For Bi Visibility Day (Sept. 23), The Advocate ran a piece titled "35 Bisexual Politicians You Should Know." Just a few on the list include trans Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, Nevada Assemblymember Cecelia Gonzalez, U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Calif. state Rep. Alex Lee, Colorado state Rep. Jennifer Lea Parenti, New Hampshire state Rep. James Roesener, North Carolina state Rep. Cecil Brockman, Virginia state Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler and Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt. The article is at https://www.advocate.com/politics/bisexual-politicians-visibility-day.
The Department of Defense is on a new mission to locate queer service members expelled from the military due to their sexuality during the era of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)," and provide them with their earned benefits, Gay City News noted. "In the coming weeks, we will be initiating new outreach campaigns to encourage all service members and veterans who believe they have suffered an error or injustice to seek correction to their military records," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a written statement issued on the 12th anniversary of the end of DADT.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey marked the 12th anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) to announce a way to help veterans impacted by the policy, Spectrum News noted. Healey swore in the Veterans Equality Review Board (VERB), which is focused on equality and righting what she said is a wrong that impacted thousands of veterans benefits. When DADT was implemented in the 1990s, servicemembers could be expelled from the military with an "other than honorable discharge" just for being gay.
On Sept. 21, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) hosted its Pauli Murray-Bayard Rustin Advocate for Justice Awards "to celebrate the invaluable contributions of Black leaders working to challenge stereotypes and change the way the world thinks about the Black LGBTQ+/same gender loving (SGL) movement and community," per a press release. Honorees included U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Manassas Park (Virginia) City Councilmember Darryl Moore and trans author/activist Hope Giselle.
Houston resident Joshua Dominic Lege Bourgeois was sentenced to 36 years in jail for the murder of transgender girlfriend Tracy Williams, PinkNews noted. Bourgeois, 29, pled guilty to the July 2019 murder of Williams, sometimes known as Tracy Single, the Harris County District Attorney's Office announced. Witnesses said the pair had been arguing earlier in the day because she reportedly wanted to break up.
A security guard fatally shot DeVonnie J'Rae Johnson, a Black trans woman from Oklahoma who was experiencing homelessness, at a Ralphs grocery store in Los Angeles on Aug. 7, The Advocate reported. Her case is "eerily reminiscent" of the death of Banko Browna 24-year-old Black trans man who was shot to death by a guard at a Walgreens in San Francisco in April, per Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. Johnson's family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to bring Johnson's body back to Tulsa for burial.
The NYPD's head of administrative trials recommended no punishment for two police officers involved in the shooting death of 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick in his Bronx apartment in April 2019because the statute of limitations for filing misconduct charges had expired, The City reported. Police Officer Brendan Thompson Tased and shot Trawick, a dancer and personal trainer, four times within two minutes of Thompson and police partner Herbert Davis arriving at Trawick's door. At the time, Trawick (an out gay man, per Gay City News) was living in a supportive housing building that provides services for substance abuse or mental health challenges.
On CNN's State of the Union, openly gay U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg criticized former President Donald Trump's reported derogatory remarks about disabled veterans, per The Advocate. According to The Atlantic's report, during a Pentagon event, Trump reportedly complained to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley about the appearance of former Capt. Luis Avila, a U.S. Army veteran who lost a leg in combat. "It is just the latest in a pattern of outrageous attacks on the people who keep this country safe," Buttigieg told Bash. On the topic of the looming government shutdown, Buttigieg laid out the potential ramifications, especially concerning air travel.
A virtual memorial service for Anita Cornwellwho authored the first published collection of essays by an out Black lesbian and who died in May at age 99recently took place, Philadelphia Gay News reported. Cheryl Clarke started the event by reading a passage from Cornwell's book Black Lesbian in White America. Members of Sinister Wisdom, a lesbian literary and arts journal which has heavily featured Cornwell's work, hosted the Sept. 21 service. Another (in-person) memorial for Cornwell will be held Sept. 30 at William Way LGBT Community Center.
The groundbreaking election of Olivia Hill as the first transgender person and transgender woman on the Nashville Metro Council may hit a roadblock: She may have to use the men's room, The Advocate reported. Senate Bill 1440/House Bill 239 defines sex as "a person's immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth." This legislation poses a concern for Hill and other trans individuals in the state regarding using gender-specific facilities, like restroomsbut even what's on a trans person's license.
In Virginia Beach, Virginia, students are pushing back against Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's anti-transgender "model policies" for public schools, The Advocate noted, citing The Washington Post. Among other things, the policies state that sex means "biological sex," not gender identity, and that students must use restrooms and changing rooms designated for that sex. However, several school boards throughout the state have declined to adopt the new policies and in Virginia Beach, the state's largest city, the board remains undecided. LGBTQA+ students have been attending board meetings in Virginia Beach for the past year to push back against the policies. However, some parents have filed a lawsuit to force the school to adopt said policies.
In Kansas City, Missouri, Tristan Young became Oak Park High School's second transgender homecoming queenwhich led to plaudits and criticism, NBC News noted. (Trans former student Landon Patterson first held the title eight years ago.) "I want to pause and congratulate Tristan for being crowned Oak Park High School's Homecoming Queen!" tweeted Kansas City LGBTQ Commission Chair Justice Horn. However, Riley Gainesa former college swimmer who has been a vocal opponent of trans women competing on women's sports teamsposted, "So stunning and brave. Another reminder to all girls that men make the best women."
Also in Missouri, Attorney General Andrew Bailey is suing the Wentzville School Board for allegedly hiding its transgender bathroom policy from parents, The National Review noted. According to the lawsuit, Wentzville's board conducted a closed meeting on June 14 in which it discussed the district's trans student bathroom policy because a student requested a gender-based accommodation; another closed-door session was held July 25. Wentzville's board has not discussed the transgender accommodation process in open session yet.
Maryland parents will soon hear if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit approves their request to restore opt-out options regarding gender and sexuality curricula, as the court has fast-tracked their appeal, per The National Review. Maryland's debate over opt-out began this summer, when Montgomery County Public Schools abruptly removed parents' ability to opt their children out of a gender and sexuality curriculum. Becket Law sued the school district in May on behalf of Muslim, Ethiopian Orthodox and Catholic families who claim the no-opt-out policy violates their ability to guide their children's education.
A student-led campaign has led to the LGBTQ+ resource center at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) reopening, The Advocate noted. This development is a reversal of an earlier decision by the university administration to close the facility due to staffing shortages and low student usage. SEMO Pride President Peyton Redinger, along with the executive board, launched a petition to gather student opinions on the matterresulting in many students voicing their concerns over closure.
Metropolitan Community Churches throughout Florida will be rallying in Tampa at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square in partnership with Equality Florida on Sept. 30 to stand unified in opposition to the legislature's anti-LGBTQ+ attacks and against Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration, an Equality Florida press release noted. Leaders from civic spaces and impacted communities will speak on the issues of reproductive health, anti-LGBTQ laws and children's education. People can join virtually at https://equalityflorida.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZItc-2orzMtHtZ9MeHdzmYuhp-aCoKO8Yg3.
San Francisco's Cinch Saloon, an LGBTQ+ establishment, was vandalized with graffiti containing an anti-trans slur, The Bay Area Reporter noted. Of the incident that is estimated to have taken place Sept. 22, the bar stated on social media, "The police have been notified, reports are being filed, and camera footage is being accessed to get to the bottom of this. Charges will be pressed." The graffiti in question states "We H8 TRANNIES."
The U.S. Supreme Court handed a defeat to Alabama Republicans for the second time in three months, as it rejected their latest attempt to use a congressional map that includes only one majority-Black district, NBC News reported. The decision was in line with the Supreme Court ruling against the state in June that reaffirmed a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in rejecting the state's first effort to draw congressional district boundaries.
In Texas, the Galileo Church, on the outskirts of Fort Worth, has started a program to help fund transgender kids' healthcare, LGBTQ Nation noted. "Health care is a human right, and withholding necessary care for trans kids is state-sponsored cruelty. As neighbors to one another, we seek ways to help each other's families flourish," the church says on the website for the new program, the North Texas TRANSportation Network. More information is at www.galileochurch.org/we-do-justice and www.northtexastransportationnetwork.org/ .
A Michigan school board ruled that an LGBTQ+-inclusive student mural created inside a middle school must be painted over by the end of October, NBC News reported. A high schooler in Grant, Michigan, painted the mural inside of a student health center at Grant Middle School last year after she won a student art contest. However, the mural caused backlash from some parents who said it promoted LGBTQ+ imagery and witchcraft.
Queer Thoughtsa NYC gallery that boosted the careers of artists like Diamond Stingily, David Rappeneau and Puppies Puppieshas officially closed, ending an 11-year run, per ARTnews. The gallery's founders, artists Miguel Bendana and Sam Lipp, said Queer Thoughts's closure had been planned to coincide with the end of the lease on its Tribeca space.
The City of West Hollywood is co-sponsoring the One Institute's Circa: LGBTQ+ Histories Festival, according to its website. The month-long festival will feature 70 programs throughout October. As part of the festival, 12 programs will be located in West Hollywood. Visit www.circafestival.org .
Haley Van Voorhis became the first woman who was not a kicker or punter to appear in a NCAA college football game, NPR noted. Van Voorhis, a junior safety at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, was tapped to play Saturday against Juniata College during a Division III game at Shenandoah's Shentel Stadium. (Shenandoah went on to win 48-7.) In 1997, Liz Heaston, a kicker for the NAIA's Willamette University in Oregon, became the first woman to play and score in a college football game.
The second annual Pride on the Pagea celebration of LGBTQ+ writers and booksreturns to Palm Springs on Oct. 13-14 with guest authors and speakers who will include headliner Armistead Maupin, author of the Tales of the City series, per the Desert Sun. (Maupin, who will provide a sneak preview of his new novel Mona of the Manor, will return with husband Christopher Turner.) All panels and events, including book signings, will be held at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.
New York judge Arthur Engoron found former President Donald Trump and his adult sons liable for fraud and canceled the Trump Organization's business certification, saying the Trumps provided false financial statements for about a decade, CNN reported. The decision came days before the civil case involving the New York attorney general's office and the former president was set to go to trial. Engoron granted Attorney General Letitia James' motion for summary judgment, ruling that Trump, his sons and others were "liable as a matter of law for persistent violations" of New York state law.
The Washington Blade Editor-in-Chief Kevin Naff is slated to present the International Role Model Award on Oct. 1 to Dr. Jake Kleinmahon, per Press Pass Q. Kleinmahon is a pediatric cardiologist and heart transplant specialist; he and his husband and their two children made headlines when they moved out of their home state of Louisiana after three anti-LGBTQ+ bill passed the state's legislature. The Philadelphia-based Equality Forum is sponsoring the event.