The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would affirm marriage equality in the state, The Washington Blade noted. House Bill 174, introduced by state Del. Rozia Henson (D-Prince William County), passed in the Democratic-controlled chamber by a 54-40 margin, with bipartisan support. Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in the state since 2014. In 2021, the General Assembly approved a resolution that would repeal the marriage amendment; in 2006, voters passed said amendment, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
Speaking of marriage, the Kansas Republican Party's 2024 platform, once again, condemns same-sex marriage as insufficient to replace "traditional family" structures, according to Metro Weekly, citing the Kansas Reflector. The party cites God's guidance as the justification for opposing marriage equality. Same-sex marriages are currently legal in Kansas, as they are across the country, following the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.
New York musician Rich Pagano, who lost his son to fentanyl, is fighting back against the problem, CBS News reported. Pagano tragically lost his son, Nic, in July 2021 to fentanyl; before he passed, Nic told his parents he wanted to stay clean and become a social worker with a focus helping the LGBTQ+ community. So Pagano used his musical connections to plan a Jan. 25 benefit concert to help LGBTQ+ people pay for treatment. Last year's concert was a success, raising enough money to pay for treatment for four people at the Caron Treatment Center in Pennsylvania. Overall, the scholarship fund has helped 18 people get treatment.
Capitol Heights, Maryland resident DeAllen Pricewho murdered Taya Ashton, a 20-year-old Black transgender womanreceived a 48-year prison sentence, per LGBTQ Nation, citing The Washington Post. Price, who was reportedly in a relationship with Ashton, shot and killed her in her Suitland, Maryland, apartment on July 17, 2021, after learning she was transgender. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2021 at least 47 transgender and gender non-conforming people died by violence in the United States.
A jury convicted Gerald Rowe for murdering, torturing and poisoning a gay couple's adopted adult son and then conspiring to hide his crime, LGBTQ Nation reported. Rowe and transgender woman Angel Anderson met with twentysomething George Randall-Saldivar on Feb. 3, 2019 in Rowe's apartment in San Francisco. The three had a consensual sexual encounter; afterward, Anderson threatened Randall-Saldivar with a macheteand then he subjected the victim to various forms of torture. Both murderers will be sentenced on March 18, and they could each get life in prison. The victim's fathers, Christopher Saldivar and Mark Randall, adopted their son out of the foster care system in 2004, when he was just 10.
Just one day after a contentious Senate hearing during which lawmakers blamed social-media executives for the negative effect their platforms have on teenagers' mental health, a Clay County, Florida family has sued Grindr, blaming the gay dating app for their son's death, per News4JAX. According to the lawsuit, the teen's access, downloads, use, purchase and subscription to Grindr Services resulted in severe emotional distress and bodily injuries, culminating in his death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The family claims Grindr made no reasonable attempt to verify if the teen, referred to as A.V. in court documents, was 18; however, the plaintiffs never state the deceased age at his time of death.
Vice President Kamala Harris' longtime policy advisor, Isaac "Ike" D. Irby, has departed his position and The White House, The Advocate noted. Irby, an openly gay man who was Harris' deputy domestic policy advisor and chief climate advisor, joined her senate staff in 2017. Talking with The Advocate, Irby said, in part, that being out "allows me the freedom and opportunity to give my full self to whatever issue I'm working on." Irby aims to continue doing policy work, particularly on issues like the climate crisis and artificial intelligence.
According to The Kaiser Family Foundation, 23 states have enacted laws /policies limiting youth access to gender-affirming care, per its website. Also, 38% of trans youth ages 13-17 live in states with laws/policies limiting their access to such care. The first state to pass such a law was Arkansas, in 2021. More info is available at www.kff.org/other/dashboard/gender-affirming-care-policy-tracker/ .
California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Bentrish Satarzadeh, a lesbian Assyrian serving as a court commissioner, as a judge on the Alameda County Superior Court, per The Bay Area Reporter. Satarzadeh is believed to be the second Assyrian judge in the state; Assyrians are the Indigenous people from what are now the countries of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, she explained. Satarzadeh, a former co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club, has been serving as a court commissioner in Alameda County since 2018.
The family of Nicholas Overfield, a California man with HIV, filed a lawsuit after claiming he wasn't given access to the necessary medication they say he needed to treat his condition while in jail, per ABC News. Overfield was arrested in February 2022 and died several months later at a hospital in June after he allegedly wasn't given access to his prescribed antiretroviral medication to treat HIV during the two months he was detained at El Dorado County Jail.
A federal appeals court allowed gender-affirming healthcare for transgender children to continue while a lawsuit against Idaho's ban on hormone treatments makes its way through court, per The Idaho Statesman. Two trans minors and their parents sued the state after Gov. Brad Little signed House Bill 71 into law, making it a felony for medical providers to prescribe treatments like puberty blockers and hormone therapy to children. "This ruling should be celebrated by everyone who decries discrimination," said ACLU of Idaho Legal Director Paul Carlos Southwick in a statement. "We celebrate alongside transgender youth and their families throughout Idaho who will continue to have access to the health care they need and deserve."
In South Carolina, Republican state Rep. April Cromer authored a bill that would allow students to only use restrooms in public schools that align with their biological sex, ABC News 4 reported. LGBTQ+-rights advocates are concerned about the measure, with Alliance for Full Acceptance Executive Director Chase Glenn saying, "Anytime a bill like this is filed, whether it is targeting access to healthcare for trans folks, access to restrooms, anything like this, it has a real emotional toll on the community. At this point, our community sees that these bills are filed. There's a negative impact knowing that there are people out there who are targeting them."
Diversity Honorsthe celebration that benefits Harvey Milk Foundation and The Pride Center at Equality Parkis set to recognize those who are transforming lives by living authentically and advancing inclusiveness on March 9, a press release noted. This year, the foundation will bestow two Harvey Milk Medals to honor music pioneer, Grammy winner and LGBTQ+-rights activist Belinda Carlisle and singer/songwriter Spencer Battiest. Entrepreneur Mark Hunter Seymour will receive The Pride Center at Equality Park Alan Schubert Award while Transinclusive Group co-founder/Executive Director Tatiana Williams and the Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida will receive Diversity Honors awards. Carlisle will be joined at the event by her son: James Mason, an LGBTQ+ activist and blogger.
A conservative Christian radio ministry dropped pastor Alistair Begg from its programming lineup after he suggested Christians could attend same-sex weddings to "build bridges" with society at large, The Christian Post noted Within days, American Family Radio, the radio ministry of the anti-LGBTQ+ American Family Association, announced its decision to "no longer air" "Truth For Life" after more than a decade.. Begg, 71, is senior pastor at Cleveland's Parkside Church and has his radio ministry "Truth For Life," carried by nearly 1,800 radio stations nationwide.
During the "world's biggest gay festival at sea," a passenger aboard the Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, chartered by Atlantis Events (which specializes in cruise vacations for gay men), unexpectedly died, The Advocate reported. The death occurred during the Oasis Caribbean Cruise that took place Jan. 21-28; the cruise originated and concluded in Miami. The Oasis of the Seas had about 5,200 guests, according to Atlantis Events' website. In 2022, a passenger died on the same ship during another Atlantis Events chartered cruise.
A Christian pastor with a history of anti-LGBTQ+ comments was recently invited to be the guest chaplain of the House of Representatives, LGBTQ Nation noted. Last year, Rev. Jack Hibbsof Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, Californiasaid that "Satan himself" planned the "transgender agenda." Hibbs (who also supports conversion therapy) said that teachers should out LGBTQ+ students to their parents in order to fight the "demonic and dark satanic powers" in public schools that are "sexualizing" and "mentally abusing" children. In 2013 and 2014, he co-led a fight against a bill in California that aimed to reduce anti-LGBTQ+ bullying in schools.
However, on the flip side, Church of Christ chaplain Dahron Johnson, a transgender woman, provided the opening prayer before the Tennessee House of Representatives, also according to LGBTQ Nation. Invited by a Democratic state legislator, she is the first trans person to address the body from the well. More than 20 Republicans who were "running late" from a caucus meeting showed up as she finished speaking.
In Dallas, advocates are pushing for LGBTQ+-friendly housing options, per Texas Metro News. Robert Emery, a founding board member of Coalition for Aging LGBT in Dallas, said, "[Openly LGBTQ+ seniors] have a great risk of being abused and neglected when it comes to housing. And a majority of LGBT seniors reported abuse or neglect after being outed to staff. It's unbelievably powerful to be supported by management." Dallas city officials, LGBTQ+-rights advocates and developers report that, in the last decade, the need for senior housing that affirms LGBTQ+ residents has become more apparent.
Also in Dallas, Candy Cavea longtime DJ and club manager in the local LGBTQ+ communitydied Jan. 25 at age 68, per The Dallas Voice. She passed away at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital following a long battle with cancer; her wife, Connie Mclain, was at her side. Cave is survived by Mclain, her wife of more than 30 years; her nephew; Mclain's parents, siblings, daughter and granddaughters; and their dog, Bailey.
In New York City, members of the Reclaim Pride Coalition hosted a town-hall meeting at the LGBT Community Center on Jan. 26 to begin the process of plotting out the 2024 Queer Liberation March, Gay City News reported. People presented ideas pertaining to the theme and route for what will be the sixth annual edition of the Queer Liberation March, which has drawn tens of thousands of marchers yearly since launching in 2019 as a grassroots alternative to the Heritage of Pride-led main march. One idea that resonated during the meeting was a march route started at Washington Square Park and ending at Battery Park.
Baylor University will retire LGBTQ+ women's basketball player Brittney Griner's No. 42 jersey, ESPN noted. The ceremony will take place when the Bears host Texas Tech on Feb. 18 at the recently opened Foster Pavilion in Waco, Texas. The Phoenix Mercury star, two-time Olympic gold medalist and the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA draft twice led Baylor to the Final Four during her college career and had a perfect 40-0 national championship season as a junior. When now-former coach Kim Mulkey left the Bears in 2021 to take over at LSU, coach Nicki Collen took over at Baylor and said she wanted to get Griner's number retired.
The U.S. Justice Department concluded that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed state employees, supporting the findings of a previous state civil review of allegations against him, CNN reported. The department found that while he was governor, Cuomo subjected more than a dozen women to a sexually hostile work environment, reiterating many of the findings of New York Attorney General Letitia James' 2021 report into Cuomo.