Here's the latest in lesbian, bisexual and transgender bites!
Chicago Dyke March and A Wider Bridge at Odds after Three People asked to Leave March
(SFGN) Organizers of the Chicago Dyke March asked three participants carrying rainbow flags with the Star of David to leave because they were making others at the event uncomfortable, the Windy City Times reported.
Dyke March organizers posted to Facebook on Sunday:
Sadly, our celebration of dyke , queer, and trans solidarity was partially overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally. This decision was made after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Chicago Dyke March Collective members. We have since learned that at least one of these individuals is a regional director for A Wider Bridge, an organization with connections to the Israeli state and right-wing pro-Israel interest groups…
We want to make clear that anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March and were involved in conversations with the individuals who were asked to leave. We are planning to make a longer statement in the future.
One of the three was Laurel Grauer, a manager at A Wider Bridge, a North American LGBTQ pro-Israel organization.
"People asked me if I was a Zionist and I said 'yes, I do care about the state of Israel but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine,'" Grauer told the Times. "It's hard to swallow the idea of inclusion when you are excluding people from that. People are saying 'You can be gay but not in this way.' We do not feel welcomed. We do not feel included."
More than 1500 people attended the Chicago Dyke March in La Villita, Saturday, June 24.
Kentucky Teacher Comes Out as Bisexual to Support at Risk Students, is Fired
(SFGN) When Montgomery County middle school chorus teacher Nicholas Breiner came out as bisexual on Instagram, he said he did it to bring comfort to some of his LGBTQ students, who had been suicidal.
“I felt that they needed to know there was someone in the room that understood and supported them, regardless of who they were. As terrifying as it was to admit, I had to value someone else’s well-being over my own privacy,” Breiner said in his post.
But shortly after his post, Breiner said he was called into a meeting with school principal Paula Stafford, and Montgomery County Deputy Superintendent Rick Culross, where his sexuality was brought up and he was cautioned “we live in a small town.”
“For years, it was my opinion that my sexual orientation was my business and nobody else’s. But when your children are in danger, you must re-evaluate,” Breiner elaborated in a statement to the Lexington Herald Leader. “When a child is ready to take their own life because they love differently than those around them, you must prioritize their safety over your own privacy.”
When Breiner’s teaching contract wasn’t renewed for the 2017-2018 school year, Montgomery County Superintendent Matthew Thompson, told the Herald Leader Breiner “was not fired or terminated…The employment decision relating to his non-renewal was not in part, or in whole, because of his sexual orientation. However, I am unable to answer specific questions about the non-renewal due to confidentiality.”
Stafford, Culross, and Thompson have not commented on Breiner’s account of the meeting.
Approximately 30 parents, students, and former students attended a protest at the county courthouse in Mount Sterling, Saturday, June 17 to show their support for Breiner.
“We all really feel that it comes down to his sexuality, and that’s a load of crap,” parent Megan Johnson said. “He’s a great educator.”
Transgender Firefighter Marches as NYC Pride Parade Grand Marshal
(CNN) When Brooke Guinan joined the New York City Fire Department in 2008 she publicly presented herself as a man. She had no idea that on Sunday she'd be one of the NYC Pride Parade's grand marshals while identifying as a transgender woman.
Guinan began identifying as a transgender woman in 2011, three years into her firefighting career at FDNY. She first came out as a gay man at a young age, but began to question her gender identity in college. During her first few years in the department, she served in both firefighting and administrative capacities. For the past two years, Guinan has stepped out of the firehouse and has served the FDNY as its LGBTQ outreach coordinator.
"The firehouse can be fun, but I am so enamored with my community and I am very pleased and grateful to do a different kind of lifesaving work in the fire department," Guinan said.
James Fallarino, spokesperson for NYC Pride, said Guinan appears to be the first openly transgender member of the FDNY. She is the first transgender public safety employee to serve as an individual grand marshal. In 2002, two organizations -- the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) and FireFLAG -- served as grand marshals after 9/11.
"It is an amazing honor to be the Grand Marshal of this year's Pride parade," Guinan said. "I have always found inspiration in other people's voices and it is an honor to be given an opportunity for my voice to be heard."
She was one of four grand marshals. The others are Krishna Stone, the director of community relations at Gay Men's Health Crisis; Geng Le, a leader of the LGBTQ equality movement in the People's Republic of China; and the American Civil Liberties Union.