National Media Trail, March 15-21, 2019

National Media Trail, March 15-21, 2019

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Kansas LGBTQ activist Stephanie Mott dies

Kansas LGBTQ rights activist Stephanie Mott died on March 4, after apparently suffering a heart attack, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. She was 61.

Mott, a transgender woman, filed suit in 2016 seeking to change her Kansas birth certificate to identify her as female, but that case was dismissed in 2017. The New York City-based Lambda Legal Defense Education Fund then filed a lawsuit last October, which remains pending, challenging the refusal by Kansas government officials to correct gender identification on birth certificates for transgender individuals.

Mott also was a mental health clinician who led the Kansas Democratic Party’s LGBT caucus and managed the Topeka chapter of Equality Kansas.


One of Baltimore’s largest gay nightclubs sold, to close

The Baltimore Sun reports one of Baltimore’s largest gay nightclubs has been sold.

One of Baltimore’s largest gay nightclubs, Grand Central, has been sold, according to The Baltimore Sun. Owner Don Davis confirmed March 4 that Baltimore-based Landmark Partners bought his 15,000-square-foot property for $1.4 million, less than the original asking price of $1.85 million.

Jon Pannoni with Landmark Partners said the club will remain open until the start of redevelopment, which is still in the planning stage. The redevelopment will likely include retail and office space, in addition to “a full-service lunch/dinner/bar concept.” Pannoni did not indicate whether the future development would include another LGBTQ nightclub.

Grand Central began as Central Station Pub in 1991, expanding in 2003. At 67, Davis has been in the nightclub business for more than a half-century, but said his throat cancer prompted retirement.


Gay conversion therapy ban won’t pass in Utah this year

Supporters said the fight to ban gay conversion therapy for minors in Utah is over for the year after lawmakers gutted the proposal, The Daily Herald reported.

A prominent activist on March 6 blasted Gov. Gary Herbert’s support for the changes that would have allowed therapists to talk about changing sexual orientation as long as they didn’t promise to reverse it.

Troy Williams with Equality Utah said that language would do nothing to address practices associated with increased suicide risk, and Herbert’s support shows he’s not interested in protecting LGBTQ youth.

Herbert said he wants to reduce an alarming spike in youth suicide, but also wants to protect the rights of parents in getting young people counseling.

The revisions came after pushback from conservatives. LGBT activists vowed to try again next year.


Wisconsin Supreme Court hopeful defends views on homosexuals

A conservative candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court whose views on homosexuality have come under scrutiny, said the criticism he’s received is an unfair attacks on his faith, reported.

The candidate, State Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn, blamed his opponents March 6 for making his personal beliefs part of his candidacy and insisted that he would be an impartial justice. Hagedorn is an evangelical Christian who helped start a private school where students can be expelled for being gay.

He is running against state Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer, who is backed by liberals.

The April 2 contest gives liberals a chance to control the Supreme Court if they win this race and another seat up for election next year. Conservatives currently control the court 4-3.

Hagedorn was speaking to journalists at the Milwaukee Press Club.


Nebraska bill to ban LGBT job discrimination stalls

A bill that would bar Nebraska businesses from discriminating against LGBT job applicants and workers has stalled in the Legislature, The Sioux City Journal reported.

Supporters on March 5 failed to force a vote on the measure after about three hours of debate. Previous attempts to pass similar measures in recent years have failed.

The bill by State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, of Lincoln, sparked an emotional debate among senators.

Supporters argued that employers shouldn’t be able to discriminate against people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and said the bill would create a more welcoming atmosphere in Nebraska. Opponents contend that employers might be forced to contradict their sincerely held religious beliefs.

— compiled by Larry Nichols

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