NYC to Host WorldPride 2019 as part of 50th Anniversary of Stonewall Uprising

(EDGE) NYC Pride, announced Monday that New York City has been selected to host WorldPride 2019. WorldPride 2019 will be held in conjunction with Stonewall 50, the official commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.

2019 marks the first time that WorldPride, a global LGBT Pride event, will be celebrated in the United States. Previous host cities have included Rome, Jerusalem, London, and Toronto, while Madrid will host the next WorldPride in 2017. NYC Pride's bid was accepted during the annual general meeting of InterPride in Las Vegas this weekend. InterPride is the international organization of LGBT Pride organizers.

"The Stonewall Uprising is considered the most significant event that ignited the modern LGBT rights movement, so it makes perfect sense to bring WorldPride to the birthplace of Pride in 2019," said David Schneider, NYC Pride's Stonewall 50 Director, "We are so grateful that our fellow Pride organizers from across the globe have chosen New York City for this momentous occasion."

The theme of Stonewall 50/WorldPride 2019 is "Millions of Moments of Pride," and features an expanded two-month series of events and programs alongside NYC Pride's historic March, Rally, PrideFest, and legendary dances for men and women. While NYC Pride draws millions to NYC each June, Stonewall 50/WorldPride 2019 is anticipated to be one of the largest LGBT events ever to occur.

Md. Police Charge Man in Shooting Death of Trans Woman

(EDGE) Maryland county police charged a man with first-degree murder for the shooting death of a transgender woman, the Advocate reports.

Zella Ziona, 21, was shot in the head in an alley behind a laundromat around 5:50 p.m. Thursday, according to the Guardian. A police statement says she was shot multiple times. Ziona was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital around 8:12 p.m.

"It's not random ... investigators are looking at many things," Montgomery County police captain Paul Starks told the Guardian.

An anonymous witness told local news station WJLA that he saw gunfire around the time of the killing and that Ziona was surrounded by four or five teenagers. He added there was an argument and one of the teens pulled out a gun and opened fire. 

"They argued and things happened so fast. I don't know what they argued for," the witness said. He added he heard about four or five gun shots.

"They did find a victim suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the head," Montgomery County Police Officer Rick Goodale told WJLA. "Detectives do not believe this was a random shooting."

Police arrested Rico Hector Leblond, 20, Friday and charged him with the murder of Ziona, according to the Advocate. 

The Guardian notes Ziona was misgendered in early reports of the incident. Gawker points out, Maryland is one of just 16 states with hate crime laws that protect residents based on actual or perceived gender identity.

Ziona is the 22nd transgender or gender-nonconforming person reported to be killed this year, according the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. This is an increase compared to 2014 as the NCAVP reported there were 20 documented murders of trans or gender-nonconforming people.

IN Gov. Discusses Division on LGBT Protections

(AP) Gov. Mike Pence says he's considering if the concerns of religious conservatives can be reconciled with those of gay rights supporters who want LGBT protections in law.

The Republican spoke to WRTV-TV in Indianapolis ( ). He says nothing has been determined and he's spending time studying the issue and listening to people. He says he's learned Indiana residents cherish faith and don't tolerate discrimination.

His comments come as lawmakers have largely shied away from speaking publicly about LGBT rights.

Democrats have planned to push legislation and several Indiana cities have considered adopting their own lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender protections.

Religious conservatives and gay rights supporters remain divided after last spring's religious objections law, which generated national headlines. Critics say the law could sanction discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. 

Pharma Brat 'Furious' Over Bernie Sanders Snub

(EDGE) Notorious AIDS medication price-gouger Martin Shkreli is "furious" that 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders wouldn't accept a campaign contribution as an inroad to a debate with the Vermont Senator over his pricing practices, The Boston Globe reports.

"We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed," said Michael Briggs, a spokesman for the Sanders campaign in an email.

Shkreli had donated $2,700, the maximum amount allowed by law, to the Sanders campaign. According to a report in the Boston Globe, Shkreli made the contribution in the hopes of getting a private meeting with the Senator to explain why drug prices in the United States are so high.

The Sanders campaign has refused to keep the money, and has re-gifted Shkreli's donation to the Whitman-Walker health clinic in Washington.

"I think it's cheap to use one person's action as a platform without kind of talking to that person," Shkreli said in the interview. "He'll take my money, but he won't engage with me for five minutes to understand this issue better."

Sanders and his opponent former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both expressed outrage last month when it was reported that Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of anti-parasitic drug, Daraprim, a medication used by some AIDS patients a whopping 4,000 percent. 

"I would lump Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry at the top of my list of people who do not like me," Sanders said during Tuesday night's Democratic debate.

"Right now the rule of law in the United States is that drug companies can price their products wherever they see fit, not wherever he sees fit," Shkreli said. "If the rule changes by congressional vote, then you know, I'll adapt to the rules."

Shkreli, who has been labeled "The Most Hated Man in America," is "furious" that Sanders is using him as a punching bag without giving him a chance to give his side.

Report: 'Ex-Gay' Therapy is Harmful

(EDGE) A new report from the government says conversion therapy for youth is harmful, recommending the controversial "treatment" be stopped.

The report criticizing the "ex-gay" therapy comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration (SAMHSA)this week, stating the practice should not be used on children. The research's panel consisted of practitioners in child and adolescent mental health, family therapy, ethics and the psychology of religion. 

Researchers said they "found that variations in sexual orientation and gender identity are normal, and that conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity are not effective, are harmful, and are not appropriate therapeutic practices."

"When dealing with a sensitive topic such as gender identity or sexual orientation in young people, it is essential that families, educators, caregivers, and providers seek the best available information and advice," said SAMHSA acting administrator Kana Enomoto.

As Pink News points out, the condemning report from the government agency shouldn't be that surprising as President Barack Obama called for an end of conversion therapy earlier this year, when an adviser said, "We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth. The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm."

Washington D.C. became the third jurisdiction to ban conversion therapy. Both California and New Jersey have also banned the practice for minors.

God Hates Kim Davis? WBC to Protest County Clerk

(EDGE) It will be a self-righteous dual smack-down on Monday October 19, when the Westboro Baptist Church takes their side show to the Rowan County Clerk's office in Morehead, Kentucky to protest defiant county clerk Kim Davis.

It appears as though Kim Davis' multiple marriages caught the fire and brimstone eye of the WBC. And although she says she's repented from her sluttish past, they ain't buying it.

A press release published on the WBC website reads in part:

The Lord willing, Westboro Baptist Church pickets to warn the living! So when God Almighty put a spotlight upon the proud sinners and self-righteous hypocrites Kim Davis and her so-called "supporters", we must GO, because we follow the Lamb, withersoever (sic) he goeth!

[...]Rowan County Kentucky Clerk, with high-dollar salary and digs, she acquired, ONLY after she took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution and the laws. Kim claims that she has lived in proud sin for many years, divorcing and remarrying, not one time or two times, in fact you need a score card to keep track.  Her lawyers, being smooth talking fellows say that all that was before her call to salvation two years ago when her current mother-in-law died. 

Nice, tidy, cleaver, but no cigar!

That man that Kim Davis is living with and calling her husband, IS NOT! Her husband is Dwain Wallace, who she married when she was 18-years-old. It does not matter how many years you pile on, it was adultery at the beginning and it was adultery in the middle and it is indeed adultery today!

See these words of Bible doctrine and be instructed and obey!  These words would bind the heart of a servant of God and only good works would follow! Kim Davis hates these words and has decided that her adultery is less sin, than the sin of the sodomites.

Report: Over 800K US Facebook Users Came Out as LGBT in Past Year

(EDGE) The number of people coming out as LGBT on Facebook is growing each year, according to new research by the social media giant.

For Spirit Day Thursday, Facebook's Research and Data Science division published a new report detailing the increasing number of U.S. Facebook users identifying as LGBT.

"Not only has the total number of Americans who have come out on Facebook risen dramatically, but so has the number coming out each day," Facebook said, according to Engadget.

The Facebook research reported that about 6 million of Facebook's U.S. users identify as LGBT and 800,000 came out in the last year.

Facebook officials said that there was a spike in the number of users coming out after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage in June.

"On a typical day, one out of every 10 people who change their 'interested in' status on Facebook do so to reflect a same-gender interest," wrote researchers Bogdon State and Nils Wernerfelt. "On the day of the Supreme Court ruling, this ratio was double, one out of every five people.

Additionally, in the days following the June 26 Supreme Court decision, we saw more than 26 million people display a rainbow filter on their profile picture."

Facebook made headlines around the time of the high court's decision for its app that added a rainbow filter to users' profile picture to show support for gay marriage.

Trans Male Model Loses Men's Health Ultimate Guy Contest

(EDGE) Transgender male model Aydian Dowling did not win the Men's Health Ultimate Guy contest and will not appear on the cover of an upcoming issue of the men's fitness magazine.

Dowling, who was leading the competition early on and was poised to become the magazine's first trans cover model, was the magazine's runner-up in the final round of the contest. The trans activist lost the cover to firefighter and EMT Tim Boniface, People

Dowling, 28, took to Facebook after losing the Men's Health cover competition, which took place earlier this year in order to find a man "who is fit and fearless, a doer who gives back and leads by example."

"As some of you may already know, I did not get the title of 2015 Mens Health Ultimate Guy," Dowling wrote on Oct. 12. "Of course I hold feelings of disappointment for what could have been an amazing opportunity for our visibility as a community. The work we have put in the last six months was and is still completely relevant to our movement to full Transgender Rights and Equality. I would like to fully congratulate the winner- Tim, and ALL the other guys who shared this amazing journey with me!"

"For their dedication to their communities and for the new family we have created," he wrote. "I would also like to Thank each and every one of the over 72 THOUSAND people who voted a Transman to the Number 1 spot on the Readers’ Choice List!"

Though he won't be making history as the first trans man to cover Men's Health, he will appear on a cover with some of the other contest's contenders.

Accused Philly Gay Bashers' Plea Deal Infuriates LGBT Community

(AP) Two men accused of beating a gay couple in a case helped solved by social media sleuths will avoid prison time under a plea agreement announced Thursday that outraged members of the gay community.

Instead, prosecutors said, Philip Williams and Kevin Harrigan must stay away from downtown Philadelphia for several years, pay just under $1,000 in restitution and perform 200 hours of service at a facility serving the LGBT community.

In a tweet, gay writer and activist Dan Savage called the sentence "appalling."

Williams, 24, and Harrigan, 26, apologized to the victims and the judge as they pleaded guilty to assault and conspiracy charges in the attack last year that left one victim with a broken jaw and cheekbones. They said the beating wasn't motivated by the couple's sexual orientation.

Prosecutors said the victims, Zachary Hesse and Andy Haught, had encouraged a resolution that avoided excessive punishment while sending a positive message about tolerance and understanding. Pennsylvania's hate crime law does not cover sexual orientation.

"Today's agreement is certainly about justice, but it is also about honoring the wishes of the victims to make sure they can continue to heal and gain closure," District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement.

A third defendant, Kathryn Knott, will go to trial.

Prosecutors say Williams and Harrigan, from the suburban communities of Warminster and Warrington, were part of a group that hurled gay slurs and profanity and beat Hesse and Haught near Philadelphia's ritzy Rittenhouse Square on Sept. 11, 2014.

The case gained attention when police posted a video of the suspects, and online followers used social media sites to help identify them.

"This affected the sense of security for all people in Center City, particularly people who are gay and lesbian," Assistant District Attorney Michael Barry said. The defendants, he said, damaged Philadelphia's reputation as a safe, gay friendly city.

6 Members of Anti-Gay Russian Neo Nazi Group Reportedly Jailed

(EDGE) Russian police have jailed six members of an anti-gay Neo-Nazi group, which aims to torture gay teens by humiliating and beating them and posting the recorded incidents online, Gay Star News reports.

Police in the Russian region of Ural arrested nine members of Occupy Pedophilia who were courting unsuspecting LGBT people via personal ads. In the past, members of the group have also lured gay teens by making fake accounts on the popular Russian social media network site

The Sinarsky District Court Kamensk-Ural found nine members of the group guilty of at least 19 attacks against gay people, according. They were found guilty of death threats, torture and causing "moderate damage to health" but were not found guilty of participating in an "extremist group."

Six members of Occupy Pedophilia have been jailed with varying sentences; between three to six years in prison, while three other members received suspended sentences.

Occupy Pedophilia members trick young gay men or teens into a "date" the group set up. But upon arrival, the group would capture the victims and take them to a different location to bully, torture and humiliate them on camera. EDGE has reported on various incidents over the last few years.

The organization was headed by Maxim Martsinkevich, who started group in order to "identify and report pedophiles" in Russia. Martsinkevich is currently serving jail time for "hooliganism" after authorities arrested him down in Cuba in early 2014.

Fla Couples Ask Judge to Recognize Same-Sex Spouses as Parents

(NCLR/EQFL) Two same-sex couples who filed a federal lawsuit challenging Florida’s refusal to add both of their names to their children’s birth certificates asked the court for immediate protection for their families on Friday.

The request for a preliminary injunction was filed by Debbie and Kari Chin of St. Petersburg and Yadira Arenas and Alma Vazquez of Winter Haven.

“Florida law requires the state to issue birth certificates listing both spouses to all married couples, and the Supreme Court’s decision this past summer makes clear that it is unconstitutional for the state to treat married same-sex couples differently than opposite-sex couples with respect to birth certificates,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which represents the plaintiffs.

On August 13, 2015, the couples, along with Equality Florida Institute, filed a lawsuit challenging Florida’s refusal to issue birth certificates listing both spouses as parents of their children.

Debbie and Kari have been together for 15 years and were married in Boston in 2013. When Kari gave birth in February, they were told that Debbie could not be listed on his birth certificate.

"Without being on our son's birth certificate, in the event of an emergency or if something were ever to happen to my wife, I am not sure where that would leave us," said Debbie Chin.

Yadira and Alma have been together for three years and were married in New York in 2013. When Alma gave birth in March, they were not allowed to put Yadira on the birth certificate as a parent, and Alma was told that she had to be listed as “single” on the form.​

“Our family deserves equal protection and respect. We don’t want our child to grow up feeling that the State of Florida does not recognize us a family,” said Arenas.

Nat’l LGBTQ Task Force Appoints New Director of Academy for Leadership & Action

(TheTaskForce) The National LGBTQ Task Force has announced that long-time community organizer Reverend Rodney McKenzie, Jr. has been appointed as the organization’s new Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action. Most recently, McKenzie served the organization as the Faith Work Director. He succeeds Sarah Reece, who has been tapped as the organization’s Senior Strategist.

“Rodney and Sarah bring a wealth of talent to their new roles. We live in an interesting time: while we have won marriage we need to push forward to deliver full freedom, justice and equality for all LGBTQ people. We also need to push back hard on the efforts by politicians using faith to force their prejudices on everyone through the passage of discriminatory laws. Rodney and Sarah will play very important roles in this dual effort,” said Russell Roybal, National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director.

The Academy for Leadership and Action is the National LGBTQ Task Force’s grassroots organizing and training department.

"As a community, electoral and faith organizer, I feel excited about the opportunity to help advance freedom, justice and equality for all LGBTQ people and for everyone. As a person of faith, I feel energized to help raise the voices of welcoming and affirming people of faith and our progressive secular allies,” said McKenzie.

Next week, the National LGBTQ Task Force will present the Faith & Family LGBTQ Power Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah from October 20 – 23, 2015.The four-day gathering will focus on elevating the voices of LGBTQ faith leaders, addressing attacks by anti-LGBTQ politicians, and providing communities of faith with tools to create a welcoming environment for LGBTQ people.

More information about the summit is available online at

Vets Group Nat’l Convention to be Held in NM

(AVER) The Bataan Chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights announced AVER's 2016 convention will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 21-24, 2016. The keynote speaker for the event will be US Air Force Major General Patricia A. Rose, Mobilization Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. General Rose is the highest ranking out officer in the United States Military, and she will be accompanied by her wife, Lieutenant Julie Roth, US Navy (retired) one of the first women to perform scientific duty in Antarctica and also among the first women in the Navy to achieve aircrew status. Registration for the convention and hotel along with information regarding the convention will open on Nov. 15.

Walmart Hit by Third Discrimination Lawsuit in Five Months

(MCAW) Making Change at Walmart, the national campaign to change Walmart, released the following statement in response to a third discrimination suit filed by a Walmart employee over the past five months. Robert Samantha Azzarano alleges that she was harassed and then fired from a New Jersey Walmart for being transgender.

Other discrimination cases from the past five months include a class action suit filed in July by former Walmart employee Jacqueline Cote in Massachusetts, who alleges that she was repeatedly denied when she tried to add her same-sex spouse to her Walmart health insurance, and a suit filed in August by six former Louisiana Walmart employees who allege that they were fired due to racial and age discrimination.

“Once again we see evidence that Walmart doesn’t discriminate when it comes to alleged discrimination. This alleged behavior by the nation's largest employer is sickening and unacceptable,” said Jess Levin, communications director for MCAW. “How many times, just in the past five months, has Walmart been accused of discrimination? Hard-working Walmart workers have allegedly faced or complained about discrimination for their sexuality, race, age, and now gender identity. We will not stop until Walmart changes for the better.”

Relatedly, MCAW released two ads this week that highlighted the struggles that many Walmart and retail workers face every day. Those ads, “Replaceable” and “Real Change,” debuted during the Democratic debate Tuesday night.