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The Philadelphia Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention released its final judicial ratings.

Tiffany Palmer, an out candidate running for a seat on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, is one of only four candidates given the honor of “Highly Recommended.”

After New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s May 3 order to the New Jersey Army National Guard to defy President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military servicemembers, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he wants to “explore” ways to protect trans National Guard members in this state. 

Right now, however, he has no plans to join Murphy in defying the ban.

When Katie Sgarro started AsylumConnect with cofounder Sy, they were seniors at the University of Pennsylvania, it was September 2016, and Barack Obama was President.

Launched as the first online resource database for LGBTQ people seeking asylum in the United States, AsylumConnect offers a searchable catalog of necessities, from legal help to housing, food and other forms of aid for those legally unable to work in the early stages of the asylum process.

For 20 years, Tommi Avicolli Mecca was the face of gay-activist journalism in Philadelphia and a fixture in Philly’s nascent LGBTQ community. “I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless,” he said of his work as a journalist. “I wanted to tell the stories that weren’t being told and amplify the voices that weren’t being heard.”

At 68, Avicolli Mecca is still an activist — working for the most vulnerable in the LGBTQ and other communities — focused on the housing crisis, poverty and homelessness. The road from Stonewall to now has been one of self-discovery for the gender-nonconforming queer writer and artist.

Part one of a two-part series

It was supposed to be a sex game. 

It turned into a rape. 

Terrell Johnson was only 20, his partner, Matt, 26, forced him to have sex against his will. It’s an experience that, even five years later, Johnson has trouble discussing with all but his closest friends. 

A Pennsylvania senator is among three U.S. legislators who introduced a bill to expand health services and resources for the older LGBTQ population. 

U.S. Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) authored the Inclusive Aging Act with Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

 

Seven months after the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission became the owner of an LGBTQ-oriented historic marker installed near Rittenhouse Square, it remains to be seen whether its language will be revised to recognize contributions of the the early transgender community. Revisions may hinge on whether the city elects its first openly-trans City Council member in November.

Roberta Hacker grew up in a small, mostly working-class, largely Mennonite community in Telford, 50 miles outside Philadelphia.

At 17, she graduated from high school, six years before the Stonewall riots.

Armenian trans woman gets threats after parliament speech

A transgender woman, whose address to the Armenian parliament caused uproar, says she has received death threats and is avoiding leaving her home because of security concerns.

Lilit Martirosian, who founded the transgender organization Right Side, told parliament’s human rights committee recently that her group had recorded more than 280 instances of violations of transgender rights.

Two notorious right-wing operatives, Fox News pundit Jacob Wohl and lobbyist Jack Burkman, have been revealed as the masterminds behind a plot targeting Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg with a campaign to damage his standing in the polls.

Burkman and Wohl are alleged to have recruited gay Republican men in an effort to implicate Buttigieg of sexual assault. The plan was devised to help President Trump’s reelection campaign against the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., who has become a media sensation in just a couple months. Burkman and Wohl viewed Buttigieg as a threat to Trump’s chances.

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