House Panel Approves Measure to Require Women to Register for Draft

Matthew Cox | | May 3, 2016

The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday approved by a narrow margin an amendment to a defense bill to require women to register for the draft.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, proposed the amendment to lift the restriction on women registering for the selective service at a committee-wide mark-up session of the proposed fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

“Here is why I think this is important; it doesn’t matter in this debate whether you think women should be in the infantry or be in special operations,” Hunter said during the session on Wednesday night. “I personally don’t. If we had that vote in committee today I would vote against women being in infantry and special operations.

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3 more workers injured as nuke plant continues leaking


RT America | May 3, 2016

Three more workers were sought medical attention after inhaling radioactive fumes at the Hanford Site in Washington State. This comes one week after 19 workers were sent for medical evaluations in the vicinity of the leaking nuclear waste tank, which was being transferred. RT America’s Alexey Yaroshevsky reports from the scene.

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Why Bernie Will, Should and Must Stay in the Race

James Hightower | AlterNet | April 27, 2016

Surprisingly, this week’s prize for Stupidest Political Comment in the Presidential Race doesn’t go to Donnie Trump or Ted Cruz. Rather, the honor goes to the clueless cognoscenti of conventional political wisdom. These pundits and professional campaign operatives have made a unilateral decision that Bernie Sanders must now quit the race for the Democratic nomination. Why? Because, they say, he can’t win.

Actually, he already has. Sanders’ vivid populist vision, unabashed idealism and big ideas for restoring America to its own people have jerked the presidential debate out of the hands of status quo corporatists, revitalized the class consciousness and relevance of the Democratic Party, energized millions of young people to get involved, and proven to the Democratic establishment that they don’t have to sell out to big corporate donors to raise the money they need to run for office.

Bernie has substantively—even profoundly—changed American politics for the better, which is why he’s gaining more and more support and keeps winning delegates. From the start, he said, “This campaign is not about me”—it’s a chance for voters who have been disregarded and discarded to forge a new political revolution that will continue to grow beyond this election and create a true people’s government.

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Equality Florida: Marion County School Board Adopts anti-Trans bathroom policy

Victoria, LGBTQ youth are now at risk in Marion County.

On Tuesday, the Marion County School Board approved a Gender Inspection resolution that prohibits transgender students from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. This resolution, enforced starting yesterday, stigmatizes transgender and gender nonconforming kids and puts them at risk for further harassment and bullying.

Over 100 people showed up to the School Board meeting where the resolution was brought forward as an “emergency” agenda item just six days after it was introduced.

Unfortunately, this reckless policy passed by a 4-1 vote with School Board Chair Bobby James as the only NO vote. Send a “THANK YOU” note to Chair James and Superintendent George Tomyn for standing against this resolution and advocating on behalf of LGBTQ youth — click here!


I was so honored to stand side-by-side with local advocates who spoke against this dangerous Gender Inspection resolution that puts transgender students at risk. A HUGE thank you to the members of the community who bravely joined us at the hearing – thanks to you, the majority of testimony last night was from folks in strong opposition to this reckless resolution, and I know we sent our message loud and clear.

We know the bottom line: transgender girls are girls and belong in the girls’ room. Transgender boys are boys and belong in the boys’ room. But the most important thing to know is that transgender people visit the restroom for the same reason as everyone else — to use it. And when they do, they want privacy, safety, and respect just like everyone else.

While we lost the battle this week, our work in Marion County is far from over. Let us see this moment not as a defeat, but as a call to action. Right now, we need every single person who supports equality to lean in and help us continue to promote the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ students across the state.

Please take a moment and send a “Thank You” note to Chair James and Superindenent Tomyn for standing with LGBTQ youth in Marion County. 

Hannah Willard
Policy & Outreach Coordinator
Equality Florida

Gay liberation days

Jason Victor Serinus | Bay Area Reporter | April 27, 2016

Blowing the Lid: Gay Liberation, Sexual Revolution and Radical Queens, by Stuart Feather (Zero Books)

Even before Blowing the Lid reached my desk, several things about this purported history of the UK’s Gay Liberation Front had my eyebrows raised. First and foremost was its claim that the author, British Bloolips gay theatre troupe co-founder and interior design craftsman Stuart Feather, was “the first participant of the Front to write a history of the lesbian and gay men who joined Gay Liberation [UK].” While it seemed rather strange that it had taken 45 years for anyone to write a history of a movement that was founded in October 14, 1970, over 15 months after the formation of the New York Gay Liberation Front, it turned out that the claim was half hyperbole. Feather’s may in fact be the first personal memoir of the UK’s Gay Liberation Front that also claims to be a comprehensive history of the modern British gay rights movement.

While it made sense that I review the book – I lived in New York City’s pioneering 17th St. Collective, was active in NY GLF from June 1970 until its demise, paraded the streets in drag, and remain in touch with most of the key players – I knew nothing about the history of GLF UK. To be able to offer some kind of critical perspective, I requested assistance from Steven F. Dansky, an early GLF veteran and founder of the Outspoken: Oral History from LGBTQ Pioneers project. Dansky’s contributions to NY GLF are even cited in Feather’s book, although his surname is misspelled.

With Dansky’s help, I contacted two UK GLF veterans. The first was Peter Tatchell, whose work as a gay and human rights advocate is celebrated worldwide. The other was Jeffrey Weeks, a well-known gay academic whose latest book, What is Sexual History?, reaches the U.S. in May.

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Darby honored at AVER convention

Windy City Times | April 27, 2016

Jim Darby was made an honorary lifetime member of AVER ( American Veterans for Equal Rights ) at the organization’s national convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 21.

Darby is the founder of AVER’s Chicago chapter. He served four years in the U.S. Navy during the 1950s at the time of the Korean War during the outright ban on gays serving—and well before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The convention ran April 21-24. Among the events were training of benefit status for transgender service members; a social mixer and military banquet; and even sightseeing opportunities. Among those appearing was Staff Sgt. ( Retired ) Eric Alva and Lt. Julie Roth ( Retired ). Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer—the highest ranking active officer to challenge the U.S. military’s ban on LGBT service members—was presented with the 2016 Leonard Matlovich Medal for Distinguished Service.

See .

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The gay Anzacs who refused to stay silent

Kathy Marks | BBC News | April 24, 2016

Stuart Martin looks back with pride on his six years as a nursing officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. But he also recalls having to “not be gay”. And one incident from that era sticks in his mind: a veterans’ leader physically blocking a group of gay ex-servicemen trying to lay a wreath during an Anzac Day service.

It was 1982, and the man obstructing them was the notoriously bellicose Bruce Ruxton, long-time president of Victoria’s Returned and Services League. On Monday, as Australians remember their war dead at Anzac Day ceremonies, Mr Martin – health permitting – will be among current and former military personnel placing a rainbow wreath at that same shrine in Melbourne.

The service and sacrifice of gay and transgender members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will be similarly honoured at ceremonies in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Townsville – thanks largely to Mr Martin, who decided last year that it was time to “address an injustice” and “acknowledge all those who have gone before us”.

That the ADF has given its blessing to this new Anzac Day tradition is testament to how much things have changed since Mr Martin’s day, when military police would “hang about gay nightclubs looking for people with very short haircuts and take pictures of them to compare with the military files,” he recalls.

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Stop Dreaming About a Clinton-Warren Ticket. It’s Not Happening.

Senator Elizabeth Warren looks on as then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee nomination in 2013. (photo: Getty Images)
Senator Elizabeth Warren looks on as then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee nomination in 2013. (photo: Getty Images)


Annie Karni | Politico | April 30, 2016

Hillary Clinton is intrigued by the idea of an all-female ticket. But allies say she likely won’t pick the woman of progressive dreams: Elizabeth Warren.

lizabeth Warren would be the dream vice presidential pick for millions of forlorn Bernie Sanders supporters, an instant antidote to the charge that Hillary Clinton is too close to Wall Street.

But in interviews with more than a dozen prominent Democrats and campaign allies, most viewed a Clinton-Warren ticket as an unlikely scenario — despite the appeal of a two-woman ticket to Clinton campaign officials and also to Clinton, who sources said is intrigued by the idea.

Clinton and the senior senator from Massachusetts don’t have a close, personal relationship — in fact, there’s no evidence to show they even particularly like each other — and Clinton insiders worry Warren could upstage the likely Democratic nominee during the general election. While there’s confidence in the energy she could bring to the ticket, questions loom about the anti-Big Bank crusader’s appeal among white working class voters, as well as her lack of experience.

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Parliament Seized: Protesters Storm Baghdad Green Zone

Shia protesters unfurled banners after storming the Iraqi Parliament building. (photo: Reuters)
Shia protesters unfurled banners after storming the Iraqi Parliament building. (photo: Reuters)


Reuters | Reader Supported News | April 30, 2016

Supporters of a prominent Shi’ite cleric are demanding government reform.

undreds of supporters of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed into Baghdad’s Green Zone and entered parliament on Saturday after Sadr denounced politicians’ failure to reform a political quota system blamed for rampant corruption.

The protesters, who had gathered outside the heavily fortified district housing government buildings and many foreign embassies, crossed a bridge over the Tigris River chanting: “The cowards ran away!” in apparent reference to departing lawmakers.

There were no reports of clashes with security forces. But an army special forces unit was dispatched with armored vehicles to protect sensitive sites, two security officials said. No curfew has been imposed, they said.

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Hawaii Bill Bans Discrimination Against Transgender Patients

Cathy Bussewitz | Associated Press | April 26, 2016

Insurance companies would not be allowed to discriminate against transgender patients under a bill passed by the Hawaii Legislature.

The bill passed Tuesday by the House of Representatives prohibits denying, canceling or limiting coverage based on a person’s gender identity.

“That’s something that’s really critical, especially now when you have states around the country moving the other direction, explicitly placing into law the ability to discriminate based on who people perceive themselves to be,” said Democratic Rep. Chris Lee, who introduced the bill. “Here in Hawaii where we treat everyone with respect and aloha. We think everyone is created equal and ought to be treated the same.”

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