Gay actor George Takei has released a new augmented-reality app, House of Cats, which includes an imagined Donald Trump as Trumpy Cat, an orange tabby, along with other animated characters such as Meowlania, Vladdy Putin and Lil’ Rocket Pug, CNET reported. House of Cats is the first political app that puts users in the center of the action so they can interact with world leaders and the latest news by creating funny short videos, The Bay Area Reporter shared. It is available in both iOS and Adroid for 99 cents. A percentage of the net profits will be donated to Refugees International.
info: cnet.co/2LBm54t. bit.ly/2uBll9d. houseofcats.com.
Sasha Garden, a transgender woman of color, became the fourth person murdered in the state of Florida in 2018. Earlier this year, Celine Walker, Antash’a English and Cathalina Christina James were murdered in the city of Jacksonville.
Lambda Literary has marked its 30th anniversary with the formation of its Leadership Council, a group of eminent LGBTQ writers, cultural figures and benefactors who will advise and advocate for the organization. Members are writers Hilton Als, Kate Bornstein, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Alexander Chee, David Ebershoff, Chuck Forester, Cherríe Moraga, Chinelo Okparanta, Justin Torres and Alok Vaid-Menon. Two former board presidents who are also novelists, Katherine V. Forrest and Judith Markowitz, have joined the council, as have J. Michael Samuel, a long-serving board treasurer, and writer/publisher and major donor Chuck Forester.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has signed multi-year framework agreements with suppliers of HIV medication that will save $324 million by the end of 2021 and secure the supply of lifesaving drugs for over four million people.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights released two toolkits for child welfare and juvenile justice agency employees on how to protect LGBTQ youth from harm caused by conversion therapy. Conversion therapy has been debunked by every major medical and mental health organization in the U.S. “Ending Conversion Therapy in Child Welfare” and “Ending Conversion Therapy in Juvenile Justice” helps state agencies recognize how and when LGBTQ youth may be subjected to conversion therapy while in the care of the state, explains the negative impact of conversion therapy and its close relationship to family rejection and includes tips and model language about how to develop policies protecting LGBTQ youth from these harms.
After years of preparation, and after the Pulse shooting, the Richmond LGBTQ community held Virginia’s first black Pride celebration. Black Pride RVA came about as a response to leading LGBTQ advocacy groups’ marginalization of the black and Latinix individuals, Gay RVA reported.
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, along with pro bono counsel from Winston & Strawn LLP, asked a federal court to halt implementation of a new Department of Defense policy resulting in the discharge of service members living with HIV. The motion for a preliminary injunction filed in Harrison v. Mattis — a case challenging the military’s discriminatory policies governing the enlistment, deployment, and promotion of service members living with HIV — follows multiple calls from other service members that plaintiffs’ attorneys received after his case was filed in May.
info: outserve.org. lambdalegal.org.
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders announced the appointment of five new board members: Suzanne Bauman, Martha Holt Castle, Darla DeGrace, Liz Doherty, and Lee Swislow.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released a new comprehensive guide for Historically Black College and University administrators, staff and students outlining many of the critical steps higher educational institutions can take to help achieve an HIV-free generation. The guide’s recommendations to assist colleges and universities in reversing these troubling realities include developing and implementing formal HIV-inclusive policies; decreasing stigma and discrimination for people living with HIV; promoting comprehensive and LGBTQ-inclusive sexual health education on campus; and identifying and collaborating with campus and community partners.
African-American Rabbi Georgette Kennebrae aims to challenge notions of what a Jew looks like during her tenure at West End Synagogue, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. She “wants to make people ‘understand that I’m not rare as a Jew of color, that there are many of us and that it shouldn’t be an automatic assumption that I’m a Jew-by-choice because I’m brown.’”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied another attempt by the Trump Administration to implement its discriminatory plan to ban transgender individuals from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Services. The July 18 ruling in the lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN and joined by the State of Washington denied the administration’s motion to stay the preliminary injunction a lower court granted in December 2017, and affirmed last month. The injunction blocks implementation of the ban and enables transgender people to continue enlisting in the military.
info: militarypartners.org. lambdalegal.org.
The Equality Federation’s 21st Leadership Conference, which began on July 25 and will continue through July 28, is being held in New Orleans, La. Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation said, “This is perhaps the most crucial year for our movement to come together in our history because we’re facing an opposition, at the federal and state levels, that is more extreme and more emboldened than ever. Thankfully, we have a roster of brilliant state and movement leaders who are energized and ready to fight back. I’m excited that we’re convening in the South this year because of the rich history of resistance and all the inspiring social-justice leadership from this region.” This year, Equality Federation member organizations from Equality Florida to Equality California have defeated over 160 anti-LGBTQ bills and won victories in towns and states all across the nation. Voters in Anchorage, Ak. upheld protections for their neighbors. New Hampshire passed comprehensive non-discrimination legislation. And more state houses than ever are banning the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, the organization shared.
The Legal Aid Society, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project praised guidelines developed by the New York State Department of Health that address a variety of ways in which Medicaid Managed Care plans have been arbitrarily denying care to transgender and gender non-conforming Medicaid beneficiaries for the treatment of gender dysphoria. These guidelines clearly state that treatment for gender dysphoria must be provided to people of all genders, including those with non-binary gender identities.
The Family Equality Council’s Outspoken Voices podcast has gotten a makeover. The 30-minute episodes, which include guests, cover a variety of topics by and for LGBTQ families.
The Indigo Girls have released a call to action via their new video for “Go,” an anthem borne out of their own experience of facing prejudice. Originally inspired 20 years ago by the reaction of high school students to the cancellation of the band’s shows on campuses in the Southeast due to the band members’ sexuality and lyrical content, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers were moved by the class walkouts and protests of young people in the face of discrimination. The song gives voice to issues such as voting rights, civil rights, marriage equality, school safety, gun reform and more and is created in partnership with the students of Parkland, Fla.’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This video is being released in the midst of the students’ Road To Change Tour with a call to action to educate, register and motivate young people to vote and refuse to accept gun violence as an unsolvable issue. The efforts are powered by Rock The Vote.
info: bit.ly/2uCXxBA. rockthevote.org. marchforourlives.com.
A new study conducted by Vanderbilt University found that same-sex marriage led to “significant increases” in gay and bisexual men’s access to care and health insurance coverage, Instinct Magazine reported.
The National LGBT Bar Association has announced the introduction of the Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act of 2018. The bill, introduced by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), would do away with the use of the gay and transgender “panic” defenses, which use a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression as legal rationale for violent assault and murder. The bill is supported by the American Bar Association, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the American Unity Fund, and Equality California.
MAX Ottawa, with funding from ViiV Healthcare Canada, launched “Spill the Tea,” which provides safer partying education and awareness and connection to information and resources.
info: maxottawa.ca. viivhealthcare.ca.
A new study finds that the mental and physical health of transgender veterans is similar to cisgender veterans. The only difference was transgender veterans had higher odds of having at least one disability, such as a debility in vision, cognition, mobility, self-care or independent living.