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Richard Grenell to step down as US ambassador to Germany

Trump loyalist leads homosexuality decriminalization campaign

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Ric Grenell, Richard Grenell, gay news, Washington Blade
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell plans to step down from his post in the coming weeks. (Photo public domain)

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell plans to step down from his post.

Grenell on Sunday in a tweet confirmed a German media report that says he will formally leave the ambassadorship in a “few weeks.”

Fox News on Sunday reported Grenell in March told the White House he planned to step down as ambassador once his tenure as acting director of national intelligence came to an end. The U.S. Senate on May 21 confirmed U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) as the next DNI.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Germany on Monday declined to comment to the Los Angeles Blade on media reports about Grenell’s decision to step down. Grenell on Twitter thanked U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff and others who praised his tenure.

Grenell, 53, has represented the U.S. in Germany since 2018.

He is one of five openly gay ambassadors under the Trump administration. Grenell in February became the highest-ranking openly gay presidential appointee in American history when the White House named him acting DNI.

The White House last year tapped Grenell to lead an initiative that encourages countries to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations.

The U.S. Embassy in Germany last summer hosted a group of LGBTQ rights activists from around the world. Grenell and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Knight Craft late last year organized an event on the sidelines of a U.N. Security Council meeting that focused on efforts to decriminalize homosexuality around the world.  

Grenell, among other things, publicly criticized Brunei over a provision of its new penal code that sought to impose the death penalty for anyone convicted of consensual same-sex sexual relations. Grenell also faced sharp criticism in Germany and from LGBTQ advocacy groups in the U.S. and elsewhere because of his outspoken support of President Trump.

German media reported Robin Quinville, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Germany, will likely succeed Grenell on an interim basis.

President Trump with U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell (Photo via Instagram)
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Matanzas, la capital cubana del Orgullo LGBTQ+

AfroAtenAs y otros grupos forman parte de ‘Matanzas, ciudad inclusiva’

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Rumba contra la transfobia y la homofobia (Foto cortesía de AfroAtenAs)

Tremenda Nota es el socio mediático del Washington Blade en Cuba. Esta nota salió en su sitio web el 26 de junio.

MATANZAS, Cuba — En una extensa jornada que comenzó el 11 de junio y ha tenido su momento culminante este 26, la ciudad de Matanzas se convirtió en el foco principal de las celebraciones por el Mes del Orgullo LGBTIQ+ en Cuba.

El proyecto AfroAtenAs, junto a otros grupos como la Iglesia de la Comunidad Metropolitana y el “Dame la mano”, desarrollaron numerosas actividades, incluidas algunas comunitarias, que forman parte de una iniciativa con años de trabajo, denominada “Matanzas, ciudad inclusiva“.

Las actividades han sido muy diversas, y entre ella se cuentan ferias comunitarias, actividades deportivas y galas culturales que abordan la necesidad de espacios de inclusión para la comunidad LGBTIQ+.

La jornada abrió el 11 de junio con un taller de capacitación en materia de derechos humanos para activistas y grupos LGBTIQ+. El taller contó con dos conferencias que abordaron la Constitución cubana, el proyecto de Código de las Familias y otras leyes previstas en el cronograma legislativo de la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular.

El 18 de junio se realizó una recogida de desechos por el Día Internacional de los Océanos y una Olimpiada LGBTIQ+.

Para llegar a los niños y jóvenes proyectaron audiovisuales y también se presentaron 

artistas aficionados en diferentes espacios.

El 22 y 23 de junio se realizó la Fiesta Popular de San Juan y el 25 dedicaron la jornada a la no violencia hacia las mujeres y las niñas.

Este 26 de junio, en uno de los momentos más esperados por el activismo se realizó un pequeño desfile por las calles de Matanzas hasta la Plaza Vigía, bajo el lema de “Todos los derechos para todas las personas”.

Después del pasacalle, que fue acompañado por una rumba, hubo una feria de negocios locales con venta de artesanías, música en vivo, intercambio con activistas y promotores de salud, e incluso se promovió la adopción de animales si hogar.

En la tarde de este domingo, se celebró también una ceremonia interrreligiosa en defensa de las familias LGBTIQ+, que fue auspiciada por la Iglesia de la Comunidad Metropolitana. Para cerrar este amplio calendario de eventos, en la noche abrió sus puertas la Sala White con una gala dedicada a la negritud en la comunidad LGBTIQ+ cubana.

Yoelkis Torres, fundador de AfroAtenAs, comentó a Tremenda Nota que el programa fue muy bien acogido: “En todos los espacios las personas llegan, preguntan, se incorporan ¿cuándo es? ¿qué sucede? ¿cómo va a ser? ¿cuándo van a hacer más cosas?”.

Yoelkis explica que ocurrió “un debate serio y conflictivo” con las autoridades políticas y culturales para que fuera posible llegar a los espacios públicos de la ciudad y que estas jornadas pudieran realizarse en su plan original.

Desde 2018, AfroAtenAs desarrolla la campaña “Matanzas, ciudad inclusiva” para concientizar a la ciudadanía sobre las demandas de la comunidad LGBTIQ+. En ese mismo año comenzaron a utilizar el lema #TodosLosDerechosParaTodasLasPersonas en acciones de activismo realizadas durante el proceso de consulta y referendo de la Constitución que entró en vigor en 2019.

Más tarde, en 2021, iniciaron una nueva etapa de esta campaña para promover en Cuba el proyecto de Código de las Familias.

Los activistas del comité organizador de la campaña enviaron en abril de 2021 una misiva a Esteban Lazo Hernández, el presidente de la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular, y a otros funcionarios, en la que solicitaban que se tuvieran en cuenta las principales demandas de las personas LGBTIQ+ al momento de redactar la futura ley.

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California Politics

Newsom, Senate & Assembly leaders announce budget agreement

23 million Californians will benefit from direct payments of up to $1,050 & additional funds to help people pay rent & utility bills

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Governor Newsom with some of the state's leadership Friday (Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) announced they had were able to reach an agreement on the framework for the 2022-23 state budget.

In a statement released Sunday evening, the state’s leadership said:

“California’s budget addresses the state’s most pressing needs, and prioritizes getting dollars back into the pockets of millions of Californians who are grappling with global inflation and rising prices of everything from gas to groceries.

“The centerpiece of the agreement, a $17 billion inflation relief package, will offer tax refunds to millions of working Californians. Twenty-three million Californians will benefit from direct payments of up to $1,050. The package will also include a suspension of the state sales tax on diesel, and additional funds to help people pay their rent and utility bills.

“In addition, California is doubling down in our response to the climate crisis – securing additional power-generating capacity for the summer, accelerating our clean energy future, expanding our ability to prepare for and respond to severe wildfires, extreme heat, and the continuing drought conditions that lie ahead.

“This budget builds on our unprecedented commitment to transform the resources available in our state, from a $47 billion multi-year infrastructure and transportation package to education and health care, showing the nation what a true pro-life agenda looks like. With these new investments, California will become the first state to achieve universal access to health care coverage.

Newsom and his legislative counterparts also highlighted that in the wake of Friday’s stunning U.S. Supreme Court decision, California is reaffirming its commitment to defending reproductive rights, providing more than $200 million in additional funding for reproductive health care services. The state will also be investing in key programs that help California families, from funding for homeownership programs and billions of dollars in additional ongoing funding for education, to universal preschool, children’s mental health, and free school meals.

“In the face of growing economic uncertainty, this budget invests in California’s values while further filling the state’s budget reserves and building in triggers for future state spending to ensure budget stability for years to come,” the statement read.

Yesterday the governor and the leadership agreed to the framework to offset the high cost of gas prices and the hit inflation has created on the wallets of taxpayers, particularly those who least able to bear the added cost burden. Under the budget compromise most California taxpayers would get hundreds of dollars in cash to help offset the high price of fuel and other goods.

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Europe

Norwegian suspect in LGBTQ+ bar shooting refuses to cooperate

Large crowds gathered Sunday near the London Pub to lay flowers and other tributes many of those gathered waved Pride flags

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Screenshot/YouTube Norwegian News Services

OSLO, Norway – A spokesperson for the Norwegian Police Service  (Politi- og lensmannsetaten) said that the suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting at the London pub in Norwegian capital city’s night-life district is refusing to cooperate with investigators.

The 42-year-old suspect, identified as Zaniar Matapour, is a Norwegian citizen originally from Iran. Two people were killed and more than 20 were injured in what police officials have labeled as an “Islamist terror act.”

Matapour, (left) is shown at the time of his arrest immediately after the shooting on mobile phone video broadcast on Norwegian television.

An official with the Norwegian Police Service told media outlets that investigators tried they tried to question Matapour on Saturday after his arrest and again on Sunday without success.

The Associated Press reported that Matapour’s defense lawyer, John Christian Elden, told the AP in an emailed statement that that his client refused to have his statement recorded and videotaped unless police released the entire recording to the public “with no time delay so it won’t be censored or manipulated.”

Elden previously said to media outlets including the Associated Press his client did not deny being the shooter but had not divulged any motive. The lawyer said Sunday that Matapour did not object to remaining in custody for four weeks so would not appear in court on Monday.

In the Norwegian judicial system pre-trial detention hearings are normally held every four weeks.

Large crowds gathered Sunday near the London Pub to lay flowers and other tributes. Those gathered waved Pride flags as they defiantly commiserated remembering the two victims killed along with the other twenty persons injured in the shooting spree which police say occurred at three locations in the neighborhood around the bar.

The city’s Pride parade had been cancelled as a precaution after the shooting.

 

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and a member of the Royal family, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, joined mourners in a memorial service Sunday at Oslo Cathedral for the victims of the attack.

Speaking in Sunday’s memorial service, the Prime Minister pointed out that “the shooting in the night hours put an end to the Pride parade, but it did not stop the fight and the efforts to fight discrimination, prejudice and hatred.”

Stoere addressed Norway’s Muslim community as well telling them;

“I know how many of you felt when it turned out that the perpetrator belonged to the Islamic community. Many of you experienced fear and unrest. You should know this: We stand together, we are one community and we are responsible for the community together.”

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