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Pentagon lifts ban on transgender troops

Jul. 1, 2016 - , The Pentagon on Thursday lifted its ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.

At a news briefing, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that the armed services "don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualifications to serve."

"The Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now – the finest fighting force the world has ever known," Carter told reporters. "We don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualifications to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission."

While the change is effective immediately, it will take up to a year to implement new policies and train personnel.

"When the training is complete, no later than one year from today, the military services will begin accessing transgender individuals who meet all standards, holding them to the same physical and mental fitness standards as everyone else who wants to join the military," said Carter.

LGBT rights activists cheered the move.

"Today, we join in celebration with the thousands of brave transgender patriots who will now be able to serve our nation openly and with the deep respect they deserve," HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. "Ending this discriminatory policy not only brings long-overdue recognition to transgender service members, it also strengthens our military and our nation. Our military will now be able to recruit the very best candidates, and retain highly-trained, talented transgender service members once facing discharge for no other reason than who they are. History will remember Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for his leadership in taking this historic and necessary step forward."

Catholic League's Bill Donohue says gays should apologize to him, preferably by FedEx
Jun. 30, 2016 - , Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday that he would not follow Pope Francis' advice for Christians to apologize to the LGBT community.

In fact, Donohue said that gays owe him an apology and asked for it to be delivered by FedEx.

When Cuomo asked Donohue, a vocal opponent of LGBT rights, whether he planned to follow the pontiff's advice, Donohue answered with a stern "no."

"As a matter of fact, I want an apology from gays," he said. "I've been assaulted by gays. I've never assaulted a gay person in my entire life."

"I just want the apology," Donohue later added. "They could send it by FedEx."

Pope Francis recently told reporters that the Church "should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended. ...[The Church] has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons."

Donohue previously argued that he's opposed to marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples because marriage is not about love.

(Related: Human Rights Campaign reacts to Pope Francis' comments on church apology to gays.)

Pride at Montrose event abruptly cancelled by the CPD
Jun. 27, 2016 - , As the 47th annual Pride Parade was winding down in Lakeview June 26, Pride at Montrose was just getting started.

Hundreds were walking towards Uptown's Cricket Hill for what is advertised as "Chicago's most vibrant Pride event."

There, they found relief from the sun underneath lines of trees and basked in the aroma from an array of family barbeques set up in the shadow of a massive stage while waiting for performances by DJ Gemini Jones, Audio Jack, DJ Tess, GUCCIROXX, Derrick Carter, Ruff N Stuff, Kaycee Ortiz, Darling Sheer, Kiara Lanier, Otis Mack and Terry D'Mor.

Alongside a message of unity, the Health Village manned by organizations including The Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, the Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago House, AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and their #PrEP4Love campaign and Affinity Community Services among others demonstrated that personal wellness was just as essential.

Then, shortly after 1 p.m., the Chicago Police Department (CPD) showed up.

Read full story on Windy City Times

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