‘My transgender daughter’s civil rights aren’t up for debate’

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight the newsletter is jam-packed with news, views and a few things to do this weekend.

What we’re talking about

My transgender daughter’s civil rights aren’t up for debate — Emily Wedick, who last year shared the story of how her older daughter was born a boy, responds to President Donald Trump’s Wednesday decision to rescind protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms matching their gender identity:

Withdrawing the guidance does not reverse the federal laws supporting anti-discrimination protections for transgender students under Title IX. But it does send a dangerous signal to our schools that it’s OK to ignore bullying and harassment based on gender identity; that it’s OK to exclude children from sports based their gender identity; that it’s OK to violate the privacy of children based on their gender identity; and that it’s OK to humiliate, endanger and dehumanize children based on their gender identity by denying them access to the bathroom that matches best with their declared gender…

If it were up to the Trump administration, protections for transgender students would be determined at the state level. In Maine, Gov. Paul LePage signed a brief in support of the school board opposing Grimm. My child is not safe here if her rights are to be determined by a deeply unpopular and incendiary governor with a track record of transphobia and a blatant disregard for those most vulnerable in our state. My daughter’s civil rights are not a platform for debate by bigoted blowhards in state legislatures or anywhere else.

Read Wedick’s full piece here.

Senators to LePage: Drop it — “Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King say northern Maine accepts the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and so should Gov. Paul LePage,” the BDN’s Nick Sambides Jr. reports. The senators released statements Thursday urging the governor to back down from his request that President Donald Trump return the land to private ownership. LePage’s Feb. 14 letter asking the Trump administration to reverse course on the monument was first reported by the BDN Wednesday.  — Jake Bleiberg

City protects Fort Sumner Park view — The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to protect the panoramic view from a Munjoy Hill park, the Portland Press Herald’s Randy Billings reports. The new height requirements stop any nearby buildings from obstructing the view and comes after months of tension over a proposed development that would have risen above the lip of the park. — Jake Bleiberg

Protesters disrupt ceremony honoring Portland police chief — A group of about 12 stood with their hands raised above their heads and began shouting as the City Council honored police Chief Michael Sauschuck for being named the Maine Association of Police’s 2017 police Chief of the Year on Wednesday, according to media reports. Outside City Hall, the group chanted “black lives matter” as the police chief walked to his car. The small protest was the first prominent public action by activists since Portland police Sgt. Nicholas Goodman killed Chance David Baker, 22, on Saturday. Baker was brandishing a rifle-style pellet gun during the time of the incident.


Four things to do this weekend  

Marshall Wharf Party at Novare Res — You don’t have to hightail it to the midcoast this weekend for a taste of Belfast’s most creative ale. The crew and kegs of Marshall Wharf are coming to you. Think 26 different beers and a barrel of Maine oysters. It’s Saturday at Novare Res Bier Cafe, Canal Plaza Portland. All day from noon to 1 a.m.

Eat, drink, give for a causeOn Sunday, a trove of Portland bakers sells pastries, cookies, breads and various treats to support Planned Parenthood. The bake sale at Oxbow Blending and Bottling on Washington Avenue starts at 4 p.m. Between sips of farmhouse ale, try the latest from Tandem Coffee and Bakery, Night Moves Breads, Tall Trees Snack Shop, Sea Biscuit Bakery, Swallow Tail and other emerging bake houses you’ve not yet sampled.

Portland Symphony Orchestra channels The Beatles — To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles smash record “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the PSO is performing all the hits — from “With a Little Help from My Friends” to “Penny Lane.” This colorful show is guaranteed to give you flashbacks and all the feels. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Get tickets here.

Go see some live rock — There is no shortage of live rock this weekend. Our comrade Emily Burnham, over at the Culture Shock blog, breaks it all down. Start strong on Friday with the Adam Ezra Group, take in a trippy Pink Floyd experience at the State Theatre or go with a sure thing when the Ghost of Paul Revere descends at the Portland House of Music Saturday night. And that’s just the short list.

Maine Restaurant Week preview event — Save room and calories this weekend for the two-week dining event that kicks off next week. The chowing down starts Tuesday at the Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off at Sea Dog Brewing Co. in South Portland. There will be doughnuts, flapjacks and great breakfast grub from Sisters Gourmet Deli, Congdon’s Doughnuts, Eve’s at the Garden, TIQA and more. Tickets are $25. All proceeds go to Preble Street.  — Kathleen Pierce

Tweet of the day

From Bob Ryan:

Screenshot 2017-02-23 18.02.09


The Big Idea

‘White House hints at coming crackdown on recreational marijuana’ — From PolicyMic:

[White House spokesman Sean] Spicer’s comments during the daily White House press briefing came in response to a question from a local Arkansas reporter, who asked whether President Donald Trump was OK with Arkansas’ medical marijuana law, rules for which were recently approved by the state’s Medical Marijuana Commission.

Spicer said Trump approves of medical marijuana use — which could help provide relief to the chronically ill — as opposed to recreational use, which Spicer suggested was tied to the opioid crisis many states are currently facing.

“There is still a federal law that we need to abide by … when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature,” Spicer said.



Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at dmacleod@bangordailynews.com, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.