Media Trail: June 7-13

Media Trail: June 7-13

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R.I. bishop’s tweet outrages LGBTQ community

A weekend tweet by Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin warning his congregants not to support or attend LGBTQ Pride Month events prompted a national outcry and protests June 2 in this city with a deep, if divided, Catholic tradition.

The controversy started June 1, when the bishop tweeted: “A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

The tweet sparked an immediate response on Twitter. By 3 p.m. June 2, it had elicited 69,000 replies and 16,000 “likes.”

By Sunday afternoon, after statements of support for the LGBTQ community from the governor and mayor and rebukes from entertainment figures, and with plans underway for a protest in Providence, Tobin issued a statement.

“I regret that my comments yesterday about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community, and offensive to some, especially the gay community. That certainly was not my intention, but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offense. I also acknowledge and appreciate the widespread support I have received on this matter,” he said. “The Catholic Church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.”

Sunday evening, protesters gathered outside the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. As the bells called the faithful to Mass, Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” played on a speaker amid waving rainbow flags at the rally.

While about 150 people attended Mass inside the cathedral, nearly double the crowd was outside, carrying signs, waving rainbow flags, and chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, hate has got to go.”


Police: Motorist hits Delaware gay pride parade organizer


The Washington Times reports police say a 90-year-old Delaware man refused to detour around a gay pride parade and plowed into an organizer trying to wave him away.

The Dover Police Department said the motorist’s pickup knocked down the 43-year-old man, who suffered leg injuries after the June 1 confrontation.

Police say they’ve charged Reuben Salters of Dover with third-degree vehicular assault.

Officers say Salters disregarded barricades blocking off the parade route as he navigated his pickup truck near where a large crowd had gathered about 45 minutes before the event’s start. The parade route was through the downtown of the Delaware state capital.

Salters got out of his vehicle to move cones blocking the street. Police say when the organizer told him he couldn’t pass, Salters got back into his pickup, accelerated and struck the man, then drove through the crowd before stopping.


Rainbow flags set on fire at Harlem gay bar


The New York Post reports police are investigating a possible anti-gay bias crime after flags were set on fire at the entrance of a gay bar in Harlem.

A police spokesman says the rainbow flags were burned just after midnight May 31 at the Alibi Lounge a day before the start of the city’s Pride Month celebrations.

On its Instagram, the business bills itself as the only black-owned gay lounge in New York City, serving food and drinks.

Photos of the scorched, multicolored flags were posted online.

No one was injured, and rain extinguished the flames.


Judge: Oregon prison must give transgender inmate new cell


The Oregonian/Oregon Live reports a transgender inmate being held at an Oregon prison for men has been granted new living arrangements.

Brandy Hall transitioned to female while in prison after being convicted of sex crimes involving abusing girls in 2007.

A complaint filed last year claimed her incarceration with male cellmates at Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla violated her constitutional rights because officers weren’t addressing the physical and sexual harassment against her.

A county circuit judge on May 29 said the state corrections department was deliberately indifferent about Hall’s safety and ordered officials to put her in a single cell or assign her to a cellmate who is transgender.

But the judge also rejected Hall’s claim about her constitutional rights and refused her request to transfer to a women’s prison.


Public pressure prompts Ohio library to cancel LGBTQ event


The Newark Advocate reports public opposition that included Ohio’s Republican House speaker has prompted a county library outside Columbus to cancel an LGBTQ program for teens.

The June 7 event at the Licking County Library in Newark was scheduled ahead of the city’s Pride festival following weekend. It was supposed to feature a tutorial on drag queen makeup, crafts, games and a safe sex program.

It drew criticism on social media and a letter from Rep. Larry Householder, who vented about the makeup tips and called the event a “stunningly bizarre breach of the public trust.”

The Newark Ohio Pride Coalition responded by saying the program was privately funded.

The Delaware County Library, also in central Ohio, canceled a teen ``Drag 101’’ event the same week following hostile and threatening phone calls.


Maine governor OKs ban on gay conversion therapy for minors


NBC News reports Maine Gov. Janet Mills has signed a bill banning gay conversion therapy for minors.

With Mills’ action May 29, Maine joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia that have banned the practice. Conversion therapy aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The ban will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns next month.

Mills said that the law sends ``an unequivocal message’’ to the LGBTQ community that “we stand with you, we support you and we will always defend your right to be who you are.”

She called conversion therapy “a harmful, widely discredited practice that has no place in Maine.”

Maine’s former Republican governor vetoed a similar measure last year, but the bill has gained momentum this year under a Democratic-led Legislature.


ACLU sues state over new gender reassignment surgery law


The Sacramento Bee reports the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa has filed a lawsuit challenging a new state law that prohibits the use of Medicaid funding for gender reassignment surgery.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill on May 3 that included language amending the state’s Civil Rights Act so that government officials are not required to pay for gender reassignment surgery.

The ACLU has sued in state court to block enforcement of the law on behalf of One Iowa, a group that advocates for transgender rights, and two transgender Iowans who qualify for Medicaid and whose doctors say they need the surgery.

ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen says the measure is discriminatory and “has no basis in medicine or science.”

Conservative Republicans passed the measure after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in March that the state cannot block Medicaid from paying for gender reassignment surgery for two transgender women.  

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