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Brianna Titone and the weight of being Colorado’s first out transgender lawmaker

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Brianna Titone and the weight of being Colorado’s first out transgender lawmaker

Brianna Titone knew she was transgender when she was 7, many years before she would learn what transgender meant, 30 years before she would come out and 33 years before she became the first out transgender state lawmaker in Colorado history.

Having spent so long hiding her identity — “distracting myself from myself,” as she put it — Titone is busy making up for lost time, keenly aware of the weight and opportunity that come with being one of just a handful of trans legislators in American history.

Now there’s a congressional seat suddenly open in her suburban Denver district, long helmed by the retiring Democrat U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Someone, someday will become the first out transgender member of Congress, she knows. That person will knock down a barrier Titone once thought might never fall, and will inspire trans people, among others, the world over.

So why not her, now?

“Every time we kick the can down the road and we don’t make progress, it just ends up hurting more people,” said Titone, a 43-year-old Democrat of Arvada. “I’m thinking about all the people who’ve reached out to me personally, people from all over the place — ‘Oh my god, I would support you!’ and ‘I want you to run!’ — and I just want to feel like I’m doing the right thing.

“The right thing feels like running for Congress because it has so much positive benefit. That kind of thing really fuels me to want to do it.”

Then, she imagines what she has to lose.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Colorado state Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada, has a small action figure resembling her on a shelf at her home on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2022.

‘She’s probably not going to win’

As a teen in the Hudson Valley of New York, Titone struggled to understand why she was unhappy. As a young adult, she decided she’d keep herself so busy as an FBI agent so she’d have little time to think about the things that made her feel sad or out of place.

She suppressed her trans identity as she vied for an FBI job, telling herself she was a cross-dresser because it was easier to see herself getting by in a world where being trans meant stigma and discrimination. Some of her closest friends, she recalls, would tell her, “You don’t want to be trans. You’re going to have such a hard time in life,” as if she had any say in the matter.

She was crushed when the FBI rejected her. But Titone, who is also a geologist, stayed busy, including as a volunteer and a leader of her homeowners’ association in Arvada. She got more involved in politics, advocating at the state Capitol and getting elected as a Jefferson County delegate for then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. She followed closely the campaign of Virginia’s Danica Roem, who in 2017 became the first out and seated trans state legislator in the country.

Titone messaged Roem online.

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Ramsey County attorney: Officers justified in fatal shooting of armed Mounds View carjacking suspect

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Ramsey County attorney: Officers justified in fatal shooting of armed Mounds View carjacking suspect

Police officers who shot and killed an armed carjacking suspect inside a Mounds View liquor store in November were justified in using deadly force, the Ramsey County attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

An investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension found that 21-year-old Noah Douglas Kelley was pointing a handgun at police when two officers fatally shot him at Merwin Liquors on the evening of Nov. 28, 2021.

No criminal charges will be filed against Officer John Thomas of the New Brighton Police Department or Sgt. Michael Hanson of the Mounds View Police Department, both of whom fired their weapons during the incident.

Police were pursuing Kelley after he carjacked a man in an SUV outside an Aldi grocery store at Mounds View Boulevard and Long Lake Road, forcing the driver at gunpoint to take him across a parking lot to the liquor store where he was shot.

Kelley, who lived nearby, left his apartment on foot that evening after an argument with his fiancee, the BCA report said. He was intoxicated after spending the day drinking and smoking marijuana. A toxicology report found his blood-alcohol concentration was 0.191 — more than twice the legal limit to drive.

Kelley walked to the Aldi, where he encountered the driver of the SUV, who was waiting in the vehicle with his 3-year-old son while his wife and another child were inside shopping.

After forcing his way into the SUV, Kelley pointed his pistol at the man’s son and ordered the man to drive him to Merwin Liquors, which is in the same strip mall as the Aldi, the BCA report said.

Once outside the liquor store, Kelley exited the vehicle and the man in the SUV drove back to Aldi and called police.

Meanwhile, Kelley fired two shots through the liquor store’s front door, forced his way inside and assaulted its lone employee, who was eventually able to leave the store and call 911.

Police arrived about 7:10 p.m. and were told Kelley was still inside and armed with a handgun. When four officers entered the store and announced themselves, they were confronted by Kelley, who was holding the gun with both hands and pointing it at the officers, according to the BCA report.

After Kelley did not comply with commands to drop the gun, Hanson and Thomas shot him, the report said.

The officers provided first aid until paramedics arrived, but a gunshot wound to Kelley’s neck was fatal, according to a report by the Hennepin County medical examiner.

A .380-caliber pistol was found next to Kelley’s body.

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Orlando Magic win NBA draft lottery, come away with No. 1 pick

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Orlando Magic win NBA draft lottery, come away with No. 1 pick

The NBA draft lottery misfortune that’s surrounded the Orlando Magic for nearly 20 years has ended.

The Magic won Tuesday night’s draft lottery in Chicago, coming away with the No. 1 pick for the first time 2004.

After early success with the lottery, the Magic had either stayed at or fallen from their pre-lottery positioning in their last nine tries.

That trend ended, with the Magic, who entered Tuesday with the second-best odds of having a top-five pick, winning the lottery for the fourth time in the franchise’s history.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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Magic position themselves for better look at prospects at NBA draft combine

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Magic position themselves for better look at prospects at NBA draft combine

For the Orlando Magic, the next few days will be a significant step in a month-long process that’ll culminate with the June 23 NBA draft.

The NBA draft combine, which takes place Wednesday through Friday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, offers the Magic their most comprehensive look, up to this point, at the prospects they’re considering selecting in the June 23 draft.

The combine is more than simply physical measurements, medicals, on-court drills and scrimmages — although that information is helpful.

During the season, teams are allowed to scout prospects but aren’t allowed to contact them.

Like most teams that didn’t already start hosting pre-draft workouts, the combine will be the Magic’s first opportunity to interview and have one-on-one interactions with prospects.

It offers them a chance to get to know the prospect as more than just a basketball player.

This can go a long way in determining who gets invited for a workout at the team’s facility or who ends up higher on a team’s draft board.

Teams are allowed to interview a maximum of 20 players at the combine, while each player is allowed to interview with a maximum of 13 teams. Just because the Magic didn’t interview someone at the combine doesn’t mean they’re not interested or won’t pick them in the draft.

Every top prospect — from Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga) and Jabari Smith (Auburn) to Paolo Banchero (Duke) and Jaden Ivey (Purdue) — will be present.

This matters for the Magic, who’ll once again have a top pick in this year’s draft.

While most players who are expected to be taken high in the draft typically don’t participate in all of the drills and will rarely scrimmage, those off-court interactions are part of the intel the Magic will consider leading into the draft.

The Magic also have second-round picks (Nos. 32 and 35).

While Orlando has a tendency of trading its second-round picks under president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, the combine will help the Magic gather the necessary information to see whether one of — or both — of those picks are worth keeping if they find a prospect they like outside of the first round.

There’s also the chance they could try to trade those picks with another team to get into the back end of the first round, among other possibilities.

Tuesday night’s draft lottery helped provide clarity into each team’s situation.

Teams also use this period to gather information on other organizations, such as intel about players they’re interested in acquiring, their own players who they’d trade, how they’re feeling about their lottery position and if they want to move their pick.

These conversations matter for the Magic as they continue to build a foundation with their young core.

The combine, however, isn’t the be-all and end-all.

Predraft workouts and the ensuing interviews allow teams to get a better look at players under their own roofs.

Weltman recalled meeting Wendell Carter Jr. for the first time during the predraft process and left with a strong and favorable first impression. Almost three years after passing on him in the 2018 draft, the Magic traded for him three years later.

Intel continues to be gathered after the initial contact, making the combine a springboard for what’s to come during the next month leading into the draft and beyond.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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