LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

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LGBTQ Milestones We’re Thankful For This Year

Celebrities Who Came Out in 2021
Republican Senator Accuses Dr. Anthony Fauci of Overhyping HIV on World AIDS Day

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Says Fauci Overhyped COVID-19 Like He Did AIDS

Stephen Sondheim, Musical Theater Legend, Dead at 91

We Stand With You: Honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance
Biden Marks Deadliest Year on Record for Transgender Americans on Day of Remembrance

NPR: US Navy Commissions Ship Named After Slain Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk

Election Day Produces LGBTQ Firsts Around the Nation

Dr. Rachel Levine Is Now First Trans 4-Star Admiral in US History

Doritos Day of the Dead Commercial With Queer Couple Goes Viral
Joe Biden Sends Love to LGBTQ People for National Coming Out Day


 

If Abortion Rights Go, So Could Gay Marriage
Trans Jeopardy Contestant Makes History
Landmark Year for US Cities in Advancing LGBTQ Equality
Kimi Cole Aims to Be First Trans Politician to Win Statewide Race
Lambda Legal Secures Social Security Survivor's Benefits for Same-Sex Partners

Doritos and Dia de Muertos: Nunca Es Tarde Para Ser Quien Eres

Colin Powell Dies: Supporter and Then Critic of Don't Ask Don't Tell
LGBTQ Affirming Oreo Ad: Proud Parent

As States Pursue Wave of Anti-LGBTQ Laws, Cities Move in Opposite Direction
 

 

Top LGBTQ News Sources

Huff Post|Queer Voices

Advocate Magazine

LGBTQ Nation

Pink News

Lavender Magazine

Rainbow Times

Pride Magazine

Trans Equality

Lesbian News

Gay Men's News
Out|Gay News

Curve Lesbian Magazine

Buzzfeed|LGBTQ

LGBTQ&A Apple Poscast

NBC News|NBC Out

Edge Media Network

Queerty

On Top Magazine

Gayety

Washington Blade

Autostraddle

Gay Star News

Towleroad

Out Magazine

Queerspace Magazine

Alturi LGBTQ World News

Reuters LGBTQ News

 

 

Stephen Sondheim, Musical Theater Legend, Dead at 91

The gay composer and lyricist of greats like
Into the Woods and Company died suddenly after reportedly spending Thanksgiving with friends. Out songwriter and composer Stephen Sondheim died November 2021 at the age of 91. Sondheim’s work reshaped American musical theater and has influenced generations of songwriters.

His death was announced by his lawyer and friend, Richard Pappas, according to The New York Times. Pappas said Sondheim wasn’t known to be ill, and his death was sudden. The Broadway legend had spent Thanksgiving with some friends, Pappas said.

 



Sondheim’s success stretched from the 1950s, writing lyrics for
West Side Story, to the 1990s, writing for such musicals as Assassins and Passion. The first Broadway show that he wrote the music and lyrics for was the 1962 comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. It won a Tony Award for best musical.

The Times noted that the 1970s and 1980s were his “most productive” years. His works in those decades included
Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Into the Woods, and Sunday in the Park With George.

“If you think of a theater lyric as a short story, as I do, then every line has the weight of a paragraph,” he wrote in his 2010 book
Finishing the Hat, which was the first volume of his collection of lyrics and comments.

Sondheim majored in music at Williams College in Massachusetts, going on to study with avant-garde composer Milton Babbitt after graduation, reports the Associated Press.

 



According to a 2013 HBO documentary,
Six by Sondheim, he liked to write his music lying down and would occasionally have a cocktail to help him write. He also revealed in the documentary, directed by frequent collaborator James Lapine, that he only fell in love after he turned 60. Most recently, he had been in a relationship for several years with Jeff Romley.

In April of 2020, at the height of lockdowns, musical theater luminaries came together in a virtual event to celebrate Sondheim’s momentous birthday with Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration. The event was hosted by Raúl Esparza and included performances from Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, Ben Platt, Jake Gyllenhaal, Beanie Feldstein, Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin, and Katrina Lenk, among so many others. The comedic showstopper of the evening arrived courtesy of Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald, and Meryl Streep, who delivered a boozy “The Ladies Who Lunch.”

During a 2010 event renaming the Henry Miller Theatre on Broadway as the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Sondheim said, “I’m deeply embarrassed. I’m thrilled, but deeply embarrassed,” according to the AP. “I’ve always hated my last name. It just doesn’t sing.”

[Source: Alex Cooper, Advocate Magazine, November 2021]
 

Stephen Sondheim, Musical Theater Legend, Dead at 91

Musical Theater Master Stephen Sondheim Dies at 91

Stephen Sondheim, Master of Musical Theater, Dead at 91
Remembering Stephen Sondheim: The Best There Ever Was
Stephen Sondheim, Legendary Broadway Composer and Lyricist, Dies at 91
 

We Stand With You: Honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance began over two decades ago, and the number of names to be remembered has grown each year, with the past few years seeing an epidemic of violence against transgender people, especially trans women of color. This year, with six weeks remaining, at least 46 transgender people have been murdered, making it the deadliest year since the Human Rights Campaign began tracking the murders in 2013.

Many of these murders qualify as hate crimes, but the reporting of hate crimes and the enforcement of hate crime laws are woefully inadequate. In turn, the Deep South (where transgender people face significant barriers to equality) remains a hotbed of hate against the trans community, demonstrating the intersection of bias based on sex, race and gender identity.

 



Today the Southern Poverty Law Center recognizes the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors those who have lost their lives to hate crimes and denounces the surge of violent attacks against the transgender community in recent years. “Far too many of our transgender friends and family members are taken from us as a result of bigotry and prejudice, and there are anti-transgender hate and extremist groups whose goal it is to erase transgender people,” said Scott McCoy, interim deputy legal director for LGBTQ Rights and Special Litigation at the SPLC. “This day is important because it reminds us to recognize and appreciate the humanity and dignity of transgender people, and it forces us to acknowledge the hatred that confronts transgender people on a daily basis.”

Nikole Parker, director of transgender equality for Equality Florida, says that the number of murders resulting from anti-trans hate is likely higher than is known, as victims are often misnamed and misgendered. “As a Black, trans woman, this is definitely terrifying,” Parker said. “We want to live authentically and in our truth, and the fact that we’re still being targeted is horrifying. This is a scary time, where people feel like they could kill you for just being you.”
 

To respond to bias against the transgender community, Equality Florida and the SPLC are working in the legal, legislative and education arenas to ensure that LGBTQ people achieve full equality under the law and are protected from hate crime. “There needs to be a lot more public education on how dangerous and deadly this violence is,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida’s public policy director. “We’re actively working to provide public education around transgender rights in venues across Florida, and we’re mobilizing our work by reaching out to lawmakers to call attention to this issue.”

 

Even in 2021, the LGBTQ community and especially the transgender community, encounter discrimination in many aspects of their lives, including the education system, the immigration system, the economic and social safety net system, the health care system and the criminal justice system. “This oppression and discrimination are compounded for many LGBTQ people with the intersection of sexism and racism,” McCoy said. “Discrimination is particularly acute for transgender women of color, which causes them to experience the highest rates of poverty and violence, including murder, of LGBTQ people and at much higher rates than the cisgender population.”

Today is a day when the violence must be recognized. “Even though we lost these individuals, we remember who they were and how they lived,” Parker said. “I want lawmakers to see and to listen – to understand that I’m a human, too. I don’t want to die because someone doesn’t understand my identity.”

 



As one of its initiatives, Equality Florida works with local law enforcement and prosecutors to treat hate crime victims with dignity while investigating and prosecuting their attackers. “We train law enforcement to improve cultural competency around the LGBTQ community and particularly the transgender community amid this atmosphere of fear and distrust,” Maurer said. “But these aren’t one-and-done events. It’s an ongoing process of educating law enforcement, and we want those cultural competencies to be ingrained into their practice every day.”

LGBTQ youth, especially transgender and nonbinary youth, have become particular targets in the culture war being waged by hate groups and extremists, making them more vulnerable to hate violence. “Opponents of equality vilify the transgender community due to misinformation that allows them to play on fear,” Maurer said. “Equality Florida is working to humanize the transgender experience by taking the lead to eliminate the ‘gay/trans panic defense,’ a legal tool that essentially shifts blame from a perpetrator of violence to an LGBTQ victim. Fifteen states have already banned this, but the law is still active in Florida.”

In 2009, Equality Florida helped build vital support among Florida’s representatives in Congress to pass the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, even though a number of Florida Republicans voted against the measure. The Act added gender, sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories protected under the federal hate crime law. “I think it’s incredibly important to recognize that we have protections for the LGBTQ community,” Maurer said. “Often our opponents will try to mark them as special rights, but we’re really just seeking equality. We want the same shot at life and happiness as everyone else does. And because there are systemic barriers, we have to turn to policy solutions in some cases to make sure we have protections.”

The SPLC has urged the Biden administration to prioritize investigating hate crimes committed against transgender people and enforcing laws intended to protect the transgender community. And each year the SPLC lobbies the Florida Legislature to pass a bill to include gender identity and disability in the list of protected characteristics under the state’s hate crimes statute. “All of our work to recognize transgender people, vindicate their rights and combat anti-transgender hate and extremist groups has the effect of raising awareness of and familiarity with the transgender community on the part of the general public,” McCoy said. “Such awareness leads to greater acceptance and understanding and has the effect of shifting the cultural narrative that transgender people exist and are worthy of dignity and respect.”

For Parker, today is an extremely difficult day. “We’re mourning,” she said. “We’re losing them; they’re being shot 20 times, their eyes are being gouged out. These are real things happening to our community. This is an important day, but it’s a very tough day, because it always reminds me that no matter what I try to do, no matter how much good I try to do, someone will look at me as the enemy simply for living my truth.”

 

To combat the injustices and violence against the transgender community, Parker said it’s important to be a good ally. “I always tell people to educate yourself about transgender people, to do research and challenge your friends and family,” she said. “When transgender subjects come up in conversations, I encourage people to ask others why they believe what they do. People have preconceived notions and being an ally can get them to see things differently.”

Because people play on fear and lack of understanding toward the transgender community, getting to know a transgender person and understanding their challenges can be incredibly important. “Conversations can change the hearts and minds of others, and ultimately they can change policy for the better,” Maurer said.

As the nation remembers those lost, today serves as a reminder that the cost of complacency and inaction is much too high. “For the SPLC, this day is also a demonstration of the intersectionality of bias and the need for solidarity among communities feeling the impact of hate,” McCoy said. “On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we say to the transgender community: We see you. We remember you. We love you. We stand with you.”

[Source: Liz Vinson, Southern Poverty Law Center, Nov 2021]
 

We Stand With You: Honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance
Brilliant, Bold, Brave: Trans People Who Made Waves in 2021
2021 Now Deadliest Year on Record with 45 Trans Victims of Lethal Violence

Biden Marks Deadliest Year on Record for Transgender Americans on Day of Remembrance
Non-Stop Horrific News for the Trans Community

Trans People in Survival Mode: Increased Violence and Anti-Trans Laws

Trans Activist Tells the Queer Community: Show Up for Us
 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

Swiss Voters Approve Same-Sex Marriage In Nationwide Referendum

National Coming Out Day: People Who Came Out in 2021
LGBTQ History Month: Must-Read Books About Queer History

Biden at UN: We Must Defend Rights of LGBTQ Individuals

Liz Cheney Says She Was Wrong In Opposing Same-Sex Marriage
Police Depts Across US Mandating LGBTQ Training
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' Wedding Marks 1st Same-Sex Marriage Of Sitting Governor

Advocate: Shepard Smith Discusses Being Token Gay at Fox News for 25 Years

First Out Trans Bishop Installed by Lutheran Denomination

Statue of Trans Icon Marsha P Johnson Erected in New York City Park
Pete Buttigieg Announces He and Husband, Chasten, Are Now Parents
Carl Nassib is First Active NFL Player to Come Out as Gay

Victory for Transgender Student: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Bathroom Dispute

Nevada Pageant Winner Becomes First Transgender Miss USA Contestant

20 States Sue Over Biden Administration's LGBTQ Rights Guidelines

 

US Navy Launches New Ship Honoring Harvey Milk
 

The US Navy has launched a ship named after a gay rights activist forced to resign from the service because of his sexuality in the 1950s. The USNS Harvey Milk was launched in San Diego in November 2021 in a service attended by Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Milk's nephew, Stuart.

It is one of six new ships to be named after famed US civil rights leaders. Others include former Chief Justice Earl Warren and slain presidential candidate Robert Kennedy.

Milk served as a diving officer and Lieutenant aboard the submarine rescue ship USS Kittiwake during the Korean War. But he was forced out of the service following two weeks of interrogation about his sexuality in 1955.

 



He later became one of America's first openly gay politicians, elected in 1977 to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. But a year later he was shot and killed by Dan White, a former city supervisor with whom he had frequently clashed.

Speaking at the ceremony, Secretary Del Toro said that it had been wrong that Milk had been forced to "mask that very important part of his life" during his time in the Navy. "For far too long, sailors like Lt. Milk were forced into the shadows or, worse yet, forced out of our beloved Navy," Del Toro said. "That injustice is part of our Navy history, but so is the perseverance of all who continue to serve in the face of injustice."

When the Obama administration first announced its intention to name a ship after Milk in 2016 some expressed opposition to the move. They suggested that Milk would have disapproved of lending his name to a Navy ship given his well known opposition to the Vietnam War.

[Source: BBC, November 2021]

 

BBC: US Navy Launches Ship Named for Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk
NPR: US Navy Christens Ship Named After Slain Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk
Advocate: US Navy Launches Ship Honoring Harvey Milk

USA Today: Navy Christens Ship USNS Harvey Milk, Named After Gay Rights Activist
CNN: US Navy Launches Ship Named for Gay Rights Activist Harvey Milk
LGBTQ Nation: Navy Officially Launches Ship Named After Gay Trailblazer Harvey Milk

NBC: Navy Launches Ship Named for Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk
Video: Navy Launches Ship Named for Pioneering Gay San Francisco Leader Harvey Milk

 

Election Day Produces LGBTQ Firsts Around the Nation

State and local elections in Nov 2021 yielded some notable LGBTQ firsts and some important reelections.

Detroit elected its first out queer woman to its City Council. Gabriela Santiago-Romero, who grew up in the city after immigrating from Mexico, was elected from District 6, easily defeating Hector Santiago (no relation); there was no incumbent in the race. She is a Democrat, but City Council elections are officially nonpartisan. A longtime community organizer, she is the first Latinx woman from the LGBTQ community to be elected in the state of Michigan.

Cleveland also elected its first out queer female City Council member, Rebecca Maurer. She narrowly beat incumbent Tony Brancatelli in Ward 12 in a nonpartisan race. She is a lawyer who has focused on housing and consumer law. In Ward 3, incumbent Kerry McCormack, a gay man, was reelected, defeating challenger Ayat Amin.

 


Transgender man Dion Manley became the first out trans person elected in Ohio by winning an at-large seat on the Gahanna-Jefferson City Schools Board in the suburbs around Columbus. There were just five other trans men in elected office around the nation; one of them, Phillipe Cunningham of the Minneapolis City Council, lost his bid for reelection.

In Pennsylvania, Xander Orenstein won their race for the Allegheny County Magisterial District Court and became the first nonbinary person elected to a judicial position in the United States. In Massachusetts, Thu Nguyen was elected to the Worcester City Council, becoming the first nonbinary person in elected office in that state. Orenstein and Nguyen join nine other out nonbinary elected officials in the US.

Christopher Coburn, a queer man, was elected to the Bozeman City Commission in Montana, making him the first Black member of the LGBTQ community to be elected in that state. Coburn was appointed to the commission in April to fill a vacancy left by Michael Wallner’s resignation, while having to run for election in November to determine if he would serve the remaining two years of Wallner’s term. Coburn is one of just seven out LGBTQ elected officials in Montana.

 




While Cunningham was not reelected in Minneapolis, Black trans woman Andrea Jenkins easily won reelection to the City Council there. She and Cunningham were both originally elected in 2017. She represents Ward 8, which includes George Floyd Square.

“In the wake of George Floyd’s death, it was Councilor Jenkins who led the fight for racial and social justice,” JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, said in a press release. “She understands firsthand the challenges facing transgender people today, especially transgender women of color. She has never stopped fighting on behalf of those on the margins of society and against the systemic racism and injustices that pervade our world. We congratulate her on her victory tonight. We look forward to continuing to work with her in the years to come.”

[Source: Trudy Ring, Advocate, November 2021]
 

US Will Now Have 1,000 Out Elected Officials in Historic First
LGBTQ Candidates Celebrate Historic Election Firsts Across the Country
After Election, More Than 1,000 LGBTQ Officials Will Serve in the US
Election Day Produces LGBTQ Firsts Around the Nation

Most of Salt Lake City’s City Council Will be LGBTQ People Now
Danica Roem Reelected in Virginia: Longest-Serving Out Trans Official
There are Only 5 Black Trans Elected Officials Across the Entire United States
 

Dr. Rachel Levine Is Now First Trans 4-Star Admiral in US History

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in Oct 2021 that the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer across any of the eight uniformed services of the United States.

Admiral Rachel Levine, who serves as the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health and head of the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, was ceremonially sworn in as a four-star admiral. Admiral Levine now serves as the highest-ranking official in the USPHS Commissioned Corps and its first-ever female four-star admiral. Admiral Levine will lead 6,000 Public Health Service officers who are dedicated to serving our nation’s most underserved and vulnerable populations.

 



HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said that making Levine an admiral is a proud moment for HHS. “She is a highly accomplished pediatrician who helps drive our agency’s agenda to boost health access and equity and to strengthen behavioral health,” Secretary Becerra explained. “She is a cherished and critical partner in our work to build a healthier America.

In response to becoming a four-star officer, Levine said, “This is a momentous occasion, and I am both humbled and pleased to take this role for the impact I can make, and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes. May this appointment be the first of many like it as we create a more inclusive future.”

In a recent interview, Levine provided an update to all the work she’s been doing during the first six months of her tenure as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services. “I’m very much enjoying the job. We have a fantastic staff, and Secretary Becerra is wonderful, sincere, and compassionate. I love collaboration, and that collaboration for the issues we’re working on extends all the way up to the president and vice president, and that’s something that Americans of every stripe should take great comfort with.”

[Source: John Casey, Advocate, Oct 2021]

 

Call Her Admiral Rachel Levine Now
Dr. Rachel Levine Is Now First Trans 4-Star Admiral in US History
Rachel Levine, Nation’s Highest-Ranking Openly Transgender Official, Sworn in as Four-Star Admiral
Dr. Rachel Levine: First Transgender Four-Star Officer Across All Uniformed Service Branches
 

What's Going On In Texas?

How ignorant, irresponsible and hateful can Texas become?  For starters, Texas has Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott and lots of other conservative republican politicians.  Texas is pro-gun and anti-abortion.  Texas doesn't believe in the climate crisis.  But, it had a huge power outage, caused by unexpected severe weather, which it handled badly.  Texas banned vaccine and mask mandates.  Texas pretty much banned all abortions.  Texas now officially has more legislative control over vaginas than guns. Texas is also anti-LGBTQ.  Texas is trying to restrict trans youth from high school sports.  And now, surprise surprise, they're trying to remove transgender protections....

 

 

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has been accused of removing a web page featuring information about a suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth after one of Gov. Greg Abbot’s primary challengers criticized him for having it up.

Challenger Don Huffines posted a video where he accused the child welfare agency of “promoting transgender sexual policies to Texas youth.” The web page was quickly removed. “These are not Texas values, these are not Republican Party values, but these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values,” Huffines said.  The website for the Texas Youth Connection, part of Family and Protective Services, was also taken down. The site pointed young people in foster care not only to the resources found on the LGBTQ web page but also to housing and education assistance.

 



In a recent tweet, Huffines boasted about the web page’s removal. “I told Texans I would get this DFPS website taken down and stop Greg Abbott from using our tax dollars to promote transgender ideology,” Huffines wrote. He added that the reporting about the removal “shows I kept my promise.”  And “We’re just getting started,” he wrote. While the governor’s office declined to comment on the removal of the webpage, public records requests by the Houston Chronicle show the office had discussed the page after Huffines’s initial social media post.

A spokesperson for Family and Protective Services, Patrick Crimmins, contacted the person who oversaw the page, Darrell Azar. “Darrell — please note we may need to take that page down, or somehow revise content,” wrote Crimmins. “The state is responsible for these kids’ lives, yet it intentionally removed a way for them to find help when they need it the most,” said Ricardo Martinez, chief executive of advocacy group Equality Texas, according to the Associated Press. “This action is unconscionable, and it reminds us that political aspirations are part of every attack on LGBTQ kids in Texas.”



 

Texas has pushed several anti-LGBTQ bills this year. One is heading to a final vote soon and would ban trans student athletes from joining sports teams that align with their gender identity. Earlier this year, Abbott asked the child welfare agency’s commissioner to determine if gender affirmation surgery on minors was child abuse. The commissioner released a memo agreeing with Abbott.  LGBTQ advocates point out that such surgeries are extremely rare for youth.

The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, stated that the organization had received more than 4,000 crisis contacts from trans and nonbinary youth in Texas this year. That number is a 150 percent jump from last year. “The Trevor Project’s crisis counselors have been hearing from transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas who are scared and worried about anti-trans laws being debated in their state — and some have even expressed suicidal thoughts. This is a crisis,” the Trevor Project’s CEO and executive director, Amit Paley, said in a release at the time.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, the Trevor Project’s counselors are available 24/7 at (866) 488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

[Source: Alex Cooper, Advocate, October 2021]

 

Texas House OK's Anti-Trans Sports Bill, Senate Passage Likely
Texas Removes Access to Youth LGBTQ Suicide Hotline and Resource Page

Human Rights Campaign Condemns Texas House Passage of Discriminatory Anti-Trans Sports Ban
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Orders Ban on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement of Texas Abortion Law
Texas Lawmaker Argues Same-Sex Marriage Is Still Illegal in the State
Lawmaker Wants Texas to Allow People Option Not to Recognize Marriage Equality
Texas School District Suspended Male & Nonbinary Students For Having Long Hair
Trans Lives Are Precious: Trucks With a Message for Texas Politicians

 

Joe Biden Sends Love to LGBTQ People for National Coming Out Day

Today, we celebrate National Coming Out Day and the courage of LGBTQ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self. Today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are – regardless of whether or not you’ve come out.

My Administration is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ people can live openly, proudly, and freely in every corner of our nation. I am proud to lead an Administration with LGBTQ officials serving openly at the highest levels of government — and prouder that together we have made historic progress advancing protections and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ community. From acting on Day One to prevent and combat discrimination, to enabling all qualified Americans – including transgender Americans – to serve their country in uniform, to defending the human rights of LGBTQ people around the world, my Administration has been clear that we will continue to champion the dignity, equality, and wellbeing of the LGBTQ community.

 



Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ people everywhere. From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.

To LGBTQ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you. My Administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect you deserve.

[Source: President Joe Biden, October 2021]
 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

Sept 11 Tribute: Firsthand Witness to America’s Greatest Attribute
Bruce Springsteen: Performs at September 11 Memorial

Two Gay Champions: Saint of 9-11 and Hero of Flight 93
Paul Simon: September 11 Tribute on SNL

Remembering Fearless Gay Hero Mark Bingham
Saturday Night Live: September 11 Tribute

Supporters Push for Gay Priest Who Died on 9-11 to Be Made a Saint
Bruce Springsteen: My City of Ruin

Rugby Star, 9-11 Hero Mark Bingham Leaves Lasting Legacy 20 Years After United Flight 93 Crash
Paul Simon 9-11 Tribute: Sounds of Silence

How Mark Bingham Left a Legacy On and Off the Rugby Field

Record Number of Out LGBTQ Athletes at Tokyo Summer Olympics
NPR Report: LGBTQ Adults Facing Hunger At Twice Rate As Others
James Hormel, First US Ambassador to Come Out as Gay, Dies at 88
Ariel Nicholson: Makes History as First Trans Model on Cover of Vogue

 

Liz Cheney Admits She Was Wrong to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney has said she was “wrong” to oppose marriage equality in the past. The 55-year-old has represented Wyoming’s at-large congressional district since 2017 and is up for re-election in 2022.

While previewing her campaign on 60 Minutes (Sept), she made a surprise detour into comments she made in 2013 against same-sex marriage, which fuelled a rift between her and her sister Mary, who is gay.  Liz told 60 Minutes: “I was wrong, I was wrong."

“I love my sister very much. I love her family very much and I was wrong. It is a very personal issue and very personal for my family. I believe that my family was right. “My sister and I have had that conversation.”

Shocked 60 Minutes host Leslie Stahl replied: “Wow, I was not expecting that.”

“Freedom means freedom for everybody,” Cheney added, quoting her father, former vice president Dick Cheney, who had previously voiced support for marriage equality.

 



Liz Cheney, who was stripped this year of her position as the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representation for her rallying against Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud, said recently that meeting a trans woman helped give her perspective on her approach to LGBTQ rights.

“We were at an event a few nights ago,” she recalled, “and there was a young woman who said she doesn’t feel safe sometimes because she’s transgender. “Nobody should feel unsafe,” she insisted.

Liz Cheney spoke out against same-sex marriage in 2013, during an unsuccessful run for Senate. During a spot on Fox News she said he believed “in the traditional definition of marriage” – despite her own sister being a lesbian. “I love Mary very much,” Liz said, “I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree.”

Mary, who is married to Heather Poe and was involved in the Supreme Court effort to legalize marriage equality in California, responded with a public social media post at the time. Writing in a 2013 Facebook post, Mary said her sister opposing her right to marry the person she loves left her feeling like a “second-class citizen”.  She wrote, “Liz, this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree. You’re just wrong.  And on the wrong side of history.”  She later told The New York Times that she would never reconcile with Liz unless she changed her position on marriage equality. The pair had not spoken for months even before her comments.

Overall, support for LGBTQ rights (and marriage equality in particular) has steadily risen in recent years among Republican supporters. Just 30 per cent of Republicans in 2013 were in favor of it. By June 2021, a thumping 55 per cent proudly said they support marriage equality, according to a Gallup poll.

[Source: Josh Milton, Pink News, Sept 2021]


NPR: Liz Cheney Says She Was Wrong In Opposing Same-Sex Marriage
NBC: Rep. Liz Cheney Says She was Wrong to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage
People: After Rift with Gay Sister, Liz Cheney Now Admits She Was Wrong to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage
ABC: Dick Cheney's Daughter Marries Her Partner
Advocate: Mary Cheney Says Sister Liz is Dead Wrong on Marriage Equality
 

Biden at United Nations: We Must Defend LGBTQ Rights

President Joe Biden addressed world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in Sept 2021, where he spoke about the need to protect the rights of LGBTQ people around the world. “We all must defend the rights of LGBTQI individuals so they can live and love openly without fear,” Biden said

“As we pursue diplomacy across the board, the United States will champion the democratic values that go to the very heart of who we are as a nation and a people — freedom, equality, opportunity and a belief in the universal rights of all people,” he added. In his speech, Biden specifically spoke about LGBTQ rights violations in Chechnya and Cameroon. For years, Chechen authorities have organized lethal crackdowns against LGBTQ people in the Russian republic. Earlier this year the Russian LGBTQ Network reported that Chechen men forcibly returned a man to the republic from Moscow and interrogated him about LGBTQ people in the area.

 



Human Rights Watch reported in April 2021 that authorities in Cameroon had arrested, beaten, or threatened around 24 people for allegedly participating in same-sex conduct or gender nonconformity. The organization noted one person was made to take an HIV test and an anal examination. “These recent arrests and abuses raise serious concerns about a new upsurge in anti-LGBTQ persecution in Cameroon,” said Neela Ghoshal, HRW's associate LGBTQ rights director, at the time. “The law criminalizing same-sex conduct puts LGBTQ people at a heightened risk of being mistreated, tortured, and assaulted without any consequences for the abusers.”

The Biden administration has been open about prioritizing LGBTQ rights in its foreign policy, a shift from the previous administration.  Around 69 UN member states still criminalize consensual same-sex activity, according to the international LGBTQ rights groups ILGA. The group found that at least 34 countries still enforce these policies in 2020.

[Source: Alex Cooper, Advocate, Sept 2021]

Biden at UN: We Must Defend Rights of LGBTQ Individuals
Biden Highlights LGBTQ Rights in UN General Assembly Speech
President Biden Includes LGBTQ Rights In United Nations Address
President Biden Calls for Increased LGBTQ Rights and Equality Around the Globe at UN General Assembly
 

20th Anniversary: Remembering Gay Hero Mark Bingham
 

Mark Bingham (1970-2001) was a gay American rugby player, public relations executive, and founder of the Bingham Group. During the September 11 attacks in 2001, he was a passenger on board United Airlines Flight 93. Bingham was among the passengers who, along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, formed the plan to retake the plane from the hijackers, and led the effort that resulted in the crash of the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, thwarting the hijackers' plan to crash the plane into a building in Washington DC, most likely either the Capitol Building or the White House. Bingham's heroic efforts on United 93, as well as his athletic physique, have been noted for having diminished the gay stereotype.

 


 

On the morning of September 11, Bingham overslept and nearly missed his flight, on his way to San Francisco to be an usher in his fraternity brother Joseph Salama's wedding. He arrived at Newark International Airport at 7:40 am, ran to the gate, and was the last passenger to board United Airlines Flight 93, taking a seat next to passenger Tom Burnett.

United Flight 93 was scheduled to depart at 8:00 am, but the Boeing 757 did not depart until 42 minutes later due to runway traffic delays. Four minutes later, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower. Fifteen minutes later, at 9:03 am, as United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, United 93 climbed to cruising altitude, heading west over New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. At 9:25 am, Flight 93 was above eastern Ohio, and the pilots received an alert on their ACARS device, "Beware of cockpit intrusion." Three minutes later, air traffic controllers could hear screams over the cockpit's open microphone. Moments later, the hijackers took over the plane's controls and told passengers, "Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board". Bingham and the other passengers were herded into the back of the plane. Within six minutes, the plane changed course and headed for Washington DC.

 



After the hijackers veered the plane sharply south, the passengers decided to act. Bingham, along with Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, formed a plan to take the plane back from the hijackers. They relayed this plan to their loved ones and the authorities via telephone. Bingham stated, "This is Mark. I want to let you guys know that I love you, in case I don't see you again, I'm on United Airlines, Flight 93. It's being hijacked." Alice Hoagland, Mark's mother, said that her son spoke "confidentially" with a fellow passenger, to form a plan to retake the plane. And the call cut off after about three minutes. Hoagland, after seeing news reports of the plane's hijacking, called him back and left two messages for him, calmly saying, "Mark, this is your mom. The news is that it's been hijacked by terrorists. They are planning to probably use the plane as a target to hit some site on the ground. I would say go ahead and do everything you can to overpower them, because they are hellbent. Try to call me back if you can." Bingham, Burnett, and Glick were each more than 6 feet tall, well-built and fit. They were joined by Todd Beamer, Lou Nacke, Rich Guadagno, Alan Beaven, Honor Elizabeth Wainio, Linda Gronlund, and William Cashman, along with flight attendants Sandra Bradshaw and Cee Cee Ross-Lyles who stormed the cockpit and in an effort to take over the plane.

According to the 9-11 Commission Report, after the plane's voice data recorder was recovered, it revealed pounding and crashing sounds against the cockpit door and shouts and screams in English. "Let's get them!" a passenger cries. A hijacker shouts, "Allah akbar!" ("God is great"). Jarrah repeatedly pitched the plane to knock passengers off their feet, but the passengers apparently managed to invade the cockpit, where one was heard shouting, "In the cockpit. If we don't, we'll die." At 10:02 am, a hijacker ordered, "Pull it down! Pull it down!" The 9-11 Commission later reported that the plane's control wheel was turned hard to the right, causing it to roll on its back and plow into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles an hour, killing everyone on board. The plane was 20 minutes away from its suspected targets in Washington DC.

 

Remembering Fearless Gay Hero Mark Bingham, Who Saved Hundreds of Lives on 9-11
Rugby Star, 9-11 Hero Mark Bingham Leaves Lasting Legacy 20 Years After United Flight 93 Crash
How Mark Bingham Left a Legacy On and Off the Rugby Field
9-11 Flight 93: Mark Bingham's Mother Speaks
Mark Bingham: Biographical Notes
 

LGBTQ Heroes of Sept 11

Father Mychal Judge.  New York Fire Department Catholic chaplain Judge, 68, was killed while ministering to a fallen firefighter at Ground Zero.

Mark Bingham, 31, a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania, helped to thwart the plane’s hijackers. September 16 is officially designated Mark Bingham Day in San Francisco.

Michael Lepore, 39, was a project analyst at Marsh & McLennon. He is survived by his partner of 18 years, David O’Leary.

 

Carol Flyzik’ was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, It was the first of two to crash into the World Trade Center. Flyzik, who was a registered nurse and a member of the Human Rights Campaign, is survived by Nancy Walsh, her partner of nearly 13 years.

David Charlebois, the co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. Charlebois was a member of the National Gay Pilots Association. Charlebois is survived by Tom Hay, his partner of almost 13 years.

Graham Berkeley, 37, a native of England who lived in Boston, boarded United Airlines Flight 175 on Sept. 11 on his way to a conference in Los Angeles. His plane became the second hijacked airliner to crash into the World Trade Center.

Ronald Gamboa, 33, and his partner of 13 years, Dan Brandhorst, 42, were traveling with their 3-year-old adopted son, David. Brandhorst and Gamboa were founding members of the Pop Luck Club, an L.A. organization for Gay men interested in adopting children.

 

James Joe Ferguson, 39, director of geography education outreach for the National Geographic Society, was on American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon.


John Keohane was killed by falling debris. Keohane worked at One Liberty Plaza near the World Trade Center and died when the towers collapsed. After the planes hit the Trade Center towers, Keohane met Mike Lyons, his partner of 17 years, on the street when Keohane was suddenly killed by falling debris. Tragically, Lyons committed suicide March 1, 2002, on his 41st birthday.

“Roxy Eddie” Ognibene, member of the Renegades of New York’s Big Apple Softball League, worked as a bond trader for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods on the 89th floor of WTC 2 and was tragically lost in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack.

Luke A. Dudek, Was a food and beverage controller at Windows on the World. Dudek is survived by his partner of 20 years, George Cuellar. Dudek’s first day back to work in New York was Sept. 11. He died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Catherine Smith, 44, who worked on the 97th floor of one of the World Trade Center towers.

 

Waleska Martinez, 37, a computer whiz in the Census Bureau’s New York office, was aboard flight 93 that crashed outside Shanksville, PA.

Jeffrey Collman, flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the north tower. He is survived by Keith Bradkowski, his partner of 11 years.
 


Eugene Clark, worked on the 102nd floor of the south World Trade Center tower. He sent his partner Larry Courtney a voice message stating “I’m OK. The plane hit the other tower. And we’re evacuating.” Clark was never seen by his partner again.

Andrew LaCorte. worked in One WTC and was killed instantly when the first plane hit. At the time he had no partner but is remembered and missed by his many friends and family.

Renee Barrett, Renee was injured in the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, died on October 18 of her injuries. Barrett was a member of the Gay Metropolitan Community Church of New York. She leaves behind her life partner Enez Cooper and her 18-year-old son, Eddie.

Seamus O’Neal, also lost his life in the attacks on the World Trade Center. He is survived by his partner Tom Miller.

Patricia McAneney was the fire marshal of her floor in the first World Trade Center tower. She is survived by Margaret Cruz, partner of 18 years.

Pamela Boyce, was at work on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower when it was struck. She is survived by Catherine Anello her partner.
 

The Stories of 9-11's LGBTQ Heroes
Remembering the LGBTQ Victims and Heroes of 9-11
Two Gay Champions: Saint of 9-11 and Hero of Flight 93
Supporters Push for Gay Priest Who Died on 9-11 to Be Made a Saint

Remembering Gay Co-Pilot of Flight 77
First Officer David Charlebois Fought for LGBTQ Recognition and Helped Change Company Culture
National Gay Pilots Association
 

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' Wedding Marks 1st Same-Sex Marriage Of Sitting Governor

Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis wed his longtime partner in Sept 2021, marking the first same-sex marriage of a sitting United States governor.

In 2018, Polis became the first openly gay man ever elected governor in the US. A decade earlier, he was the first openly gay man elected to the US House. "Over the course of Jared's career in Congress, you know, we didn't set out to be the first of anything. Things sort of happened that way," said his now-husband, Marlon Reis.

 



As recently as 2014, same-sex marriage was prohibited in Colorado. The US Supreme Court made gay marriage legal across the country in 2015. "As I was growing up, marriage was not even in the realm of possibility," Reis said. "And in fact, the reality was that there was a lot of misinformation out there about what could potentially happen if you came out — what opportunities would you lose, how it would negatively impact you. So for a long time, the idea of getting married, we didn't talk about it."

Both men are now in their 40s. Polis noted the stereotypes that came along with being gay when he was younger. "When people thought of gay people, they thought of AIDS, unfortunately," he said. 'That was, I think, in both of our cases our parents' first fears, they were like, 'Oh, I hope you don't get AIDS. Be careful.' That's the main thing you knew about gay people in the '80s and '90s."

The couple was married in a traditional Jewish ceremony at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Polis and Reis decided to hold their wedding on a significant day to them personally: the 18th anniversary of their first date. They picked CU-Boulder because that's where Reis graduated from college. "We met online and went out on a date and we went to the Boulder bookstore and then went to dinner," Polis said.

 

During the ceremony, the couple's 7-year-old daughter served as the flower girl; their 9-year-old son was the ring bearer. Polis said their daughter was probably more thrilled than anyone about the wedding. "She was all in on being a flower girl. She's been prancing around. She got a great dress. She's terrific." Their son was also happy, but more ambivalent about it all. "Kids are so modern that their responses to things are sometimes funny. Our son honestly asked us, 'Why do people get married?' " Reis said.  He said he explained the legal rights afforded to married couples and that it's an "expression of the caring that you feel for one another."

Practically speaking Reis has been considered the state's first gentleman since Polis took office, but Polis said the wedding meant the world to them. "People could say we took 18 years to get around to it, or you could say we took six years to get around to it," said Polis, counting back from the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. "But it was great to celebrate our love for one another with our family."

[Source: Bente Birkeland, National Public Radio, Sept 2021]

 

NPR: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' Wedding Marks 1st Same-Sex Marriage Of Sitting Governor

CNN: Colorado Governor Weds Longtime Partner in First Same-Sex Marriage for Sitting Governor
Advocate: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis Marries Husband in Historic First for Nation
Denver Post: Jared Polis, First Openly Gay Elected Governor, Marries Longtime Partner Marlon Reis
People: Colorado Governor's Wedding Makes History
 

Record Number of Out LGBTQ Athletes at Tokyo Summer Olympics

At least 168 publicly out gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and nonbinary athletes are headed to Tokyo for the Summer Olympic Games, more than triple the number who participated at the 2016 Rio Games.

The number of publicly out LGBTQ athletes in Tokyo is also greater than the number athletes who have participated in all of the previous Olympic Games (Summer and Winter) combined while publicly out. The massive increase in the number of out athletes reflects the growing acceptance of LGBTQ people in sports and society. The rise of social media, especially Instagram, has given athletes a forum where they can live their lives openly and identify directly with their followers.

 



In contrast, Outsports counted 23 publicly out Olympians in 2012 and 56 in 2016 at those Summer Games. “Competing at the Olympics as an openly gay athlete is pretty amazing,” Canadian swimmer Markus Thormeyer told Outsports. Thormeyer was not out when he competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics and came out publicly as gay in a 2020 essay for Outsports. “Being able to compete with the best in the world as my most authentic self at the biggest international multi-sport games shows how far we’ve come on inclusion in sport. I’m hoping that by competing at these Games I can show the LGBTQ community that we do belong and we can achieve anything we put our minds to.”

His comments were echoed by Elissa Alarie, a Canadian rugby player. We originally did not have Alarie on our list, but she contacted us and told us she was LGBTQ (she also gave us the names of three out teammates whom we also added). “Growing up in a small French town in Quebec, I didn’t know or even know of a single LGBTQ person or athlete until I was older,” Alarie said. “I hope the increased visibility can give young people a sentiment of belonging and encourage communities to be inclusive and welcoming.”

 



This year at least 27 different countries will be represented by at least one publicly out athlete in 30 sports, including the first trans Olympians. The United States has the most out athletes at these Olympics, with the more than 30 out athletes we know of about a fifth of all the attendees on the list. Team USA is currently followed in the number of publicly out LGBTQ athletes by Canada (17), Britain (16), Netherlands (16), Brazil (14), Australia (12) and New Zealand (10). We will update the numbers as we learn more about the current Olympic athletes. These numbers include reserve athletes who have been practicing with the team and are traveling to Tokyo with the team.

Women on the list outnumber men by about a 8-1 margin, with women’s soccer having more than 40 out players. This continues a trend seen at past Olympics and is reflective of out athletes in elite non-Olympic sports where women also proliferate.

[Source: Outsports, July 2021]

 

Outsports: Record Number of Out LGBTQ Athletes at Tokyo Summer Olympics

BuzzFeed: Tokyo Olympics is Gayest Games Ever

NBC News: Over 160 LGBTQ Athletes Competing ion Tokyo Olympics

Olympic Athletes: Out and Proud

ESPN: Tokyo Olympics is Most Inclusive Event for LGBTQ Athletes

Reuters: More LGBTQ Athletes Than Ever at Tokyo Olympics

Time: Record Number of LGBTQ Athletes Competing in Tokyo Games

Today: Erica Sullivan is Witty, Charming, and Gay


 

Current LGBTQ News

 

Biden and Buttigieg Celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month

US Adds Third Gender Option to American Passports

Special Pride Message From President and First Lady

How LGBTQ Pride Will March On In 2021
Music, Movies, Media: Celebrate LGBTQ Pride

Message From Pulse Shooting Survivor Brandon Wolfe

Biden's Message to Trans Youth: Your President Has Your Back
Pulse Nightclub Site to be Designated a National Memorial

Biden Revives LGBTQ Protections Against Healthcare Discrimination

Biden Announces Two Judicial Nominees Who Are Lesbians

Deidre Downs: Miss America and Her Wife are Having a Baby

State Department to Allow X Gender Markers on US Passports
NBC: Alan Turing is First Gay Man on a British Bank Note

Sesame Street Features Married Gay Couple with Daughter

How Joe Biden Became the Most LGBTQ-Friendly in US History

Evangelicals Trying to Survive the Rainbow Onslaught

CNN: Support for Same Sex Marriage Reaches Record High

Metro Weekly: Most Republicans Now Support Same-Sex Marriage

Biden Selects Trans and Lesbian Officials for Dept of Defense

Global Survey: 1 in 5 Young Adults Are Not Straight

Advocate: Britain Unveils Bank Note Honoring Alan Turing

 

Infamous Homophobe Anita Bryant's Granddaughter is a Lesbian

Meet Sarah Green!  She is the granddaughter of Anita Bryant!  She is a lesbian and she's getting married!  Sarah Green's grandmother is one of the best-known anti-LGBTQ activists in history, so she might not invite her to her wedding. In the 1970s, former Miss America contestant and singer Anita Bryant spearheaded a virulent anti-gay crusade that cost her dearly.

The granddaughter of arch anti-LGBTQ activist Anita Bryant is getting married to another woman, and she doesn’t know whether to invite her homophobic grandmother to her wedding. Bryant’s granddaughter Sarah Green said that her grandmother refused to even believe that she’s gay after she came out on her 21st birthday. The 81-year-old Christian conservative activist is still praying for Green to find a husband.

Now Green is getting married. Like many queer people, she’s not sure whether to invite her grandmother. But unlike most people, her grandmother organized one of the first major anti-LGBTQ campaigns in the country, accusing gay people of being pedophiles.

 

Bryant won the 1958 Miss Oklahoma pageant and was a brand ambassador for the Florida Citrus Commission, but she’s best known for mounting the infamous “Save Our Children” campaign in the 1970s to repeal a local ordinance in Dade County, Florida, that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Bryant focused on gay teachers, saying that gay people are child molesters who go into teaching to hurt kids. “Homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they must recruit,” she said, also saying that gay people were “human garbage.”

“What these people really want, hidden behind obscure legal phrases, is the legal right to propose to our children that theirs is an acceptable alternate way of life,” she said in 1977. “I will lead such a crusade to stop it as this country has not seen before.” And she did. Jerry Falwell Sr. flew to Florida to help out as she put together the first major anti-LGBTQ campaign, coming up with arguments and tactics that would be used by anti-LGBTQ activists for decades.

That didn’t stop her granddaughter Sarah Green from coming out to her on her 21st birthday. Green said that Bryant sang “Happy Birthday” to her and told her that she would have a husband one day. “And I just snapped and was like, ‘I hope that he doesn’t come along because I’m gay, and I don’t want a man to come along,'” Green said.
 

Bryant then told her granddaughter that homosexuality doesn’t exist. Robert Green (Sarah Green’s father and Anita Bryant’s son) said that his mother’s “face froze” when his daughter came out. “All at once, her eyes widened, her smile opened, and out came the oddest sound: ‘Oh,'” he said. “Instead of taking Sarah as she is, my mom has chosen to pray that Sarah will eventually conform to my mom’s idea of what God wants Sarah to be.”

“It’s very hard to argue with someone who thinks that an integral part of your identity is just an evil delusion,” Green said. “She wants a relationship with a person who doesn’t exist because I’m not the person she wants me to be.” She said she doesn’t know if she should invite her grandmother, unsure whether Bryant will be offended if she’s left off the invitation list. “I think I probably will eventually just call her and ask if she even wants an invitation, because I genuinely do not know how she would respond,” she said. “I don’t know if she would be offended if I didn’t invite her.”

[Source: Alex Bollinger, LGBTQ Nation, July 2021

 

Advocate: Another Pie in the Face for Anita Bryant

Edge Media Network: Anita Bryant's Lesbian Granddaughter to Wed
LGBTQ Nation: Anita Bryant's Granddaughter is Marrying a Woman

 

Senate Confirms Historic LGBTQ Nominees to Defense Department


In July 2021, he US Senate confirmed two groundbreaking LGBTQ appointees to the Department of Defense by unanimous consent.  Gina Ortiz Jones was confirmed as undersecretary of the Air Force, becoming the first out lesbian to be an undersecretary of any branch of the military. Shawn Skelly was confirmed as assistant secretary of defense for readiness, making her the highest-ranking out transgender person in Defense Department history and only the second trans person ever confirmed by the Senate (Dr. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, was the first).

 



Jones and Skelly are among more than 200 LGBTQ political appointees put forth by President Joe Biden. Both sailed through their confirmation hearings last month without controversy.

Jones was an intelligence officer in the Air Force and was deployed to Iraq during the war there, serving under “don’t ask, don’t tell.” After leaving the Air Force, she worked for the federal government as an adviser on intelligence and trade, with agencies including the Defense Intelligence Agency and Office of the US Trade Representative.

She was the Democratic nominee for the US House of Representatives from Texas’s 23rd Congressional District, which stretches from El Paso to San Antonio, in 2018 and 2020, losing narrowly to incumbent Republican Will Hurd in 2018 and by a somewhat larger margin to Republican newcomer Tony Gonzales in 2020.

 



A Filipina-American, she is the first woman of color to be an undersecretary of a military branch and the second member of the LGBTQ community. Eric Fanning, a gay man, was undersecretary of the Air Force for two years during President Barack Obama’s administration, then became secretary of the Army.

Skelly served 20 years as a naval flight officer, retiring with the rank of commander, and then in 2013 joined the Obama administration as the first trans veteran appointed by a U.S. president. Her positions included special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics at the Department of Defense and ultimately as the director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

She most recently worked for CACI International, a company that provides technology and expertise for national security purposes, and she is cofounder and vice president of Out in National Security, an advocacy group for LGBTQ people in the military, defense contracting, and related areas. She was also part of the Biden transition team.

“Gina and Shawn served their country when living openly could result in discharge and a lost career, so their ascension to key leadership positions is a powerful moment for those service members who served or continue to serve in silence,” said Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, in a press release. “Their confirmation will transform perceptions of LGBTQ people within the ranks of the U.S. military, but also among the leaders of militaries we work with around the world. While they were confirmed because of their unquestionable qualifications and experience, they symbolize our continued progress and will further disrupt any lingering notion that LGBTQ people are somehow unfit to serve.”

 



“The Biden team is building the most LGBTQ-inclusive administration in U.S. history and the impact it will have on policies and legislation is enormous,” added Ruben Gonzales, Victory Institute executive director. “Gina and Shawn will join at least a dozen other out Defense Department appointees who understand the challenges LGBTQ service members face and will make their well-being a priority. Our military, like our government, is strongest when it reflects the diversity of the people it serves and ensures all are treated with dignity and respect. Gina and Shawn are shattering lavender ceilings that will encourage more LGBTQ people to consider public service.”

Another out Defense Department nominee is awaiting a confirmation hearing — lesbian Sue Fulton, a retired US Army captain who is nominated to be assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs.

Victory Institute, a sister organization to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, provides training and leadership development to LGBTQ people who aspire to elected or appointed political office. Its Presidential Appointments Initiative has recommended and advocated for numerous qualified candidates for positions in the Biden administration, including Jones and Skelly.

 

[Source: Trudy Ring, Advocate, July 2021]

 

Senate Confirms Historic LGBTQ Nominees to Defense Department

Skelly and Jones Confirmed by US Senate: LGBTQ Firsts

Dr. Rachel Levine Confirmed for Assistant Health Secretary

Reggie Greer: White House Senior Advisor on LGBTQ Issues

Trump's Judicial Appointments Will Impact LGBTQ Rights Beyond Presidency
Biden Appoints Two Gay Men to Key Roles in His Administration

Most Pro-Equality President in History: Biden’s Ambitious LGBTQ Agenda
Biden Administration to be Most LGBTQ-Inclusive in US History
Biden Picks Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation

Trans Physician Rachel Levine: Biden's Choice for HHS Assistant Secretary

Jeff Marootian: Biden's New Environmental Advisor is Gay

Sarah McBride: Makes History as First Openly Trans State Senator

Gay Man Carlos Elizondo Named Biden's White House Social Secretary

 

American Passports Will Now Have Third Gender Option

Nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming Americans will be able to choose a gender option other than “male” or “female” when applying for a US passport, the State Department announced in June 2021.
Passport applicants will be able to self-select their gender without providing supporting medical documentation.

The policy change is part of the department’s effort to take “further steps toward ensuring the fair treatment of LGBTQ US citizens, regardless of their gender or sex,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

 



It is not yet known when the third gender marker, reportedly to be an “X,” will be available. Blinken said the department is currently “evaluating the best approach to achieve this goal” and noted that adding a gender option “is technologically complex and will take time.”

Once the US has a third gender option in place, it will join a growing number of countries with such a passport option, including Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Nepal and New Zealand.

In the more immediate term, US passport applicants will be able to self-select their gender and will no longer be required to provide medical documentation if their gender identity does not match the gender marker on their other identity documents.

The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, applauded the upcoming policy changes, saying they will “decrease the risk of discrimination, harassment, and violence for an already vulnerable group.”

 

“This is an important step towards achieving meaningful progress for LGBTQ equality in America, and will empower and enable millions of citizens to travel domestically and internationally with greater confidence that the United States recognizes their gender identity,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement. He also called for the US to “encourage other nations to adopt inclusive policies that support non-binary and transgender people.”

[Source: Brooke Sopelsa, NBC News, June 2021]

 

Lambda Legal: State Department Allows X Gender Markers on US Passports

NBC  News: US Adds Third Gender Option to American Passports

Advocate: US State Dept Introduces Gender Neutral Passports

Them: US State Dept Allows X Gender Markers on Passports

NPR: US Adds Third Gender Option On Passports
 

Nevada Pageant Winner Becomes First Transgender Miss USA Contestant

Kataluna Enriquez, who was crowned Miss Nevada USA in June 2021, will become the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant. With a platform centered on transgender awareness and mental health, Enriquez, 27, beat out 21 other contestants at the South Point Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. “I didn’t have the easiest journey in life,” she said. “I struggled with physical and sexual abuse. I struggled with mental health. I didn’t have much growing up. I didn’t have support. But I’m still able to thrive, and I’m still able to survive and become a trailblazer for many.” After her win, Enriquez thanked the LGBTQ community, writing, “My win is our win. We just made history. Happy Pride.”

In March 2021, Enriquez, who previously competed in trans-specific pageants, became the first transgender woman crowned Miss Silver State USA, the main preliminary for Miss Nevada USA. During the pageant’s question-and-answer segment, Enriquez said being true to herself was an obstacle she faced daily. “Today I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I’ve learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than,” she said. “I know that my uniqueness will take me to all my destinations, and whatever I need to go through in life.”

 



Enriquez, who is Filipina American, designs her own outfits, including a rainbow-sequin gown she wore Sunday night in honor of Pride Month “and all of those who don’t get a chance to spread their colors,” she explained.  "Pageantry is so expensive, and I wanted to compete and be able to grow and develop skills and create gowns for myself and other people," Enriquez said.

She will represent Nevada at the 2021 Miss USA pageant, being held November 2021 at the Paradise Cove Theater at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Miss Universe pageant system, of which Los Angeles-based Miss USA is part, began allowing transgender entrants in 2012. If she is crowned Miss USA, Enriquez will be the second trans contestant in a Miss Universe pageant, after Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018.

 

Miss America, a separate organization headquartered in New Jersey, did not immediately reply to an inquiry about whether transgender women or nonbinary individuals are allowed to compete in its annual competition. As of 2018, the pageant was reportedly only open to “natural born women,” according to the Advocate.

In February, a federal judge upheld the right of another organization, Nevada-based Miss United States of America, to bar transgender contestants from its pageant.

[Source: Dan Avery, NBC News, June 2021]

 

Advocate: First Trans Contestant to Compete in Miss USA

NBC News: Nevada Pageant Winner Becomes First Tansgender Miss USA Contestant

Washington Post: Kataluna Enriquez Dreamed of Seeing a Transgender Miss USA Contestant
Miss Nevada USA Winner Makes History: 1st Trans Woman to Hold the Title
2021 Miss Nevada Winner is First Transgender Woman Crowned in Pageant's History
 

Biden and Buttigieg Celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month

 

President Joe Biden celebrated Pride Month at the White House in June 2021, a reflection of the growing stature of the LGBTQ community at the highest level of government. “Pride Month represents so much,” Biden said. “It stands for courage. The courage of all those in previous generations and today who proudly live their truth. Stands for justice. Both the steps we’ve taken and the steps we need to take. And above all, Pride Month stands for love.”

 



Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay person confirmed to a Cabinet post, joined the president and first lady in the White House's East Room and also gave remarks. “Us even being here proves how much change is possible in America," Buttigieg said. “So many lives have been changed, saved by the sustained advocacy, the moral resolve, the political courage of countless LGBTQ leaders and allies, some elected, some invisible, some long gone, some in this room right now.”

A White House hallway was lit in the colors of the rainbow flag, a symbol of the LGBTQ movement, and Biden said he takes the hallway each day as he goes between the residence and the Oval Office. Also on display was a candle carried during the AIDS vigil and a pair of sandals owned by Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was fatally beaten in 1998 and whose death inspired new hate crime laws.
 

Also on Friday, Biden named Jessica Stern as a special diplomatic envoy at the State Department for LGBTQ rights. Her responsibilities will involve ensuring that US diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect LGBTQ rights around the world. Stern is currently executive director of OutRight Action International, which defends human rights and works to prevent abuses of LGBTQ people. In her new role, Stern will help put in place a presidential memorandum to advance the rights of LGBTQ people as well as bring together like-minded governments, nonprofits and corporations to uphold equality and dignity, according to the White House.

 


The focus also carries personal resonance for many in the Biden administration. Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House's principal deputy press secretary, tweeted out her own story about coming out to her mother at the age of 16 and the revolted look in response that left her sexuality a family secret for many years. “I’m proud to be an out Black Queer woman and I have been for quite some time,” she wrote. “I’m happy to say, my Mother is now proud of ALL of who I am; she loves my partner and she loves being a doting grandmother to the daughter we are raising.” Jean-Pierre added that her journey toward acceptance was not easy, but it was worthwhile.


Biden also signed into law a measure that designates the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, as a national memorial. A mass shooting at the gay nightclub in June 2016 left 49 people dead and 53 wounded in what was the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in US history.

[Source: Josh Boak and Darlene Superville, Associated Press, June 2021]

 

Biden and Buttigieg Celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month

Biden Marks Pride Month With Speech Recognizing LGBTQ Legislators
Biden Recognizes LGBTQ Pride Month
 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

President Biden's Pro-LGBTQ Timeline
Arkansas Lawmakers Enact Trans Youth Treatment Ban

State Rep. Park Cannon: Black Queer Lawmaker Arrested in Georgia

Arkansas Governor Signs Bill Allowing Medical Workers to Refuse Treatment to LGBTQ People

Record Number of Anti-Trans Bills Introduced in States This Year

29 States File Bills to Ban Trans Athletes in Sports

Police Officer Defends Trans Daughter Against Anti-Trans Legislation

New Poll: 73 Percent of People Support Trans Kids in Sports

Mother Testifies Against Anti-Trans Legislation in Texas

Father of Trans Daughter Testifies Against Trans Youth Athlete Ban

Troubling Rise in Business Owners Refusing LGBTQ Customers

Caitlyn Jenner Launches Bid for California Governor

Dr. Rachel Levine Confirmed for Assistant Health Secretary

Advocate: Salute to Amazing LGBTQ Women of 2021

GLAAD Media Awards: Who Are the Big Winners?

Alan Turing's Face Is Now on a New £50 Note in United Kingdom

Leyna Bloom: Makes History on Cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

New Poll: 75% of Americans Support LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Laws

LGBTQ Celebrities Who Came Out in 2020

Reggie Greer: White House Senior Advisor on LGBTQ Issues

Lindsey Graham: Aggressive Opponent of LGBTQ Civil Rights Bill

Japanese Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Ban is Unconstitutional

 

Carl Nassib: NFL Football Player Comes Out as Gay

 

Las Vegas Raiders lineman Carl Nassib just made sports history by becoming the first active player in the National Football League to come out as gay (or anywhere on the LGBTQ spectrum, for that matter).

Nassib made the announcement on Instagram and quickly put his money where his mouth is, announcing a donation to and partnership with the Trevor Project, which aids LGBTQ youth in crisis.

“What’s up, people?” Nassib said in a video post. “I’m at my house in West Chester, Pa. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest. I really have the best life, the best family, friends, and job a guy can ask for.

 


 

“I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are not necessary, but until then I will do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project. They’re an incredible organization, they’re the number one suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America and they’re truly doing incredible things. I’m very excited to be a part of it and help in any way that I can, and I’m really pumped to see what the future holds.”

Nassib, 28, has played with the Raiders for two years and has been in the NFL six years overall, including stints with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Nassib played college football at the University of Pennsylvania.

While other NFL players have come out after retiring, Nassib is the first active out player in the league. Michael Sam famously came out after finishing his college career at the University of Missouri and was drafted into the NFL but never made a team roster.

Nassib is getting support. “The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told Outsports in a statement. “Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis issued this statement: “Carl Nassib’s powerful coming out is a historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave LGBTQ athletes who came before him. As an accomplished athlete who is now the first out gay active player in the NFL, Carl Nassib’s story will not only have a profound impact on the future of LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in sports, but sends a strong message to so many LGBTQ people, especially youth, that they too can one day grow up to be and succeed as a professional athlete like him.”

[Source: Neal Broverman, Advocate Magazine, June 2021]

 

Advocate: First Active NFL Player Has Come Out

NBC: Carl Nassib Comes Out Publicly as Gay

LGBTQ Nation: Raiders' Carl Nassib Comes Out

CBS: Carl Nassib Comes Out as Openly Gay NFL Player

OutSports: NFL World Supports Carl Nassib

CNN: Carl Nassib is First Active NFL Player to Come Out as Gay

NFL News: Raiders DL Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player to Come Out as Gay

Time: Carl Nassib is First Active NFL Athlete to Come Out as Gay

USA Today: Who is Carl Nassib?

Bio: Carl Nassib

 

Trans Students Protected by Title IX

 

The US Department of Education announced, in June 2021, that transgender students protected at school by Title IX. This moved reverses the GOP-authored guidance that said those students were not protected by any federal laws.

The announcement from the Department of Education comes not only during Pride Month, but also during a national debate over whether transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in sports that match their gender identities. Such debates have prompted a wave of anti-trans legislation from GOP-led state legislatures.

“Today, the Department makes clear that all students (including LGBTQ students) deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination – and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections."

 



The interpretation of the law reverses guidance issued under former President Donald Trump. That administration, in turn, had rescinded guidelines that said Title IX applied to discrimination based on gender identity.

"This is a day that transgender kids and their families have been waiting for," said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality. The Biden administration, Heng-Lehtinen said, "will defend their right to fully participate in school."
 

The news comes one year after the Supreme Court ruled gay and transgender workers are protected by the Civil Rights Act, legislation that bans discrimination in the workplace. The Education Department's interpretation says gay and transgender students will have those same protections in schools. The new guidance is particularly important for students in places where state-level protections for transgender youth don’t exist, said Christy Mallory, legal director at the University of California-Los Angeles’ Williams Institute, which conducts research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy.

According to research by GLSEN, an LGBTQ youth advocacy organization, more than half of all states lack comprehensive guidance concerning transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming students.

 



Title IX guidance changed under Obama, Trump, and Biden. Former President Barack Obama's administration made clear to schools in 2016 that Title IX, a 1972 law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in schools, protected transgender students. In 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidance that spelled out schools' legal responsibilities. The Trump administration also threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that allowed transgender students to participate in school sports.

Trump's secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, also suggested the Office of Civil Rights, a branch of the Department of Education, would not investigate discrimination complaints from transgender students. None of those actions changed the law, but they created confusion.

The June 2021 notice clarifies that confusion by reminding public schools of their obligation under Title IX to provide safe and non-discriminatory environments to LGBTQ students, said Paul D. Castillo, a lawyer and students' rights strategist at Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization that defends LGBTQ people. And it signals the Office of Civil Rights will review their complaints with the same vigor as other complaints, he added.

[Source: Erin Richards, Alia Wong, Lindsay Schnell, USA Today, June 2021]


USA Today: Transgender Students Protected at School by Title IX

Advocate: Education Dept Will Protect Students From Anti-LGBTQ Bias

NBC News: Education Dept Says Title IX Protects LGBTQ Students

LGBTQ Nation: Biden Administration Extends Title IX Protections to LGBTQ Students

CBS News: Title IX Protection Extended to Trans Students

 

New Awesome Toy: LGBTQ Lego Set

 

Kind of awesome: A new rainbow Lego set arrives just in time for Pride Month.

You’ve heard of “Everything Is Awesome,” the catchy theme song of the “Lego Movie” franchise. Now get ready for “Everyone Is Awesome,” a new, rainbow-colored Lego set introduced by the toy company ahead of LGBTQ Pride Month, the first ever LGBTQ-themed set. The 346-piece collection, available for purchase starting June 1, includes a different figurine for each color of Lego’s rainbow: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue, purple, light blue, white and pink. Lego said that the model was inspired by the classic rainbow flag, an enduring symbol of solidarity for the LGBTQ community.

 



“Everyone is unique, and with a little more love, acceptance and understanding in the world, we can all feel more free to be our true AWESOME selves!” said Matthew Ashton, Lego’s vice president of design. “I am fortunate to be a part of a proud, supportive and passionate community of colleagues and fans. We share love for creativity and self-expression through LEGO bricks and this set is a way to show my gratitude for all the love and inspiration that is constantly shared.”

 

“I wanted to create a model that symbolizes inclusivity and celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love," Matthew Ashton said in a press release. “Everyone is unique, and with a little more love, acceptance and understanding in the world, we can all feel more free to be our true awesome selves! This model shows that we care, and that we truly believe ‘Everyone is awesome!'”

 

"Having LGBTQ-inclusive toys creates a space for families to let LGBTQ children know that they are loved and accepted," Joe Nellist, from the UK's LGBT Foundation.

 

Social media erupted with joy for the product, despite past criticism claiming LGBTQ Pride merchandise had become an overly commercialized space. "You know what. I like this one," wrote one person.

[Source: Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times; Zamira Rahim, CNN; Alexander Kacala, NBC Today; May 2021]

CNN: Lego Unveils First LGBTQ Set Ahead of Pride Month
LA Times: New Rainbow Lego Set Arrives Just in Time for Pride Month
NBC Today: Lego Announces 1st Rainbow Set for LGBTQ Pride Month
The Guardian: Lego Launches First Set with LGBTQ Theme

USA Today: New Lego Set Proclaims Everyone is Awesome

Biden Bans Discrimination Against LGBTQ People in Healthcare

 

"No one should ever be denied access to health care because of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
-President Joe Biden

 

"So now it's clear. There is no ambiguity. You cannot discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

-Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra

 

The US will protect gay and transgender people against sex discrimination in healthcare, the Biden administration announced in May 2021, reversing a Trump-era policy that sought to narrow the scope of legal rights in sensitive situations involving medical care.

The action by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) affirms that federal laws forbidding sex discrimination in healthcare also protect gay and transgender people.

 



The Trump administration had defined “sex” to mean gender assigned at birth, thereby excluding transgender people from the law’s umbrella of protection.

“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,“ the HHS secretary, Xavier Becerra, said in a statement. “Everyone – including LGBTQ people – should be able to access healthcare, free from discrimination or interference, period.”

Becerra said the Biden administration policy will bring HHS into line with a landmark supreme court decision last year in a workplace discrimination case, which established that federal laws against sex discrimination on the job also protect gay and transgender people.

Despite that ruling, the Trump administration proceeded to try to narrow the legal protections against healthcare discrimination, issuing rules that narrowly defined “sex” as biological gender. A federal judge had blocked those rules from taking effect, although Trump administration officials argued that as a legal matter healthcare discrimination was a separate issue from the employment case the supreme court decided.

 

The action means that the HHS Office for Civil Rights will again investigate complaints of sex discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Hospitals, clinics and other medical providers can face government sanctions for violations of the law.

The Biden administration action essentially restores policy established during the Obama years. The Affordable Care Act included a prohibition on sex discrimination in healthcare and the Obama administration had interpreted that to apply to gay and transgender people as well. It relied on a broad understanding of sex shaped by a person’s inner sense of being male, female, neither or a combination.

[Source: Associated Press, May 2021]

 

Biden Revives LGBTQ Protections Against Healthcare Discrimination
US Bans Sex Discrimination Against LGBTQ People in Healthcare
Biden Administration Prohibits Anti-LGBTQ Health Care Discrimination

Arkansas Governor Signs Bill Allowing Medical Workers to Refuse Treatment to LGBTQ People

Conscience Rule Will Threaten LGBTQ Healthcare

Hospitals Make Tremendous Strides Toward LGBTQ Inclusive Care

Trump's Military Ban Ignores Science to Inflict Harm

Transgender Health Protections Reversed By Trump Administration
Trump Administration Exacerbating LGBTQ Healthcare Discrimination

 

Biden Affirms LGBTQ and Trans Youth in Speech to Congress

President Joe Biden stood up for transgender rights and called on the Senate to pass the Equality Act in a historic speech before a joint session of Congress.

 

“I hope Congress can get to my desk the Equality Act to protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans,” Biden told Congress while discussing major initiatives that are being held up in the Senate. Then he specifically addressed trans youth: “To all the transgender Americans watching at home — especially the young people who are so brave – I want you to know that your president has your back.”

 



Biden’s mention of transgender people comes at a time when dozens of states across the country are considering bills to reduce transgender rights, attacking trans youth’s rights to health care and to participate in school sports. The Biden administration’s position is that these laws are already illegal under federal law, and he signed an executive order stating that Title IX’s ban on discrimination “on the basis of sex” in education bans discrimination against LGBTQ students as well. Civil rights groups say that they are preparing to file federal lawsuits to overturn these state laws.

The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal civil rights legislation, extending anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people. The bill passed in the House mostly along party lines and is stalling in the Senate, where Senate rules currently require 60 votes for the bill to proceed and Democrats only control 50 seats. Signing the bill into law in his first 100 days in office was the Biden-Harris campaign’s main promise to LGBTQ voters, and those voters turned out for him and were necessary for his victory. Today is the 100th day of his presidency, though, and there’s no sign that the Senate will pass the bill in the near future.

 



LGBTQ organizations praised Biden for renewing the call to pass the Equality Act. “The fact that President Biden will spotlight the inequalities LGBTQ Americans face every day and call for passage of the Equality Act speaks volumes about how important this legislation is and how much this new Administration is doing to ensure full equality and acceptance,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “LGBTQ lives are on the line, and it’s time for the U.S. Senate to take action and send the Equality Act to the president’s desk for his signature.”

His speech was also noteworthy because, for the first time in U.S. history, the leaders of the House and the Senate who sat behind him while he addressed a joint session of Congress were both women. “Madame Vice President,” he said, referring to Vice President Kamala Harris. “No president has ever said those words from this podium, and it’s about time.”

[Source: Alex Bollinger, LGBTQ Nation, April 2021]


Biden Affirms LGBTQ and Trans Youth in Speech to Congress
President Biden Acknowledges Trans Americans During Speech to Congress
Biden to Transgender Americans: Your President has Your Back
Biden's Message to Trans Youth: Your President Has Your Back
Biden Made a Lot of Progress on LGBTQ Rights in First 100 Days
President Biden's Pro-LGBTQ Timeline
Improving the Lives and Rights of LGBTQ People in America
 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

Advocate: Salute to Amazing LGBTQ Women of 2021

Senate Majority Leader Schumer Talks About the Equality Act
PBS Documentary: Famous Gay Neurologist Oliver Sacks

GLAAD Media Awards: Who Are the Big Winners?

Transgender Day of Visibility: Celebrating Our Existence and Fighting for Our Rights

First Presidential Proclamation of Transgender Visibility Day

New Survey: Most Young People Are Supportive of Transgender Peers

Dutch Couple Celebrates 20th Anniversary of World's First Same-Sex Marriage

Alan Turing's Face Is Now on a New £50 Note in United Kingdom

Leyna Bloom: Makes History on Cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

New Poll: 75% of Americans Support LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Laws

LGBTQ Celebrities Who Came Out in 2020

Time Magazine: Elliot Page Is Ready for This Moment

Reggie Greer: White House Senior Advisor on LGBTQ Issues

Lindsey Graham: Aggressive Opponent of LGBTQ Civil Rights Bill

Japanese Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Ban is Unconstitutional

 

Gay and Bi Teen Boys Are Coming Out to Parents in Record Numbers

Generation Z teenagers have been more open to family members about their sexual identities than the generations that preceded them. But hurdles still remain. A record-breaking number of gay and bisexual teenage boys are out to their parents.

A new study, published in the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity journal, shows that 66 percent of those in this demographic (ages 13 to 18) are out to their mothers, while 49 percent are out to their fathers. This is a marked uptick from older generations. In the 1990s, for example, 40 percent of boys were out to mothers and less than 30 percent were out to fathers, the study noted. The study polled nearly 1,200 teenage boys attracted to those of the same gender from January 2019 to January 2020 as part of an HIV prevention survey. People born between 1998 and 2018 are classified as Generation Z.

 

 

While the findings were encouraging to researchers, lead author David A. Moskowitz, Ph.D., noted there were still hurdles to overcome. "This study is encouraging in that it shows that many teens, including those under 18 years old, are comfortable with their sexuality," said Moskowitz, an assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University's Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. "At the same time, we must be cautious, as the data also point to some of the same barriers and discrimination that previous generations have faced. Work still needs to be done."

To wit, among this demographic, the level of comfort with being out to parents varied based on factors like race, identity, and religion. White participants were more likely to be out than Black participants; gay participants were more likely to be out than bisexual participants; and those who were less religious were more likely to be out than those who were more. "This gives us an understanding of the factors that move teenagers to share this type of information with the people closest to them," Moskowitz said. "We can now compare these practices with how other generations deal with these issues and think about what it all means for future generations."

 



Moskowitz noted that the study will open doors to more research about sexuality within Generation Z, including views on coming out among young women. "This study provides a road map for such an effort," Moskowitz said. "In the meantime, these findings should be helpful to those who work with teenagers identifying as sexual minorities."

 

[Source: Daniel Reynolds, Advocate Magazine, April 2021]
 

Study: Gay & Bi Teen Boys Are Coming Out to Parents in Record Numbers
Survey: More Than 1 In 3 LGBTQ Youth Experience Discrimination At Work
Many LGBTQ Youth Don’t Identify with Traditional Sexual Identity Labels
Trevor Project: 40 Percent of LGBTQ Youth Considered Suicide in the Past Year
Survey: More Than Half of LGBTQ Youth Have an Eating Disorder
Research Update: Crucial Role of Community Members in the Lives of LGBTQ Youth
 

Arkansas Lawmakers Ban Treatment for Transgender Youth

 

In April 2021, The Arkansas legislature overrode Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of a bill denying gender-affirming health care to minors, making Arkansas the first state with such a law. And American Civil Liberties Union officials said they were preparing a lawsuit.

Hutchinson had vetoed House Bill 1570, saying it was overly broad. It bans not only gender-confirmation surgeries (which doctors do not recommend for minors anyway) but also hormone treatments and puberty blockers. “If this was just to ban gender reassignment then I would support it, but those who are taking treatment are not grandfathered in, this is not the right path to put them on,” the Republican governor said. “While the population of minors dealing with this is an extreme minority, this could lead to significant harms from suicide to drug use to isolation,” he added.

 



But the Arkansas House of Representatives voted 71-24 to override Hutchinson’s veto, and the Arkansas Senate voted 25-8 to do so. Civil rights groups immediately condemned the legislature’s action. “Today Arkansas legislators disregarded widespread, overwhelming, and bipartisan opposition to this bill and continued their discriminatory crusade against trans youth,” said a statement from Holly Dickson, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas. “As Governor Hutchinson noted in his veto message, denying care to trans youth can lead to harmful and life-threatening consequences. This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over — and we’re in it for the long haul. Attempting to block trans youth from the care they need simply because of who they are is not only wrong, it’s also illegal, and we will be filing a lawsuit to challenge this law in court. We are hearing from concerned families all over the state who are afraid about the impact of this bill and others like it. We are committed to doing all we can to support these families and ensure they know how to continue to fight for their rights and get the care and resources they need.

“No matter what these politicians do or say, one thing has not changed: trans youth are loved, they are seen, and we will never stop fighting to defend their dignity, their rights and their lives. To everyone who spoke out against this bill: now is the time to stay loud, not only for trans lives, but for all the fundamental rights that politicians are hellbent on attacking.”

 



“The Arkansas Legislature has ignored dozens of local doctors and national medical experts, as well as trans youth and their parents,” added Chase Stangio, deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “This bill will drive families, doctors and businesses out of the state and send a terrible and heartbreaking message to the transgender young people who are watching in fear. Gender-affirming care is life-saving care and banning that care will have devastating and in some cases deadly consequences. Trans youth in Arkansas: We will continue to fight for you. The ACLU is preparing litigation as we speak. ACLU supporters from around the country spoke out against this bill. We will always have your back and will be relentless in our defense of your rights.”

 

Sam Brinton, vice president of advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project, issued this statement: “To the transgender and nonbinary youth of Arkansas, please know that you deserve love and support and to be affirmed in your gender identity. We will not stop fighting until this cruel and illegal ban is overturned. “Governor Hutchinson listened to trans youth and their doctors, the state legislature clearly did not. We knew this override could happen, but it is nonetheless devastating because we also know it could have deadly consequences. It is not extreme or sensational to say that this group of young people, who already experience disproportionate rates of violence and suicide attempts, would be put at significantly increased risk of self-harm because of legislation like HB 1570 pushing them farther to the margins of society.”

Similar bills are pending in several other states.

[Source: Trudy Ring, Advocate Magazine, April 2021]

 

NBC News: Arkansas Lawmakers Enact Trans Youth Treatment Ban

Advocate: Arkansas Bans Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Minors

LGBTQ Nation: Arkansas Lawmakers Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

Arkansas Teachers Fear for Their Trans Students

Record Number of Anti-Trans Bills Introduced in States This Year

29 States File Bills to Ban Trans Athletes in Sports

Police Officer Defends Trans Daughter Against Anti-Trans Legislation

New Poll: 73 Percent of People Support Trans Kids in Sports

Mother Testifies Against Anti-Trans Legislation in Texas

Father of Trans Daughter Testifies Against Trans Youth Athlete Ban

Attack After Attack: Trans Youth Speak Out on Health and Sports Bills Aimed at Them

Meanwhile: In North Carolina

 

Alan Turing's Face on £50 Note in United Kingdom

 

Gay Icon Alan Turing's Face Is Now on a New £50 Note in United Kingdom. Bank of England Unveils New £50 Note Featuring Alan Turing. The honor comes after he was arrested and chemically castrated for his sexuality.

The Bank of England in March 2021 unveiled their new £50 note featuring gay mathematician, cryptographer, and biologist Alan Turing. Turing was selected by public nomination in 2019 when the Bank sought to honor a British scientist on the note. Despite his instrumental contributions breaking Nazi Germany’s famed Enigma code during World War II, the heroic cryptopgrapher was later chemically castrated following his 1952 arrest for having a sexual relationship with another man.

 



“Turing is best known for his codebreaking work at Bletchley Park, which helped end the Second World War,” Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said in a statement. “However in addition he was a leading mathematician, developmental biologist, and a pioneer in the field of computer science. He was also gay, and was treated appallingly as a result. By placing him on our new polymer £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolizes.”

“Turing was embraced for his brilliance and persecuted for being gay,” echoed GCHG Director, Jeremy Fleming. “His legacy is a reminder of the value of embracing all aspects of diversity, but also the work we still need to do to become truly inclusive.”

The new £50 polymer note features Turing’s likeness on the back along with other symbolic imagery representing his many achievements. These include images and technical drawings of his early attempt at computers along with a key component of his codebreaking machine, ticker tape depicting his birthdate in binary code, as well as a quote he gave to The Times in 1949 where he said “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”


The Bank of England released a video on YouTube which featured gay author and actor Stephen Fry, who noted Turing “was among the thousands of men who were harried and harangued by the authorities” during the post-war United Kingdom, and that he was filled with delight both with the honoring of Turing but also the manner in which he was selected.

“The choice of Alan Turing and the manner in which it was arrived at by public nomination marks another step in our nation’s long overdue recognition of this very great man,” Fry said in the video.

Turing was a key visionary and pioneer in the fields of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. He was instrumental in his efforts at famed Bletchley Park just outside London where he and his team broke Nazi Germany’s Enigma code, which was thought to be unbreakable. Much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act at the time, and so he was never fully recognized for his contributions.

 



He was arrested in 1952 for homosexual activity with a consenting 19-year-old man. Given the choice between prison or chemical castration, he chose the latter. As a result of his conviction, the authorities took away his security clearance and barred him from further cryptography work for the British signals intelligence agency. He died in 1954 at the age of 41, having consumed cyanide. Turing’s life and story were famously portrayed in the 2014 film The Imitation Game staring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Fleming said he sees Turing’s appearance on the note as a “landmark moment” in his country’s history and a cause for both celebration and reflection. “Not only is it a celebration of his scientific genius which helped to shorten the war and influence the technology we still use today, it also confirms his status as one of the most iconic LGBT+ figures in the world.”

[Source: Donald Padgett, Out Magazine, March 2021]

 

Advocate: Britain Unveils Bank Note Honoring Alan Turing

Alan Turing's Face Is Now on a New £50 Note in United Kingdom

Bank of England Video: Alan Turing on UK Bank Note

BBC: Alan Turing the Creator of Modern Computing

GLAAD: Alan Turing Inspires Queer Woman of Color in Tech

 

Can Medical Workers Refuse Treatment to LGBTQ Patients?

In March 2021, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law legislation allowing doctors to refuse to treat someone because of religious or moral objections, a move opponents have said will give providers broad powers to turn away LGBTQ patients and others. The measure says health care workers and institutions have the right to not participate in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience.

Opponents of the law, including the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union, have said it will allow doctors to refuse to offer a host of services for LGBTQ patients. The state Chamber of Commerce also opposed the measure, saying it sends the wrong message about the state.

 

Hutchinson opposed a similar measure in 2017 that failed before a House committee. But he said the law he signed was narrower and limits the objections to particular health care services, not treating specific types of people. “I support this right of conscience so long as emergency care is exempted and conscience objection cannot be used to deny general health service to any class of people,” Hutchinson said in a statement released by his office. “Most importantly, the federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, and national origin continue to apply to the delivery of health care services.”

 



Opponents have said types of health care that could be cut off include maintaining hormone treatments for transgender patients needing in-patient care for an infection, or grief counseling for a same-sex couple. They’ve also said it could also be used to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control, or by physicians assistants to override patient directives on end of life care.

 

“There is no sugarcoating this: this bill is another brazen attempt to make it easier to discriminate against people and deny Arkansans the health care services they need,” ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Holly Dickson said in a statement. The ACLU did not say whether it planned any legal action to try and block the law before it takes effect.

The law is among several measures targeting transgender people that have easily advanced through the majority-Republican Legislature this year. Hutchinson on Thursday signed a law that will prohibit transgender women and girls from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

A final vote is scheduled on another proposal that would prohibit gender confirming treatments and surgery for minors.

 



The Human Rights Campaign announced that it would air a television ad in Arkansas during the Arkansas-Oral Roberts game in the NCAA Tournament denouncing measures such as the transgender athlete restrictions in Arkansas and other states. “Trans kids are kids. They don’t deserve this cruelty,” the 30-second spot says.

The bills are advancing as a hate crimes measure backed by Hutchinson has stalled in the Legislature after facing resistance from conservatives. The bill would impose additional penalties for committing a crime against someone because of their characteristics, including their sexual orientation or gender identity.

[Source: PBS News Hour, March 2021]


Arkansas Governor Signs Bill Allowing Medical Workers to Refuse Treatment to LGBTQ People

Arkansas Passes Bill to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

NPR: Alabama Considers Banning Medical treatment for Trans Youth

Religious Exemption Laws Explained

List of States: Religious Exemption Laws

Troubling Rise in Business Owners Refusing LGBTQ Customers

Alabama Senate Votes to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Minors

Record Number of Anti-Trans Bills Introduced in States This Year

29 States File Bills to Ban Trans Athletes in Sports

Police Officer Defends Trans Daughter Against Anti-Trans Legislation

New Poll: 73 Percent of People Support Trans Kids in Sports

Father of Trans Daughter Testifies Against Trans Youth Athlete Ban

 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

LGBTQ Nation: 70% of Voters Support Equality Act

Golden Globes: Jane Fonda's Speech on Diversity and Inclusion

Jodie Foster Wins Golden Globe Award and Kisses Her Wife

NBC News: US House of Reps Passes Sweeping LGBTQ Rights Bill

New Poll: Americans Identifying as LGBTQ More Than Ever
Congressman Says God Detests LGBTQ People

Randy Rainbow: Mr. Biden Bring My Vaccine

The Inauguration We Can’t Enjoy
LGBTQ Reaction to Biden's Inauguration

C-SPAN: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Inauguration Ceremony

Ashley Biden Wears Tuxedo on Inauguration Night

Biden Reverses Trump's Transgender Military Ban

Sarah McBride: Most Inspiring Elected Official in America

Advocate: Half of Gen Z Believes Gender Binary is Outdated

Alabama Senate Votes to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Minors

Gay Rep. David Cicilline Speaks at Trump Impeachment Trial

50 Years a Scapegoat: LGBTQ Community Once Again in GOP Crosshairs

Biden Lifts Trump's Trans Military Ban

Teen Sensation JoJo Siwa: Comes Out and Changes the World for LGBTQ Youth

Buttigieg Thanks Husband During Senate Confirmation Hearings

Jojo Siwa Talks to Jimmy Fallon About Her Amazing Girlfriend

 

President Biden's Pro-LGBTQ Timeline

President Biden committed to being a champion for LGBTQ people every day in the White House, and he’s off to a historic start. From protecting people from discrimination to addressing the epidemic of violence against trans people to ensuring a safe future for LGBTQ youth, there’s so much good we can do together. We’re tracking every action taken by this White House to defend our communities and expand our rights.

 



February 23, 2021 - Department of Veterans Affairs Expands Support for Trans Veterans - At President Biden’s direction, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would begin reviewing its policies to ensure they are inclusive of all gender identities and gender expressions. This includes a plan to end the ban on gender-affirming care for trans veterans.

February 19, 2021 - President Biden Encourages Passage of the Equality Act - After reintroduction of the Equality Act in the House, President Biden shared his support for the legislation and called on Congress to swiftly sign it into law. The Equality Act would create sweeping protections for LGBTQ people in housing, education, health care and more. The White House later put out its official statement of administration policy supporting the legislation.

February 11, 2021 - Fair Housing Act Enforced to Protect LGBTQ People - The Department of Housing and Urban Development, at the direction of President Biden, announced it would enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people, a step toward addressing the housing challenges many in our community face.

 

February 10, 2021 - Biden-Harris Administration Postpones Discriminatory Trump-Era HHS Rule Change - The Biden-Harris administration announced it would halt implementation of a discriminatory Trump-era rule under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The rule would have permitted discrimination against LGBTQ people, religious minorities and women in programs related to foster care, adoption, HIV and STI prevention, youth homelessness, refugee resettlement, elder care programs and more.

 

February 9, 2021 - Press Secretary Psaki Affirms Trans Rights are Human Rights - During a daily press briefing, Press SecretaryJen Psaki received a question regarding the administration’s stance on transgender students participating in sports. Psaki made the President’s position clear - trans rights are human rights.

February 4, 2021 - Memorandum on Protecting Rights of LGBTQ People Abroad - President Biden issued a memorandum aimed at protecting the rights of LGBTQI people worldwide. This memorandum comes at a time when same-sex relations are still criminalized in 69 countries, with same-sex conduct punishable by death in nine of them.

 

February 2, 2021 - Pete Buttigieg Confirmed as Transportation Secretary - Pete Buttigieg was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 86-13 to become the next Transportation Secretary. He is now the first-ever openly LGBTQ Cabinet member confirmed by the full Senate.

January 28, 2021 - Global Gag Rule Rescinded - President Biden signed an executive memorandum to immediately rescind the so-called Mexico City Policy, also known as the “global gag rule,” a decades-old policy barring international nonprofits from receiving U.S. funding if they provide abortion counseling or referrals.

 

January 25, 2021 - Repeal of the Ban on Transgender Military Service - Within his first week in office, President Biden followed through on his promise to repeal the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving openly in the military. An estimated 15,000 service members were impacted by the policy enacted under Trump.

January 23, 2021 - Department of Justice Reversal of Trump Era Memorandum Designed to Limit Bostock Implementation - Implementing President Biden’s executive order regarding Bostock v. Clayton County, the Department of Justice revoked a Trump era memorandum that was designed to substantially limit application of the decision with respect to workplace nondiscrimination law and to refute application to other areas of law.

 

January 22, 2021 - First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Visits Whitman-Walker Health - As one of her first official visits as First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden visited Whitman-Walker, one of the foremost LGBTQ clinics and providers for those living with HIV & AIDS. The visit was a clear indication that this administration will make our health and well-being a priority.

January 21, 2021 - Trump Ban on Diversity Training Revoked - President Biden revoked a former Trump order that had banned federal agencies, contractors and recipients of federal funding from conducting certain diversity training on race and sex that also had implications for trainings on sexual orientation and gender identity.

January 20, 2021 - Equity Orders on Racial Equity & Support for Underserved Communities - President Biden issued an executive order advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government, explicitly including LGBTQ people within the measures. The executive order includes a commitment to ensuring equitable access to government programs, engagement with underserved communities and the creation of an Interagency Working Group on Equitable Data.

January 20, 2021 - Executive Order Implementing the Bostock Decision - On day one, President Biden issued the most substantive, wide-ranging LGBTQ executive order in U.S. history, extending protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The executive order affirmed the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock vs. Clayton County, which secured workplace protections, and applied the holding of the Court to laws prohibiting discrimination in housing, education, health care and credit.

[Source: Human Rights Campaign]

 

HRC: President Biden's Pro-LGBTQ Timeline
Most Pro-Equality President in History: Biden’s Ambitious LGBTQ Agenda

NBC News: US House of Reps Passes Sweeping LGBTQ Rights Bill

LGBTQ Reaction to Biden's Inauguration

Biden Reverses Trump's Transgender Military Ban

Biden Lifts Trump's Trans Military Ban

Biden Issues Order Against Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination
Biden Administration to be Most LGBTQ-Inclusive in US History
Biden Picks Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation

Trans Physician Rachel Levine: Biden's Choice for HHS Assistant Secretary

Jeff Marootian: Biden's New Environmental Advisor is Gay

Biden Appoints Two Gay Men to Key Roles in His Administration

 

Reggie Greer: White House Senior Advisor on LGBTQ Issues

Reggie Greer, the Black gay man who was LGBTQ vote director for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, now has a job in the White House. President Biden named Greer senior adviser on LGBTQ issues at the White House and director of priority placement in the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office. He is one of more than 50 LGBTQ appointees in the Biden administration so far, and the administration is likely to top the record of 330 set over the course of President Barack Obama’s tenure.

For the Biden campaign, Greer’s duties included leading the Out for Biden effort, aimed at getting LGBTQ voters to the polls. Before joining the campaign a year ago, Greer spent more than three years as director of constituent engagement at the LGBTQ Victory Institute, which among other things provides training to current and future LGBTQ candidates and campaign workers and works to place out appointees in pro-equality presidential administrations through its Presidential Appointments Initiative.

 

 

He was previously deputy director of public engagement at the US Department of Transportation, working with Secretary Anthony Foxx during Obama’s administration. In 2016 he was appointed to Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee.

LGBTQ activists praised Biden’s choice of Greer. “Reggie is a ray of sunshine in the conflict-driven world of politics and the respect and trust he’s earned from LGBTQ leaders will make him an extremely effective adviser,” Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and Victory Institute, said in a press release. “He exemplifies the America United ethos, with a rare ability to bring diverse communities and interests together and rally them behind a common cause and vision. He will be invaluable as a bridge between the administration and the millions of LGBTQ Americans relying on President Biden to bring needed change to our nation. I am thrilled about his appointment and am eager to continue working together on moving equality forward for our community.”

 

Arli Christian, campaign strategist with the American Civil Liberties Union, released this statement: “We're thrilled the White House is prioritizing LGBTQ issues by appointing Reggie Greer as LGBTQ senior advisoer. We look forward to working with Director Greer on our top ask of the Biden-Harris administration: an executive order updating the process by which federal agencies change gender markers on IDs. Over 67,000 people have signed our petition calling on the White House to issue this executive order, and we’re excited to work alongside Director Greer in support of transgender, nonbinary, and intersex people nationwide.”

During the presidential campaign, Greer lauded Biden in an interview with The Advocate. “Joe Biden spent his entire career fighting systemic injustice,” Greer said. “He listens to people when they explain the types of systemic issues that they face. What makes this country great is that we include every voice in the political process."

 

[Source: Trudy Ring, Advocate Magazine, March 2021]
 

Reggie Greer: White House Senior Advisor on LGBTQ Issues

Victory Institute Applauds Appointment of Reggie Greer

Reggie Greer: Biden Campaign's LGBTQ Engagement Director

 

Gallup Poll Shows Growing LGBTQ Population

In February 2021, Gallup released a new poll that showed a growing percentage of adults in the US are LGBTQ identifying. In response, Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David released the following statement:

“This poll confirms what we have long known—that the LGBTQ community is powerful and a growing force in the United States, and around the world. Young adults, in particular, feel empowered to publicly claim their identities—a compelling finding and validation for the past generations of LGBTQ advocates who have long fought for full equality. As a growing percentage of the population comes out as LGBTQ, it only amplifies the need for the Equality Act to be passed through Congress swiftly and with bipartisan support in order to secure consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across all areas of life.”

Key Points from the poll: Results from a 2020 Gallup poll were released that showed the estimate of LGBTQ identifying American adults has risen by more than one percentage point from the previous 2017 update.
 

--5.6% of US adults identify as LGBTQ. The current estimate is up from 4.5% in Gallup's previous update based on 2017 data.
--More than half of LGBTQ individuals (54.6%) identify as bisexual.
--One in six adults in Generation Z identify as LGBTQ, more than any previous generation.
--Women are more likely than men to identify as LGBTQ (6.4% vs. 4.9%, respectively).
--Americans have grown increasingly supportive of equal rights for the LGBTQ community and a growing percentage of Americans identify themselves as LGBTQ—signaling that public acceptance is critical for LGBTQ individuals to feel safe identifying as their true selves.
 

Gallup Poll: Percentage of LGBTQ  Population Rises in US

NBC News: New Poll Says Americans Identifying as LGBTQ More Than Ever

USA Today: Young People Driving Numbers as LGBTQ Percentage Increases

ABC News: Increase in Percentage of Americans Identifying as LGBTQ

 

Mr. Potato Head Goes Gender Neutral

 

Mr. Potato Head is no longer a mister. Hasbro, the company that makes the potato-shaped plastic toy, is giving the spud a gender neutral new name: Potato Head. The change will appear on boxes this year.

Toy makers have been updating their classic brands to appeal to kids today. Barbie has shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. Thomas the Tank Engine added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll.

Hasbro said Mr. Potato Head, which has been around for about 70 years, needed a modern makeover. Kimberly Boyd, a Hasbro executive who works on the Potato Head brand, said that kids love the toy because it provides a canvas onto which they can project their own experiences.

 

“The sweet spot for the toy is two to three years old. Kids like dressing up the toy, then playing out scenarios from their life. This often takes the form of creating little potato families, because they’re learning what it means to be in a family.” The Potato Heads played into this tendency to create families over the decades. In 2012, the toy giant celebrated Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head‘s 60th wedding anniversary with a boxed set featuring the couple.

Today, the company wants to stop leaning so heavily into this traditional family structure. “Culture has evolved,” she tells Fast Company. “Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists (with the “Mr.” and “Mrs.”) is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”

[Source: Nexstar Media Wire and Associated Press, Feb 2021]

 

Mr. Potato Head Rebrands

Hasbro Drops Mr. From Potato Head Brand

Mr. Potato Head Goes Gender Neutral

Hasbro to Make Mr. Potato Head More Inclusive

 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton: Peaceful Transfer of Power

Biden Issues Order Against Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination
Most Pro-Equality President in History: Biden’s Ambitious LGBTQ Agenda
Biden Administration to be Most LGBTQ-Inclusive in US History
Biden Picks Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation

Trans Physician Rachel Levine: Biden's Choice for HHS Assistant Secretary

Jeff Marootian: Biden's New Environmental Advisor is Gay

Meet Your Republican Insurrectionists

Jen Ellis: Meet the Teacher Behind Bernie Sanders' Mittens

Lesbian Mom/School Teacher Hand-Knitted Bernie's Famous Mittens

Gay Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney Was Ready to Fight Off Mob at Capitol
Republicans Condemn Cindy McCain for Supporting LGBTQ People

Country Music Star TJ Osbourne Comes Out as Gay

Trump's Attempted Coup Requires Bold Response

Biden Appoints Two Gay Men to Key Roles in His Administration

Arizona GOP Lawmakers: Ignorant Comments About Non-Binary People

Advocate: Trans People Lost to Violence in 2020

 

US House of Reps Passes Equality Act

 

In February 2021, the US House of Representatives passed HR 5, the Equality Act, a far-reaching measure that has been decades in the making and would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The vote was 224-206, with three Republicans joining all the Democratic representatives in favor of federal legislation that will update existing federal nondiscrimination laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act, to confirm that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is unlawful discrimination based on sex. The Equality Act clarifies sex discrimination laws to prohibit LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, credit, education, and other areas, and explicitly extends sex discrimination protections to public accommodations and federally funded programs.

 

Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings issued the following statement: “Today, the US House of Representatives passed, yet again, the Equality Act, as it has done in years past. And, once again, the Equality Act now goes to the US Senate. We hope and trust this year, it will finally get the hearing in the Senate that it so richly deserves. After years of ignoring this important legislation, the Senate needs to take care of business and pass the Equality Act. Since the introduction of the first Equality Act in 1974 (nearly 50 years ago), LGBTQ advocates and our supporters in Congress have been fighting to win explicit protections for LGBTQ people in federal nondiscrimination laws. The time has come to enact those protections: 47 years is long enough to wait for protection of our basic rights as citizens."

The legislation was passed by the House in 2019 but blocked in the Republican-led Senate. This time around, Democrats now control the White House, House and Senate. President Biden has signaled his support for the measure, but it still faces an uphill fight in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to break a legislative filibuster.

 

 

The Equality Act enjoys bipartisan support in Congress. It was introduced by US Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and US Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), with dozens of co-sponsors.  “Madam speaker, discrimination is wrong. As children, we learn the golden rule: treat others the way you yourself want to be treated. Right now discrimination is a fact of life for millions of LGBTQ Americans,” Cicilline said on the floor ahead of the vote. “The fact is that in most states an LGBTQ person is at risk of being denied housing, education, or serve on a jury because of who they are. That's why we are here to consider HR 5, the Equality Act. The equality act does no more and no less than say LGBTQ people deserve the same rights and responsibilities as all other Americans — most fundamentally the right to live lives free of discrimination.”

 

LGBTQ Nation: Landmark LGBTQ Civil Rights Legislation Passes US House

Advocate: US House of Reps Passes Equality Act; Now Onto the Senate

NBC News: US House of Reps Passes Sweeping LGBTQ Rights Bill

CNN: House of Reps Passes Equality Act to End LGBTQ Discrimination
Lambda Legal Applauds Passage of Equality Act by House of Representatives
 

Good Riddance Bigot King Rush Limbaugh

 

Anti-LGBTQ talk radio host Rush Limbaugh died in February 2021 in Florida. Limbaugh, 70, last year announced he had lung cancer. Limbaugh had been a prominent figure in conservative politics since the 1980s. Over 600 stations in the US aired his daily radio program. Limbaugh also frequently mocked and insulted people with HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ people, women and other groups. Limbaugh last February said, “America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage as president” in reference to now-Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg kissing his husband, Chasten Buttigieg. Then-President Trump in his 2020 State of the Union address presented Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Rush Limbaugh spent much of his career attacking LGBTQ people, including mocking those impacted by the AIDS crisis,” said GLAAD Head of News and Campaigns Barbara Simon in a statement to the Washington Blade. “He spread misinformation to his listeners and fueled distrust and division across the country.”
-Michael K. Lavers, Washington Blade

 



Rush Limbaugh died on Wednesday. Fox News called him a pioneer; HuffPost (correctly) proclaimed him a “bigoted king.” I’ll go with powerful ghoul. Rush said racist, sexist, and odiously right-wing shit every day for hours and hours on end, for years. He played the theme song from The Jeffersons whenever he talked about Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black woman to serve in the US Senate. He spoke terribly of those who had recently been killed—so no need to bother with the fake civility. If it’s unclear where to stand, just know the New York Times rolled out its code word for a terrible man who is newly dead: “provocateur.” Whether Limbaugh is good or bad isn’t really worth pondering. (Donald Trump gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.) The better question is why he was able to be an ass, and such an important one, for so long. In 1995, when Mother Jones wrote about Rush (“Wizard of Ooze“), he was the center of Republican politics, having helped bring about a conservative takeover of the House. Politico Mary Matalin said this to us: “You cannot underestimate, and you cannot overstate, the power of Rush Limbaugh.”
-Jacob Rosenberg, Mother Jones

 



As a gay man, Limbaugh hated me. There’s no question about that, and he’s hated me since he first opened his big mouth to vomit vile venom about “homosexuals” and every conceivable and unacceptable descriptor that was me. He used every word in the vocabulary in his attempt to diminish me. Limbaugh loathed me more than I loathed myself, and he loathed anyone like me, and he loathed people like me during the AIDS crisis, when his sickening, repugnant voice screeched abhorrence to anyone sick with the disease. He did not speak kindly of the dead during that era. I imagine he never had a grandmother or anyone with an ounce of decorum who told him not to speak ill about the deceased. He was the antithesis of truth and honor. The anti-Larry Kramer. Limbaugh lied about the disease, about the supposed decadence, and about the deceased. Souls and lives didn’t matter to Limbaugh, only perpetuating falsehoods to score ratings points.He railed against same-sex marriage. He compared us to pedophiles. Limbaugh said that the movement for marriage equality was akin to a movement to normalize pedophilia. His outer ugliness was only outmatched by his inward deplorableness and bloated bigotry. Limbaugh was furious when the Supreme Court affirmed that LGBTQ+ people were entitled to protection from employment discrimination.
-John Casey, Advocate

 



Limbaugh saturated America’s airwaves with cruelty and conspiracies, amassing millions of listeners and transforming the Republican Party. An opponent of marriage equality — which he suggested was “perverted” and “depraved” — Limbaugh argued in 2016 that legalizing gay marriage would lead to bestiality. “What happens if you love your dog?” he said. He once referred to transgender people as being mentally ill. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Limbaugh also frequently denigrated those who were HIV positive, saying the best way to stop the spread of the virus was to “not ask another man to bend over and make love at the exit point.” He spoke out against federal funding to fight the virus too, calling it the “only federally protected virus.”
-Nick Robins-Early and Christopher Mathias, Huffington Post

 

Advocate: Why Should I say Anything Nice About Rush Limbaugh?

HuffPost: Rush Limbaugh, Bigoted King of Talk Radio, Dies at 70

Queerty: Homophobic Hypocritical Radio Host, Rush Limbaugh, Dies

ABC News: Controversial Talk Show Host, Rush Limbaugh Dies

Salon: Rush Limbaugh Created America's Modern Fascist Aesthetic

Advocate: Hateful Homophobe Rush Limbaugh Dead at 70
Rolling Stone: Rush Limbaugh Did His Best to Ruin America

Queerty: Rush Limbaugh's AIDS Updates

WBUR Boston: The Obituary Rush Limbaugh Deserves

Mother Jones: Rush Limbaugh Mastered the Art of Being an Asshole

 

Day One: Biden Issues LGBTQ Executive Order

 

"This is exactly the kind of clear statement that we hoped to get from the Biden administration. And that absolutely is the right approach, because there's nothing about the Supreme Court's explanation for why sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination as an aspect of sex discrimination should be limited just to the employment context.”
-Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director

President Biden Issues Most Substantive, Wide-Ranging LGBTQ Executive Order In US History! The Human Rights Campaign responded to the release of an executive order that implements the US Supreme Court’s ruling in the consolidated cases Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC. The Order is included in a series of Day One Executive Orders that also includes executive actions launching a “whole-of-government” response to address racial equity, improving response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reducing its economic impact on the vulnerable, and combating climate change.

 



Alphonso David, President of the Human Right Campaign, responded with this statement: “Biden’s Executive Order is the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president. Today, millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their President and their government believe discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not only intolerable but illegal. By fully implementing the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Bostock, the federal government will enforce federal law to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, health care, housing, and education, and other key areas of life. While detailed implementation across the federal government will take time, this Executive Order will begin to immediately change the lives of the millions of LGBTQ people seeking to be treated equally under the law. The full slate of Day One Executive Orders mark a welcome shift from the politics of xenophobia and discrimination to an administration that embraces our world, its people and its dreamers. We look forward to continuing to engage with the White House, Department of Justice, and other agencies to ensure that Bostock is properly implemented across the federal government.”

 

On Day One Biden Issues Order against Anti-LGBTQ Discimination

Biden Issues Executive Order Expanding LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protection

Day One: Biden Calls for LGBTQ Protections and Angers Conservatives

Biden's Pro LGBTQ Order: Even Bigger Than You Think

The Inauguration We Can’t Enjoy
LGBTQ Reaction to Biden's Inauguration

Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton: Peaceful Transfer of Power

Biden Issues Order Against Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination
Biden Restoring What Trump Stole From LGBTQ Americans

Most Pro-Equality President in History: Biden’s Ambitious LGBTQ Agenda

Biden to Soon Reverse Trans Military Ban
Biden Administration to be Most LGBTQ-Inclusive in US History
Biden Picks Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation

Trans Physician Rachel Levine: Biden's Choice for HHS Assistant Secretary

Jeff Marootian: Biden's New Environmental Advisor is Gay
 

 

Current LGBTQ News

Nashville Explosion: Lesbian Cop Hailed as Hero

Gay Legislator Sam Park: Georgia's Other Political Hero

Baby There's COVID Outside

Supreme Court Hands Down Victory to Indiana Lesbian Couples

Sedition: Randy Rainbow Parody

Rocking the Runoff: Broadway Stars Sing Georgia on My Mind

Trump's Judicial Appointments Will Impact LGBTQ Rights Beyond Presidency

LGBTQ Nation: Pandemic Hitting LGBTQ Families Harder Than Straight People

Culinary Icon James Beard: Gay Male Julia Child

Happiest Season: New LGBTQ Holiday Movie

Mary Lambert: Seasonal Depression

Switzerland Approves Marriage Equality

Buttigieg is Nation's First Openly Gay Presidential Candidate Nominee

Supreme Court Declines to Roll Back Marriage Equality

Jeopardy Game Show Contestant: First Out Transgender Winner

Joe Biden Wins Presidency: LGBTQ Folks Can See the Sun Again

 

Biden Selects LGBTQ People to Serve in Top Federal Positions

 

Pete Buttigieg

 

 

Joe Biden nominated Pete Buttigieg to be his Transportation Secretary, the president-elect said in a statement on Tuesday, elevating the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to a top post in the federal government. Buttigieg would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary should his nomination make it through the chamber. "Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation," Biden said. "I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because this position stands at the nexus of so many of the interlocking challenges and opportunities ahead of us." Biden added that he sees the Department of Transportation as the "site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better" and that he trusts "Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision."

 

The choice (which represents the first time the President-elect has called on one of his former Democratic presidential opponents to join his administration as a Cabinet secretary) vaults a candidate Biden spoke glowingly of after the primary into a top job in his incoming administration and could earn Buttigieg what many Democrats believe is needed experience should he run for president again. The role of transportation secretary is expected to play a central role in Biden's push for a bipartisan infrastructure package. Buttigieg is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party but someone who lacked an obvious path to higher elected office given the continued rightward shift of his home state of Indiana.

Rachel Levine

 

 

Joe Biden picks a transgender woman for Assistant Health Secretary. Dr. Rachel Levine could be the first out transgender person appointed to a federal position and approved by the US Senate.  President-elect Joe Biden announced that he will be appointing Pennsylvania Surgeon General Dr. Rachel Levine to the position of the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in his upcoming administration. Levine could be the first out transgender person appointed to a federal position and approved by the U.S. Senate.

 

“Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic (no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability) and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond,” Biden said in a statement. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

 

Nominating Levine signals the importance of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic for the Biden administration. As surgeon general of the state of Pennsylvania, she has led the state’s response to the pandemic, at times facing heavy criticism (and straight-up transphobia) from conservatives in her state. Her appointment also signals the incoming Biden administration’s commitment to end attacks on LGBTQ health. HHS was at the center of numerous attacks on LGBTQ people during the Trump administration.

Jeff Marootian

 

 

Joe Biden adds another gay man to his administration as key environmental adviser. Jeff Marootian has worked in public administration for over 15 years, and has been out for 25. He may be the voice Biden goes to regarding staffing in environmental offices. Jeff Marootian is set to become Special Assistant to the President for Climate and Science Agency Personnel. He will work under the executive Office of Presidential Personnel, which regulates and vets all potential staff members working under the President’s administration.

 

That means that Marootian may very likely advise the President, or at least participate in discussions with him, about the staff in the Office of Domestic Climate Policy and other environmental or science-related staffers in the executive branch. That would include those at the Department of the Interior, Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who will comprise what is already being called the most robust, climate-focused staff ever assembled under a President’s administration.

 

And More...   Biden also just named the former Ambassador to Denmark and Obama advisor Rufus Gifford as Chief of Protocol. He will act as a liaison between the foreign diplomatic corps in Washington and the administration, oversee State Department and Blair House functions, and travel with the president frequently. The trend continues as Biden sees through his pledge to create the “most pro-equality administration in history” of America.

 

Trump's Judicial Appointments Will Impact LGBTQ Rights Beyond Presidency
Biden Appoints Two Gay Men to Key Roles in His Administration

Biden Issues Order Against Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination
Most Pro-Equality President in History: Biden’s Ambitious LGBTQ Agenda
Biden Administration to be Most LGBTQ-Inclusive in US History
Biden Picks Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation

Trans Physician Rachel Levine: Biden's Choice for HHS Assistant Secretary

Jeff Marootian: Biden's New Environmental Advisor is Gay

New LGBTQ State Lawmakers Who Won Their First Elections

Sarah McBride: Makes History as First Openly Trans State Senator

Pete Buttigieg: Help is on the Way for LGBTQ Voters

Gay Man Carlos Elizondo Named Biden's White House Social Secretary


Ashley Biden Wears a Tuxedo on Inauguration Night
 
Ashley Biden rocked a tuxedo on inauguration night, and people on Twitter couldn't get over her bold, chic look. Inauguration Day was full of wonderful style moments, from Michelle Obama’s statement belt to Jill Biden’s ivory coat embroidered with U.S. state flowers. But if there’s one inauguration look that’s really breaking the internet, it’s Ashley Biden’s unisex tuxedo.

The 39-year-old daughter of Joe and Jill Biden rocked a sleek tux on inauguration night, and onlookers were rightfully obsessed with the chic, unexpected look. Biden’s tuxedo is by Ralph Lauren, according to Harper’s Bazaar, and features a cropped cigarette pant and an open bow tie. The president’s daughter paired the effortlessly cool look with black stilettos and a high ponytail. By choosing Ralph Lauren, she subtly coordinated with her dad, who also wore a Ralph Lauren suit and overcoat on Inauguration Day.

While she may have had one of the breakout style moments of the inauguration, Biden generally keeps a low profile, rarely discussing her family in public. Biden confirmed that while she will not have a job within her dad’s administration, she will use her platform as first daughter to advocate for causes close to her heart, including social justice, mental health, and community development and revitalization.

[Source: Lindsay Lowe, Today, Jan 2021]



Ashley Biden Wears Tuxedo on Inauguration Night

The Inauguration We Can’t Enjoy
LGBTQ Reaction to Biden's Inauguration

Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton: Peaceful Transfer of Power

Biden Issues Order Against Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination
Most Pro-Equality President in History: Biden’s Ambitious LGBTQ Agenda

Biden to Soon Reverse Trans Military Ban
Biden Administration to be Most LGBTQ-Inclusive in US History
Biden Picks Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation

Trans Physician Rachel Levine: Biden's Choice for HHS Assistant Secretary

Jeff Marootian: Biden's New Environmental Advisor is Gay

 

2020 LGBTQ Year in Review

 

- Katie Sowers (San Francisco 49ers) becomes first openly LGBTQ coach in Super Bowl
- Pete Buttigieg, first out gay presidential candidate, wins Iowa Caucus
- Northern Ireland and Costa Rica legalize same-sex marriage
- State Park in Brooklyn is renamed to honor Stonewall icon Marsha P Johnson
- Many conservative evangelical religious groups blame coronavirus pandemic on LGBTQ people
- Iconic lesbian activist Phyllis Lyon dies
- Gay rock n roll pioneer Little Richard dies
- Larry Kramer, gay author and AIDS activist, dies
- Methodist Church splits over question of LGBTQ inclusion
- Many Pride festivals cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic
- LGBTQ organizations join forces with Black Lives Matter to protest in the wake of George Floyd murder
- US Supreme Court rules in favor of LGBTQ employment rights (Applies Title VII of 1964 Civil Rights Act)
- Gay film director Joel Shumacher dies
- Transgender and non-binary characters featured in several television shows for the first time
- Valentina Sampaio becomes first openly transgender model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition
- Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis dies
- US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dies
- Pope Francis announces support of LGBTQ people, including same sex civil unions
- Sarah McBride becomes first transgender state senator
- Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones become first openly gay black members of Congress
- Film actor Ellen Page (dn) announces he is transgender, becomes Elliot Page
- Pete Buttigieg becomes first LGBTQ presidential cabinet member
- First Out Transgender Winner on Jeopardy Game Show
- Switzerland legalizes same-sex marriage
- Genderfluid British comic Eddie Izzard begins using she/her pronouns exclusively
- Hallmark and Lifetime TV networks present gay-themed Christmas movies
 

2020 Out 100 List

2020 The Musical: Fallon and Rannells

Look Back at 2020: The Year That Changed Everything

GLAAD: Top LGBTQ Milestones of 2020

New Year Event: Ringing in 2021 With Billy Porter

Saying Goodbye to 2020: F-Bomb Warning

Victories for the LGBTQ Community in 2020

Advocate: Trans People Lost to Violence in 2020

 

Pandemic Hitting LGBTQ Families Harder

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting LGBTQ families harder than straight people. LGBTQ households reported more financial problems and more problems with their kids' educations as a result of the pandemic. A recent report by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) found that LGBTQ families are experiencing disproportionate challenges due to the pandemic.

The report, based on the results of a summer survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, found that LGBTQ households are experiencing greater financial strain, more unemployment, and bigger struggles to balance work and childcare than non-LGBTQ households.

 



The report found, for example, that 66% of LGBTQ households have experienced a serious financial problem since the pandemic began, compared to 44% of non-LGBTQ households. It also found that 52% of LGBTQ households with children have had trouble keeping their kids’ education going, compared to 36% of non-LGBTQ households that have experienced this challenge.

Healthcare has also been a huge challenge for the LGBTQ community, with 38% of LGBTQ households reporting they were unable to get medical care or delayed getting medical care for serious issues. This compared to 19% of non-LGBTQ households.

The difficulties are even more exacerbated for Black and Latino LGBTQ households. 95% of Black LGBTQ households and 70% of Latino LGBTQ households reported that they or someone in their household have experienced one or more serious financial problems since the pandemic began. The report also found that LGBTQ people have experienced job loss at higher rates than non-LGBTQ people. “This is particularly troubling given that LGBTQ people report higher rates of employment discrimination generally and may struggle to find new jobs,” wrote the report’s authors.


 
 

The authors added that the increased struggles of this community is not a surprise, in part because even in good times, LGBTQ people experience greater financial issues, increased healthcare barriers, and are already vulnerable to employment discrimination. In addition, the study mentioned the Human Rights Campaign’s finding that 40% of LGBTQ adults work in the five industries most affected by the pandemic. Only 22% of non-LGBTQ adults work in these industries—hospitals, K-12 education, colleges and universities, restaurants and food services, and retail.

“The pandemic has disrupted life for all of us,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director at MAP. “Yet, some communities have borne the brunt: Black and Latinx people, low-income people, and, as this new data show, LGBTQ people. Decades of discrimination on the job, in health care, and beyond, combined with uneven legal protections around the country make LGBTQ people more vulnerable to pandemic-related instability and insecurity, with an even more devastating impact on LGBTQ people of color.”

 



The authors of the study concluded that the data prove the need for more assistance for the LGBTQ community. “These findings point to the need for targeted assistance and explicit protections from discrimination as our country continues to weather the storm and looks to rebuild,” the authors wrote in the report’s conclusion.

One of the study’s authors, MAP policy researcher Logan Casey, said these findings prove the dire need to pass the Equality Act. “It’s clear that the COVID-19 has amplified and exacerbated disparities that existed before the pandemic. LGBTQ people were more likely to struggle with economic stability and have challenges with access to health care prior to COVID, and that’s even more true now. The existing patchwork of legal protections is insufficient, which is why we need a nationwide law like the Equality Act so that LGBTQ people in every community are protected from discrimination.”
 

[Source: Molly Sprayregen, LGBTQ Nation, December 2020]

 

LGBTQ Nation: Pandemic Hitting LGBTQ Families Harder Than Straight People

National COVID-19 Poll: Disproportionate Impact on LGBTQ Families

NBC News: Black LGBTQ Americans Hit Harder by Pandemic

COVID 19 Impact: Serve Economic Hardships for LGBTQ People of Color

Dr. Anthony Fauci: Inequities and Disparities in Healthcare

LGBTQ People May Have Higher Risk of Coronavirus

Baby There's COVID Outside

 



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Election 2020: Reasons to be Optimistic

New LGBTQ State Lawmakers Who Won Their First Elections

LGBTQ Political Victories: Meet the 2020 Rainbow Wave

Sarah McBride: Makes History as First Openly Trans State Senator

Pete Buttigieg: Help is on the Way for LGBTQ Voters

Kamala Harris: Why LGBTQ People Should Vote for Biden

Jonathan Capehart's Commentary: Media's Post Trump Future

Jody Davis: Veteran, Nurse, Transgender

Gay Man Carlos Elizondo Named Biden's WH Social Secretary

Joe Biden's Platform for LGBTQ Voters

 

Biden Selects Pete Buttigieg for Cabinet Position

 

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation. Buttigieg, a gay man, would be the first openly gay member of the LGBTQ community to serve in a Senate-confirmed Cabinet post, if he is confirmed.

He is the former mayor of South Bend, IN, and he sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. He was the first out presidential aspirant to appear in a major party’s debate, and he made history by sharing his coming-out story in that forum. He won the most delegates in the Iowa caucus in January but dropped out of the race in March and then endorsed Biden. He has gone on to work on Biden’s transition team.

“I’m looking for a president who will draw out the best in each of us. We have found that leader in vice president, soon to be president, Joe Biden,” Buttigieg said in making the endorsement.

Biden in turn complimented Buttigieg. “I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but he reminds me of my late son Beau,” Biden said at the time. “I know that may not mean much to most people, but to me it’s the highest compliment I can give any man or woman. Like Beau, he has a backbone like a ramrod.”

 



Several LGBTQ rights groups issued statements praising Buttigieg’s nomination.

“Pete’s nomination is a new milestone in a decades-long effort to ensure LGBTQ people are represented throughout our government — and its impact will reverberate well beyond the department he will lead,” said Victory Fund/Victory Institute President and CEO Annise Parker. “It distances our nation from a troubled legacy of barring out LGBTQ people from government positions and moves us closer to the President-elect’s vision of a government that reflects America. As an out LGBTQ person, Pete will bring a unique perspective that will inform and influence policy throughout the federal government. Most important, however, is that Pete will bring his intellect and energy to the Department of Transportation and our nation will be better off because of it.”

“With the reported historic nomination of former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as Secretary-designate of Transportation, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are keeping their promise, representing a significant step in creating an administration that reflects the diversity and life experiences of America,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David.

“Mayor Pete Buttigieg was open and honest about his identity throughout his time on the national scene, giving a voice to our community, and a new vision of who and how our leaders can love. His voice as a champion for the LGBTQ community in the Cabinet room will help President-elect Biden build back our nation better, stronger and more equal than before.

 



“This is a historic moment for our community, though not the end of our advocacy. We have and will continue to engage with the Biden-Harris Transition team to ensure that LGBTQ people will be appointed at all levels of government and that those appointments will reflect the full diversity of our community, including and especially LGBTQ people of color and transgender and gender -nonconforming people. It is absolutely critical that we as a community continue to uplift and empower the most marginalized among us to ensure the full tapestry of our voices are heard. We strongly urge speedy confirmation of Mayor Buttigieg’s nomination by the United States Senate so the Biden-Harris administration can hit the ground running and address the many crises facing our community and our nation.”

“Mayor Pete Buttigieg would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary should his nomination make it through the chamber,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “This will be a historic milestone for LGBTQ visibility. Pete's experience and skills as a leader, manager and brilliant communicator, combined with his heartland roots and his unqualified commitment to diversity and equality, will improve the lives of all Americans as Transportation secretary. Congratulations to Pete and his husband, Chasten, on their groundbreaking new roles.”
 

[Source: Trudy Ruing, LGBTQ Nation, Dec 2020]

 

CNN: Biden Picks Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation

Advocate: Buttigieg is Nation's First Openly Gay Presidential Candidate Nominee

NPR: Biden Names Buttigieg Transportation Secretary

 

Victory for Indiana Lesbian Couples

 

Supreme Court hands down victory for lesbian Moms. Indiana officials were seeking to undermine marriage equality, but the justices refused to hear the case.


In December 2020, the Supreme Court has denied Indiana’s petition to hear a case involving the rights for same-sex spouses to appear on their children’s birth certificates, leaving in place an appeals court decision in favor of listing the wife of a woman who gives birth on their child’s birth certificate.

A month earlier, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill asked the Supreme Court to deny same-sex couples the same right of presumed parenthood that opposite-sex couples enjoy. When a child is born to a married, opposite-sex couple, the mother’s husband is presumed to be the father and is listed on the birth certificate, even if there is no proof that he is the child’s biological father, and even if the couple knows he is not because they used a sperm donor.

 

In Box v. Henderson, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit sided with eight married lesbian couples who had children with the help of artificial insemination, saying that the wives of the women who carried the children should be presumed to be their children’s parents instead of forcing them to adopt the children later.

This is because Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized marriage equality in all 50 states, requires that same-sex marriages and opposite-sex marriages be treated the same. And in its 2017 Pavan v. Smith decision, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the same right to be named on their children’s birth certificates.

 



But the case gave the Supreme Court the opportunity to overturn Pavan and start chipping away at Obergefell‘s right to marriage equality by denying certain rights that opposite-sex couples enjoy. The state of Indiana argued that states have the right to maintain the “biological distinction between males and females” and presume that a mother’s husband is her child’s father.

Since the Supreme Court has moved significantly to the right since 2017, Indiana’s attorney general might have thought that the high court would take him up on the offer to overturn the previous LGBTQ victories. But it did not. LGBTQ advocates like Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights are relieved that the Court did not take up Box v. Henderson.


Two Twitter Messages:

 

BREAKING: US Supreme Court declines to hear Indiana case on listing both mothers on birth certificate in same-sex marriages.
Appeals Court ruling ordering both moms to be listed on birth certificate remains in place.

SIGH OF RELIEF: SCOTUS just declined to hear Box v. Henderson, a case in which the Indiana Attorney General was trying to strip queer people of equal parenting rights. The 7th Circuit's decision striking down an Indiana law keeping same-sex parents off birth certificates stands.

[Source: Alex Bollinger, LGBTQ Nation, December 2020]

 

Supreme Court Hands Down Victory to Indiana Lesbian Couples

Conservative SCOTUS Announces Another Pro-LGBTQ Decision

Supreme Court Declines to Roll Back Marriage Equality

Birth Certificate Case: Victory for Indiana LGBTQ Families

Indiana Tries to Deny Parental Rights to Same Sex Couples

 

Biden Administration to be Most LGBTQ-Inclusive in US History

 

President-elect Joe Biden has repeatedly vowed to make LGBTQ rights a priority in his administration. But he won’t be working alone: The former vice president has already tapped LGBTQ appointees for several key roles and gay rights advocates are hopeful that more will be named, including the first out Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate. There’s also a push, should an opening become available, for him to nominate the first openly LGBTQ justice to the Supreme Court. The Biden-Harris transition team has promoted the president-elect's “commitment to building an administration that looks like America.”

Karine Jean-Pierre, an out lesbian and chief of staff for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, was announced as deputy press secretary, and Pili Tobar, an immigration rights advocate and former aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, was named deputy White House communications director. Tobar, a lesbian, also worked as a communications director for the Biden campaign. Carlos Elizondo, who is gay and was Biden’s social secretary when Biden was vice president, was named White House social secretary.

 



Ruben Gonzales, vice president of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, which trains and advocates for queer candidates at all levels of government, noted that the LGBTQ people named to the incoming administration so far are all people of color. “I think it speaks to the president-elect’s understanding of intersectionality,” he said. Gonzales said it’s important to have LGBTQ people in the administration because “we know our lives better — we know what protections mean in health care, in housing, in the workplace.”

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan became the first openly transgender person to work in the White House when President Barack Obama appointed her to the Presidential Personnel Office in 2015. She praised the Biden team’s “smart choices,” saying it selected talented candidates with impressive resumes.

Biden has also named LGBTQ personnel to his transition team, including the agency review teams, responsible for scrutinizing federal agencies before he takes office. According to a release from the Biden-Harris team, roughly 40 percent of agency review members members represent “communities historically underrepresented in the federal government, including people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.”

Chai Feldblum, a former Equal Employment Opportunity Commission member who was instrumental in drafting the Americans With Disabilities Act, and Deputy Assistant US Attorney General Pamela Karlan, co-counsel in United States v. Windsor, which struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, are reviewing the Department of Justice and related agencies for the Biden transition team, the Advocate reported, including the Federal Election Commission and the Commission on Civil Rights.

Dave Noble, former deputy director of the Presidential Personnel Office for Obama, is part of the teams advising NASA and the Office of National Drug Control Policy for the transition. Shawn Skelly, a transgender Navy veteran and executive secretary for the Department of Transportation under Obama, has been named to the Department of Defense review board.

[Source: Dan Avery, NBC News, Dec 2020]

 

Biden Administration to be Most LGBTQ-Inclusive in US History

Biden Talked a Big Game on His LGBTQ Rights Agenda

High Turnout for LGBTQ Voters for Biden

 

Juno Star Elliot Page Comes Out as Trans

 

‘Juno’ star Elliot Page announces he is transgender: “Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.”

Elliot Page, best known for his role in the Oscar-nominated film Juno, announced in December 2020 that he is transgender. Page is also known for roles in Whip It, Inception, Umbrella Academy and X-Men. Elliot, formerly known as Ellen (dn), continued:

“I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey. I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self. I’ve been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community. Thank you for your courage, your generosity and for ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society.”

 

Elliot went on to say, “I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive.”

“Elliot Page has given us fantastic characters on-screen, and has been an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people,” Nick Adams, GLAAD’s director of transgender media, said in a statement. “He will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. All transgender people deserve the chance to be ourselves and to be accepted for who we are. We celebrate the remarkable Elliot Page.”

[Source: Nexstar, Dec 2020]

 

Variety: Elliot Page's Name Already Updated on Umbrella Academy and IMDB

Advocate: Elliot Page, Star of Umbrella Academy and Juno Comes Out as Trans

LGBTQ Nation: Elliot Page Announces he is Transgender

Advocate Commentary: The Fragility of Elliot Page and Trans Community

 

 

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Time Magazine: LGBTQ Icons Among 100 Most Influential

Hairspray Star Nikki Blonsky Comes Out

 

Joe Biden Elected President

 

It took a few extra days to get there, but Joe Biden has now been elected president of the United States. The Democratic nominee went over the needed 270 votes in the Electoral College. For many Americans, including LGBTQ ones, it means the end of the long national nightmare of Donald Trump’s presidency — at least that the end will come with Biden’s inauguration January 20. Trump has sowed hatred against LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants, and many other groups, while demeaning women and taking grossly insufficient action against the COVID-19 pandemic. It means a welcome return to normality, with relief from Trump’s Twitter tantrums and vitriol-filled rallies, and a chance to reverse the many harmful policies enacted by his administration.

It also means history has been made with the election of Kamala Harris as vice president. Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, is the first woman elected vice president as well as the first Black vice president and first one of South Asian descent. There has, of course, been one Black person in the top post, President Barack Obama, for whom Biden served as vice president.

 



Both Biden and Harris are longtime LGBTQ allies and ran the most pro-LGBTQ campaign in history. They have promised to lobby Congress for passage of the Equality Act, address the epidemic of violence against transgender Americans, appoint equality-minded judges, and more. On other issues, they support reproductive rights, expansion of the Affordable Care Act to make health insurance more widely available, environmental protections, and other progressive moves.

Biden was a US senator from Delaware from 1973 until becoming Obama's vice president in 2009. While he took some negative positions on LGBTQ rights at some points, such as voting for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, he became a strong supporter of LGBTQ equality. He notably came out for marriage equality as he and Obama were seeking reelection in 2012, a few days before Obama did the same. As vice president, he successfully pressed Congress to pass a hate-crimes law that covers crimes against LGBTQ people. As a senator, he supported the Equality Act's predecessor, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, although it never became law.

Harris is currently a US senator from California, having previously been the state's attorney general and, before that, San Francisco district attorney. As San Francisco DA, she established a hate-crimes unit, and as attorney general, she led efforts to abolish gay and trans "panic" defenses in criminal trials. In the latter position, she also refused to defend Proposition 8, the voter-passed measure that revoked marriage equality in California, and her position was key to it being struck down in court.


[Source: Trudy Ring, Advocate, Nov 2020]

 

Joe Biden Wins Presidency: LGBTQ Folks Can See the Sun Again

LGBTQ Leaders: Biden's Victory and Trump's Defeat

Joe Biden: First President Entering the White House Supporting Marriage Equality

What Vice President Kamala Harris Means to Marginalized People

Biden Wins Historic 2020 Election and Vanquishes Trump

Van Jones on CNN: Character Matters

 

 

Jamal Brown: Handling the Biden-Harris Campaign

 

Jamal Brown, who was listed on the prestigious Out 100 list of prominent LGBTQ leaders and influencers, is the National Press Secretary for the Biden-Harris Campaign. Wrapping up perhaps one of the most monumental campaigns in recent history, Jamal Brown’s role was equal parts spokesperson, messaging strategist, policy wonk, and avid researcher for the Biden-Harris campaign. But most importantly, as national press secretary, it was his responsibility to ensure the American people knew they had a fighter and champion for them in Joe Biden.

“When I was younger and my mother and I were on welfare for a period, I learned during that time to turn your grief into purpose,” Brown says. “I was reminded of that lesson this year as the epidemic of racism and racial injustice came to the forefront of the American consciousness. It wasn’t anything new for Black and brown people, but it exposed the everyday trauma we live, cope with, and overcome.”
 

Still, the fight is never over — especially for Brown. “As a country we are ever evolving. We’ve never fully lived up to our founding ideals, but we’ve never stopped reaching for them either. Over the next four years, I see our country continuing the march towards our promise of equality, equity, and justice, no matter how arduous the journey may be.”

 

Joe Biden Wins Presidency: LGBTQ Folks Can See the Sun Again

LGBTQ Leaders: Biden's Victory and Trump's Defeat

Joe Biden: First President Entering the White House Supporting Marriage Equality

What Vice President Kamala Harris Means to Marginalized People

Biden Wins Historic 2020 Election and Vanquishes Trump

Van Jones on CNN: Character Matters

 

LGBTQ Republicans: Gay Voters for Trump?

 

More than 80% of LGBTQ voters say they were more motivated to vote this year, according to a poll by the LGBTQ organization GLAAD. Many say they feel like their lives depended on this vote.

However, as it turns out, the LGBTQ community is not a monolithic voting bloc. We've all heard of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of LGBTQ Republicans, which always seemed like a contradiction in terms. While it might be difficult to imagine, we are now learning that the number of LGBTQ people who voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election more than double compared to four years ago, exit polls suggest. And according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, the sturdy trend that LGBTQ people vote Democratic has remained, but more voted for Trump this time around than in 2016.

 



A mere 14 per cent LGBTQ people voted for the Trump-Pence ticket in 2016, even despite the pair’s anti-LGBTQ track records. Come 2020, and that figure has doubled to 28 per cent who voted for the Trump-Pence ticket, even despite the absolute onslaught of anti-queer attacks by the administration.

Around 61 per cent of LGBTQ voters went for Biden at the ballots. The study found that of the 15,590 voters interviewed, around seven per cent were LGBTQ. The exit poll comes after survey-takers in September found around 45 per cent of queer men intended to vote Trump.

As much as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has netted an, albeit, slim majority of the queer male vote, securing 51 per cent, it signaled to pollsters how the president’s brand of bullish showmanship has roiled the political landscape. Indeed, the LGBTQ voting bloc has long been reliably Democratic. The poll conducted by queer dating app Hornet found that, overall among its users, around 66 per cent prefer Biden while 34 per cent support Trump.

 

 

But for queer Americans, pollsters said, the statistics were far tighter together. Just less than half of queer men said they do not support Trump, and a slim 11 per cent said they generally disagree with his stances.
 

USA Toda: Gay Voters for Trump

NPR: What is at Stake for LGBTQ Voters?

Discussion: Can You Be Gay and Republican?

NBC News: Gay Republicans Backing Trump

Pink News: Number of LGBTQ Voters for Trump Doubles

Log Cabin Republicans

 

LGBTQ Rights: Not as Good as You Think They Are

Most Americans believe LGBTQ people are legally protected from discrimination. They're not.  And as protections for LGBTQ people enter the domain of the United States' highest court, the vast majority of non-LGBTQ Americans believe that discrimination against LGBTQ should be illegal.

The catch, according to GLAAD's 2020 edition of its annual Accelerating Acceptance survey: An overwhelming number of Americans, regardless of sexuality or gender identity, believe LGBTQ people have federal protections against discrimination that are, in reality, not available to them. That includes discrimination in housing, public spaces, employment benefits and the military.

Part of this dissonance, GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, is that LGBTQ rights are largely being "left out" of the conversation. "It wasn't in any of the debates and it isn't being covered," she said, pointing out that the only time it was mentioned among the two presidential candidates was during a town hall by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. "There is also this false narrative that marriage equality was the finish line, that marriage gave us all the (same rights as) everybody else," she said. "There's a whole host of other rights that were overshadowed by marriage equality."

 

Among GLAAD’s findings:

--89% of non-LGBTQ respondents and 78% of LGBTQ respondents believe it is illegal to evict someone from housing because they are LGBTQ and 91% of non-LGBTQ respondents believe it should be illegal.
--80% of non-LGBTQ respondents and 65% of LGBTQ respondents believe it is illegal to turn people away from a restaurant or other place of business because they are LGBTQ and 90% of non-LGBTQ respondents believe it should be illegal.
--78% of non-LGBTQ respondents and 70% of LGBTQ respondents believe it is illegal to deny employment benefits (pension or health insurance) to an employee’s same-sex partner and 86% of non-LGBTQ respondents believe it should be illegal.
--59% of non-LGBTQ respondents and 50% of LGBTQ respondents believe it is illegal to deny transgender people the right to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity and 61% of non-LGBTQ respondents believe it should be illegal.

 

 

The study, which surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,506 American adults, was conducted before the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision in June 2020 to prohibit discrimination in the workplace for LGBTQ people. Still, in many spheres of life, LGBTQ people are not afforded the same privileges as their counterparts. Ellis and many other LGBTQ advocates also fear that the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court may further impede queer and trans people from obtaining necessary legal protections.

What federal protections aren't available to LGBTQ people? A vast majority of federal protections, contrary to public belief, are unavailable to LGBTQ people. That includes prohibiting transgender people to serve in the military, trans students accessing the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, married same-sex couples accessing partner health care benefits, and equal access to housing. And crucially, the Department of Justice, reported earlier this year, has yet to enforce the June workplace discrimination ruling within federal agencies.

But even as lower courts use the ruling to extend some of these benefits to the LGBTQ community (trans students in five states, for example, are now able to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity after a federal court applied the Supreme Court ruling to the case) a patchwork of policies can never quite measure up to comprehensive protections on a national level.  “Our rights have only been secured through Supreme Court decisions, so our rights are decided by nine judges, whether or not we exist as second-class citizens,” Ellis said.

[Source: Joshua Bote, USA Today, Oct 2020]

 

Most Americans Wrongly Believe LGBTQ People Have Legal Protection From Discrimination

Over 100 Members of Congress Tell Trump to End Harmful Anti-LGBTQ Policies

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Rights in Landmark Decision

Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ Discrimination is Illegal


 

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Pope Endorses Same-Sex Civil Unions
 

Years after he famously responded to a reporter’s question about gay priests with the words, “Who am I to judge?” Pope Francis has made another effort to reach out to LGBTQ people. In Oct 2020, Francis became the first Roman Catholic pontiff to show support for same-sex civil unions, stating in a new documentary that gay and lesbian people are “children of God.”  He said, “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, has a reputation for being progressive, despite normally couching his language in vague or convoluted manners. But in a new documentary making waves in Italy, the Pope was much more direct: he supports some rights for LGBTQ people. Nations should recognize civil unions for same-sex couples, he said, because they “have a right to a family.”

 

This isn’t the first time that the Pope has indicated his support for civil unions while still opposing full marriage equality, but it is the most direct. “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” Francis said in the film, speaking on his approach to pastoral care of congregants. “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” he added. “I stood up for that.”

In a 2017 book, the Pope was quoted as saying, “Marriage between people of the same sex?
Marriage is a historical word. Always in humanity, and not only within the Church, it’s between a man and a woman… we cannot change that. This is the nature of things. This is how they are. Let’s call them civil unions.”

 

In a 2014 interview published in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily, the pontiff suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of same-sex civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. The pontiff said that “matrimony is between a man and a woman,” but moves to “regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.”

 



Marcelo Marquez, a leading Argentine LGBTQ rights activist, said that during that nation’s 2010 debate over same-sex marriage, he received a phone call from the Pope (then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio), the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. According to Marquez, then Cardinal Bergoglio “told me that he was in favor of gay rights and in any case, also favored civil unions for homosexuals, but he believed that Argentina is not yet ready for a gay marriage law." Francis had led the Catholic Church’s public stance against legalizing same-sex marriage in Argentina while he was an archbishop. At the time, Francis called the proposed legislation “a destructive attack on God’s plan.”

“This is the first time as pope he’s making such a clear statement,” the Rev. James Martin, a prominent Jesuit said. “I think it’s a big step forward. In the past, even civil unions were frowned upon in many quarters of the church. He is putting his weight behind legal recognition of same-sex civil unions.”

 

[Source: Bil Browning, Advocate Mag and Carol Kuruvilla, HuffPost, October 2020]

 

HuffPost: Pope Supports Same Sex Civil Unions

LGBTQ Nation: Pope Endorses LGBTQ Civil Unions and LGBTQ Families

Advocate: Pope Francis Supports LGBTQ Catholics

 

Amy Coney Barrett: Sexual Preference?
 

US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett spent much of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee trying to avoid stating how she would rule on marriage equality, abortion rights, and the Affordable Care Act. Of particular interest, on day 2,  in the course of one of her responses, she used the anti-LGBTQ term "sexual preference."  In the midst of a discussion during which Barrett appeared very educated and articulate on legal matters, the use of this archaic term stood out as inappropriate for use by an informed modern professional person.

Senator Feinstein asked Justice Barrett, “Do you agree that the US Constitution does not afford gay people the fundamental right to marry?” Barrett responded, “I do want to be clear that I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not ever discriminate on the basis of sexual preference. Like racism, I think discrimination is abhorrent.”

 

 

The term “sexual preference,” while accepted decades ago, is now considered inaccurate and offensive by LGBTQ people because of its implication that people choose their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii checked Barrett on this usage later in the hearing. "Sexual preference is an offensive and outdated term. It is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice. It is not. Sexual orientation is a key part of a person's identity," Hirono said. Barrett later apologized for her use of the term and said she meant no offense.

 

It should be noted that her conservative religious background might have some influence over her personal opinion, as it is known that an opposition to abortion, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality are tenets of the churches and organizations she is affiliated with.

 

It should also be noted that it is not difficult to be even mildly informed about LGBTQ issues these days, and that the use of proper terminology is basic to possessing minimal knowledge of LGBTQ topics.  Barrett appears to have made no effort to educate herself on LGBTQ matters.
 

LGBTQ Nation: Amy Coney Barrett Uses Offensive Outdated Term

HuffPost: Supreme Court Nominee Uses the Term "Sexual Preference"

LGBTQ Nation: Just Two Words That Revealed the Nominee's Bias

Adovcate Magazine: Amy Coney Barrett Blasted for Using Anti-LGBTQ Term

Amy Coney Barrett: Trump's Pick for Supreme Court

Amy Coney Barrett Has an Anti-LGBTQ Preference

 

22nd Anniversary: Tragic Event
 

Matthew Shepard (1976-1998) was a student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998. He was taken by rescuers to a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he died from severe head injuries six days later.

 

 

It's been 22 years since then. This is a sad and tragic reminder. Let us acknowledge this horrific and inhumane act and denounce the hateful and ignorant attitudes that provoke people to commit atrocities against innocent people. And let us honor our courageous brother Matthew who was cruelly and unjustly murdered for no other reason than being gay. May he rest in peace.
 

Matthew Shepard Foundation

Biographical Notes: Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard Interred at National Cathedral

22 Years Later: Matthew Shepard's Death Still Haunts Wyoming

Matthew Shepard: The Murder That Changed America

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of civil rights for LGBTQ people, women, and many others, has died at age 87, on September 18, 2020 at her home in Washington DC.  Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, she was the second woman to serve on the high court, after Sandra Day O’Connor.

"Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said. "We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice."

 



Architect of the legal fight for women's rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation's highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign.

Her death raises fears that any replacement appointed by Donald Trump will increase the court’s conservative majority. She was one of four reliably liberal justices, with Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. A few days prior to her passing, she had dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Sera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Ginsburg’s death will have profound consequences for the court and the country. Inside the court, not only is the leader of the liberal wing gone, but with the Court about to open a new term, Chief Justice John Roberts no longer holds the controlling vote in closely contested cases.” And Trump is expected to put forth a nominee very quickly.

 

Advocate: Civil Rights Champion Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

CNN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies at 87

NPR: Champion of Gender Equality Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

Slate: What Justice Ginsburg Would Want America to Do Now

ABC News: Supreme Court Powerhouse Ginsburg Dies at 87

NPR: Vigil for Ruth Bader Ginsburg



Current LGBTQ News

 

MLB Announcer Utters Homophobic Slurs

Biden and Harris: Shout Out to LGBTQ Community

Black Lesbian Political Powerhouse: Kamala Harris' Chief of Staff

Biden and Harris: Most Pro-Equality Ticket in History

Winners of GLAAD Media Awards

Democratic Platform Promises Bold Action for Racial and LGBTQ Equality

Pro-LGBTQ Protest by Lawmakers at Polish President's Inauguration

Lifetime and Hallmark in a Race to Make Gay Holiday Romance Movie

Court Delivers Two Victories for Trans Americans

Black LGBTQ Americans Hit Hard(er) by Pandemic

Chicks Sing March March on Stephen Colbert Show

LGBTQ Voters Could Decide Key Races in 2020 Election

Copronavirus Kills Hospital ICU Chief Who Cared for Pandemic Patients

John Lewis: Fierce Defender of LGBTQ Rights

HRC: Remembering Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis

The Conscience of the Congress: Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Dies

 

Rainbow of Resistance: Polish Women Defy Homophobic President

Polish president Andrzej Duda is one of the most viciously anti-LGBTQ world leaders in the world today. Polish lawmakers protested President Andrzej Duda’s inauguration by wearing rainbow-colored outfits and arranging themselves to form the pride flag during the ceremony. They also wore rainbow-colored masks.

 



Duda won reelection by demonizing LGBTQ people and campaigning against adoption and marriage rights. The phrase “LGBT are not people, they are an ideology” was a campaign staple. Duda, who said that this “LGBT ideology” was more destructive than communism, also pledged to ban same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, as well as the teaching of LGBTQ issues in schools.

Duda’s rhetoric has trickled down to local leadership, Philippe Dam, the advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, told NBC News. Local politicians, empowered by sentiment from the top, have established LGBTQ-free zones throughout the country. Unsurprisingly, the LGBTQ advocacy group ILGA has said Poland is the worst country in Europe for LGBTQ rights.

While Donald Trump tweeted congratulations to his “friend,” Duda, opposition lawmakers took the opportunity to rebuke the authoritarian leader. “The President of Poland should defend the rights of all citizens,” Magda Biejat, one of the protesting MPs, wrote on Twitter with photos from the protest

 

.

European Parliament member Robert Biedroń also tweeted a photo, adding the MPs were protesting “in defense of people’s freedom and dignity.” Earlier this year, British embassy staff called out Poland’s anti-LGBTQ policies by wearing rainbow face masks at work all day.

[Source: Bill Browning, August 2020 , LGBTQ Nation]

 

Poland Elects Harsh Anti-LGBTQ President

Pro-LGBTQ Protest at Polish President's Inauguration

Exodus of LGBTQ Community After Anti-LGBTQ President is Re-Elected

Re-Election of Homophobic President: LGBTQ People Flee Poland

Poland Won't Let EU Force It Into Legalizing Same Sex Marriage

Mood Grows Hostile for LGBTQ People in Poland

 

Lifetime and Hallmark Rolling Out Gay Holiday Romance Movies

In 2019, Hallmark Channel CEO Bill Abbott claimed that the network is open to “really any type of movie of any type of relationship in any space,” including same-sex romances in its seasonal Yuletide offerings. Shortly thereafter, though, the network had to apologize for removing an advertisement showing a same-sex wedding couple. That ad was later reinstated after a public outcry. “Hallmark is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion – both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create,” Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards, said in a statement at the time. The company was also embroiled in controversy last year when they banned a Zola ad that featuring a lesbian couple.

 

 

This year, saying the company is in “active negotiations” and will reveal “more details soon,” a representative from the Hallmark Channel announced that some of the movies included in its annual “Countdown to Christmas” and “Miracles of Christmas” holiday programming will include LGBTQ characters, actors, and storylines. The network was met with pushback recently when none of the announced titles in its 2020-2021 slate of holiday films seemed to include queer themes or characters.

 

So, while LGBTQ people are still waiting for Hallmark to make one of its dozens of holiday films queer, Lifetime has beaten them to it. Lifetime (the other channel known for its sappy made-for-TV holiday romance movies) just announced "The Christmas Set-Up," a gay romantic film for the holidays.

 

According to the entertainment website The Mary Sue, the movie is about a gay, New York City lawyer named Hugo who goes back to his hometown of Milwaukee with his best friend Madelyn for Christmas. His mother is “ever the matchmaker” and gets Hugo to run into his high school crush Patrick, who is home for the holidays too from his tech job in Silicon Valley. “As they enjoy the local holiday festivities together, Hugo and Patrick’s attraction to each other is undeniable and it looks as though Kate’s well-intentioned Santa-style matchmaking is a success,” the promotional material says. “But as Hugo receives word of a big promotion requiring a move to London, he must decide what is most important to him.”

 



Lifetime is also making their first Christmas film centered around a Chinese American family called "Sugar and Spice." “We are thrilled to continue our legacy of creating a holiday destination that is welcoming to all at Lifetime,” said the channel’s head of programming Amy Winter in a statement. The network announced that they’ll have 30 films in their holiday line-up. Lifetime was ahead of the curve last year as well, when its holiday romance "Twinkle All The Way" showed a kiss between two men, although they weren’t main characters.
 

Lifetime and Hallmark in a Race to Make Gay Holiday Romance Movie

Hallmark Channel Will Include LGBTQ Stories for the 2020 Holiday Line-Up

Holiday Wishes: Open Letter to Lifetime and Hallmark

Gay Christmas Movies Coming to the Hallmark Channel

 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

Hospital Refuses to Treat Trans Man: Claims Religious Exemption

Trans Man Surgery Cancelled by Hospital Because of Religious Beliefs

Donald Trump's Lesbian Niece Writes Tell-All Book

Rise in LGBTQ Political Representation

Glee Star Naya Rivera Dies at 33: Her Profound Queer Legacy

Over 100 Members of Congress Tell Trump to End Harmful Anti-LGBTQ Policies

Gay Revelers at Fire Island Spark Outrage and Worry

March March: Protest Song by The Chicks

Country Music Responds: Dixie Chicks Change Their Name

LGBTQ Allies and Advocates Raise Funds for Black Trans Lives

Joe Biden: Pro-LGBTQ Presidential Candidate

LGBTQ Voters Needs to Be Aware: Anti-LGBTQ GOP Platform for 2020 Election

Trump Advisor: If You Oppose LGBTQ Rights You Should Vote For Trump

Trump Administration: Homeless Shelters May Refuse Transgender People

Gay Film Director Joel Schumacher Dies

Two Gay Black New Yorkers Running for US Congress

 

Dr. Joseph Costa: Hero of the Pandemic

The chief of critical care at a Baltimore hospital who helped treat the "sickest" patients, including during the pandemic, died in July 2020 of the coronavirus. Dr. Joseph Costa, 56, was the intensive care unit chief at Mercy Medical Center in downtown Baltimore.

 



“He dedicated his life and career to caring for the sickest patients,” Sister Helen Amos, chair of the hospital’s board of trustees, and David Maine, president and CEO, said in a joint statement. “When the global pandemic came down upon us, Joe selflessly continued his work on the front lines — deeply committed to serving our patients and our city during this time of great need.”

“His memory will live on as an example to us all,” the hospital said. Costa had worked for Mercy for 23 years, becoming chief of critical care in 2005. He is survived by his husband of 28 years, David Hart.

His tragic death should serve as a reminder of the seriousness of the pandemic. "This is real. This was a 56-year-old healthy man. He knew how to be careful. He knew how to take good care of himself, and he still passed away from this disease,” said one of his colleagues. “This could happen to anybody.” Costa is among over 850 health care workers in the US who have died of COVID-19.
 

NBC News: Copronavirus Kills Hospital ICU Chief Who Cared for Pandemic Patients

Huff Post: Doctor Who Died From COVID-19 Selflessly Cared for the Sickest Patients

Advocate: Baltimore ICU Doctor Dies of COVID-19 in His Husband's Arms

 

Mary Trump: Donald Trump's Lesbian Niece

Mary Trump's family tell-all book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, sold 950,000 copies on its first day.
 

Mary Trump, the lesbian niece of Donald Trump, has been revealing more details about the president’s inner workings on a promotional tour for the book. She sat down with Rachel Maddow and spoke candidly about Donald Trump’s history of racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric. When asked by Maddow if she’s ever heard the president say the n word, Trump replied, “Of course I did,” adding, “I don’t think that should surprise anybody given how virulently racist he is today.” She also replied “yes” when Maddow asked if she’d heard the president use anti-Semitic slurs.

 

Mary Trump also said that she never came out to her grandmother (Donald’s grandmother) because she heard her call Elton John a faggot. “I realized it was better that she didn’t know I was living with a woman.”

 

She said that her uncle Donald is “clearly racist,” in part because he grew up in a family with “a knee-jerk anti-Semitism and knee-jerk racism,” she said. "It was sort of normal to hear them use the n-word or use anti-Semitic expressions.”

Mary Trump currently lives in New York City with her wife and daughter.
 

[Source: Alex Bollinger, LGBTQ Nation, July 2020]

 

Mary Trump: Growing Up Gay in an Anti-Everything Family

Donald Trump's Lesbian Niece Writes Tell-All Book

Mary Trump: Confirms Donald Trump's Racism in New Book

ABC News: Mary Trump Interviewed by George Stephanopoulos

Mary Trump on Rachel Maddow Show: Uncle Donald's Racism

 

Outrage Over Gay Partiers at Fire Island
 

Community leaders in Fire Island, New York, are speaking out after photos and videos showing mask-less beachgoers congregating en masse (as well as one vacationer who claimed to have COVID-19 symptoms but flouted social distancing anyway) went viral over the July 4th weekend.

 



Fire Island has been a popular seaside destination for members of New York’s LGBTQ community, along with many out-of-state travelers, since the 1920s. Given that New York City was the initial US epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, many of the resort town’s nightlife venues and other businesses remain closed, while those that have reopened require the season’s influx of visitors to adhere to strict social distance measures.

On Fourth of July weekend, however, the photos and videos began circulating on social media that showed hundreds of shirtless mask-less revelers ignoring COVID-19 regulations and partying together on beaches and by the pools of private homes.

 

Outrage Over Gay Beachgoers at Fire Island

Gay Revelers at Fire Island Spark Outrage and Worry

Outrage in NYC: 100s of Gay Men Flaunt COVID 19 Precautions at Fire Island Party

July 4th Holiday Weekend: Increasing COVID 19 Infections

Thousand Break Social Distancing Rules

CNN: Anger Erupts Over Face Mask Requirement

NBC News: Surge in Coronavirus Cases Not Surprising

Coronavirus Hot Spots: Record Number of Cases

Warning: 16 Friends Test Positive for COVID-19 After Night Out

Summer Activities: Experts Rate the Risks

Future of Fun in a Pandemic World

 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

Christian Pundits Comment on Homosexuality and Slavery

New Report: 91% of LGBTQ Teens are Bullied in Trump's America

US in Trouble: Out of Control

No Pride Proclamation From Trump

Election 2020: Trump and GOP Anti-LGBTQ Platform

First Trans Person Elected to Public Office in West Virginia

Thomas Roberts: Gay Good News

Yet Another Anti-LGBTQ Trump Appointee

Solidarity: Los Angeles Pride Supports Black Lives Matter

Black LGBTQ Leaders Address the Rage Against Racism

France Elects First Transgender Mayor

Same Sex Marriage Now Legal in Costa Rica

Will Switzerland Finally Legalize Marriage Equality?

Gay Lawmaker Called "Little Girl" by Republican On House Floor

Black Gay Journalist, Keith Boykin, Arrested at George Floyd Protest

Rolling Stone: Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock n Roll, Dead at 87

KFC Heiress Donates $Million to LGBTQ People Harmed by COVID 19

Pixar Releases Animated Short with Positive Gay Theme

Commencement Address for All Queer College Graduates

Joe Biden: Trans Rights and Conversion Therapy

 

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Employment Rights

On June 15, 2020, the US Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, penned by Neil Gorsuch, a conservative justice appointed by President Trump, deciding that “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” And Justice Neil Gorsuch went on to say, “An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

Everyone from Barack Obama and Pete Buttigieg to Black Lives Matter and the NCAA celebrated the momentous Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ workplace discrimination. And Americans across the nation celebrated this historic ruling.  Kamala Harris said, "This is a major victory for LGBTQ rights. No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love." Jared Polis said, "No matter who you are or who you love your work is valued in the United States. Thank you to the Supreme Court for making the right decision for equality, inclusivity." Janet Mock said, "A victory hard won in the courts and on the streets. Grateful to the lawyers, organizers and activists but most grateful to those who had to live stealth or closeted, who lost jobs for living their truth, who left parts of themselves at their employers' door." And Gerald Bostock said, "Today, we can go to work without the fear of being fired for who we are and who we love."


 

Supreme Court: Employer Who Fires Someone for Being LGBTQ Defies the Law

Supreme Court Landmark Decision: Illegal to Discriminate Based on Sexual Orientation
Pete Buttigieg: Supreme Court Ruling is a Big Step Forward

AP: LGBTQ Community Applauds Supreme Court Ruling

LGBTQ Nation: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Rights in Landmark Decision

Advocate: Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ Discrimination is Illegal

Stars React to Supreme Court Ruling on LGBTQ Rights

ABC News: Historic Ruling on LGBTQ Employment Discrimination

America's Reaction: Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of LGBTQ Worker's Rights

NBC News: In Landmark Case, Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Worker Protection

Huff Post: Supreme Court Says Firing Someone for Being Gay is Wrong

CBS News: Supreme Court Ruling Protects LGBTQ Workers

 

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and indistinguishable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids,” the decision reads. “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.”


“Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. Likely, they weren’t thinking about many of the Act’s consequences that have become apparent over the years, including its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of motherhood or its ban on the sexual harassment of male employees.”


“But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands,” Gorsuch continued. “When the express terms of a statute give us one answer and extratextual considerations suggest another, it’s no contest. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit.” The ruling was decided by a 6-4 vote. Gorsuch was joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Chief Justice John Roberts.

 


 

Some who responded reminded us that this was just another step in the long road to full equality. Pete Buttigieg said, "As of sunup this morning, many parts of America did not fully protect queer Americans from workplace discrimination, despite the Civil Rights Act. This is a major step. Make no mistake—a federal Equality Act is still urgently needed. The struggle for equality did not end with marriage, nor did it end today. Conversion therapy persists. Black trans women are at grave risk daily. The administration is rolling back protections at every turn." And Senator Tammy Baldwin said, "The SCOTUS 6-3 decision is a huge step forward for LGBTQ equality in America. But we must keep marching for full equality for every LGBTQ American across our country and work to pass the Equality Act in the Senate."

[Source: LGBTQ Nation, June 2020]

 

SCOTUS Pro-LGBTQ Ruling: Activists, Politicians, Celebs Rejoice

It Seems Almost Unreal: LGBTQ People Respond to Supreme Court Ruling

NPR: Supremes Court Delivers Major Victory to LGBTQ Employees

Advocate: The Gay and Trans People Who Took Their Cases to the Supreme Court

LA Times: Supreme Court Ruling Protects LGBTQ Rights

ABC News: Supreme Court Bans LGBTQ Employment Discrimination

Reuters: Supreme Court Endorses LGBTQ Worker Protections

CBS News: Existing Federal Civil Rights Laws Protect LGBTQ Workers

Advocate: Kavanaugh and Alito Dissenting

Supreme Court's Pro-LGBTQ Ruling: And Right Wingers Are Freaking Out

Trump's 20 Second Response to the Supreme Court Ruling

 

June 2020: Virtual LGBTQ Pride Month

The first Pride event wasn’t a parade. It was a riot and a rebellion that led to a revolution. LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York. The uprising is considered by many to be the turning point in the gay rights equality movement. While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of regularly scheduled festivities around the world, from New York and San Francisco to London and Toronto, you can’t cancel Pride, because Pride is within all of us. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of this year’s celebrations around the country have been reimagined for safe social distancing measures. There won’t be rainbow floats in the streets, but Pride will still happen — online.

 

 

With hundreds of gay pride celebrations around the world canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, event organizers are teaming up for virtual alternatives. Facing a wave of cancellations amid the global pandemic, LGBTQ activists are scrambling to reimagine gay pride events, some of which are among the biggest in-person gatherings in the world. With more and more in-person pride events being canceled and postponed daily, organizers are forced to be innovative and are exploring other options.

 

The LGBTQ community is creative and strong, with a long history of turning tragedy and struggle into triumph and affirmation. Look no further than the anti-racism demonstrations across the country in recent days as evidence that making history oftentimes means making people uncomfortable. This year is no different. Activists, artists, drag performers, politicians, filmmakers, community members, fitness gurus and more have all found ways to reimagine Pride as a virtual gathering that leaves no one behind. And the silver lining is that you don’t need to be a local to represent like one.

 



This year’s Pride festivities will look a whole lot different than the colorful crowds of parades past, but the annual celebration of the LGBTQ community and commemoration of the Stonewall Riot continues. Virtual events in June bring the joyous spirit of Pride into your living room through Zoom dance parties and archival film. Although there won’t be any elaborate floats this year, many cities are sponsoring a slew of virtual events kicking off on June 1. This year’s Pride will look much, much different. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s just no way to facilitate in-person festivals for the foreseeable future.

 

Calendar: Guide to Pride Reimagined

Celebrating LGBTQ Pride From a Social Distance

In Gay We Trust: How to Have Pride in a Pandemic

New York City Pride

Pride is On: Celebrating Virtually

What Will LGBTQ Pride Mean During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Rainbow Muppet Message: Sesame Street Celebrates LGBTQ Pride

Tips for Celebrating Pride Month at Home

Chicago Pride Postponed

Reimagining Pride During COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 Version of Los Angeles Pride

How Will Pride Month Be Different in 2020?

Pride 2020: Guide to Celebrations Under COVID 19

Seattle Pride

National Today: Pride Month Calendar

 

91% of LGBTQ Teens Are Bullied in Trump's America

 

Nearly every LGBTQ teenager in the United States has been bullied, according to new research. A study published in June 2020 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports that 91 percent of adolescents in this demographic was the target of at least one instance of bias-based bullying. This whopping figure is more than double previous estimates.

Additionally, 73 percent of LBGTQ youth have experienced bullying for factors beyond their sexual orientation or gender identity, such as body weight (57 percent), race/ethnicity (30 percent), and religion (27 percent).

Bullying can lead to adverse impacts on health, including heightened stress, depression, sleep disorders, and unhealthy weight, the study warned. It is also associated with an increased risk of suicide.

 



The study was authored by researchers from the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, using data from the LGBTQ National Teen Survey, a nationwide evaluation conducted in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign.

In the report, lead author Leah Lessard said the findings call attention to "the wide range of bias-based bullying experienced by SGM adolescents," meaning sexual and gender minority young people. "Given that multiple forms of bias-based bullying can worsen negative health behaviors, it is critical to understand how school-based interventions, such as Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs), may be able to reduce targeted bullying," Lessard said.

In addition to asking about bias-based bullying and health risk indicators, the survey queried participants (ages 13 to 17, from across the US), about gay-straight alliances in schools. The study found that the presence of a GSA correlated with less bullying.

 



"The harmful effects and wide range of bias-based bullying experienced by SGM youth calls attention to the importance of promoting broad-reaching inclusion and acceptance within schools," Lessard said. "Due to the breadth of stigma-reduction across multiple social identities, our results underscore GSAs as a promising avenue to support healthy outcomes for SGM youth."

These findings are "particularly important" in the pandemic, the study noted, as cyberbullying rises and many young people no longer have access to in-person support groups. Researchers recommend that educators "host virtual GSA meetings and utilize online learning platforms to continue to foster social inclusion for adolescents at risk for victimization."

[Source: Advocate Magazine, Daniel Reynolds, June 2020]

 

New Report: 91% of LGBTQ Teens are Bullied in Trump's America
Pink News: Almost Every Queer Teen in Trump's America Has Been Bullied

UCONN Report: 91% of LGBTQ Youth Are Bullied

Survey Finds Anti-LGBTQ Bias Affects Health and Wellbeing of LGBTQ Teens

 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

NYC Pride Announces Television Celebration to Replace Annual Parade

Advocate Magazine: Women of the Year

Leadership and Hypocrisy: Golfing During a Crisis

Trans Navy Offers Receives Waiver to Serve Openly

Entertainment Weekly: LGBTQ Pride Forever Issue

97 Year Old Gay Veteran Attacked While Helping Someone on the Street

UN and WHO: COVID 19 May Cause 500K HIV-Related Deaths

Joe Biden's Virtual Fundraiser: LGBTQ Moments

Trans Advocate Aimee Stephens Dies

Stonewall Gives Back Initiative

Internet's National Hero: Leslie Jordan

Germany Okays Ban on Conversion Therapy

David Carter: Stonewall Historian Dies at 67

COVID 19 Doesn't Discriminate and Neither Should We

Not to Blame: Global Groups Defend LGBTQ People

 

Outspoken AIDS Activist Larry Kramer Dies

Playwright and gay HIV activist Larry Kramer died from pneumonia at age 84. Kramer was a legendary activist who co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an organization devoted to helping people living with HIV and AIDS. He was later kicked out of the organization for his confrontational style. Susan Sontag once called Kramer “one of America’s most valuable troublemakers” for his actions that targeted Wall Street, public health offices, and the Catholic Church.

 



He grew frustrated with what he saw as gay men’s apathy towards the HIV pandemic as well as the government’s inept response. In 1987 he helped co-found ACT-UP, a direct action organization focused on changing the public health reaction to HIV and public perception of people living with the virus.

In 1988, Kramer called Director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci a “killer” and “an incompetent idiot” for his reaction to HIV. “Once you got past the rhetoric, you found that Larry Kramer made a lot of sense, and that he had a heart of gold,” Fauci said. He said that Kramer played an “essential” role in getting the FDA to make the process for approving new drugs faster.

He was the author of many works, including the 1978 novel Faggots and The Normal Heart, a 1985 play about the early years of the AIDS crisis. Kramer was working on another play before his death, An Army of Lovers Must Not Die, which was partly about the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s about gay people having to live through three plagues,” he explained. The three plagues were HIV, COVID-19, and aging.

ACT UP NY tweeted that Kramer’s “rage helped inspire a movement.”

 

Larry Kramer, Gay Author and AIDS Activist, Dies

Remembering AIDS Activist Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer: Grow Up, Fight for Your Rights, Be Proud of Being Gay

Iconic Gay Activist Passes Away at 84

Larry Kramer: Hero, Mentor, Prophet

Larry Kramer's Loud and Proud Activism Remains Necessary

Peter Staley's Honest Eulogy of Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer: Fire, Passion, Anger

Larry Kramer, Playwright and Activist, Dead at 84

Dr. Anthony Fauci Remembers Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer Was Not Kind and Cuddly, He Was Effective

Larry Kramer's Historic Plague Speech: Anger is Essential

Larry Kramer: True LGBTQ Radical

 

Si Acepto: Same Sex Marriage Now Legal in Costa Rica

Costa Rica becomes the latest country to legalize same-sex marriage as a ruling from its supreme court goes into effect ending the country’s ban. Couples scheduled ceremonies (mostly private due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some that would be broadcast) to celebrate their unions before judges and notaries after the ban was lifted. Costa Rica becomes the sixth country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, following most recently Ecuador, which allowed it last year. It is also permitted in some parts of Mexico.

 



The issue took center stage in Costa Rica’s 2018 presidential election after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights earlier that year issued an opinion that countries like Costa Rica, which had signed the American Convention on Human Rights, had to move immediately to legalize gay marriage. It helped propel President Carlos Alvarado to victory over an evangelical candidate, Fabricio Alvarado, who had campaigned against it.

A campaign celebrating the achievement called “I do” planned a series of events including hours of coverage on state television and messages from celebrities, including Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Gia Miranda, director of the “I do” campaign, said, "It gives us so much joy." She said it would help decrease discrimination and make the country more prosperous and attractive to tourists.

 

Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Uruguay have already implemented marriage equality. Mexico allows same-sex marriages in 18 of 33 states its capital.

 

[Source: Javier Cordoba, HuffPost, May 2020]

 

Same Sex Marriage Now Legal in Costa Rica

Costa Rica: First Central American Country to Legalize Same Sex Marriage

Sí Acepto: First Lesbian Couple to Get Married in Costa Rica

 

Little Richard, King (and Queen) of Rock n Roll, Dies

A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom!  Little Richard, the screaming, preening, scene-stealing wild man of early rock n roll with hits like "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally," died of bone cancer at 87 in Tennessee. The self-described "king and queen" of rock n roll was a huge influence on countless musicians, including the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix,  David Bowie, and Prince.

 

 

The pioneer would have stood out in any era. But in the 1950s, when Little Richard came to prominence, he was like no other. With his ferocious piano playing, growling and gospel-strong vocals, pancake makeup, and outlandish costumes, Little Richard tore down barriers starting in the 1950s. That is no small feat for any artist — let alone a black, openly gay man who grew up in the South.

 

Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits. “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” came our later that same year. “Lucille” hit the charts in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958.

 

Little Richard is credited with opening doors and bringing the races together. His music and social influence crossed many boundaries. And he knew his power. "They saw me as something like a deliverer, a way out," he once said. "My means of expression, my music, was a way in which a lot of people wished they could express themselves and couldn't." He also emphatically explained, "I created rock n roll! I'm the innovator! I'm the emancipator! I'm the architect! I am the originator! I'm the one that started it!" Little Richard was among the first class of inductees into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

 



He was born Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932, in Macon, Georgia. The third of 12 children, he clashed with his moonshine-selling father and was ordered out of the family home as a teenager. Aside from music, Little Richard's most noted ambivalence was in his attitude toward his sexuality. In the early days, he covered by exaggerating his freakishness and accentuating his flamboyance. He later called homosexuality "unnatural." And then he said he was "omnisexual." A decade later, he admitted he always knew he was gay.
 

CNN: Little Richard, Flamboyant Architect of Rock n Roll, Dead at 87

NPR: Little Richard, King and Queen of Rock n Roll, Dead at 87

Tutti Frutti: Little Richard Performs at Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

Rolling Stone: Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock n Roll, Dead at 87

LGBTQ Nation: Queer Entertainer Little Richard Was Anti-Gay in His Later Years

Biographical Notes: Little Richard

 

 

Current LGBTQ News

 

Celebrating LGBTQ Pride All Year Long

Tunisia Becomes First Muslim Majority Country to Recognize Same Sex Marriage

Meanwhile, Turkey's President Says Homosexuality Brings Illness

Trans Student is Valedictorian at Maine High School

Pat Robertson: Health Crisis Caused by Marriage Equality

Gay Couple Hands Out Free Rainbow Facemasks

Business Plans for Virtual Pride Celebrations

Right Wing Nutjob: Pop Culture is Mass Producing LGBTQ People

Trump Faces Fallout From Comments About Consuming Disinfectant

During Meeting About Coronavirus: Anti-LGBTQ Tirade From NJ City Councilor

Franklin Graham Falsely Claims That Most New Yorkers Share His Anti-Gay Views

Love and Compassion: Recognizing LGBTQ Nurses Fighting Coronavirus

Boston Gay Men's Chorus: Tribute to Frontline Workers During Pandemic

 

Couples Get Creative About Pandemic Weddings

What happens if a couple decide they want to get married in the midst of a global health crisis that mandates strict quarantines? If couples want to tie the knot during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are going to have to be creative. If love simply can't wait, then necessity, after all, is the mother of invention. As we know, LGBTQ couples are nothing if not innovative and resilient. And being in love is strong motivation for creative problem-solving.

 

 

Bri and Lindsey Leaverton, a lesbian couple in Texas, got married at a drive-in movie theater. They met in 2018 and planned to get married in early April 2020. But the global pandemic threw a monkey wrench in their wedding plans. “We had this beautiful wedding planned at this historic mansion in Austin and as virus started expanding more rapidly and we were having these orders put into place, we quickly realized we weren’t going to be able to have the wedding we planned,” Bri explained. They canceled the wedding to wait out the pandemic. Then a family member was diagnosed with COVID-19. “In that moment we realized no one is promised tomorrow, and we didn’t want to wait a year,” Lindsey said. So got creative about their wedding plans and chose a venue that was conducive to social distancing, a drive-in movie theater.

A gay San Francisco couple, César Salza and Kyle Hill were ready to get married. The couple had a license, supportive family, and plans for a gorgeous ceremony. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit and the world was locked down, the two had to change their plans. The men were married in a friend’s backyard in a socially distant ceremony witnessed by a handful of friends. Everyone had to wear face masks - including the grooms. “We had planned on something in June but we realized quickly with COVID-19 that it wouldn’t be possible,” Hill explained. The men invited seven guests (plus the grooms and officiant) to keep the number in attendance at 10 as required by social distancing guidelines. “The pandemic couldn’t stop us,” Salza wrote on Instagram.

 



And, in New York City, a lesbian couple, Reilly Jennings and her fiancee Amanda, opted for a ceremony in the middle of the empty street with guests looking on from the sidewalks and from parked cars.
 

Beautiful Gay Wedding: Love During the Pandemic

Lesbian Couple Holds Pandemic Wedding at Drive-In Movie Theatre

Lesbian Couple Gets Married in the Street: Guests Watch From Cars and Sidewalk

 

Global Groups Defend LGBTQ People

“HIV has taught us that violence, bullying and discrimination only serve to further marginalize the people most in need. All people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, are entitled to the right to health, safety and security, without exception. Respect and dignity are needed now more than ever before.”

-Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, UNAIDS

 

 

 

Organizations who work with AIDS/HIV patients are painfully aware of the impact that a global pandemic can have on the dissemination of misinformation and the politics of blame. Many today remember when certain groups described AIDS as God's punishment for gay people. The current coronavirus pandemic is bringing out many of those same voices of ignorance and hate.

 

The truth is, of course, that LGBTQ people are not to blame for the current pandemic. And so declares global health groups like UNAIDS and MPact Global Action. They have expressed concern that LGBTQ people have been stigmatized and subjected to violence during this time. These and other global health organizations are calling out violence against LGBTQ people motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS and MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights expressed concern that LGBTQ and intersex people “are being singled out, blamed, abused, incarcerated and stigmatized as vectors of disease.”

“We are receiving reports that government and religious leaders in some countries are making false claims and releasing misinformation about COVID-19 that has incited violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people,” George Ayala, executive director of MPact, said.

 


The organizations urged countries to denounce misinformation that scapegoats, slanders, or otherwise blames LGBTQ people for the spread of COVID-19; stop raids on LGBTQ-led organizations, shelters and spaces and desist from arresting people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression; and ensure that all measures to protect public health are proportionate and evidence-informed, and respect human rights.


“Now more than ever, we must stand together to protect and promote the health and human rights of LGBTQ people worldwide.”


[Source: Trudy Ring, Advocate Magazine, April 2020]

Not to Blame: Global Groups Defend LGBTQ People

Religious Leaders Blame LGBTQ People for Corona Crisis

Parallels: AIDS Crisis and Coronavirus Crisis

Bigots Blame LGBTQ People for Spread of COVID 19

White House Bible Teacher Blames Gays for God's Wrath

Evangelical Christians Linking LGBTQ People to COVID 19

History of Blaming LGBTQ People for Natural Disasters
 



Current LGBTQ News

 

Queer Culture: Spring 2020

Lesbian Activist Phyllis Lyon Dies

Not to Blame: Global Groups Defend LGBTQ People

New Survey: 1 in 5 Russians Want to Eliminate LGBTQ Community

COVID 19 Doesn't Discriminate and Neither Should We

Anti-LGBTQ Pastor Delivers Presidential Easter Blessing

Robby Brown: LGBTQ Activist Dies From COVID-19

CNN News Anchor Don Lemon Loses Friend to COVID-19

New Survey: Americans Not as Polarized About LGBTQ Equality Afterall

Religious Leader Who Blamed COVID-19 on Gays is Being Sued

Easter/Passover Weekend: COVID-19 Virus Warning
Easter Service for LGBTQ Christians in Social Distancing Era
Poland May Start Sending Teachers to Jail for Turning Kids Gay

Modern Family TV Series Ends After 11 Seasons

Coronavirus Field Hospital in Central Park Operated by Franklin Graham
Amid Global Crisis Legislators Prioritize Targeting Trans Youth
LGBTQ People May Have Higher Risk of Coronavirus

 

LGBTQ People Must Condemn Violence Against Asian-Americans
 

“HIV has taught us that violence, bullying and discrimination only serve to further marginalize the people most in need,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS. “All people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, are entitled to the right to health, safety and security, without exception. Respect and dignity are needed now more than ever before.”

 

Asian-Pacific Islanders are facing bigotry related to the current health crisis, and we must stand up for them. Being an immigrant born in South Korea is always a factor in who I am and how I am treated in America. However, the xenophobia I am experiencing related to the COVID-19 pandemic is heartbreaking. In the past month alone, a mother yanked her child away from me while saying disgustedly, “Those people,” and a man turned his entire body away from me in an airport. The disgust, anger, and fear that people are directing toward Asian-Pacific Islander folks in the United States is palpable.

 



And the president of the United States isn’t helping matters. While he has pulled back from calling COVID-19 “the “Chinese virus” in recent press briefings, the damage is already done. President Trump put a target on the backs of Asian-Americans like myself. The violence against API folks is drastically increasing as a result of xenophobia and fear due to COVID-19. In Midland, Texas, a man stabbed three members of an Asian-American family (including a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old) because of their race. The FBI has since ruled this attack as a hate crime, and ABC News reports the agency’s analysis of crimes against API individuals is expected to surge in the coming weeks.

As the pandemic continues, I am checking in with my API siblings. Every single one of them is expressing deep concern about the uptick in violence against our community. They are anxious when leaving their homes to buy essential items such as groceries or gas. They feel more isolated than ever, especially practicing social distancing and sheltering in place. These fears are even more intensified when I speak to other queer and trans Asian-Americans.

 

 

As the executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, I want to shine a light on the harm caused by racist rhetoric. During a public health crisis, LGBTQ people are always the first to be negatively impacted. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. LGBTQ people are at greater risk of having chronic illnesses and asthma, are more likely to smoke, and are less likely to have health care. As a transgender Asian-American, I know firsthand what it feels like to be disrespected and mistreated just for being who I am. When I see other populations mistreated and harmed, I stand up for those individuals. I’m asking my LGBTQ allies to do the same when they see an API person in harm’s way.

I’m proud to be part of the LGBTQ movement that stands behind our people, whether they are Black, Indigenous, Muslim, Latinx, or anyone who’s being targeted for something about themselves they have no control over. It’s time to take a stand for all API folks and speak out against this injustice and these racist attacks.

TENT is committed to addressing the rising violence against API folks. We are deeply concerned by the president’s insistence on referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.” We’ve seen his racist rhetoric put to work before: He’s vilified Muslims, targeted Latinx folks, and used dog-whistle racist terms to activate white nationalists against the Black community. Each time, we’ve stood up, and now I’m asking you to join me in standing up yet again. Thank you for volunteering your time, donating your money, and defending our rights whenever they’re under attack. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe, protected, and well.

[Source: Emmett Schelling, Executive Director, Transgender Education Network of Texas, Advocate Magazine. April 2020]

 

Advocate: LGBTQ People Must Condemn Violence Against Asian Americans
CNN: COVID-19 Has Inflamed Racism Against Asian Americans

Advocate: COVID 19 Doesn't Discriminate and Neither Should We

Washington Post: Targeting Asian Americans During COVIS-19 Crisis

Time Magazine: As Coronavirus Spreads, So Does Xenophobia

 

Leslie Jordan: Bringing Comic Relief to COVID-19 Crisis
 

Leslie Jordan is just what we need during a crisis. He has been a real hero and comforting on-line presence during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Beloved actor Leslie Jordan has become an Instagram and YouTube sensation since adjourning to an Airbnb not far from his mother and sisters in Tennessee in March 2020. The actor who rose to fame playing Karen Walker’s nemesis Beverly Leslie on Will & Grace catapulted from about 80K Instagram followers to 3 million in the span of a month thanks to his homespun videos in which he exercises with a back scratcher, then uses it as a baton, does yoga (as only he could), and engages in “pillow talk” dishing about Hollywood luminaries.

“I’ve gone viral,” Jordan laughs in an interview with Advocate Magazine. "I'd do an exercise video because there are so many gay men with these perfect abs and they do exercise videos. So I did an exercise video where my stomach looked like my water's about to break,” Jordan says about his inspiration for one of the videos that kickstarted his Inta-success.

 



At 64, Jordan has been out his career (his IMDB credits total 126 and date back to the early '80s), if not, really, his entire life. Recently, he's starred in American Horror Story: Coven and The Cool Kids. “I fell out of the womb and into my mother’s high heels,” he says about his never having that coming-out moment in Hollywood. Because of Jordan’s storied career and his commitment to lifting spirits with his talent and humor at a time when people need it most, The Advocate has created a digital cover to honor him. Jordan has made plenty of virtual appearances since he became a social media star, including appearing on The View. He says he's proud to have been a part of Will & Grace and that show’s role in shifting perceptions around LGBTQ people, although he adds that no one ever sets out to try to make history. Next up, Jordan is slated for Fox’s Mayim Bialik and Swoosie Kurtz starrer Call Me Kat in which Bialik is a beleaguered daughter who works in a cat café owned by Jordan's character Phil, a role that was originally written as a woman by the name of Phyllis.

[Source: Tracy Gilchrist, Advocate, April 2020]

 

Advocate: Leslie Jordan Entertains Us During COVID-19 Crisis

Leslie Jordan: Just Trying to Get Through the Quarantine

LGBTQ Nation: Leslie Joran is an Internet Sensation

IMDB: Leslie Jordan

 

Leftover AIDS Quilt Fabric Used to Make Face Masks

An army of volunteers in California is using extra fabric from the AIDS Memorial Quilt to make face masks for US homeless people and frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

With about 50,000 panels dedicated to some 100,000 people who have died from AIDS, the quilt is the world’s largest ongoing piece of community folk art and one of the most famous symbols of the AIDS pandemic, according to its custodians.

“Sewing is how I chose to memorialize my friends I’ve lost to AIDS,” said Gert McMullin, who has been sewing as a volunteer since the giant tapestry was conceived by a gay rights activist in 1987, in a statement. “I just can’t sit idly by during this new crisis.”

The United States has recorded more fatalities from COVID-19, the severe respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, than any other country, with 24,000 deaths.

 



Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks are so severe in the United States that health workers treating contagious patients have appealed for help on social media under the hashtag #GetMePPE.

The quilt was set to go on display in San Francisco this month but the exhibition was postponed when coronavirus lockdown rules were put in place and volunteers decided to turn their skills to making masks instead.

The washable masks are made from fabric that would have been used to sew new patches of the quilt together and will be used by clients and staff of Bay Area Community Services (BACS), a local non-profit that provides housing to homeless people.

Some 400 masks have been sewn already, with volunteers vowing to sew hundreds more. “Sewing masks for BACS helps me have hope,” McMullin said.“It will make a difference.”

 

[Source: Oscar Lopez, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Huffington Post, April 2020]

 

Huff Post: AIDS Quilt Fabric Being Used for Coronavirus Masks

NBC News: Extra Fabric From AIDS Quilt Being Used for Face Masks

Pink News: Leftover Scraps From AIDS Quilt Used to Make Coronavirus Masks



Current LGBTQ News

 

Pete Buttigieg Hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live

Pete Buttigieg: Rolling Stone Special Interview

Trump Administration Sued for Trying to Write LGBTQ People Out of Human Rights Laws

Time Mag: Former GOP Rep Aaron Schock Comes Out As Gay

ACLU: Trans People Belong

Roy Moore Asks Supreme Court to End Marriage Equality

Trans People: Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are

Joe Biden: Plan for LGBTQ Equality

Pete Buttigieg: First LGBTQ Person to Win Delegates in Any Presidential Contest

Iowa Voter Shocked to Learn Buttigieg is Gay, Asks to Change Vote

Pete Buttigieg on Campaign Trail: 9 Year Old Boy Asks for Coming Out Advice

Dallas: Home of the Most Rainbow Crosswalks

Billy Porter: LGBTQ State of the Union

Trump Expands Anti-LGBTQ Agenda

Dwayne Wade's Trans Daughter Makes Red Carpet Debut

 

Iconic LGBTQ Pioneer: Phyllis Lyon Dies
 

Trailblazing lesbian activist Phyllis Lyon, an advocate for LGBTQ rights since the 1950s, died in April 2020 at age 95. "Lyon died peacefully at her home in San Francisco of natural causes,” according to The Bay Area Reporter. “Few individuals contributed more to issues impacting LGBTQ, women’s, civil rights and the rights of elder Americans than Ms. Lyon and her partner, Del Martin."


Lyon and Martin (who died in 2008) began their relationship in 1952 in Seattle, where they both worked on a magazine, and moved to San Francisco the following year. In 1955, they and three other lesbian couples founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian political and social organization in the nation. In 1956, they began publishing The Ladder, a monthly magazine featuring political articles, poetry, and fiction for a lesbian audience. It continued publication until 1972.

 

"Founding the organization and the magazine were acts of immense political courage at a time of unchecked harassment and violence directed at homosexuals, largely at the hands of law enforcement and political officials,” the Reporter points out.

The women influenced political and religious leaders to become more supportive of LGBTQ people. They were active in San Francisco’s Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, which helped persuade Dianne Feinstein, when she was mayor of the city, to sponsor legislation outlawing employment discrimination against gays and lesbians. They also fought for the decriminalization of homosexuality in California.

Martin and Lyon helped bring marriage equality to the state as well. They were among the couples who sued for equal marriage rights in the case that led the California Supreme Court to strike down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2008. They married as soon as that ruling went into effect, in July of that year — the first same-sex couple married in San Francisco and, with Robin Tyler and Diane Olson of Los Angeles, one of the two first same-sex couples married in California. That November, voters passed Proposition 8 to temporarily revoke marriage equality in the state, but it was eventually struck down in court, and the marriages conducted pre-Prop. 8 remained valid. Martin died just two months later, with Lyon at her side.

They had been married once before, in 2004, when Gavin Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, declared marriage equality in the city, and they were the first couple to receive a license. Courts later made the city cease performing same-sex marriages and invalidated the unions.

Marriage rights actually hadn’t been a high priority for Lyon and Martin, Lyon said in 2004, according to the Reporter. “We hadn’t given it much thought,” she said. “We were much more interested in making sure that gays and lesbians could have jobs and not get fired from them just because they were gays and lesbians. And the same with housing and the same with almost everything.” But their friend Kate Kendell (then executive director of the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights) asked them to be the first same-sex couple married in the city, and they agreed. They were married in February 2004.

 

[Source: Trudy Ring, Advocate Magazine, April 2020]
 

Advocate: LGBTQ Pioneer Phyllis Lyon Dies

LGBTQ Nation: Lesbian Activist Phyllis Lyon Dies

 

Atmosphere of Hatred
 

This is a challenging time (March 2020), as the US becomes the number one nation in the world reporting COVID-19 infection cases. People are dealing with quarantine, lost jobs, shuttered businesses, illness, and death. During this difficult time of crisis, the best and worst of people have been revealed. On the positive side, many celebrities and entertainers have stepped up to offer words of encouragement and acts of kindness. On the negative side, many conservative government officials and preachers have used this crisis as an opportunity to express ignorance and sow hatred. The moronic remarks and vitriol have included proclamations about divine retribution, suspicions and denials of the science of the pandemic, and paranoid expressions of partisan politics.

 

Meanwhile, doctors and other health care professionals are focusing on the important priorities of keeping people safe. Regrettably, there are those who are resorting to shameful scapegoating and are blaming the crisis on LGBTQ people, marriage equality, pride marches, and the gay agenda. All manner of misinformation is being disseminated in an effort to advance an agenda of hatred and division. Among those spewing toxic messages of bigotry are the likes of Evangelist Franklin Graham, Idaho Governor Brad Little, DC Pastor Ralph Drollinger, Talk Show Host Rush Limbaugh, Evangelist Pat Robertson, Former Judge Roy Moore, Evangelist Jerry Falwell Jr, and President Donald Trump.

 

   

 

NBC News: NYC COVID-19 Field Hospital Run by Anti-Gay Group

LGBTQ Nation: Religious Group Forces Volunteers to Reject Gay Rights

Street Preacher's Anti-Gay Hate Speech Drowned Out by Protestors

Advocate: Amid Global Crisis Legislators Prioritize Targeting Trans Youth

Magachurch Pastor Arrested for Defying Coronavirus Measures: Defended by Anti-Gay Hate Group

SPLC: Anti-Gay Hate Groups Continue to Rise

Meet the Transgender Doctor Who is Leading the Fight Against COVID-19

Advocate: Idaho Gov. Brad Little Approves Two Anti-Trans Bills

NBC News: DC Clergyman Ralph Drollinger Says God is Judging America Because of the Gay Community

Preacher Who Mocked Coronavirus Dies of COVID-19

LGBTQ Nation: Idaho Governor Signs Two Anti-Trans Bills into Law

Gay Nurse Dies of COVID-19

Advocate: COVID-19 Crisis Affecting Work of LGBTQ Organizations

Huff Post: DC Pastor Says COVID-19 is God's Wrath Against LGBTQ People

Advocate: Trump Expands Anti-LGBTQ Agenda

Only Sissies and Pansies Wash Their Hands

Roy Moore Asks Supreme Court to End Marriage Equality

Falwell Reopens Liberty University Amid Pandemic

 

Gays Caused Coronavirus Epidemic According to Religious Fanatics
 

LGBTQ people have been blamed for hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, and other disasters. And now they’re being blamed for the coronavirus outbreak.

Steven Andrew, pastor of the USA Christian Church has declared March 2020 to be Repent of LGBTQ Sin Month, and one of the reasons is the emergence of the coronavirus strain that’s so far infected 100,000 people around the world. Andrew said in a press release, “God’s love shows it is urgent to repent, because the Bible teaches homosexuals lose their souls and God destroys LGBTQ societies. Obeying God protects the USA from diseases, such as the coronavirus. Our safety is at stake, since national disobedience of God’s laws brings danger and diseases, such as coronavirus, but obeying God brings covenant protection. God protects the USA from danger as the country repents of LGBTQ, false gods, abortion and other sins.”

 

 

Other Christian right extremists have invoked anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in response to the coronavirus epidemic. In January 2020, Rick Wiles, a Florida minister and founder of a media outlet called TruNews, said the virus is a “plague” sent by God to wipe out LGBTQ people and other sinners.

Right-wing pastor EW Jackson told listeners of his radio show that the “homovirus” has infected America. Jackson was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2013 and he ran in the Republican primary for US Senate in 2012 and 2018. He lost all three races. “The last thing in the world the black community needs is more destruction of the family, more attacks on the family, and that’s all this whole homosexual movement amounts to,” Jackson said. “It is a virulent, violent attack."
 

   
 

An Orthodox rabbi in Israel is blaming the outbreak of coronavirus strain COVID-19 on LGBTQ Pride. Rabbi Meir Mazuz delivered a screed against the celebration of LGBTQ identity at Kiseh Rahamim yeshiva in Bnei Brak, which he heads up. In the remarks, the prominent Sephardic religious leader called Pride "a parade against nature, and when someone goes against nature, the one who created nature takes revenge on him."

“It is regrettable that in times like these when the whole world comes together to eradicate coronavirus, Rabbi Mazuz finds it appropriate to blame the virus’s outbreak on the LGBTQ community," ADL said in a statement. "We harshly condemn his statements and urge him to apologize." In recent years, Mazuz has blamed Pride for various acts of terrorism and violence. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem both host major parades annually in Israel, which is considered the most LGBTQ-friendly nation in the Middle East.

 

Pat Robertson Blames Coronavirus on Same-Sex Marriage

Religious Extremists Claim Coronavirus Epidemic Started at a Gay Conference

Preacher Says Death of LGBTQ Activist by COVID-19 is Divine Judgement

Trump's Cabinet Minister Blames LGBTQ People for COVID-19

Conservative Pundit: Coronavirus Good Because Now Drag Queens Can't Read Books to Kids

Christian Pastor: Marriage Equality Caused Coronavirus
Trump's Bible Study Teachers Says COVID-19 Caused by Gays

Conservative Pundit: God Sent Coronaviruis to Kill the Jews

Far Right Pastor: Coronavirus is Punishment for LGBTQ Sin

Influential DC Pastor: COVID-19 is God's Wrath Against Gays

Religious Figures Blame LGBTQ People for COVID-19

Anti-Gay Republican Voted Against Coronavirus Testing Bill for Redefining Family

Evangelical Christians Linking LGBTQ People to Coronavirus

Israeli Rabbi: COVID-19 is Nature's Revenge Against Pride Parades

 

Transgender Day of Visibility

 

March 31 is International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV). It is a time to celebrate transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face. TDOV has also been defined as an annual awareness day dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of transgender and gender nonconforming people while raising awareness of the work that still needs to be done to achieve trans justice.

 

 

Across the country and internationally there has been an increased visibility of the transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) communities. Despite increased national media visibility, this year goes on record as one of the most dangerous years for transgender and gender non-conforming people, with alarming rates of violence, homicides, and suicides - specifically impacting trans women of color and youth.

 

Flavia Music Video: Them

Introduction to Transgender People

Transgender Day of Visibility Explained

TDOV: Honoring the Visible and Invisible (2020)

Stories of Incredible Trans Youth

TDOV: Honoring the Visible and Invisible (2019)

Young Trans Activists to Know

Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility

Info: Transgender Articles, Data, and Stories


 

 

Current LGBTQ News
 

NBC News: Most Popular LGBTQ News Stories of 2019

Putin Vows to Never Allow Same-Sex Marriage in Russia

Posthumous Pardon for Bayard Rustin

Super Bowl's Rainbow Wave: LGBTQ Commercials

Ellen DeGeneres Receives Golden Globe Honor

James: Starbucks Trans Ad

CNN: Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin Pardoned After 67 Years

State Park in Brooklyn Renamed in Honor of Marsha P. Johnson

Deborah Batts, First Openly Gay Federal Judge, Dies at 72

Super Bowl News: First Female and Openly Gay NFL Assistant Coach

Vladimir Putin: No LGBTQ Families, No Same Sex Marriages in Russia

Bayard Rustin: MLK's Views on Gay People

Huff Post: Methodist Church Splits Over LGBTQ Inclusion


 

Pete Buttigieg Wins Iowa Caucus

In February 2020, Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made history at the Iowa caucus. He is the first LGBTQ person to win delegates in any presidential contest. He hopes his success in that contest will provide some amount of comfort and inspiration to young people who feel marginalized in their families and communities.

“It validates for a kid, somewhere in a community, wondering if he belongs, or she belongs, or they belong in their own family, that if you believe in yourself and your country, there’s a lot backing up that belief,” he said. In the final days before the Iowa caucuses, Buttigieg had leaned on the historic nature of his candidacy. The 38-year-old would also be the youngest president, if elected. “So, are you ready to make history one more time?” he said to an estimated 2,000 people at his final rally in Des Moines.

Buttigieg reminded Iowans that he was in Iowa roughly 12 years ago to knock doors for Barack Obama when the nation’s first black president was making his bid for the White House. Buttigieg said he also remembered watching from afar in 2009 when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in 2009 to uphold same-sex marriages. The consequential decision paved the way for a 2015 ruling in the US Supreme Court. “You all changed what people thought was possible once again, and gave someone like me permission to believe that one day I would be able to wear this wedding ring,” Buttigieg told the crowd. "You did that.”
 

Pete Buttigieg: First LGBTQ Person to Win Delegates in Any Presidential Contest

Pete Buttigieg: Advocate Magazine Interview

Iowa Voter Socked to Learn Buttigieg is Gay, Asks to Change Vote

Pete Buttigieg: Unlikely Unprecedented Presidential Campaign

Pete Buttigieg on Campaign Trail: 9 Year Old Boy Asks for Coming Out Advice

Candidate Pete Buttigieg Confronts VP Mike Pence About Anti-Gay Comments


Bayard Rustin Posthumously Pardoned

As a civil rights leader and an advocate for justice, Bayard Rustin was no stranger to being behind bars. He was arrested for his anti-war efforts in opposition to World War II. He was arrested for protesting segregation laws in the Jim Crow-era South. But in 1953, he was arrested for reasons outside his activism — for having sex with men.

Rustin was jailed on a "morals charge." He was eventually convicted of misdemeanor vagrancy and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. The offense landed him on the sex offender list, cost him jobs and was used to delegitimize the civil rights movement by people like segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond, who read Rustin's arrest record on the Senate floor.
 


In February 2020, 67 years after that arrest and 33 years after his death, Rustin received a pardon from California Gov. Gavin Newsom. "Mr. Rustin was criminalized because of stigma, bias, and ignorance," Newsom said in the pardon. "With this act of executive clemency, I acknowledge the inherent injustice of this conviction, an injustice that was compounded by his political opponents' use of the record of this case to try to undermine him, his associates, and the civil rights movement."

Rustin's pardon is part of a new initiative from Newsom's office to grant clemency to people who were prosecuted in California for being gay, inspired by a push from leaders of the California Legislative Black Caucus and the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus. "In California and across the country, charges like vagrancy, loitering, and sodomy have been used to unjustly target lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people," according to a news release from Newson's office. "Law enforcement and prosecutors specifically targeted LGBTQ individuals, communities and community spaces for criminal prosecution. Now, as a proudly LGBTQ-allied state, California is turning the page on historic wrongs."

 



Rustin led and organized some of the most pivotal protests of the civil rights movement. Most famously, he was the mastermind behind the 1963 March on Washington. He was the main person who pushed the movement (and Martin Luther King) toward nonviolent ideas and tactics. Rustin traveled to India in 1948 to learn more about pacifist ideas and helped introduce those teachings to King. Following the success of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956, Rustin became a close confidant and advisor to King. Rustin played a significant role in the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Though former President Barack Obama awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, he remains much less known when compared to his civil rights movement peers. Some academics argue this is due to the homophobia of the time.

[Source: CNN, February 2020]
 

Biography: Bayard Rustin, Advisor to Martin Luther King
Biographical Notes: Bayard Rustin

CNN: Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin Pardoned After 67 Years

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Historic TV Episode: Batwoman Comes Out as Lesbian

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Assistant Coach Katie Sowers at Super Bowl LIV

When the San Francisco 49ers took the field against the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LIV, it was a historical moment for offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers. Sowers, who has worked for the Niners since 2017, became the first female assistant on an NFL coaching staff to work in a Super Bowl. Sowers, 33, is also the NFL’s only openly LGBTQ coach, making her role in the Feb 2020 championship game doubly historic.

 

 

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo gives Sowers a lot of credit for the work she’s done with the team’s receivers. “She been tremendous,” Garoppolo explained. “Katie was here before I was, but just what she does with the receivers, all the skill positions guys, how she interacts with them. It’s special. She’s feisty, man. Katie is awesome out there. She’ll get after guys … It’s fun to be around.”

Before going into coaching, Sowers played pro ball and was part of the 2013 US Women’s National American Football team that won the International Federation of American Football’s world championship game by defeating Canada 64-0. A hip injury led her to retire in 2016, but she was invited to be an intern for the Atlanta Falcons, where she met Kyle Shanahan, who later hired her when he became the 49ers’ head coach. “Katie did a real good job for us in Atlanta, she’s done a really good job here,” Shanahan said.

Out Sports: Katie Sowers is First Out LGBTQ Coach in NFL

People Mag: First Female and Openly Gay Coach at Super Bowl

Huff Post: First Female and Openly Gay NFL Assistant Coach at Super Bowl

Super Bowl's Rainbow Wave: LGBTQ Commercials

Ellen DeGeneres: Honored at Golden Globe Awards

Talk show host and comedian, Ellen DeGeneres was awarded the Carol Burnett Award at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony in January 2020.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association named the three-time Golden Globe nominee as the second recipient to be honored with the award, following Burnett at the 2019 ceremony. The award is presented to "an honoree who has made outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off the screen" and is the Golden Globes most prestigious television award.

 

 

Kate McKinnon introduced DeGeneres by reminiscing about all that she has received and learned from the honoree, including her "sense of self." After McKinnon realized she was gay, she said that DeGeneres' coming-out gave her a "shot" at making it in the entertainment industry. "The only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV," McKinnon said. "She really risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it."

McKinnon's most memorable moment was when she explained, “In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was in the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror and thinking, Am I gay? And I was, and I still am. But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself. It’s sort of like doing 23andMe, and discovering that you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”

"Of course attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change. And if I hadn't seen her on TV, I would have thought, 'I could never be on TV. They don't let LGBTQ people on TV,'" continued McKinnon. "And more than that I would've gone on thinking that I was an alien and that maybe I didn't even have a right to be here. So thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot."
 

Kate McKinnon Delivers Emotional Tribute to Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres Accepts Carol Burnett Award at Golden Globes Event

Golden Globes: Kate McKinnon's Tribute to Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres Receives Golden Globe Honor

Golden Globes: Ellen DeGeneres Receives Achievement in Television Award

 

 

Lil Nas X: Multiple Grammy Winner

Lil Nas X is officially a Grammy winner. The Black gay singer took home Best Music Video and Pop Duo/Group Performance for his massive country hit "Old Town Road" with Billy Ray Cyrus. Lil Nas X is one of the most-nominated artists at the 2020 Grammy Awards. He received six nods, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist. The gay artist also won the evening's red carpet. He arrived at the Staples Center in Los Angeles sporting a pink custom Versace ensemble referencing both kink and cowboy culture.

 

Biographical Notes: Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus: Old Town Road

Six Grammy Nominations: Lil Nas X

 

Methodist Church to Split Over LGBTQ Inclusion

Conservative wing of the church, which doesn’t want to ordain or preside over the marriages of queer parishioners, plans to form its own denomination. Key leaders within the United Methodist Church have announced an agreement outlining how America’s third-largest religious denomination will split over the issue of LGBTQ inclusion.

The UMC’s traditionalist wing, which has steadfastly refused to ordain or preside over the marriages of LGBTQ parishioners, will split off and form a new denomination, according to a proposal published in January 2020. According to the proposal, the conservatives would leave with $25 million and their local church properties. The planned schism would allow the remaining churches to reconvene at a later date and potentially remove controversial language from the church’s rulebook that claims “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” LGBTQ Methodists and their allies have long argued that this language is harmful.
 



The agreement was reached by a 16-member group composed of representatives from different factions of the UMC, including the conservative Wesley Covenant Association and the LGBTQ-affirming Reconciling Ministries Network. Bishops from the US, Africa, Europe and the Philippines participated. The proposal, officially called the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, still needs to be approved by delegates to the UMC’s General Conference, which is scheduled to take place in Minneapolis in May 2020.

The Wesley Covenant Association has already taken steps to form the new denomination, including drafting a book of doctrines. WCA president Rev. Keith Boyette, who participated in the mediation, said that conservatives in the UMC have long felt the church’s theological divisions were irreparable. “I believe this is a fair and equitable solution that puts decades of conflict behind us and gives us a hopeful future,” Boyette said. The agreement leaves open the possibility of multiple additional Methodist denominations forming.

The UMC has about 12.6 million members worldwide, including nearly 7 million in the US, where the denomination has its own universities, a publishing house and other ministries. American Methodists also hold a wide spectrum of political views: Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren identifies as Methodist, as does former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Other mainline Protestant movements in the US (Anglican and Presbyterian, for example) have experienced schisms over the ordination and marriage of LGBTQ members, as well as over the ordination of women.

After years of grappling with the possibility of a schism over the welcoming of queer Christians, the UMC’s General Conference voted in 2019 to affirm existing church doctrine prohibiting same-sex marriage and the ordination of queer clergy and to impose harsher penalties on clergy who break the rules. Queer Methodists and their allies were deeply disappointed by the vote and immediately began seeking a new way forward.

[Source: Carol Kuruvilla, Huffington Post, January 2020]
 
Huff Post: Methodist Church Splits Over LGBTQ Inclusion

NY Times: Methodist Church Announces Plans to Split Over LGBTQ Question

NPR: Methodist Church Proposes to Divide Over Differences About LGBTQ Rights

Advocate: Methodist Church Releases Plan to Split Over LGBTQ Issues

CBS News: Methodist Church to Split Over LGBQ Impasse

CNN: Methodist Church Announces Historic Split Over LGBTQ Inclusion


 

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Matthew Shepard Honored at National Cathedral

In December 2019, the Washington DC National Cathedral dedicated a plaque to Matthew Shepard, a victim of a 1998 hate crime whose death became a landmark moment in LGBTQ history. Shepard’s remains were interred in 2018 in the Cathedral on the 20th anniversary of his murder.

Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother and co-founder and president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, said, “We’re grateful for each gift that created this beautiful plaque that now marks Matt’s final resting place. We hope this will be a place that forever offers solace and strength for all who visit.”

 

Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith of the National Cathedral and Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde led the ceremony. “As a sacred space for the nation and house of prayer for all people, the Cathedral is honored and humbled to serve as Matthew’s final resting place, and to take this further step to show that, finally, Matthew is home and he is safe,” said Hollerith. “Matthew’s indelible legacy and the enduring strength and courage of his family and loved ones serve as a guiding force for all of us in how to confront bigotry by fostering greater love, acceptance and embrace of people of all backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. We are proud to play our part in this important, necessary struggle.”

The National Cathedral in Washington DC has set itself apart as a progressive church, performing same-sex weddings since 2010 and hiring a transgender preacher to the Canterbury Pulpit in 2014.

The ceremony involved Judy and Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s parents, along with out singer Mary Lambert, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. Excepts from “The Laramie Project” were also read.
 

Advocate Magazine: Matthew Shepard Memorialized with Plaque at National Cathedral

Out Magazine: Matthew Shepard Honored with Plaque at National Cathedral


Rainbow Wave: LGBTQ Candidates Getting Elected

In 2019, 144 openly LGBTQ candidates won their races, according to the Victory Fund, an organization which supports LGBTQ political candidates nationwide. In addition, 12 races involving LGBTQ candidates remain undecided or are headed to runoff elections.

A total of 382 known out LGBTQ candidates ran in political races this year. Among winners in Nov 2019 were eight bisexuals, 20 lesbians and nine trans women, including Danica Roem who serves in Virginia’s House of Delegates, making her the first-ever trans person to win re-election for a state legislature in the US.

 



“Anti-LGBTQ attacks on our candidates almost universally backfired,” said Annise Parker, President and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. She added: "LGBTQ candidates are winning elections in numbers and in parts of the country thought unthinkable a decade or two ago. LGBTQ people are in every community (we are people of color, women, immigrants, and people with disabilities) and we come from families both liberal and conservative. This beautiful diversity provides an opportunity to connect on some level with every single voter in America. That is the reason LGBTQ candidates are winning in unprecedented numbers, and this will only accelerate in the years ahead."

Victory Fund says there are currently 765 openly LGBTQ elected officials serving nationwide.
 

Rainbow Wave: 114 LGBTQ Candidates Won Office This Year

Danica Roem: First Trans Legislator Re-Elected

Trans Lawmaker of Virginia: Danica Roem

2019 Candidates Endorsed by the Victory Fund

Victory Fund: Results 2019



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Chick-Fil-A: Symbol of LGBTQ Discrimination

Chick-fil-A is arguably best known for three things: its juicy chicken sandwiches, its employees’ perpetually chipper attitudes, and its long history of donating to charities with anti-LGBTQ stances. However, the fast-food chain says it is changing its charitable giving approach in 2020. And it says, in an oblique way, that it will no longer donate to such organizations.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation will instead take “a more focused giving approach,” Chick-fil-A announced in a press release in November 2019. The foundation has set aside $9 million for 2020 that will be split between three initiatives: promoting youth education, combating youth homelessness, and fighting hunger. Those funds will be distributed to Junior Achievement USA, Covenant House International, and local food banks in cities where the chain opens new locations. Chick-fil-A’s president and CEO Tim Tassopoulos made it clear that the company’s new donation strategy is at least partly related to the constant backlash Chick-fil-A has faced over its donations. Notably, Chick-fil-A never explicitly said it would permanently stop donating to anti-gay groups or organizations that discriminate against LGBTQ people. It just said it was changing its philanthropic giving model.



Back in June 2012, following a series of public comments opposing same-sex marriage by Dan T. Cathy, Chick-fil-A's chief operating officer, related issues have arisen between the international fast food restaurant and the LGBTQ community. This followed reports that Chick-fil-A's charitable endeavor, the S. Truett Cathy-operated WinShape Foundation, had donated millions of dollars to organizations seen by LGBTQ activists as hostile to LGBTQ rights. Activists called for protests and boycotts, while supporters of the restaurant chain, and opponents of same-sex marriage ate there in support of the restaurant. National political figures both for and against the actions spoke out and some business partners severed ties with the chain.

The outcome of the initial controversy was mixed, as Chick-fil-A's sales rose twelve percent, to $4.6 billion, in the period immediately following the controversy. This was largely attributed to former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee's counter-boycott launched in support of the restaurant. However, the company's public image and standing with the LGBTQ community was damaged, with the chain facing criticism and condemnation from politicians and gay rights activists, as well as efforts by activists and political officials to ban the restaurant from college campuses, airports and elsewhere.

The WinShape Foundation, a charitable endeavor of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy and his family, stated that it would not allow same-sex couples to participate in its marriage retreats. Chick-fil-A gave over $8 million to the WinShape Foundation in 2010. Equality Matters, an LGBTQ watchdog group, published reports of donations by WinShape to organizations that the watchdog group considers anti-gay, including $2 million in 2009, $1.9 million in 2010 and a total of $5 million since 2003, including grants to the Family Research Council and Georgia Family Council. WinShape contributed grants to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Exodus International, an organization noted for supporting ex-gay conversion therapy. The Marriage and Family Foundation received $994,199 in 2009 and $1,188,380 in 2010. The Family Research Council, an organization listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in Winter 2010, received $1000.



In June 2012, while on the syndicated radio talk show, The Ken Coleman Show, Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer (COO) Dan Cathy stated: "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."

In July 2012, Biblical Recorder published an interview with Dan Cathy, who was asked about opposition to his company's "support of the traditional family." He replied: "Guilty as charged." Cathy continued: "We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."

The day after the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, Cathy tweeted, "Sad day for our nation. the founding fathers would be ashamed of our generation for o abandoning the wisdom of the ages and the cornerstone of strong societies."
 

LGBTQ Nation: Chick-Fil-A Not Quite LGBTQ Friendly

Chick-Fil-A: Controversy, Boycotts, Bad Press

Huff Post: Chick-Fil-A's Long Time Support of Anti-LGBTQ Organizations

NBC News: Cautious Optimism Regarding Changes at Chick-Fil-A

Forbes: Chick-Fil-A Grilled From Both Sides

LGBTQ Discrimination: Chick-Fil-A and More

Background Info: Chick-Fil-A and LGBTQ Discrimination

Chick-Fil-A's Airport Controversy

 

Anti-LGBTQ Hate Crimes On the Rise

Hate crime murders in the US reached a 27-year high last year, according to new data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people rose by 6% in 2018 over 2017.

The 24 hate crime murders that occurred in 2018 mark their highest occurrence since the FBI began tracking and reporting hate crimes in 1991. While the number of overall hate crimes dropped slightly from 7,175 in 2017 to 7,036 in 2018, they remain high. Even more troubling: the number of actual hate crimes and murders that occurred in the US is likely to be much higher, due to under-reporting.

 


Among the 7,036 “single-bias hate crimes” reported in 2018 (that is, hate crimes in which a single perceived characteristic motivated the attacker) 16.7% happened due to sexual orientation bias and 2.2% occurred due to gender identity bias. An additional 59.6% occurred due to racism and 18.7% were motivated by religious-bias. These 7,036 single-biased hate crimes affected 8,646 victims total.

Of the 1,445 victims targeted due to sexual-orientation: 59.7 % were targeted for being gay men, 12.2% were targeted for being lesbian women, and 1.5% were targeted for being bisexual. Another 24.9% targeted LGBTQ people generally without listing a specific identity.

 

 

Of the 189 victims targeted for gender-identity, 160 were victims of anti-transgender bias and 29 were victims of anti-gender non-conforming (GNC) bias. This is an increase over the 131 reported anti-transgender or anti-GNC hate crimes in 2017.

[Source: Daniel Villarreal, LGBTQ Nation, November 2019
]
 

LGBTQ Nation: Anti-LGBTQ Hate Crimes Reach a New High

HRC Report: Alarming Increase in Number of LGBTQ Hate Crimes

Mother Jones: Is Political Climate Leading to More Anti-LGBTQ Violence?

Anti-LGBTQ Violence on the Rise and Government is to Blame

CBS News: Data Shows US Hate Crimes Continue to Rise

Reuters: Attacks Against LGBTQ Community Rarely Prosecuted

Trans Worker Threatened by Customers


LGBTQ Rights on Trial

A seemingly divided Supreme Court struggled on Oct 8, 2019 over whether a landmark civil rights law protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, with one conservative justice wondering if the court should take heed of “massive social upheaval” that could follow a ruling in their favor.

With the court’s four liberal justices likely to side with workers who were fired because of their sexual orientation or transgender status, the question in two highly anticipated cases that filled the courtroom was whether one of the court’s conservatives might join them. Two hours of lively arguments touched on sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, and dress codes.

 

A key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title 7 bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons. In recent years, some courts have read that language to include discrimination against LGBTQ people as a subset of sex discrimination.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court appointee, said there are strong arguments favoring the LGBTQ workers. But Gorsuch suggested that maybe Congress, not the courts, should change the law because of the upheaval that could ensue. “It’s a question of judicial modesty,” Gorsuch said.

Two other conservatives, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, did not squarely indicate their views, although Roberts questioned how employers with religious objections to hiring LGBTQ people might be affected by the outcome.

 

The first of two cases involved a skydiving instructor and a county government worker in Georgia who were fired for being gay. The second case involves transgender people, and the audience in the courtroom included Stephens, transgender actor Laverne Cox and some people who had waited in line since the weekend to hear the court's arguments.

The Trump administration and lawyers for the employers hit hard on the changes that might be required in bathrooms, locker rooms, women’s shelters and school sports teams if the court were to rule that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers LGBTQ people. Lawmakers, not unelected judges, should change the law, they argued.

“Sex means whether you’re male or female, not whether you’re gay or straight,” Noel Francisco, Trump’s top Supreme Court lawyer said.

 

Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, seemed to agree with that argument, saying Congress in 1964 did not envision covering sexual orientation or gender identity. “You’re trying to change the meaning of ‘sex,’” Alito said.

If the votes of some conservative justices seemed in doubt, the liberals’ views were clear.

“And we can’t deny that homosexuals are being fired merely for being who they are,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said. “At what point do we say we have to step in?”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out that the term sexual harassment was unknown in 1964, but now is considered sex discrimination.

Justice Elena Kagan suggested sexual orientation is a clear subset of sex discrimination, saying that a man who loves other men cannot be treated differently by an employer than a woman who loves men.

 

The cases are the court’s first on LGBTQ rights since Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement and replacement by Kavanaugh. Kennedy was a voice for gay rights and the author of the landmark ruling in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States. Kavanaugh generally is regarded as more conservative. A decision is expected by early summer 2020, amid the presidential election campaign.

A ruling for employees who were fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity would have a big impact for the estimated 8.1 million LGBTQ workers across the country because most states don’t protect them from workplace discrimination. An estimated 11.3 million LGBTQ people live in the US, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA Law School.

Is It Legal to Fire Workers for Being LGBTQ?
NBC News: Supreme Court Divided Over LGBTQ Rights

NPR News: LGBTQ Employment Rights Case in Supreme Court

USA Today: Supreme Court Tackling Trans Job Bias Civil Rights Case

CBS News: Supreme Court Split Over LGBTQ Rights

LGBTQ Nation: Is Supreme Case About Right to Work or Right to Live?

AP News: Divided Supreme Court Weighing LGBTQ Rights

Queerspace Mag: SCOTUS to Hear LGBTQ Employment Discrimination Cases


 

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Queer Representation at 2019 Emmy Awards


Trump Promoting Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

Trump launches the latest in his ongoing attempts to whittle away at the rights and protections for LGBTQ people. While his is homophobia is rampant, in his latest move, we see, in particular, his transphobia in evidence.

In August 2019, the Trump administration filed a Supreme Court brief arguing that it should be perfectly legal to fire transgender people for being transgender. The brief argues in Harris Funeral Homes v EEOC & Aimee Stephens that an employer has every right under federal law to fire someone for transitioning. And the brief makes that argument using transphobic tropes.

 

The case is about Aimee Stephens, who worked for Harris Funeral Homes for five years before announcing that she was transitioning in 2012. Her employer said that she was “violating God’s commands” and fired her two weeks later. She filed a complaint with the EEOC saying that she suffered from sex discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the EEOC agreed. And now the Supreme Court will hear her case.

Her argument is that the Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on sex, and it’s impossible to fire a transgender person without considering their sex. Furthermore, even if one were to accept that “sex” only refers to sex assigned at birth, she was discriminated against because she was fired for not conforming to sex stereotypes associated with people assigned male at birth.

 

This is an argument that the Trump administration has been working against, even though the Obama administration was supportive. Donald Trump and Republicans in general oppose LGBTQ civil rights legislation, so of course they’re going to work against attempts to get those protections through the courts.

The brief’s argument is that Congress never intended for “sex” discrimination to preclude discrimination against transgender people, even if that’s what a plain reading of the text would suggest. They also say that Harris Funeral Homes developed policies (like bathroom usage and a dress code) based on sex assigned at birth, and Stephens refused to follow those policies.

 

It also repeatedly says that Stephens’s identity and gender are unimportant to the case, what’s important is that she was going to violate her employers’ dress code. The brief reduces being transgender to clothes and presentation, as if she’s a man playing dress-up.

The brief’s language uses outdated language, dishonors pronouns, and is steeped in the idea that sex assigned at birth is the only real identity someone can have, and being transgender is something on top of that. That is, Aimee Stephens is a gender non-conforming man, not a transgender woman, according to the Trump administration.

[Source: LGBTQ Nation, August 2019
]
 

Trump Urging EEOC to Turn Its Back on LGBTQ Workers

Trump: Trans Discrimination Should be Legal

Trump Tells Supreme Court: Allow Gay People to Be Fired

Trump: Discrimination Against Gays and Lesbians is Perfectly Legal

Trump Tells SCOTUS to Legalize Firing of LGBTQ Workers

New York Times: Trump's Ominous Attempt to Redefine Human Rights

Trump's New Anti-LGBTQ Policy for Federal Contractors

Christian Right Loves License-to-Discriminate Rule

Trump to Legalize LGBTQ Discrimination for Federal Contractors

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Trump Urges Supreme Court to Approve Anti-Trans Discrimination

Trans College Student Kicked Out for Having Top Surgery


Author Toni Morrison Dies at 88

American author Toni Morrison has died. The Nobel laureate (whose novels Beloved, Song of Solomon, and The Bluest Eye explored race in America) passed on August 5, 2019 in the Bronx at age 88.

 

Morrison was a towering figure in the literary community. She wrote 11 novels in her lifetime, and her honors included the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Her work often centered on a Black female protagonist and featured predominantly African-American characters, which was a revolutionary point of view within her literary generation. In her writing and interviews, Morrison spoke truth to power, laying bare the impact of oppression and racism, as well as the power of words to fight them.
 

New York Times Video: Remembering American Author Toni Morrison

Advocate Article: LGBTQ Community Mourns Passing of Toni Morrison

PBS News Video: Remembering Toni Morrison's Beautiful Human Urgency

Recent Interview with Toni Morrison

NBC News Video: Beloved Author Toni Morrison Dies at 88

CBS News Video: Legacy and Influence of Toni Morrison


 

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