Diamond "Kyree" Sanders, a 23-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Ohio March 23making her at least the 10th known trans victim of violence this year, out.com noted. Police in Clifton rushed Sanders to an area hospital in the early morning hours after finding her suffering from an unspecified number of gunshot wounds, but she later died. Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper said in a statement, "Barely three months into this year, and we continue to see devastating violence against transgender and non-binary people in the U.S. This is unacceptable. Diamond was loved by her friends and family, and should not have been taken from her community. We will continue to speak out against this violence and to support transgender and non-binary people, and we need everyone to do the same."
Robina Astia transgender woman who flew missions as a pilot in World War II before transitioning in the 1970spassed away at age 99, out.com reported. Recognized as a 2020 Out 100 honoree, Asti became an activist in her 90s, setting a precedent that rewrote the government's policy for transgender widow benefits and creating the Cloud Dancers Foundation to support the "invisible" members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted March 17 to advance the nominations of Dr. Vivek Murthy for U.S. surgeon general and Dr. Rachel Levine for assistant secretary for health, Healthcare IT News reported. Both would-be appointees were advanced along bipartisan lines, although fewer Republicans voted for Levine than for Murthy. Levine, currently Pennsylvania's top health official, would be the first openly trans official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The Vermont House gave initial approval to H.128, which would prohibit people from using a legal strategy known as the "gay panic defense"in which a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity could be used as the justification for a defendant's violent actions, including murder, VTDigger reported. The bill passed on a voice vote (120 to three), but moments after the vote, state Rep. Paul Martin, R-Franklin, privately admonished members of the Republican caucus who opposed the bill. The following day (March 11), the legislation passed on a roll call vote of 144 to one, with Rep. Rodney Graham, R-Williamstown, being the lone vote against.
Amazon said that it will not sell books that frame gender or sexual identities as mental illnesses, the BBC reported. The retail giant was responding to Republican senators who asked why it had removed a book by a conservative author from all of its platforms. Amazon removed the book When Harry Became Sallyby Ryan Anderson and published in 2018from its online stores, e-book and audiobook platforms last month.
Black queer experimental documentary filmmaker and photographer Sophia Nahli Allison has released the short A Love Song for Latashaa film about Latasha Harlins, whose shooting death at age 15 at a South Central Los Angeles store became a flashpoint for the city's 1992 civil uprising, a press communication noted. According to the item, Allison "wanted to make a film about Latasha's life so she would be remembered beyond the trauma of a Black body, beyond a statistic, a newspaper headline, or an inaccurate Wikipedia page." The 19-minute filmnominated for an Oscar last weekis available on Netflix.
Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur issued a statement praising the confirmation of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra by the U.S. Senate to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. In part, Zbur said, "For more than 20 years, my friend Xavier Becerra has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our community, passing comprehensive hate crimes protections, securing funding for HIV research and treatment and advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ people and the diverse communities to which we belong. … As a gay Latino living at the intersection of two communities devastated by COVID-19, I could not be prouder of or more grateful to Secretary Becerra for his service to our country during these trying times. And I am confident that his leadership will bring us all much-needed healing in the months and years to come."
State Department spokesperson Ned Price did not say if any of the $4 billion in aid the Biden administration hopes to use to mitigate the causes of migration from Central America's Northern Triangle (composed of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) will go to LGBTQ rights groups or HIV/AIDS service organizations, The Washington Post reported. National Security Council Coordinator for the U.S. Southern Border Roberta Jacobson noted during a White House press briefing that Biden "has committed to seeking $4 billion over four years to address the root causes of migration, including corruption, violence and economic devastation exacerbated by climate change."
A bill pending in the Pennsylvania state legislature would create a new offense for harassing a law enforcement officer with bodily fluid containing a pathogen such as HIV, Philadelphia Gay News reported. If the bill in its original form becomes law, harassment of a law enforcement officer with fluid containing HIV or another communicable pathogen would be a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has refused to sign House Bill 1217, a bill that would ban transgender athletes from playing sports in schools and collegesbut it's for financial reasons, LGBTQ Nation reported. Noem only opposed the legislation because she thought it shouldn't ban trans women from college sports. She's worried such a ban would cause big-money collegiate sporting organizations, like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), to avoid holding games and tournaments in the state, according to The Argus Leader. Instead of vetoing the bill, she has pledged to use a maneuver that would allow her to return the bill to the legislature with notes of her desired changes.
The Maryland House of Delegates unanimously passed bill that seeks to ban the so-called LGBT panic defense, according to an On Top Magazine item that cited The Washington Blade. Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr, a Democrat from Montgomery County, sponsored the bill. Criminal defendants who use the controversial defense claim that a violent act was triggered by the revelation of a victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Astrophotographer/pilot Jon Carmichael is applying to the Inspiration 4 program, the first all-civilian space missionand could become the first openly gay man to travel to space, The Washington Blade noted. "It's my lifelong dream now to go to space, and it's actually more realistic now," he told the Blade. "It actually could happen." The trip will be led by pilot Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a company that supports e-commerce platforms. Carmichael's application to the contest has been recognized by George Takei, the gay actor who played Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series.
A Missouri father's public testimony in support of his transgender daughter is going viral amid the nationwide attacks on trans youth by Republican legislators, them.us reported. In the video recorded March 3, Kansas City attorney and father of four Brandon Boulware spoke to the Missouri General Assembly on House Joint Resolution 53, which would bar transgender youth from participating in sports programs that align with their gender. Footage of his speech quickly went viral after it was shared by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has spoken out in support of trans athletes singled out by discriminatory legislation across the country. Former NBA player Dwyane Wadehimself the father of a transgender girlreposted the video on Instagram and thanked Boulware for "using your platform and sharing your family's story."
Black & Pink Nationala prison-abolition organization mobilizing to liberate LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS from the criminal punishment systemannounced the appointment of nine new members to its board of directors, joining established board member and newly elected board president Tanya Nguyen, a press release noted. New board members include: Grace DeTrevarah, LGBTQ liaison & senior reentry peer educator/health facilitator at the Osborne Association; Taylor Strelevitz, conversation programs manager at the Alaska Humanities Forum; Adrien Leavitt, staff attorney at the King County Department of Public Defense; Felicia Carbajal, executive director at the Social Impact Center; Carlos Daniel Torrealba, climate justice program manager at the Central Florida Jobs with Justice; Sharina Gordon, social justice consultant at SG Consulting; Cedric Pulliam, senior public health advisor at the CDC; Kat Macholmes, co-founder + strategist at k+ r strategies; and Mariah Moore, executive director at the House of Tulip. See BlackAndPink.org .
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) condemned a proclamation declaring March 21, as Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Day and Westminster Academy Day in the City of Fort Lauderdale, a press release noted. Among those specifically listed in the proclamation is Dr. D. James Kennedy the founder of the D. James Kennedy Ministries, an organization on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups. Scott D. McCoy (interim deputy legal director for LGBTQ rights and special litigation for the SPLC) said, "SPLC is appalled that the Fort Lauderdale City Council even considered, let alone approved, a proclamation honoring anti-LGBTQ activist Dr. D. James Kennedy and his legacy. … Kennedy's D. James Kennedy Ministries, formerly Coral Ridge Ministries, has actively campaigned against same-sex marriage and has a history of maligning the entire LGBTQ community." McCoy also said, "It's particularly egregious that Mayor Dean J. Trantalis, the first openly gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale, refused to condemn the effort to honor someone who for years spewed hate-filled views." Truth Wins Out had urged the city to not sign the proclamation.
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) issued a press release celebrating the confirmation of Isabel Guzman as the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In part, the release read, "As SBA's deputy chief of staff during the Obama administration, Guzman showed her dedication to ensuring that diverse small businesses have a seat at the table. … Her past experience as a small business owner and entrepreneur will enable her to better connect with LGBT business owners represented by the NGLCC in both their successes and in their times of need."
Washington, D.C. police are investigating a March 8 burglary of the Casa Ruby Wellness Center building in Southeast D.C. in which an unidentified suspect broke through a window and stole a computer and other items at a value of $1,490, The Washington Blade reported. Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact police at 202-727-9099. According to its website, Casa Ruby aims "to create success life stories among transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals."
Following the 2020 acquisitions of legacy LGBTQ+ titles Echo Magazine Phoenix (31 years), Out & About Nashville Magazine (16 years) and CAMP Kansas City Magazine (17 years), Aequalitas Media has launched OUTvoicesa new national LGBTQ+ brand, a press release noted. Effective April 2, all titles currently owned and published by Aequalitas Media (with the exception of Gaycation Magazine) will be renamed to reflect their inclusion in the OUTvoices network: Echo magazine will become OUTvoices Phoenix, Out & About Nashville will become OUTvoices Nashville, and CAMP will become OUTvoices Kansas City.
Gay D.C.-area news anchor (and former NBC News correspondent) Blake McCoy was suspended from his job after facing criticism over a since-deleted tweet about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, advocate.com reported. "I'm annoyed obese people of all ages get priority access before all essential workers," McCoy, who works for WTTG, a local Fox affiliate, tweeted. "When most stayed home, we went into work everyday last March, April, May and everyday since putting ourselves & loved ones at risk. Vaccinate all essential workers. Then obese." He apologized afterward, but also responded to one fan, saying he deleted the original tweet because he didn't have the time "to argue with strangers on the internet."
Amina Matheny-Willard is a career public defender who is running against two prosecutors to be Norfolk, Virginia's, commonwealth attorneymostly because of her experiences raising two Black LGBTQ sons, according to a Washington Blade item. "Vetreal Winstead is my first born son," Matheny-Willard told the Washington Blade during an emotional phone interview last month. "He is 28 years old, bisexual, and has a lot of mental health and substance-abuse issues, mainly marijuana." Younger son Jai, who identifies as a 23-year-old trans Black man, prides himself on having been school-focused and far less of a worry to his mother. Matheny-Willard said she is running because she wants to talk with everyone at the table, including the LGBTQ agencies she went to for help when her older son was in crisis.
The Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood awarded Shelby Astle, a first-year doctoral student in applied family science at Kansas State University, a $1,000 grant that will allow her to further research intersex individuals and how they discuss sex, the Kansas State Collegian reported. Kristin AndersAstle's co-mentor, and a graduate faculty professor and assistant professor of human development and family science at the universitysaid of intersex individuals, "We've fixated sexuality on being male or female, when in reality it is on a spectrum, and it isn't binary due to differences in hormonal development."
"Tom of Finland: Pen and Ink, 1965-1989" is an exhibit that opened at Los Angeles' David Kordansky Gallery on March 20, and it will run through May 1, according to an item from Tom of Finland Foundation. The exhibit shows finished and preparatory drawings in a range of media, including pencil, pen, ink, marker and gouache. See https://www.tomoffinland.org/events/tom-of-finland-pen-and-ink-1965-1989/.
James Domena self-described "former homosexual" who formed an organization called "Church United" as a non-profit religious corporation in California to promote conversion therapylost his lawsuit against Vimeo, which cancelled Church United's account and deleted its videos, Gay City News reported. Vimeo has a policy barring the promotion of conversion therapy (which its practitioners call "sexual orientation change efforts," or SOCE) from its platform. The Manhattan-based US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that Section 230(c)(2) of the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) protects the right of internet service providers to decide who can host on their platforms, pre-empting state anti-discrimination laws.