Lesbian D.C. poet/activist/journalist Ivy Young passed away at age 75, per a press release. Among other things, Young worked at Chicago's VISTA; the Center for Black Education and Drum and Spear Book Store in D.C.; the Venceremos Brigade in Cuba; Astraea National Lesbian Action Foundation in NYC; the 1974 Sixth Pan African Congress that took place in Tanzania; and the Southern Africa Support Project that stood against the oppressive apartheid system in that region. She also was an organizer for Lesbians and Gays for Jesse Jackson in 1988 and consulted the People of Color stage at the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987. A late summer community event to celebrate Young's life and legacy is being planned; for updates, send inquiries to bit.ly/REMEMBERIVY.
On May 22, Google recognized what would have been the 69th birthday of late lesbian Native American photographer, poet, writer and activist Barbara May Cameron with a Doodle, The Advocate noted. Queer Mexican and Chitimachan artist Sienna Gonzales created the Doodle, which showed a cartoon of Cameron with a camera around her neck and holding a Pride flag. According to The Independent, Cameron, who died in 2002, came out in 1973. Cameron's partner, Linda Boyd-Durkee, was a collaborator on the project.
Performer/actor/director D'Arcy Drollinger has been named San Francisco's first-ever drag laureate, according to LGBTQ Nation. San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced her choice of Drollinger for the new role. Breed's office created the role in conjunction with the city's Human Rights Commission and the San Francisco Public Library, which also oversees the city's poet laureate position.
Nebraska's one-chamber, officially nonpartisan legislature pushed past a filibuster to give final approval to a bill that bans some gender-affirming care for transgender minors and most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, The Advocate reported. Machaela Cavanaugh and other LGBTQ+-supportive lawmakers had filibustered all bills this session in an effort to keep the anti-trans measure, Legislative Bill 574, from coming to a vote. Republican Gov. Jim Pillen promised to sign it into law.
New York's 38th annual AIDS Walk generated $2.1 million for GMHC (formerly Gay Men's Health Crisis) and other organizations in the Tri-state area, Gay City News noted. GMHC Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer Kishani C. Moreno said, "HIV and AIDS are not over. There is still no cure or vaccine. So today we walked to remember those lost, recognize the important accomplishments we've made over the years, and to shine a light on the work we still need to dotogetherto end the HIV epidemic."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging people at high risk of mpox to get two doses of Bavarian Nordic's (BAVA.CO) Jynneos vaccine, Reuters noted. The decision was based on new evidence from a U.S. study showing that the regimen is more effective at preventing infection than one shot. The study of the vaccine's real-world use, conducted between Aug. 19, 2022 and March 31, 2023 among 917 people, showed it was 85.9% effective overall in preventing disease after two doses, compared with 75.2% after one dose.
In Florida, Orlando authorities opened an investigation after a digital traffic sign was hacked to read "KILL ALL GAYS," The Advocate noted. A caller reported the sign shortly after 4 a.m. on May 17the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia. Local politicians responded quickly to the incident, condemning the hateful message and telling the public that the city is a welcome and affirming place for the local LGBTQ+ community. "Hate has no place in Orlando and this disgusting display is not who we are as a community," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer tweeted.
New York State Democratic Committee members approved a resolution calling for LGBTQIA+-inclusive K-12 curriculum in public schools, Gay City News reported. The resolution, passed during the May 11 general meeting, is non-binding and does not actually change policies in New York schools. However, it sends a strong signal to the state legislature and governor, and injects momentum into an existing proposal to establish inclusive curriculum in schools.
In New Jersey, a judge blocked the Hanover Township Board of Education from implementing a policy that the state said would discriminate against LGBTQ+ students, according to New Jersey 101.5. New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin said, "We are gratified that the Superior Court has temporarily prohibited the Hanover Township Board of Education from implementing its policy requiring school staff to out LGBTQ+ youth to their parents," adding, "That prohibition will remain in effect until the court has an opportunity to hear argument from the parties on May 30."
Also in New Jersey, that state attorney general's office filed a civil-rights complaint against the Hanover Township school district and requested an emergency court order to stop the district from implementing a policy that would require teachers to disclose to parents the gender identity and sexual orientation of LGBTQIA+ students, NorthJersey.com noted. The school district has, in turn, challenged the state, saying it will "vigorously defend" the policy.
A transgender Mississippi girl missed her high school graduation after a federal judge ruled that the school district could bar her from wearing clothes that align with her gender identity at the event, USA Today noted. The girl (identified as "L.B.") and her family had filed a lawsuit against the Harrison County School District after school officials told her she couldn't participate in the graduation if she wore a dress and high heels.
In Manchester, New Hampshire, 14-year-old trans student Nova Dunn died by suicide, according to The Washington Blade. Dunn climbed the six-foot chain-link fence installed by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to prevent people falling off a bridge and its low guard rails, and leapt into traffic. Sources alleged that bullying and transphobia factored into the death of the teen, although the Blade had been unable to verify those claims.
The Cultural Currents Institute revealed that Google searches by users for phrases questioning their own sexuality and gender identityincluding "Am I gay" and "Am I lesbian"increased by 1,300% since 2004, according to NBC News. The institute collected Google Trends data from January 2004 to this month for questions related to sexual orientation and gender identity across all 50 states. Interestingly, Utah emerged as the state with the highest search volume for the phrases "Am I gay," "Am I lesbian" and "Am I trans" since last May.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is returning to the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park for the organization's second family-friendly Pride in the Park celebration on Saturday, June 3, per a press release. "At a time when we are seeing historic and unprecedented attacks on the rights of the LGBTQ community and our families, it is important to be reminded that not only will we fight for our community, we will also celebrate our community," said NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon. "Pride in the Park is a space to honor the beauty of the LGBTQ community and have a day of celebration."
In D.C., The Capital Pride Alliance announced the recipients of the 2023 Capital Pride Honors that will be distributed on Friday, June 2, per a press release. Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of HHS Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine will receive the Paving the Way Award while activist Earline Budd will receive the Capital Pride Super Hero Award. Shi-Queeta Lee, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Nancy Canas and Abdur-Rahim Briggs will receive the Capital Pride Hero Award; Drag Story Hour DMV and the National LGBTQ Task Force will receive the The Breaking Barriers: Community Impact Award; and Brandon Bayton Jr. will be honored with The Bill Miles Award. For more info, visit www.capitalpride.org/honors.
In California, the Solano County Pride Center said that Vacaville Mayor John Carli will not be issuing a proclamation to recognize Pride Month and will not raise the Pride flag, according to The Bay Area Reporter. "Solano Pride Center met with Vacaville Mayor Carli on May 24, 2023, to discuss celebrating and acknowledging Pride Month," the center's Sarah White stated in a May 25 news release. "Breaking precedent, Mayor Carli is refusing to raise the Pride flag, or issue a proclamation recognizing June 2023 as LGBTQ Pride Month in Vacaville." Vacaville's two previous mayors recognized June as Pride Month and, for the last two years, flew the rainbow flag, White added.
The Proud Boys are now more active than everand are reportedly busy planning disruptive protests at Pride month celebrations across the country in June, Business Insider reported. The group is calling their counteroffensive "Proud" montha supposed celebration of "straight pride" and "Western values" designed to provoke violence, grow their membership, andas one member posted recently on an internal planning channel on Telegram"challenge this perversion of the Nuclear Family and Gender."
The Hamburger Mary's restaurant in Orlandofamous for its burgers and drag showsis suing the state of Florida and DeSantis in federal court, claiming an anti-drag bill is a violation of First Amendment rights, according to ClickOrlando.com . The law in question, SB 1438, Protection of Children, penalizes venues that allow children to an "adult live performance" by suspending or revoking their business licenses. The restaurant in downtown Orlando said it used to host a family-friendly drag brunch on Sundays.
Sam Altman, the gay CEO of the artificial-intelligence (AI) company OpenAI, testified to Congress that, despite its many useful applications, AI needs to be regulated or else it could "cause significant harm to the world," per LGBTQ Nation. OpenAI, the tech driving the popular ChatGPT chatbot and DALL-E image generator, has already revolutionized writing and art. Congressmembers worry that AI could also help perpetuate "false information, data privacy, copyright abuses and cybersecurity" risks, The Washington Post reported.
The Indiana Supreme Court decided not to hear two cases of transgender girls seeking to change their gender on their birth certificates, The Indiana Capital Chronicle reported. That development means that appeals court rulings standand trial courts do not have the authority to grant gender-change petitions for birth certificates unless the General Assembly makes it law.
Sixty-seven congregations in Arkansas have officially disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church, being part of a wave of departures driven largely by the mainline Protestant denomination's ongoing debate over LGBTQ+ issues, per The Christian Post. At a Special Session of the UMC Arkansas Annual Conference held at the Hot Springs Convention Center, the regional body voted to approve the departures of 67 churches.
Anti-LGBTQ+ Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott has entered the presidential race. According to The Washington Blade, Scottthe only Black Republican member in the Senatehas a staunchly anti-LGBTQ+ record since entering national politics in 2010 with his first election to the House, during which time he told Newsweek homosexuality is a "morally wrong choice, like adultery." (He still opposes marriage equality.) Now, the junior senator from South Carolina will face off against the state's former Republican governor, Nikki Haley, as well as Donald Trump, among others, in the GOP primary.
AIDS Foundation Houston is changing its name to Allies in Hope, ABC13 reported. CEO W. Jeffrey Campbell said the name change will make a big difference in the fight against HIV. "'AIDS' in 2023 is a very stigmatizing term for both people living with HIV, as well as those who are vulnerable for HIV," Campbell said. "The word literally stops people from getting services, even from us."
In response to what it calls the unprecedented challenges facing transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary ("TGNCNB") members of the LGBTQ+ community, the Connecticut-based Leonard Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation launched its new TransPLUS initiative, per The Washington Blade. The program aims to provide financial and other support for organizations and individuals whose work focuses on those most impacted in the current political and cultural environment.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff made a surprise visit to an WNBA game that had Brittney Griner's Phoenix Mercury team facing the Los Angeles Sparks at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, The Advocate noted. Griner had 18 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots during a 94-71 loss.
Two staffers at the private Christian liberal-arts institution Houghton University, in upstate New York, were fired from their positions after including their pronouns in work emails, Business Insider noted, citing The New York Times. After administrators at Houghton University asked Raegan Zelaya and Shua Wilmot, two residence-hall directors, to remove the "she/her" and "he/him" pronouns from their emails, respectively, they both declined to do soleading the Wesleyan Church-affiliated institution dismissing them last month. About 600 Houghton alumni have written to the university to protest the firings.
The NAACP issued a formal travel advisory for Florida in response to what the organization described as Gov. Ron DeSantis' "aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools," CBS News noted. The civil-rights organization joins the League of United Latin American Citizens and LGBTQ+-advocacy group Equality Florida in issuing such advisories.