New Cuban President Backs Marriage Equality

Transgender Political Candidates

New York Adds Third Gender Option to Birth Certificates

Gay Comedian Sampson McCormick

Trump's Latest Attacks on Same-Sex Couples

Angela Ponce: First Transgender Person to Compete in Miss Universe Pageant

California Denounces Corrective Surgery on Intersex Children

Homosexuality No Longer a Crime in India

Courts Advancing LGBTQ Rights Worldwide

The Future Is Not In Front of Us, It's Inside of Us


LGBTQ News Sources

Huffington Post/Queer Voices

Advocate Magazine

LGBTQ Nation

Pink News

Lavender Magazine

Rainbow Times

On Top Magazine


Minnesota Issues Non-Binary Driver's Licenses


Minnesota to Issue Non-Binary, Gender-Neutral Driver's Licenses...  Oregon, California, Colorado, Maine, and DC have recently made similar inclusive moves. As part of its newly instituted REAL ID system, Minnesota will now permit drivers to apply for licenses that mark them as male, female, or nonbinary.

Among the first to apply for a nonbinary license in Minnesota is J. Zappa, a volunteer firefighter in Medicine Lake. Although assigned male at birth, Zappa has identified as both a woman and man throughout their life, until realizing they were nonbinary.  "I guess you could say I'm a shade of gray in a world of black and white," Zappa explained.

After having multiple licenses that identified them as exclusively M or F, Zappa is now waiting for a driver's license that fully encompasses their identity. "It was just frustrating because most recently I had an F on it and I would show it to someone, but they would say, ‘You are dressed like a man’ or ‘You have a deep voice’ or ‘We don't think this is accurate.’ They would say ‘This isn't your license," Zappa recalled.


"Gender identification is a self-descriptor like eye color, height, and weight. Licenses will have either an M, F or X noted in the gender section," the Department of Public Safety's Driver and Vehicle Services Division wrote in a statement. "It was a business decision to offer a third option to better serve all Minnesotans."

One Minnesotan feels much better served.  "I feel good. I know a few other people have accomplished this in a few other states. It started on the West Coast a few years ago, and more and more people are recognizing that nonbinary people exist and we ought to be legally recognized," Zappa explained.

The District of Columbia, Maine, and Oregon already offer the gender-neutral marker "X" on driver's licenses and state identification cards. Oregon was the first to do so, in June 2017. That year in California, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the Gender Recognition Act, which established the state as the first to legally recognize a third, gender-nonbinary option on all legal documents. It will take effect in 2019.  In September 2018, Colorado became the first state to not assign gender on a birth certificate when it retroactively amended an intersex individual's documents to reflect their biological sex.

Minnesota's move, Zappa added, “is one more step in recognizing trans people to be who they are and that we’re legitimate and that we’re out here, so it’s good.”

[Source: Ariel Sobel, Advocate Magazine, October 2018]


Minnesota Issues Non-Binary Gender Neutral Driver's Licenses

Oregon Adds New Gender Option to Driver's Licenses

Maine Offers Non-Binary Option on Driver's Licenses

California Recognizes Third Gender on ID Documents

New York Adds Third Gender Option to Birth Certificates

Colorado Issues Intersex Birth Certificates

NYC Mayor Adds Gender X Option to Birth Certificates


First Transgender Person to Compete in Miss Universe Pageant


The first transgender woman to compete in the global Miss Universe pageant wants to make history as a role model for trans children around the globe – no matter whether she wins or not the top beauty title.

The 26-year-old Angela Ponce beat 20 other contestants in the Miss Universe Spain gala in June 2018, qualifying for the global round of the pageant, which has allowed transgender participation since 2012.


The location and dates for this year’s contest have yet to be announced. But Ponce is already planning to use it as a platform to draw attention toward high rates of suicides among trans teenagers, as well as legal codes that still discriminate against them around the world.

“If my going through all this contributes to the world moving a little step forward, then that’s a personal crown that will always accompany me,” Ponce said.


[Source: USA Today]

Angela Ponce: First Transgender Person to Compete in Miss Universe Pageant

USA Today: Miss Universe's First Transgender Contestant

NBC News: Trans Miss Universe Contender Speaks Up for Trans Kids

NY Times: Angela Ponce Aiming for Miss Universe Title

Advocate: What About the Miss America Pageant?



LGBTQ News Reports


LGBTQ Nation: Trump Has Declared War on LGBTQ Rights

Trump Administration and LGBTQ Discrimination

World Wide Pride Celebrations

Janelle Monae: Proud Queer Black Woman

Queer Couples at High School Proms

More Americans Than Ever Support Same Sex Marriage

World Health Organization: Transgender People Not Mentally Ill

Businesses Are Saying No to Religious Freedom Laws


New Task Group Formed to Protect Hate Groups


In July 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a “Religious Liberty Task Force” at the Justice Department. Sessions announced the task force in a speech where he said that Donald Trump’s election has given the right a “rare opportunity” to stop a “dangerous movement, undetected by many” that is eroding religious freedom.


Sessions mentioned Jack Phillips three times. Phillips is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, which took a case to the Supreme Court recently to ask for a religious exemption to Colorado’s antidiscrimination law so that it could refuse to serve a gay couple.

But while conservatives prefer to talk about cases involving cake, the Trump Administration announced in January 2018 a new Department of Health and Human Services initiative to advance doctors’, nurses’, and other medical workers’ “religious freedom” to refuse to help LGBTQ people.

“This taxpayer funded task force is yet another example of the Trump-Pence White House and Jeff Sessions sanctioning discrimination against LGBTQ people,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Over the last 18 months, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions have engaged in a brazen campaign to erode and limit the rights of LGBTQ people in the name of religion. The Attorney General standing shoulder-to-shoulder this morning with anti-LGBTQ extremists tells you everything you need to know about what today’s announcement was really all about.”


[Source: Alex Bollinger, LGBTQ Nation, July 2018]


LGBTQ Nation: Jeff Sessions Announces New Religious Liberty Task Force

Huff Post: Criminalizing Gay Sex Again

Trump Administration to Reward Countries That Oppress LGBTQ People

Advocate: Jeff Sessions Launches New LGBTQ Assault

LGBTQ Nation: Trump Has Declared War on LGBTQ Rights

Fighting Attempts to Legalize Bans on Gay Adoption

Israel May Ban Sexual Orientation Discrimination


Israel's Knesset advanced a bill in June 2018 banning sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The bill widens the scope of current anti-discrimination law.  Under the amendment, wherever Israeli law refers to discrimination, it would also mean discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. "In view of the changes that have occurred in Israeli law since 1992, and in view of the frequent attacks on the LGBTQ community owing to sexual orientation or gender identity in the form of discrimination and harassment, the time has come to amend the interpretation law beyond the legal meaning,” reads the explanation to the bill.



Times of Israel: Knesset Advances Bill Banning LGBTQ Discrimination

Y Net News: Knesset Approves Bill Banning LGBTQ Discrimination

JTA: Israeli Lawmakers Give Preliminary Approval of LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Bill

Cleveland Jewish News: Bill Banning LGBTQ Discrimination Gets Knesset Approval


Janelle Monae Proud to Be Queer Young Black Woman


Janelle Monáe is further opening up about her sexuality.  Movie fans know her from her roles in the films Hidden Figures and Moonlight. And, while she is an accomplished movie actor, she first came to fame as an R&B singer and rapper.


The 32-year-old singer, who released her new album Dirty Computer in April 2018, spoke to CBS This Morning about how her late mentor Prince influenced how she wants to portray her sexuality in music and in the public eye.


“I think that it’s important for people to be proud of their identity. I am very proud to be a queer young black woman in America. I’m proud of who I am,” Monáe said.

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Monáe revealed what it’s like “being a black queer woman in America” and why she doesn’t identify as bisexual.  Monae has described herself as "someone who has been in relationships with both men and women" and has further identified as pansexual.

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae

Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae

Rolling Stone: Janelle Monae Frees Herself

Django Jane by Janelle Monae

Billboard: Queerest Moments on Janelle Monae's New Album

I Like That by Janelle Monae

Pynk by Janelle Monae


Media Ignored Anti-LGBTQ Violence in 2017


Last year was the deadliest on record for LGBTQ people, but you wouldn’t know that based on news coverage. According to a new report from press watchdog Media Matters, cable and broadcast news spent less than 40 minutes across seven networks covering anti-LGBTQ violence, despite a year of unprecedented attacks.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) reported an 86 percent spike in anti-LGBTQ homicides in 2017, the worst the organization ever recorded. (The Pulse Nightclub shooting is not included in the tally.) Over the course of the entire year, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Broadcasting Co, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC only discussed anti-LGBTQ violence 22 times, according to the report.


Fox News topped the list with 10 minutes and 21 seconds devoted to coverage of anti-LGBTQ violence. But most of that coverage (7 and a half minutes) was actually a single segment. CBS devoted 8 minutes and 29 seconds to coverage of anti-LGBTQ violence. Fox Broadcasting Co. fell to the bottom of the list with none at all, while other networks hovered in-between.  ABC hosted just one discussion of anti-LGBTQ violence. CNN did four times, but only linked it to a trend of violence against LGBTQ people once.


The report comes amid the most shocking NCAVP anti-LGBTQ violence numbers to date. NCAVP reported 52 hate-related homicides last year alone. Transgender people accounted for 27 of those murders. People of color made up two-thirds of the victims in the report. The report notes, “The lack of coverage for anti-LGBTQ violence also comes at a time when acceptance for LGBTQ people is reportedly declining.  For the most part, networks discussed isolated incidents, failing to link them to a growing threat of anti-LGBTQ violence."


It has also been noted that anti-LGBTQ hate groups have been mainstreamed over the last year. President Trump keynoted the annual event of an anti-LGBTQ hate group last year when he spoke at the Values Voters Summit, and he has championed a rollback of LGBTQ rights.

[Source: Kate Sosin Oeser, Huffington Post, March 2018]



LGBTQ News Reports


LGBTQ Athletes Competing in Winter Games
California Judge Rules in Favor of Anti-Gay Baker

NY Times: Thousands Participate in Women's March

Gus Kenworthy: US Olympic Skier

Marriage Equality in 20 More Countries

Once-a-Week HIV Pill Coming Soon

CNN: The Future is Female

Same Sex Couple Wins in Oregon Wedding Cake Case

Taiwan Considering Third Gender Option for IDs
Religious Liberty and Discriminating Against Gay Homebuyers

Trump's Transgender Military Ban was Ignorant Snap Decision

Cake Case Will Have Far Reaching Impact for LGBTQ People


Gus Kenworthy: Call Me the Gay Skier


Gus Kenworthy was terrified about the consequences of coming out as gay in 2015 but the American skier says that his decision prompted a huge outpouring of unexpected support and has allowed him to compete without the weight of the world on his shoulders. Kenworthy, an Olympic silver medal winner in the ski slopestyle at Sochi, came out in a cover story for ESPN The Magazine to become the first openly gay action sports athlete.

“I had set myself up for the worst case scenario,” he said. “I thought I was going to be turned against and become this pariah.” Kenworthy had already told his close family and friends, who were all very supportive. Their support, along with a desire to be an inspiration for other young men and women scared to come out as homosexual, drove Kenworthy to make the decision. “I knew I would feel so much better because I was being authentic and maybe it would help kids going through the same transition as me,” said Kenworthy.


“I thought it would maybe help other people, either in professional sports or amateur sports or even just in communities where they felt isolated and scared to be themselves.” Within minutes of the news breaking, Kenworthy’s telephone was blowing up. “I had so much support coming in and so my phone just couldn’t handle it and I couldn’t handle it either,” he said. “I was crying and it is quite a weird sensation to set yourself up for one outcome and then get the total opposite.”

Kenworthy says his decision has led to a change in what he calls his “headspace” going into competitions. Instead of compartmentalizing his life he is able to be himself and this has contributed to a greater sense of freedom and confidence. The change means Kenworthy is more confident than ever heading into the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February 2018. “I am more open with everyone in my life and I think it just translates into me being able to ski a little bit more freely and not have so much to focus on and worry about,” he added.

Despite his achievements on the slopes, Kenworthy is known by many as the "gay skier." Instead of shying away from the tag, Kenworthy has embraced it and hopes to serve as an inspiration for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people (LGBTQ) around the world. If, as Kenworthy says, he can be a gay man at the top of the world, an Olympic gold medallist, then it would prove a lot of people wrong.

”The Olympics is a cool opportunity to represent our country, which is amazing, but I have another community I am competing for and that is the LGBTQ community. There are all these stereotypes and stigmas that people have associated in their mind over time but nothing breaks barriers down more than visibility or representation.

”Having someone at the Olympics, the pinnacle event in sports, competing against the best in the world and being out and proud and gay and getting a medal, it would be amazing. There is pressure that comes with this responsibility and I feel I have a responsibility to the LGBTQ community now. I want to lead by example and I want to be a positive example and an inspiration for any kids that I can.”


[Source: Huffington Post, Queer Voices, January 2018]

LGBTQ News Reports


LGBTQ Year in Review

Most Important LGBTQ Television Moments in 2017

Anti-LGBTQ Crime Hit New High in 2017

NPR: Top LGBTQ News Stories of 2017

Celebrities Who Came Out in 2017

Best LGBTQ Films in 2017

Celebrate 2017: Best LGBTQ Articles

Top LGBTQ Moments on Ellen's Show in 2017

Unprecedented Violence to LGBTQ People in 2017


Supreme Court to Decide Gay Wedding Cake Case


The US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Dec 5, 2017 in a case that could have huge ramifications for freedom of speech and protections against discrimination. But it all began with a same-sex couple who just wanted a special wedding cake.

In 2012, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips pointed to his conservative Christian beliefs in refusing to make a custom wedding cake for Colorado couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins.


On one side of the case is the state of Colorado and its public accommodations law barring discrimination against customers based on their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. On the other side is a baker who is morally opposed to same-sex marriage and refuses to create cakes for same-sex wedding receptions.


Businesses Are Saying No to Religious Freedom Laws

NPR: Gay Couple vs. Wedding Cake Baker

Huffington Post: Free Speech vs. Discrimination

California Judge Rules in Favor of Anti-Gay Baker

Same Sex Couple Wins in Oregon Wedding Cake Case

Preserving LGBTQ Equality: No Piece of Cake

Report: Cake Case Will Have Far Reaching Impact for LGBTQ People

Supreme Court Justices Question Litigants in Wedding Cake Case

USA Today: Supreme Court Divided Over Gay Wedding Cake Case

US Supreme Court Might Not Back Gay Couple's Complaint

Religious Leaders Warn: Gay Wedding Cake Case is Not About Faith

Pew Research Center: Public Opinion Split on Gay Wedding Cake Case


Businesses Saying No to Religious Freedom Laws


Businesses are saying no to "religious freedom" laws and lawmakers are listening. The Kentucky House of Representatives is swerving away from a freedom-to-hate bill, thanks in part to businesses pushing back. House Bill 372 would have given churches and religious organizations the right to ignore the municipal LGBTQ protections now in nine Kentucky cities.

The original bill had 46 sponsors among 100 state representatives. But State Rep. Jason Nemes, a Louisville Republican, has led a rewrite of the bill, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. The proposed legislation now only clarifies that churches and ministers can cite religious objections and not provide weddings for same-sex couples. Federal law already allows church leaders to decline to marry anyone; the issue was already settled in a 2015 US Supreme Court decision.


Among the Kentucky cities with civil-rights protections for LGBTQ people are Louisville, with a quarter of the state’s population, Lexington, with the University of Kentucky, and Frankfort, the state capital. In January, Paducah became the first city in western Kentucky to do so. However, Kentucky may be seeing what other states have learned — that businesses can pay dearly for such religious-freedom legislation that allows LGBTQ discrimination.

Dave Adkisson, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce president, said his members with out-of-state business oppose the legislation. “They had concerns, frankly, about how it would appear to those outside Kentucky if we seemed to be discriminating against any one particular group,” Adkisson said.

Indiana, to the north, led by then Gov. Mike Pence, and North Carolina, to the southeast, have both felt the financial pinch after anti-LGBTQ campaigns in their statehouses.

And Kentucky is already on the no-travel list for state-funded travel from California after it passed 2017 legislation that allowed student groups to discriminate against LGBTQ people. When California attorney general Xavier Becerra, announced the ban in January 2017, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s press secretary, Woody Maglinger, had denounced it as “far-left political ideology."

In contrast, Louisville’s mayor, Greg Fischer, a public supporter of LGBTQ rights, had pleaded that his city — home of the Kentucky Derby and considerable convention business — be exempted. It wasn’t.

As of June 2017, the California ban had already cost the city $2 million in future revenue.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is embroiled in other controversy. The state’s Republican governor, Matt Bevin, who had signed last year’s anti-LGBTQ legislation, has made a controversial push to slash pensions of state employees. Those employees include public-school teachers, who are now protesting in the capital.

With Bevin’s battle raging, statehouse Republicans may have been hoping this anti-LGBTQ legislation would give them momentum going into the fall elections, Louisville Democratic Representative Joni Jenkins said. “Honestly, I haven’t heard any outrage from any of the churches in my district about having to participate in anyone’s weddings,” Jenkins said, “so I don’t know what problem this is supposed to be solving.”

[Source: Ron Johnson / LGBTQ Nation / Lexington Herald Ledger / March 2018]



LGBTQ News Reports


LGBTQ Alabamians and the Vote Against Roy Moore

Starbucks Holiday Coffee Cups Include Same Sex Couple

Elected Official in Virginia Disses Teen’s Two Moms

California Recognizes Third Gender
Hong Kong: First Asian City to Host Gay Games

Sydney Opera House Launches Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

NPR News: Remembering Edith Windsor, LGBTQ Advocate

LGBTQ Pride in Serbia

Senators Introduce Resolution to Recognize June as LGBTQ Pride Month


Australia Votes Yes for Marriage Equality


A nationwide survey on the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia came back with sweeping support on November 15, 2017, ending a month-long campaign for equality that has stoked widespread anxiety in the country’s LGBTQ community. The issue will now go to the Australian Parliament. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised an official vote to legalize marriage equality by the end of the year.


In the survey, 61.6 percent of Australians voted yes and 38.4 percent voted no. More than 12.7 million people responded to the voluntary postal survey, a nationwide response rate of nearly 80 percent.

“They voted yes to fairness. They voted yes to commitment. They voted yes to love,” Turnbull said at a press conference in Canberra following the vote. “It is up to us, here in the Parliament in Australia to get on with it. This was an unprecedented exercise in democracy.”

Most members of the Australian parliament (some 70 percent in both houses) have said they will vote yes on a same-sex marriage vote were the results from the survey to come back with a “yes,” according to a survey from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


Australian Parliament Approves Marriage Equality

LGBTQ Nation: Joyous Reaction to Australian Parliament Approval of Marriage Equality

Huff Post: In Nationwide Poll Australians Vote Yes for Same Sex Marriage

NY Times: Australia to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

CNN: Australia Votes Yes for Marriage Equality

Australians Celebrate Yes Vote for Marriage Equality

Danica Roem Makes Political History


Trans woman Danica Roem (D) just defeated anti-LGBTQ candidate Bob Marshall (R) in Virginia.  The man who wrote the anti-trans bathroom bill just lost the election to a trans woman. Let that sink in.


Virginia’s most socially conservative state lawmaker was ousted from office on Nov 7, 2017 by Danica Roem, a Democrat, who will be one of the nation’s first openly transgender elected officials and who embodies much of what Bob Marshall fought against in Richmond.


Danica Roem defeated incumbent Republican Bob Marshall, 73, on having campaigned on a platform of social inclusion as well as local issues, such as building up infrastructure and job creation. it also exposed the nation’s fault lines over gender identity.


The race pitted a 33-year-old former journalist who began her physical gender transition four years ago against a 13-term incumbent who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and earlier this year introduced a “bathroom bill” that died in committee.

“Discrimination is a disqualifier,” a jubilant Roem said. “This is about the people of the 13th District, disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias, where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”


Wasington Post: First Trans Person Elected to Public Office in Virginia
LA Times: Danica Roem Defeats Chief Homophobe

NBC News: Trans Woman Elected to Virginia State Legislature

LGBTQ Nation: Virginia's New Transgender Legislator


California Recognizes Third Gender


California Governor Jerry Brown signed first-of-its kind legislation in October 2017 that enables residents of the state to choose a third, non-binary gender category on California state-issued IDs, birth certificates and driver’s licenses.

The Gender Recognition Act (Senate Bill 179) also reportedly makes the process of an individual changing their gender on legal documents easier by no longer requiring a statement from a physican declaring that they’ve undergone “clinical treatment.”

“As the LGBTQ community, but especially the trans community, is under assault in this country, California needs to go in the opposite direction and embrace the trans community and support the trans community and modernize these laws,” State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who co-sponsored the bill alongside Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), said in a statement.

While Oregon and Washington DC have undergone steps to make it easier for citizens to legally identify as non-binary, California is the first to enshrine a third gender category into law.

A number of other countries already have or are in the process of passing legislation that allows citizens to legally identify outside of the gender binary, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, England, Pakistan, and Nepal.

[Source: James Michael Nichols, Huffington Post, Queer Voices, Oct 2017]



Rainbow Riots: LGBTQ Voices From Uganda

President Trump Defends White Supremacists

India Declares: Freedom of Sexual Orientation is Fundamental Right

Evangelical Leaders Release Anti-LGBTQ Statement on Sexuality
Australians Rally for Support of Same Sex Marriage

Response to the Nashville Statement

TED Talk: Why We Need LGBTQ Education


Edith Windsor, LGBTQ Advocate, Dies at 88


Edith Windsor, the famous LGBTQ advocate who fought the Defense Of Marriage Act, died on September 12, 2017, at the age of 88.


Edith Windsor loved Thea Spyer. For nearly half a century, the two were partners and eventually were legally married as well. When Spyer died in 2009, though, the federal government didn't recognize that love on Windsor's tax forms, expecting her to pay more than $350,000 in estate taxes. That is, until Windsor fought the law that did not recognize that marriage — and won.


Judith Kasen-Windsor, whom Windsor married last year, confirmed her death in a statement. "I lost my beloved spouse Edie, and the world lost a tiny but tough as nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality," she said. "Edie was the light of my life. She will always be the light for the LGBTQ community which she loved so much and which loved her right back."



Barack Obama issued the following statement: "America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fueled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right. I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love. She was engaged to her partner, Thea, for forty years. After a wedding in Canada, they were married for less than two. But federal law didn’t recognize a marriage like theirs as valid – which meant that they were denied certain federal rights and benefits that other married couples enjoyed. And when Thea passed away, Edie spoke up – not for special treatment, but for equal treatment – so that other legally married same-sex couples could enjoy the same federal rights and benefits as anyone else."


NPR News: Remembering Edith Windsor, LGBTQ Advocate

Huff Post:  Remembering LGBTQ Rights Icon, Edith Windsor

LGBTQ Nation: Tribute to Edith Windsor

Philadelphia Names City Block in Honor of Edith Windsor


Evangelical Leaders Release Anti-LGBTQ Statement


A coalition of over 150 evangelical leaders released a manifesto on August 29, 2017 reiterating their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Titled the “Nashville Statement,” the document also asserts that God created two distinct sexes, that sex should only occur within the bounds of heterosexual marriage, and that “it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism.”

The statement emerged out of a meeting convened by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood on Friday at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference in Nashville. It consists of 14 statements of affirmation and denial relating to human sexuality.


For instance, Article 7 of the statement reads: "We affirm that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture. We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption."

Among the signers were many prominent and influential evangelical leaders, including Steve Gaines, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. Perkins was also reportedly one of the architect’s behind President Trump’s ban on transgender service members.


Evangelical Leaders Release Anti-LGBTQ Statement on Sexuality

Response to the Nashville Statement



LGBTQ News Reports


The Year to Be Queer

Why I Am Coming Out Now

James Corden's Tribute to Transgender Troops
Ireland’s First Gay Prime Minister

German Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

Rainbow Riots: Freedom

Why I Must Come Out

What Could a Gay Utopia Teach Urban America?

LGBTQ Equality March on Washington DC
Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC Sings to Drown Out Protesters at Knoxville Pride
Taiwan Makes History as First Asian Nation to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

Asia's Biggest Gay Pride Parade

Why We Won't Go Back

What Has and Has Not Changed



India Supports LGBTQ Rights


India’s Supreme Court has given the country’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer community the freedom to safely express their sexual orientation. In a historic decision on August 24, 2017, the nine-judge panel declared that an individual’s sexual orientation is protected under the country’s Right to Privacy law.

“Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy,” the decision reads. “Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform.”

Although the Supreme Court did not directly overturn any laws criminalizing same-sex relationships, the language of the court decision offers hope to the LGBTQ community. The judges expressly state sexual orientation falls under an individual’s right to privacy, a constitutional right, and that no individual should be discriminated against based on their orientation.

Going forward, this can establish a precedent as organizations challenge discriminatory laws in court, and offer protection against discrimination in places such as the workforce.

This could even deliver a death blow to an oppressive and controversial law in the Indian Penal Code. Section 377 is a law that limits a citizen’s right to express their gender identity or sexual orientation in consensual relationships. In 2013, another panel of the Supreme Court upheld Section 377.

India Declares: Freedom of Sexual Orientation is Fundamental Right

Ireland’s First Gay Prime Minister

German Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

Taiwan Makes History as First Asian Nation to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

Australians Rally for Support of Same Sex Marriage

LGBTQ Pride in Serbia

President Trump Bans  Trans Troops


On June 26, 2017, President Donald Trump declared that transgender people weren’t fit to serve in any branch of the armed service in any capacity, citing a strain and distraction to the United States military readiness. His exact words were:

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

No Allies Here: Trump Bans Transgender People From Military

Pentagon Says Trans Troops Can Still Serve

Transgender Ban: About Hate Not Money

Trump's Ban: Trans Veterans Respond

Defense Secretary Appalled by Trump's Announcement

Trans Military Ban: Joint Chiefs Respond

Why We Need Trans People in the US Military

Trans Service Members Make Public Statement at VMA Event


Marriage Equality in Germany


On June 30, 2017, Germany’s parliament passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage - a sudden landmark shift for LGBTQ rights in Europe’s most populous country.


The vote came days after Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled that she was open to changing Germany’s marriage laws to include same-sex couples, prompting a hurried push from opposition lawmakers to pass the so-called marriage-for-all legislation.



Merkel’s ruling coalition had long opposed a vote on same-sex marriage, an issue that is divisive among her conservative bloc. But during an interview on Monday with German women’s magazine Brigitte, Merkel said she was open to members of her coalition voting their conscience, rather than holding the party line.


Merkel’s shift came after she visited a lesbian couple raising eight foster children. She called her dinner with the family “a life-changing experience” and said she realized her party’s arguments against same-sex marriage were no longer valid.



Polls show that a strong majority of German voters favor same-sex marriage. A Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency survey earlier this year showed 83 percent of Germans support it.


Germany has allowed civil partnerships since 2001. But unlike many neighboring countries, it has lacked full same-sex marriage equality. A growing number of countries in Europe have legalized same-sex marriage, including Finland and Slovenia this year. Italy remains among European states that permit only civil unions and do not grant full rights afforded to married couples.


German Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

The One Sentence That Brought Marriage Equality to Germany

Angela Merkel's Dinner With Lesbian Couple

Gay Pride in Berlin

First Gay Couple Married in Germany



Important LGBTQ Issues After Marriage Equality


Now that the LGBTQ community has the legal right to marry, what challenges remain?  What other important issues and concerns still face the LGBTQ community?  What other problems still need to be solved?


Rolling Stone: Now That We Have Marriage Equality

NY Times: Challenges That Remain for LGBTQ Community

BuzzFeed: Important LGBTQ Issues


Sesame Street Expresses Pride


“Sesame Street” sent a heartfelt message to LGBTQ people as cities across the US celebrated National LGBTQ Pride Month. On June 23, 2017, the classic children’s TV series tweeted a photograph that featured seven of its beloved characters, including Elmo, posed to form a rainbow.  the accompanying message read, "Sesame Street is proud to support families of all shapes, sizes, and colors."


LGBTQ News Reports

Why Pride: Explanation for Straight People

Human Rights Watch: LGBTQ Students in US Face Discrimination and Hostile Environment
TED Talk: This is What LGBTQ Life is Like Around the World

CNN: What a Trump Presidency Means for LGBTQ Americans

People Guess the Sexual Orientation of Strangers

TED Talk: Why We Need LGBTQ Education

The Power of Inclusive Sex Education

Huff Post: Chechen Prez Says We Don’t Have Any Gays

LGBTQ Nation: Chechen Prez Laughs About Anti-Gay Violence


Marriage Equality in Taiwan


On May 24, 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court declared that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, sparking celebration by activists who have been campaigning for the right for years.


The court, known as the Judicial Yuan, said current marriage laws were “in violation of both the people’s freedom of marriage and the people’s right to equality”, and it gave two years for legal amendments to allow same-sex marriage.  “If relevant laws are not amended or enacted within the said two years, two persons of the same sex who intend to create the said permanent union shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated,” the court said.

Hundreds of supporters of same-sex marriage gathered in the street next to the island’s parliament to celebrate the decision, holding colorful umbrellas to ward off a drizzle. “This ruling has made me very happy,” said Chi Chia-wei, a veteran gay rights activist who had petitioned the court to take up the issue.  The ruling clearing the way for same-sex marriage is the first in Asia, where socially conservative attitudes largely hold sway.


Taiwan Makes History as First Asian Nation to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

German Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Same Sex Marriage


Increased Calls to Trevor Project Suicide Hotline


The LGBTQ community was enjoying a growing wave of support, although admittedly it had a long way still to go. Marriage equality had been won, nondiscrimination ordinances were becoming more common, and it appeared as if the momentum was on our side. Then America elected Donald Trump to become our 45th president. Since then, that progress has looked more in danger than it has in years. For younger people, the turn can be particularly upsetting.



“After the election it became clear to me that young people needed our help more than ever,” reports Amit Paley, the new CEO of The Trevor Project, whose suicide prevention hotline has seen a noted increase in call volume. LGBTQ youth attempt and commit suicide at a higher percentage than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. “The day after the presidential election the Trevor Project’s call volume doubled, and there has been an increase in calls since then,” he said.


In May, Paley reported, The Trevor Project’s Lifeline received more calls than in its entire 19-year history. “The policies of this administration, no doubt about it, are directly harming young LGBTQ people,” Paley told The Daily Beast. “What’s so upsetting and shocking for them is that up until this point they had been growing up in a time of increasing acceptance and tolerance. Our mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ young people, and we are concerned by any activities that might reverse the progress we have made.”


“There are more people feeling in crisis and more people reaching out for help,” said Paley. “When the president of the United States and politicians in positions of power stand up and make LGBTQ people feel less-than, or make them feel their rights are being taken away from them, that has a significant impact on their self-worth. That’s our reason to be here: to say that no matter what anyone in Washington says, you are worthy, you are loved, you have dignity, and you are who you are and who you love does not lessen you as a person.”


LGBTQ News Reports


Human Rights Watch: LGBTQ Students in US Face Discrimination and Hostile Environment

TED Talk: This is What LGBTQ Life is Like Around the World

CNN: What a Trump Presidency Means for LGBTQ Americans

Why Pride: Explanation for Straight People
Changing: Trans Teen Music Video

Think Progress: Chick-Fil-A Still Funding Anti-Gay Causes

LGBTQ Nation: Chick-Fil-A Still Supporting Anti-LGBTQ Organizations


Religious Based Discrimination


Most Americans don’t think religious-based discrimination should be lawful. The tide is turning in support of more open policies toward the LBGTQ community.

In June 2017, the governor of Texas signed into law a bill that allows faith-based adoption groups to deny services “under circumstances that conflict with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” Critics, including the ACLU of Texas, say the new law could likely be used to discriminate against LGBTQ families in adoptions. This law is similar to those passed in Mississippi and Tennessee which also legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people based on religious convictions.



In March 2016, the Tennessee legislature introduced a bill allowing counselors to refuse to provide mental health care services to anyone who violates their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” including beliefs about LGBTQ people.  That bill did pass and was signed into law.

A number of Christian groups and outlets applauded the bills passed in Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. But according to a new report by the Public Religion Research Institute, support for religiously based service refusals is quickly declining. PRRI’s report, based on a survey of roughly 40,000 interviews, found that more than six in ten Americans oppose allowing small business owners in their state to refuse to provide goods and services to gay or lesbian people on religious grounds.

White evangelical Protestants continue to be the faith group most in favor of religiously motivated discrimination, though even among that group support has dropped. In 2015, 56 percent of white evangelicals were in favor of allowing business owners to deny services to gay and lesbian people. In 2016, the number had dropped to 50 percent.


Legalizing Religious Based Discrimination

Federal Court Rules Mississippi Businesses Can Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

LGBTQ Discrimination in Tennessee

Map of State Religious Exemptions Laws

Handy Guide to Understanding Religious Exemption Laws

Evangelical Leaders Release Anti-LGBTQ Statement on Sexuality


Kim Davis: Symbol of Religious Opposition


Kim Davis is the county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, who gained international attention in August 2015 when she defied a US federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, following the June 26, 2015, US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Davis, who has been married four times, reacted to the decision by denying marriage licenses to all couples, saying she was acting "under God's authority". Her defiance led to her being jailed, while both supporters and detractors hotly debated her stance in the national media. Marriage licenses in Rowan County are now being issued to all citizens as required by law.



Davis was elected county clerk in 2014 and promised to follow the statutes of the office. A few months later, Obergefell v. Hodges was decided and all county clerks were ordered to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis refused, citing her religious opposition to same-sex marriage. Couples represented by the American Civil Liberties Union who had been denied marriage licenses from Davis filed and won a lawsuit against her, Miller v. Davis, and she was ordered to start issuing marriage licenses by the US District Court. Her lawyers tried to appeal to the US Supreme Court, but the application to appeal was denied. Davis continued to defy the court order, refusing to issue marriage licenses, and was ultimately jailed for contempt of court. She was released from jail five days later, under the condition that she not interfere with the efforts of her deputy clerks, who had started issuing marriage licenses to all couples. Davis then modified the Kentucky marriage licenses to no longer mention her name.

Attorney and author Roberta A. Kaplan described Davis as "the clearest example of someone who wants to use a religious liberty argument to discriminate." Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said that Davis' imprisonment was part of the "criminalization of Christianity." Columnist Jennifer Rubin compared Davis' refusal to obey the decision of the US Supreme Court to Alabama Governor George Wallace's "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" in 1963.

NPR: Gay Couple's Lawsuit Against Kim Davis Continues

ABC News: Kim Davis Defends Denying Same Sex Marriage Licenses

New York Times: Kim Davis Goes to Jail

Washington Post: When Does Your Religion Excuse You From Doing Your Job?

CNN: Who is Kim Davis?

Wikipedia: Kim Davis




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