of us who did experience it, it imprints them,” Williamson said. “You’re imprinted with something.I can’t even talk about it now and not —“ David Kessler, a gay longtime friend of Williamson, said the candidate is “brilliant and articulate and she has always been someone who thinks a little out of the box,” marveling at her work during the height of the AIDS epidemic.The two met, Kessler said, as a result of an AIDS support group she held in his living room every Monday night when he was in another section of town doing a support group.Recalling the days when medical practitioners would decline to treat people with AIDS, Kessler said Williamson would visit gay men as they were dying in hospitals and came up with the idea for the Los Angeles Center for Living. “Even back then, I said, ‘Well, do you have a business plan?” Kessler said. “And she goes, ‘No.I don’t have a business plan.I’m just trying to make this happen.And I’m like, ‘Well, you’re going to need a business plan for an organization.’ And she goes, ‘I’m going to just make this happen.’ And she started calling people, and started saying we have to this place for people to come, and the next thing I know, she started this amazing LA Center for Living.” Kessler said Williamson started Project Angel Food when she realized gay men with AIDS had stopped coming to the center because they were too sick to leave their homes. “They were getting sicker and they couldn’t come in for lunch,” Kessler said. “And she said, ‘Well, we have to bring them lunch,’ and that turned into Project Angel Food, which still exists today, and just the other day served its 12 millionth meal.” Williamson has taken flak for once calling vaccine mandates “Orwellian” and “draconian” — a statement for which she has since issued an apolog y — and bristled when asked whether she would support a hypothetical HIV vaccine. “I think my quote unquote, concern over vaccines has been vastly misrepresented,” Williamson said. “I am pro-vaccine.I am also pro-independent scientific research.And I am aware of how often in our country today because of the influence of Big Pharma, independent research through such sources as the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health so forth, is diminished.I also am never happy with the suppression of independent consultation In the United States.” Regarding the AIDS vaccine, Williamson said she “knows that it exists.” Just last week, the National Institutes for Health announced the start of trials in the United States and abroad for a potential HIV vaccine.Kessler defended Williamson as a supporter of medicine, saying “there’s been things said that she’s against medicine, which is completely utterly wrong.” “I remember Marianne giving men money and taking then to UCLA for the AZT study and giving them money for prescriptions,” Williamson said. “There’s no part of Marianne that was anti-medicine.” Despite Williamson’s record of working for LGBT people, many LGBT voters have been drawn to other candidates, including gay South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (whose success to date Williamson called “wonderful.”) One gay Democratic advocate with familiarity of LGBT donors in Los Angeles, who spoke on condition of anonymity for greater candor, said eyes have been on other candidates who appear better poised to win in the general election. “I know that there are a number of folks here who look very kindly on all of the work that she did in the community in the past — but most are now focused on more serious candidates who stand a real chance at beating our current threat: Donald Trump,” the advocate said.The full interview follows:  Washington Blade: Let me just get right into it.The Washington Blade is the nation’s oldest LGBT newspaper.We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary, in fact, this year.And so to start off with, I want to ask you, because you’re running in a field of Democratic candidates with records in support of LGBT rights, what makes you think your candidacy and vision for a “politics of love” is the best choice for the LGBT community?Marianne Williamson: Well, I actually have a very long record of activism on behalf of the LGBTQ community.Starting in 1983, starting in the 80s, with the AIDS crisis, my activism is well documented, having founded the Los Angeles Centers for Living, and the Manhattans Center for Living, both which gave non-profit, gave free non-medical services to people living with AIDS and other life-challenging illnesses.And one of the programs of the Centers for Living was Project Angel Food.This was a “Meals on Wheels” program I founded in the late 80s, to feed homebound people with AIDS.Today, the organization still exists and has served over 11 million meals.I did numerous — I’ve worked with thousands of people during that time, during the AIDS crisis, spiritual support groups, food, etc.So actually, my activism on behalf of that community has been ongoing and began during the AIDS crisis.So, my connection to that community has been strong and has been going on for a very long time.Blade: And I think, as you said, that your work with the Los Angeles and Manhattan Centers for Living, and Project Angel Food is well documented.But what about the future?To what extent will your signature plans — the institution of a Department of Children & Youth, the Department of Peace and reparations — address issues facing LGBT people?Williamson: I don’t think the Department of Children & Youth or even necessarily the Department of Peace specifically speak to that.The issue of LGBT rights to me is a basic justice and civil rights issue in the United States.Discrimination against gay people, particularly against trans people today, is unfortunately, it could be argued at an all-time high.It seems in some ways, and in some ways, it is true, great strides have been made.Also, I’d like to point out that I was — among public figures — I was very, very early in support of marriage equality, long before most democratic politicians were, I was out there publicly talking about how gay people should be able to marry while a lot of other people, even on the left in public positions, we’re saying, oh marriage is — what did they say? — you know, between a man and a woman or whatever.So I have always been very, very vocal about my support.In terms of what’s happening today.Well, obviously great strides have been made, marriage equality, etc.When you look at some of the discrimination, and also some of the cultural attitudes, particularly against trans people, it’s very disturbing what is happening today.And of course, unfortunately, this president in many ways, leads the pack.So I have, as I have always had, a very acute awareness and sensitivity to the propensity of certain forces, to scapegoat the LGBTQ community, and to — through legislation, as well as the propagation of very unjust cultural attitudes — make life harder for them.I’m very aware of always to the best of my ability, within the purview of the power that’s been given me, stood up not just in word, but in action, and will definitely continue to do that as president of the United States.Blade: I did want to ask you some questions about President Trump.He’s had quite a controversial week to put it politely.On Sunday, he told four congresswomen to go back to their home countries in racist tweets and held the rally last night, and which supporters chanted “send her back” in reference to Rep.Ilhan Omar.What’s your reaction to all that?Williamson: I’d be glad to send you the link to the CNN interview with Anderson Cooper that I gave right after the rally.I thought it was one of the most disturbing speeches a president of the United States has ever given.It was beyond disturbing, it was dangerous.These are elected — these are American women.They are elected representatives in Congress, and our political opponents are not our enemies.We do not do that in America.And all people of goodwill and conscience — in fact, all patriotic Americans, whether on the left or on the right, need to be very alert and aware of the danger that is posed by this kind of dictatorial behavior.This kind of saying this demonization of one’s political opponents is straight out of a fascist playbook.Blade: In terms of LGBT rights, though, what upsets you the most about how President Trump has handled them?Williamson: Well, the military ban is particularly egregious, because these are people who have volunteered to give their lives if necessary.The idea that you would actually reject someone who has offered to sacrifice their life on your behalf is such an emotional and psychological assault, in addition to being an assault on their rights as American citizens.I take the Declaration of Independence very seriously.To me, it is America’s mission statement.And what is wrong in our country is that we have lost our psychological and emotional commitment to that statement.All are created equal.All were given by God the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Governments are instituted to secure those rights.And I note, not thwart those rights, secure those rights.And it is the right of the people to alter that government, if it fails to do so.It is time for all patriotic Americans to not only understand that, but to also realize that, as my father used to say, if they’re coming from anyone, they could come for you someday.As Martin Luther King said, injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.So as president, it would not even matter to me whether someone is gay, straight, LGBTQ, black, white, brown, what their ethnicity [is]. They’re American.For that matter, they’re human.Because I believe that when the Declaration of Independence says all are created equal it doesn’t even just say Americans.The issue of equality for all is core to everything America stands for, and we should have a president deeply committed to that principle, not willing to compromise it in any way, shape or form.Blade: One more question about the Trump administration.Why do you think Vice President Mike Pence seems so uncomfortable with the idea of gay rights?Williamson: [laughs] Well, there are all kinds of theories about that, aren’t there?Everyone can have their own — can have their own.I have no idea, but I have a sense that other people do.Blade: What is your theory?Why do you think that is?Williamson: I don’t know.I don’t know.It’s not, it’s not my job to weigh in on the vice president’s motivation.It’s my job to weigh in on his behavior, as vice president of the United States, his words and his behavior, or whatnot.And they are not in my mind in keeping with the dedication to equality that is called for in someone who holds a high office or any political office in the United States.Blade: I want to go back to your history and how during the AIDS epidemic, you founded the Los Angeles and Manhattan Center for Living and Project Angel Food.Would would be the No. 1 thing you learned from that experience?Williamson: That people are so good.When that happened, I was living in Los Angeles at the time, and Los Angeles was particularly hard hit by the epidemic.And also the entertainment industry, it was very hard hit by the epidemic because so many people in the arts, so many gay people, so many people who were affected by the illness, were, you know, living in Los Angeles, living in New York, in theater, design, fashion.It was — it was — it was — it was like a war zone in ways that many people today cannot even imagine.Because for a long time there was nothing.I’m not saying that Western medicine wasn’t doing its best, because it absolutely was.But it took a while before the diagnosis of the virus was anything other than a death sentence.And so all we had was our love for each other, but love for each other was so prevalent.People were so willing to do anything, and the bravery and people and the love in people — because remember, it wasn’t just people who had the virus.It was also people whose brothers or sisters whose parents, whose children, whose friends — it seemed like almost everybody was affected.And yet we were there for each other.And I saw what people will do for each other.And I think everybody who lived through that time is marked by that experience.No one who lived through it will ever forget it.But you remember…I’ll be glad to send you my book, my new book, “Politics of Love.” In the introduction, I talk about it.And I talk about it in terms of my experience having been through a collective trauma.That’s what it was.It was a collective trauma.It wasn’t just what you were going through, or what I was going through, it’s what everybody we knew was going through.And it’s — it’s an experience like no other.And I’m glad for people who have never experienced it.Don’t get me wrong.But those of us who did experience it, it imprints them.You’re imprinted with something.I can’t even talk about it now and not —  [At this point, Williamson says she has to check in to the airport for a flight and will call back.] Blade: That disease still exists today.And what I want to ask you about is one thing that the Trump administration has done is start an initiative that the Department of Health & Human Services that has the goal of ending the HIV epidemic by the year 2030.Are you aware of this initiative?And what do you make of it?Williamson: I’m not aware of the initiative.But is it — the first thing I would do is to ask gay leaders, actually, do they feel that that is a year that is reasonable, or should we try to speed it up.And I support any initiative and from any administration, whether it’s the Trump administration or any other if, in fact, is gets support.I’m certainly aware that AIDS still exists.It doesn’t exist in the United States like it once did. … And I support anything, any initiative, that would be of support in ending that epidemic.Blade: You’ve expressed concern in the past about vaccine mandates.Do you think the creation of an HIV vaccine and a mandate to have that vaccine would be a good thing?Williamson: First of all, I think my quote unquote, concern over vaccines has been vastly misrepresented.I am pro-vaccine.I am also pro-independent scientific research.And I am aware of how often in our country today because of the influence of Big Pharma, independent research through such sources as the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health so forth, is diminished.I also am never happy with the suppression of independent consultatation In the United States.Regarding the the AIDS vaccine, I know that it exists. [Williamson speaks off the record] Blade: Okay, let’s go back on the record.And get back to the Democratic primary and the election.One candidate that’s doing very well is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.Are you surprised that a candidate like him, an openly gay candidate like him, can be so successful?Williamson: I think it’s wonderful.I think it’s wonderful for America that he is successful.I think that the election of President Obama demonstrated an openness on the part of Americans.And so, given the fact that we elected a black president, I’m not shocked at the willingness of the American people to elect a gay president.I also hope the American people will be willing to elect a woman president, I hope the American people will be willing to elect a Jewish president.I hope that we are living at a time when we are ready to receive each other at a deep level and honor each other at such a deep level as to recognize the genius that lies within us all.Blade: What is the most significant relationship you have with someone in the LGBT community?Williamson: Well, my daughter has five gay godfathers.My best friend was — for many years — he died a couple of years ago, three years ago, four years ago, was a gay man.So my relationships with gay individuals have been actually very deep.Blade: Is there anyone in particular who stands out to you?Williamson: Well, Richard Cooper was my best friend.He died, unfortunately.There was a gentleman named Bruce Biermann, who I’m sure would be glad to talk to you because he was very much a part of the whole Project Angel Food for years.Also David Kessler, both of them are godfathers to my daughter.They were both very involved.And David is also involved in my campaign, the relationship goes back many years and very — we’ve all been through a lot together.Blade: What would you say if your child came out to you as gay or transgender?Williamson: Good for you that you know who you are, and it’s good for you that you know what is right for you.Are there any challenges that you’re facing?I’m your mom.I’m here for you.How can I help?I’d also say to my daughter: Just be clear, I still want grandchildren.Blade: That’s understandable, right?So, I mean, You talk a lot about the politics of love.And you said during the last debate, you said you want to beat President Trump in a field of love.Do you think gay love can beat President Trump?Williamson: I think love is love.I don’t think that the way — gay love, straight love, the important part to me there is love.I think the point is that there is no — I don’t think that there’s gender to love, I don’t think there’s sexuality to love.I think that sexuality and gender are the containers and the ways we express our love, but I think love is love.I honor gay love because it’s love.I honor love.Blade: I guess is my final question for you: Love regardless of gender, I mean, how confident are you when the dust clears in November 2020, how confident are you know that it will ultimately defeat President Trump?Williamson: Let’s look at what is happening in this country.And let’s look at the reaction of people to what is happening in this country.Let’s look at how many Americans are deeply aware that democratic values, humanitarian values, everything that makes a democracy meaningful, and life beautiful, is under assault from the policies of this administration.I trust the American people to wake up to this moment, to rise to the occasion to resist what needs to be resisted, and pave the way for a better future for us all.I have faith that the American people are going to rise to the occasion here.I believe that it will happen. . 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Mayor urges LGBT community to join campaign against illegal guns

LGBTQ Washington Blade

'Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C.Police Chief Peter Newsham at a news conference on Monday urged city residents to anonymously report to police people they know who possess illegal firearms. (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro Jr.) The LGBT community should join all District residents in responding to a special appeal made by D.C.Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham on Monday for city residents to inform police of people they know who have illegal guns, according to District Police Lt.Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit.Bowser and Newsham issued their call for city residents to contact a police anonymous Firearm Tip Line following a five-day period beginning July 17 in which at least 19 people were shot in D.C., with eight of them shot fatally.Among those shot to death was 11-year-old Karon Brown, who police say was struck by bullets fired by a suspect outside a McDonald’s restaurant at Naylor and Good Hope roads, S.E., where a fight broke out between adults and juveniles.Newsham said tips by outraged residents helped homicide detectives identify the suspect, who has been charged with second-degree murder Although none of the 19 shootings were known to be LGBT related, Parson noted that the large majority of murders of LGBT people in the D.C. area in recent years, especially murders of transgender women of color, have been the result of gunfire.According to D.C. police records, at least six transgender women and two gay men murdered in the D.C. area since 2000 died from gunshot wounds.The mayor and Newsham made their appeal for residents to alert police of people they know who are in possession of illegal firearms at a July 22 news conference at D.C. police headquarters on Indiana Ave., N.W.They urged people who know someone in possession of an illegal firearm to anonymously text a message to the Tip Line at 50411 or by calling the anonymous Tip Line at 202-727-9099.A reward of up to $2,500 is being offered to people whose tips lead to the confiscation of illegal firearms or the arrest of those in possession of such firearms. “We need you to help us make our neighborhoods safe by letting us know about illegal guns, letting us know about people you know who are prepared to use them and have access to them,” Bowser said. “Let us know before they kill somebody,” she said. “Let us know before they ruin their own lives by committing these tragic homicides.” The latest spate of shootings follows the March 30 shooting death of transgender woman Ashanti Carmon, 27, and the June 13 shooting death of trans woman Zoe Spears, 23, within a four-block area in Fairmount Heights, Md., just across the D.C. line in Prince George’s County.Last week, P.G.County Police arrested 33-year-old Baltimore resident Geraldo Thomas in connection with the Spears murder.They said they have yet to determine a motive for the killing. “Gun violence knows no gender, it knows no sexual orientation,” Parson told the Blade when asked about the impact on the LGBT community of the city’s effort to persuade city residents to report people who possess illegal guns. “Gun violence impacts our entire community,” he said. “And to the extent that anybody that lives, works, does business in the District of Columbia knows about an illegal fire arm, we want them to tell us,” Parson said. “If you’re asking me if we have a specific appeal to the LGBT community, I don’t think you need to look very far to realize that Ashanti Carmon, Zoe Spears – and those are just the ones on the top of my head – they have all died as a result of gun violence,” he said in referring to recent and past LGBT murders in the D.C. area. “Gun violence touches this community and it should be something this community is concerned about regardless of their race, their gender, or their sexual orientation,” Parson said.In response to a question from the Blade, Newsham said at the news conference on Monday that D.C. police continue to investigate five separate incidents of assaults or threats against LGBT people in D.C. that have occurred over the past two months. “As you know, we take that very seriously,” Newsham said. “The Special Liaison Unit has been in contact with all of the victims in those cases.I don’t have any significant progress to report,” he said. “But as we have updates I will provide them to you and make sure you have them.” He noted that following the murders of Carmon and Spears, who lived in D.C., District police have been in close contact with P.G.County police. “We have offered them our special services with our Special Liaison Unit if they want to take advantage of that because we do have such a great relationship with the LGBT community here in Washington, D.C.,” Newsham said.Newsham told the Blade after the news conference that he disagrees with the interpretation of D.C.’s juvenile justice law that information cannot be disclosed about the disposition of cases in which juveniles are arrested for violent crimes, including crimes against LGBT people.He was referring to one of the five recent cases of anti-LGBT assaults in D.C. where two juvenile males and an adult male were arrested by D.C. police for assaulting a gay male couple on U Street, N.W. near the gay bar Nellie’s on June 16.One of the two victims was hospitalized and treated for broken teeth and other injuries.The U.S.Attorney’s office said it dropped an assault charge against the adult on grounds that insufficient evidence existed to secure a conviction if the case went to trial.But the Office of the D.C.Attorney General, which prosecutes crimes committed by juveniles, has declined to say whether the two juveniles were still being prosecuted, saying the city’s juvenile justice law prevents the release of any information pertaining to a juvenile case. “I would say I would personally disagree with the assessment that you can’t release the disposition of a [juvenile] case,” Newsham told the Blade. “My reading of the law is you keep the juvenile’s name and personal information private.I think the disposition of the case is something you should have access to,” he said. “If it requires a legal change I would 100 percent support that legal change.I truly believe that the victim of a crime should know what’s going on with the case regardless of whether or not a juvenile or an adult is the subject,” he said. . 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