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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.

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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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pride Center Leader Steps Down, Interim Director Named

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 6:17 PM

The executive director of the Pride Center of Vermont has stepped down from the post after just five months on the job. Susan Hartman resigned effective Monday, according to Rex Butt, the nonprofit’s interim executive director.

“Susan was aware that it wasn’t working, and she had the guts to say, ‘You know, I’m not the person to continue,’” Butt said. “So she said it’s time for us to make a change.”

Hartman moved to Vermont from Fayetteville, Ark. She started the job May 1 and replaced Kim Fountain, who left the Pride Center in September 2016 after five years on the job.

Hartman could not be reached for comment Thursday, and Butt said she was out of town on a previously scheduled vacation. But in an interview with Vermont Public Radio in May, Hartman said she’d worked in nonprofits since she was 18.

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Heated Forum Leads Pride Center to Denounce 'Mister Sister' Name

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 11:41 PM

Elena Littlebug of Burlington - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Elena Littlebug of Burlington
Update, March 3, 2017, 6:30 p.m.: The Pride Center issued a statement Friday saying it will not tolerate hate speech and that it "rebukes the name Mister Sister." See the full statement below.

The Pride Center of Vermont board announced Thursday at a packed public forum that it will condemn the "Mister Sister" name of the gay bar proposed in Winooski.

At least 80 people attended the "trans town hall" in Burlington. Almost all of them spoke out against the name, saying it was a verbal slam on trans women.

Many speakers also hurled criticism at the Pride Center for failing to initially take a strong public stand against the name. The barrage went on for close to an hour before the board announced its new position on the matter.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

'Mister Sister' Controversy Leads to Pride Center of Vermont Resignations

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 1:55 PM

  • Molly Walsh
  • Oak45
Two Pride Center of Vermont board members have resigned amid growing uproar over the proposed Mister Sister gay bar in Winooski.

The board members, Bailey Cummings and Timber Adamson, told Seven Days Tuesday that they wanted the Pride Center to issue a statement criticizing the name of the bar, which they view as an insult to trans women.

Instead, the board's executive committee decided to hold a town meeting-style forum on trans issues Thursday and get more feedback from the community. The resigning board members saw that as a cop-out.

"Basically the name of this bar is a transmisogynistic slur," Cummings said. "And I feel strongly as community leaders that the Pride Center is responsible for standing up for our trans community members, and coming out against a slur."

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Planned Winooski Gay Bar Named 'Mister Sister' Creates Rift

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 8:47 PM

Drinks being served at Oak45, which will reopen as a gay bar - COURTESY OF OAK45
  • Courtesy of oak45
  • Drinks being served at Oak45, which will reopen as a gay bar
The Pride Center of Vermont will host a town hall meeting on trans issues Thursday in response to a deepening controversy over the name of a gay bar planned for Winooski.

The proposed name, Mister Sister, generated a raft of critical comments over the weekend from people on Facebook who said the name is a slur for trans women.

The debate opened a rift in the LGBTQ community partly because the owner of the proposed bar, Craig McGaughan, is a gay man who has so far refused to change the planned name or meet with the leader of the Pride Center.

McGaughan announced Friday on Facebook that he would close his wine bar at 45 Main Street, Oak45, on Tuesday and would then reopen soon as the area's only gay bar. Burlington's 135 Pearl closed in 2006.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Walters: Senate Democrats Elect Becca Balint as Majority Leader

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 10:06 PM

Sen. Becca Balint (D-Windham) - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Sen. Becca Balint (D-Windham)
The Vermont Senate on Wednesday afternoon took another step in a gradual generational shift.

Meeting hours after the legislature convened for the year, the Democratic caucus unanimously chose Sen. Becca Balint (D-Windham) to serve as majority leader. Earlier Wednesday, the full Senate formally elected Sen. Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden), another of the Senate’s youngest members, as president pro tempore.

Balint, an educator and newspaper columnist from Brattleboro, replaces Sen. Phil Baruth (D/P-Chittenden) as the chamber’s Democratic leader. Baruth announced in late October that he would step down after four years in the post. Sen. Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden) publicly considered seeking it but informed her colleagues in recent days that she would not.

At Wednesday’s caucus meeting, Balint was nominated as part of a “team” with veteran Sen. Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) running for majority whip. The caucus took a single vote, simultaneously electing Balint and MacDonald without dissent.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

After Election, Burlington Rally-Goers Insist ‘Love Trumps Hate’

Posted By on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 at 4:50 PM

An anti-Trump rally Friday in City Hall Park - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • An anti-Trump rally Friday in City Hall Park
Once Donald Trump becomes president, Chris Hudson said, she’ll have a target on her back.

The 34-year-old artist is a transgender woman and a lesbian small-business owner. She lives in rural Isle La Motte, where Trump tallied (four) more votes than Democrat Hillary Clinton. Oh, and her wife, Shelly Hail, is a permanent resident from Israel whose visa is up for review next year.

Trump, in other words, stands opposed to her sexuality and lifestyle in more ways than one, she said.

On Friday, Hudson stood in front of a crowd in Burlington’s City Hall Park and led a diverse group of some 200 people in a raucous chant of “Love Trumps Hate!”

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