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“Now the only thing I feel about Philadelphia is it’s not safe.”

Those are the words of the longtime city man who was reported to have been attacked, sexually assaulted and robbed by two men outside the John C. Anderson Apartments, last Friday, April 12.

The alleged victim, a 69-year-old gay man who lives in the Anderson Apartments at 251 S. 13 St., spoke to PGN on April 17 in order to set the record straight on some reporting and offer more specific information.

A gay man from Oshawa, Ontario in Canada claimed that he was fired from his job in retail chain Marshalls because they “didn’t like” him and were looking for a reason to let him go.

Michael Gale said that the company — which has stores across the United States and Canada — is “supposed to be really friendly to the LGBTQ community and it wasn’t.”

He has since filed a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario about his treatment.

A group of international lawyers researching the criminalization of homosexuality has met with the Vatican secretary of state and urged the Holy See to publicly oppose such laws and “conversion” therapies for gays.

The Vatican said Cardinal Pietro Parolin promised the delegation members he would relay their research to Pope Francis.

The Trump administration’s ban on transgender military members is expected to take effect. Thousands of service members will be forced to leave.

Finding a place to live will likely be the next step for people leaving the military, and My Brother’s House is gearing up. The nonprofit works to address the problem of veteran homelessness by providing housing and other necessary services.

Army veteran Dr. Remolia Simpson stated, “Our transgender veterans face more hardships because of biases due to ignorance and hate. They are now facing expulsion from the military, and continue to be discriminated against when it comes to securing safe housing and employment.“

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, unofficially known as the Mormon Church, made an about-face on an issue concerning the children of same-sex couples: baptism, reversing a 2015 policy.

The Church announced that at the 189th Annual General Conference on April 4, first counselor in the First Presidency Dallin Oaks “outlined a new policy.”

Effective immediately, “Children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may be baptized without First Presidency approval if the custodial parents give permission for the baptism, and understand both the doctrine that a baptized child will be taught and the covenants he or she will be expected to make.”

Being gay can still get you killed in many places around the world. News reports on Brunei’s latest decision to implement Sharia law against gays and lesbians made the nation seem like an outlier.

Homosexuality was already punishable in Brunei by a jail term of up to 10 years. Under the new laws, those found guilty of gay sex can be publicly whipped or stoned to death.

Brunei is not alone. Eight countries have similar Sharia laws against homosexuality. In those eight countries, the laws include the death penalty for being gay or lesbian. Worldwide, 76 countries have laws against sexual activity by LGBT people. That is nearly half of the world’s 195 countries.

All charges were dropped against Jussie Smollett, the black, openly gay actor who was charged with filing a false police report about being the victim of a hate crime in January.

Yet, despite that ruling on March 29, neither outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel nor Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is ready to let the case go.

Despite Smollett’s unwavering assertion that he was indeed attacked and did not stage the incident himself, Emanuel has spoken out repeatedly against the actor and demanded Smollett pay the city $130,000 to cover the cost of the investigation including police overtime pay.

Another hearing on the Equality Act was held April 9 on Capitol Hill before the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director of HRC testified, as did mothers of gay, lesbian and transgender children.

Warbelow identifies as bisexual and is “the proud parent of a transgender daughter.” She said she was “testifying on behalf of HRC’s three million members and supporters. The overarching message is straightforward and self-evident: discrimination shouldn’t triumph over an individual’s freedom to be themselves.”

The legal director explained the links between the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Equality Act and said, “The Equality Act builds on the legacy of the civil rights statutes that have made America a stronger nation that recognizes diversity as an asset.”

In a victory for LGBTQ employees at the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr ordered the FBI and the Bureau of Prisons to investigate allegations of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees within the department and affiliate agencies.

Barr made the announcement in a letter released April 5. The order is an immediate response to a series of requests from an LGBT group.

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