Two weeks before Pride 2018, Baltimore has no LGBT liaison, no LGBT commission

Two weeks before Pride 2018, Baltimore has no LGBT liaison, no LGBT commission

With less than two weeks to go before Pride 2018 , Baltimore’s annual weekend of solidarity and celebration for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the Pugh administration has no LGBT liaison and no functioning LGBT commission.

The lapses have frustrated the city’s LGBT leaders.

Last January, Mayor Catherine Pugh issued an executive order creating an LGBT commission, prompting more than 170 people to express interest. No set of commission members has yet been announced.

Meanwhile, the person who the mayor had named as LGBT liaison, former Tent City protest leader Samantha Smith, has resigned, complaining that she was “asked to be untruthful with the community that I service.”

While calling the mayor “a wonderful woman that is making great changes in Baltimore,” Smith said, “the people she has working for her are snakes.”

Writing to the director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Services, Smith complained of “unnecessary conversations about my gender identity” that “made me feel uncomfortable in the workplace.” (See letter below.)

Smith, who continues to work in the human services office, did not respond to a request to elaborate. A Real Commitment?

Smith’s resignation, along with the administration’s failure to seat a commission, has left Ava Pipitone, executive director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance, wondering about Pugh’s commitment to the community.

“She didn’t come through on either promise,” Pipitone said yesterday.

The problem may stem from the mayor getting bad advice, Pipitone speculated, or from a vision of governing that doesn’t recognize communities like hers.

“The mayor’s priority has been investing in the empowerment of business and development interests. She has chosen that approach over empowering minority groups and grassroots organizations.”

A spokesman for Pugh had no comment other than to say he would try to get answers to questions from The Brew. Unexpected Appointment

LGBT leaders had been hopeful after Pugh agreed last August to create an LGBT commission, something the city has not had since the Sheila Dixon administration.

But they were surprised when the mayor appointed Smith to the paid liaison position, rather than naming a leader of one of the city’s established LGBT groups.

Smith expressed surprise herself.

Last summer, Smith and others occupied tents on War Memorial Plaza, opposite City Hall, to call attention to affordable housing needs and homelessness.

After 10 days, an end to the action was announced. Smith, declared the group’s leader, agreed to be bused to a closed school in Sandtown, as did 55 other participants.

At the same time, Smith revealed that she had been hired by Mayor Pugh.

“It really was a blessing – she offered me a job in her office,” Smith told The Brew as the Tent City campers moved their belongings into the Pinderhughes building, where cots had been set up. Samantha Smith (center) became the director of the Pinderhughes transitional facility after last summer’s homelessness protest in front of City Hall. (Louis Krauss) Learning her Limits

LGBT leaders said Smith accomplished little in her new role. Pipitone said she was ill-equipped for the job and was argumentative. “We engaged with her, but right away she started picking a fight with the community.”

At the same time, Pipitone said Smith had to deal with insensitive language and attitudes at City Hall. “Samantha had a hard job and didn’t have a lot of clarity about what she was really there for,” she said.

When LGBT leaders learned that Smith was no longer to be liaison, having her duties refocused to “homeless outreach,” they began to organize.

A coalition of leaders outlined the demographic categories and kinds of expertise that ought to be represented at City Hall.

“We have a lot of knowledge and expertise to offer the mayor,” Pipitone said. “We’re hoping to help.”

Lorde’s sister Indy Yelich-O’Connor comes out as bisexual

Lorde’s sister Indy Yelich-O’Connor comes out as bisexual

Instagram Indy Yelich-O’Connor also recently published her first poetry book, Sticky Notes.

Lorde’s sister, Indy Yelich-O’Connor has come out as bisexual. The 19-year-old kept things simple by tweeting out: “plot twist (I like boys and girls)” plot twist (I like boys and girls) — indy yelich (@IndyYelich) May 29, 2018 Related: Rita Ora comes out as having “romantic relationships” with men and women

The author also posted the same message on her Instagram story. Following the post, Yelich-O’Connor was inundated with messages of support. — ᵍᶦᵒ ✧ nsfr ✧ ʸʸˣʸ (@caffecomleigh) May 30, 2018 Proud of you! Hopefully one day we’ll live in a world where this won’t be considered a plot twist. — Kelly Severseike (@kellyseverseike) May 29, 2018 (Plot twist) me too — Jorja (@Jorjas_ratpack) May 31, 2018 Sista sista ✨ love you Indy! Welcome to 20gayteen ???????? — mercury (@nessabelen) May 30, 2018 we love and support a bi queen — fagner (@hatepeters) May 29, 2018 Following all of these messages, Indy then posted: “today was so amazing. I had so many messages of support & the sun was shining, and I just love New York.

“So grateful for my life and all the people in it. And I can’t wait for my book tour.” today was so amazing. I had so many messages of support & the sun was shining, and I just love New York. So grateful for my life and all the people in it. And I can’t wait for my book tour. — indy yelich (@IndyYelich) May 30, 2018 And the book that she’s promoting is her debut poetry collection, Sticky Notes, which was published in February earlier this year. The collections of poems explores the young poet’s “experiences with love, travel, and self-discovery in a shifting physical and emotional geography.”

White supremacist escapes jail sentence after being found guilty of planning to attack a Pride event

White supremacist escapes jail sentence after being found guilty of planning to attack a Pride event

A white supremacist, who planned to attack a Pride event has escaped a jail sentence, but has instead been placed in indefinite detention.

Earlier this year , Ethan Stables was found guilty of preparing an act of terrorism, threats to kill, and possessing explosives. Stables was planning on carrying out the attack at a Pride event that was being held at the New Empire pub in his hometown of Barrow-in-Furness.

His attack was foiled after he shared his plans with a white supremacist Facebook group. A member of the private group who saw the messages alerted the police and shared a warning on Twitter.

“There’s a Pride night. I’m going to walk in with a fucking machete and slaughter every single one of them,” Stables wrote. “I don’t want to live in a gay world and I sure as hell don’t want my children living in one.”

Police also uncovered a YouTube video of Stables burning a rainbow flag, where he can be heard saying: “That rainbow [is] so much nicer when it’s on fire. It’s just like gay people. Much nicer when they’re on fire.”

The court also heard that Stables had made a series of ominous Google searches including ‘I want to go on a killing spree’ and ‘How to be a terrorist’.

However, following a psychiatric assessment, Stables avoided a jail sentence. He was instead given an indefinite hospital order. These kinds of orders are used when someone is confined to a psychiatric hospital for treatment for a mental condition.

Stables has Asperger’s Syndrome, and his mother claimed that he had become “brainwashed” by far-right extremists following a trip to Germany.

During the trial, Stables came out as bisexual and claimed that he only wrote the posts to impress friends. At the time, BBC News reported that Stables said that he had hidden his sexuality as he felt that his parents would be ashamed of him. The judge later dismissed his coming out, as “lies.”

Free PS4 Theme From Sony Celebrates LGBT Pride Month

Free PS4 Theme From Sony Celebrates LGBT Pride Month

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Now Playing: Free PS4/PS3/Vita PlayStation Plus Games For June 2018 Revealed As you might have noticed, many brands have been replacing their logos with new rainbow-colored versions of late. That’s because June is LGBT Pride month , a time when we celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history. In honor of Pride month this year, Sony has released a free PS4 theme called "For All the Players." You can download it right here .

After downloading it, you can set it as your PS4’s background by going to Settings > Theme Settings and finding the "For All the Players" theme. Press X to select it and again to apply it, and boom–you’re all decked out in Pride.

Appropriately enough, the theme paints your home screen’s background in all the hues of the rainbow, giving a colorful splash to the pre-installed icons as well. The sounds, however, remain the same as the default theme. This isn’t the first time Sony has released a PS4 theme in support of progressive issues. To celebrate International Women’s Day earlier this year, PlayStation Europe released a free PS4 theme that was only available in the UK.

You can read more about LGBT Pride month at the Library of Congress’s website .

Ariana Grande ‘inspired’ by the LGBT Community

Ariana Grande 'inspired' by the LGBT Community

Ariana Grande feels "inspired" by the LGBT Community.

The 24-year-old singer has penned a note to the community – which encompasses people including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender – in honour of Gay Pride Month, in which she praised the "joy and love" spread by the members of the community, including her older brother Frankie, 35.

She wrote: "There is nothing more infectious than the joy and love that the LGBTQ community exudes. I grew up with a gay brother whose every move I would emulate. I idolised him. Everything Frankie did, I would do. I can’t remember a difference between Frankie before he came out and Frankie after he came out. I was taught to do my makeup by queens in gay bars in New York City. I made my Broadway debut at 14 years old and did eight shows a week but there was never a night I was too tired to run to a gay bar and do a quick Whitney cover before bed."

The ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ hitmaker went on to thank the LGBT community for being an inspiration to her, and for "celebrating" her the way that she celebrates them. In her note, which was published by Billboard for their ‘Love Letters to the LGBT Community’ series, Ariana wrote: "Love is like music. It knows no boundaries and isn’t exclusive to any one gender, sexuality, race, religion, age or creed. It’s a freedom and a delicious luxury that all people should be able to sink into and enjoy every moment of.

"I am eternally indebted to and inspired by the LGBTQ community. I hope to create anthems for you that wrap you up with comfort and make you get your best life for as long as I live. Thank you for celebrating me the way I celebrate you. I love you forever."

Nice Guys in Cape Coral turns hateful review into LGBT fundraiser

Nice Guys in Cape Coral turns hateful review into LGBT fundraiser

See how the guys at Nice Guys Pizza in Cape Coral make their Hot Honey Pizza. Annabelle Tometich/ Nice Guys in Cape Coral is turning a hate-filled review into an opportunity to raise money and consciousness on local LGBT issues.

(Photo: Special to The News-Press) The one-star Google review landed Thursday like a burning cross on Nice Guys’ proverbial front lawn.

It was meant to intimidate and belittle. It served as a reminder that, even in 2018, hate exists.

"(Slur) and Democrat locals."

Short but hardly sweet.

The author chose a three-letter F word to lead his statement, one used to demean people of alternate sexualities. He posted it the day before the start of Pride Month .

"Greg gets the email alerts when we get a new review," Nice Guys co-owner Jovana Batkovic said. "It’s usually not something we pay a lot of attention to. But this one, he screen-shotted it and texted me like, ‘Can you believe this?’

"It just blew my mind that people talk like that."

But instead of hiding the review or asking Google to remove it — the site did that on its own sometime early Friday morning — Batkovic and her husband and business partner, Greg Gebhard, clapped back. Nice Guys Pizza and Beer opened in 2013 in south Cape Coral. They posted a screenshot to Nice Guys’ Instagram page Thursday afternoon, asking "hateful bigots" to please not frequent their restaurant. The post has garnered more than 500 likes and 100 comments, all of them in support of this 5-year-old south Cape Coral pizza bar.

The next step: Plastering the review onto a few hundred T-shirts, which Batkovic and Gebhard plan to sell from the restaurant next week. Their friends Joe and Jess Lachut, owners of Fort Myers Print Corps, are donating their labor free of charge.

One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Pride SWFL, an organization devoted to providing a "positive image of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people."

"Take the lemons and make merengue, right?" Batkovic said, rolling the r in merengue (as in the dance) into a long purr.

"Raise money for the groups that he’s hating on."

While Nice Guys isn’t exactly a "gay restaurant" — ironically, Gebhard and Batkovic eloped Monday on Sanibel — the owners’ views on the subject are made plain by the rainbow-striped pride flag draped over the bar. And then there are the Sunday drag-queen brunches, and the restaurant’s sponsorship of the SWFL Pride festival last October.

The couple said they opened Nice Guys to be all-inclusive, a place where majorities and minorities are treated equally.

"The moment you walk in, there’s a rainbow flag and centerfolds of naked ladies on the bar," Batkovic said.

"Within 10 seconds of walking in, you can tell if you’re going to like us or not. Some people leave, but no one’s ever done anything like this."

Batkovic said she’s been pleasantly shocked at the outpouring of support.

"We have regulars of all ages, all kinds, who are all so bomb. I don’t care how you live your life as long as we can be on the same page on how we treat other people, especially people who are not the majority," Batkovic said.

"I hate that this even came about, that we have to deal with it, but the outcome is going to be positive. It already is."

Nice Guys hopes to have the fundraising T-shirts available for sale by Wednesday. Find the restaurant at 1334 Cape Coral Parkway E., Cape Coral; call 549-7542 or visit for more.

Bisexual women are twice as likely to be abused by their partner

Bisexual women are twice as likely to be abused by their partner

Meet the new International Mr Leather Here are 19 beautiful pictures of Birmingham Pride Here’s 22 pictures of Belgium Pride taking over the capital A woman crying | Photo: Unsplash/Thought Catalog Bisexual women are nearly twice as likely to be abused by a partner than straight women.

The information comes via the Office of National Statistics. Their report covers women aged 16-59 in England and Wales from March 2015 to 2017. Many of the statistics are alarming.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) defines domestic abuse as three different types: Non-sexual abuse — physical, financial, emotional, etc.

Sexual assault and rape

Stalking and threats

Bisexual women in danger

In the last 12 months, 10.9% of bisexual women surveyed have experienced domestic abuse of some kind. This is compared to 6% of heterosexual women.

There are more differences when different types of abuse are taken into account.

For example, 6.8% of bisexual women reported experiencing non-sexual abuse compared to 3.9% of straight women.

Matters become much more dire when looking at sexual assault. Bisexual women are fives times as likely to suffer sexual assault from a partner compared to straight women (1.9% to 0.4%).

This links up to other risks bisexual people face. A third of UK bisexual students face bullying and are also more likely to self-harm .

Because of these challenges and fears, bisexual people hide their sexuality more than gay people. Other factors that contribute

Younger women also experience more abuse than older women.

Women aged 16-19 and 20-24 reported abuse the most out of the surveyed age groups.

ONS graph of age | Photo: ONS

Other results from this survey reveal that women suffering from illness and disabiliy, mixed race women, and women from lower incomes face more abuse.

13% of women with a dehabilitating illness or disability suffer from abuse, compared to 5% of women without an illness or disability.

10% of mixed race women, compared to a little over 6% of white and black women, face abuse.

Finally, women who live in a household with an annual income less than £10,000 were five times more likely to suffer abuse than women living in a household with an income of more than £50,000.

What are UB med students learning about treating LGBT patients?

What are UB med students learning about treating LGBT patients?

View Slideshow 1 of 2 Dr. Lisa Jane Jacobsen teaches reproductive health at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Second year students in the University at Buffalo’s medical school have a lot to learn, especially about treating individuals in the LGBT community. WBFO’s Avery Schneider takes us on a classroom visit.

A sweet, reassuring voice singing Fred Small’s “Everything Possible” might be what you expect at a lighthearted folk concert. But in this case, it’s actually the start of a class on reproductive health at the University at Buffalo’s downtown medical school. About 150 future doctors are here to discuss caring for patients in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.

“You can be anybody you want to be. You can love whomever you will,” sings Lisa Jane Jacobsen, Clinical Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology, in a pre-recorded video. Dr. Lisa Jane Jacobsen in her office at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences “You know that message can be conveyed in so many different ways,” she said. “And I think I was hoping that it would be somewhat impactful and fun.”

Jacobsen uses the song to prepare students who, within a few months, will be interacting with patients each day. And some of those patients will be from the LGBT community.

“We try to teach them to be respectful of different beliefs, religions, cultures, ethnicities, opinions, and that they don’t have to agree with everybody, but that they certainly have to be respectful and help people,” said Jacobsen.

It’s what she calls “cultural competency.”

Students also have to understand the long list of health concerns LGBT patients may face. They range from broad issues with discrimination and health insurance, to more specific ones like cancers and sexually transmitted infections.

Getting into a discussion of those topics takes the right questions. Some start with sexual activity, which can be hard for even doctors to talk about. And it can be harder when dealing with LGBT patients.

“The ability to be comfortable asking those questions in a respectful fashion that continues to build that bond between a doctor and patient is a really, really huge asset for medical professionals to have,” said Kayden Maclay, who found his identity as a transgender male when he entered college. For the second year in a row, he’s been asked to talk to the students at UB.

“I am one trans person, I don’t represent the entire trans population,” Maclay tells the students as introduces himself. Kayden Maclay and his dog The Kent State Senior and Williamsville native wants them to feel comfortable with people who are transgender. He also wants them to understand the discrimination they sometimes face.

“Once people are able to see me as Kayden – and not just as the trans kid standing in front of class, or in front of a lecture hall, or in the middle of a hospital – as soon as I become Kayden and I stop being the trans guy, it’s a lot easier to put that struggle on a face and suddenly empathize with it,” he said.

By the end of the class, the lesson takes hold with students like Mary Leeman of Rochester, who’s learned there’s a lot she still doesn’t know, but that that’s okay.

“It’s not going to offend the person if I’m like, ‘Okay, so you’re a male to female transgender. What does that mean? Can you educate me on it,’” said Leeman. “Letting the patient educate me, rather than me thinking I’m supposed to know all the answers, and if I tell them I don’t know something than they’re going to think I’m a bad doctor or provider because I’m uneducated. But it’s like, no, they can teach me.”

And Helia Zand of Maine learned “you can’t use a cookie cutter” approach when treating the LGBT community.

“You do have to get a feel for a person,” she said. “You know, if they’re a little bit more uncomfortable, maybe today’s not the day we go fully in. Maybe today we just build rapport, and the next time I see you, you know that you can open up.”

Ultimately, their most practical education will come from training in clinical settings. The learning – and their questions – don’t stop when they leave the classroom.

Medical Professors Lisa Jane Jacobsen and Christopher Cohan sing Fred Small’s "Everything Possible" in this video used to open a discussion on treating the LGBT population in a reproductive health course at the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Hong Kong court overturns landmark LGBT spousal benefits ruling

Hong Kong court overturns landmark LGBT spousal benefits ruling

HONG KONG (Reuters) – A Hong Kong court ruled on Friday that the husband of a male civil servant was not entitled to spousal benefits, overturning a landmark lower court ruling in a setback for the city’s LGBT community.

Marriage is legally defined as a monogamous union between a man and a woman in Hong Kong, where the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s fight for legal rights has received support from multinational companies.

Angus Leung Chun-kwong, a senior immigration officer, filed a judicial review in 2015 against the government after it denied medical and dental benefits for his spouse, Scott Paul Adams. The couple were legally married in New Zealand in 2014.

In April last year, the High Court ruled that the couple were entitled to spousal benefits, but rejected their bid for a joint tax assessment as a married couple.

The government and couple appealed the court decision.

On Friday, Court of Appeal Judge Jeremy Poon wrote that Hong Kong laws did not recognize same-sex marriage and prevailing social values played a “highly significant” role in the court’s decision to overturn the benefits ruling.

“If spousal benefits and joint assessment, which have been long associated closely and exclusively with marriage, were made available to homosexual couples, it would per se undermine, or be perceived by many to undermine, the status of marriage,” the judge wrote.

The government was not an ordinary employer but “the custodian of Hong Kong’s prevailing socio-moral values”, Poon said.

The Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s ruling that the couple’s taxes could not be jointly assessed.

Leung said he and his husband were “deeply disappointed” and considering an appeal to the Court of Final Appeal, the city’s top court.

“It is a huge back step for equality in Hong Kong,” Leung said in a statement.

“We are not asking for special treatment, we just want to live our life fairly and with dignity.”

Human rights lawyer Mark Daly, who represented Leung, said he feared the judgment could “embolden anti-LGBT paranoia”.

The Civil Service Bureau and the Inland Revenue Department said they welcomed the ruling.

Hong Kong, though part of China, enjoys a high degree of autonomy under a “one country, two systems” formula.

On Monday, the Court of Final Appeal will hear one of the city’s highest-profile LGBT rights cases involving a British lesbian, known as QT, who sued the government for not issuing her spouse a visa.

The government filed an appeal after QT won the case at the Court of Appeal in September.

Fifteen global banks, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, as well as 16 international law firms, had applied to intervene in the case and support QT, but the application was dismissed by the Court of Final Appeal.

Reporting by Venus Wu; Editing by Darren Schuettler

Is the word ‘dyke’ offensive?

Is the word ‘dyke’ offensive?

(Image: Flickr/Danielle Walquist Lynch) If you’re a lesbian, or a sensible person of any other sexual orientation, you’ll already know that the word ‘dyke’ should not be used lightly.

If you don’t know what you can and cannot say when it comes to derogatory queer terms, ‘dyke’ is a slang word for lesbian – often those of us who present masculine, butch or androgynous.

It originated as a derogatory label for lesbians, and is still used as such by some, well, dumb people, though has since been reclaimed by many girls-who-like-girls, and is widely accepted within the queer community.

Why? Well, people often argue that there’s power in taking back slur words used against them. What others have used to hurt us, they can no longer, because the power has been taken away from them. Lea Delaria as ‘Big Boo’ on Orange is the New Black (Netflix) According to GLAAD , the term dyke is still derogatory, and the criteria for using the word should be the same as those applied to vulgar labels used to target other groups. It should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted.

It’s also recommended that when used by the media, even in a quote, it’s preferable that reporters say: ‘The person used a derogatory word for a lesbian.’

Though the origin of the word dyke isn’t actually known, it’s thought to have come from the mid-19th century term ‘bulldyke,’ also used as a pejorative way to describe lesbians.

The term was reclaimed as early as 1971, when feminist lesbian poet and author Judy Rae Grahn published a poem called ‘Edward the Dyke’ in the Women’s Press Collective. These days, Dyke Marches are proof of how the lesbian community has reclaimed the term. Dyke Marches – mostly-lesbian protests akin to LGBT pride parades – aim to increase lesbian visibility and activism, and include people who identify as bisexual, intersex, non-binary, transgender, and so on.

In the lesbian community, the word dyke is used in several slang terms, including ‘baby dyke’ – which refers to someone who recently came out as a lesbian, and ‘dykon’ – aka a famous woman popular among queer women and seen as a gay icon, who’s not necessarily gay herself.

Others include ‘bull dyke’ (the most masculine of butch lesbians), ‘diesel dyke’ (another butch variety of lesbian, similar to bull dyke, but associated with trucks, short hair and plaid shirts), ‘sporty dyke’ (a lesbian who dresses in sporty clothing and plays a lot of sport), and even ‘granola dyke’ – a lesbian who is vegan/vegetarian and enjoys wearing Birkenstocks, eating tofu, listening to folk music, and playing the acoustic guitar, etc.

Despite all of this, it’s still very much used as a slur – just look at right-wing pundits Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes, who, in March, went on a bizarre rant in which they claimed that “sexless, depressed, old, chubby dykes control the political narrative.”

Also in March, SNP MP Mhairi Black opened up about the vile homophobic and sexist abuse she has suffered as a Member of Parliament. (ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images) The out Scottish National Party politician became the UK’s youngest MP when she entered Parliament in 2015 – but revealed that she’s ‘been called a dyke, a rug muncher, a whore.’

Generally speaking, it’s considered rude to use the word ‘dyke’ unless you self-identify as one. If you’re ever unsure about using the word, just don’t – even if you’re an LGBT+ person. (And just don’t at all if you’re straight.)

To describe a homosexual woman, lesbian is the correct term.