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NATIONAL Danica Roem, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' abortion appeal, Lambda Legal
by Windy City Times staff
2021-09-26

This article shared 1504 times since Sun Sep 26, 2021
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Transgender Virginia legislator Danica Roem is facing a conservative marriage-equality opponent and former Trump administration member in her re-election race this November, Yahoo! News noted. Roem, a Democrat, was elected to the House of Delegates in 2017, becoming the first out transgender person to be elected to and seated in a state legislature; two years later, she became the first out trans person to be re-elected. Christopher Stone—the Republican challenging her in Virginia's 13th District this year—has described the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality decision as an example of "legislating from the bench," the Washington Blade reported.

President Joe Biden recently honored activists and service members who worked tirelessly to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy that prevented gay, lesbian and bisexual people from serving openly in the military, LGBTQ Nation noted. The law, passed by Congress under former President Bill Clinton, was repealed 10 years ago under former President Barack Obama. When he was a senator, Biden voted against the policy.

More than 500 women athletes, coaches and sports associations—including soccer star Megan Rapinoe and fiancee WNBA All-Star Sue Bird—signed a formal appeal urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect abortion rights, Yahoo! News reported. The amicus brief argues that the right to abortion established in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is essential for women athletes to pursue their sports at the same level men are afforded. The signatories also include the WNBA's Diana Taurasi; Olympic gold-medal water polo goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson; and the WNBPA and the NWSLPA, the respective players unions for the WNBA and NWSL.

Lambda Legal and the law firm Williams & Connolly LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of LGBTQ+-rights organizations, urging the Supreme Court to uphold a New York gun regulation that would require individuals carrying guns to show proper cause for doing so, a press release stated. The brief states that LGBTQ+ people—and, especially, transgender and LGBTQ+ people of color—are disproportionately impacted by gun violence, and that sweeping away regulations entirely would further endanger the lives of LGBTQ+ people who have been targeted with deadly hate crimes.

In other Lambda Legal news, the organization filed a motion seeking leave to add two additional plaintiffs—Medicaid participant Shauntae Anderson and public employee Leanne James—to its federal class-action lawsuit challenging West Virginia's blanket exclusion of health care coverage for transgender people in West Virginia's Medicaid and state employee health plans, a press release noted. Filed last November in West Virginia's Southern District, Fain v. Crouch is a class-action lawsuit challenging blanket exclusions of coverage for gender-confirming care in West Virginia state health plans. West Virginia's state health plans serve approximately 564,000 Medicaid participants and 15,000 state employees, some of whom are transgender.

A growing number of anti-LGBTQ incidents has led more police departments across the country to introduce LGBTQ awareness and cultural competency training for their officers, NBC News reported. With trainings from Washington, D.C., to Palo Alto, California, there's no one-size-fits-all approach; rather, departments are crafting programs that take into consideration their specific communities.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF) joined in the commemoration of Bisexuality Visibility Day by releasing a new online resource, Coming Out: Living Authentically as Bisexual+—a guide for bisexual, pansexual, fluid and non-monosexual people living in the United States, a press release noted. "On Bisexuality Visibility Day, we celebrate the beauty, resiliency, and diversity of the bi+ community — no matter who you are or whom you love, your identities are valid, and you deserve the right to live openly as your authentic selves," said Joni Madison, Human Rights Campaign Interim President. "The bi+ community faces misguided stigma, skepticism and erasure, including from LGBTQ+ people, and often feel invisible or misunderstood within their own community." The guide is at https://reports.hrc.org/coming-out-living-authentically-as-bisexual.

Also, the HRCF announced the launch of "Artists for Equality," an online art auction on Artsy taking place Sept. 30-Oct. 14, according to a press release. Works by more than 33 well-known artists will be for sale, including pieces by Derrick Adams, Anthony Goicolea, Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Deborah Kass, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith and Cassils. Every dollar raised will directly support HRCF's efforts to advance rights for transgender people, including the foundation's Transgender Justice Initiative.

A group of mostly students rallied at the edge of the Missouri State University campus in support of a Neosho, Missouri, teacher ordered to remove a Pride flag from his classroom, Springfield News-Leader reported. They held signs and waved pride flags for Neosho Junior High School teacher John M. Wallis, 22, who resigned in protest Sept. 1 after refusing to sign a letter vowing, among other things, not to display any reference to gender or sexuality in his classroom. There has also been an argument, over the years, that the current state protections based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability or familial status are not broad enough.

In Florida, parents spoke out against a hateful and "terrifying" rally some students put together at Bartram Trail High School a that involved shouting anti-LGBTQ slurs, stomping a Pride flag and threatening members of the school's gay-straight alliance (GSA), according to LGBTQ Nation. Cellphone footage shared with the media shows students yelling anti-gay and anti-transgender statements like "There's only two genders, fa—ot!" repeatedly at another group of students. A spokesperson for the St. Johns County School District confirmed that the incident happened at the school and said that students involved will face consequences.

The New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has recognized an existing law that allows transgender and non-binary individuals to update the gender marker on IDs without presenting a doctor's letter, Gay City News noted. In 2019, the state legislature passed the new law allowing an option for the gender marker "x" on government-issued IDs; last year, the law went into effect. Nowhere in the law did it point to a requirement for medical documentation, but the DMV still required it—until recently.

One of Republican U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn's Democratic challengers (who happens to be gay) just released a new attack ad against him, according to Queerty. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara was the first person to share her plans unseat the antigay Republican lawmaker in 2022 when she announced her candidacy last March, less than two months after he was sworn into office. The Buncombe County commissioner, founding executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality and mother of three unveiled an ad that says, in part, "Like too many young men before him, from around the world and right next door, Madison Cawthorn exhibits the signs of a young man who has been radicalized by extremists."

Anti-LGBTQ activist Brian Brown—head of the hate groups National Organization for Marriage and the International Organization for the Family—is praising Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), LGBTQ Nation noted. Brown praised the two politicians for their alleged help in killing LGBTQ-rights legislation pending before the Senate—and used Sinema to raise funds for the organizations' initiatives.

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.'s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride—the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city, The Washington Blade reported. The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.'s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

Big Apple Performing Arts (BAPA), home of the New York City Gay Men's Chorus and the Youth Pride Chorus, has a newly elected board of directors, a press release noted. Elections confirmed 11 new members and one second-term member. Additionally, the outgoing board will be handing over to the new leadership several recent institutional changes and new policies. BAPA said it "is deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and has taken the time, under the forced hiatus, to examine its policies, history and actions. As such, the new Board will be implementing the newly established Anti-Racist, Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy as well as a new, more efficient and clearer Grievance Response Process."

A DoorDash driver in Sandwich, Massachusetts, has been arrested after he allegedly drew a penis and wrote an anti-gay slur on the wrapper of a sandwich he was delivering to a gay couple, and then posted a video of his actions to Snapchat, out.com noted. Matthew Butchard, 27, was taken into custody Sept. 17 in Sandwich, and charged with criminal harassment, a civil-rights violation and property damage to intimidate.

In a series of viral TikToks from @BummbleBee__, the user's little brother is seen playing Call of Duty: Warzone when he fights a more important battle against homophobia, out.com noted. "You seriously have a problem with people being gay? So you're homophobic," the 12-year-old says to his friends through his headset. "So, you just blatantly admit to being homophobic? You realize that means I automatically don't like you, because that's really f*cked up." He continues to try to educate the other gamers as well, and lets them know his sister is lesbian.

In Wisconsin, the Prairie du Chien Memorial Library received dozens of donated LGBTQ books in support after facing pushback from some community members about its Pride Month display, the La Crosse Tribune reported. A community member reached out to staff after the Tribune first reported on the incidents—some of which were described as "threatening"—asking if he could set up a book drive for the library. Since, the library has received more than 80 book donations, with another 60 or more on the way, according to organizer Jared Choate.


This article shared 1504 times since Sun Sep 26, 2021
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