New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a pair of LGBTQ-related bills aimed at protecting sex-trafficking survivors as well as requiring utility and telephone companies to respect customers' preferred pronouns, The New York Post reported. One of the measures, the Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together (START) Act, allows victims to have convictions stemming from crimes committed as a result of sex trafficking vacated. The second bill, sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas (D-Queens), requires utility companies, municipalities and telephone service providers to allow customers to use their preferred names and pronouns.
The GLSEN Research Institute shared its latest report, "The GSA Study: Results of National Surveys About Students' and Advisors' Experiences in Gender and Sexuality Alliance Clubs," a press release noted. This is the first comprehensive report on the experiences of students and advisors in GSAs (gender and sexuality alliances) across the United States. GSAs started more than 30 years ago in the United States, and aim to provide LGBTQ students with a safe and affirming space within their often hostile school environments. The full report is at https://www.glsen.org/gsa-study.
A settlement was reached in the nearly decade-old case of a Christian flower-shop owner in Washington state who refused to provide same-sex couple Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed flowers for their wedding despite the state's anti-discrimination laws, NBC News reported. The U.S. Supreme Court left intact the state court rulings against Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, in July; shortly afterward, Stutzman petitioned for a rehearing. However, Stutzman withdrew her petition Nov. 18 and agreed to pay a settlement of $5,000 to Ingersoll and Freed.
Nevada Democrat Kimi Cole announced her campaign to become the state's next lieutenant governorand a victory would make her the first out transgender statewide elected official in the country, LGBTQ Nation reported. Cole, who has lived in the state since 1956, is currently the chair of the Nevada Democratic Rural Caucus; before that, she was the chair of the Douglas County Democratic Party.
LGBTQ ally and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) announced that he's running for governor of Texas, challenging anti-LGBTQ extremist Gov. Greg Abbott, LGBTQ Nation reported. "Together, we can push past the small and divisive politics that we see in Texas today and get back to the big, bold vision that used to define Texas," O'Rourke tweeted with a video announcing his gubernatorial run. "A Texas big enough for all of us." O'Rourke served in the U.S. House from 2013 to 2019 and then left the House to run for Senate, almost beating Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and getting national attention for being the Democrat to get the most votes in a midterm election ever in Texas. He then ran for president, but suspended his campaign before the primaries and endorsed President Joe Biden.
After narrowly winning the Virginia gubernatorial race, Gov.-Elect Glenn Youngkin (R) has begun naming officials to his transition team as he prepares to take the oath of office Jan. 15, LGBTQ Nation noted. Youngkin, who has already declared that he opposes marriage equality, has already chosen other anti-LGBTQ conservatives to ceremonial and official posts that will shape his agenda and staff before he takes office. The transition is co-chaired by Kay Coles James, who is the former president of the Heritage Foundation, and state Sen. Steve Newman (R), former president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate.
Concluding an election cycle in which most other out LGBTQ candidates hailed from the Democratic Party, two out gay Republicans emerged victorious in Staten Island, Gay City News noted. One of them is an incoming city councilmember who has worked for anti-LGBTQ lawmakers (David Carr) and the other is a soon-to-be state Supreme Court justice who voted against trans-rights legislation as a state lawmaker (Ronald Castorina Jr.). Castorina did vote in favor of some other LGBTQ measures, including a ban on conversion therapy in 2017 and a trans-inclusive bill requiring single-occupancy restrooms in state-owned buildings to be designated as gender-neutral.
Philadelphia police are investigating after a 41-year-old transgender woman was shot multiple times in the East Kensington neighborhood, NBC Philadelphia reported. The woman invited an acquaintance inside her home, who later displayed a gun and shot her. The victim was transported to Temple University Hospital, where she was listed in stable condition.
Pope Francis paid tribute to Catholic priests, nuns and laypeople who helped care for people with HIV and AIDS during the early period of the epidemic in the United States, KRDO.com noted. Francis offered the words of praise in a letter to Michael O'Loughlin, a national correspondent for the Jesuit magazine America who wrote the book Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear.
In 2021, lawmakers from 33 state legislatures and assemblies representing every region of the country filed 98 bills that seek to restrict of the ability of transgender and gender-diverse youth (TGD) to access healthcare, school facilities and school athletics, a Fenway Health press release noted. A policy brief released by Fenway Health examines the potential harms to health that these bills pose to TGD youthregardless of whether they are enacted into law or not. Approximately one-third of the bills filed in 2021 relating to TGD youth seek to prohibit or limit access to healthcare. The report is at https://fenwayhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/Anti-trans-legislation-policy-brief-FINAL.pdf.
Lambda Legal, alongside the firms Baker Botts LLP and Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard LLP, filed a federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's policy requiring transgender people to have undergone "sex reassignment surgery" in order for them to obtain an accurate birth certificate reflecting who they are, a press release noted. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina on behalf of three plaintiffs; they are Lillith Campos, who is an adult; and teenagers C.B., through his parent Shelley K. Bunting, and M.D., through her parent Katheryn Jenifer. Lillith, C.B., and M.D. were all born in North Carolina.
A federal appeals court said it would not block an order requiring public disclosure of video recordings from the trial in Perry, et al. v. Hollingsworth, et al.the landmark case that struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage in 2010, Reuters reported. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in its two-to-one ruling that advocates who had backed the marriage-equality ban had not shown how publicly releasing the tapes would cause harm. Writing for the appeals court majority, 9th Circuit Judge William Fletcher said "the entire trial has been publicly available in transcript form since 2010, and there is no evidence in the record that appellants, their witnesses, or indeed any Proposition 8 supporter, have been harassed during the period since the release of the transcript."
In a continuing development, multimillion-dollar brand Baccarat, of Baccarat Rouge 540 fame, filed a trademark opposition suit against queer artist Kalliope Amorphous, citing brand confusion, a press release noted. Black Baccara is a small, minority-owned business. The company's founder, Amorphous, has offered her artisan perfumes and other handmade items under the name Black Baccara for more than a decade to collectors of her artand has pointed out, among other things, that Rene Bousquet, the Nazi collaborator indicted for crimes against humanity, remained a director of Baccarat until 1991. In a public statement on its Instagram page, Baccarat wrote, "Baccarat will continue to stubbornly defend its intellectual property rights against any attempt by third parties to infringe them in any way whatsoever."
In Virginia, Spotsylvania County schools will not remove "sexually explicit" books from library shelves or conduct a full audit of library holdingsbut some school board members said they will continue to take a stance against the inclusion of what they view as offensive material in school library books, The Free Lance-Star reported. The five-to-two vote was not supported by Courtland representative Rabih Abuismail or Livingston representative Kirk Twigg, who recently made comments about burning books with such content.
Time's Up isn't officially shutting down, but the organization will undergo a significant change, Deadline noted. More than two months after CEO Tina Then resigned amidst the fallout from sexual harassment allegations against now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Time's Out is losing its interim boss, and almost all of its remaining board and staff. Time's Up will essentially end its current work and programs on New Year's Day 2022; approximately two dozen staffers will be pink-slipped accordingly, with severance packages running through March 1, 2022.
Eight cities in the United States scored a zero out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Foundation's 10th annual Municipal Equality Index, which evaluates cities and towns based on the level of LGBTQ inclusion found in their local laws, policies and services, NBC News noted. The two groups evaluated 506 municipalitiesincluding the country's 50 state capitals and 200 largest citieson 49 criteria for the index. The cities that scored a zero were Florence, Alabama; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Southaven, Mississippi; Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; Moore, Oklahoma; Clemson, South Carolina; Pierre, South Dakota; and Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Non-binary writer, performer and public speaker ALOK will be the keynote speaker at the 34th annual Creating Change Conference, where LGBTQ+ advocates, activists, leaders and allies will gather in person Jan. 12-16, 2022, at the Hilton Riverside, in New Orleans, a press release noted. ALOK will kick off this year's conference at the opening plenary on Thursday, Jan. 13.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and partners in the LGBTQIA+ community recently celebrated the first day that the Michigan Department of State offered a non-binary optionmarked with an "X"as a sex marker on Michigan driver's licenses and state identification cards, michigan.gov reported. "I am proud to offer state identification that bolsters the safety and accurately reflects the identity of more Michigan residents," said Benson. "For years we have been working with the LGBTQIA+ community, and upgrading our own technology, to make this possible in order to ensure that government works for all people of Michigan."
A small library in south-central Pennsylvania wanted $3,000 more in county funding in 2022but received nearly $30,000 after elected officials said the library would soon be hosting meetings of a "hate group" that turned out to be members of the LGBTQ+ community in Fulton County, Public Opinion reported. The small group for LGBTQ people will meet occasionally at Fulton County Library, in McConnellsburg. The library's director and a staffer at a local healthcare facility worked together to create the group after people expressed interest in one. According to the Fulton County News, commissioners Randy Bunch and Stuart Ulsh, both Republicans, said they could not OK increasing funding for an organization that supports a hate group.
A Utah-based non-profit announced that the organization has raised more than $8 million dollars to build eight new homes in four Western states to provide services for LGBTQ youth, The Los Angeles Blade reported. Encirclewhich provides mental health services for LGBTQ youthwill build the new homes with locations in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. The new homes are dedicated to providing safe spaces and resources as well as preventing teen suicide.
A video showed that North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson again made disparaging remarks about LGBTQ+ people, this time at a Winston-Salem church, according to The News & Observer. Robinson, a Republican who is expected to run for governor in 2024, questioned the "purpose" of being gay; said heterosexual couples are "superior" to same-sex couples; and that he didn't want to explain to his grandchildren why two men are kissing if they see that on television. Robinson made the remarks Nov. 14 at Berean Baptist Church, in Winston-Salem.
The U.S. House voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, after he posted an animated video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and attacking President Joe Biden, NBC News noted. The House voted 223-207, with two Republicans voting in favor: Illinois' Adam Kinzinger and Wyoming's Liz Cheney. The resolution also removes Gosar from the two committees he serves on: Oversight and Reform, and Natural Resources.