The Portland Police Bureau premiered an “It Gets Better” video June 15 with a press conference at Q Center that included remarks from Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Police Chief Michael Reese, Q Center Executive Director Barbara McCullough-Jones, Sexual Minorities Roundtable Co-chair Danny Rosen, and Detective Mary Wheat. The video, inspired by version put out by the San Francisco Police, featured 17 LGBTQ members of the PPB and was released just in time for Portland Pride.
Two transgender women were allegedly assaulted June 26 near NW 2nd Ave. and Burnside St. Portland Police arrested 50-year-old Reginald Ferdinand McGhee on charges of assault in the fourth degree and intimidation in the first degree (a bias crime). The victims — Mya Rose Wolf-Black, 30, and Jacqueline Adams, 23 — told police that McGhee yelled anti-gay slurs, removed his belt, and began to swing its large metal buckle at them. Wolf-Black suffered scratches on her arm; Adams was not injured.
Portland, Ore., joined a growing list of cities across the nation holding vigils for the young Latina lesbian couple shot June 23 in Portland, Texas. Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, was dead when police arrived at the scene while her girlfriend, Mary Christine Chapa, 18, was found in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery. The vigil took place July 14 and was organized by volunteers from Pride NW, GLSEN, Q Center, MCC Portland. Organizers asked that participants bring flowers instead of candles, which were then collected and bundled into bouquets after the vigil for LGBTQ seniors.
Portland Latino Gay Pride announced July 16 the recipients of its annual Mariposa Awards. The 2012 honorees are youth advocate Ernesto Domínguez, juvenile custody service specialist Arnoldo Jaramillo, immigrant rights activist Aeryca Steinbauer, and Latino sex education organization OYE: Opciones y Educación. The award recipients were nominated based on their history of community involvement and volunteerism, advocacy and support of the Latino and/or LGBTQ community, commitment to arts and culture as a means to educate and inspire, and demonstrated leadership and dedication to social justice. The Mariposa Awards will be presented at Noche Bohemia – PLGP Opening Reception, July 19, 7 p.m.–9 p.m. at Q Center.
The Portland Commission on Disability (PCOD) will host a mayoral candidate forum with Jefferson Smith and Charlie Hales from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 10 in room 2500A of 1900 SW 4th Ave. PCOD Chair Nyla McCarthy will moderate an hour-long question session preceded by brief opening remarks. Questions will focus on issues affecting people with disabilities who, PCOD says, comprise at least 18 percent of the population.
The Fifth Annual Red Ribbon Show, hosted by the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Willamette Empire (ISCWE), raised more than $8,600 July 8 for Camp Starlight, an Oregon summer camp for children affected by HIV/AIDS, a program of Cascade AIDS Project. This year’s show had some star-studded support with donated auction items from HIV-positive celebrities including Jack Mackenroth (Project Runway), Olympian Greg Louganis, and Styx bassist Chuck Panozzo.
Governor John Kitzhaber signed an executive order in June establishing a new Oregon Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Task Force in response to the increasing incidence of domestic violence in the state. The Task Force will be dedicated to preventing domestic violence and supporting victims of abuse by identifying and addressing gaps in support services for racial and ethnic minorities, Native American and tribal members, and gay and transgender populations.
Thomas Bruner has been named the new CEO of the Oregon and SW Washington Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Bruner will take over for Christine M. McDonald starting in August. He most recently served as the vice president of corporate diversity with the American National Red Cross where he worked to advance diversity and inclusion, and was Cascade AIDS Project’s executive director from 1998-2005.
The active duty military contingent of the San Diego Pride officials will march in uniform for the first time this year after receiving approval from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Veterans were already allowed to wear their uniforms in Pride parades, but approval for active duty servicemembers is new since the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. San Diego Pride is July 20-22.
The nation’s leading Latino organizations recently endorsed a first-of-its kind public education campaign, Familia es Familia, which seeks to increase support of LGBTQ family members in the Latino community. The campaign will include an interactive bilingual website; social media content on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube; earned media; and a mobile device based organizing campaign. Founding partners include Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), Hispanic National Bar Association, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Hispanic Council on Aging, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National Hispanic Medical Association, and US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
A bill allowing more than two adults to be legally recognized as the parents of a child has passed the California Senate and is awaiting an Assembly vote. The proposed law was inspired by a case in which a child was placed in foster care when her lesbian parents could not care for her, even though her biological father would have made a suitable legal parent. Similar laws already exist in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maine, and Washington, D.C.
Two high profile men came out in the last month — CNN journalist Anderson Cooper and R&B artist Frank Ocean (Odd Future). Cooper, who is now considered on of the highest profile gays in the country, came out via an email to friend Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast, saying that while his sexuality had never been a secret, he had declined to disclose it publicly in an attempt to separate his personal life from his professional life. Ocean came out without the use of any labels, by describing his first love in the liner notes of his new album, which contain love songs to a “he.”
As the 2012 London Summer Olympics approach, The Advocate set out to identify the out athletes competing for the gold. The (short) list includes: Seimone Augustus (U.S.A., Basketball), Matthew Mitcham (Australia, Diving), Megan Rapinoe (U.S.A., Soccer), and Marilyn Agliotti (Netherlands, Field Hockey). Stefany Lee (U.S.A., Wrestling) was headed to the Olympics, but got disqualified after traces of marijuana were found in a drug test.
In other Olympic news, the International Olympic Committee has a new policy for verifying athletes’ eligibility to compete. The policy, which seeks to create a fair playing field but is being criticized as a sex test, is expected to ban women with naturally occurring testosterone levels that reach “normal” male testosterone levels (a level which the IOC has declined to give a number) from competing with other women. Such women may be allowed to compete if they take measures to decrease their testosterone levels, as the hormone is believed to provide an unfair advantage.
Further evidence that the world could use a lesson in the intricacies of sex and gender: A Swedish judge recently dropped attempted rape charges on the grounds the accused man didn’t know the victim was a transgender woman. The judged ruled that the intended crime (determined to be raping a cisgender woman, as opposed to raping the woman the perpetrator was convicted of assaulting) could not have been fulfilled, therefore negating the possibility of an attempt.