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by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

First openly Gay Illinois legislator dies
Larry McKeon, Illinois' first openly Gay and first openly HIV-positive state legislator, died May 13 of a severe stroke. He was 63.

McKeon represented a district of Chicago's North Side in the state House of Representatives from 1997 to 2007.

An Army veteran and former cop, McKeon also served as Mayor Richard M. Daley's liaison to the GLBT community prior to his election to public office. McKeon retired last year, citing health issues related to HIV and cancer.



Florida student wins case against school over Gay symbols
After a trial in which a Florida high-school principal testified that he believed clothing or stickers featuring rainbows make people automatically envision Gay sex acts, a federal judge ruled May 13 that Ponce de Leon High School had violated students' First Amendment rights.

The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a student who had been forbidden to wear clothing, stickers, buttons or symbols supporting Gay rights.

"Standing up to my school was really hard to do, but I'm so happy that I did because the First Amendment is a big deal to everyone," said plaintiff Heather Gillman, a junior at the school in the Florida Panhandle.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Smoak ordered the school to cease its unconstitutional censorship of students who want to express support for Gay equality, and warned the district not to retaliate against students over the lawsuit.

The case came about after Gillman and other students told the ACLU they were routinely intimidated by school officials for doing things like writing "Gay pride" on their arms and notebooks or wearing rainbow-themed clothes.



Actress Nixon would marry girlfriend
Actress Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda on HBO's Sex and the City and reprises her role in the new film of the same name, likely would marry her girlfriend, Christine Marinoni, if New York state legalizes same-sex marriage.

"I think that to get married to her would be a little act of rebellion," Nixon told London's Daily Mirror on May 12. "It's like if you've never had the vote and then you get it you're going to run out there and vote. ... If it becomes legal, I think we would."

Nixon, 42, also said she never came out of the closet after leaving her longtime boyfriend, and the father of her two children, several years ago.

"I had been with men all my life and I had never met a woman I had fallen in love with before, but when I did, it didn't seem so strange." she said. "I don't define myself. I'm just a woman in love with another woman.

"I never felt like there was an unconscious part of me that woke up or came out of the closet. There wasn't a struggle or an attempt to suppress. I met this woman and I fell in love with her."



Frank: Transgender people were terrible lobbyists
Openly Gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., says Transgender people did a terrible job of lobbying for inclusion in the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

A version of the measure, known as ENDA, that protects sexual orientation but not gender identity has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate.

"I've never seen a worse job of lobbying done by the Transgender community," Frank told the Oregon Gay newspaper Just Out in its May 2 issue. "They seem to think that all they had to do was to get the Gay and Lesbian community to say 'OK.' I think they thought that this was a train, and that they were a car on the train." "I said to them, 'You've got to work this, you've got to lobby people.' They did a terrible job of lobbying, and so we didn't have the votes," Frank said.



With assistance from Bill Kelley
pictures: top - McKeon
 

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