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February 2019

Indiana one step closer to hate crimes law
Senate Bill 12 heads to the full Senate for a vote. Indiana—along with South Carolina, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Georgia—is currently one of only five states in the country without such protections.

Russiaville tax filing business denies service to same-sex couple, cites religious freedoms
A married couple in Russiaville says a local tax filing service denied them service because they’re a same-sex couple. Bailey and Samantha Brazzel say they went to Carter Tax Service to file a joint return. Bailey Brazzel said she previously used the service, filing individually, without incident. However, when she took her new wife Samantha with her so they could file jointly, Carter Tax Service denied them service. The owners say it's because they are a same-sex couple.

Roncalli-inspired school funding proposal that bans LGBTQ discrimination rejected by lawmakers
Following a tense exchange over the role of public money in religious education, Indiana lawmakers rejected a proposal to block taxpayer dollars from flowing to private schools that discriminate against LGBTQ employees and students.

What LGBTQ mayor Pete Buttigieg thinks about Mike Pence and 7 other takeaways from his new book
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the name in the 2020 presidential race many Americans don't know, but he's trying to change that. In "Shortest Way Home," Buttigieg lays out his life story, including his unsuccessful campaign for state treasurer, military service in Afghanistan, tenure as the mayor of South Bend and coming out in "Mike Pence's Indiana." He also talks about the countless times his name has been mispronounced. His Twitter account suggests “BOOT-edge-edge.”

LGBTQ presidential candidate Buttigieg on Trump: 'I'm a gay man from Indiana, I know how to deal with a bully'
In an interview with CNN, South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (pronounced “BOOT-edge-edge”) told host Katie Bolduan that as a 2020 presidential candidate he would try to ignore Trump during his presidential campaign. “The problems we are facing right now are going to grow with or without him,” the 37-year-old mayor said.

Hoosier teens help out trans students in need
Nick Johnson, a 16-year-old student at a charter school in Indiana, overheard another trans masculine student at their school complain about their lack of male clothing. Thinking about his own issues finding appropriate clothes in his middle school days—and assuming other students were facing a similar lack of access—spurred him to come up with a solution: a safe place for those seeking clothes that match their gender identity. Johnson reached out to another student, and they hatched a plan: the Rainbow Jacket Project.

How Pence failed Indiana during its HIV crisis
Indiana had a huge outbreak when he was governor. Pence’s first response was to pray. But it takes condoms and clean needles for drug users to stop the scourge.

Indiana rates lowest in LGBTQ equality
The Human Rights Campaign ranks the state among 28 deemed high priority for basic LGBTQ rights. See HRC 2018 State Equality Index.

Indiana bishop urges Fightin’ Irish to join Anti-LGBTQ Knights of Columbus
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has encouraged students at the University of Notre Dame to join the Knights of Columbus. The group has been characterized as one with “extreme positions” on abortion and LGBTQ marriage.

Man loses appeal of murder conviction in slaying of openly LGBTQ veteran
A northern Indiana man convicted of beating an LGBTQ Afghanistan war veteran to death lost his appeal of his conviction and sentence. In June 2017, Jabreeh Davis-Martin was convicted of the murder of family friend Jodie Henderson, who was a war veteran and an openly gay man. While drinking with Davis-Martin’s mother at the home she shared with Davis-Martin, Henderson informed her that he had romantic feelings for her son. The next morning, police officers found Henderson in the street across from the house, dead. Henderson was determined to have died from “blunt and chop injuries.”

Indiana and Illinois share a border but are a world apart when it comes to LGBTQ rights
A new analysis of state legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning individuals finds Illinois and Indiana at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Supreme Court decision may prevent Indiana from prohibiting conversion therapy
As lawmakers around the country recognize the horrors of conversion therapy, the courts stand poised to prevent states and cities from banning the practice. Many jurisdictions—but not Indiana—have barred medical practitioners from attempting to change minors’ sexual orientation or gender identity. The “treatment” is brutal and futile, sheer torment for children that contributes to depression and suicide. It does not work and is opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and every other mainstream medical organization in the United States.

Former IN governor Mike Pence condemned for homophobic views by openly lesbian Ellen Page
Ellen Page delivered a passionate speech condemning politicians who “hate people” as she accused the US vice president of being homophobic. Page, who married her wife Emma Portner in January last year, appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The 31-year-old star of films including Juno and Inception became emotional as she accused President Donald Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence of discriminating against the LGBTQ community.

January 2019

Indiana prison faces wrongful death suit after LGBTQ inmate commits suicide
An Indiana county sheriff, officers, and staff at the county prison are being sued in a wrongful death case after a gay inmate who suffered from bipolar disorder and a history of depression killed himself while in custody. A lawsuit filed by his surviving partner Jerry Middleton claims that prison officials “continuously mocked, harassed, threatened, and denied mental health treatment” to Markus Middleton, who is described in the complaint as “a young, gay effeminate man with a small build” who had been receiving treatment for bipolar disorder and serious depression prior to his incarceration.

Traditional marriage groups challenge Indiana RFRA 'fix'
Groups in support of "traditional marriage" have asked a state court to declare a "fix" to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and LGBTQ rights ordinances in four cities unconstitutional. The groups, Indiana Family Institute (IFI), Indiana Family Action (IFA), and the American Family Association of Indiana (AFA) are backing the challenge to the RFRA fix. The cities being challenged for their LGBTQ rights ordinances include Carmel, Indianapolis, Bloomington and Columbus.

Indiana bill would mandate religious education in public schools, Trump tweets support
Indiana's Senate Bill 373 would do several things, all related to religion and education. It would allow schools to mandate the teaching of creationism, require all schools to put posters of the American flag, state flag and motto "In God We Trust" in all classrooms and allow students to get elective credit for religious studies.

Indiana Hate Crimes legislation update
Gov. Holcomb and legislative leaders all stand behind the idea of hate crimes legislation. However, it's unclear if Republicans can come to a consensus on what that legislation should look like. Should it include gender identity? Should it even list specific protected classes? At the start of session, 10 different hate crime bills were filed.

Gay South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg joins 2020 presidential race with exploratory committee
Buttigieg (pronounced “BOOT-edge-edge”), just 29 when he was elected, is the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents. He appears to be the first openly gay Democrat to form an exploratory committee to run for president. Fred Karger, an openly gay Republican from California, formed an exploratory campaign to run for president in 2010 and filed to run a year later. He dropped out in 2012. A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and graduate of Harvard, Buttigieg lives with his husband Chasten in the same South Bend neighborhood where he grew up, with their two rescue dogs, Truman and Buddy.

Shelly Fitzgerald featured speaker in downtown Indy Women's Rights march
Fitzgerald helped close out the event with a speech about her journey from a Roncalli High School guidance counselor to an LGBTQ activist hoping to inspire change. Fitzgerald was put on administrative leave in August after school officials learned of her marriage to a woman. She recently filed a charge of discrimination against the Catholic school and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Indiana remains one of dwindling number of states that do not recognize basic LGBTQ rights
Through executive orders and state legislatures, five states across the U.S. increased discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. Four of the 20 new governors who took office this month, three Democrats and one Republican, signed nondiscrimination orders that include sexual orientation and gender identity. The states are Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey and Wisconsin. Some cities in Indiana, such as Indianapolis, do have ordinances that protect LGBTQ rights. See Indiana's Equality Profile and LGBTQ Rights in Indiana - Wikipedia. However, a State Preemption movement is growing to give state legislatures the power to overturn local nondiscrimination protections.

Indiana governor supports hate crimes legislation
In his 2019 State of the State address to the Indiana legislature, Governor Holcomb came out in support of new hate crimes legislation.

Karen Pence takes job at school that bans LGBTQ students, employees
Second Lady Karen Pence, wife of former Indiana governor Mike Pence, has taken a job at a private Christian school that bans LGBTQ employees, LGBTQ students and the children of LGBTQ parents.

Roncalli discrimination complaints could change Indiana's voucher law
Roncalli High has been wracked by controversy, after the Catholic school in Indianapolis placed a longtime guidance counselor on administrative leave after learning she was in a same-sex marriage.

Gay football player at Indiana State University tells his story on The Ellen Show
Indiana State's Jake Bain talks about coming out with Ellen DeGeneres.

Former employee accuses Eli Lilly and Co. of harassment because he is gay
A former research scientist alleges in a lawsuit against Eli Lilly and Co. that he was harassed and discriminated against because he is gay.

December 2018

A college football coach of the year recruited openly gay player while others got cold feet
Indiana State’s Curt Mallory won 2018 coach of the year in the Missouri Valley Football Conference for taking a winless team in 2017 to a 7-4 record and the cusp of the Division I playoffs. But coach Mallory didn’t hesitate in signing Jake Bain, an openly gay player, when other coaches turned their backs.

November 2018

J.D. Ford becomes Indiana's first openly gay lawmaker, beating conservative Mike Delph
Democrat J.D. Ford made history becoming the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Indiana General Assembly.

Leo Jr. Sr. High School denies students' equal rights while participating in LGBTQ-straight alliance
Leo Pride Alliance is a student-led organization for high school students at Leo Jr. Sr. High School that provides a safe and supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and intersex students and their cisgender supporters. The school has imposed undue, unequal burdens on Leo Pride Alliance. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of Leo Pride Alliance, against East Allen County Schools.

September 2018

Young, homeless and LGBTQ: How Indy woman found her identity—and a mission
A few years ago, Sara Alrajabi wouldn't have been able to stand before several hundred people to talk about her mental health and her decision to come out.

August 2018

Why Joe Donnelly and Mike Braun disagree on LGBTQ marriage
U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, running for re-election, has a different stance on LGBTQ marriage than his Republican opponent Mike Braun. But it wasn't always that way.

July 2018

These doctors may be in, but they're also friendly to patients who are out
Dustin Nowaskie noticed a recurring theme among his LGBTQ friends in Indiana: Most of them did not see doctors because they feared the physician would ask them questions about their sexuality and judge them for their response. So he decided to start a database of LGBTQ-friendly providers. Today OutCare Health has grown to 1,200 providers from all 50 states, representing 30 different specialties from primary care doctors to massage therapists. Outcare also provides cultural competency education for providers who want to know how to best care for their LGBTQ patients.

June 2018

Don’t overlook the meaning of LGBTQ pride fests
Ethan Smith: "Coming back from Indy Pride, Indianapolis’ LGBTQ pride festival, June 9, I find myself with more overwhelming pride in my identity than I ever have. But, of course, I suppose that’s the point."

Canceled workout supporting Indy Pride stokes controversy at Indy CrossFit gym
A downtown CrossFit gym is facing backlash after members say management discriminated against the LGBTQ community. The controversy started when a special workout planned by coaches at CrossFit Infiltrate in support of Indy Pride was cancelled by gym ownership. In an email sent to members by gym management, it was explained that the event was cancelled because "the owners of the gym value health and wellness, and they believe that this event does not."

The strange but true history of Indianapolis' LGBTQ bars
When police raided LGBTQ bars to bust men for dancing with other men, "We'd quick drop our partner and grab a lesbian," said David McCann, 70.

April 2018

The Indiana pizzeria that refused to cater LGBTQ weddings has closed for good
Memories Pizza, the shop that became embroiled in the national debate over religious and civil rights and touched off a national media firestorm in 2015, has closed. Owners Kevin and Crystal O’Connor were the focus of intense criticism and media attention in April 2015 after they told an ABC 57 reporter that they wouldn’t cater a LGBTQ wedding because of their religious beliefs, although they added that they would not deny service to any customer in the restaurant.