New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the state's Department of Education to review LGBTQ-inclusive sex-education standards set to start in the fall amid conservative attacks over the policy, the Los Angeles Blade noted. The order came as conservatives ramp up attacks on the standards, with some saying it's "psychological torture" and "predatory grooming." Among other things, the curriculum will allow second-grade kids to discuss gender expression; fifth-graders to know the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity; and eighth-grade students to learn to promote "dignity and respect" for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
Equality California and Nevada-based affiliate Silver State Equality released their annual joint federal legislative scorecard for 2021, demonstrating broad support for LGBTQ+ civil rights and social justice among both states' congressional delegations, a press release noted. In California, 42 of 53 U.S. representatives (including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) and both U.S. senators received perfect scores; in Nevada, three of four U.S. reps and both U.S. senators received scores of 100%. See the scorecard at https://issuu.com/equalitycalifornia/docs/eqca22_fedlegscore2021_v5_sread.
The Maryland General Assembly voted to ban state-funded schools and county boards of education from discriminating against students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity race, nationality, disability, and other identity markers, The Washington Blade reported. The House of Delegates passed the Inclusive Schools Act (House Bill 850) by a vote of 96-36. It is now headed to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's desk and the governor has 30 days to either sign or veto the legislation. If he takes no action, the bill will take effect on July 1.
The United States Air Force (USAF) said it will support LGBTQ airmen, Guardians and/or their LGBTQ dependents who may be affected by laws and legislation being proposed and passed across the country, WAVY TV 10 reported. If service members or their families need help with screening, treatment, or mental health support for medical concerns, USAF officials say they can go to any medical treatment facility. Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones says they are closely tracking state laws and legislation to prepare for and mitigate effects to their Airmen, Guardians and their families.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging gay and bisexual men to get the meningococcal vaccine after an outbreak in Florida has led to an increase in cases, per USA Today. Multiple meningitis cases have been reported across the state in the past few months, and some involved college students and those living with HIV. For every 100 people who contract meningococcal disease, 10 to 15 will die, according to the CDC. The disease is a more serious form of meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord; early symptoms include fever, headaches, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting.
The executive director of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, Ruben Gonzales, announced he had accepted a position with the Biden Administration, the Los Angeles Blade reported. As executive director of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, Gonzales oversaw all of Victory Institute's U.S. and global programs, and the Presidential Appointments Initiative, which helped the Biden administration achieve the most LGBTQ-inclusive administration in history. Mayor Annise Parker, Victory Institute president & CEO, will take on interim responsibilities until a new executive director is named.
In New Mexico, the Albuquerque Police Department will not be allowed to participate in Albuquerque's LGBTQ+ Pride festivities this summer, KOB.com reported. Having officers at Pride festivities has been discussed across the country over the last few years, with a few major citiesincluding Denver, Seattle, and New York Citybanning police from their events. All but one of the present board members voted to ban the police from having a float in the parade and from having a booth at this year's Pride Fest.
An heir to the Disney fortune, Charlee Corra Disney, has publicly come out as trans and slammed Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law, PinkNews reported. Charlee is the child of Roy P. Disney, the great-nephew of Walt Disney, and his wife Sheri. At a recent Human Rights Campaign (HRC) gala, they took to the stage to announce that their family would be matching up to $500,000 in donations to the HRC; the organization had refused a $5 million donation from Disney, demanding "meaningful action." Roy told the Washington Times in a statement: "My wife, Sheri, and I have been members of HRC for over 20 years."
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced it will honor British actress Golda Rosheuvel (Queen Charlotte in the hit Netflix series Bridgerton) with the Equality Award at the 2022 HRC Greater New York Dinner, per a press release. The night will feature an address from actor Brian Michael Smith and a performance from singer-songwriter Jessie J. The dinner will take place at the New York Marriott Marquis on April 30.
A suspect was arrested for starting a fire that injured two people at Bushwick's Rash, a popular nightclub within NYC's LGBTQ+ community, Gay City News reported. John Lhota, 24, was captured on security video purchasing a red gas canister at a service station and filling it with gasoline on the evening of Apr. 3, the U.S. Department of Justice announced April 14. He then went to Rash and eventually started a fire. Two employees of Rash were injured in the blaze.
Trans artist Mars Wright and nonprofit organization ProjectQ announced the opening of their mural at the new ProjectQ location on 4709 Fountain Ave, in Los Angeles, per a press release. This two-building mural, titled "Trans Joy Is Resistance," is part of Mars' larger series "Trans Joy. Commissioned by the non-profit ProjectQ, the artwork will be a permanent mural. The white-on-black, black-on-white two-building mural portrays a smattering of smiling mouths in motion in Wright's illustrative style, which is inspired by the works of Keith Haring.
Rachel Maddow returned from a weeks-long hiatus on April 11to tell MSNBC viewers they will be seeing significantly less of her in weeks to come, per Variety. Starting in May, Maddow will scale back her duties at MSNBC, moving from what had been a five-days-per-week role to hosting only on Mondays. She is changing her schedule after signing a new pact with NBCUniversal that gives her control over a broader range of projects, including podcasts and films.
GLAAD recently announced the launch of new PSAs centering Texas mom Amber Briggle, per a press release. Briggle speaks about her family in the PSA videos, including her transgender teenaged son, Max. Audience members at the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles got a sneak peek of the PSA, as Briggle introduced the video and shared her story on stage. The 60-second PSA is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbad3efCic8&feature=youtu.be.
Starting April 18, Philadelphia will require people to again wear masks in public places after health officials reported a rise in COVID-19 cases, NPR noted. COVID-19 cases increased more than 50% in the first 10 days of April, officials with Philadelphia's Department of Public Health announced. Under these rules, there is no vaccine or testing requirement for places that serve food or drink; masks must be worn in schools, child care settings, restaurants and government buildings.
In Wisconsin, new Milwaukee County Supervisor for District 15 Peter Burgelis is the first open LGBTQ member to be elected to the board, 620 WTMJ noted. "Representation matters and it's an honor and a privilege to get my neighbor's support for the county board," said Burgelis. "Our great senator Tammy Baldwin likes to say if you don't have a seat at the table you're probably on the menu. That's not the case at the county board. There's a lot of support for the LGBT community and has been for a long time but I am the first member of the community in elected office."
Recently retired NBC4 anchor and longtime LGBTQ+ ally Wendy Rieger died April 16 after a fight with brain cancer at age 65, The Washington Blade reported. Among other things, she participated in a number of D.C. AIDS Rides and made a cameo in the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington's adaptation of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Last December, during an interview with the Blade, Rieger credited Patrick Bruyerea longtime volunteer for LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS service organizations who passed away from cancer in 2017with introducing her to the LGBTQ community in D.C.
Gay-porn star Steven Miles, an Army veteran known professionally as Sergeant Miles, was arrested for his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, PinkNews noted. Miles, 39, from Zephyrhills, Florida, was arrested April 12. Miles has been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, civil disorder, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, and related offenses. After an initial court appearance, he was released "pending further proceedings in the District of Columbia."
After Fox News' Laura Ingraham did a segment on her show in which she cited a Breitbart article that accused schools of grooming preschoolers to be LGBTQ, Curtis Ingraham (Laura's gay older brother) took to Twitter to slam his baby sister for being a "Putin-loving monster," Queerty noted. This isn't the first time Curtis has publicly criticized Laura. Last month, he took to Twitter to condemn a segment she did about Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, during which she claimed schools wanted to "sexually brainwash" other people's children.
Speaking of Fox News, the network's hosts and commentators have apparently alienated their own colleagues with their coverage of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, Vanity Fair noted. In a rare instance of Fox Corp employees speaking out against their own employer's coverage, Fox Pridethe resource group for LGBTQ+ workers and allies across Fox brandscondemned Fox News' "hateful" anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in an internal Slack message earlier this month. Fox Pride's statement, among other things, suggested Fox News' on-air treatment of the LGBTQ+ community is at odds with the values of its own parent company.
Former President Donald Trump's decision to endorse celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate race has divided local Republican Party officials and stunned close advisers who thought he had decided to stay out of the contest to pick a Republican candidate, a WTVB item noted, citing Reuters. Oz and David McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO who has hired many former aides to Trump to work on his campaign, are the top two candidates in the Republican nominating contest that will determine who faces a Democratic candidate in the November congressional elections.
New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin resigned after being indicted on bribery and fraud charges tied to an illegal campaign finance scheme, Yahoo! News noted. "I have accepted Brian Benjamin's resignation, effective immediately," Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. "While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as lieutenant governor. New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government, and I will continue working every day to deliver for them." When Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned last year after several women accused him of sexual misconduct, the sitting lieutenant governor, Hochul, succeeded him.