Eurovision bars Russian entry

The host nation for the Eurovision Song Contest, Ukraine, has barred the Russian contestant from attending the competition titles later this spring. Julia Samoylova, was chosen to represent Russia using the song Flame is Burning, sang in Crimea in 2015 – a year after Russia siezed the particular territory from Ukraine. She is one of more than 100 artists blacklisted just for […]

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Seattle City Council to Congress: Pass the Equality Act for LGBT rights

by Mike Andrew – SGN Staff Writer The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution at its March 13 meeting, calling on Congress to pass the Equality Act. The resolution adopted by the City Council states, ‘We find that federal laws that fully prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression are essential to furthering the well-being of the residents of and visitors to Seattle.’ The proposed Equality Act would add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights laws. Currently, individual states are able to deny access to housing, employment, education, public accommodations, and more because of a resident’s sexual orientation or gender identity. While Washington state law protects LGBT rights, other states do not. The Equality Act would set a national standard that prohibits discrimination under the law based on gender identity or expression.

SGN exclusive interview: Attorney General Bob Ferguson

by Mike Andrew – SGN Staff Writer ‘The most consequential job in government is the attorney general’s job,’ Bob Ferguson says with conviction. Ferguson, who just scored a major victory with a successful lawsuit to block Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, sat down with the SGN in his Seattle office to talk about his work. With him he had Colleen Melody, head of his civil rights unit. In an NPR profile on Ferguson, veteran political operative Christian Sinderman, who worked on Ferguson’s re-election campaign, compared the attorney general to Harry Potter. ‘You know there’s a Harry Potter-like quality of Bob Ferguson: the glasses, the serious intent and the sense of almost destiny in standing up for what’s right and the little guy,’ Sinderman said. Asked if he felt like he was confronting the Dark Lord, Ferguson laughed. ‘I just feel like we’re doing our job,’ he replied. ‘When we met with the s

Jenner to Trump: ‘Call me.’

by Shaun Knittel – SGN Associate Editor Republican Caitlyn Jenner took to Twitter Thursday evening with a message to President Donald Trump: ‘Call me.’ The Olympian and reality TV star was quiet after the Trump administration withdrew Obama-era guidance on Transgender bathroom use in public schools. However, she broke her silence over 24 hours later in a tweet and video message. Clad in a pink ‘pussy bow’ blouse, Jenner, who is Transgender, spoke directly to the camera. ‘I have a message for President Trump from well, one Republican to another. This is a disaster. And you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community,’ she said, holding up her hand like a mock telephone. ‘Call me.’ After Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee in June, Jenner believed he would be better for women than Hillary Clinton. ‘Everybody looks at the Democrats as being b

Ed Murray defiant as Trump signs orders on immigration

by Mike Andrew – SGN Staff Writer Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was defiant after Donald Trump signed executive orders dealing with immigration and sealing off the country’s border with Mexico. Trump signed orders on January 25 concerning the construction of his border wall with Mexico, increasing deportations, and punishment for so-called ‘sanctuary cities.’ The same day, Murray held a press conference at City Hall denouncing Trump’s plans. ‘Today is one of the worst days for immigrants in America since Japanese internment,’ Murray said in a statement. ‘Just days after hundreds of Seattleites volunteered to support more than 1,000 members of our immigrant community, President Trump sent a message back. He doesn’t respect our values and will exercise his power to threaten immigrants and our federal funding. ‘I want to assure Seattle residents that while they are right to be alarmed about Pr

Seattle’s first openly Transgender cop

by Shaun Knittel – SGN Associate Editor Last year, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) issued new policies on officers’ interactions with Transgender people, and Mayor Ed Murray signed an executive order mandating ‘culturally responsive’ training for city staff to improve their relations with the Transgender community. As the chair of the LGBTQ Advisory Council to the SPD, I was involved with both efforts, and continue to monitor the implementation of the trainings and observe their impact. The reality is that the impact has been huge. In its effort to foster a relationship with the Transgender community (which is disproportionately victimized), SPD has seen an increase in crimes against Transgender people being reported, whereas such incidents used to go underreported. While I would much rather report that these crimes no longer happen, the fact that Transgender people are coming forward to report is a positive step toward eliminating these crim

Biggest local LGBTQ news of 2016

by Shaun Knittel – SGN Associate Editor While it is true that 2016 will go down in history as one of the worst for LGBTQ people (the Pulse shooting, anti-Trans initiatives, etc.), we still have a great deal to look back on with pride in Seattle as far as this year is concerned. While there is still a great amount of work left to do, Seattle’s LGBTQ population made some advances in 2016, and we continue to see more and more allies on our side when our rights are challenged, our safety is called into question, and our children are bullied. Seattle Gay News has compiled a list of some of the biggest LGBTQ local news items of 2016: WASHINGTON SAFE ALLIANCE COALITION DEFEATS I-1515 This year, a coalition of organizations and individuals across Washington state joined together to defend long-standing anti-discrimination laws, especially for the Transgender community. The Washington SAFE Alliance successfully preven

ERW takes conversion therapy ban on the road

by Mike Andrew – SGN Staff Writer Equal Rights Washington (ERW) will build on its victory in getting the Seattle City Council to ban conversion therapy, Executive Director Monisha Harrell told a Town Hall forum on December 11, and try to pass similar ordinances in many other Washington cities. The Seattle City Council voted unanimously on August 2 to prohibit conversion therapy for minors with the city limits and impose hefty fines on violators. ERW proposed the local ordinance because a bill banning the practice has been stalled for years in the state legislature. ‘We’ve always wanted to pursue legislation against conversion therapy on a statewide level,’ Harrell explained to the SGN. ‘That’s more comprehensive, and the state deals with licenses. Cities and municipalities can’t suspend the licenses of people who practice conversion therapy. ‘But cities can make it illegal, and they can fine people who d

Volunteering?

December fifth is marked each year as Worldwide Volunteer Day – since it has been declared such by the United Nations in 1985. It’ s a day in order to celebrate volunteers and volunteer-driven organisations, and the role of each in broader society. Which is quite appropriate for all of us given almost all bi organisations are usually run for the good of broader (bi) society rather […]

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Mayor Ed Murray signs new City budget Includes money for LGBT, Capitol Hill projects

by Mike Andrew – SGN Staff Writer Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed the new 2017-2018 City budget on November 22 at a ceremony in City Hall’s seventh-floor conference room. The $5.4 billion budget passed the City Council the previous day on an 8-to-1 vote. Included in the budget are a number of items of interest to the LGBT community and the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The City’s Office of Housing will get an extra $54,000 to do a needs assessment on housing for low-income LGBT seniors. This study will include: o information on the demand for affordable housing by LGBTQ seniors; o identification of barriers and recommendations for reducing barriers to accessing housing for this population; o strategies for providing housing assistance to such seniors; and o a proposed work plan to implement identified recommendations and strategies. The number of LGBTQ seni