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GLAAD on Harvey Weinstein controversy

The accused sexual harasser has contributed to and been honored by several LGBT organizations

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Harvey Weinstein and Jennifer Lawrence at GLAAD Awards in 2013 (Photo courtesy GLAAD)

After former President Bill Clinton, the next most prominent and powerful men at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles in April 2013 were entertainment attorney Steve Warren, a GLAAD honoree, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and producer Harvey Weinstein, who presented Clinton with his GLAAD award, alongside actress Jennifer Lawrence.

Mostly known as the quick-and-hot tempered powerhouse producer who green-lit important indy films, Weinstein was at times awkward and downright giddy on stage as he tried to read from notecards while Lawrence mangled her reading from the teleprompter—all in good fun. But after the stunning, blockbuster New York Times revelations of allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein by scores of women in Hollywood, the exchange between the heavyweight producer and his Oscar-winning “Silver Lining Playbook” star seems oddly awkward.

“Before we begin, I just want to congratulate Harvey and his wife Regina on the birth of their new baby boy,” Lawrence says, stroking his back. “Harvey gave us just what we needed, another—him. (Audience laughs). …If he’s anything like his dad, he’s going to be relentless, passionate and just about the best mentor an aspiring actor could ever hope for.”

“Thank you, Jen.” Weinstein says. “But you can stop kissing up to me for forgetting to thank me at the Oscars. (Laughter). Let’s just do what we’re here to do.”

After she screws up and reads his line from the prompter, with her name, Lawrence runs her hand down his arm in jest. “Sometimes I call him ‘Jennifer.’ It’s a pet name,” she jokes.

Weinstein congratulates gay attorney Steve Warren on his award. “That was an amazing speech, by the way,” Weinstein says. “I’ve seen Steve in action and I just want to say what a force he is for good and equality. He has incredible integrity in a business often filled with challenges.” (Laughter.)

That moment has its place in LGBT history, but it now has a “cringe-worthy” asterisk. “It is reprehensible to learn about Harvey Weinstein’s abuse of power and gross treatment of women, especially given his role as a frequent proponent of social justice. As the leader of an organization that advocates for women’s rights and full LGBTQ acceptance, I stand with the women who have used their voices to speak up about this and commend the free press for telling their stories,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis tells the Los Angeles Blade.

UPDATE: Jennifer Lawrence added her name to the outcry against Weinstein, telling the Daily Beast:  “I was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. I worked with Harvey five years ago and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations. This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.”

She added, “My heart goes out to all of the women affected by these gross actions. And I want to thank them for their bravery to come forward.”

Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company not only donated to GLAAD, but other LGBT organizations, as well. Variety reports that Weinstein contributed $10,000 to the Human Rights Campaign Equality Votes initiative last year. HRC has not returned phone calls or emails.

Though one website says Weinstein has contributed to the American foundation for AIDS Research, amFAR has not yet responded to an email request for comment. It also notes that Weinstein contributed to GLSEN, which gave Bob and Harvey Weinstein the Chairman’s Award in 2012, Douglas Flores, GLSEN’s Chief Operating Officer, tells the LA Blade: “GLSEN has not received a financial contribution from Harvey Weinstein. Thank you for reaching out.”

Unlike several Democratic politicians who are returning Weinstein’s contributions or giving the money to charities, one senior communications expert told the LA Blade that is unlikely that the LGBT groups would return funds, especially monies contributed years ago.

Weinstein has apologized,  adding: “Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.” But that was not sufficient to keep his job with the company he co-founded and Deadline reported Monday, his name will be taken off company TV and movie credits.

The shunning has begun. If or how long it will last is a different matter. But it appears that the old “casting couch” sex harassment no longer has legs in Hollywood.

YOUTUBE of GLAAD Awards:

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U.S. Federal Courts

White House blocked from ending Title 42

Advocacy groups say policy further endangered LGBTQ+ asylum seekers

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The Mexico-U.S. border in Mexicali, Mexico, on July 22, 2018. A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked the Biden administration from terminating Title 42, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policy that closed the Southern border to most asylum seekers and migrants because of the pandemic. The previous White House's policy was to have ended on May 23, 2022. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

LAFAYETTE, La. — A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rule that closed the Southern border to most asylum seekers and migrants because of the pandemic was to have ended Monday, but it remains in place after a federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s plans to end it.

The White House last month announced it would terminate Title 42, a policy the previous administration implemented in March 2020.

U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays in Louisiana on May 20 issued a ruling that prevented the Biden administration from terminating the Trump-era policy. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement announced the Justice Department will appeal the decision, while adding the administration “will continue to enforce the CDC’s 2020 Title 42 public health authority pending the appeal.”

“This means that migrants who attempt to enter the United States unlawfully will be subject to expulsion under Title 42, as well as immigration consequences such as removal under Title 8 (of the U.S. Code),” said Jean-Pierre.

Advocacy groups and members of Congress with whom the Washington Blade has spoken since Title 42 took effect say it continues to place LGBTQ asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups who seek refuge in the U.S. at even more risk.

Oluchi Omeoga, co-director of the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, last month described Title 42 as a “racist and harmful policy.” ORAM (Organization of Refuge, Asylum and Migration) Executive Director Steve Roth said Title 42 “put asylum seekers in harm’s way in border towns and prevented them from seeking safety in the United States.”

Title 42 was to have ended less than a month after five members of Congress from California visited two LGBTQ+ shelters for asylum seekers in Tijuana.

The Council for Global Equality, which organized the trip, in a tweet after Summerhays issued his ruling described Title 42 as a “catastrophe.”

“The Biden administration cannot breathe a sign of relief until it’s a matter of the past,” said the Council for Global Equality on Saturday. “We remain committed to end Title 42.”

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Maine

High school students in Maine rescue Pride parade & festival

Maine’s motto is “Dirigo” Latin for “I Lead.” In keeping with that spirit a group of teens stepped up to make sure Pride happens this year

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Belfast Area High School/Facebook

BELFAST, Me. – Located at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River estuary on Belfast Bay and Penobscot Bay, Belfast is a coastal city of 6,938 people and county seat for Waldo County, 51 miles Southwest of Bangor.

The city is known for being a significant tourist destination in the region over the years due to its antique buildings, historic districts, theater and arts, delicious food, and opportunities to get out into nature.

This year it will be a destination for LGBTQ+ Mainers to celebrate Pride- thanks to some dedicated high schoolers.

The state motto of Maine is “Dirigo” which is Latin for “I Direct” or “I Lead.”  In keeping with that spirit, The Bangor Daily News reported that when no adults would revive the community Pride parade in Belfast, a group of motivated Belfast Area High School students stepped up to make sure that the event — which has been on a pandemic hiatus — happens this year.

The city’s first-ever Pride parade and festival took place in 2016, and became an annual tradition. But no adult organizers had come forward this year to keep the tradition going, the paper reported.

Enter members of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, which formed at Belfast Area High School eight years ago. According to the Daily News, Willa Bywater, 17-year-old president of the school’s GSA decided that keeping Pride alive, especially after the lock-downs and isolation of the coronavirus pandemic, was a critical need not just only for Belfast’s LGBTQ+ community but others as well.

Bywater and her fellow 20 club members secured a permit from the city of Belfast, found sponsors, raised money for banners, flags and other expenses and grappled with the procuring of liability insurance. Ultimately, the high school agreed to cover the event under the school’s policy, a move that surprised and pleased the teens, Annie Gray, the club’s co-advisor told the Daily News.

Bywater noted that it has been a lot of work to organize the parade — but it’s well worth it.

“I think that this is the Pride parade for Waldo County, and it feels really important,” she said. “After all these years of COVID, it’s important to remind ourselves that we’re all still here and still going.”

The students found support from local businesses the Daily News also reported.

Seth Thayer, a local businessman who was delighted that the high school students have taken the initiative to organize the event and that it will happen again this year. There’s something special about the way that rainbow flags fly from homes and businesses all over the city during Pride, he told the paper.

“The thing I love about Pride is that the whole town is involved,” he said. “It’s such an isolating feeling, to have to hide yourself. And just to see that visual support from people that you don’t know, just seeing the Pride flag, it’s a powerful thing. I’m excited that it’s going to happen.”

Thayer said he was glad to make a financial contribution to the students, who have been canvassing for donations.

“I’m really happy that the high schoolers took it over,” he said. “I think they’ll do a good job. Kids always bring a new energy to things.”

Those interested in participating in the Belfast Pride parade are asked to meet at Belfast Area High School at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 4, and the parade will begin at 11 a.m. The parade will end just before the Public Landing and Heritage Park.

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U.S. Military/Pentagon

U.S. Army considering letting LGBTQ+ troops transfer out of hostile states

This policy tweak to the existing Army regulations pertaining to compassionate reassignment would clarify the current standard rules

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Top Army G-1 officer & enlisted advisor speaking with Joint Base Lewis-McChord single and dual military parents (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

ARLINGTON, Va. – A draft policy is circulating among top officials of the U.S. Army that would allow soldiers to be able to request a transfer if they feel state or local laws discriminate against them based on gender, sex, religion, race or pregnancy.

Journalist Steve Beynon writing for Military.com reported last week the guidance, which would update a vague service policy to add specific language on discrimination, is far from final and would need approval from Army Secretary Christine Wormuth. But if enacted, it could be one of the most progressive policies for the Army amid a growing wave of local anti-LGBTQ+ and restrictive contraception laws in conservative-leaning states, where the Army has a majority of its bases and major commands.

“Some states are becoming untenable to live in; there’s a rise in hate crimes and rise in LGBT discrimination,” Lindsay Church, executive director of Minority Veterans of America, an advocacy group, told Military.com. “In order to serve this country, people need to be able to do their job and know their families are safe. All of these states get billions for bases but barely tolerate a lot of the service members.”

This policy tweak to the existing Army regulations pertaining to compassionate reassignment would clarify the current standard rules, which are oft times fairly vague.

A source in the Army told Beynon the new guidance has not yet been fully worked out through the policy planning process or briefed to senior leaders including the Army Secretary or the Office of the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

“The Army does not comment on leaked, draft documents,” Angel Tomko, a service spokesperson, told Military.com in an emailed statement. “AR 600-100 and 600-200 establish the criteria for which soldiers may request for a compassionate reassignment. The chain of command is responsible for ensuring Soldiers and Families’ needs are supported and maintain a high quality of life.”

A base member wears rainbow socks during Pride Month Five Kilometer Pride Run at Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 28, 2017.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

The Crystal City Virginia based RAND Corporation had published a study on Sexual Orientation, Transgender Identity, and Health Among U.S. Active-Duty Service Members in 2015 that listed approximate numbers of LGBTQ+ troops are 6% gay or bisexual and 1% is transgender or nonbinary.

A senior analyst for RAND told the Blade on background those numbers are likely much lower than in actuality as 2015 was less than 4 years after the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell’ and prior to the Trump enacted Trans service ban in 2017 which was then repealed by the Biden Administration which has had a chilling effect on open service. Another factor is that the current 18-24 year old troops colloquially referred to as ‘Gen Z’ are much more inclined to embrace an LGBTQ+ identity and that would cause the numbers to be higher than reported.

Also factored in is uncertainty in the tweaking of policy in light of the recent leak of the draft U.S. Supreme Court decision that would effectively repeal Roe v Wade.

According to Military.com it’s unclear whether the Army’s inclusion of pregnancy on the list would protect reproductive care for soldiers if Roe v. Wade is overturned. That language could be intended to protect pregnant service members or their families from employment or other discrimination, but could also be a means for some to argue for transfers based on broader reproductive rights.

One advocacy group pointed out that the current wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation will negatively impact the moral of service members:

“What we’re seeing across the board is a small group of elected officials who are trying to politicize and weaponize LGBTQ identities in despicable ways. They’re not only doing that to our youth, but the collateral damage is hurting our service members,” Jacob Thomas, communications director for Common Defense, a progressive advocacy organization, told Military.com. “[Troops] can’t be forced to live in places where they aren’t seen as fully human.”

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