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NATIONAL Alabama protest, antibiotic, bi politician, high-school musicals, Key West
by Andrew Davis
2023-05-12

This article shared 2272 times since Fri May 12, 2023
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Alabama LGBTQ Action is urging the LGBTQ+ community and allies to join the group at a march on the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery on Tuesday, May 16, to demand equal rights for all state residents, according to a press release. The release also stated that the state legislature is considering or has ratified several anti-LGBTQ+ measures, including HB261, which would require trans athletes to participate only on teams that align with their sex assigned at birth; HB 354, a "Don't Say Gay" bill; and HB401, which would ban drag and "gender-oriented materials" in K-12 public schools, libraries and public places where minors are present.

Research indicates that the antibiotic doxycycline could help prevent syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia among men who have sex with men and transgender women, per Gay City News. The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was led by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Washington, Seattle. There were 501 participants consisting exclusively of men who have sex with men and transgender women who were diagnosed with a bacterial STI in the last 12 months and reported having sex without condoms during that time frame.

Openly bisexual Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt—who has helped filibuster transphobic legislation in her state—switched her party affiliation from Democratic to independent, LGBTQ Nation noted, citing the Lincoln Journal Star. She accused national groups of taking credit for the legislative accomplishments of progressive politicians in red states, like her, while not financially supporting those candidates. Hunt said her party switch isn't a reflection of her state's Democratic leadership and said that her politics would remain on the progressive left.

High-school musicals with LGBTQ+ characters have become the latest casualty in the culture wars, The Washington Post reported. In Ohio, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was cancelled because Cardinal Local Schools board members reportedly disliked a song about erections, the appearance of Jesus Christ and the fact that one character has two fathers. Also, earlier this year, productions were cancelled in Florida's Duval County (over the play Indecent, which details a love affair between two women) and Indiana's Northwest Allen County Schools (over the play Marian, which includes a same-sex couple and a non-binary character).

In a related matter, students at Indiana's Carroll High School plan to put on an independent production of a play the administration canceled because of LGBTQ+ characters, WFYI reported. In March, school leaders said the spring play Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood would not be moving forward and that a new play would run in its place. However, some students connected with Fort Wayne Pride, the organization that puts on Pride events for the LGBTQ+ community, and began planning to put Marian on independently. A crowdfunding campaign raised more than $80,000 in donations; see www.marianlives.org/ .

Florida Keys woman Amina Chaudhry claimed she was the victim of discrimination because she could not stay at Island House Key West—an all-male, clothing-optional resort for gay and bisexual men in Key West, according to Keys Weekly. Chaudhry (who represented herself at a Zoom administrative hearing in late April) seeks no monetary damages but wants to reverse the resort's supposedly discriminatory policy as well as be reimbursed for any court costs and legal fees. The complaint process now continues for another 60 to 90 days as the judge considers the testimony and drafts a recommended order to the Commission on Human Relations, according to attorney Wayne Larue Smith.

The National LGBTQ Task Force and partner organizations announced the launch of the three-week "Building Queer Power" training series, available bimonthly through the end of the year. According to a press release, "This training series will expand and hone the skill sets and knowledge of movement leaders and newly energized activists to build a bigger, more impactful intersectional movement for queer liberation." Sessions include Direct Action 101, Building Coalitions 101 and Organizing 101: Mobilization, among others. Visit here to register.

The NYC-based GMHC (formerly Gay Men's Health Crisis, the world's first HIV/AIDS services organization) criticized the new FDA policy that relaxes blood-donation policies for gay and bisexual men. In a press release, the organization initially applauded the update. However, GMHC added, "We are concerned that the FDA's new screening guidelines [send] mixed messages about condom and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) usage for safer sex. This new individual risk assessment would allow [men who have sex with men] to donate blood if they have not had anal sex with a new or multiple partners in the previous three months. However, it prevents PrEP users from donating blood unless they stop using this highly effective medication for HIV prevention." Also, GMHC Vice President of Communications and Policy Jason Cianciotto questioned certain details, such as what saying that the recommendations are "nonbinding" really means. The full release is at www.gmhc.org/gmhc-statement-on-fdas-new-blood-donation-policy/ .

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other lawmakers ahead of the recent Miami Grand Prix over several LGBTQ+ laws the state has enacted in recent months, Yahoo! Sports noted. He said (via the AP), "I really do continue to stand with the LGBTQ community and I'm wearing a rainbow flag on my helmet this weekend and I just really want to continue to support the community here and let them know I stand with them and I hope they continue to fight against it." Hamilton, who is F1's only Black driver, frequently speaks out about social justice and LGBTQ+ issues.

The Pennsylvania House passed a bill that would ban discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment and housing, Jurist reported. House Bill 300 would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, which currently bans employers and landlords from discriminating based on race, religion, ancestry, age and national origin. State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-23rd District), who co-sponsored the bill, urged citizens to call their representatives in support of the bill before its passage.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta and New York Attorney General Letitia James are jointly investigating allegations of workplace discrimination at the NFL, citing lawsuits filed by employees that detail sex, racial and age bias, sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, NPR reported. In a statement to NPR, the NFL said it does not tolerate bias in any form and would fully cooperate with the investigation, adding that the allegations are "entirely inconsistent with the NFL's values and practices."

Also, Bonta recently joined a multistate coalition in defending a Colorado law that prohibits LGBTQ+ conversion therapy on children and youth, per the Sierra Sun Times. Colorado's Minor Conversion Therapy Law—which bans licensed health professionals from practicing conversion therapy on minors—is being challenged by Chiles v. Salazar, a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. An amicus brief filed by the 20 states (including California) supports Colorado's ban, stating the "therapy" is not a safe or effective treatment for any condition, puts minors at risk of serious harms and falls below the standard of care for mental-health practitioners.

Equality Florida issued a statement proclaiming the legislative session that just ended "the most anti-LGBTQ" session ever. "The immense damage that Governor DeSantis is inflicting is deep and structural and will outlast his political career in Florida," said Executive Director Nadine Smith. Bills passed during the session included an anti-trans restroom bill, an anti-drag measure, a six-week ban on abortion and the infamous "Don't Say LGBTQ" law.

And the fight goes on: On May 8, Disney amended its free-speech lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis to add recent developments in the exchange between the entertainment giant and the possible presidential candidate, such as a new law granting the state unprecedented authority to inspect a monorail system at Disney World, Gay City News noted. Disney is the only company impacted by a new measure and it "was precision-engineered to target Disney alone, just as Governor DeSantis intended and previewed," said the amended lawsuit.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins told the Bay Area Reporter the LGBTQ+ community should trust her decision not to charge Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony—the person implicated in the killing of unarmed Black trans man Banko Brown, who was gunned down outside of a San Francisco Walgreens last month. Announcing her decision in a May 1 statement, Jenkins said the evidence in the case, so far, "does not meet the People's burden to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury that the suspect is guilty of a crime. The evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense."

A trial that began April 17 in a federal court in Tallahassee, Florida for Sharon Lettman-Hicks, the CEO and board chair of the D.C.-based LGBTQ+ group National Black Justice Coalition, ended in a mistrial on May 4 after a jury became deadlocked on 19 specific charges, The Washington Blade reported. However, the jury acquitted co-defendant Andrew Gillum on a single charge of providing false statements to the FBI. Federal prosecutors plan to bring Lettman-Hicks and Gillum up for another trial on multiple charges where the jury was unable to render a verdict.

On May 9, the Virginia Beach school board was slated to discuss a resolution to not adopt Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's administration's model policies on the treatment of transgender students, per The Virginian-Pilot. According to the board's agenda, board member Jessica Owens will introduce the resolution, which states the board "will adopt no policies in violation of state or federal law" in order to protect students' and families' rights. The policies would require parental approval for any changes to students' pronouns, name and nicknames, and require parental permission/notice for counseling services "pertaining to gender."

Oprah Winfrey spoke out about LGBTQ+ rights, gun violence and women's rights in a graduation speech at her alma mater, Tennessee State University, PinkNews noted. The legendary talk-show host said her advice was to be good to at least one other person every single day, and that fulfillment is found in "making a difference." Winfrey, a longtime LGBTQ+ ally, told graduates that while the political landscape is difficult right now, they can use their education to make a difference.

Family, friends, and pets joined Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) for the 33rd annual AIDS Walk Las Vegas at Sunset Park on May 7, according to QVegas. The annual event raised more than $115,000 to benefit those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in Southern Nevada, with many joining magicians Penn & Teller for the event. For more on Aid for AIDS of Nevada, visit www.afanlv.org/ .

Appleton, Wisconsin recently reportedly elected its first openly LGBTQ+ board member: Nick Ross, the Post Crescent noted. Ross won one of the three open seats on the Appleton Area School District Board of Education; they also ran last year, but it was this year that brought victory after earning almost three times as many votes as the previous year. A key part of Ross' campaign was better supporting student mental health.

Christian Molieri—a non-binary transgender Brooklyn resident who said they were assaulted in the bathroom of Coney Island restaurant/bar Ruby's Bar and Grill in October 2022—has spent months trying to address the issue, Gay City News reported. However, they have been frustrated by the restaurant's (lack of a) response and the bureaucratic legal system—which has ultimately discouraged them from pressing the case further. (Ruby's did not comment for the story.) The full article is at gaycitynews.com/trans-brooklynite-frustrating-quest-accountability-coney-island/ .

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an investigation to "uncover whether 'gender-transitioning' procedures were unlawfully performed on minor children" at Austin's Dell Children's Medical Center, KXAN reported. "It is now alarmingly common for fringe activists to use their positions in medicine and health care to force experimental, life-altering procedures onto children," Paxton said in a press release. The hospital tweeted that it takes Paxton's allegations seriously and that it bans surgery and hormone therapy for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors.

Trans Montana lawmaker Zooey Zephyr (who made news recently after being banned from the state House's legislative session after speaking out against Republicans) proposed to her girlfriend—trans activist and journalist Erin Reed—at a local queer prom, LGBTQ Nation noted. Zephyr proposed while making a speech about LGBTQ+ rights at the prom.

Dallas Southern Pride (DSP) announced that Ahmad Goree, former director of public affairs, will assume the role of chief operations officer and director of engagement of Dallas Southern Pride, effective immediately, per a press release. Goree succeeds the late Dallas Southern Pride President Kirk Myers-Hill. In honor of advancing Mr. Myers-Hill's legacy, the organization also announced that the Juneteenth Unity Weekend Celebration will take still take place on June 15-20.

Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed House Bill 2820, which continues funding for Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA), which airs PBS Kids shows as well as the Osiyo TV series featuring Cherokee language speakers, national treasures and outstanding citizens, The Washington Blade noted. "I don't think Oklahomans want to use their tax dollars to indoctrinate kids," Stitt told reporters. In a statement released to various media outlets in the state, a spokesperson for Stitt's office said that the OETA had promoted LGBTQ+-focused Pride Month programming in recent years.

Twisted Sister's 1980s rock classic "We're Not Gonna Take It" was dropped as the unofficial anthem of this year's SF Pride Parade & Celebration in San Francisco following a controversial tweet from the band's lead singer, The Hill noted. The festival was on the cusp of officially announcing the song as Pride's "unofficial rallying cry" and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider was due to perform the song on the festival's main stage. However, Snider tweeted his support for a statement from KISS frontman Paul Stanley that's been widely seen as anti-trans.

Conservative Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) tweeted, "Commonplace at most universities, but BYU?" about Brigham Young University professor Sarah Coyne, who shared with her students that she has an 8-year-old transgender child, according to LGBTQ Nation. This tweet resulted in other anti-trans people posting statements like "The woke/Satan mind virus has been allowed to take over/infiltrate BYU." In her lecture, Coyne presented data that suggests "being religious can be better for queer students than not being, depending on how they're received," recalled George Eppel, who co-organized a student-led petition backing Coyne.

Grindr now offers a desktop version in addition to its mobile app, The Advocate noted. "With Grindr Web, you can chat with a possible hookup while you answer your boss's email on your phone," Grindr announced. Internet users can browse six profiles at once and utilize a chat feature as they look at possible connections on the grid. The Web service is available for $19.99/month and $39.99/month to XTRA and Unlimited subscribers, respectively.


This article shared 2272 times since Fri May 12, 2023
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