The National Pulse Memorial & Museum has been unveiled in Orlando, a Methodist minister in Northern Virginia faces repercussions for officiating a same-sex wedding, and a rainbow walkway in Australia was defaced with Christian graffiti — these are the LGBTQ stories you need to know now:
Rev. Drew Ensz, a Methodist minister at George Mason University in Virginia, could be punished after officiating a same-sex wedding. The Methodist Church faces a schism over support for gay nuptials, after recently voting to uphold a ban on such ceremonies. “I know Drew well enough to know that he made a pastoral decision for a couple that he was in a pastoral relationship with,” Rev. Beth Givens, from Richmond, told NBC 4. “I think he did it faithfully, and he did it out of his heart of love for the people he knows and the people that he serves.”
South Australian police have arrested a 28-year-old man in the city of Adelaide after he defaced a rainbow walkway with Christian graffiti. Pride Walk, installed in 2016, features important dates in LGBTQ history. A gay couple spotted the man spraying “Jesus ♥ You” next to each date along the route. They intervened, and then flagged down police, ABC News reports. Adelaide City Councillor Robert Simms said, “This vandalism is a sad reminder that despite all we’ve achieved on the road to equality, there is still work to be done to keep fighting homophobia in our city.”
New York City Councilman Andy King has been suspended for 30 days without pay and fined $15,000 after he compared LGBTQ Pride events to child pornography and directed homophobic remarks at his staff, GayCityNews reports. King reportedly confronted a member of staff in 2015 after a photo of Pride was posted to his Twitter account, saying, “I don’t approve of this behaviour… To me, this is the same as child pornography.” King has previously been sanctioned for sexually harassing an employee, and councilmember Jimmy Ban Bramer said he should step down after this latest sanction: “For me, there is no doubt in my mind that given that this is not a first offence and given the severity of everything included in this report, I believe expulsion is warranted.”
The OnePulse Foundation has unveiled the design of the Pulse Memorial & Museum in Orlando, Florida. Split over two locations — a memorial surrounding the original Pulse nightclub, scene of an anti-LGBTQ shooting that left 49 people dead and dozens injured, and a separate LGBTQ museum a few blocks away — the winning design was chosen by the public after 68 submissions from 19 countries were reduced to six finalist.
The tower, which houses the museum, features “a spiraling, open-air museum and educational center with vertical gardens, public plazas, and a rooftop promenade.” The memorial around the nightclub will feature a garden with 49 trees to commemorate those killed, a pool, and, “in memory of the Angels, a palette of 49 colors lines the basin and radiates toward the public spaces.” The design will be further refined with input from survivors and families of those killed in the shooting, with a planned opening some time in 2022.
Zoltan Neville, director of design at Coldefy & Associés, part of the group which created the design, said: “Our goal is that visitors will experience a space that both respects the memory and life of the nightclub, the victims, and all those affected. And that the project can be a catalyst for understanding and change.”
View some more photos of the project below: