10:16 AM 10/16/2017 – Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Trump to address anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation on Tuesday

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1. Gay News from mikenova (26 sites)
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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Trump to address anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation on Tuesday

Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade

President Trump will address the anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation.
(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In the latest of a series of outreach efforts to anti-LGBT activists, President Trump is set to address on Tuesday the conservatives think-tank known as the Heritage Foundation.

The organization sent out an email blast Sunday night with the announcement, a link to the livestream of his upcoming address and an opportunity to submit a question for Trump. The speech is set Tuesday at 7:30 pm and will take place during its annual President’s Club meeting.

“The Trump administration has drawn from Heritages plans to balance the budget, cut wasteful government programs and agencies, strengthen our national security, fix our broken immigration system, protect religious liberty and the dignity of life and provide tax relief to Americans,” the notice says.

Although the Heritage Foundation’s work isn’t limited to anti-LGBT advocacy, the think-tank for decades has made restrictions on LGBT rights a significant part of its portfolio. The think-tank has written policy and legal briefs against same-sex marriage and opposed non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

Earlier this year, the Heritage Foundation sent out an notice to U.S. House members to urging them to ban vote of a legislative ban on transition-related health care for transgender people in the U.S. military.

After the Justice Department this month issued “religious freedom” guidance undermining LGBT rights, the Daily Signal, the blog for the Heritage Foundation, proclaimed the action was a “promise kept” by Trump.

“This fix was sorely needed in the wake of actions by President Barack Obamas administration that harmed Americans religious liberty,” the blog says.

The Heritage Foundation is the latest anti-LGBT audience Trump will address after having won election in 2016 with significant support from evangelical Christians, who largely opposed LGBT rights. Just a few days ago, Trump boasted the times “are changing back again” in address at the Values Voters Summit in D.C. hosted by the anti-LGBT Family Research Council.

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Daniel Baer, United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay U.S. ambassador Daniel Baer is running for Congress. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key).

A gay former U.S. ambassador who served under the Obama administration has launched a campaign to run for Congress, shifting his focus from tangling with representatives of Vladimir Putin overseas to President Trump at home.

Daniel Baer, who served in the Obama administration as U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe, announced on Tuesday his bid to succeed retiring Rep. Ed EarlPerlmutter (D-Colo.) in representing Colorados 7th congressional district.

Were at a pivotal moment, Baer said in a statement. We need bold new ideas and a commitment to stand up for our Colorado values. Working together, we can put our communities and our country on a path toward success in the 21st century.

Baer accompanied his announcement with a video titled Are we doing everything we can? declaring his candidacy. Among the images in the video is a picture of Baer and his spouse, Brian Walsh.

Under the Obama administration, Baer served not only as U.S. envoy to OSCE, but deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor, where his portfolio included LGBT international human rights issues. After his appointment as U.S. ambassador, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry took over the issue at the State Department.

In his role at OSCE, Baer represented the United States in talks with envoys from Russia a country known for hostility to LGBT rights. At one time, the Russian government called on Baer to step down for tough comments he made abut the country, but Baer says in the video he still managed to get things done with them.

During a 2014 interview with the Washington Blade, Baer said he never felt that his sexual orientation has been an issue for Vladimir Putins representatives at OSCE.

Just like being gay, working with the U.S. ambassador is not a choice, and Im ready to work with all of them, Baer said.

Baer joins a crowded field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Colorados 7th congressional district, including State Sen. Andy Kerr, State Sen. Dominick Moreno and State Sen. Brittany Pettersen. No Republican candidate have formally declared yet.

As tough as things are, Im an optimist, Baer said. I believe in the power of Colorado common sense, and I believe that we can make our democracy work for everyone. The American dream must be part of our future, not a nostalgic memory from our past. We all worry about the divisions in our American family. The best way to build bridges, to mend our rifts, and to lift each other up is to roll up our sleeves and start making progress, rebuilding the middle class, and digging deep into the bottomless well of American optimism. Lets do this.

Russian group claims to have evacuated 64 people from Chechnya

Chechnya, gay news, Washington Blade

The Russian LGBT Network in a report it published on July 31, 2017, says it has evacuated 64 people from Chechnya. (Photo by Alexxx1979; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A Russian LGBT advocacy group says it has evacuated 64 people from Chechnya over the last four months.A 31-page report the Russian LGBT Network released on Monday notes those it has helped leave the semi-autonomous Russian republic in the North Caucuses were relocated to shelters in central Russia. The Russian LGBT Network, which is based in St. Petersburg, also said more than 130 people from Chechnya and neighboring republics have requested assistance of a different nature because of the persecution from the local authorities and hostile relatives.

Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, in April reported Chechen authorities have arrested more than 100 men because of their sexual orientation since the beginning of the year. At least three of these men reportedly died after their arrest, while others have been beaten and tortured and sent to secret prisons.

They threw me to the floor and beat me, said a person identified as I.J. in the Russian LGBT Network report. They beat my chest and my face with their feet, and they hit my head against the floor.

I.J. also told the Russian LGBT Network he thought authorities were going to rape them as they took off their clothes. A person identified as A.B. said authorities forced them to watch a video of them torturing a man by inserting a hollow tube and a piece of barbed wire into his anus.

They enjoyed the torture, said A.B. We were forced to beat others up and to electrocute them. They instructed other inmates to do whatever they wanted with us.

Novaya Gazeta reporter Elena Milashina contributed to the report, which indicates Chechen authorities have begun to target lesbian women. The Russian LGBT Network also notes dozens of gay Chechens may have been killed by their relatives in so-called honor killings.

U.S. remains deeply concerned about crackdown

The ongoing crackdown against gay and lesbian Chechens has sparked widespread outrage around the world.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley in April said the U.S. is disturbed by the crackdown. The State Department has also urged the Russian government to conduct an investigation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are among the world leaders who have condemned Chechen authorities. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told the Washington Blade last month the State Department has raised the crackdown in conversations at the highest levels, even though Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) in June during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing he has not discussed it with Russian officials.

Neither Tillerson nor President Trump has yet to publicly condemn the crackdown.

Tillerson on Tuesday made no mention of Chechnya when he spoke to reporters about relations between the U.S. and Russia during a State Department press briefing.

The United States continues to be deeply concerned about the situation in the republic of Chechnya, where credible reports indicate at least 100 men have been detained and tortured with some killed on the basis of their sexual orientation, a State Department official told the Blade on Tuesday in a statement.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said last month during an interview with HBOs Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that gay people dont exist in the republic. The Russian LGBT Network has also expressed skepticism over the Kremlins claims it has launched an investigation into the crackdown.

Nauert on July 18 described Kadyrovs comments as very concerning and upsetting to us. The State Department official with whom the Blade spoke on Tuesday stressed the U.S. categorically condemns the persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation or any other basis.

We urge Russian federal authorities to follow through on its promise to conduct an independent and credible investigation into these reports, and hold any perpetrators responsible as soon as possible, added the official. We also urge Russian federal authorities to speak out against such practices and take steps to ensure the release of anyone wrongfully detained.

Media Matters criticizes lack of Chechnya coverage

The Russian LGBT Network released its report a day before Media Matters for America published a study that notes there have only been three significant mentions of the Chechnya crackdown in the six major networks evening newscasts between April 1-July 31.

A segment of NBCs Nightly News broadcast on April 23 focused on Chechnya. CNNs The Lead with Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper 360 highlighted the anti-gay crackdown on April 24 and May 4 respectively.

Chechnyas brutal attacks against and murders of queer men in the region have become an international human rights issue, but the American public would not know that by watching the evening news, said Media Matters. Though NBC’s and CNNs pieces provided solid reporting, one package on each network’s evening programming over a four-month span is not enough, and the utter silence of ABC, CBS, MSNBC, and Fox News does a disservice to their viewers.

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