In Florida, Boynton Beach elected its first out LGBTQ mayoras well as the first Asian-American mayor in the state's history, LGBTQ Nation noted. Ty Penserga not only won the election, but he beat a homophobe who made several anti-LGBTQ comments about him. During the campaign, candidate Rev. Bernard Wright denigrated Penserga, declaring "I ain't with the LGBT" and claiming Penserga would turn Boynton Beach into a "gay city." Penserga won with 57% of the vote while Wright came in last place with 6%, South Florida Gay News reported. According to his website, Penserga currently serves on the Boynton Beach City Commission, representing District 4, and is a high school biology and chemistry teacher.
LGBTQ+ identification is higher among Latinos than white or Black adults in the United States, according to Axios. A record 7% of U.S. adults now identify as LGBTQ+, according to a Gallup poll released last month. Eleven percent of Latino adults surveyed said they were members of the LGBTQ community, compared to 6.2% of non-Hispanic white adults and 6.6% of African-American adults who said the same. "I would say that the needle's pointing in the right direction," said Gabriella Rodriguez, executive director of QLatinx, an Orlando, Florida-based organization that advocates for the Latino LGBTQ community.
In Arkansas, NWA Fashion Week's opening night featured transgender, intersex and non-binary artists and models taking to the runway, 5 News reported. The show's organizer, INTERFORM partnered with the Transgender Equality Network and The Transition Closet to bring visibility to this diverse cast with the models wearing clothes from The Transition Closet, a Fayetteville-based non-profit that provides free clothing to transitioning people.
The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld a 2020 ruling by the Court of Appeals that said the state's law prohibiting members of the LGBTQ+ community from getting restraining orders against partners is unconstitutional. The two-to-one Court of Appeals opinion overturned an earlier decision in Wake County District Court and said LGBTQ+ people have the same rights to protect themselves as everyone else. The Supreme Court's ruling, after a Jan. 11 hearing, had four Democrats voting for it and three Republicans dissenting.
In Arizona, a GOP bill that would have forced teachers to out LGBTQ students was amended in the Senate Education Committee to remove that languagebut it still faced criticism from Democratic lawmakers, The Tucson Sentinel reported. In its current form, the bill bars a school, political subdivision or government from "usurping the fundamental right" of a parent in raising children; allows a parent to bring a civil suit against any government entity or official that violates the Parent's Bill of Rights; gives parents the rights to all written or electronic records from a school, including a student's counseling records; and requires schools to notify parents before a survey is conducted of students, among other changes.
More than 600 students from across New York City and Long Island gathered at Citi Field for a "We Say Gay" rally to denounce Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, ABC 7 New York reported. The measure prevents discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, or in a manner that is not what the state considers age-appropriate. The protest took place at the LGBT Network's 26th Annual Youth Rally & Conference.
The campaign for openly gay Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), running to be the Keystone State's next lieutenant governor, is claiming that one of his rivalsstate Rep. Austin Davis (D-McKeesport) misrepresented the level of support he's receiving from LGBTQ community leaders as he seeks the Democratic Party's nomination, according to Metro Weekly. Davis recently appeared with Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee for governor in this November's midterm elections, at the William Way LGBT Community Center to announce the pair had been jointly endorsed by a group of approximately 40 LGBTQ leaders; however, only seven people actually attended and spoke at the eventand at least three of whom had either endorsed Sims or have taken a neutral stance in the lieutenant governor's race. One speaker at the event who has endorsed Sims' bid for lieutenant governor was Tyler Titus, a former candidate for Erie County executive who sought to become the first out transgender county executive in the United States. The Shapiro campaign pushed back against "incorrect" allegations that the number of LGBTQ leaders endorsing the Shapiro-Davis ticket was inflated, providing Metro Weekly with a list of 42 names from across the commonwealth.
A bill aimed at banning LGBTQ+-"supportive" textbooks has advanced in Tennessee, WBBJ reported. The bill's sponsor Rep. Bruce Griffey, of Paris, said during a House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee meeting, "A vast number of parents also feel like that materials that promote LGBTQ issues and lifestyles should be subject to the same restrictions and limitations that there are on other religious teachings that are not allowed in our schools." During that same meeting, Rep. Bob Freeman, of Nashville, said people should be allowed to see themselves in books.
Sen. Ileana Garciaa Miami Republican who recently faced national criticism for saying "LGBT is not a permanent thing" while debating the "Don't Say Gay" bill in the Florida Legislaturehas apologized for the comment, the Tampa Bay Times noted. In a statement posted on Twitter, Garcia said she did not intend to "generalize or disregard the experiences of any member of the LGBT+ community" when arguing why she supported the measure.
Kansas representatives began deliberation on a proposed map redrawing House districts, taking a slower approach to the task than their counterparts across the rotunda, the Kansas Reflector reported. More than 50 people submitted testimony to the House Redistricting Committee urging modifications to the map titled Freestate 3, with debate largely centered around Leavenworth County districts, LGBTQ representation and the need for further analysis.
Out Leadership will host the 2nd annual OutQUORUM: "Progress and Possibility"a virtual summit taking place March 22 -24, per a press release. At this cornerstone Out Leadership event, CEOs and senior executives will meet to discuss the 2022 report, the state of LGBTQ+ diversity in the boardroom, progress to date and the challenges ahead. According to organizers, OutQUORUM is the first and only initiative to address the global under-representation of LGBTQ+ diversity on corporate boards. See outleadership.com/event/outquorum-summit-2022/ .
Apple just released iOS 15.4, featuring 37 new emojis, according to Out Magazine, which cited CNET. The software update (which also introduced a gender-neutral version of Siri named Quinn) includes all of the new emojis that were first introduced last July, like the pregnant man emoji. There are also options such as pregnant person, multiracial handshakes (new colors), X-ray, disco mirror ball and person with a crown; in addition, there are melting face, biting lips, beans and new troll additions to the fantasy creature subcategory.
Two San Francisco LGBTQ political organizations recently welcomed new leaders, per The Bay Area Reporter. At the GLBTQ+ Asian Pacific Alliance, Howard F. Chan is the new chair, succeeding longtime chair Michael T. Nguyen. Over at the Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club, Iowayna Pena was elected the group's new female co-chair; she succeeds Catie Arbona and is working alongside male co-chair Gary McCoy.