PQ Monthly News Briefs: September 2013

By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

LOCAL

In a landmark ruling, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry has ordered North Portland bar owner Chris Penner (Twilight Annex, aka The P Club) to pay $400,000 in damages after denying service to members of the Rose City T-Girls on the basis of their gender identity. The case marks the first complaint filed by Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian under the Oregon Equality Act and the first to result in an order against the respondent. The final order directs Penner to pay between $25,000 and $50,000 to each of the 11 complainants, as well as a $5,000 civil penalty.

BOLI says it is still considering a complaint against Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the Gresham bakery that denied service to a lesbian couple seeking a cake for their wedding. Owners Melissa and Aaron Klein closed their storefront location Sept. 1 and announced that they would continue baking and selling cakes from home. Also being considered by BOLI is a complaint on behalf of a lesbian couple, Shanak Devoll and Kate Neal, who say a Broadway Cab driver kicked them out on I-84 because of their sexuality. The filing comes after the City of Portland found that cab driver Ahmed Egal’s behavior “constitute[d] a threat to public safety and convenience,” revoking his license and fining Broadway Cab $1,000.

A former employee of the Eugene Mongolian Grill is suing the owner, alleging he not only permitted her coworkers to subject her to anti-gay sexual harassment, but also retaliated by firing her when she complained. The case is supported by a right to sue letter issued by BOLI.

Downtown Portland gay bar CC Slaughters has made headlines twice in the last month for denying service to two recently married same-sex couples (one lesbian, one gay) on the grounds their attire violated a dress code that targets common bachelorette party attire. The brides were wearing wedding dresses; the grooms were wearing shirts that said “Groom.” The couples attempted to attend CC Slaughters on separate evenings.

Tigerlily Restaurant and Bar in Vancouver closed its doors Sept. 8. Photo by Jules Garza, PQ Monthly
Vancouver’s Tigerlily Restaurant and Bar closed its doors Sept. 8. The venue, owned by Northwest Gender Alliance President Jackie Stone, became a hub for the local LGBTQ community during its nine months in business. In addition to drag shows and other events, Tigerlily hosted fundraisers for the community at large.

The Dykes on Bikes® Portland, Oregon Chapter is looking for someone to design a logo for the front patch worn on member’s motorcycle vests. While queer artists are encouraged to apply, all applicants will be considered. The winning designer will receive $200, a one-year honorary club membership, $100 in restaurant gift certificates, a dedicated page on the Portland Dykes on Bikes® website, the opportunity to design Pride Ride pins for 2014 and 2015, and a variety of promotion. Entries are due by Oct. 15. For submission guidelines, contact president@dykesonbikesportland.com.

An HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate developed by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University is showing promise following a recent trial in which it appeared to clear simian immunodeficiency virus (a non-human primate form of HIV) from 50 percent of the treated monkeys. Further research is needed to determine why the vaccine candidate, developed at OHSU’s Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, was only effective in half of cases before an HIV-version can be tested in humans. The research results were published earlier this month in the journal Nature.

Oregon United for Marriage officially opened its campaign headquarters Sept. 10. Photo by Jules Garza, PQ Monthly
Oregon United for Marriage campaign offices are officially open for business. The organization behind the 2014 ballot initiative to extend marriage equality to same-sex couples held an open house Sept. 10 at 727 NE 24th Ave. The space will be a home base for the campaign’s staff and volunteers. For more information, visit oregonunitedformarriage.org.

The Portland Business Alliance board of directors recently announced its support of an amendment to the Oregon Constitution ending the ban on same-sex marriage and for a business community-led effort to advance marriage equality. The PBA said in a release that equal treatment of all Oregonians contributes to an environment in which businesses and employees thrive.

Outside In is looking for medical professionals interested in volunteering their services with its transgender health clinic. Trans Clinic is open one or two Tuesday evenings per month and services trans folks who are homeless, low-income, uninsured, or otherwise unable to afford gender-affirming treatment, including hormone replacement therapy. An informational session with be held Sept. 24, 6 p.m.-7 p.m., at 1132 SW 13th Ave. For more information, visit outsidein.org.

Se-ah-dom Edmo, of Lewis and Clark’s Indigenous Ways of Knowing, recently travelled to Seattle to attend a White House roundtable with Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and other Obama administration officials to discuss issues affecting LGBTQ and Two Spirit Native Americans.

In late August, the Democratic National Committee unanimously elected Oregonian Laura Calvo vice chair of its LGBTQ Caucus. Calvo was the first trans person to be elected (rather than appointed) to the Democratic National Committee earlier in the year.

Portland State University has been recognized as on of the “Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Colleges and Universities” by Campus Pride, a non-profit that works to make campuses safer for LGBT students. The annual list is determined following a research-based assessment of campus policies, support, academics, student life, housing, campus safety, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention efforts.

NATIONAL

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which recently established a permanent LGBTI research coordinating committee, is soliciting input regarding research opportunities as well as feedback on how to engage LGBTI communities in its work and training in research and clinical settings. The deadline for input in Oct. 28. For more information, visit grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-13-076.html.

A new report, co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), the Center for American Progress (CAP), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) explores the broken bargain for transgender workers and offers policy and business recommendations to make the American dream accessible regardless of gender identity. According to the report, “A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers,” 90 percent of voters believe that federal law protects transgender workers from employment discrimination when, in reality, only 17 states and the District of Columbia do. Instead, 40 percent of transgender workers are unemployed, 80 percent have experienced discrimination and mistreatment in the workplace (sometimes including physical violence), 25 percent have been fired for being transgender, and, as a result, transgender workers are nearly four times more likely to live on less than $10,000 a year.

A bill to make name changes easier and less expensive for transgender people recently passed the California State Legislature. Currently, California law requires a court order and the publication of the name change in the news. If signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the new law will include protections to measure privacy.

Pfc. Manning, the soldier recently convicted of illegally obtaining and leaking classified military and government information to Wikileaks, has come out as transgender and is now known as Chelsea Manning. The news, made via a statement to the Today Show, did not come as a surprise since Manning’s gender identity (and occasional use of the name Breanna) came up during her trial. Still, officials at the Ft. Leavenworth prison where Manning is being held have said they refuse to consider Manning a woman and do not intend to provide medically-necessary transition related during her incarceration, which could last between eight and 35 years. Manning has submitted an application for a presidential pardon, but Pentagon officials have indicated it is unlikely to be approved.

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