NY, San Francisco, other U.S. cities celebrate gay pride

admin   •   June 25, 2018   •   2956

Man in bathing suit rollerblading near people walking with banner reading: “Heritage of Pride: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender New York City” (Image grabbed from Reuters video)

 

Supporters of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights took to the streets of San Francisco, New York, Minneapolis, and Seattle to celebrate Pride on Sunday (June 24).

The festivities included massive floats, musical performances, and dancing.

“This is the greatest thing on the East Coast. There’s nothing like Pride,” Holly Wright who traveled with her girlfriend from Savannah, Georgia to attend New York’s Pride parade.

In San Francisco, a large pink triangle was positioned on a hill overlooking the city. Nazis used the symbol to both distinguish and shame gays and lesbians. In recent years, the LGBT community has embraced the triangle decidedly inverting it, as a symbol of pride and not the marker of a shame it was intended as.

Many parade-goers said they relished the inclusiveness of Pride events.

June has been a challenging month for some in the LGBT community with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, saying the decision was unlikely to have a sweeping legal impact.

The refusal by baker Jack Phillips in 2012 to make a cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig became a cultural flashpoint, seen as part of a conservative Christian backlash to the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing gay marriage.

The nation’s highest court said the baker’s religious rights were violated when a state Civil Rights Commission decided he had broken Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.

President Donald Trump’s administration intervened in support of the baker. — Reuters

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New York governor proposes ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in Toronto, August 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed legislation on Monday (September 9) to ban flavored e-cigarettes statewide in an effort to protect young people from the unknown consequences of vaping.

“Common sense says if you don’t know what you’re smoking, don’t smoke it,” Cuomo told reporters at a news conference. “And right now, we don’t know what you’re smoking in a lot of these vaping substances,” he said.

The governor’s announcement comes after a nationwide surge in mysterious, serious lung illnesses possibly related to vaping, which has also been linked to five deaths in the United States.

The decision is of a piece with how vaping is currently being viewed by many on the street in New York.

“You don’t know what the hell you’re smoking,” Brian, a construction worker, told Reuters. “You don’t know what they’re putting in that oil.”

U.S. public health officials on Friday announced that they are investigating about 450 cases of the illness across 33 states and one U.S. territory, including 41 cases in the state of New York. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they have not linked the illnesses to any specific e-cigarette product or ingredient.

If the proposed legislation were to become law, New York would become the second state to ban flavored e-cigarettes, following Michigan, which passed a ban on Wednesday.

While e-cigarettes are promoted as a product to help smokers cut down or quit, health officials have expressed concerns that many e-cigarette flavors are designed to get a new generation hooked on nicotine.

Many of the reported illnesses involved vaping products, including cannabis products, containing vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from vitamin E that is potentially dangerous if inhaled,

Cuomo, sitting beside New York Commissioner of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, also announced that the state’s Department of Health was issuing subpoenas to three e-cigarette companies, Honey Cut Labs LLC, Floraplex Terpenes and Mass Terpenes LLC. The Department of Health obtained samples from the three companies and found high levels of vitamin E acetate in their products.

Cuomo said stores that sell e-cigarettes will be required to disclose potential health consequences.

“It’s quite simple: Don’t do it,” Cuomo said. “Don’t do it because we don’t know if it’s safe.” (Reuters)

(Production by: Dan Fastenberg and Hussein al Waaile)

PNP has toilet for LGBTs, to place more across camps

Marje Pelayo   •   August 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) said they acknowledge and respect the rights of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.

In fact, according to PNP Spokesperson Police BGen. Bernard Banac, they have provided an exclusive toilet for LGBTs located at the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office.

They labeled it: “Gender Sensitivity Comfort Room / LGBT and Guest”

“Iyon po ay inilagay talaga natin bilang pagkilala natin sa karapatan ng bawat isa, ng bawat nilalang,” the PNP Spokesperson said.

BGen. Banac added that to provide such an area prevents discrimination among genders and gives members of the LGBT community convenience when they need to address the ‘call of nature’.

The official said they are also planning to construct such gender sensitive facility in all police camps across the country.

“Noon pa man ang PNP ay nangunguna na sa pagsuporta sa programa at mga batas patungkol sa gender and development sensitivity,” BGen. Banac noted.

“Ang gusto nga nating mangyari dito ay ma-empower at magkaroon ng equitable, sustainable, free from violence, respect for human rights at supportive tayo sa self-determination and actualization ng human potentials ng bawat nilalang,” he added.

Meanwhile, the PNP Spokesperson urges the private sector and all other government agencies to likewise provide or designate gender sensitive comfort rooms in their respective areas to cater to members of the LGBT community. – MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Fake heiress who dazzled New York elite sentenced to up to 12 years in prison

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2019

Anna Sorokin, 28, posed as a wealthy heiress to scam banks for loans in millions | Courtesy: Reuters

A German woman who posed as a wealthy heiress to scam boutique, New York hotels and fashionable friends was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison.

Blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City, Anna Sorokin, 28, was sentenced to prison for defrauding hotels, restaurants, a private jet operator and banks out of more than $200,000.

Sorokin, a would-be art collector, planned to open a members-only arts club but became known as the “soho grifter” after her deception upon New York’s glitzy social scene came to light. She was found guilty last month of grand larceny and theft of services.

She was also fined $24,000 and ordered to pay restitution of about $199,000.

At the hearing, Judge Diane Kiesel rejected the Defence Lawyers’ claim that Sorokin was merely trying to make it in New York, in the words of the Frank Sinatra song about the city.

“Sadly I agree with the people, if Miss Sorokin spent half as much time, half this much time, working legitimately to raise money for a foundation that sounded like a good addition to New York as she spent concocting phony bank statements, fake wire transfers, and non-existent financial advisers, she might have done quite well for herself. She’s clearly smart and very creative,” Judge Kiesel said.

Under her assumed name Anna Delvey, Sorokin falsely claimed she had a multi-million-dollar trust fund at her disposal, as she hired a private jet, attended elite parties, and lived in a luxury New York hotel. She maintained the scam for almost four years.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said, Sorokin had “not a cent to her name”.

Her father is reportedly a former trucker, who runs a heating-and-cooling business.

U.S. immigration and customs enforcement said in a statement that Sorokin was a German citizen who had illegally overstayed in the United States.

The agency said it will seek to send her back to Germany once her criminal proceedings are over.

Meanwhile, during the trial, she was admonished for throwing tantrums when she couldn’t get her stylist-curated outfits and drew unflattering sketches of the lead prosecutor during testimony.

“The defendant repeatedly delayed these court proceedings because she was not happy with the clothing that was offered to her by the department of corrections.

“She seemed to be basking in the press attention and rather than thinking seriously about the crimes she committed and how it affected people,” saidNew York Prosecutor Catherine Mccaw.

But at sentencing she was humbled.

“I apologize for the mistakes I made,” Sorokin said.

Sorokin’s story became a media sensation, and a tv series about her life was also planned.

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