Swastika flag-toting neo-Nazis, some of them armed, were at a Wisconsin LGBTQ+ Pride celebration that included a drag show, The Advocate reported. Members of the neo-Nazi extremist group Blood Tribe joined other right-wing hate groups, like the anti-trans organization Gays Against Groomers, in protesting the presence of drag queens as part of a Pride in the Park event in Watertown. In a video by independent videographer Ford Fisher, a member of the LGBTQ+ community is seen pleading with a police officer to get the angry mob of extremists to leave; the officer responds, "If you call your people back, they'll most likely go."
In other anti-drag news, Brevard, North Carolina resident Joseph O'Neal was accused of making death threats over a drag show, according to The Advocate, citing WLOS. Local spot UpCountry Brewing had planned to host a drag show titled "Don't Hide Your Magic" Unicorn Drag show. O'Neal allegedly used a fake profile under the name "Joey Bruner" to make the death threats toward the business, authorities said.
Key West drag performer Michael Elgin Travis is running to unseat a Republican in the Florida state legislature, where GOP lawmakers have spent the last couple of years pushing their anti-LGBTQ+ agenda under presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis, LGBTQ Nation noted, citing Florida Politics. Travis has filed to challenge incumbent state Rep. Jim Mooney, a two-term Republican who represents Florida House District 120. A ghost tour guide and bartender at Key West's 801 Bourbon Bar, Travis also performs two nights each week in drag as Erika Rose at the Duval Street LGBTQ+ bar.
A Tennessee police officer has filed an employment-discrimination lawsuit against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, claiming "unlawful denial of employment" because of his HIV status, according to The Advocate. The plaintiffa current police officer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and only identified as "John Doe"is challenging the legality of what he describes as Nashville's policy of not employing someone with HIV as a police officer. The lawsuit argues the policy violates federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act. The suit says the officer's own HIV viral load is "fully suppressed and un-transmittable, and he poses no threat of transmission to his co-workers or the community at large." Nashville's Metropolitan Department of Law declined to comment on pending litigation.
Disney lost an attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the validity of a development agreement that transferred the powers of its now-dissolved special district back to the company before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis assumed control of the board, per The Hollywood Reporter. "Because this case is not moot and a stay is not proper, the Court hereby denies Disney's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, to Stay this Action," wrote 9th Judicial Circuit judge Margaret Schreiber. The suit was filed on the heels of Disney taking DeSantis to court, accusing the governor of retaliating against the company for its public opposition to the so-called "Don't Say Gay" law.
Recently, Phoenix Mercury superstar Brittney Griner did not travel with the team on its two-game road trip to focus on her mental health, per The Advocate. "The Mercury fully [supports] Brittney and we will continue to work together on a timeline for her return," the team said in a statement. The two-time Olympic gold medalist spent nearly 300 days in Russian custody following her detention in February 2022; also, in June 2023, Griner was confronted by right-wing YouTube "provocateur" Alex Stein at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
The National Black Justice Coalition issued a statement mourning the fatal stabbing of Black, gay dancer O'Shae Sibley, who was killed in Brooklyn. Executive Director Dr. David J. Johns said, in part, "As we mourn the stolen life of O'Shae Sibley, a vibrant and talented Black same-gender loving dancer from Brooklyn, we must confront the alarming reality that anti-Black and anti-LGBTQ+ hate disrupts and destroys the lives of our community members. O'Shea Sibley's life was cut short by an act of violence that should never have happeneddancing at a gas station, or anywhere for that matter, should never be a death sentence. Being Black and queer should not be a death sentence."
In an effort to cultivate more inclusive campuses for LGBTQ+ students, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has collaborated with colleges and universities nationwide to develop its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program and its PrEP Ambassador Program, according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education. The programs focus on building a network of leaders to eliminate stigma and enrich the college experience for LGBTQ+ students attending HBCUs. The PrEP Ambassador Program selects 11 students on HBCU campuses to educate and help eliminate HIV and AIDS-related stigma.
Londyn Smith de Richelieua Black trans woman who is the director of the Mayor's Office of LGBTQ Affairs in Baltimorefiled a complaint alleging that she was discriminated against by the Center for Transgender and Gender Expansive Health at Johns Hopkins Medicine, The Baltimore Banner noted. Smith de Richelieuthe first person to occupy that role in the mayor's officesaid in a complaint to the city's Office of Equity and Civil Rights and in an interview with The Banner that the center, led by Dr. Fan Liang, denied her facial-feminization surgery, claiming that Smith de Richelieu was being aggressive and used profanity with Liang's staff. "That is a complete lie," she said. "I don't even curse." The Office of Equity and Civil Rights did not return requests for comment about the complaint.
LGBTQ+ author Joey Amato has written Everyday Investing: A Practical Guide to Personal Financial Growth, per a press release. "I wrote Everyday Investing because I want people in the LGBTQ community to be confident and proud about investing for their future," he said in a statement. It's perfectly [okay] to splurge every now and then, but I would much rather be able to retire by 50 than 62, the earliest age that a person can choose to receive Social Security benefits." Everyday Investing: A Guide to Personal Investing is now exclusively through Amazon.com for $9.99 if purchased before Aug. 31; visit https://a.co/d/cbGvjmH.
In response to news reports of another anti-LGBTQ+ diatribe this month from Republican North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, advocates at the Campaign for Southern Equality released a press release. Executive Director (and Buncombe County Commissioner) Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said, "Trafficking in cruelty and extremism to score political points isn't just out of bounds; it's dangerous. And Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson's relentless anti-LGBTQ+ vitriol isn't leadershipit's an abuse of power. LGBTQ+ people live in every town across North Carolina and deserve to be represented by lawmakers who believe in their inherent dignity and humanity."
The Damien Center, which describes itself as Indiana's oldest and largest AIDS service organization, is set to open a new locationand will honor the legacy of two gay bars, TheStatehouseFile.com noted. Before the Damien Center bought the new building, it was home to two gay barsZonie's Closet and Illusions, which each held the space for about 15 years. Center CEO Alan Witchey mentioned that Zonie's Closet specifically hosted fundraisers and events in hopes of making Indiana a safer place for LGBTQ people. Because of this, the prior owners wanted to ensure they passed the space on to an organization with a similar mission.
New York City Black Pride is returning for a 26th year, with several events across the city on Aug. 16-20, per Gay City News. "Black Pride is basically a way for us, as a Black and Brown LGBTQ community, to uplift ourselves around the things that we have accomplishedpast, presentand things that we're working on towards the future," according to organizer Lee Soulja-Simmons. Among the events will be a Heritage Awards Ceremony, with honorees such as nonbinary Tony winner J. Harrison Ghee, the production A Strange Loop, Black Queer Town Hall (Bob the Drag Queen and Peppermint) and activist Qween Jean, among others.
More than three years into the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, two of New York City's eight sexual-health clinics have not resumed testing and treatment while a third is operating at reduced hours, Gay City News reported. Experts say the continued shortages of treatment and care make it more difficult for NYC to meet the needs of a diverse population that may not be able to access the facilities that remain in full operation in Chelsea, Corona, Fort Greene, Jamaica and Morrisania. When contacted for comment, officials with the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would not confirm a timeline to offer services at full capacity at the affected locations.
The interim band director at the Mississippi school Delta State University faced backlash for saying that pro-LGBTQ+ religious leaders should be stoned and deliberately misgendering transgender people during a conservative commentary podcast he co-hosted, Metro Weekly reported. In one episode of the podcast, Steve Hugley gagged at a photo of Jamie Lee Henry, the first openly transgender active-duty U.S. Army officer who's being charged with treason, adding, "I do take a little joy in the fact that it's the first openly trans person, I'm not even gonna lie."In another instance, Hugley called transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney a "flaccid man, at best." Thus far, the university has not publicly commented on Hugley's podcastand Hugley remains listed on the university's website as interim band director.
The family of Henrietta Lackswhose cells, known as HeLa cells, were stolen and harvested without her consent in the 1950ssettled with biotech company Thermo Fisher Scientific, according to Yahoo! News. On June 14, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and advocates gathered to nominate Lacks for the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest awards that a citizen can receive from Congress. Lacks' cells were the first human cells to multiply outside of the body, and her unknowing contribution to medicine played a vital role in the polio vaccine, cloning, in vitro fertilization, gene mapping and much more.
New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliverwho made history as the first Black woman to hold statewide-elected office in that statehas died at 71, per The Advocate. Oliver was also the first Black woman to serve as speaker of the state general assembly, to which she was first elected in 2003. In a statement, her family said, "Sheila Y. Oliver leaves behind a legacy of dedication, service, and inspiration. We will remember her commitment to the people of New Jersey and her tireless efforts to uplift the community."
Community support has saved the transgender-owned Massachusetts restaurant Ritcey East from closure, The Advocate noted. Max Ritcey opened Ritcey East in Watertown six years ago. The restaurant, specializing in comfort food, struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, Ritcey kept all his employees on full-time and took out loans, including one for $150,000, to stay in business, according to MassLive. A GoFundMe page raised $43,000above the $30,000 that Ritcey sought.
In a federal lawsuit alleging breach of contract and more, Elon Musk's X Corp. has gone after the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) for supposedly data scraping (or importing information from) the social-media platform formally known as Twitter in "a scare campaign to drive away advertisers," Deadline noted. In a post of its own on X, the CCDH criticized Musk over the lawsuit: "Elon Musk is targeting CCDH because we're a leading voice exposing how hate speech & lies skyrocketed on Twitter under his ownership. By threatening us, Elon Musk is trying to hide the truth about his own failures."
Wisconsin Republican U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Ordenwho once had an outburst at a library over a display of LGBTQ+ booksis involved in another scandal involving his demeanor after he berated teens in the U.S. Capitol during a profanity-filled rant, per The Advocate. Van Orden yelled and cursed at high school-aged Senate pages during a late-night tour of the buildinga move that sparked criticism from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal dismissed former President Donald Trump's $475-million defamation lawsuit against CNN, Deadline reported. The litigation centered on references made by on-air figures to "the Big Lie," or the former president's unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. Singhal wrote that CNN's references to the term "the Big Lie" were matters of opinion, not fact.