This Monday, two fantastic things will be coming your way: the Hot Cop of Castro Street and the Chilin' 4 Charity ice water challenge. This Monday, August 18th Officer Chris Kohrs will be wearing not-very-much as he prepares to be doused with ice to raise money for the Officer Down Memorial Fund. Rather than a quiet demonstration with a friend and an iPhone, this will be a full-on event at The Café, with tickets available online. Money raised from the ticket sales will all be going directly to the Fund, and each ticket buyer will be given a raffle ticket for a chance to win the honor of being the one to upend the bucket of ice, while the top three donors will help Officer Kohrs prepare...whatever that means.
Stand by for us to have no small amount of photos and videos of the event come Tuesday. If you are unable to make it to the event but still wish to donate to ODMF, you can find their website here.
This is some wonderful news, especially out of a place as unexpected as Florida. The Orlando City Council gave its final approval this past Monday to ban discrimination against transfolk, thus placing gender identity in the realm of protected classes alongside race, religion, and orientation. The ban means that someone who identifies as trans may not be denied employment or promotions, public accommodations, service, or prevented from buying or renting a home because of their gender identity. The ordinance was unanimously approved and about ten supporters showed up to speak in favor of the ordinance, while - shockingly (again, this is Florida) - no one spoke up in dissent. Said Mayor Buddy Dyer:
We've gotten to the point where we can do — with very little controversy — things we ought to be doing, so I'm very proud of that.
Republican Congressional candidate Gary Kiehne has sent out some new campaign flyers that seem to have distracted attention away from the candidate and the issues, as Tuscon Weekly points out. On the flyer, Kiehne lists the big ticket items he’s in favor of—traditional staples to any Republican platform: repeal Obamacare, lower taxes etc. Notably, Kiehne does not mention censorship as something he opposes. Which may explain why the stud in the background of the above image is baring all.
Just in time for Shark Week comes the strange story of Pete Wentz's shark selfie. The image above, a photoshopped image of Wentz 'taking a selfie' while being pursued by a Great White, reportedly comes from a year's old Tumblr post that was then turned into a bogus news story about a man, "James Crowlett," a 34-year-old insurance salesman from Oregon, who died attempting to take the selfie to end all selfies. Wentz even got into the silly spirit of things by tweeting out the news story with the caption, "Rest in Pete." Sadly, many were fooled by this digital sleight of hand and believed the "shark attack selfie" was, in fact, real. So in case anyone is wondering, Pete Wentz is alive. The rule of three does not apply here.
A gay man named Bryan Higgins, known to friends and family as Feather Lynn, was brutally attacked over the weekend in the Castro District of San Francisco. A part of the city’s radical faerie community, Feather’s body was discovered early Sunday morning, unconscious and lacking any identifying belongings. However, after police sought help from the community in identifying the man, a family member came forward and identified Feather. From The Castro Biscuit:
Yesterday, police declared the case an attempted homicide after evidence was introduced that suggested Feather was brutally attacked which reports say led to a fatal brain aneurysm that has left him on life support. The SFPD has little details on a suspect and is asking for the community’s help in tracking down a white male in his late 20′s and early 30′s who was wearing a dark colored hoodie who was captured on Muni and surrounding businesses’ security footage around the time of the assault. If you were in the vicinity of Duboce and Church in the early morning hours of Sunday, August 10th, or have details related to the crime, please contact the SFPD at 415-575-4444 or text TIP411 with “SFPD” at the start of the message.
Feather was taken off life support today at 3:33 PM PST. A vigil was held at that same time at Duboce Park, near where Feather was assaulted, to commemorate and celebrate his life.
Feather’s husband, Brian Haggerty, spoke to The San Francisco Bay Guardian on Feather’s condition:
“Right now, we are just concerned with his spirit, and making sure everyone has a chance to say goodbye," he said. "Too many factors came together in this situation. But the truth is he has left us.”
The Human Rights Campaign along with 16 other LGBTQ organizations have penned an open letter of solidarity expressing their grief over the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager gunned down by police in Ferguson, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb.
“When communities experience fear, harassment and brutality simply because of who they are or how they look, we are failing as a nation," the letter reads. “In light of the recent events in Missouri, it is clearer than ever that there is something profoundly wrong in our country.”
Brown’s death sparked a wave of protests, public outrage, and calls for an investigation into the circumstances that lead to the shooting. Brown, 18, was known as a gentle giant by those who knew him, a description that has become a rallying cry from the communities calling for legal action against the police officer responsible for his killing.
Eye-witness accounts of the shooting differ drastically from those released by the St. Louis Police Department. According to Ferguson Police Chief Jon Belmar Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were confronted by authorities after one of the boys allegedly forced an officer back into his cruiser, assaulted him, and attempted to take his gun. Johnson’s telling of the shooting recalls the officer approaching them, despite their insistence that they were minutes away from their destination and only wanted to go there.
“I saw the barrel of the gun pointed at my friend,” Johnson told NBC. “I could see so vividly what was going on because I was so close.”
Johnson’s claims that neither he nor Brown made an attempt for the officer’s gun, and that Brown had his hands in the air when he was finally gunned down.
The officer responsible for the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave in light of the fallout following Brown’s death. Despite public calls for the publication of the officer’s name, the St. Louis County Police Department has refused, citing its desire to protect his privacy.
Read the HRC’s full letter and watch Dorian Johnson’s interview describing Mike Brown’s shooting AFTER THE JUMP...