news bites

  • Tennis Player Alison Van Uytvanck Comes Out as Lesbian

    Alison Van Uytvanck announced her sexuality publically on a TV show in her native Belgium.

  • This Week in News Bites, February 26, 2014

    Lesbian Singer Advances on ‘American Idol’

    M.K. Nobilette, the first openly gay contestant on the hit television show ‘American Idol’ has made it into the “top 13.” Nobilette, 20, came in ninth in the voting and says reaction to her coming out as a lesbian has been overwhelmingly supportive.

    Nobilette sang “All of Me,” a John Legend song, during the semi-finals round against the top 10 girls.

    “If this is an indication of where our country is going, it's about time," said judge Harry Connick Jr. "I hope in 10 years we won't even have to talk about this. It's a big world, and everybody lives in it." 

    “American Idol” airs Wednesday and Thursday evenings on Fox.

    Sam Has Disappointing Combine Showing

    Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam had an uninspiring performance at Monday’s NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

    Sam, seeking to become the first openly gay football player drafted into the NFL, ran a slow 4.9 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has some observers wondering if he may be caught in between positions with his size (6-foot-2, 255 pounds.) Sam, the Southeastern Conference’s co-defensive player of the year, went through linebacker conversion drills at Monday’s combine. Scouts are now describing Sam as a mid-to-late round draft selection. The 2014 N.F.L. draft begins May 8.

    Lance Bass to Chair Mississippi Marriage Campaign

    Lance Bass, memorable to most as a member of the boy band, ‘N Sync, has agreed to chair the Mississippi campaign for Freedom to Marry, the bipartisan organization working to bring full marriage support in the South.

    Born in Laurel, Mississippi, Bass was elected vice president of his junior class at Clinton High School. The 34-year-old singer and author came out as a gay man in 2006 in a cover story in People Magazine.

    Mississippi is traditionally one of the most culturally conservative states in the union. Voters in the state approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man, one woman in 2004.

    Actress Sharon Gless Joins Florida Fight

    Multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sharon Gless has joined with Equality Florida Institute in its fight for marriage equality. A vocal advocate for LGBT rights, in 2013 Gless is known for her acting roles in “Cagney & Lacey” and “Queer As Folk.” 

    In January, Equality Florida Institute joined with six couples in a lawsuit challenging the State of Florida’s ban on marriage equality.  In recognition of her support, Equality Florida will be honoring Gless and the six plaintiff couples with the Voice for Equality Award at the organization’s Annual Miami Gala at the Pérez Art Museum on Sunday, March 16.

  • Transgender Woman Attempted to be First to Skateboard Across United States

    A woman attempted to skate across the country from Bend, Oregon to Boston to attempt being the first transgender person to accomplish the feat. 

  • Transgender Woman Loses Legal Appeal Over Men's Prison Stint

    A transgender British woman who has been jailed for assault in a men's prison has lost an appeal against her sentence.

  • Trump Backers Baffled By Criticism of His Muslim Proposal

    As she's working the counter at a hole-in-the-wall hot dog stand named Rosie's in upstate South Carolina, Tracy Hooker isn't interested in debating the merits of Donald Trump's proposal to temporarily block Muslims from coming into the United States.

  • U.S. Department of Education No Longer Processing Transgender Bathroom Complaints

    The Education Department will no longer be looking into transgender bathroom complaints.

    During former president Barack Obama’s second term, schools were directed to allow students to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity, according to the Washington Post. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions later removed the guidance under president Donald Trump and said they would only be looking at other forms of discrimination.

    “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity,” Education Department spokesperson Elizabeth Hill said to the the Washington Post. “Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. In the case of bathrooms, however, longstanding regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”

    Catherine Lhamon, who headed the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights during Obama’s time in office, said the department’s statement was “appalling and deeply dangerous,” to the Post.

    “The federal courts have multiple times made clear that Title IX protects transgender students,” Lhamon said. “They just don’t have the option to say, ‘We just don’t apply the law here.’ ”

  • Utah to Consider Allowing People to Change Gender in Courts

    A Utah state senator is proposing a bill that would allow people to legally change their gender through the court system.

  • UTEP Program Helps Transgender People With Voice Change

    The University of Texas at El Paso is assisting those who are transitioning with free voice modification help.

  • White Supremacist Claims He is Bisexual at Terror Planning Trial

    A British man who was planning an alleged terror attack announced in court he was bisexual during his testimony.

  • Wilton Drive BID Board Chosen

    Wilton Manors’ attempt to generate funding for improvements to Wilton Drive now has a board to oversee the efforts.

  • Wilton Manors May Follow County’s Lead to Decriminalize Marijuana

    When it comes to decriminalizing marijuana possession in Wilton Manors, Vice Mayor Scott Newton recently said the city should wait until the county takes action. “I think the county should do something first . . . then we can move forward with it.”