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NATIONAL Miami textbooks, Lia Thomas, Florida churches, Key West figure dies
by Andrew Davis
2022-07-24

This article shared 707 times since Sun Jul 24, 2022
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Miami-Dade County students could go months without sex-education books after school board members, by a five-to-four vote, rejected two proposed textbooks over concerns they violate the state's Parental Rights in Education bill, known by opponents as "Don't Say Gay," Politico reported. Rejecting the textbooks puts Miami in a precarious situation by leaving the school district without an approved sex ed curriculum for middle and high school students with the fall semester less than a month away. Miami-Dade is the fourth largest school district in the country.

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has been nominated for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award, LGBTQ Nation noted. Shewas nominated by her school, the University of Pennsylvania, as a Division I athlete for Swimming and Diving after facing unprecedented opposition to her participation in women's events this year. In addition to making history the spring as the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title, Thomas has become a lightning rod in the debate around transgender athletes' participation in elite sports.

Theological differences and a property dispute are among the reasons more than 100 churches in Florida filed suit against their governing body, the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Tallahassee Democrat noted. The underlying disagreement is largely centered around questions involving the marriage of LGBTQ+ couples by UMC clergy and the ordination of LGBTQ+ members who wish to serve churches as clergy. In particular, the lawsuit accuses Kenneth Carter—the resident bishop of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church—of violating the Book of Discipline by non-enforcement against an openly lesbian bishop and inaction against a progressive reverend based in St. Petersburg.

Steve K. Smith—known for helping make Key West, Florida, a global LGBTQ+ tourist destination—died July 13 of cancer at age 71, South Florida Gay News reported. "Our Key West family has lost a true ambassador for Key West and the LGBTQ+ community," said Key West Business Guild Executive Director Kevin Theraiult. Smith and Paul Murray married in 2004 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, not long after the state became the first to legalize same-sex marriage. Along with promoting Key West and the Florida Keys to the LGBT community, Smith served for 20 years on the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board, a role that dealt with serious public health issues such as the Zika virus epidemic.

A newly appointed member of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's LGBTQ+ Advisory Board—tasked with counseling the governor on matters and actions connected to the state's LGBTQ+ community—resigned prior to beginning his tenure on the job, The Washington Blade reported. Log Cabin Republicans of Richmond President Casey Flores garnered controversy in the weeks leading up to his appointment over his past online rhetoric that included assertions that some LGBTQ+-rights activists have sought not to advance equality for the community, but rather to groom children.

A Kansas City man pled guilty in federal court to committing a hate crime by shooting a local teenager eight times in an attempted murder that was motivated by the victim's sexual orientation, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Malachi Robinson, 26, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Robinson—who has been in federal custody since he was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 10, 2021—will remain in federal detention until his sentencing hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

After a preliminary hearing on July 11, Kylen Pratt was held for trial on charges of first-degree murder and related offenses after he allegedly killed his same-sex lover, Naasire Johnson, to keep their intimate relationship hidden, The Philadelphia Gay News reported. Municipal Judge Wendy L. Pew didn't downgrade or dismiss any of the charges against Pratt, which include murder, abuse of a corpse, the tampering with evidence and possession of a prohibited firearm. A formal arraignment is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 1, in the Criminal Justice Center.

Equality California endorsed four openly LGBTQ+ candidates running for local office, per a press release. The group includes military veteran and Seal Beach City Council candidate Stephanie Wade, who would be the fourth openly transgender person elected to public office in California history; and Fullerton City Councilmember Ahmad Zahra, who made history in 2018 as the first openly gay Muslim to be elected to a city council in America. The other candidates are Culver City Council candidate Freddy Puza and Alameda County Transit Board Director candidate Alfred Twu.

The Pennsylvania state legislature unanimously passed House Bill 2125, which will remove "homosexuality" from the definition of prohibited sexual acts in the state's Crimes Code, The Philadelphia Gay News reported. The bill now heads to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature to codify the measure. When Wolf signs the law, Pennsylvania will no longer single out same-sex sexual acts as criminal.

Tennis icon Martina Navratilova is among those who signed a petition to free Brittany Martin—a mother who led a 2020 social-justice rally in Sumter, South Carolina. According to the petition, Martin was charged with breach of peace, instigating, aiding or participating in a riot and five counts of threatening the life of a public official—even though there were no reports of violence, property damage or injury. A jury found Martin guilty of breach of peace of a high and aggravated nature—resulting in Judge Kirk Griffin ordering a four-year jail sentence for Martin, who is three months pregnant. The petition is at https://www.change.org/p/free-brittany-martin?recruiter=64640501&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama announced the follow-up to her global best-seller Becoming, Deadline noted. Her new memoir, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Certain Times, will be released by Penguin Random House on Nov. 15. "Like so many of you, I've spent a lot of time these past few years thinking about how to keep myself centered in a world filled with so much uncertainty," Obama wrote in an Instagram post announcing the new book. The Light We Carry will be published in 14 languages and 27 countries around the world, according to Penguin Random House.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has run his second out-of-state ad this month—first in Florida and now in Texas, Deadline noted. In the ads, Newsom is targeting two prominent Republican governors (Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, respectively) who many tout as potential GOP presidential candidates on two big, national issues: gun control and abortion.

A question for comment from an LGBTQ media outlet led to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' press secretary tweeting out a doctored photo targeting the LGBTQ community, according to Press Pass Q. DeSantis initially went after drag-queen events, stating, "Very young kids, and they must have been like 9, 10 years old, [were] at a quote 'drag-show' where they were putting money in the underwear of this, and that is totally unacceptable." LGBTQ Nation reporter John Russell then emailed DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, "My question: What event is Gov. DeSantis referring to? Has he seen 9- and 10-year olds placing money in the underwear of drag performers? Where specifically has he seen this?" Pushaw sent Russell a photo of a cisgender burlesque performer—who had nothing to do with the drag-queen story time event—with the comment, "Unfortunately for churnalists, people have eyes."

LGBTQ artist Jumper Maybach has partnered with four companies (Big Lovie, Ahdorned, OPR Eyewear and V. Fraas) in an effort to expand the product line across multiple consumer retail segments, as well as bring new audiences to the brand and mission, per a press release. All of the new products have been inspired by Jumper Maybach's abstract paintings, which have been exhibited around the world, hanging in galleries and museums from Paris to Miami to Dubai. See www.JumperMaybach.com .


This article shared 707 times since Sun Jul 24, 2022
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