- Nic F. Anderson
Queer Catch Up: Friday, Nov. 8, 2019
Welcome to back to YUNGMIGA’s Friday Queer Catch-Up, a weekly post where folks can catch up recent LGBTQ+ news and pop culture.
NEWS ROUND UP
Photo credit: The Grosby Group
Walter Mercado, a flamboyant astrologer and TV star popular across Latin America, dies at 88
Television astrologer and gay icon Walter Mercado has died at 88. Mercado was best known throughout Latin American countries for his dramatic daily horoscopes on broadcast networks such as Univision. He wore extravagant capes, over-the-top gemstone rings and other elaborate and ornate clothing and jewelry. While Mercado never disclosed his sexual orientation publicly, his TV presence was beloved by people, especially LGBTQ+ people.
Spelman College, a historical black women's college in Atlanta, Georgia, receives $2 million for the first ever Audre Lorde Queer Studies program. The grio reported: “Spelman College has received a $2 million dollar gift from philanthropist Jon Stryker, to establish its first chair position for a Queer Studies program. The program was named in honor of legendary queer Black poet, activist, and feminist, Audre Lorde. ‘Spelman College has long been at the forefront of LGBTQ inclusion and education among HBCUs,” Stryker said in a statement. “By supporting this chair, the goal is to engage and empower the next generation of LGBTQ advocates to create a better world.’”
Three trans women shared their stories at the Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association’s Transgender Education Panel at the Oak Park Library. The Chicago Tribune’s Judith Ruiz-Branch reported: “Panelists Ann Lewis, Odette Bishop and Jill Rose Quinn each shared how they struggled with their identities for decades before coming out as transgender women. Each of them voiced their regret over the years they lived not being “themselves." They said they hoped their stories would help to encourage transgender people and their families with the transitioning process.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) under the Trump Administration has reversed nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people within federally funded health programs. Pink News reported: “In a rule change announced on Friday (November 1), health programmes receiving grants from HSS will no longer have to abide by nondiscrimination guidelines protecting LGBT+ people. The Trump administration changed the rule in the name of “religious freedom.”
The announcement from HHS said: “The proposed rule represents the Trump Administration’s strong commitment to the rule of law―the Constitution, federal statutes, and Supreme Court decisions. These require that the federal government not infringe on religious freedom in its operation of HHS grant programs.”
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, the rule change will impact “all discretionary and non-discretionary grants across the Department.”