Lezzbook.com founder and editor Elizabeth “Beth” Antoinette Darr, 34, passed away unexpectedly April 30 in her Seattle home. Darr had been suffering from complications from a 2004 auto accident. She created the social media site, which was on the verge of a relaunch when Darr died, as a way to connect with other lesbians following her accident. The site now has 10,000 members. Darr is survived by her parents Regina Froyd and Stephen A. Darr, paternal grandparents Antoinette and Bert Darr, and her life partner, Leslie Anne Engren. Donations in Darr’s name can be made to the It Gets Better Project, PAWS, and the World Wildlife Fund. Read her obituary here.
Q Patrol PDX begins its first patrols of the season Memorial Day weekend following volunteer trainings on May 23 and 24 at Q Center. The holiday weekend has been associated with higher levels of anti-LGBTQ violence. This year, the patrol plans to come out in full force on holiday weekends instead of struggling to sustain patrols every Friday and Saturday. For more information or to volunteer, call 503-234-7837.
A new group for queer parents (and parents-to-be) off all genders is starting up May 26 at Q Center. Curious about how QPoP (Queer Parents of Portland) got its start and how it fits into a movement toward more inclusive (i.e. gay or lesbian) groups for queer and poly parents? Read PQ’s article here.
Queer Heroes NW, a project of the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest and Q Center, kicks off June 1. Like the national LGBT History Month project in October, Queer Heroes will reveal one person each day who has contributed to the progress of the queer community in the region. To see promo videos for the project, check out Q Center on Facebook.
The Portland Area Business Association will honor heroes in the making May 19 at its annual “Tip of the Hat” scholarship brunch. Scholarship recipients include Oscar Arana, Katie Buonocore, Ben-Lee Feliciano, Rachel Jackson, and Rej Joo.
Local author and award-winning reporter Peter Zuckerman appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show May 4 to talk about his experiences with Mitt Romney’s national finance co-chair, Frank VanderSloot. The wealthy Idahoan, whom Maddow calls “one of Mitt Romney’s key gazillionaires,” took out a full-page ad in The Post Register in 2005 publicly outing Zuckerman and questioning his credibility over an award-winning series about child molestation in local Boy Scout troops. Zuckerman said that in addition to encouraging threats and harassment, the campaign against him made it impossible for him to continue investigating the story. VanderSloot recently apologized for any “personal pain” he may have caused, but appears to be continuing to harass the media. Maddow said he had threatened legal action against her and refused to speak on the record.
Beth Allen Law and the Southern Poverty Law Center have sent a complaint to the Oregon Psychiatric Association and American Psychiatric Association calling on them to investigate a Portland psychiatrist’s use of the widely discredited conversion therapy on a gay University of Oregon student. The center reported May 8 that the former patient, 22-year-old Max Hirsch, sought out therapy for depression and quit after he realized the psychiatrist was using conversion therapy.
Oregon Bears, Inc. have filed a lawsuit in small claims court against Ellipses Design. The club’s president, Brent D. Marr, claims that the design firm failed to deliver on a website that the Bears paid more than $3,000 toward. He says that the club eventually found another company to create the website, but that it is now suffering financially and seeking to recoup costs via fundraisers.
Want to have a say in the City of Portland spends its money? Attend the May 17 budget hearing, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at David Douglas High School. If you can’t attend the hearing, you can comment online at portlandonline.com. The City Council will vote May 30 to approve the City of Portland and Portland Development Commission budgets.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, lead sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, issued a statement May 9 — the five-year anniversary of the signing of Oregon’s employment non-discrimination law — praising the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee for scheduling a June 12 hearing on ENDA, which would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In case you haven’t heard, President Barack Obama came out in support of marriage equality May 9 in an interview with ABC News. His remarks followed Vice President Joe Biden’s apparently off-the cuff remarks about his comfort with same-sex marriage and the passage of a constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex relationships in North Carolina.
San Diego will honor Harvey Milk by re-naming the two-block street leading to the city’s LGBTQ community center after him on May 22 — what would have been the assassinated gay and civil rights activist’s 82nd birthday. Though Milk is often associated with San Francisco, where he served as a city supervisor before being killed alongside Mayor George Moscone in 1978, he was stationed in San Diego while serving in the U.S. Navy.
While concerns about religious freedom are often at the forefront of opposition to workplace equality, not all faith groups are opposed to anti-discrimination measures. A coalition of faith and humanist groups issued a letter May 3 encouraging President Barack Obama to sign an Executive Order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity by federal contractors.
The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group announced in May that it will take up the defense of DOMA in the Immigration Equality lawsuit challenging the act’s impact on binational same-sex couples. For more on the lawsuit and the challenges faced by binational couples, read PQ’s article here.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee declared May 14 that the state will recognize same-sex marriages from other states and nations. The executive order will grant married couples greater access to health insurance benefits and will allow parents to list both names on a child’s birth certificate, among other rights. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Rhode Island, while civil unions are permitted.
The Argentina Senate unanimously passed a landmark trans rights law May 9 that grants individuals the autonomy to make decisions about their legal and physical gender identity, without jumping through judicial, psychiatric, and medical hoops. The change makes Argentina a world leader in terms of trans rights.
An Iranian court has sentenced four men to death by hanging for sodomy, according to a report from the Human Rights Activist News Agency. While homosexuality is not against Iran’s criminal code, it is considered a violation of Shariah law. The men are from the remote town of Choram, where a strict interpretation of the law coupled with little access to legal representation seems to have sealed the men’s fates. Activists say four more men were recently hanged for the same reason.