Media Trail – 6/28/19

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Civil rights lawsuit alleges anti-gay harassment of student

The Chicago Tribune reports a federal civil rights complaint alleging an Ohio high school student faced harassment from school officials and his basketball coach after they learned he was gay.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Akron, Ohio says the student at Fairless Local Schools in northeastern Ohio lost virtually all basketball playing time and was punished with workouts not ordered for other players.

The June 6 lawsuit says that beginning in Fall 2017, the student was subjected to threats, harassment, intimidation and discrimination at school because of his sexual orientation.

The complaint also alleges discrimination led to him being denied admission to the National Honor Society. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

The superintendent didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Calls to the district went unanswered June 21.

Cincinnati City Hall to fly LGBTQ pride flag for first time

WLWT Cincinnati reports the City of Cincinnati is raising a rainbow pride flag at City Hall for the first time to kick off Cincinnati Pride.

The rainbow pride flag was to be raised at City Hall at 11 a.m. June 21.

City Councilman Chris Seelbach, the council’s first openly-gay member, says he’s been thinking about a rainbow pride flag at City Hall for a while and was inspired by the one raised at the city hall in Louisville, Kentucky.

Councilman Greg Landsman said he also had been thinking that a pride flag would be a good idea. Landsman said he was inspired by a pride flag raised at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley described Friday as an historic day for the city.

Minnesota official urged to resign for anti-gay posts

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports a St. Paul City Council member is being urged to resign for past anti-gay posts on Facebook.

Gay advocates from Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party are presenting a resolution at the party’s convention in St. Paul asking for Kassim Busuri to resign.

Busuri was appointed to represent Ward 6 in January.

Busuri says his Muslim faith does not support homosexuality and that criticizing his previous posts amounts to Islamophobia. He says he will represent all his constituents regardless of sexual orientation but won’t recant his past statements.

The posts came to light June 19 after Busuri was the only council member not to support a resolution recognizing June as Pride Month.

In one 2014 post, Busuri said he was “going back to Uganda” after the country approved a law criminalizing homosexuality.

Two football players suspended for burning LGBTQ pride flag

The Deseret News reports two high students in a Salt Lake City suburb have been suspended from the football team for posting a video of somebody burning an LGBTQ pride flag.

Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said discipline was taken against the Kearns High School students even though the flag wasn’t burned on school grounds because it could have a detrimental impact on the school environment.

A video posted on social media shows the flag burning and someone saying, “all gays die.”

School district officials became aware of the video June 17. Horsley says the district is determining if the students will face additional academic punishment.

The district plans to have former students who are LGBTQ speak to the students and the entire football team. n

Queer Latina woman wins New York City District Attorney primary race

Tiffany Cabán, a 31-year-old public defender who identifies as a queer Latina woman, claimed victory June 25 in the Democratic primary for district attorney in New York City’s borough of Queens.

Cabán was endorsed by 2020 presidential hopefuls and senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The race garnered national attention as Cabán built a progressive platform on criminal justice reform, including ending cash bail and decriminalizing sex work.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Cabán had a 1.3 percentage point lead over her closest challenger. The victory comes on the heels of a similar political upset by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive millennial who nabbed a surprise win in Queens last year.

The general election will take place in November. The winner will represent the 2.3 million people living in Queens.