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NATIONAL Abbott backlash, Penn. race, Staten Island, Elliot Page
by Windy City Times staff
2022-02-27

This article shared 942 times since Sun Feb 27, 2022
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Transgender Mayor Lisa Middleton, of Palm Springs, responded to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott after he issued a directive to state agencies to begin investigating and prosecuting parents of transgender children for "child abuse," per a press release. Middleton said, in part, "Please try to understand what it means to be the parent of a transgender child. Please imagine the tears throughout the family as your child told you their truth—their most difficult, essential and personal truth. A truth unlike anything you had ever known. You had a choice: Can I and do I stand with my child? You made the choice to stand up for your child, to give your child the best opportunity to be the best person they could be. … I am in awe of the transgender children and their parents that I meet. Spend 10 minutes with them—any one of them—and you will be as well."

Also, in a separate release, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) addressed Abbott's action. NBJC Executive Director David Johns said, "The 'ban transgender children' directive issued by [Gov.] Abbott is a waste and misuse of government funds at a time when there are reports of Texas child protective services being so overwhelmed that children in the system have been forced to sleep on floors. Adding more children separated from their families to a system still reeling from the children separated from their families at the border and put into cages during the Trump administration makes little sense except for a politician seeking to 'out Trump' rivals for the Republican party nomination for [president] in 2024."

Several Democratic candidates are vying to represent Pennsylvania's 182nd House district, which includes Philadelphia's Gayborhood, Bella Vista, Center City West and Fairmount neighborhoods, according to Philadelphia Gay News. Those candidates are Jonathan Lovitz, an out gay man; Deja Lynn Alvarez, a trans woman; Ben Waxman, an LGBTQ ally; and business owner and committee person Will Gross. The seat is being vacated by state Rep. Brian Sims, who is running for lieutenant governor.

LGBTQ+ groups have again been prohibited from openly marching in the Staten Island St. Patrick's Parade, SILive.com reported. Carol Bullock—executive director of the Pride Center of Staten Island, one of the LGBTQ groups that tried to apply—said she wasn't expecting much more than that after having her application denied in recent years. Cummings' position—and seemingly the stance of the rest of the committee—has long been that the Staten Island St. Patrick Parade, set to take place March 6, is meant to respect and honor Irish heritage and the Roman Catholic faith. In addition to the pride center, Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) New York and FDNY FireFlag/EMS had their applications denied.

Elliot Page pledged his support to trans youth and their families after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton labeled gender-affirming surgery as "child abuse" under existing law in the state, Out Magazine noted. "I am horrified by the inhumane and downright dangerous declarations by the Texas Governor and Attorney General." Page said in a statement. "Trans youth deserve gender-affirming care and to be able to live their true, authentic selves without fear and oppression. I stand with trans youth and their families." Gabrielle Union and Jen Richards are among the other celebrities showing support for the trans youth in Texas.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has launched the Reality Flag campaign, a press release noted. At the heart of the campaign is the evocative Reality Flag—an altered version of the American flag with 29 of its stars removed, representing each of the 29 states lacking comprehensive protections for LGBTQ+ people, underscoring the "reality" that millions of LGBTQ+ people lack a number of protections and basic freedoms. As the campaign debuts at RealityFlag.com and across a number of national media platforms, an 85-foot-long banner featuring the "Reality Flag" will be unfurled and fanned out across the front of the HRC's headquarters in Washington, D.C. See RealityFlag.com .

Keturah Herron won the Kentucky Special Election for House District 42 on Feb. 22—and is now the first out LGBTQ person ever elected to the Kentucky state House, LGBTQ Victory Fund noted in a press release. Herron previously worked for the ACLU of Kentucky, where they worked to pass Breonna's Law, which bans no-knock warrants in the city of Louisville. LGBTQ Victory Fund President & CEO Mayor Annise Parker said, "This is a momentous night for Kentucky, especially for LGBTQ people and Black people who have lived without equitable representation in the state legislature for far too long."

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) angered activists for proposing to rename a Queens post office that is currently named in honor of an LGBTQ activist, per LGBTQ Nation. The Jeanne and Jules Manford Post Office Building in Jackson Heights honors the late Jeanne Manford, co-founder of PFLAG, the nation's largest organization for parents and allies of LGBTQ people. Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Ocasio-Cortez, told the New York Daily News she got the idea from members of the community who were interested in honoring a different LGBTQ activist: the late Lorena Borjas. Many feel the conversation about the Jackson Heights building simply isn't necessary.

Lambda Legal elected Lauren Mutti as its new board chair, per a press release. Mutti is an expert in labor and discrimination law, and she previously served as a board vice-chair. "Ms. Mutti has been an invaluable member of our Board for nearly four years, playing a vital role in the development of Lambda's new strategic plan as co-chair of our Strategic Planning Committee," said Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings. "We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Mutti to her new role at the helm of our Board, and we look forward to her leadership as we continue to advance the important mission of Lambda Legal." Mutti holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and a J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law; she lives in Dallas with her wife and their three children.

South Dakota leads the nation in depression rates among LGBTQ people, according to a national study from HelpAdvisor.com, Dakota News Now noted. Two doctors with extensive expertise—one transgender physician who treats transgender clients (Dr. Mayse Bedient), and a psychologist who counsels them (Dr. Anne Dilenschneirder)—say this dark statistic is not a fluke considering the annual political rhetoric ramped up publicly in the state legislature. Most recently, lawmakers passed the "fairness in women's sport bill," the first anti-transgender measure signed into law in the United States in 2022.

A Georgia elementary school principal who ordered the removal of a fifth-grade student's LGBTQ-affirming artwork was caught on video popping an assortment of rainbow-colored balloons sent to his school in support of the unnamed student, per Out Magazine. Principal Bipul Singh and Vice-Principal Sandra Scott of Athens' Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School initially courted controversy after they had reportedly directed a teacher to remove a student's colorful drawing from a classroom bulletin board that featured the message "gay is ok." While Singh can be heard in a recent call saying the school supported the identity and expression of the student, many in the Oglethorpe community appear to be unmoved, with an online petition circulating that calls for action against anti-LGBTQ+ bias and discrimination at the school.

In Louisiana, Lafayette Parish Sheriff's deputies arrested LGBTQ+-rights activist Matthew Humphrey at a four-hour meeting of the Library Board of Control, TheAdvertiser.com noted. Humphrey's arrest came more than two hours into the meeting as conservative blogger Michael Lunsford stood to speak about Amber J. Keyser's The V-Word—a book he sought to remove from the library's collection over sexual content. Board President Robert Judge previously threatened to have Humphrey removed during the board's discussion of plans for a new northeast regional library location, during which Humphrey called Judge's defense of leasing a building instead of building a new facility "disingenuous."

The Virginia House of Delegates approved a religious-freedom bill that critics say would allow anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the state, The Washington Blade reported. House Bill 753, which state Del. Les Adams (R-Pittsylvania County) introduced, passed 54-45. "The bill exempts any place of accommodation owned by or operated on behalf of a religious corporation, association, or society from the nondiscrimination in public places of accommodation provisions of the Virginia Human Rights Act," reads the bill. "Under current law, such places of accommodation are exempt only when not open to the public." However, the bill may die in the Senate, as Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority there.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear the appeal by Denver-based marketing and design firm 303 Creative of a U.S. District Court ruling that denied the firm's request for a special exemption from the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), a Lambda Legal press release noted. The firm wants to be allowed to refuse its commercial website design services to same-sex couples because the owner claims it violates her religion to treat same- and different-sex couples equally when conducting her business. The lower-court case is 303 Creative v. Elenis; read the Tenth Circuit's ruling at https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/us_20210726_303-creative-v-elenis-opinion.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and former Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard will speak at this year's annual Ronald Reagan Dinner hosted by the far-right Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), LGBTQ Nation noted. Lately, Gabbard's been touting Republican rhetoric, blasting President Joe Biden for playing "identity politics" in his commitment to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court and calling critics of anti-LGBTQ conservative podcaster Joe Rogan "zealots of wokeism." In December 2020, she introduced legislation that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports as their gender.

For the first time, U.S. regulators have authorized a condom specifically designed for anal sex, Complex noted. Although health experts have encouraged condom use for all varieties of sexual intercourse, the FDA previously prohibited companies from marketing their products as an effective tool for safe anal sex. But now, the agency announced it will allow Global Protection Corp. to market its One Male Condom as a product that helps "reduce transmission of sexually transmitted infections" during both vaginal and anal intercourse.

Alex Walker—a gay Democrat who is challenging controversial Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert in Colorado—has unveiled an ad featuring … cow pies, The Denver Post reported. The source of the barnyard epithet is incumbent Boebert, Walker's video insinuates. Walker was raised by Republican parents in Littleton and Eagle, according to his campaign announcement. He is an entrepreneur and has worked as an engineer.

The Spahr Center in Marin County, California, has hired a new executive director, per The Bay Area Reporter. Adrian Shanker will start in the position in April at the center, which serves Marin's LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities. Shanker will be relocating to California from Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he founded the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center back in 2014. Prior to that, he was president of Equality Pennsylvania.

The three white men convicted of murder in Ahmaud Arbery's fatal shooting were found guilty of federal hate crimes for violating Arbery's civil rights and targeting him because he was Black, per Yahoo! News. The jury also found father and son Greg and Travis McMichael as well as neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan guilty of attempted kidnapping, and the McMichaels guilty of the use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. The verdict was a symbolic one, coming just months after all three defendants were convicted of murder in a Georgia state court and sentenced to life in prison (although Bryant is eligible for parole after serving 30 years).

An Asian-American dancer en route to a first-performance celebration at New York's Public Theater was attacked in what theater officials describe as the latest "disgusting and heartbreaking" incident "in a long history of violence against Asian Americans," Deadline noted. The dancer, who was not identified, was attacked near Seward Park on Manhattan's Lower East Side—a short distance from the Chinatown apartment where Christina Yuna Lee was murdered on Feb. 13 in a violent attack that was the latest in a surge of high-profile crimes involving Asian-American victims.

San Francisco residents overwhelmingly recalled three members of the city's school board—all Democrats—recently for what critics called misplaced priorities and putting progressive politics over the needs of children during the pandemic, per U.S. News & World Report. Parents in the politically liberal city launched the recall effort in January 2021 out of frustration over the slow reopening of district schools, while the board pursued the renaming of 44 school sites and the elimination of competitive admissions at the elite Lowell High School. Mayor London Breed, a Democrat, had criticized the school board for being distracted by "political agendas."


This article shared 942 times since Sun Feb 27, 2022
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