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Monday, January 27, 2020

Amid Backlash, Group Cancels Burlington Talk on Transgender 'Agenda'

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 11:14 PM

Fletcher Free Library - FILE: OLIVER PARINI
  • File: Oliver Parini
  • Fletcher Free Library
An organization called Gender Critical Vermont has canceled a public discussion about "the unforeseen consequences of the transgender agenda," saying planned protests would make for an unsafe environment.

The event had been set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington. 

Critics caught wind of the event and vowed to protest the discussion they considered to be an attack on transgender people and their rights.

"The response of the transgender activist community in Burlington follows a familiar pattern of eroding the principles of free speech and rational discussion," Gender Critical Vermont wrote in an email Monday afternoon announcing the cancelation.

Peggy Luhrs, a Burlington resident and lesbian activist since the 1970s, is one of the founders of the group and was scheduled to speak at the event. She told Seven Days the decision to cancel is only temporary.

"We will reschedule," Luhrs said. "We're going to look for a bigger venue, we're going to look for a place where we can have security. There's just no point in having a screaming match."

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Funding Cuts Force Vermont's 2-1-1 Help Line to Reduce Hours

Posted By on Fri, Oct 4, 2019 at 6:14 PM

MaryEllen Mendl - COURTESY OF VERMONT 2-1-1
  • Courtesy of Vermont 2-1-1
  • MaryEllen Mendl
Vermonters in need can no longer call 2-1-1 after hours to get help accessing emergency housing or other social services following sharp cutbacks to the program.

As of October 1, the previously 24-7 hotline has pared back its hours to between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Advocates fear the cut will leave people with few options at times they need help the most.


"This is another example of the state deciding to stop providing services to some of the most vulnerable Vermonters,” said Karen Tronsgard-Scott, executive director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

The move follows similar cutbacks to court programs  for domestic violence victims in Lamoille and Washington counties, which Tronsgard-Scott said have been discussed for years but occurred recently with little warning. 

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Media Note: Vermont Woman Publishes Final Issue, Seeks Buyer

Posted By on Mon, Sep 9, 2019 at 6:02 PM

The farewell issue - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • The farewell issue
Vermont Woman, a newspaper founded 34 years ago that rejected stale stereotypes about what constituted women's issues, has published its final edition and is for sale.

"Letting go is tough. Anytime a newspaper closes, the community it served loses," publisher Suzanne Gillis wrote in the farewell issue that hit newsstands on September 6.

The tribute examines the paper's legacy of reporting on news, arts and the politics of everything from reproductive rights to feminism.

"We did not cover fashion, diets or hairdos," Gillis wrote. As the publication sought to shine a spotlight on the inequities facing women, it rarely included men's viewpoints because, Gillis explained, "they were massively covered in the dominant male-owned and -staffed media."

The goodbye includes a note that the paper is for sale for an unspecified price.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

During Evangelist's Swing Through Vermont, Picketers Greet His Flock

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2019 at 10:10 PM

Protesters outside Champlain Valley Expo - DEREK BROUWER
  • Derek Brouwer
  • Protesters outside Champlain Valley Expo
A rainbow-themed welcome wagon greeted the thousands who drove to Champlain Valley Exposition on Tuesday to hear evangelist Franklin Graham's star-spangled message of sin and salvation. 

Fifty or so picketers bearing LGBTQ pride flags, bodysuits and hoodies flanked the entrance to the Expo grounds in an eccentric, polite protest of the preacher's anti-gay positions. One man played an accordion.

Rebecca Roose tied a pride flag around her neck like a cape and held a fluorescent sign that offered "Free hugs for sinners."

"I don't believe in the hate he is spewing, and I needed to do something, even though I have protest fatigue," she said.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Migrant LGBTQ Leader Faces Deportation After ICE Arrest at Courthouse

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 11:14 AM

Cruz Alberto Sanchez-Perez - COURTESY OF Q2 PHOTOS
  • Courtesy of Q2 Photos
  • Cruz Alberto Sanchez-Perez
A Mexican dairy worker and leader in the immigrant LGBTQ community faces deportation after immigration agents arrested him on New Year's Eve inside a Middlebury courthouse.

Cruz Alberto Sanchez-Perez, known as Beto, had just pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving under the influence when he was scooped up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, according to Migrant Justice.

The 26-year-old farmworker, who has been in the country since 2015, has filed for asylum in the U.S., claiming that he faced persecution in his home country based on his sexual orientation. After his arrest on immigration charges, Sanchez-Perez was being held at the Strafford County, N.H., detention center and was due to appear at an immigration court in Boston on Thursday, Migrant Justice said.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

'Samantha Bee' Segment Loves Up Hallquist — and Vermont

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 1:06 PM

Ashley Nicole Black, left, a correspondent for "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Ashley Nicole Black, left, a correspondent for "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"
Christine Hallquist is the face of the “rainbow wave,” according to a Wednesday night segment on the TBS show "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee."

The show profiled Vermont's Democratic gubernatorial candidate as one of hundreds of LGBT candidates running for office around the nation. But the comedy segment was as much about Vermont’s politics as it was about Hallquist. The six-minute dispatch shows correspondent Ashley Nicole Black searching for a classic good-versus-evil social justice narrative. But the Vermonters she speaks with focus on broadband access and socioeconomic diversity — not the candidates’ gender politics.

“I’m here to make, like, a beautiful Oscar-winning film about a woman who’s just become, like, a champion for the people,” Black tells Hallquist in a sit-down interview at the beginning of the segment.

“Okay, that’s ... Yeah, sure,” Hallquist responds.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hallquist Slams Trump Proposal to Revoke Transgender Recognition

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 10:39 AM

Christine Hallquist - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • Christine Hallquist
Vermont gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist, who is transgender, had choice words for President Donald Trump after news broke that his administration is considering changing federal policy to no longer recognize transgender people.

“Wow. Sure as hell hope I win this election! The Trump administration is going to get a can of whoop-ass from me!” Hallquist tweeted in response to an October 21 New York Times story that revealed that Trump officials are discussing defining gender based on the genitals a person is born with.

The Times reported that “the new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves — surgically or otherwise — as a gender other than the one they were born into.”

That includes Hallquist, who is the first transgender candidate nominated by a major party to run for governor. During an interview Monday, she speculated that if the administration goes through with the change, “I may not be able to travel … My passport currently says female but [Trump] could be revoking passports. He could be telling states that our enhanced [driver’s] licenses are not valid.”

“It’s a horrible thing,” Hallquist said. “Nobody should feel comfortable when the president starts wiping out entire populations.”

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Scott Signs Gender-Neutral Bathroom Bill Into Vermont Law

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 1:31 PM

A gender-neutral bathroom in the Vermont Statehouse - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • A gender-neutral bathroom in the Vermont Statehouse
Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill into law Friday that requires single-user public restrooms in Vermont to be designated gender neutral. The law, which takes effect July 1, is the latest approved on the state level amid a national debate about restroom access for people who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.

Brenda Churchill, the Statehouse liaison for the LGBTQIA Alliance of Vermont, said the new law is a big step forward.

“Every Vermonter will now have more opportunity to be able to use a bathroom,” Churchill said.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Media Note: Top Free Press Editor Sparks Outrage on Twitter

Posted By on Sat, Jan 6, 2018 at 7:36 PM

Burlington Free Press Executive Editor Denis Finley - COURTESY STEVE EARLEY/THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT
  • Courtesy Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot
  • Burlington Free Press Executive Editor Denis Finley
The top editor of the Burlington Free Press drew heavy criticism on Twitter Friday and Saturday for a post suggesting that Vermont’s proposal to offer a third gender option on government identification “makes us one step closer to the apocalypse.”


In his Friday night Tweet, Freeps executive editor Denis Finley was responding to a Vermont Public Radio story about the proposal and a comment from Rights & Democracy spokesman Shay Totten that the policy move was "awesome!"

Community members quickly excoriated Finley, who joined the Free Press in 2016. Totten, a former Seven Days political columnist, questioned whether Finley was "transphobic, bad at Twitter, or both." Vermont Democratic Party chair Terje Anderson called it "another reason not to subscribe to the Burlington Free Press."

Finley responded to several of his critics in real time.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Montpeculiar: 'Over The Rainbow' Under the Golden Dome

Posted By on Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 5:38 PM

Paij Wadley-Bailey
  • Paij Wadley-Bailey
A Vermont legislator sang a heartfelt a cappella rendition of "Over the Rainbow" Friday morning on the House floor during a stirring tribute to an activist.

Rep. Kiah Morris (D-Bennington) belted out the tune for the House's devotional, a daily formality that usually consists of the state song or the national anthem. Friday's change-up to the classic Wizard of Oz song — sung by a legislator, no less — was part of the remembrance for Paij Wadley-Bailey, who died in 2016.

montpeculiar2.jpg
The House honored Wadley-Bailey with a resolution. Morris' performance held members' rapt attention from beginning to end.

“Paij contributed a lot to our community on so many levels and in so many ways,” Rep. Brian Cina (P-Burlington) said Friday. “She was an educator and an activist and a community organizer.”

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