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Activists in violence-plagued Honduras city hold Pride parade

Gangs, police target San Pedro Sula’s LGBT residents

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LGBT rights advocates in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, take part in a Pride parade on July 15, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Freddy Funez)

Hundreds of people from across Honduras on Saturday participated in a Pride parade that took place in one of the world’s most dangerous cities.

Kendra Stefani Jordany, a transgender woman who is running for the Central American Parliament, is among the roughly 400 people who took part in the march in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula.

A bill that would allow trans Hondurans to legally change their names on legal documents are among the issues that Jordany and other parade participants highlighted. They also marched in support of LGBT Hondurans’ participation in the country’s general election that is scheduled to take place on Nov. 26.

Freddy Funez, a local LGBT rights advocate, told the Los Angeles Blade the first Pride parade in Honduras’ second-largest city took place in 2000. He said people lined the streets on Saturday and watched the parade as it made its way through the city.

“What we want is that our vote, our voices are included in these public political processes,” he told the Blade.

Funez told the Blade a group of “homophobes” shot guns into the air during the parade. He said a group of evangelical Christians with loud speakers gathered in a park in downtown San Pedro Sula, but parade participants “did not realize what they said because we were in our celebration.”

Funez said nobody was injured during either incident.

“We want to demand the same rights that any other Honduran has in this country,” he told the Blade.

Parade participants seek ‘more inclusive society’

San Pedro Sula, which has a population of more than 700,000 people, is roughly 150 miles northwest of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.

San Pedro Sula in 2015 had 171.2 murders per 100,000 people, which made it the most dangerous city in the world that it is not in a war zone. This figure dropped to 111.03 murders per 100,000 people in 2016.

René Martínez, a prominent local activist who was a member of President Juan Orlando Hernández’s ruling National Party, was found strangled to death in June 2016 after leaving his home in San Pedro Sula’s Chamelecón neighborhood.

Funez, who worked closely with Martínez, and other activists with whom the Blade spoke earlier this year while reporting from San Pedro Sula said police officers and gang members frequently target trans sex workers for extortion and violence and force them to sell drugs. They also said local residents who publicly criticize the gangs and the police and file formal complaints against them often receive threats that force them into hiding.

A lack of employment, education and health care and poverty have made many members of San Pedro Sula’s LGBT community susceptible to violence and discrimination. Many of them have chosen to flee the country for Mexico, and ultimately the U.S.

“We marched with the entire LGBTI community for a more inclusive society,” Javier Carrington, a local LGBT rights advocate, told the Blade.

The parade took place less than a week after David Valle of the Center for LGBTI Development and Cooperation, a Honduran advocacy group, was brutally attacked inside his home in Tegucigalpa.

Valle was scheduled to attend a meeting of Honduran advocacy groups in San Pedro Sula on Monday the U.S. Agency for International Development has organized.

Valle was expected to attend a meeting of Honduran LGBT and intersex advocacy groups in the city of San Pedro Sula on Monday that the U.S. Agency for International Development has organized. Valle, who ran for office in 2011, has participated in Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute-sponsored meetings and conferences in Honduras, the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

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Blinken says Biden raised Russia’s LGBTQ rights record with Putin

Geneva summit between two presidents took place on June 16

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken (YouTube screenshot)

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said President Biden raised the Kremlin’s LGBTQ rights record with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their recent summit.

“The president pushed human rights — including LGBTQI rights — with President Putin,” Blinken told Washington Post columnist, “PBS NewsHour” contributor and host of MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show” Jonathan Capehart during a virtual Pride month discussion the Atlantic Council hosted.

Biden met with Putin on June 16 in Geneva. Blinken was among those who participated in the summit.

The White House did not say whether Biden specifically raised Russia’s LGBTQ rights record with Putin. Biden told reporters after the summit that he stressed to Putin “that no president of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our democratic values, to stand up for the universal rights and fundamental freedoms that all men and women have, in our view.”

“What he told President Putin is that as an American president — where for all of our challenges, many of which are manifest in recent months and recent years — this is something that is basically stamped in to our DNA and he would be abdicating his responsibility as president, as an American president, not to raise these issues,” Blinken told Capehart.

Capehart specifically asked Blinken about the case of two Chechen brothers who were arrested in Russia in February and returned to their homeland, even though they had fled Chechnya’s anti-LGBTQ crackdown.

“We didn’t get into specific cases in that meeting, but he made very clear to President Putin that this is fundamentally who we and who he is and what we’ll do and will continue to do going forward,” said Blinken.

Blinken also did not say how Putin specifically responded to Biden’s decision to raise his country’s LGBTQ rights record with him. Blinken, however, did say “there was at least an acknowledgment” the U.S. will raise human rights in such meetings.

“This is what an American president should do,” said Blinken. “This is who we are and this is what we represent to the world.”

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Politics

The Stonewall Inn bans Anheuser-Busch during NYC Pride weekend

“We urge Anheuser-Busch and other companies doing this to publicly commit to stop donating to anti-LGBTQ politicians”

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NYC Pride 2019 passes in front of the Stonewall Inn (Photo by Andrew Nasonov)

NEW YORK – In response to news that the Anheuser-Busch InBev company had made political contributions to lawmakers behind bills targeting transgender youth, the owners of the Stonewall Inn announced its ban of AB InBev products during New York City’s Pride weekend.

The historic West Village pub, widely regarded as the location of one of the seminal defining events in the history of the LGBTQ rights movement, is sponsoring a public ‘pour-out’ of Bud Light, Michelob ULTRA, and Stella Artois in front of the bar on Wednesday, June 23, to demand that the Leuven, Belgium based AB InBev stop donating to anti-LGBTQ legislators and commit to using its lobbying efforts to advance the Equality Act.

Should the Equality Act be passed, it would afford LGBTQ people with equal nondiscrimination protections under federal law.

“You can’t turn your logo rainbow on social media, call yourself an ally, and then turn around and make donations that fuel hate. There are really no excuses, and companies like Anheuser-Busch need to own up to what they’ve done,” said Stonewall Inn co-owner Stacy Lentz. “As a business owner, it’s never easy to stop selling a product that affects your bottom line — especially during the busiest weekend of the year. But I’m an activist above all else and we at The Stonewall Inn know we bear a unique responsibility to call out hypocrisy when we see it. Anheuser-Busch and other companies must do better.”

According to data from the Keep Your Pride campaign, since 2015, Anheuser-Busch has made 48 donations totaling $35,350 to 29 anti-LGBTQ legislators behind recent bills attacking trans youth. 

Through its nonprofit arm, The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, Stonewall recently launched the Safe Spaces program, which identifies and certifies entertainment venues, food and beverage locations, stores, businesses, and other public venues as Safe Spaces for LGBTQ people. Under its criteria for certification, businesses that donate to anti-LGBTQ lawmakers would not qualify for designation as a Safe Space.

“As one of our best-selling products, Bud Light has been a longtime staple here at The Stonewall Inn. It’s deeply disappointing to learn that Anheuser-Busch has given money to lawmakers who are attacking trans kids, some of the most vulnerable people in the LGBTQ community,” said Stonewall Inn co-owner Kurt Kelly.

“We’re horrified to see so-called allies supporting lawmakers who would make life harder for anyone in our community. We urge Anheuser-Busch and other companies doing this to publicly commit to stop donating to anti-LGBTQ politicians and use their lobbying power to support the Equality Act,” Kelly added.

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National

Vigil held after Wilton Manors Pride parade accident

Fort Lauderdale mayor expressed ‘regret’ over initial terrorism claim

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A vigil in the wake of the accident at the Stonewall Pride Parade took place at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 20, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — More than 100 people on Sunday attended a prayer vigil in the wake of an accident at a Wilton Manors Pride parade that left one person dead and another injured.

The vigil took place at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale.

Clergy joined activists and local officials at a vigil at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 20, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)

A 77-year-old man who was driving a pickup truck struck two men near the Stonewall Pride Parade’s staging area shortly before 7 p.m. on Saturday. One of the victims died a short time later at a Fort Lauderdale hospital.

The pickup truck narrowly missed U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who was in a convertible participating in the parade, and Florida Congressman Ted Deutch.

The driver of the pickup truck and the two men he hit are members of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department on Sunday described the incident as a “fatal traffic crash” and not a terrorism incident as Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis initially claimed.

“As we were about to begin the parade, this pickup truck, this jacked up white pickup truck, dashed across, breaking through the line, hitting people, all of us that were there could not believe our eyes,” said Trantalis as he spoke at the vigil.

Trantalis noted the pickup truck nearly hit Wasserman Schultz. He also referenced the arrest of a 20-year-old supporter of former President Trump earlier in the week after he allegedly vandalized a Pride flag mural that had been painted in an intersection in Delray Beach, which is roughly 30 miles north of Fort Lauderdale.

“I immediately knew that something terrible was happening,” said Trantalis, referring to the Stonewall Pride Parade accident. “My visceral reaction was that we were being attacked. Why not? Why not feel that way?”

“I guess I should watch to make sure there are no reporters standing by when I have those feelings, but that was my first reaction and I regret the fact that I said it was a terrorist attack because we found out that it was not, but I don’t regret my feelings,” he added. “But I don’t regret that I felt terrorized by someone who plowed through the crowd inches away from the congresswoman and the congressman, myself and others.”

Trantalis also told vigil attendees that “I guess we forgive” the pickup truck driver.

“But I regret that his consequences resulted in the death of an individual who was innocent and who was there to have a good time, like the rest of us, and I regret there is a man who is in serious condition … fighting for his life and there,” added Trantalis.

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