California district court grants judgment to HIV-positive man denied haircut at Los Angeles barbershop

LOS ANGELES –Lambda Legal announced on Tuesday that the Central District of California entered judgment for Nikko Briteramos against the owner of a Los Angeles barbershop who refused to cut Briteramos’ hair because he is living with HIV. CUT THE STIGMA, a joint public education campaign launched last year by the Black AIDS Institute and Lambda Legal, will engage black businesses, including barbershops, around the country this summer to dispel misconceptions surrounding the transmission of HIV and reduce HIV stigma and its resulting discrimination. “This judgment is proof that what happened to me in that barbershop and what happens to people living with HIV who experience discrimination just trying to do basic things in life like go the dentist or get a haircut is simply not acceptable,” said Nikko Briteramos. “Such discriminatory practices harken back to times not too distant during the period of American ‘Jim Crow’, and are equally unjust.  I am even more grateful that I can continue to tell my story through the Cut the Stigma campaign and share with people how harmful these moments of discrimination can be to those living daily with HIV and to the fabric of society.”

“This ruling is a terrific affirmation for our client, and it is a clear and forceful rebuke of intentional discrimination against people living with HIV,” said Anthony Pinggera, the Lambda Legal Law Fellow leading this case. “This is the end of Nikko’s case, but our work to raise necessary awareness in Black communities around the country to the ongoing issues surrounding HIV discrimination continues through our partnership with the Black AIDS Institute on the Cut the Stigma campaign.”

“Nikko’s experience highlights how Black people living with HIV are confronted with discrimination every day, but this judgment puts businesses on notice that discrimination will not be tolerated.

New bill in Michigan would add LGBTQ to protected classes

LANSING — Lawmakers in Michigan have introduced a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s civil rights law. MLive.com reported that the bill was introduced into the state legislature and that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has said that she would sign it. 

From MLive:

The legislation – sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, and Rep. Tim Sneller, D-Burton – would add sexual orientation and gender identity protections against discrimination to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. During a Tuesday press conference, Moss and Hoadley said there are moral and economic reasons lawmakers should get on board with this expansion, but said they were hopeful the human aspect of having LGBT lawmakers in the legislature would help get their bills to the governor’s desk. “Just by being our authentic selves, we have moved the conversation,” Moss said. “Nobody in the legislature can say, ‘I don’t know somebody who is part of the LGBT community,’ because we’re there.

Coalition applauds tabling of Illinois bill targeting anti-pipeline protests

SPRINGFIELD — A diverse coalition of environment, civil liberties, community organizations, and unions worked together to defeat HB1633, an ALEC-inspired, industry-supported bill that took direct aim at peaceful, non-violent protests to protect the environment, particularly civil disobedience. Upon learning that the bill was tabled today for the rest of the session, the coalition applauded the development, but pledged to continue to work together to defeat any similar proposals in future sessions. Defending Rights & Dissent is an active member of the coalition. Although the bill was amended several times to remove some of the most draconian provisions, it was, at heart a bill to increase penalties for non-violent conduct, particularly civil disobedience by environmental activists, that was already covered in the Illinois criminal code. “At a time when many people, including lawmakers, have recognized the deleterious effects that mass incarceration has had on society and have attempted to rectify laws that have criminalized certain conduct or imposed unreasonable penalties, HB 1633, would have been a giant step backwards,” said Kylah Johnston from The People’s Lobby.

Nevada joins states ensuring abortion access

CARSON CITY — Nevada ensured abortion access with the signing of two bills last week. TV station News 4 reported that Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, signed the bills on Friday. From News 4:
The first, Senate Bill 179 or the Trust Nevada Women Act, would decriminalize outdated abortion laws in Nevada. “I have been disappointed by the recent uptick in efforts in other states to restrict women’s right to choose, and I am especially proud today to be a Nevadan, where we protect a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own body,” said Gov. Sisolak in his comments before signing this bill. The bill would remove punishments for those seeking an abortion and protect doctors who perform them.

Media Matters: TV networks fail to cover administrations anti-LGBTQ actions

WASHINGTON — Media Matters, a media watchdog group, has found that despite a list of attacks on the LGBTQ community by the Trump administration in a sing week, TV networks barely covered them. Between May 22 and May 24, the administration issued rules that would allow homeless shelters to turn away transgender people, allow medical workers to use religious objections to avoid treating LGBTQ people and make it easier for religious adoption agencies not to allow LGBTQ couples to adopt. Media Matters found that from May 22 to May 31, all six networks spent a total of just over 11 minutes covering LGBTQ issues. Only CNN and Fox News did any coverage, with CNN having about seven and half minutes and Fox just under three and a half minutes. From Media Matters:
CNN discussed the topics over the span of six segments, including during an interview with trans actor D’Lo about an advertisement featuring a father showing his transgender son how to shave.

Aurora declares June as Pride month

AURORA — Aurora proclaimed June as Pride month in an announcement on Tuesday. Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin made the proclamation with members of Indivisible Aurora, organizers of the city’s Pride celebrations. The proclamation in full:
PROCLAMATION: 2019 PRIDE MONTH
JUNE 2019

WHEREAS, the City of Aurora supports the rights of every citizen to experience equality and freedom from discrimination; and

WHEREAS, all people regardless of age, gender identity, race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical challenges have the right to be treated on the basis of their intrinsic value as human beings; and

WHEREAS, the City of Aurora accepts and welcomes people of diverse backgrounds and believes a diverse population leads to a more vibrant community; and

WHEREAS, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) communities contribute to the cultural, civic and economic successes of the City of Aurora; and

WHEREAS, Indivisible Aurora has been a leading voice for equality for all and has taken the lead role in the staging of the Aurora Pride Parade. NOW, THEREFORE, I, MAYOR RICHARD C. IRVIN, Mayor of the City of Aurora, do hereby proclaim June 2019 as Pride Month in the City of Aurora and acknowledge Pride Weekend in Aurora and the Aurora Pride Parade on Sunday, June 9, 2019. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Aurora to be affixed this 4th of June 2019 at Aurora City Hall.

Transgender woman in Dallas is identified

DALLAS — Dallas Police have identified a transgender woman who was find in a lake over the weekend. The police said in a Monday afternoon press conference that Chynal Lindsey was found at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. The Dallas News reported that her body had signs of “homicidal violence.” She is the seventh transgender person to be killed this year. From the Dallas News:
[Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé] Hall said the department has reached out to the FBI to assist with the investigation into the 26-year-old Arlington woman’s slaying, as it follows recent attacks on other transgender women.

Straight ‘Pride’ parade coming to Boston. Twitter had an opinion.

BOSTON — A guy named Mark Sahady announced in a Facebook post that he had actually gotten permits for a “Straight Pride Parade” sometime this summer. According to Boston website Caught in Southie, they even have a website set up, complete with straight pride flag. Caught in Southie’s reaction was mostly “Wait, for real? Are you nuts?” Buzzfeed reported that Boston officials were denying the group had received any permits.

Michigan Methodists vote for pro-LGBTQ policy

TRAVERSE CITY — The Michigan conference of the United Methodist Church voted last Saturday to fully include LGBTQ people in the church. TV station WPBN/WGTU reported that the conference was held to discuss the international UMC conference that voted to follow a much more restrictive and punitive policy for LGBTQ members. From WPBN/WGTU:
By more than two-thirds margin, 819 (68%) to 377 (32%), the body approved the visionary GCR 2019-2- Aspirations for The Michigan Annual Conference; “The Michigan Annual Conference aspires to live into an expression of Methodism that includes LGBTQIA people in full life and membership of the UMC.”

According to the Michigan church leaders, this measure aspires to promote reconciliation and focus on mission, rather than focus on trials and investigation based on sexual orientation. A request for declaratory decision on the constitutionality of this resolution will be acted upon by Bishop David Bard within 30 days. Straw poll, GCR 2019-3, was approved after chair of the Michigan Conference Leadership Council, Amy Mayo-Moyle, requested it be taken.