Robert Garcia, the out mayor of Long Beach, California, is running for a Congressional seat in 2022, per LGBTQ Nation. He will seek to represent 47th District in the House of Representatives, a seat currently held by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-California), who is retiring at the end of his term. If elected, Garcia would be only the second out Latino to serve in Congress, joining Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-New York), who is Afro-Latino and won the election last year.
Despite requests since the start of the COVID pandemic for the U.S. government to enhance data collection for patients who are LGBTQ, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is still falling short on issuing nationwide guidance to states on the issue, The Washington Blade reported. Sean Cahill, director of Health Policy Research at the Boston-based Fenway Institute, said major federal entities and hospitals have been collecting data on whether patients identify as LGBTQ for years, but the CDC hasn't duplicated that effort for COVID even though the pandemic has been around for two years.
Rebecca Juroa transgender advocate, print journalist and internet radio hostdied Dec. 17 at age 59, per Gay City News. Juro succumbed to lung cancer following a recurrence of the disease. Born in New York City, she spent her youth living alternately with her mother in New Jersey and her father in Manhattan, and lived in both places as an adult. Since 2016, she lived in Philadelphia. Print outlets where she contributed included Gay City News, The Advocate, MSNBC.com, The Huffington Post, South Florida Gay News, Windy City Times, The Bilerico Project and LGBTQ Nation.
Singer/actress Bette Midler apologized after tweeting about U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, according to USA Today. Midler posted a tweet slamming Manchin, writing: "What #JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible." (Midler's remarks were in response to Manchin's Sunday announcement that he would not support Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill, the president's signature domestic policy plan.) However, less than an hour later, Midler had a change of heart and issued an apology to the "good people" of the Mountain State.
The U.S. Air Force authorized the use of gender pronouns he/him, she/her, and they/them in electronic signature blocks for official email correspondence, Metro Weekly noted. The update will be included in the Air Force handbook, The Tongue and Quill, which provides guidance for personnel on writing and speaking, according to an Air Force memorandum issued on Dec. 9. Regarding pronouns, an airman or Guardian may opt to include them, either placed immediately after the name in parentheses or on separate lines within the signature block. However, no one will be required to include their pronouns.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is trying to advance legislation that would ban transgender girls and women as well as some non-binary student-athletes from playing sports in grade school or college, according to Gay City News. Noem killed a similar anti-trans sports bill earlier this year because that legislation, she argued, would have imposed an overwhelming administrative burden on schools. The governor later took matters into her own hands when she issued a pair of separate but related anti-trans executive orders that she now wants to codify.
In North Carolina, Durham's Ponysaurus brewery announced it will donate a portion of profits from its "Don't Be Mean to People" beer to the "Lieutenant Governor's Fund for the Fabulous," according to Metro Weekly. In recent months, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) called "transgenderism" and homosexuality "filth," prompting the brewery's action. "The Lt. Governor said some not very nice things. But Don't Be Mean to People believes in the goodness of everyone," the brewery's message states. "So we know in his heart he doesn't believe other North Carolinians are 'filth.' We're so sure of it, we're helping to fund the good work that could be his greatest act in public office."
A judge granted a preliminary injunction in a case between an east-central Indiana high school and a student group represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, alleging unfair treatment, WFYI.org reported. The lawsuit, filed in September against Pendleton Heights High School, said an LGBTQ+-focused student club was prevented from advertising on the school's radio station and bulletin boards. U.S. District Court Judge James Sweeney II is requiring Pendleton Heights to provide the student group with the same rights provided to other "noncurriculum" groups, giving the example of an "Outdoor Adventure Club." Specifically, the order includes inclusion in the student handbook and the right to advertise and raise funds.
In the D.C. area, longtime NBC-4 anchor Wendy Rieger announced she will retire after 33 years with the television station after Dec. 21, The Washington Blade noted. Rieger has constantly championed the LGBTQ+ community, having participated in a number of D.C. AIDS Rides and even making a cameo in the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington's adaptation of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The Blade, in 2015, named Rieger "Best Local TV Personality" for that year's "Best of Gay D.C." issue.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson verbally attacked longtime LGBTQ+ ally U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California) on air after the congressman had tweeted his concern over allowing non-vaccinated people on flights, the Los Angeles Blade noted. "Requiring the vaccine to fly is the LEAST we can do to stop the spread," Swalwell wrote, in part. Carlsonwho has been fiercely opposed to measures to combat the coronavirus pandemicnoted that U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) had contracted the Omicron COVID variant, and then went after Swalwell and included misinformation about Swalwell's health. "It'd be kind of ironic if a guy with multiple chlamydia infections was lecturing the rest of us about how to keep safe from a virus. We await that data," Carlson said.
Ric Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence and the first LGBTQ Cabinet-level appointee (under Donald Trump), has been hired as an on-air analyst and contributor for the right-wing cable news network Newsmax, per Metro Weekly. The hiring comes as Newsmax seeks to establish itself as an alternative to Fox News among conservative, pro-Trump voters who believe the 2020 election was stolen.
Conservative Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen has died a month after confirming with a local radio station he was in El Salvador and sick with COVID-19, CNN.com noted. Ericksen, 52, was elected to the Senate in 2010 after serving six terms in the state house. It was unknown if he was ever vaccinated against COVID. According to LGBTQ Nation, Ericksen consistently voted against pro-LGBTQ legislation, including marriage equality, at each opportunity over his 22-year legislative career; in 2016, he sponsored a "bathroom bill" that came within one vote of passing the Washington state Senate.
Donald Trump Jr. expressed transphobia to a receptive audience at the right-wing Americafest gathering in Phoenix, including the assertion that China is laughing at the U.S. because of transgender Air Force pilots, The Advocate noted. "What do you think our enemies are doing? They're laughing," the former president's son said, according to The Independent. Trump Jr. also complained that his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, "is leading the charge in some of the wokeism today" because of trans athlete Lia Thomas' participation on the women's swimming team.