In Nebraska, the Lincoln City Council passed an ordinance that bans licensed mental-health professionals from subjecting LGBTQ youth to the discredited practice of conversion therapy, according to a Trevor Project press release. With this five-to-one vote, the capital city of Lincoln is the first in the state to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. The Trevor Project's Protecting with Pride campaign elevates the ongoing municipal-level fight against conversion therapy through legislation and public education in cities and counties across the United States.
A new study released by the Williams Institute states that queer people of color are twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 when compared to straight white people, Instinct Magazine noted. The Williams Institute, which is a subsection of the UCLA School of Law, conducted a national survey involving more than 12,000 U.S. citizens. The survey was held between August and December of 2020. This study came just a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that LGBTQ adults are at a higher risk of adverse COVID-19 effects. See https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/covid-surge-lgbt/.
Another new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds a significant increase in familiarity with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among gay and bisexual menalthough usage remains low, a press release noted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regards PrEP as a highly effective tool to prevent the transmission of HIV. However, one-third (33%) of gay and bisexual men who were taking PrEP discontinued use over a three-year period. Interestingly, PrEP familiarity increased considerably between 2016 and 2018 among those eligible for PrEP, from 60% to 92%. The report is at https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244448#sec002.
On Feb. 18, Google Doodle paid tribute to the late lesbian writer, poet, and activist Audre Lorde on what would have been her 87th birthday, Gay City News noted. The Google Doodle, created to commemorate Black History Month, featured an informational video, an illustration created by guest artist Monica Ahanonu and words from Lorde's children as they remembered their late mother. Lorde, who succumbed to breast cancer in 1992 at the age of 58, was born in Harlem and lived on Staten Island with her partner and two children for more than a decade, starting in 1972.
On Feb. 19, Instinct Magazine noted that journalist Ryan Shea succumbed to his battle with complications from COVID-19 at age 34, the publication announced. Shea, who joined Instinct's team in 2017, wrote thousands of stories for other media outlets as well (including Glamour, Instinct Magazine, and US Weekly, Times Square Chronicles noted). During his career, Shea interviewed Meryl Streep, the cast of Queer Eye, Nyle DiMarco, Kathy Griffin, Wendy Williams, Gloria Steinem, Seth Rogen, Colby Jansen, many of the queens from RuPaul's Drag Race, and many other celebrities and influential LGBTQA movers and shakers.
The Four Corners: Trans & Nonbinary (TNB) Health Research Advisory Network, an initiative of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and partnering organizations, announced the release of its first report, Health Research Priorities Among TNB Communities, a press release noted. The major findings are categorized under "Community-Identified Research Priorities" and "Directions for Ethical & Meaningful Research on TNB Health." To read Health Research Priorities Among TNB Communities, visit bitly.com/fourcornersnetwork.
In Pennsylvania, a transgender woman was killed Feb. 18 by a man who was, in turn, killed by police officers who arrived on the scene and witnessed the attack, a Gay City News item stated. Chyna Carrillo, or Chyna Cardana, was just 24 years old when she was allegedly killed by 33-year-old Juan Carter Hernandez. Police officers then shot and killed Hernandez after he allegedly ignored orders to stop attacking Carrillo, who subsequently died at a hospital in Youngstown.
A new documentary from Amazon Studios will focus on U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, out.com noted. The documentary will actually chronicle his run for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination. Buttigieg was not the first out gay candidate to make a run but is considered to be the first to pose as a serious contender. The documentary is titled Mayor Petethe moniker he often went by during his time as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
And speaking of Buttigieg, SXSW announced that he will join keynote speaker Stacey Abrams as well as featured speakers Demi Lovato, Mary J. Blige, former President George W. Bush, Carole King, Chance the Rapper and others at the virtual festival on March 16-20, out.com noted. Out TV journalist Don Lemon is also slated to speak at the event, which normally takes place in Austin, Texas.
To ensure that Black people lost to AIDS are not ignored, longtime HIV/AIDS advocates Jeffrey King, founder/executive director of In The Meantime Men's Group, Inc., The Black LGBTQ+ Mecca in South Los Angeles; and Cynthia Davis, MPH, a professor at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine recently convened a community meeting to create a Black AIDS monument on the grounds of the Carl Bean House in South LA, the Los Angeles Blade reported. The first phase of the project will roll out in June for National HIV Testing Day, June 27; the Los Angeles Black AIDS Monument (LABAM) team intends to complete the project by World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.
The Virginia Senate approved a bill that would ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense in the state, The Washington Blade reported. The bill, sponsored by transgender state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), was approved 23-15. The Senate version of the bill now heads back to the House of Delegates for consideration.
The ACLU of South Dakota, transgender-rights advocates and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted a virtual press conference to speak out against two anti-transgender bills, an HRC press release noted. HB 1217 is an anti-transgender sports ban and HB 1247 is a medical refusal bill. The press call included expert opinion, advocate voices and personal accounts from transgender people who will be affected by this legislation; participants included Jett Jonelis, of ACLU South Dakota; Susan Williams, of the Transformation Project; South Dakota transgender student athlete Kris Wilka; Dr. Amanda Diehl, a pediatrician from Rapid City; and HRC State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley.
The Biden administration withdrew government support for a federal lawsuit in Connecticut that seeks to ban transgender athletes from participating in girls' high school sports, NBC Connecticut reported. Connecticut allows high school athletes to compete in sports according to their gender identity. The lawsuit was filed a year ago by several cisgender runners who claim they have been deprived of wins, state titles and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against two trans sprinters.
Diversity Richmond and Virginia Pride, two of the Richmond Region's leading LGBTQ organizations, plan to merge effective April 1, a press release noted. As a program of Diversity Richmond, Virginia Pride will continue to produce its signature event, PrideFest, as well as other events that support the LGBTQ community. Events and activities will continue to be guided by a diverse committee of volunteers who will have the support of a full-time, paid program director.
NYC Pride announced the official theme for 2021"The Fight Continues"as the kick-off to this year's events and programming, a press release noted. The NYC Pride 2021 roster of events will take place during Pride Month this June. Among this year's major events are the NYC Pride March on June 27 that will be presented in a virtual format as well as to-be-determined in-person elements, and ma June 25 rally that will feature a diverse array of speakers and activists in a virtual format.
Three Dallas City Council members have reached their term limits and will not be able to run for re-electionincluding openly gay Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano, the Dallas Voice reported. With the deadline for filing passed, each of the 14 seats on the Dallas City Council is contested, with more than 50 candidates having filed to run. Leland R. Burk, in District 13, and Jonas Park, in District 2, are the only two openly LGBTQ challengers running for the city council. Election Day is May 1; however, with this many candidates running, runoffs are almost guaranteed.
A bill that would require judges to waive the publication requirement for transgender people, domestic-violence survivors and anyone else who seeks to legally change their name passed in the Maryland House of Delegates, The Washington Blade reported. House Bill 39sponsored by state Del. Emily Shetty (D-Montgomery County)passed Feb. 11 by a 131-4 vote margin; the House Judiciary Committee, on Feb. 8, unanimously approved it. State Sen. Shelly Hettleman (D-Baltimore County) was slated to present the bill to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Feb. 26.
The North Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill that would restrict transgender high school athletes to competing in sports that correspond with their sex assigned at birth, Grand Forks Herald noted. House Bill 1298 cleared the chamber by a vote of 65-26, after almost an hour of debate between lawmakers over the state's responsibilities to transgender individuals impacted by the legislation. The measure now goes to the Senate.
The former speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives resigned as the head of an economic development organization just days after taking the job following significant pushback from community and business leaders, PetoskeyNews.com reported. The objections to Lee Chatfield leading Southwest Michigan First arose from his efforts as speaker to block adding new legal protections for LGBTQ workers and residents into state law. In a letter posted to Twitter, Chatfield apologized for causing an "unfortunate controversy," but not for the beliefs at the core of the issue.
Louisville, Kentucky, will host a Pride festival this year, a press release noted. The annual Kentuckiana Pride Festival and Parade will take place Oct. 8-9 at the Big Four Lawn, Waterfront Park. The festival and parade are typically held on the third weekend of June each year. Moving the festival and parade dates to later in the year will allow for additional time to prep for additional safety protocols due to COVID-19.
Andrew Spieldenner, who has been involved in HIV activism for almost 30 years, is the new executive director of the Oakland-based nonprofit MPact Global Action for Gay Men's Health and Rights, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Spieldenner has taught courses on sex work; women, gender, and sexuality; health communication; Asian Americans in media; and queer media. He said he will keep his faculty position and maintain his residence in Southern California after he begins as executive director of MPact.
Apple has added 217 new emojis in its latest iOS 14.5 updateincluding some LGBTQ+-related ones, according to out.com . Included in the update are a bearded lady; 200 different skin-tone choices for interracial and gay couples; and additional male, female and gender-neutral options, according to Emojipedia. The iOS 14.5 update is currently in beta testing, but is expected to be unveiled later this year.
Bruce Springsteen and former President Barack Obama have launched a new Spotify podcast via the Obamas' Higher Ground production company, Pitchfork reported. Titled Renegades: Born in the USA, the eight-part series features the long-time friends discussing a wide range of topics including "race, fatherhood, marriage, and the state of America."
Freddie's Beach Bar, the gay bar that has been operating in the Crystal City section of Arlington, Virginia, since 2001, is planning to open a new version of itself in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in time for Memorial Day weekend, The Washington Blade noted. Owner Freddie Lutz said that the Rehoboth version will operate as a restaurant and bar, with entertainment that is expected to include karaoke, drag bingo and, possibly, drag shows.
A second woman has accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, The New York Post stated. Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former aide to Cuomo, told The New York Times the governor asked her inappropriate personal questions and had told her he was open to relationships with women in their 20s. Initially, another aide said the governor kissed her without her consent and asked her to play strip poker, alleging a pattern of sexual harassment, Politico reported. Lindsey Boylan, who is running for Manhattan borough president and formerly worked for Cuomo and the state's economic development agency, wrote in a Medium post that Cuomo kissed her on the lips against her will at his office in Manhattan.
Three years before Louisiana State University fired him, head football coach Les Miles dealt with an internal investigation into allegations he sexually harassed and made sexist comments about student workers, USA Today noted. At the time of the 2013 investigationdone quietly by an outside law firmMiles was one of the nation's most successful and beloved coaches in college football, and one of an exclusive club to win a national championship. Miles now is the head football coach at the University of Kansas; there, he was paid $3.3 million in 2020making him the highest-paid public employee in the state, according to 24/7 Wall Street.
Palm Beach County defied Gov. Ron DeSantis, refusing to lower its courthouse flags to half-staff in honor of the late conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugha move the governor's office called "petty," ABC News reported. DeSantis also ordered the Town of Palm Beach and the State Capitol in Tallahassee to fly their flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Feb. 24; those flags were lowered.
The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the adult-movie actress Stormy Daniels, who sued former President Donald Trump for defamation, USA Today noted. Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) had sued Trump when he retweeted a post suggesting Clifford had lied about being threatened by a stranger. Trump's retweet suggested the man was actually Clifford's husband. A federal trial court had dismissed the suit; an appeals court upheld that ruling last year, asserting that the tweet did not meet the standard for defamation.
Former USA Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicidehours after he was charged with two dozen crimes stemming from allegations that he physically, emotionally and sexually abused gymnasts under his care, ESPN.com reported. Geddert, 63, was scheduled to be arraigned in Eaton County, Michigan. Michigan state officials charged Geddert with 24 felonies: 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor, one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, racketeering and lying to a police officer.