Jeffrey the series: “Velvet Rope” (Episode 7)….

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Where “Gay American” Jim McGreevey Is, 10 Years On….

mcgreevey

Ten years after he announced that he was a “gay American” and would resign from office after a scandal-plagued stint as New Jersey governor, Jim McGreevey is back in government, this time mostly as an evangelist for prison reform.

McGreevey, now 57, runs transitional programs for those getting out of prison and returning to Jersey City, where the mayor sees him as a policy and political adviser.

“This is the ideal intersection of faith and service and government policy,” McGreevey said in an Associated Press interview this month.

His speech on Aug. 12, 2004, is “in the rearview mirror,” he said, and he does not see himself as a gay rights trailblazer, though he remains the only person to have served as a governor while openly gay. But he and other observers look back on his speech, and his life until then, as a cautionary tale.

“I think Jim was part of a generation that thought it had to hide who they were in order to be successful in politics. I’m part of a generation that believes I have to be honest in who I am to be successful in politics,” said U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from New York who in June married his partner of 22 years. “I think his resignation reinforced for a lot of us the need to be honest about who we are.”

When McGreevey officially left office three months after becoming the nation’s first – and so far only – openly gay governor, Massachusetts had just become the first state to recognize same-sex marriage. Now, 19 states, including New Jersey, do.

When McGreevey announced he was gay, there were just a handful of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender elected officials in the county. Now there are about 500 by the count of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. In Maine, openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is the nominated Democrat for governor.

While McGreevey’s resignation speech is remembered mostly for his coming out – delivered with his wife at his side and including the line, “My truth is that I am a gay American,” with undertones of defiance and patriotism – the situation was more complicated than that.

There was upset over McGreevey’s attempt to appoint Golan Cipel – with whom McGreevey would later say he had an affair – to be his top homeland security adviser despite having few qualifications and being unable to get federal security clearances. And within weeks after McGreevey’s announcement, two of his campaign donors pleaded to corruption charges and later served time in prison.

He told the AP this month that resigning was the right decision for his family and New Jersey.

After he left office, he studied to become an Episcopalian priest and mostly tried to stay out of public view, though he did write a memoir and promote it with an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” His ex-wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, also wrote a book and appeared on “Oprah.”

In recent years, McGreevey has been promoting changes to the prison system, an issue that became of interest when he was sent to work in a prison while in seminary school. He wants inmates to have access to drug rehabilitation and job training programs so they can reinvent themselves as they return to society.

His prison work was the subject last year of a documentary shown on HBO and made by Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

He is now the executive director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program, overseeing job training and prisoner re-entry programs in the state’s second-largest city. His salary, which is paid by the city and reimbursed through his program, is $110,000. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said he sometimes relies on McGreevey for political advice.

And McGreevey, who has two daughters, said his life is now an honest one, though he says he now wants to keep details of his private life and the status of his relationship with partner Mark O’Donnell private.

“I can only wish that I had found this path more directly,” he said.

Geoff Mulvihill – Associated Press

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Florida Court Rejects AG Bondi’s Request To Delay Same-Sex Marriage Appeals….

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A Miami-based appeals court has rejected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s request that two same-sex marriage cases be delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue nationally.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that the cases from Miami-Dade and Monroe counties will move forward.

Bondi’s office appealed rulings from judges in the two counties that declared Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The decision comes one day after another court, the 2nd District Court of Appeal, asked the Florida Supreme Court to decide the issue statewide.

Judges in Broward and Palm Beach counties have also found the same-sex marriage ban approved by voters in 2008 to be unconstitutional.

A Tallahassee-based federal judge issued a similar ruling but also stayed its effect pending the outcome of appeals.

Follow these cases: Huntsman v. Heavilin (Monroe) and Pareto v. Ruvin (Miami-Dade)

Associated Press

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Minnesota Hunting Lodge To Pay For Same-Sex Wedding And Reception After Turning Couple Away….

Cole Frey and Adam Block

The owners of a hunting lodge in Little Falls, Minnesota have agreed to pay for a couple’s wedding and reception after refusing them the use of their facilities after finding out it would be a same-sex ceremony, according to the Star-Tribune.

Cole Frey, 20, had initially secured a date for his wedding at LeBlanc’s Rice Creek Lodge only to have the lodge’s management reject him when he went to sign the paperwork and provide a security deposit.

“That’s when they found out it would be between two males,” Frey explained. “They told us they don’t condone same-sex marriage, and they wouldn’t be marrying us on their property.”

Frey is engaged to Adam Block, 18, whom he met last October.

The couple took their complaint to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights who investigated; having a staffer contact the lodge seeking to rent it for a same-sex wedding. The investigator was also refused the use of the premises.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal in Minnesota and, when the state Legislature legalized gay marriage in 2013, it only exempted religious entities from the law. Businesses such as the lodge are not exempt from nondiscrimination laws based upon religious beliefs regarding same-sex marriage.

Following negotiations with the Department of Human Rights, the owners of LeBlanc’s agreed to pay for the couple’s wedding at a different location, as well as for their reception and travel costs and lodging for their wedding guests, estimated to be about $8,500. The date originally requested by Frey and Block at LeBlanc’s was no longer available.

Frey was fine with moving the wedding to a different location.

“We kind of came to the conclusion, anyway, that we didn’t want to have it there because we didn’t want to be associated with them in that way,” he explained.

The attorney for the lodge’s owners, Paul Rogosheske, said that his clients misunderstood the law.

“They made a mistake and we did everything in our power to correct it,” Rogosheske explained. “This couple is going to have a great wedding and I can assure you LeBlanc’s is going to be open to everybody.”

Tom Boggioni – The Raw Story

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Trans Teen Commits Suicide, Says He’s “Prisoner Of My Own Body”….

Riley Matthew Moscatel  17

On Monday, August 18, a transgender teen from the Bucks County, Pennsylvania area apparently committed suicide by stepping in front of a fast-moving train. The Daily Mail reports that 17-year-old Riley Matthew Moscatel, who decided to drop his birth name ‘Jessica’ in favor of ‘Riley’ in the spring, explained in a lengthy letter on Instagram that he was “a prisoner of my own body.”

Surveillance cameras recorded the high school senior stepping in front of an Amtrak train near his home in Croydon, PA. He was killed.

“My mirror reflects Jessica, my heart and mind say Riley,” he posted in an Instagram picture with a backdrop of train tracks, just before ending his life. “You see me as the happiest person in school, I’m a prisoner of my own body.”

In the lengthy message, Riley apologized to his parents for not being the daughter they wanted, saying, “I just let go of the balloon I’ve been holding for so long called ‘hope.’ With that being said, I love you. I’m sorry I’m not the daughter you wanted.”

Before he killed himself on Monday, Riley posted this message to Instagram detailing his pain

His mother, Kristine Moscatel, told the Trentonian they were 100 percent supportive of their child’s struggle, but sometimes slipped up on the pronouns. They said that they had bought him a breast binder, and researched hormone treatments to begin when he turned 18.

“We knew that it was important to her,” said father Rich Moscatel. “If it was important to her, it was important to us whether we understood it or not.”

“We went from her thinking she was a lesbian, to bisexual, to finally transgender,” said mother Kristine Moscatel. “She didn’t know what she wanted to try and fit into.” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that although Riley’s fellow students at Bucks Country Technical High School were happy to call him by his chosen name, friends knew that he was “super-frustrated with his body… and more and more frustrated every single day,” said Carley Foss.

Although friend Kate Cimono said, “Everyone loved Riley. He was everyone’s best friend,” she also noted that he “still really wasn’t a guy physically. Even though everyone showed support and called him Riley, it didn’t match up to what he felt of himself.”

Winnie McCroy – Edge: New England

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Atlanta Man Receives 10 Years In Prison For Defending Himself In Anti-Gay Attack….

Luke O’Donovan

The victim of an anti-gay attack in Atlanta has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges that he assaulted his attackers.

Luke O’Donovan was attacked on 13 December 2012 at a New Year’s Eve party after dancing with and kissing men throughout the evening.

He was beaten and stabbed by at least five men who shouted homophobic slurs at him during the altercation.

O’Donavan defended himself with a pocketknife, and escaped the incident. He received treatment for stab wounds and injuries to his head and body at the Atlanta Medical Center.

He was arrested by police hours later while receiving treatment and charged with attempted murder and five counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The Luke O’Donovan Support Committee issued a statement about O’Donovan’s sentencing, saying: “This is the epitome of a hate crime. Witnesses report seeing between five and 12 men attacking O’Donovan, stomping on his head and body, and stabbing him in the back while calling him a ‘faggot.’

“The demonization of O’Donovan’s actions is a part of a growing trend: criminalizing those who successfully defend themselves from hate crimes.”

The committee added: “O’Donovan’s defense team was only able to negotiate the 10-year sentence after video footage surfaced of one of O’Donovan’s assailants participating in an attack of a transgender woman on July 3.”

In May, two trans women in Georgia were assaulted and stripped, while a crowd of onlookers filmed and cheered the attackers on.

In June, an Atlanta man has turned himself in to police after attacking a cyclist and branding him a “faggot”.

In July, video of a violent attack involving a transgender woman in Atlanta has surfaced on the video sharing app Vine.

Pink News

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LGBT Noise March For Marriage….

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