There’s an old saying that suggests “If you wait long enough, all things become clear.” And so it was for all of America to peek behind the curtain and discover exactly what its President was trying so hard to hide.

Here was the supposedly successful businessman who wouldn’t reveal the source of his wealth or the bottom line on his taxes. It was enough for us to hear from his lips that he was “very, very rich.”

We watched as the Republican party cowered before this illusion who bullied and name-called anyone who suggested he was being less than forthcoming. “Trust me,” he said. “I know more than the IRS about taxes. More than anyone.”

Trump alone could cure our ills and strengthen our economy by changing the tax code to give the top two percent of the nation’s wealthiest individuals even more money through corporate tax cuts.

Those citizens of color or those newly immigrated to this country were ridiculed and openly mocked, creating divisions that were simply wrong.

Yet, perhaps, the most consistent degrading was reserved for the LGBTQ community whose rights were questioned. In the case of its transgender members, they were revoked by executive order. Forget using a certain bathroom or serving patriotically in the military. Nope. You are out, came the word from the Oval.

As fake news became the label placed on all media that did not align with his vision, the formerly reputable New York TimesWashington Post, CNN, MSNBC and even the venerable Associated Press fell victim to his self-styled superior intelligence and untouchable power.

Pandemic? What pandemic? It is nothing more than the flu which will miraculously disappear. Blame the Chinese. They let it “escape.”

Stores shuttered, economies stalled, and both political parties unable to move around his autocratic power. “Not my fault,” he said. “I take no responsibility,” he said.

Heads rolled as officials were fired or quietly resigned. His National Security Advisor–gone. White House Chief of Staff, Communications Director, and his Secretary of Health and Human Services–gone.

The Center for Disease Control suggested wearing facial masks, hand washing and social distancing as a means of preventing the suddenly out-of-control COVID-19.

“I don’t like masks,” the President said and appeared without one wherever he went, including massive rallies of his entranced base, whose shouts and applause were all too clear. No masks for them either.

They were invincible. Sure some got sick. But that was because we were testing too many people. “That’s the way it is,” he said.

What we don’t know, won’t hurt us. Or so we were told as tear gas filled our streets and the military were used like deputized law enforcement against us–those they took an oath to protect.

And then last week arrived. We had waited three and a half years, and suddenly–all became clear.

The first clue came via the New York Times that reported that Trump hadn’t paid much in the way of any taxes. Furthermore, his companies seemed to be deeply in debt–as was the President himself. Hundreds of millions of dollars. Or was it billions?

“Wrong.” Fake news, he said.

Not two days later, along came the first Presidential debate. Shouting and bullying to an exhausting level. If there was a vision for the future in this time of crisis, there was too much noise for it to be heard.

The Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, spoke from the heart, but not at a level that pushed utter nonsense aside.  Not even the moderator Chris Wallace could get the President of the United States to condemn White Supremacists. Here, in the land of the free and home of the brave. The place where transgender soldiers could be kicked to the curb and the Supreme Court could be top-loaded by conservatives that could make short work of abortions, and “don’t get me started” on the rest of those L,G,B, and Qs.

If there was a crescendo among this madness, it was lost amidst the vulgarity of indecency spewing in every direction as if this new normal was, well, normal.

Just when we thought we would never see another rainbow that hadn’t been sullied by the autocrat-in-chief, the world became silent in a collective holding of breaths. Hushed by the news that Donald Trump had caught the dreaded virus. Pumped full of chemicals, he walked from the White House–while wearing a mask (!)–and got whisked off without a word to the hospital.

While the mighty may have fallen, there was no relief. No exhale in place. Somehow, we all felt guilty for having allowed this to happen.

His faithful legend of fans stalked under his hospital window hoping that their homage would grant him his health. But there he was, in isolation, fighting for his life. or, wait a second, can it be. Is that the gravely ill President doing a motorcade tour of his maskless base of supporters?

So it would seem. Coiffed blond hair sprayed in place, looking out through the closed tight windows of the President’s armoured vehicle, giving the Papal wave before disappearing from view yet again.

No. That can’t just have happened, we ask ourselves. Once again, truth becomes stranger than fiction in a week which just keeps playing itself out with new twists and turns.

Two–no, three, Republican Senators have now caught it we’re told. And the Senate Judicial Committee trying to rush a confirm vote on yet another Supreme Court justice just keeps pretending this is all okay. Even as they keep falling like flies.

If there is a happy ending to this tragedy, it better show itself quickly, because in another four weeks we have an election. Absentee ballots and vote by mail are either all-the-rage or the cause-of-corruption–depending on whose word you trust.

And somewhere out on Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty tries to pretend it still has the welcome mat out and in place. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” she pledges.

Suddenly, that seems to be all of us.

For decades, billionaire Jennifer Pritzker served in the U.S. Army, rising through the ranks before retiring in 2001 as a lieutenant colonel. Jennifer is a member of the very large and very rich Pritzker family of Hyatt Hotel fame.

The Pritzkers are notoriously political.  Democrats all–except for Jennifer, the former lone Republican. “Former” is the operative word here.  All that was before Donald Trump was elected president and turned the party into an LGBTQ hate group that seemed  determined to reverse every single gain the gay, lesbian and transgender community had gained either politically or legally under the Obama administration.

The President was particularly aggressive against transgender soldiers. He had only been President for six months when banned all transgender soldiers saying the military needed to focus on “decisive and overwhelming victory” without being burdened by the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of having transgender personnel.

Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, Jennifer called Trump’s effort “a giant step backward. As a transgender woman, I had to hide who I was during my time in service… I can’t express enough how strongly I disagree with Trump’s statement…[which] hurts our Armed Forces and shows a callous disregard for the rights of American citizens.”

Furthemore, Jennifer slam-closed her checkbook. After giving millions to political campaigns, she wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post. “I have hoped the Republican Party would reform from within and end its assault on the LGBTQ community. Yet the party continues to champion policies that marginalize me out of existence, define me as an eccentric character,” she wrote. “I ask Republicans to prioritize policies that improve our country for all Americans. When the GOP asks me to deliver six-or seven-figure contributions for the 2020 elections, my first response will be: why should I contribute to my own destruction?”

All of which makes her $2,000 donation to Democrat Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign this past week all the more impactful.

A new bill introduced by Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler has been backed by several other GOP senators who want to ban transgender girls from playing in school sports. It's since been met with backlash from transgender rights advocates as well as parents on social media.

The legislation, called the "Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2020," seeks to amend protections put in place by Title IX of 1972 which prohibits that any person be excluded from "participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance," as defined by the NCAA.

 

According to the bill, Loeffler and four other GOP senators want to see sex be "based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth." The bill would also refuse federal funding to to any school that permits "a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls."

"Title IX established a fair and equal chance for women and girls to compete, and sports should be no exception," Loeffler said in a press release introducing the legislation this week. "As someone who learned invaluable life lessons and built confidence playing sports throughout my life, I’m proud to lead this legislation to ensure girls of all ages can enjoy those same opportunities. This commonsense bill protects women and girls by safeguarding fairness and leveling the athletic field that Title IX guarantees.”

Loeffler’s bill was co-signed by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Sen. Lee told NBC News in a statement, "Men and women are biologically different, that’s just a scientific fact. For the safety of female athletes and for the integrity of women’s sports, we must honor those differences on a fair field of competition."
 

The proposed legislation has been met with backlash. In a recent statement, Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender justice for the ACLU's LGBT and HIV Project, said that anti-LGBTQ groups have shifted their focus from "expelling trans people from public spaces like restrooms and locker rooms" to "trans participation in sports."

"These groups don’t care about sports or women’s rights," Strangio said. "They’re opportunistically looking for ways to attack trans people, and in the process, hurting all women and girls."

On Twitter, one critic of the bill pointed to the fact that all kids have a right to play sports. "If you want a level playing field, you let ALL the kids play. That includes transgender kids. What kind of message are you trying to send... that they are less of a person, and therefore can't participate in normal childhood activities? That's just pathetic."

Should the bill pass, another noted that it could open the door for other types of discrimination in school sports. "This will open up discrimination lawsuits for the physically/ mentally handicapped cut from teams as this implies one's genetics makes them superior or inferior."

Loeffler's bill is not the only attempt to stop trans girls from competing in team sports with other girls. In Connecticut, as Advocate reported, parents of three cisgender high school girls won a lawsuit claiming that the inclusion of transgender girls was a violation of Title IX; the Board of Education is currently deciding whether or not to strip federal funding from schools who allow trans girls to participate.

In Idaho, as LGBTQ Nation reported, legislation was recently introduced by GOP Rep. Barbara Ehardt that would allow "genital exams" for girls hoping to compete in team sports. In a statement about the bill she was backing, Ehardt claimed she was "supporting girls." "It is disheartening to think that some athletes, under the guise of equality, do not support girls and women as they pursue their dreams to stand atop the podium as a champion because a biological male had taken her spot," Ehardt said.

As for Loeffloer's bill, it needs to make it through the Democratic-held House of Representatives before it can be passed.

President Donald Trump’s current top choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited the White House on Monday.

Reporters including CNN Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta say Judge Amy Coney Barrett visited the White House today.

Multiple reports say Coney Barrett is the leading contender.

Earlier today White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told CBS “This Morning” Trump would be announcing his decision “before Wednesday.” MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell also made a similar suggestion. Trump later told Fox News he would wait until Friday or Saturday, and told reporters Saturday. Justice Ginsburg will lie in state at the Supreme Court Wednesday and Thursday.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice, and a right wing religious extremist.

In 2006 Barrett told Notre Dame graduates, “your legal career is but a means to an end, and . . . that end is building the kingdom of God.”

Coney Barrett has said she believes “life begins at conception.”

She opposes one of the greatest tenets of the Supreme Court: stare decisis, the legal doctrine that obliges courts to consider Supreme Court rulings as settled law.

Critical issues such as the right of women to obtain an abortion, the right of same-sex couples to marry, as well as the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) are seen as being overturned with her on the court.

 

One year after the Stonewall riots, LGBTQ+ rights activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera organized an occupation of Weinstein Residence Hall in response to NYU’s abrupt cancellation of a dance-a-thon to benefit the LGBTQ+ community. Although NYU had allowed two dance-a-thons to take place on campus during the summer, once students returned to campus, parents and donors expressed concern about students being influenced by a gay presence on campus. As a result, the university banned gay social events from taking place at NYU. After employing a variety of harsh tactics to drive protestors away — including cranking the air conditioning up all the way to freeze them out and then overheating the room occupied by protestors –– NYU called the riot police, who ended the five-day protest by forcibly removing protesters from the building.

Judging from NYU’s website, it’s hard to tell that the university was an active participant in violence against the LGBTQ+ community 50 years ago. Rather than apologize for its violent response to the Weinstein occupation, NYU published two sentences on the protest that omitted the university’s decision to deploy riot police against protestors.

Now that steps have been taken to establish LGBTQ+ rights around the country, NYU would face backlash if it didn’t champion LGBTQ+ rights. While NYU’s proclaimed dedication to championing LGBTQ+ rights is a step in the right direction, the whitewashing of NYU’s past relationship with the LGBTQ+ community shows that the university is only willing to take a stand when it positively impacts their image.

While NYU has taken a more progressive stance on LGBTQ+ rights since the Weinstein occupation, it still maintains a relationship with the NYPD despite the NYPD’s continued violence toward protestors and Black and Indigenous People of Color

On Friday night, the NYPD employed excessive force against protestors at an Abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protest outside of Bobst Library. Despite the NYPD beating protestors on NYU’s campus, the university did nothing to address the issue except send a mass text advising students to avoid the Washington Square Park area. Whether NYU calls the police itself — as it did in 1970 — or refuses to condemn the NYPD when protestors are beaten on campus, NYU remains complicit in a system of police brutality that endangers the lives of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities NYU now claims to protect and embrace.

NYU has also continually fallen short in protecting LGBTQ+ students since the Weinstein occupation, including those abroad. Over the years, many have expressed concerns about discrimination against gay students at NYU Abu Dhabi. Although former NYU President John Sexton refuted these concerns, stating, “I would say to any student here that wants to go to the Abu Dhabi campus, ‘Go.’ Gay students, Israeli students, I refuse to think in those categories,” it is clear that the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ students were seldom considered. Homosexual activity is illegal in the United Arab Emirates, and can even be punishable by death. Mubarak Al Shamesi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, pushed back on Sexton’s statement, saying, “NYU was aware of our local culture and rules and guidelines, and our policies on Israelis or homosexuality were clearly not a concern for them.” 

It isn’t as if higher-education institutions must accept homophobic policies and human-rights violations — in 2004, Harvard returned a $2.5 million donation when it realized that the country’s laws would violate the school’s nondiscrimination clause. From a university that has repeatedly been named as one of the most gay-friendly in the United States, this type of disregard for LGBTQ+ students is both inappropriate and dangerous.

On the New York campus, students have had difficulty receiving appropriate student-housing accommodations as recently as last year. When CAS sophomore Evelyn Zhang, who is transgender and uses she/her pronouns, indicated her gender identity on her application, she was assigned to a room in University Residence Hall with three cis male suitemates. The following year, after applying for gender neutral housing and expecting to be assigned roommates who identified as women, Zhang received three cis male suitemates again. The previous Vice President of T-Party, a club for transgender, non-binary and gender-nonconforming members of the NYU community, reported that many students have had their safety and comfort compromised within their own dorms due to their identity. These experiences underscore the failure of NYU housing to live up to its own expectations as an institution that currently “support[s] the LGBTQ+ community.”

NYU can continue to present itself as an inclusive institution, but its refusal to own up to the part it’s played in the oppression of LGBTQ+ rights prevents the university from truly being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Looking back on the Weinstein occupation 50 years later reminds us that even though NYU has become more progressive on the surface, the university only stands up for LGBTQ+ rights when it is beneficial for the university while taking actions that actively harm the LGBTQ+ community itself.

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