Ann Arbor YMCA creates dedicated pool time for LGBTQ community
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Starting Friday, members of Ann Arbor’s LGBTQ community and their families can take part in the Y’s new Out to Swim program. Taking place between 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Fridays, the dedicated swim time was created in response to requests from LGBTQ youth. It offers a welcoming space and opportunities for community members to socialize, according to a release by Ann Arbor YMCA. “At the Ann Arbor Y, we strive to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, income, faith, sexual orientation or cultural background has the opportunity to live life to its fullest,” Ann Arbor YMCA President and CEO Toni Kayumi said in the release. Kayumi said a dedicated swim time was discussed when the Y’s leadership team asked local LGBTQ youth about equity and inclusion programs they wanted at the Ann Arbor organization.
Poland criticized in EU Parliament over courts, LGBT rights
Aguilar told lawmakers that Poland appears to be moving away from European fundamental values and called the situation “extremely concerning." Poland has repeatedly been scrutinized in the EU parliament since the conservative nationalist Law and Justice took power in 2015. Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, called it “a threat to the very foundations of our civilization." LGBT rights groups say they have also recorded a rising number of hate crimes against sexual minorities. “We see Poland crossing red line after red line,” said Sophia in ’t Veld, a Dutch parliament member.
Supreme Court rules LGBT workers are protected under Civil Rights Act
DETROIT The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that LGBT workers are protected from job discrimination and being fired for sexual orientation under the Civil Rights Act. The victory is bittersweet for the ACLU, as Aimee Stephens, the transgender woman at the center of the ruling, died last month. She sued, saying the Civil Rights Act prevents employment discrimination based on sex. Seven years later, the Supreme Court agreed, in a 6-3 decision. John Borsch, the attorney who represented the funeral home before the Supreme Court last year, disagrees.
EU official criticizes Polish campaign targeting LGBT people
Poland's parliament speaker says the postponed presidential election will take place June 28. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)WARSAW A senior European Union official on Monday criticized a campaign by Polish authorities against the LGBT rights movement during a close presidential election campaign, saying is is wrong to target minorities for political gain. European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova, who is in charge of values and transparency, spoke two days after Polish President Andrzej Duda called the LGBT rights movement more dangerous than communism. LGBT rights have become a key campaign theme ahead of Poland's presidential election on June 28. Duda is the front-runner but his key challenger, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, has been gaining in opinion polls.
Michigan judge gives time to LGBT rights drive, wont cut signatures
LANSING, Mich. A Michigan judge on Wednesday gave an LGBT rights ballot drive more time to collect signatures due to coronavirus stay-at-home restrictions but refused the group's request to slash the number of signatures needed to make the ballot. The decision will help the group's efforts to now qualify for the 2022 ballot rather than the 2020 election. Tolling the signature expiration for ballot questions is no less burdensome or fraught with peril to the public, she wrote. Fair and Equal Michigan had nearly 178,000 signatures as of May 24, with roughly 135,000 projected to be valid nearly 40% of the 340,047 required. Co-chairman Trevor Thomas said the judge recognized that COVID-19 impacted the fundamental constitutional rights of our nearly 200,000 supporters.
Downtown Ann Arbors historic Aut Bar closes its doors permanently after 25 years
ANN ARBOR, Mich. Aut Bar has been a long-standing refuge for the LGBTQ community in Ann Arbor, but a decline in revenue, impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and other problems have lead to its permanent closure. Dear Aut Bar Community, In moments of upheaval and uncertainty, bars and restaurants play a critical role in offering... Posted by Aut Bar on Saturday, June 6, 2020The business was bought in 2019 by BarStar Group, which also operates Nightcap, Lo-Fi and Babs Underground in Ann Arbor. Through email, Micah Bartelme, CEO of BarStar Group said that Aut Bar had been facing financial challenges even before it changes hands from its original owners, Keith Orr and Martin Contreras, who created Aut Bar 25 years ago. After a year of operating at a loss, Aut Bar was in a very vulnerable position when the pandemic struck and shutdowns went into effect., Bartelme said. Although the physical space is closed, Aut Bar intellectual property and social media pages have been given back to Orr and Contreras.
Ann Arbor Film Festival to kick off Pride Month with virtual happy hour June 4
ANN ARBOR, Mich. The Ann Arbor Film Festival will celebrate Pride Month by hosting a virtual happy hour at 7 p.m. on June 4. Taking place through Zoom, the virtual happy hour will feature Rusty Tidenberg, subject of the documentary Why Cant I Be Me? Around You focuses on the eight years of Tidenbergs life after she comes out to her family and friends. Leslie Raymond, director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival and Martin Contreras and Keith Orr, former owners of \aut\ Bar will host the celebration. The documentary won the \aut\ FILM Award for Best LGBTQ Film at this years virtual Ann Arbor Film Festival.
Michigan judge denies request to halt LGBT adoption ruling
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A federal judge has denied Michigan's request to halt his preliminary injunction that preserved a Catholic adoption agency's ability to refuse to place state wards with LGBT couples. Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids declined the stay Tuesday. It had been sought by state Attorney General Dana Nessel and the state Department of Health and Human Services, while the case is appealed. Nessel has denied having hostility toward faith-based agencies that contract with the state. She says Michigan law allows child-placing agencies to turn away families in private cases based on their sincerely held religious beliefs, but not when they place state-supervised children.
Elton John slams Vladimir Putin as hypocritical in open letter
Executive producers Sir Elton John and David Furnish attend the "Rocketman" UK premiere on May 20, 2019, in London, England. (CNN) - Elton John is slamming President Vladimir Putin for his remarks on LGBT issues after the recent censorship of the singer's biopic in Russia. "I am not trying to insult anyone because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia," Putin said in the interview published Thursday. "Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with what," Putin told the outlet. In his statement Friday, John applauded government policies that allow LGBT people to legally marry.