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Boystown Board Agrees to Consider Scrapping Gendered Nickname for Chicago LGBT Neighborhood (VIDEO)

In a sign of the times, Boystown business leaders have agreed to consider changing the nickname for Chicago’s traditional LGBT neighborhood.

The Chicago Tribune reported Friday: Under pressure from a Change.org petition that complains about the gendered nature of the name Boystown, particularly in the context of local incidents of sexism, racism and transphobia, business leaders in Chicago’s most prominent LGBTQ neighborhood have begun the process of considering a name change. The influential Northalsted Business Alliance board said in a written statement that it had formed a committee to begin outreach to businesses and community members, with the goal of gaining “important perspective” on a possible name change. “This process will likely take a few months, as we listen to the community feedback and engage in broad-based efforts beyond just a possible name change, but a commitment to learning how to ensure the neighborhood moves forward as an inclusive and welcoming neighborhood for all,” the statement said.

According to the Change.org petition calling for the Boystown nickname to be scrapped, which has garnered more than 1,100 signatures, Chicago is the only city in the U.S. with a gendered nickname for its LGBTQ neighborhood.

“LGBTQ neighborhoods exist for all intersections of queer identity,” the petition states. “Systemic transphobia, racism, and sexism have plagued our neighborhood for decades, and it begins at the top, with the all-male board of the Northalsted Business Alliance. It begins with the BOYSTOWN signs down our street announcing that this neighborhood is “for the boys,” though the signs hang above our diverse Legacy Walk of several LGBTQ icons in our history.

“The ‘Boystown’ nickname began in the 1990s as a joke and it is now a marketing tool used by the Northalsted Business Alliance, and perpetuates the existing social issues that deter many LGBTQ people from the neighborhood,” the petition continues. “As we all grow and reconsider our roles in perpetuating bigotry, we ask that this board reflect on the growing number of incidents in our LGBTQ spaces. …

“To promote the inclusion of transgender, nonbinary, lesbian, and intersex individuals, we submit this petition for the Northalsted Business Alliance to simply follow the other LGBTQ neighborhoods across the world by marketing the area based on its location, North Halsted, not the majority gender of those people who sit on the Northalsted Business Alliance board.”

Watch a report from Chicago’s NBC affiliate below.

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Fire Island Drag Queens, Dancers to Promote Masks, Social Distancing After COVID-Defying Parties Went Viral

Drag queens and go-go dancers in New York’s Fire Island plan to distribute hand sanitizer, and promote social distancing and masks, in the wake of backlash over viral videos from COVID-defying parties at the popular gay resort destination last weekend.

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A group calling itself the Fire Island COVID Destroyers has already raised more than $3,000 that will be used to “employ NYC and Fire Island drag queens and go-go dancers to promote healthy behaviors on Fire Island to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

“Starting this Friday, July 10th at 12 noon, THE COVID DESTROYERS will greet people at the Fire Island Pines Harbor with hand sanitizer and masks, infiltrate beach parties to encourage social distancing, and educate and remind island visitors about how to protect themselves and others while still having fun,” the group’s fundraising page states.

The group was formed by local club owner Daniel Nardicio, along with Taylor Shubert and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), in response to “last week’s unplanned series of parties,” which “caused great concern in the LGBTQ community.”

“Fire Island was an epicenter of the HIV/AIDS crisis, and we learned then that we must take care of our own,” Nardicio said. “We’ve decided a positive, helpful approach will do much more than a ‘tag em and drag em approach,’ and we can hire out of work nightlife performers while doing it.”

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office will reportedly supply masks and hand sanitizer to support the group’s efforts.

“We are thrilled to be teaming up with the Governor to promote safety measures,” Shubert said. “These queens will show you that being safe is sexy!” 

GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie added: “GMHC was founded in the early ’80s to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic with an initial focus on preventing and reducing the risk of infection. This same approach can be applied to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than shaming people, education and compassion are needed to promote behaviors that can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep people healthy and safe.”

Earlier this week, the Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association posted new rules — and urged people to report large gatherings to 911 — in response to last weekend’s parties. Meanwhile, one partier apologized for a disgusting social media post in which he said he had COVID-19 and hoped others contracted the virus.

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Woman Who Threatened Black Family at Gunpoint Tearfully Claims She Acted in Self-Defense: WATCH

Jillian Wuestenberg, the 32-year-old white woman who faces felony charges for threatening a black family at gunpoint outside a Michigan restaurant last week, tearfully pleaded her case Thursday in an interview with a local TV station.

“There are a lot of facts that are missing, a lot of things that have only been seen from one side, and not through our eyes,” Wuestenberg WXYZ Channel 7.

Wuestenberg was accompanied during the interview by her husband — 42-year-old Eric Wuestenberg, who is also charged in the incident and has been fired from his job — as well as their attorney.

“This was just an attack, pure and simple, from the other side,” Jillian Wuestenberg said. “We were berated, our race was brought into it. I just wanted to go home to my children and feed my children.”

Wuestenberg acknowledged she may have bumped 15-year-old Makayla Green with her bag as she was leaving the restaurant, but said she didn’t understand how the incident escalated. Wuestenberg claims she tried to apologize to Makayla but ultimately drew her weapon — which had been holstered beneath her shirt — after she was “rapidly and aggressively approached” by “multiple people” who got “within two feet “of her. (Makayla Green and her mother, Takelia Hill, were unarmed.)

“It’s hard to watch, it’s scary,” Wuestenberg said of video of the incident, which has been viewed millions of times online. “The more I see it, the more I realize I’m more afraid of that situation now than I was then. I was terrified at that moment and my terror is just exponentially greater since then, looking back, seeing how in danger I really was. … I remember thinking, I’m not going home tonight.”

Wuestenberg said she grew up around a lot of guns and rifles — “they were just an everyday part of life” — and admitted to chambering a bullet during the incident. “That meant I’m about to die, and I don’t want to die,” she said.

She also addressed allegations of racism: “I have never seen myself as ignorant or racist. I have a genuine love for every single person I meet. Everyone has a story, everyone is important, and that really crushed me at the core of who I am, because I genuinely adore every person I meet. … There is so much hate in this world at this point in time and I don’t want a single person to feel what we’re feeling right now.”

Asked if there was anything she would have done differently, Wuestenberg said, “I would have stayed home and cooked.”

Watch the interview as well as the original video below.

I would have stayed home and cooked.

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Homophobic Karen Attacks ‘Punks’ Amid Parking Dispute: ‘You Go on Grindr and Do Hookups’ (WATCH)

Amid an apparent parking dispute, the driver of a Hyundai Elantra randomly attacked “punks” and “young people” over Grindr hookups.

The exact nature of the dispute is unclear, but it appears from video of the incident posted to Twitter this week that the woman had parked her non-electric vehicle in a space with a charging station.

The video, filmed by the other party in the dispute, begins with the woman bizarrely slapping her butt and saying, “Take this!”

The woman then returns to her car so she can retrieve her phone to film her own video and put it on Instagram, as she mutters about “punks who think they own the world” and “do what they want.”

After a brief conversation with security guards about the parking situation, the woman says, “I have to do my video,” as she points her phone at the other party and walks toward him.

“You’re disgusting and I’m so sick of these young people who think they’re all that,” she says. “Here you go, sweetheart, let’s test you. My goodness, nothing better to do with your time, because this is what your generation does. You go on Grindr and do hookups. You show every part of your body, and you have no self-respect. Oh my goodness, none whatsoever.”

At that point, one of the security guards intervenes in an apparent attempt to prevent the dispute from escalating.

“He comes and tells me what I can do. He’s not my boss,” the woman is later heard telling the security guard.

After the security guard points to a sign above the electric charging station, the woman hops in her Elantra to pull out — but not before threatening the other party with her video.

“Yours goes up, mine goes up, and it will have a lot to say,” she warns.

The video prompted several Twitter users to speculate that someone may have hooked up with the woman’s husband on Grindr.

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Alabama GOP Senator Who Serves on Coronavirus Task Force: ‘I Want to See More People’ Contract COVID-19 (WATCH)

A powerful Alabama Republican state senator who serves on the governor’s coronavirus task force says he wants to see more people contract COVID-19.

Del Marsh, president pro tempore of the state Senate, made the remarks on Thursday after Alabama set a new daily record for coronavirus cases.

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“I’m not as concerned as much as the number of cases, and in fact, quite honestly, I want to see more people, because we start reaching an immunity as more people have it and get through it,” Marsh said. “I don’t want any deaths, as few as possible, so those people who are susceptible to the disease, those with pre-existing conditions, elderly population, those folks, we need to do all we can to protect them. But I’m not concerned.”

More from the Daily Beast: Marsh, who was tapped in March to serve as president pro tempore on Gov. Kay Ivey’s COVID-19 task force, appeared to be referring to the concept of herd immunity, which means that once a certain threshold of infections is reached and immunity builds in the population, the virus won’t be able to spread as easily. Scientists have already cautioned that a herd immunity strategy won’t be effective against COVID-19—a warning grimly illustrated in Sweden, where an anti-lockdown strategy led to a death rate among the world’s highest, at 43 deaths per 100,000 people. Marsh’s comments were in stark contrast to a sobering warning from the Alabama Hospital Association that the state’s hospitals are already under strain and yet rising numbers haven’t even taken into account the surge of cases expected to come as a result of the Fourth of July weekend. 

It’s not the first time Marsh has taken an unconventional stance on an issue. Back in 2015, he said he opposed same-sex marriage for budgetary reasons.

“You gotta look at the financial aspect of this as well,” Marsh said at the time. “Let’s face it. If gay marriage is approved, I assume that those types of unions, those people would be entitled to Social Security benefits, insurance. Where does it end?”

A few reactions below.

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Trump: Doctors Were ‘Very Surprised’ That I Passed a Cognitive Test: (WATCH)

After calling in to Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show on Thursday night, President Donald Trump said doctors were “very surprised” when he recently passed a cognitive test.

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“He hasn’t taken any cognitive tests because he couldn’t pass one,” Trump said of his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. “I actually took one very recently when the radical left was saying, ‘Is he all there? Is he all there?’ I proved I was all there because I aced it. I aced the test, and he [Biden] should take the same exact test. A very standard test.

“I took it at Walter Reed, a medical center, in front of doctors, and they were very surprised,” Trump added. “They said, that’s an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anybody do what you just did. But he should take that same test.”

The Washington Post reports: It’s unclear exactly what cognitive test Trump was referring to in the interview. The most recent publicly disclosed cognitive test Trump took at Walter Reed was in January 2018, when the White House’s top physician said he got a perfect score. The exam Trump took then was the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which is designed to detect mild cognitive issues, largely in older people. The 10-minute exam asks patients to identify farm animals in pictures, draw a clock, and perform basic word-recall exercises. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment clarifying whether Trump has taken another test more recently. Along with jabs at Biden, Trump’s latest Hannity interview also covered the Sun Belt coronavirus hotspot, Trump’s willingness to wear a mask on an upcoming public appearance, and the Black Lives Matter street mural in New York that Mayor Bill de Blasio helped paint, which Trump derided.

Watch the full interview and check out a few reactions below.

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Trump: Doctors Were ‘Very Surprised’ That I Passed a Cognitive Test: (WATCH)

After calling in to Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show on Thursday night, President Donald Trump said doctors were “very surprised” when he recently passed a cognitive test.

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“He hasn’t taken any cognitive tests because he couldn’t pass one,” Trump said of his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. “I actually took one very recently when the radical left was saying, ‘Is he all there? Is he all there?’ I proved I was all there because I aced it. I aced the test, and he [Biden] should take the same exact test. A very standard test.

“I took it at Walter Reed, a medical center, in front of doctors, and they were very surprised,” Trump added. “They said, that’s an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anybody do what you just did. But he should take that same test.”

The Washington Post reports: It’s unclear exactly what cognitive test Trump was referring to in the interview. The most recent publicly disclosed cognitive test Trump took at Walter Reed was in January 2018, when the White House’s top physician said he got a perfect score. The exam Trump took then was the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which is designed to detect mild cognitive issues, largely in older people. The 10-minute exam asks patients to identify farm animals in pictures, draw a clock, and perform basic word-recall exercises. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment clarifying whether Trump has taken another test more recently. Along with jabs at Biden, Trump’s latest Hannity interview also covered the Sun Belt coronavirus hotspot, Trump’s willingness to wear a mask on an upcoming public appearance, and the Black Lives Matter street mural in New York that Mayor Bill de Blasio helped paint, which Trump derided.

Watch the full interview and check out a few reactions below.

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Trump Labels New York City As ‘Hellhole’ After SCOTUS Rules Manhattan DA Can Get His Tax Returns: WATCH

President Donald Trump on Thursday labeled New York City as a “hellhole,” after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Manhattan district attorney can subpoena his tax returns as part of an investigation into hush money payments.

“From a certain point, I’m satisfied. From another point, I’m not satisfied, because frankly this is a political witch hunt, the likes of which nobody’s ever seen,” Trump said of the court’s decision at the White House. “It’s a pure witch hunt. It’s a hoax, just like the Mueller investigation was a hoax, which I won. This is just another hoax. This is purely political. I win at the federal level, and we won very decisively, and so they sent it in to New York, and you know what’s going on in New York. Everyone’s leaving. It’s turned out to be a hellhole, and they better do something about it. This is a political witch hunt that just continues.”

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More from the New York Post: The president also railed against the decision on Twitter, calling the verdict “unfair” to his administration. However, Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow, who argued the case, welcomed the decision and said they would continue fighting the matter in the lower courts. “We are pleased that in the decision issued today the Supreme Court has temporarily blocked both Congress and New York prosecutors from obtaining the president’s financial records,” he wrote in a statement. “We will now proceed to raise additional constitutional and legal issues in the lower courts,” he added.

Earlier Thursday, New York City began painting a “Black Lives Matter” mural on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower. Trump is a lifelong New York City resident, but he changed his residence to Florida last year.

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Texas GOP Sues to Hold In-Person Convention in COVID-19 Hotspot After Houston Mayor Cancels It

The Republican Party of Texas is still hoping to hold an in-person convention in the COVID-19 hotspot of Houston this month.

The state GOP filed a lawsuit Thursday against Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, and others involved with canceling the convention earlier this week.

“Our objective is that the courts will hear and rule in our favor in time to open up the George R. Brown Convention Center Monday morning so that we may safely begin our vital work in the electoral process,” the party said in a statement Thursday.

CNN reports: Turner said Wednesday that he had asked the city’s legal department to review the contract between the State Republican Executive Committee and the convention venue’s operator, Houston First Corporation. He announced later Wednesday that he had officially instructed Houston First Corporation to cancel its contract with the state GOP. The party is suing Turner, Houston First Corporation and the city of Houston for breach of contract, according to a news release. Turner garnered national attention in making the announcement, with the Democrat speaking in deeply personal terms about the memory of his late mother to explain his decision. “The linchpin for me (was) when one of the people on my staff, combined with my sister, who said to me, ‘Mayor, brother, your mom was a maid working at these hotels. And if your mom was alive today working at one of these hotels (would) you as the mayor still allow this convention to go forth and run the risk of infecting your mom?’ ” he said.

More from the Texas Tribune: The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Harris County, argues that the gathering is protected under both the Texas and U.S. Constitutions and should be allowed to continue as planned. “Mayor Turner may not treat the [Republican Party of Texas] convention differently from that of the recent public protests that the Mayor supported,” the petition reads. “Political viewpoint cannot be the basis for unequal treatment.” The party’s biennial convention was expected to draw roughly 6,000 people to a city that is a hotspot for the coronavirus. Republican leaders had planned to deliver their speeches via video, which the party’s executive director said would enable them to “get everybody in and out of here as quickly and as safely as possible.”

In related news, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott banned elective medical procedures in more than 100 counties on Thursday, amid rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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Marketing CEO Goes on Racist Tirade, Calls Bartender a ‘Sand N—er Motherf—er,’ After Getting Cut Off: WATCH

A drunken marketing CEO from Florida went on a racist tirade, calling a bartender a “sand n—er motherf—er” — after being cut off and refusing to wear a mask at an establishment in Fresno, California, this week.

The Fresno Bee reports: It happened Tuesday night at the Out of the Barrel Taproom in Fig Garden Village after employees informed Florida businessman Jason Wood that he had been cut off from purchasing alcohol and asked him to leave. Wood, president and CEO of the digital marketing firm Actionable Insights, called Out of the Barrel bartender Rebecca Hernandez a “Sand (expletive) mother (expletive).” Hernandez wrote on social media that she started video recording the incident because she felt uncomfortable and unsafe and “tasked with filming our own abuse to prove that it actually happened.” 

Here’s how Hernandez described the incident: “Last night Jason Wood came into the bar I work at with a group of friends. I knew that after the 5th time of trying to enforce a mask policy, which he never wore, this person was going to be an issue. After using the bathroom I walked in on my coworker attempting to cut him off. Jason, was very persistent which is something we see a lot. My coworker did everything right but after hearing no several times Jason starts to get aggressive. He starts trying to bribe us, saying that he will give us $100 dollars if we just poured him a beer. We politely decline his money and stand our ground. He of course did not like this. Two female bartenders telling a middle aged white man he can’t have something he wants and he can’t buy it either must have really hurt his ego. At this point, being the most experienced in the industry and dealing with cutting customers off I step forward and address the situation head on. This is where things take a turn and being a person of color comes into the conversation. I closeout Jasons tab and tell him to please leave the bar and that we could care less about the tip he promised us. I then become extremely uncomfortable and start to feel unsafe so I begin to record him. Like so many others, we are tasked with filming our own abuse to prove that it actually happened. He threatened to ruin my life and take down my place of work. In the video you can hear him call me a ‘dark haired sand ni**er’ and claims that I’m ‘stupid like Saudi Arabians’. See, without any indoor bar seating there is no one around and people have become more comfortable being their real self around us. For Jason Wood, it clearly is rascist. This man claims to ‘run the internet’ and as the CEO and President of Actionable Insights, there probably won’t be any consequences for his racist actions. But I hope sharing this can be a lesson to others, it doesn’t matter how much money or power you think you have, it clearly can’t buy you dignity. And for others working in the service industry dealing with the COVID-19 mask enforcement and emboldened racists, don’t be afraid to stand up to these people, you are human first and foremost and no one deserves to be treated this way.”

Wood later told the Fresno Bee: “I feel awful about the whole thing. We had seven or eight beers. It knocked me out. I don’t remember any of that. When I saw the video, my jaw just dropped. I was a jerk. I don’t talk to people like that. I’m not that type of guy. … I’m not a racist. What I said didn’t even apply to her. I would’ve had a better grasp on the vernacular if I was a racist. I was that blacked-out drunk. I feel awful for the things that I said. I’ve been the guy that shares stuff (on social media) when someone else has made racist comments. So I understand everyone’s reaction. I get it. But this was me doing something wrong. The business did nothing wrong. That was Jason with too much craft beer.”

Watch Hernandez’s video in two parts below.

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