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Current Events | Relevant Reports
 

Nex Benedict's Death Sparks Calls Against Anti-LGBTQ Bullying Nationwide

Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in First for an Orthodox Christian Nation
LGBTQ Population in the US Grows by Over 2 Million
Only the Second Week of 2024: These Vile Anti-LGBTQ Bills Have Already Been Introduced

More Than 275 Bills Targeting LGBTQ Rights Flood State Legislatures
Biden Reverses Trump Policy Allowing Doctors to Deny Care to LGBTQ Patients

LGBTQ Stars Absolutely Ruled 2023
Out 100: 2023 List of LGBTQ Celebrities

Those Were the Good Old Days by Randy Rainbow

NBC News: Here are the Top LGBTQ News Stories of 2023



 

National Crisis: Trump for President

Here Are Our 2024 Election Predictions

Death of Oklahoma Teen After a Fight in School has LGBTQ Advocates Seeking Answers

City Tries to Ban Pride Events, Gets Slapped With $500,000 Fine Instead
Mike Johnson Speaks at Hate Group Summit Alongside Anti-LGBTQ Pastor

Nearly 30% of Gen Z Adults Identify as LGBTQ, National Survey Finds
2023’s Legislative Attacks on LGBTQ Rights

75 Anti-LGBTQ Bills Have Become Law in 2023

Less GOP and More LGBTQ: Gen Z is More Likely to be Queer than Republican

Norman Lear, TV Pioneer and LGBTQ Ally, Dies at Age 101

Here Are All the Celebrities Who Came Out as LGBTQ in 2023
 

 

Top LGBTQ News Sources

 

Advocate Magazine

LGBTQ Nation

Pink News

NBC News|NBC Out

Edge Media Network

Washington Blade

Huff Post|Queer Voices

Lavender Magazine

The Pink Times

Them

Gay Star News

Out Magazine
Pride Magazine
Curve Magazine

Trans Equality

Lesbian News

Gay Men's News

Queer Majority

Autostraddle

Out

The Death of Nex Benedict

 

Death of Oklahoma Teen After a Fight in School has LGBTQ Advocates Seeking Answers

16 year old student, Nex Benedict, whose family says identified as nonbinary, died February 2024, one day after a fight with others at Owasso High School in northeastern Oklahoma. Police in Owasso are investigating. Advocates point to a heightened and hostile climate against the LGBTQ community.

It is not clear if or how the fight contributed to Nex’s death. Police in Owasso have not called the investigation criminal and said that early autopsy findings indicate Nex did not die as a result of trauma. “Preliminary information from the medical examiner’s office is that a complete autopsy was performed and indicated that the decedent did not die as a result of trauma,” Owasso police said.

Sue Benedict, Nex’s guardian and biological grandmother, told The Independent Nex was badly beaten during the fight with three older girls in a bathroom at the school and hit their head on the floor. Benedict said Nex had experienced bullying at the school, but added, “I didn’t know how bad it had gotten.”

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be strong and look the other way, because these people don’t know who you are,’” Benedict said.
 

 

Nex was a 10th grader and used they/them pronouns, according to their family. “Nex did not see themselves as male or female,” Benedict explained.


Earlier this month, a physical altercation in an Owasso High School West campus bathroom was broken up by students and a faculty member, according to Owasso police. All students walked to the assistant principal’s office and the nurse’s office, police said. After contacting parents and guardians and conducting health evaluations, a nurse suggested Nex be taken to a hospital for further care.  The following afternoon, Owasso Fire Department medics responded to a medical emergency involving the teenager, who was then transported to a pediatric emergency hospital where they later died, police said.

The Benedict family said that while the investigation is ongoing, the early details about the incident are “troubling at best.” they went on to say, “We urge those tasked with investigating and prosecuting all potentially liable parties to do so fully, fairly and expediently. We know all too well the devastating effects of bullying and school violence, and pray for meaningful change wherein bullying is taken seriously and no family has to deal with another preventable tragedy.”

[Source: Andy Rose and Whitney Wild, CNN, Feb 2024]

 

Death of Oklahoma Teen After a Fight in School has LGBTQ Advocates Seeking Answers
What We Know About Death of Oklahoma Teen Nex Benedict After Beating in School Restroom
Non-Binary Teenager Dies After Violent Attack in School Restrooms

Nex Benedict's Death Sparks Calls Against Anti-LGBTQ Bullying Nationwide
After Nex Benedict’s Death, LGBTQ Oklahomans Vow to Not Let Hate Take Over

Nex Benedict Loved Cats and Video Games and Reading

Karine Jean-Pierre Absolutely Heartbroken Over Oklahoma Teen Nex Benedict’s Death
HRC President Demands Federal Investigation into Nex Benedict’s Death Amid Oklahoma’s Anti-LGBTQ Climate
 

Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in First for an Orthodox Christian Nation
 

Greece is the 16th European Union nation...

and the 35th country worldwide to legalize same-sex marriages

Greek lawmakers voted in Feb 2024 to legalize same-sex marriage in a landmark decision that will make it the first Orthodox Christian country to do so.

The passage of the law — which was drafted by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ center-right government and had support from four left-wing parties — makes the nation the 16th within the European Union and the 35th worldwide to legalize same-sex nuptials, according to a tally from the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. Gay marriage is also legal in the territories of Taiwan and Greenland.

A cross-party majority of 176 lawmakers in the 300-seat Parliament voted in favor of the bill. Another 76 rejected the reform while two abstained from the vote and 46 were not present for the vote.

 


 

Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in First for an Orthodox Christian Nation

Hundreds of Protesters Opposed to Bill Allowing Same-Sex Marriage Rally in Greek Capital
Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption
Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage: First for Orthodox Christian Country

“People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us. And with them, many children will finally find their rightful place,” Mitsotakis told lawmakers ahead of the evening vote.

Greece has allowed civil unions for same-sex couples since 2015. However, that law did not permit same-sex parents to both claim legal guardianship over their children. The new law amends this, though it still would prohibit same-sex male couples from having children through surrogate mothers in Greece, an option available to single women and heterosexual couples who require surrogates due to health reasons.

The legalization of same-sex marriage has come under fierce criticism from the Greek Orthodox Church, which teaches that homosexuality is a sin. Conversely, some LGBTQ advocates have criticized the law, arguing that it does not go far enough. The vote comes as the Orthodox Christian nation has loosened its regulations around LGBTQ people in the last decade.

Two years after the country passed the 2015 law allowing civil unions for same-sex couples, lawmakers passed legislation that would allow people to have their gender identity legally recognized. In 2022, Greek legislators also banned the widely debunked practice of conversion therapy nationwide, something that is still widely available in more historically progressive nations, including the United States.
 


The passage of same-sex marriage in Greece coincides with a precarious time for LGBTQ rights around the world.

While lawmakers in the United States enshrined same-sex marriage into federal law in 2022, state legislators have also proposed and enacted hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills in recent years.

Late last year, Russia’s Supreme Court designated the LGBTQ social movement as extremist, which critics have argued effectively bans any organized advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ rights. Local reports have shown Russian police raiding gay bars in cities across the country since the court’s ruling.

And in Uganda, lawmakers enacted one of the world’s most punishing anti-LGBTQ laws, which would criminalize landlords who knowingly house LGBTQ people and impose the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”

[Source: Matt Lavietes, NBC News, Feb 2024]

 

Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in First for an Orthodox Christian Nation

Hundreds of Protesters Opposed to Bill Allowing Same-Sex Marriage Rally in Greek Capital
Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption
Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage: First for Orthodox Christian Country

 

2024 Golden Globes

 

So much queer representation at the 2024 Golden Globes!

 

The 81st Golden Globe Awards ceremony kicked off in January 2024 with a dazzling red carpet event featuring plenty of LGBTQ talent and beauty. With so many queer films, TV shows, actors, and musicians nominated in different categories, our community is definitely being well-represented at the ceremony.

 



Between the casts from All of Us Strangers, Nyad, Rustin, Fellow Travelers, and The Last of Us, to name a few, we’re getting lots of LGBTQ representation at the 2024 Golden Globes. And we love to see it!
 

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On hand for the event were Bella Ramsey, Andrew Scott, Wanda Sykes, Jonathan Bailey, Dylan Mulvaney, Colman Domingo, Raúl Domingo, Hunter Schafer, Matt Bomer, Jelani Alladin, Billie Eilish, Noah J. Ricketts, Jodie Foster, Hari Nef, and Lily Gladstone.

 

[Source: Bernardo Sim, Out Magazine, January 2024]

2024 Golden Globes: LGBTQ Celebs Who Walked the Red Carpet
Who Won Golden Globes for 2024?

LGBTQ Stars Showed Up and Won in Style at the 2024 Golden Globes
Golden Globes 2024: Complete Winners List

Here’s All the 2024 Golden Globes Gay Goings-on

Golden Globes: How Viewers Responded to the Gay Moments
Lily Gladstone Talks She/They Pronouns and Gender-Inclusive Award Categories
 

Anti-LGBTQ Rights Bills Flood State Legislatures

 

New year's resolution...  More than 275 bills targeting LGBTQ rights in 2024...

 

State legislatures have introduced more than 275 bills targeting LGBTQ rights for 2024 sessions, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), signaling an increased focus on LGBTQ rights among conservative legislators in the new year.  The mark follows more than 500 similar bills in 2023. The legislation targets issues including gender-affirming care for young people and adults, the ability of students to choose their gender in schools, transgender student athletes and restrictions on LGBTQ speech.

“Transgender people across the country are enduring a historic and dangerous effort to control our bodies and our lives, fueled by extremist politics with the goal of erasing us from public life,” ACLU attorney Harper Seldin said.  “Taken together, these proposals are a blatant effort to deny transgender people the freedom to be ourselves at school, at work, and the support of the medical care many of us need to live,” he said. “We at the ACLU and our nationwide affiliate network stand ready to defend our freedoms and our families from this baseless assault.”

 


The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a pro-LGBTQ advocacy group, declared a “national state of emergency” in June 2023 over the wave of anti-LGBTQ bills proposed in states. More than 80 anti-LGBTQ laws were enacted this past year.

More than 200 of the 2024 bills are focused on education, by the ACLU’s count, including more than 30 targeting transgender athletes, 36 on school curriculums and 38 regarding the forced outing of LGBTQ students to their parents. Nearly 120 included provisions limiting access to health care, mostly gender-affirming surgeries for minors. Some bills included multiple anti-LGBTQ issues.

Many of the laws passed in 2023 were challenged in court, and state and federal courts have struck down attempted bans on gender-affirming care in Arkansas, Indiana, Montana and Florida. Similar bans in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Texas and Georgia, however, were upheld in court.

More than a third of transgender children and adolescents in the US live in a state that has banned gender-affirming health care, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

[Source: Nick Robertson, The Hill, Jan 2024]

 

Only the Second Week of 2024: These Vile Anti-LGBTQ Bills Have Already Been Introduced

More Than 275 Bills Targeting LGBTQ Rights Flood State Legislatures

For LGBTQ Rights, 2023 Was a Year of Fighting: Here’s What We Won
Flood of Anti-LGBTQ Bills Shows GOP Wants to Eradicate Trans People From Public Life
Mapping Attacks on LGBTQ Rights in US State Legislatures
Roundup of Anti-LGBTQ Legislation Advancing In States Across the Country
 

Queer Year in Review: 2023

 

Highlights of some of the top LGBTQ news stories and events this past year...


For the LGBTQ community, 2023 offered some bright spots and some sad moments. Certainly there was a good mix of events to celebrate and incidents to detest.  Let's look back at 2023 and recall some of the stories that caught our attention.

 

In politics, the US Congress had a record number of LGBTQ members:11 in House of Reps, 2 in Senate, 13 total. Laphonza Butler, of California, makes history as the first LGBTQ person of color in the US Senate.  And Virginia voters elected the first transgender candidate, Danica Roem, to be state senator.

 

 

Those Were the Good Old Days by Randy Rainbow

NBC News: Here are the Top LGBTQ News Stories of 2023

Out 100: 2023 List of LGBTQ Celebrities

Most Uplifting Moments for LGBTQ People in 2023

 

In the entertainment world, TV host Robin Roberts, of Good Morning America, publicly announced her engagement to Amber Laign. Gay television producer Ryan Murphy received Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Award. Sam Smith (non-binary) and Kim Petras (transgender) won a Grammy Award for "Unholy."  Everything Everywhere All at Once wins Best Picture Academy Award and The Whale won Best Actor Award (Brenden Fraser). Barry Manilow broke Elvis Presley's record of the most shows in Las Vegas. Pop music legend Elton John performed his farewell concert tour after a 50 year career. And George Michael was posthumously inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 

Among the many movies with LGBTQ performers and themes were Red White and Royal Blue, Nyad, May December, Bottoms, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Joy Ride, Dangerous Boys to Know, Monica, Erin's Guide to Kissing Girls, In From the Side, Good Grief, Rustin, Love Lies Bleeding, and Theater Camp.

 

In the sports world, Carl Nassib, NFL Football Athlete, announced his serious relationship with Olympic Swimmer Søren Dahl.  And USWNT soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe retired.

 

 

Our Favorite Songs by LGBTQ Artists in 2023

LGBTQ Celebs, Allies and Icons We Lost in 2023

Our Favorite LGBTQ Movies of 2023

Queerest Moments of 2023
 

Celebrities who came out as LGBTQ this year included Billie Eilish, Wayne Brady, Alexander Lincoln, Anderson Comas, Bella Ramsey, Karan Brar, Mo’Nique, and Noah Schnapp.

 

Kid Rock ridiculed Bud Light beer for promoting their brand with trans celebrity Dylan Mulvaney.  Two trans women competed in Miss Universe pageant: Marina Machete (Miss Portugal) and Rikkie Valerie Kollé (Miss Netherlands).  Transgender singer Kim Petras appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine Swimsuit Edition and GQ Magazine named Troye Sivan "Man of the Year."

 

Vintage drag queens were in the news in 2023. Darcelle XV, of Portland, Oregon, world’s oldest working drag queen, died at 92. Famous British drag queen Paul O'Grady (Lily Savage) died at 76. Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna Everage) died at 89.  Drag queen Jinkx Monsoon played Mama Morton in the Chicago musical on Broadway. And San Francisco named the nation's first Drag Laureate, D'Arcy Drollinger.

 

We lost Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a trailblazing LGBTQ rights advocate, who died at 90. We also mourned the passing of US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner, the first woman on Supreme Court.  Norman Lear also died; his TV shows drew attention to racism, bigotry, sexism, women's issues, and homophobia. This was also the year that homophobic Christian televangelist Pat Robertson died.

 

 

US legislators (and hate groups) stepped up opposition this past year to LGBTQ people, trans people, and drag performers. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis enacted extreme anti-LGBTQ legislation affecting education, healthcare, and other services.  Nationwide, we saw drag queen storytime banned, books with LGBTQ content banned, and health services to trans people banned. But, in the midst of a national wave of anti-LGBTQ sentiment, President Biden hosted large-scale a LGBTQ Pride event at White House. He also vowed to uphold LGBTQ rights in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

 

And, rounding out the LGBTQ news stories of 2023, for what its worth, Pope Francis gave permission for Catholic priests to "bless" same-sex relationships.

 

Those Were the Good Old Days by Randy Rainbow

NBC News: Here are the Top LGBTQ News Stories of 2023

Out 100: 2023 List of LGBTQ Celebrities

Most Uplifting Moments for LGBTQ People in 2023

Our Favorite Songs by LGBTQ Artists in 2023

LGBTQ Celebs, Allies and Icons We Lost in 2023

Our Favorite LGBTQ Movies of 2023

Queerest Moments of 2023
LGBTQ Stars Absolutely Ruled 2023

Best Albums by LGBTQ Artists of 2023

Here Are All the Celebrities Who Came Out as LGBTQ in 2023

Info: LGBTQ History

 

 

Current LGBTQ News
 

Ian McKellen Fears Return of Section 28: There Would be Revolution in the Streets
Remembering Norman Lear and His Pioneering LGBTQ-Inclusive Shows

Ron DeSantis Destroyed by Gavin Newsom in Debate
LGBTQ Nation: Let’s Break the Palestinian-Israeli Impasse

Newly Elected House Speaker Mike Johnson: Very Anti-LGBTQ
Democratic Wisconsin Governor Vetoes Bill to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Kids
GQ Man of the Year Troye Sivan: More In Touch With His Femininity Than Ever

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Dies at 96

More Than 300 Trans and Gender-Diverse People Were Killed in 2023, Per New Report
LGBTQ Nation: End the Cycle of Violence, Stop the Blame

New House Speaker's Views on LGBTQ Issues Come Under Fresh Scrutiny

Sandra Day O’Connor, First Female Supreme Court Justice, Dies at 93
Before Obergefell, Sandra Day O’Connor Married Two Gay Men

 

Norman Lear | 1922-2023

 

Norman Lear made funny sitcoms about serious topics...

He addressed hot button issues with humor, courage, curiosity, and compassion...

Norman Lear, iconic, award-winning American television writer, film producer, director, and activist died at the age of 101.

 

He began his career in the 1950s as a comedy writer. He became known for his roster of hit sitcoms that completely revolutionized television in the 1970s. Norman Lear changed sitcoms and America for the better and profoundly altered the TV landscape.


He is famous for such hit TV shows as All in the Family, Sanford & Son, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude, and One Day at a Time. These shows mixed situation comedy with social commentary. After Lear gained a foothold, nothing on television was ever the same. The families in Lear's shows had conversations about the real things that were going on in the 1970s. Before these shows, television worlds were simpler, nicer places, never controversial or upsetting.

 

Remembering Norman Lear

Remembering Norman Lear and His Pioneering LGBTQ-Inclusive Shows

Norman Lear, TV Pioneer and LGBTQ Ally, Dies at Age 101

Norman Lear, Producer of ‘All in the Family’ and Influential Liberal Advocate, Dies at 101

 

 

His characters were flawed, imperfect, and human. Lear incorporated concerns about money, race, women’s rights, bigotry and more into his shows. He stuck to his conviction that the ‘foolishness of the human condition" made great television


His shows took on unresolvable issues that were at the heart of inequality and struggle in American society. He tackled everything from homophobia, sexism, racism, abortion, politics, war, and more.


He also was a champion of Latine, black, and minority actors and issues.


Norman Lear was a creative genius, a groundbreaker, and pioneer in the entertainment field. He was an artist, a storyteller, a wise sage, a freedom fighter, and influential liberal advocate. As a political activist, he founded the People for the American Way organization.


President Joe Biden said, “Norman loved America and told our stories with heart, facing the good, the bad, and the truth of who we are as a
nation striving to form a more perfect union. He made generations of Americans care, and we are grateful.”


Remembering the Life of TV Producer Norman Lear
Norman Lear, Boundary-Breaking TV Master Behind ‘All in the Family’ and Progressive Activist, dies at 101
Remembering Television Pioneer Norman Lear

Norman Lear, Producer of All in the Family, Dead at 101
 

Mike Johnson: New Speaker of the House is Anti-LGBTQ
 

It's another perspective on the homosexual lifestyle, which many people believe is morally wrong and physically dangerous."

-Mike John, New Speaker of US House of Representatives

 

New Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is an election-denying extremist, with close ties to Trump, who is as anti-LGBTQ as they come. He introduced a federal Don't Say LGBTQ bill. He co-sponsored a gender-affirming care ban. He served as national spokesperson for an anti-LGBTQ hate group.  And this Republican representative, who has advanced extreme views as attorney and legislator, says "I am a Bible-believing Christian."

 

 

 

Rep. Mike Johnson Voted New House Speaker

Bill Maher on Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson Speaks at Hate Group Summit Alongside Anti-LGBTQ Pastor

House Speaker Mike Johnson Applauded Idea of Making Gay Sex Illegal
Newly Elected House Speaker Mike Johnson: Very Anti-LGBTQ

Go Pick up a Bible: Speaker Mike Johnson Defends Anti-LGBTQ Views

New House Speaker's Views on LGBTQ Issues Come Under Fresh Scrutiny

 

As a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund (the precursor of the Alliance Defending Freedom), Johnson wrote editorials for his local paper that called homosexuality “inherently unnatural.” “Your race, creed, and sex are what you are, while homosexuality and cross-dressing are things you do,” he wrote. “This is a free country, but we don’t give special protections for every person’s bizarre choices.”

He is an ardent opponent of same-sex marriage. In the Louisiana House, he proposed the Marriage and Conscience Act, preventing adverse treatment by the state of anyone based on their views on marriage. The bill, in the view of critics, protects people who discriminate against same-sex couples. He defended Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban before the Supreme Court in 2004 and again in 2014.


He recently led a hearing on limiting gender-affirming care. “Sex isn’t something you are assigned at birth. It is a prenatal development that occurs when every unborn child is in its mother’s womb. You can’t surgically free yourself, or someone else, from this fact of life,” he said in his opening statement. “Today, nearly one in four high school students identifies as LGBTQ. Whether it’s by scalpel or by social coercion from teachers, professors, administrators and left-wing media, it’s an attempt to transition the young people of our country. Something has gone terribly wrong."

 

 

What Louisianans Want You to Know About Anti-LGBTQ House Speaker Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson Endorses and Promoted Book That Calls Pete Buttigieg Obnoxiously Gay
Who is Mike Johnson? Ardent Conservative Who Embraces Far-Right Policies
Long List of Disturbing Things You Need to Know About Mike Johnson

Pete Buttigieg: Beautiful Response to Mike Johnson’s Hatred of LGBTQ People

 

Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said Johnson would be “the most anti-equality” speaker in US history. “This is a choice that will be a stain on the record of everyone who voted for him,” Robinson said. “Johnson is someone who doesn’t hesitate to express his disdain for the LGTBQ community from the rooftops and then introduces legislation that seeks to erase us from society.”

Even outspoken conservative Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had gripes with Johnson’s ascension to power. “So we just elected a raging homophobe to speaker? Way to break stereotypes and win over hearts and minds!”

Mike Johnson's hateful and ignorant remarks on LGBTQ issues are nothing short of disturbing:

 

“Homosexual marriage is the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic.”

“There is clearly no right to sodomy in the Constitution, and the right of privacy of the home has never placed all activity within the home outside the bounds of the criminal law. What about drugs, prostitution and counterfeiting? Make no mistake, the Lawrence decision opens the door to the undermining of many important laws and is ultimately a strategic first shot for the homosexual lobby’s ultimate prize — the redefinition of marriage.”

“Homosexual relationships are inherently unnatural and, the studies clearly show, are ultimately harmful and costly for everyone. Society cannot give its stamp of approval to such a dangerous lifestyle. If we change marriage for this tiny, modern minority, we will have to do it for every deviant group. Polygamists, polyamoris
ts, pedophiles, and others will be next in line to claim equal protection. They already are. There will be no legal basis to deny a bisexual the right to marry a partner of each sex, or a person to marry his pet.”

 

AND... When confronted about his hateful attitude, Mike Johnson actually replied, "I can't be hateful. I'm a Christian."


Who is Mike Johnson? Summary of the new Republican House Speaker
Mike Johnson Tried to Overturn the 2020 Election
Mike Johnson’s Wife Runs Christian Counseling Service That Compares Homosexuality to Incest
Speaker Mike Johnson’s Wife Runs Counseling Service That Compares Homosexuality to Beastiality

Info: Trump, Republicans, and our Current National Crisis
 

 

Current LGBTQ News
 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazing LGBTQ Rights Advocate, Dies at 90
Barry Manilow Breaks Elvis Presley's Las Vegas Record
Challenges to Library Books Continue at Record Pace in 2023, American Library Association Reports
Gaslighting Homophobe Ron DeSantis Says it’s the Media’s Fault LGBTQ People Think He’s Dangerous
Good Morning America Anchor Robin Roberts & Amber Laign Get Married
Tennessee Elects its First Transgender Lawmaker
This Year’s Time 100 Next is Brimming with Queer Excellence
Why Canada Issued Travel Advisory for Its LGBTQ Residents Visiting US

Lesbian and STI Expert Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo to Succeed Fauci at NIAID

200,000 People Show Up for Orlando Pride in Defiant Middle Finger to Ron DeSantis
Philadelphia Becomes Sanctuary City for Gender-Affirming Care
Gov. Gavin Newsom Chooses Laphonza Butler to Fill Dianne Feinstein's Senate Seat

Tennessee Voters Elect First Transgender Candidate to Public Office
Gay Couple Awarded $100,000 After Being Denied Marriage License
GOP Debate Participants: Look at Their Anti-LGBTQ Records

LGBTQ Group Reveals National Effort to Eliminate Queer People From Public Life
Florida School Districts Removed 300 Books Last School Year
South Florida City Becomes State’s First LGBTQ Sanctuary
Rufus Wainwright Blasts Ferocious Targeting of Trans Community
Canada Alerts LGBTQ Citizens of Potential Dangers of US Travel

 

War in the Middle East: Israelis vs. Palestinians
 

Thousands have been killed in the ongoing conflict

 

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a deeply complex and contentious issue that has gripped the world's attention for decades. While the LGBTQ perspective is just one of many lenses through which to view this multifaceted conflict, it is a perspective that deserves consideration.

It is essential to acknowledge that LGBTQ individuals exist on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They share the same desires for love, acceptance, and equal rights, irrespective of their national or ethnic background. In many ways, the struggles of LGBTQ individuals within this conflict mirror those of LGBTQ communities around the world. They face discrimination, violence, and legal challenges, which often overshadow their national and ethnic identities.

 


 

CNN: Hamas Attacks Israel, Israel Responds

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Tears Into LGBTQ Jewish Community
Analysis: Israel, Palestine and Us
LGBTQ Groups in Israel Respond to War
Palestinians: LGBTQ Not Welcome Here

NBC News: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Tears into LGBTQ Jewish Community
LGBTQ Nation: End the Cycle of Violence, Stop the Blame
Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Pathways to Peace: Reflections on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Chatham House: Ignoring the Roots of Violence in the Israel–Palestine Conflict Challenges Any Future Peace

NPR: Biden Wants a Two-State Solution for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Info: LGBTQ Jewish/Israeli Insights


In Israel, LGBTQ rights have made significant progress over the years, with same-sex marriage recognition, anti-discrimination laws, and thriving LGBTQ communities. Tel Aviv, in particular, is renowned for its vibrant LGBTQ scene. These advancements represent an important step forward in the fight for equal rights and acceptance for LGBTQ individuals in the region.

On the Palestinian side, the situation is far more complex. LGBTQ individuals often face persecution and discrimination, both from society and, in some instances, from political or religious authorities. The intersection of LGBTQ rights and the broader struggle for Palestinian self-determination is a topic that sparks passionate debates within Palestinian communities.

 



It is crucial to note that discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be reduced to a binary narrative, as they often are. The perspectives of LGBTQ individuals, like all individuals living in the region, are diverse. Their experiences cannot be boiled down to a single narrative, just as the larger conflict cannot.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is inherently tied to issues of identity, security, self-determination, and human rights. The LGBTQ perspective reminds us that in the midst of this complex web of political and cultural challenges, there are people who just want to be themselves, love who they love, and live without fear of discrimination or violence.

In the grand tapestry of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the LGBTQ perspective serves as a poignant reminder that we should strive for a more inclusive, compassionate, and just world for all, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. This perspective encourages us to support movements and individuals working towards the universal principles of equality, human rights, and freedom from discrimination, irrespective of the context in which they live.


BBC: History of the Israel Gaza Conflict Explained
ABC News: A Look Into the Long History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Amnesty International: Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories
Overview: Israeli–Palestinian Conflict
United Nations: The Question of Palestine
LGBTQ Nation: Let’s Break the Palestinian-Israeli Impasse
BBC: Israel and Palestinians: Gulf Between Hope and Reality of Peace
US News & World Report: America’s Evolving Views of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
CNN : Debate Over the Israel-Gaza War has Raised Tensions
National Public Radio: US College Students Clashing Over the Israel-Hamas War

Info: Israeli/Palestinian Commentary

 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazing LGBTQ Rights Advocate, Dies at 90

Feinstein leaves legacy of championing women’s and LGBTQ rights.

US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, known for her groundbreaking roles in American politics, has died at 90.The California Democrat was a pioneer for women, becoming San Francisco’s first female Board of Supervisors president and mayor and later one of California’s first female US senators. During her time in public service, Feinstein championed women’s and LGBTQ rights.

In a time of crisis for San Francisco’s gay community, she took the politically risky step of closing the city’s bathhouses in an effort to combat the spread of AIDS. Under her leadership, San Francisco General Hospital became a global standard-setter for HIV/AIDS healthcare.

On women’s issues, Feinstein was instrumental in reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and authored the 2022 Respect for Marriage Act, federalizing marriage equality. She became the first woman in California to win a major party’s gubernatorial nomination and was the first woman to chair the Senate Rules and Intelligence Committees.

 



Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi added her voice to those mourning Feinstein’s passing. “Dianne was a pioneering woman leader, who served as San Francisco’s first female Mayor with unmatched courage, poise and grace,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Her extraordinary career will continue to inspire countless young women and girls to pursue public service for generations to come.”

 

As Pelosi noted, Feinstein was also a powerhouse in women’s advocacy. She was the first woman to lead several Senate committees and was instrumental in renewing the Violence Against Women Act. “A fierce champion for gender justice, her tireless advocacy was consequential in securing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act,” Pelosi stated.

Feinstein had announced plans to retire in 2024.  Her passing leaves a lasting legacy in American politics, particularly in women’s and LGBTQ rights.

[Source: Christopher Wiggins, Advocate, September 2023]
 

Advocate: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazing LGBTQ Rights Advocate, Dies at 90

NBC News: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazer in US Politics and Longest-Serving Woman in Senate, Dies at 90

CNN: Sen. Dianne Feinstein dies at 90

Advocate: Dianne Feinstein: An LGBTQ Rights Champion
AP News: Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, Trailblazer and Champion of Liberal Priorities, Dies at Age 90
Dianne Feinstein: An LGBTQ Rights Champion
ABC News: Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazing California Senator, Dies at 90
Advocate: From AIDS to Assassinations, Sen. Feinstein Was Always There for Us


Laphonza Butler Makes History as First Out Person of Color in the Senate

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has tapped lesbian Democratic strategist Laphonza Butler to fill the Senate seat held by Dianne Feinstein, who recently died.

Butler will now be the first LGBTQ person of color to serve in the US Senate. She will serve the remainder of Feinstein’s term, which ends next year. "I'm honored to accept Gov. Gavin Newsom's nomination to be US Senator for a state I have made my home and honored by his trust in me to serve the people of California and this great nation," Butler said. She added: "No one will ever measure up to the legacy of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, but I will do my best to honor her legacy and leadership by committing to work for women and girls, workers and unions, struggling parents, and all of California. I am ready to serve."

 



Butler leads EMILY’s List, a political group that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights. Before becoming president of EMILY’S List, Butler ran a labor union and served as an advisor for Vice President Kamala Harris’s 2020 presidential campaign.

Butler’s selection is not only historic but it may cause even more complexity in the lead-up to the 2024 election. The outlet reports that Butler has deep connections across the Democratic political sphere in California and could very well fundraise enough to make her another top candidate to succeed Feinstein.

Equality California’s executive director Tony Hoang praised Newsom’s choice in selecting Butler. "Laphonza Butler is eminently qualified to represent California well in the United States Senate and we are thrilled to congratulate her,” Hoang said in a statement. “This historic appointment by Governor Newsom will give our LGBTQ community another voice in Congress at a time when our rights and freedoms are under attack across the country.”

 



Other LGBTQ groups also lauded Newsom's choice. "Butler's appointment is so important for LGBTQ people, Black people, and women not only in California, but throughout the country," GLAAD's CEO and president Sarah Kate Ellis said. "Our freedoms are under attack to be ourselves, make our own health care decisions, and have our votes and voices secured."

The Human Rights campaign also celebrated the selection. "The appointment of Laphonza Butler to the Senate is a landmark moment in the fight for social, racial, and economic justice. As the first Black lesbian to represent California in the United States Senate, Laphonza brings a compelling voice for abortion rights, the labor movement, and civil rights into Congress. Her leadership is a testament to the legacy of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s strong record of pro-LGBTQ support,” said Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson. “The threats to reproductive freedoms and LGBTQ families emanating from the Supreme Court and anti-equality politicians are twin crises that require immediate attention, and Laphonza Butler is an exceptional advocate on both of these issues."

[Source: Alex Cooper, Advocate, Oct 2023]


Gavin Newsom Chooses Queer Democratic Activist Laphonza Butler to Fill Dianne Feinstein’s Senate Seat
Laphonza Butler: California's New, History-Making US Senator
Gov. Newsom Selects Laphonza Butler to Fill Dianne Feinstein's Senate Seat
Gavin Newsom Chooses Laphonza Butler to Fill Dianne Feinstein's Senate Seat
Gavin Newsom Picks Laphonza Butler to Fill Dianne Feinstein's Senate Post
California Gov. Gavin Newsom Chooses Laphonza Butler to Fill Senator Feinstein’s Seat
Info: LGBTQ and Politics

 

Challenges to Library Books Continue at Record Pace in 2023

Book bans and attempted bans continue to hit record highs, according to the American Library Association. And the efforts now extend as much to public libraries as school-based libraries.

Through the first eight months of 2023, the ALA tracked 695 challenges to library materials and services, compared to 681 during the same time period last year, and a 20% jump in the number of “unique titles” involved to 1,915. School libraries had long been the predominant target, but in 2023 reports have been near-equally divided between schools and libraries open to the general public, the ALA announced in Sept 2023.

“The irony is that you had some censors who said that those who didn’t want books pulled from schools could just go to the public libraries,”’ says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who directs the association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The ALA defines a challenge as a “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”

 



In 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, the association recorded just 377 challenges, involving 566 titles. The numbers fell in 2020, when many libraries were closed, but have since risen to the most in the association’s 20-plus year history of compiling data. Because the totals are based on media accounts and reports submitted by librarians, the ALA regards its numbers as snapshots, with many incidents left unrecorded.

Continuing a trend over the past two years, the challenges are increasingly directed against multiple titles. In 2023, complaints about 100 or more works were recorded by the ALA in 11 states, compared to six last year and none in 2021. The most sweeping challenges often originate with such conservative organizations as Moms for Liberty, which has organized banning efforts nationwide and called for more parental control over books available to children.

“There used to be a roughly one-to-one ratio, where a parent would complain about an individual book, like in the days when many were objecting to Harry Potter,” Caldwell-Stone says. “Now you have people turning up at meetings and asking that 100 titles be removed.”

The ALA released its numbers in advance of its annual banned books week, Oct 1-7, when libraries highlight challenged works. Earlier this year, the association issued its annual top 10 list of the books most objected to in 2022, many of them featuring racial and/or LGBTQ themes. Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer” topped the list, followed by George Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.”

 



Attacks against teachers and librarians have been ongoing in 2023.

At Chapin High School in South Carolina, some students alleged that a teacher made them feel “ashamed to be Caucasian” for assigning Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me,” an open letter to his son about police violence against Black people that won the National Book Award in 2015. The school removed the book from the syllabus.

In Fort Royal, Virginia, the county board of supervisors is planning to drastically cut funding for the Samuels Public Library in response to conservative complaints about books with gay, lesbian and transgender characters. Iowa Gov Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill which calls for books depicting sex acts to be removed from school libraries.

Some attacks have affected the library association itself. The ALA’s opposition to bannings has led some communities to withdraw their membership, including Campbell County in Wyoming and a local library in Midland, Texas. Missouri officials announced the state would be leaving the ALA at a time when recent laws limited access for young people to books considered inappropriate for their age.

“I think this trend is going to continue,” Caldwell-Stone says, “at least for as long these groups want to go after whole categories of books.”

[Source: Hillel Italie, AP News, Sept 2023]

 

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Challenges to Library Books Continue at Record Pace in 2023, American Library Association Reports

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Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas Law Targeting Books and Librarians

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How Teachers Are Being Silenced on LGBTQ Issues and More

Georgia Teacher Fired for Reading Gender-Inclusive Book to Students

Info: LGBTQ Books and Authors

 

California Store Owner Fatally Shot Over Pride Flag Displayed in Her Shop
 

A business owner was fatally shot in August 2023 after someone allegedly took issue with a Pride flag she had displayed at her clothing store in Lake Arrowhead, California.  She was 66 years old.

Deputies responded to the shooting at the Mag Pi clothing store, where owner Laura Ann Carleton was pronounced dead, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department said. The suspect, who was not identified, ran away. “Through further investigation, detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.”

 

 
 

Lauri Carleton was an LGBTQ ally. She flew a rainbow flag. And she is dead because of it.  As senseless and shocking as her murder is, it is not surprising. It is the rotten, putrid fruit of MAGA America and all it stands for and aspires to. Violence targeting the LGBTQ community and those who support them is not a random aberration, it is the logical progression. When you continually label queer people as predators, when you repeatedly accuse teachers of being groomers, when you declare drag shows and gay clubs as societal threats, when you intentionally target transgender children and their parents, when you perpetually traffic in irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric designed to generate irrational fear of LGBTQ people—this is the likely outcome.
-John Pavlovitz


The Mag Pi store website described Carleton as a mother of nine who has been married to the same man for 28 years. Carleton, who went by the name Lauri, had studied at the Art Center School of Design and had had a long career in fashion, including 15 years as an executive at Kenneth Cole, the site said.

Fellow members of the Mountain Provisions Cooperative, said of her, “She was our dear friend, mom to many, ally, organizer, entrepreneur and soul of our co-op.  She was a pillar in our community, an immovable force in her values for equality, love and justice. If you knew Lauri, you know she loved hard, laughed often, and nurtured and protected those who she cared about."

Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ said that Carleton did not identify as a member of the queer community but was an advocate for everyone in the community. “Lauri’s unwavering support for the LBGTQ community and her dedication to creating a safe space within her shop touched the lives of many,” the organization said. “Her untimely passing in a senseless act of violence has left us all deeply saddened.'


[Source: Doha Madani, NBC News, August 2023]

 

ABC News: California Store Owner Shot Dead in Dispute Over Displaying Pride Flag
Pink News: Well-Respected Woman Shot Dead After Dispute Over LGBTQ Pride Flag
Huffpost: California Woman Fatally Shot For Displaying Pride Flag Outside Her Store
NBC News: California Store Owner Fatally Shot Over Pride Flag Displayed in Her Shop
NPR: California Store Owner Shot and Killed Over a Pride Flag Displayed at Her Shop
Newsweek: Store Owner Shot Dead by Man Angered at Her Rainbow Flag
 

 

 

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