Tag Archives: Lesbians in the U.S.

U.S: Suspected Homophobia Behind Murder of Lesbian

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

5 July 2021: A Connecticut double murder-suicide may have been pushed by the killer’s homophobia, the household of one of the victims mentioned.

David Knowledge, 65, killed himself Friday in his Windsor Locks house after he shot his spouse, her daughter and an 18-year-old girl mentioned to be the daughter’s lover, The Journal Inquirer reported.

His spouse, Delores Tracey Knowledge, 44, and pal Lauren “Lela” Leslie died – however the unnamed daughter survived and was handled for a number of gunshot wounds at an area hospital, The Hartford Courant mentioned.

Leslie’s brother Jhavier Leslie informed the Courant the household needed an investigation to see if the crime was “rooted in hate.”

“It’s arduous to undergo this new actuality of not having her right here, however I feel it is a half of an even bigger situation in society that should be addressed of simply homophobia and the risks round that,” Leslie mentioned, based on the Courant.

“She spent her entire life barely speaking as a result of she was afraid of who she was and she or he lastly gained the power to understand who she is, so it’s very troublesome for me to know that now, her being her true self and dwelling in her actuality, that is the outcome of that in my eyes,” he added.

Continue Reading: https://gruntstuff.com/family-of-murder-suicide-victim-believes-homophobia-may-be-motive/212245/ (source)

U.S: ‘Why Are a You Lesbian?’ Soccer Coach Charged With Harassing Colleague

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

2 July 2021: Joseph Truhon, 45, of Highland Falls, New York was arrested in connection to an attempted assault at Spring Hill Suites Marriott in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on June 19, according to Pennsylvania State police.

Truhon is accused of harassing and attempting to assault a fellow traveling youth soccer coach and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Wagner University, Nicole Gaudenzi, 27, of Little Falls, New Jersey, say police.

Gaudenzi told state police that Truhon asked her “Why are you a lesbian?” and began to touch her arms and legs while at a parent and soccer coach gathering where alcohol was being served in a hotel conference room.

Continue Reading: https://dailyvoice.com/new-jersey/wyckoff/news/why-are-you-lesbian-soccer-coach-charged-with-harassing-nj-professor-at-pa-hotel-police-say/811962/ (source)

U.S: Discipline Sought for Judge who Denied Lesbian Adoption

Ernie Chambers has filed a complaint with Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican urging that Dixon County Judge Douglas Luebe be disciplined for “discriminatory dismissal of the adoption petition of a married same-sex couple qualified by law to adopt a minor child.”

“Angry-outrage is an accurate two-word summation of my reaction to discriminatory mistreatment of vulnerable human beings by those wielding power on behalf of the state and ‘the people’ in the role of a judge,” the former Omaha state senator wrote Heavican.

Luebe ruled against allowing the couple to adopt a child, arguing that the “plain ordinary language” of relevant statutes does not allow “a wife and a wife” to adopt.

The Supreme Court subsequently rejected that reasoning, ruling that state adoption laws clearly allow a same-sex married couple to adopt a child.

Kelly Hoagland and Maria Salas Valdez, the married couple, ultimately received approval from Dixon County Judge Edward Matney for the petition allowing them to adopt Yasmin, a 3-year-old.

Continue Reading: https://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/crime-and-courts/chambers-seeks-discipline-of-judge-who-denied-same-sex-adoption/article_be49d1cd-040e-55d2-8c71-f6c55201377f.html (source)

US: ACLU seeks transport staff training over punishment of lesbian teen

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

A civil rights group is threatening to sue a Kansas school district if it doesn’t train employees about LGBTQ rights in response to an eighth-grade student being suspended from riding a school bus after saying, “I’m a lesbian.”…

The ACLU is representing the student, Izzy Dieker, who graduated from eighth grade and plans to attend the district’s high school this fall. She was suspended from her bus for two days in January but didn’t ride again for two weeks because she felt humiliated, said Sharon Brett, the group’s legal director.

A Kansas Association of School Boards investigation found that the bus driver and the principal of Dieker’s K-8 school sexually harassed her, violating federal civil rights regulations and district policies.

Continue reading at: https://apnews.com/article/ks-state-wire-kansas-1673fad412a49676222df6f0c0d8c86f (Source)

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In Memoriam: Lesbian Activist and Author Sally Miller Gearhart (1931 – 2021)

Sally Miller Gearhart, the first out lesbian to receive a tenure-track position at San Francisco State University and a beloved LGBTQ rights advocate, died July 14, according to Jean Crosby, who sent out an email to friends. She was 90.

Ms. Gearhart had been in poor health for several years. She had lived for many years in Willits, California but had moved recently to a care home in Ukiah.

The GLBT Historical Society posted on Facebook about Ms. Gearhart’s passing, of which they were informed by her good friend, Ruth Mahaney.

“Losing Sally is like a huge tree falling. She was very tall, and she was so important in the world,” stated Mahaney. “She had been saying she wanted out of here, to be ‘up in the sky.’ She was ready to go.”

In 1973, Ms. Gearhart received the tenure-track position at SF State. She established one of the first women’s and gender studies programs in the country while at the university, and was a leading LGBTQ activist throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Continue reading: https://www.ebar.com/news/latest_news//306938 (source)

Sally Miller Gearhart’s website can be found here: https://sallymillergearhart.net

US: lesbian describes escape from “ex-gay” ministeries in documentary

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

Julie Rodgers, 35, grew up in a small, religious Texas town, and when she came out as gay, she was offered meetings at Living Hope Ministries, a so-called “ex-gay” organisation which still exists today.

She was promised that Living Hope would “heal” her homosexuality with conversion therapy, and she would go on to spend almost a decade in the ministry.

She attended multiple meetings every week, moved into the organisation’s “recovery house”, and even spent time living with Living Hope Ministries founder Ricky Chelette.

Rodgers became somewhat of an “ex-gay” poster child, and was coached by Chelette to speak at the notorious Exodus International, which at the time was the largest proponent of conversion therapy in America.

But she began to struggle with self-harm, and as her mental health deteriorated, she realised that the “ex-gay” movement was having a devastating impact on those around her, too.

Although she was determined to leave, when Exodus International president Alan Chambers eventually realised the harm he had done and renounced conversion therapy, he asked Rodgers to tell her story. A year later, Exodus International shut down.

Continue reading at: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2021/06/26/netflix-ex-gay-documentary-pray-away-christian-lesbian-julie-rodgers-exodus/ (Source)

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US: The lesbian survivor who took down Bill Cosby said it’s “disappointing” that he won his appeal

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

The lesbian Temple University employee who was able to finally put Bill Cosby behind bars after decades of accusations from 60 women said that it’s “disappointing” that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated his conviction and set him free.

Cosby was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004 when she worked with the university’s women’s basketball team, and in 2018 a jury found him guilty on three second degree felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. But the state’s supreme court just overturned that conviction.

Related: Bill Cosby tried to discredit rape victim by saying she’s gay

“Today’s majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting,” she said in a statement that was also signed by her lawyers Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz.

“We remain grateful to those women who came forward to tell their stories,” the statement continues. “We do not intend to make any further comment.”

Sixty women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, many saying that he drugged and then raped them. Many weren’t taken seriously in time to prosecute Cosby.

Continue reading at: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/07/lesbian-survivor-took-bill-cosby-said-disappointing-won-appeal/ (Source)

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USA: Boise 7 fired for lesbianism in police force in 1977 – telling their story

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

BOISE, Idaho — An all-female production crew is working on a documentary telling the story of ‘The Boise 7’.

In 1977, seven women — Mary Morris, Janine Townsend, Lavonne Woody, Vardell Laursen, Judith Baker, Theresa Silva, and Sue Krohn — were fired from the Boise Police Department for “suspected lesbianism.” The firing followed an internal investigation where the seven were wiretapped on a telephone used for personal conversations. The wiretap was later ruled illegal by a judge.

Mary Morris was Boise’s first female patrol officer.

Sue Krohn said her supervisor at the time called her into his office where he played a recording of a phone call between Krohn and another woman. The call was recorded on a phone designated for personal calls.

“I said, ‘What is this all about?’, and he said some of the women had been inappropriate, I think is the word he used at that time with me, at work so we’ve let them go, and I don’t think you’re a part of it, I don’t think you’re a lesbian, but you lived in the house with all these women and plus that phone call — you need to make a decision. Either you can quit, or we’ll terminate you.”

The story quickly garnered national attention. The women had to not only deal with being fired but also being publicly forced out of the closet.

“I couldn’t tell my parents, but I had to. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to tell them I was gay, that I was fired, and then my dad disowned me. He wouldn’t talk to me. It was too much. I couldn’t deal with that,” said Janine Townsend.

Continue reading at: https://www.kivitv.com/news/the-boise-7-were-fired-from-boise-police-for-suspected-lesbianism-now-an-all-female-team-is-sharing-their-story (Source)

USA: woman suffers chemical burns in homophobic attack

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

2 June 2021 – Harford County Sheriff’s Office is looking for two suspects in a homophobic assault on a Baltimore County woman outside the Abingdon Home Goods store.

The victim told deputies she was in the Home Goods parking lot, in the Constant Friendship Shopping Center, between 12:30 and 1 p.m. May 27 when two people pulled up in a vehicle, yelled homophobic remarks at her, and threw an unknown liquid at her before driving off.

The victim believed the liquid was water, but about an hour later, her skin started itching and she went to urgent care for treatment of what appeared to be chemical burns, according to a press release.

Continue reading at: https://www.foxbaltimore.com/news/local/woman-treated-for-possible-chemical-burns-after-homophobic-assault-outside-home-goods (Source)

In Memoriam: Pioneering Lesbian Musician and Activist Alix Dobkin (1940–2021)

Lesbian activist and music legend Alix Dobkin died at her home in Woodstock, New York, after suffering a brain aneurism and stroke. She was 80 years old.

Dobkin, with fellow lesbian activist and musician Kay Gardner (1940–2002), recorded in 1973 what was arguably the first full-length album by, for, and about lesbians: Lavender Jane Loves Women. The songs, with titles such as “Talking Lesbian” and “Fantasy Girl,” were as bold and direct as the album’s title. As reviewer Liza Cowan wrote in DYKE A Quarterly, No. 2, in 1976: ” … I think Lavender Jane Loves Women is a far out, brilliant album. It is so blatant and specific, you never have to guess what Alix is singing about in a song … It’s our history and I want to know all about it.”

Cowan continued, “One thing that I feel is so fantastic about Alix’s music is that she sings so explicitly about Dyke experiences. I love and dearly appreciate that everything she writes about comes directly from her own experiences, and is written about as such.”

Continue reading at: http://sfbaytimes.com/in-memoriam-pioneering-lesbian-musician-and-activist-alix-dobkin-1940-2021/ (Source)

US: Lesbian assistant chief files lawsuit against SFFD

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

A lesbian San Francisco Fire Department assistant chief who alleged discrimination against the department in a claim two months ago is now taking the city to court.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, Assistant Chief Nicol Juratovac filed a claim of whistleblower retaliation and discrimination against the San Francisco Fire Department and the city’s Department of Human Resources on March 5.

The claim was denied by the city April 8 and Juratovac filed her civil lawsuit May 24.

Juratovac claims she wanted to change the culture at the SFFD. Instead, she was retaliated against after exposing cheating on promotion exams, safety violations, and racism in the department, according to the complaint — as well as for blowing the whistle on what her attorney, Mark P. Fickes, of Cannata O’Toole Fickes and Olson, described as a “drunken” party at a fire station in Noe Valley in 2017.

“Rather than welcome the opportunity to address its problems, the department has allowed those who feel threatened by Assistant Chief Juratovac to retaliate against her for taking on the ‘good old boys’ mentality,” the complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, states. “Beginning in 2014, and continuing through the present date, the department has weaponized its disciplinary process to punish Assistant Chief Juratovac by subjecting her to numerous unfounded and meritless disciplinary investigations.

“All of these investigations, save one, were rescinded or abandoned, but only after Assistant Chief Juratovac had already endured the emotional distress and humiliation of being investigated in addition to incurring substantial attorneys’ fees to defend herself against frivolous claims,” the complaint states. “She has also been denied promotional and overtime opportunities in retaliation for her whistleblowing activities, as well as her race, gender, and sexual orientation.”

Fickes, a gay man, said that the one time Juratovac faced discipline she faced disproportionate punishment.

Continue reading at: https://www.ebar.com/news/news//305437 (Source)

US: “Proud Black lesbian” teen killed with girlfriend’s parents in murder-suicide

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

Lauren “Lela” Leslie, an 18 year-old Black lesbian from Bloomfield, Connecticut, was among three killed at the house of her girlfriend early in the morning of Friday, May 28.

Now her older siblings are saying that her murder is connected to her relationship or her sexual orientation.

Leslie was found dead along with Delores Wisdom and her husband, David Wisdom. David is the alleged perpetrator in what police are considering a domestic murder-suicide.

Police received 911 calls after 1 a.m. to the Wisdom household in Windsor Locks and found three people with “no signs of life.” One woman is currently in the hospital, and another teenager — believed to be Leslie’s girlfriend — was found uninjured.

While police have not publicly stated what they believe is the motive, Leslie’s brothers knew that she didn’t always feel “welcome” at her girlfriend’s home and believe she may have been hurt because of that.

Continue reading at: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/06/proud-black-lesbian-teen-killed-girlfriends-parents-murder-suicide/ (Source)

U.S: Lesbian diagnosed with out-dated, homophobic “disorder”

A woman in Michigan found out that her doctor diagnosed her with “ego-dystonic lesbianism” at a recent appointment. Ego-dystonic homosexuality is an outdated diagnosis that reflects “a desire to change one’s orientation” that medical organizations like the American Psychological Association have opposed for decades.

“I don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” Tatiana Arena-Villareal told Fox 2 News after she saw the diagnosis on her chart. “I don’t want anybody to have a diagnosis in their chart that suggests they have a mental illness because of who they love.”

The diagnosis was added to the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980. It doesn’t say that being gay or bi itself is a disorder, but that “having a sexual orientation or an attraction that is at odds with one’s idealized self-image” is. It’s characterized by anxiety and “a desire to change one’s orientation or become more comfortable with one’s sexual orientation.” It was removed in 1987.

Continue reading: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/04/doctor-diagnosed-michigan-mom-ego-dystonic-lesbianism/ (source)

Lesbians in lawsuit against U.S. Education Dept

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

Elizabeth Hunter says she became suicidal after Bob Jones University administrators grilled the former student about her sexuality for tweeting “happy Pride” and writing a book with lesbian characters. She was fined, sent to anti-gay counseling and removed from her job at the campus TV station. Veronica Penales says she’s told officials at Baylor University, where she is a sophomore, that people leave anti-gay notes on her door, but they don’t investigate. Lucas Wilson said he graduated from Liberty University with “a profound sense of shame” after being encouraged to go to conversion therapy.

The three are among 33 current and past students at federally funded Christian colleges and universities cited in a federal lawsuit filed Monday against the U.S. Department of Education. The suit says the religious exemption the schools are given that allow them to have discriminatory policies is unconstitutional because they receive government funding. The class-action suit, filed by the nonprofit Religious Exemption Accountability Project, references 25 schools across the country.

Continue reading at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/christian-colleges-lawsuit-lgbtq-equality-act/2021/03/29/39343620-90af-11eb-9668-89be11273c09_story.html (Source)

U.S: Lesbian spouse fights government denial of death benefits

benefits

For more than a decade, Patricia Rolfingsmeyer and Tina Sammons lived as a committed couple even when the states where they resided did not recognize their same-sex union. They wore matching diamond wedding bands, bought a house together and declared at a private ceremony, “It may not be legal out there, but it is in here.”

When the laws began to change around the country, the pair drove from their home in Pennsylvania to Maryland, where they were officially married in 2013. Less than three months later, Sammons, a U.S. Air Force veteran and longtime U.S. Postal Service employee, died of metastatic breast cancer.

The couple’s union, according to the federal government, did not last long enough for Rolfingsmeyer to meet the nine-month marriage requirement to claim an estimated six-figure dollar amount in survivor benefits.

Rolfingsmeyer, now 71, is challenging the federal government’s denial of employee death benefits because it was not legally or practically possible for her to obtain a marriage certificate in her home state in the nine months before the death of her partner of 16 years.

Continue reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/same-sex-government-death-benefits-/2021/03/18/ac8da2b0-873f-11eb-8a8b-5cf82c3dffe4_story.html (source)

US: 13-year-old banned from school bus after saying she’s lesbian to friends

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

On her way to school, eighth-grader Izzy Dieker was overheard saying to another student on the school bus, “I’m a lesbian.”

For that, she earned a referral from the bus driver and was banned from riding the bus by the principal, citing her “inappropriate language.”

“Once I got home, my dad told me he got a call from the school that I was kicked off for saying ‘I’m a lesbian’,” Dieker said. Now, her parents are frustrated, and the Americus, Kansas school district isn’t providing answers.

“She’s 13 years old and these are adults acting like this towards her,” her mother, Tasha Cooper, said in an interview with local KSNT News. “We’ve had talks about other students calling her names and I expect that because they’re repeating what their parents say. But for the staff, the people that I trust her with, I was angry.”

Dieker’s parents say that they were also told that Dieker refused to listen to the bus driver’s orders, which they interpret was her refusal to stop using the word “lesbian.”

Continue reading at: https://10ztalk.com/2021/02/12/student-banned-from-riding-the-school-bus-for-saying-im-a-lesbian-lgbtq-nation (Source)

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U.S: Teacher condemns former student’s same-sex relationship

A Tennessee teacher has sparked outrage for sending a message to a former student ripping the young woman’s same-sex relationship as a “sin” and “not what God” had planned for her.

Hannah Kelley, of Chattanooga, shared a screenshot Saturday on Facebook of the “random message” from her former teacher at Red Bank High School whom she identified as Erika Perry.

“I was not close with Mrs. Perry in high school,” Kelley, who graduated four years ago, recalled in the post. “So this came out of nowhere. This is absolutely mind blowing and I’m absolutely baffled.”

The message from Kelley’s former teacher noted her recent one-year anniversary with her fiancé, Casey Stewart. The pair got engaged last month — years after Kelley attended the school – but Perry seemingly felt it was her place to chime in on the forthcoming same-sex marriage, Kelley said.

“I know that you want love, but woman to woman should only be a friendly love and not a sexual one,” Perry’s message read, a screenshot shows. “I realize that you may be upset with me, but true love will not sit idly by or not call out a grave sin that has taken over a loved one.”

Continue reading: https://nypost.com/2021/01/12/teacher-slammed-for-condemning-ex-students-same-sex-relationship/ (Source)

Update: lesbian couple settle housing discrimination suit

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

Mary Walsh and Beverly Nance sued Friendship Village for sex discrimination in July 2018, after the faith-based facility rejected their housing application, citing its cohabitation policy that defines marriage as between “one man and one woman, as marriage is understood in the Bible.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Lesbian Rights — which filed the case on the couple’s behalf, along with St. Louis attorney Arlene Zarembka and civil rights law firm Relman Colfax — announced Tuesday evening [8 December 2020] that the lawsuit had been resolved.

“Housing is essential for everyone and can be a huge source of stress as we age,” National Center for Lesbian Rights senior staff attorney Julie Wilensky said in a statement. “No one should have to fear being turned away from a retirement community because they are LGBTQ.”

The women at the center of the landmark legal case, Walsh, 74, and Nance, 70, have been partners for more than four decades and were married in 2009.

Walsh and Nance appealed the decision — and in June, the U.S. Supreme Court jump-started the case, when it ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees from sex discrimination. The Supreme Court decision allowed the lawsuit against Friendship Village to be reinstated in District Court, where the two parties were able to reach a confidential settlement.

Continue reading at: https://news.stlpublicradio.org/government-politics-issues/2020-12-09/same-sex-couple-settle-housing-discrimination-lawsuit-against-st-louis-retirement-community (Source)

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US: Lesbian firefighter sacked for reporting constant sexual harassment

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

A lesbian firefighter is suing her former employer, saying that she was sexually harassed on the job because she’s gay and then terminated in retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment.

Kira Castellon says in her suit that she joined Arbor Hose Company 1 in New Jersey in 2015 and was the only female firefighter there. She said that she was out at work as well.

In September 2016, after she got a promotion, she said that a male coworker harassed her, kissed her, and groped her “on an almost daily basis” until January 2019.

The lawsuit says that the coworker “thrust his pelvis into [her] from all directions as his way of saying hello and goodbye.”

“I’ll make you straight again,” Castellon says the male coworker once told her.

Continue reading at: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/12/lesbian-firefighter-says-male-coworker-groped-almost-daily-fired-complaining/ (Source)

ILD: Sheroes and the lesbian Stonewall

By Karla Jay

Armed with garbage bags, brooms and big mouths, we resisted the goons’ oppressive authority — our incredible moxie mirroring the rebellion at Stonewall. We had been beaten, risked serious injury and death for the privilege and joy of an all-women’s dance.

No mainstream media outlet reported on this assault, not even the Village Voice, which had covered the Stonewall Rebellion. The only story about our defiance that night was written by me in Rat Subterranean News.

The courage of the discarded, disrespected, and sometimes homeless street people who fought back at the Stonewall Inn must be honored. But a half century later, some acknowledgment and appreciation must be given to the GLF women who risked our lives to create an alternative to the Stonewalls and Kooky’s that had dominated our social lives.

It seems so matter of fact today to want to dance with whoever you want to — and surely, we will party again when we defeat this pandemic. But we GLF lesbians risked prison and payback to dance together 50 years ago, proving that sisterhood is powerful.

Continue reading at: https://www.losangelesblade.com/2020/05/15/sheroes-the-lesbian-stonewall/ (Source)