News Briefs for August 5, 2015

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Dream Lounge hosts Fundraiser for Orgullo

(SFGN) Dream Lounge, an up and coming nightspot in Wilton Manors, hosted a well-attended fundraiser for Orgullo on Saturday evening. Orgullo is the Spanish word for Pride.

“Orgullo celebrates a month of Hispanic LGBT Pride,” said event organizer Herb Sosa.

Sosa was on hand at Dream Lounge pitching the event to a crowd of stylishly dressed young men and women. Presented by Unity Coalition, Orgullo is from Sept. 4 through Oct. 3 in Miami and Miami Beach.

Now in its fifth year, the event culminates Oct. 3 at Museum Park in Miami with musical performances accentuating Latin America’s culture. For more information, visit CelebrateOrgullo.com

New LGBT Social Platform ‘Moovz’ Launches

(MOOVZ) MOOVZ, a global LGBT social platform created by Interacting Technology, announced launch of their new global campaign. MOOVZ is a social platform aimed at helping gay men and women, transgender and questioning persons, communicate and unify. The app is available for download on Google Play and iTunes.

The MOOVZ app co-founder and CEO, Liav Eliash says, "Our goal is to connect the entire worldwide LGBT community and change the way LGBT individuals meet and interact.” Eliash continues, “The MOOVZ app will allow members to share their memories, make new friends, discover interesting stories and keep up with their community anytime, anywhere.”
The developers describe the platform as Facebook, Instagram and Tinder combined into one application for the benefit of the LGBT community. For example, MOOVZ members can create customized profiles for location based social discovery, add members as friends, exchange messages, post status updates, photos and videos. Users may join common interest user groups and discussions called #MOMENTS, where subscribers can connect and stay connected with other users that share the same commonalities.

MOOVZ has acquired more than 1 million users within a few months of launching. They have also seen over 200 million interactions between their users, garnered 5 million posts and comments from their subscribers within the beginning stages of their beta testing.

Watch MOOVZ campaign videos:
You’re Gay, Now What? (http://bit.ly/1IgCis5 )
You’re Lesbian, Now What? (http://bit.ly/1MHdNEt )
Download the MOOVZ app here: https://moovz.com/r/2015

Man Charged in Trans Woman's Slaying in Tampa

(AP) Authorities in Florida say a man has been charged with murder in the shooting death of a transgender woman.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported in a news release that 18-year-old Keith Lamayne Gaillard is being held on a first-degree murder charge in the death of 25-year-old India Clarke.

Clarke's body was found July 21 in a Tampa park, and an autopsy later determined that she had been shot in the head and an arm.

Officials say Gaillard's DNA was found under Clarke's fingernails. Detectives also reported finding a condom with Gaillard's DNA inside Clarke's car, which was found nearby.

Gaillard is being held on $275,000 bail. He turned himself in Wednesday morning after a warrant was issued.

It is unclear whether Gaillard has retained an attorney.

Russian Police Detain Several Gay Activists

(AP) ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Police in St. Petersburg on Sunday detained several gay activists who have held pickets in defense of gay rights on a Russian military holiday.

Yuri Gavrikov, the leader of a gay rights group, was quickly rounded up by police as he left his home to hold a one-man picket in front of the Hermitage Museum.

Police accused him of cursing on the street, which he denied. Gavrikov was held at a police station pending a court hearing.

Veterans of Russian Airborne Forces confronted several other gay activists, who held individual pickets near the Hermitage, and tore up their posters. Police quickly took the gay activists away.

Paratroopers gathered in many Russian cities to mark the Airborne Forces Day on Sunday.

Russia has been widely criticized for infringement on gay rights following the passage of a law that prohibits vaguely defined "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors.

Senegalese Journalist Gets 6 Months for Homosexuality

(AP) A well-known Senegalese journalist was sentenced Friday to six months in prison for acts of homosexuality, which is illegal in this West African country.

Tamsir Jupiter Ndiaye, who had previous homosexuality convictions, was arrested in June after a young man accused him of attempted rape. Chased by an angry mob, he took refuge in a Dakar police station.

The magazine columnist was sentenced in 2012 to 4 years in prison for acts of homosexuality, illegal possession of arms and battery. The sentence was later reduced to 2 years and he was paroled in 2013.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Senegal and punishable by up to five years prison and fines of up to $2,500.

A Human Rights Watch report from 2010 reported widespread abuse of gay men, including torture and ill-treatment, particularly by police.

Homosexuality is a criminal offense in more than two-thirds of African countries.

Judge Deems Gay Couple as Spouses after One Partner's Death

(AP) A judge has recognized a 2001 same-sex union as a common-law marriage in Pennsylvania even though one partner died before gay marriage became legal.

Sabrina Maurer's (MOW'-ers) case involves her fight over death benefits and inheritance taxes following the 2013 death of Kim Underwood.

Bucks County Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. says the women retroactively qualify as common-law spouses because of their 2001 church union.

Underwood died a year before a federal judge ordered Pennsylvania to conduct same-sex marriages and recognize those performed earlier.

Fritsch's ruling Wednesday appears to extend that decision to include earlier common-law unions, at least in Bucks County.

Family lawyer Helen Casale (KUH'-sal) says the ruling is creating plenty of buzz in the legal community as gay clients pursue death benefits, divorce settlements and other claims.

GOP Proposes Anti-Gay Protections for Already Protected Clergy

(AP) A Republican wants to explicitly allow clergy in Georgia to refuse to perform gay marriages - a protection they already enjoy under the U.S. Constitution.

House Speaker David Ralston earlier this month said he will support the Pastor's Protection Act. It would make clear that clergy do not have to marry same-sex couples.

Georgia's state constitution forbade gay marriage until the U.S. Supreme Court recently legalized it.

Lawyers say the First Amendment already keeps the government from forcing clergy members to celebrate weddings that violate the celebrant's religious beliefs.

Although legally toothless, the proposal could be seen as a political concession from Ralston to social conservatives.

The Republican leader was instrumental this year in blocking passage of a separate bill that gay rights groups feared could allow public accommodations discrimination.

Kansas Agency Hesitant to Allow Married Same-Sex Couples to Be Foster Parents

(AP) A Kansas Department of Children and Families official said Friday that the state will continue to allow qualified single adults to serve as foster parents for abused and neglected children, but she said her agency isn't ready to say whether it will allow married same-sex couples to do so.

The department has faced questions about its plans because it said earlier this month that it was conducting a broad review of foster care policies. Douglas County District Judge Peggy Carr Kittel wrote a regional DCF official, asking whether it planned to limit foster parenting to only married couples and how such a move would apply to same-sex couples, given the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage across the nation.

Theresa Freed, a spokeswoman for the child welfare agency, told The Associated Press that department officials "haven't changed any foster care licensing policies." The department did not issue a public statement.

"Single adults will not be excluded from being foster care parents," Freed said. "That was never being considered."

Before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Kansas banned same-sex marriage and did not recognize such marriages from other states. Brownback has been a vocal supporter of the state's ban.

But the state allowed gays and lesbians to serve as foster parents, as individuals.

The department began its review of foster care policies after Republican Gov. Sam Brownback this month transferred the licensing of foster homes to it from the Department of Health and Environment. DCF already had administered placements and services for foster children through two private contractors.

Indiana Convention's CEO Calls for Broader LGBT Protections

(AP) The CEO of a massive gamers' convention that threatened to leave Indiana earlier this year over a divisive religious objections law said Thursday that organizers are "shopping the show" to other cities and could relocate if lawmakers don't expand protections for gays and lesbians.

Cities across the U.S. have courted convention organizers since Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the initial bill in March, provoking national uproar from critics who believed it would sanction discrimination against gay people. Backlash prompted lawmakers to make changes forbidding discrimination, but they stopped short of extending civil rights protections to the LGBT community, as some cities - including Indianapolis- have done.

Adrian Swartout, the CEO of Gen Con, told The Associated Press Thursday on the convention's opening day that a competitive offer from a state that grants gays and lesbians that status could be a "catalyst" pushing the event to relocate when its contract expires in 2020. Chicago has shown interest and Orlando also is a possibility, she said.

"If we have opportunity to be in places that have state protections, that might make the deal," Swartout said. "This is important to us."

Pence opposes proposals to give LGBT people statewide civil rights protections. When recently asked about the possibility of Gen Con leaving over LGBT rights, Pence refused to answer.

Gen Con's departure could mean a significant drop in revenue. The convention draws thousands of costumed damsels, dungeon masters and roll-play game aficionados to Indianapolis each year. Last year, more than 56,000 people visited, bringing in an estimated $67 million in revenue.

Ex-Navy SEAL Alleges Anti-Gay Bullying By CIA Workers

A former Navy SEAL has filed an internal complaint alleging the CIA bullied him for being gay during a work assignment in June in Afghanistan.

Brett Jones said he filed the complaint last week against the federal agency, saying he was forced to endure homophobic slurs and other inappropriate comments on June 11 in Afghanistan as a group of contractors and civil servants in the CIA's Global Response Staff watched news of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

He also said he was abandoned and forced to walk in 120-degree temperatures without water while he worked there as a CIA contractor.

Jones, the author of "Pride: The Story of the First Openly Gay Navy SEAL," said he feared for his safety and returned home early from Afghanistan. He told his story to ABC and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Jones told the AP that the CIA had contacted him and said they are investigating the complaint.

Jones said that during his time working in Afghanistan that people he was working with called him an anti-gay name, and he said they were defensive when he confronted them about it. Jones alleged in the complaint that his team later ditched him in 120-degree temperatures without water, making him walk part way back to their compound before they stopped to give him a ride.

He said though the agency has come a long way in offering programs to accept gay people, there is still a lot of anti-gay sentiment among members of the special operations and intelligence communities.

"It's crazy that it still exists. But it does. It really does," he said.

Feds Release Updated Strategy Against AIDS in America

(AP) U.S. health officials have updated their strategic plan for fighting AIDS, setting new goals for reducing infections and deaths.

The new document "seizes on the rapid shifts in science as we've learned more about this disease," said President Barack Obama, in a statement.

The plan unveiled Thursday updates one issued five years ago. Developments since then include new diagnostic tests, a daily pill for infection prevention and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act - increasing the number of people with health insurance.

However, new infections with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, have stayed about the same, at around 50,000 a year. Diagnosed infections have dropped in women and heterosexuals, but climbed in gay and bisexual men.

The updated document adds some new goals for 2020, like reducing the death rate among HIV-diagnosed people by at least one-third, and increasing the percentage who control their infection though medication.

It also reports on progress toward the goals that had been set for 2015. Health statistics for this year are not compiled yet. But a look at 2012 and 2013 data suggests slight progress in some categories, like the proportion of people with HIV who were linked to specialized medical care within one month of diagnosis - from 70 percent to nearly 73 percent.

But by some measures, the situation got worse. The proportion of people with diagnosed HIV who are homeless rose slightly from 2000 to 2012, to more than 8 percent.

Since AIDS was first identified more than 30 years ago, medicines have changed it from a death sentence to a chronic threat. About 1.2 million Americans were living with HIV in 2012, the most recent year for which that statistic is available.


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