While at least 12 states have passed legislation to limit or ban gender-affirming healthcare for young people, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico and Minnesota have passed bills designed to shield transgender healthcare through legal protections, health care coverage and access, NPR reported. On April 21, the Minnesota legislature passed protections for youth and parents who seek health care and for the providers that give it. Gov. Tim Walz signed the measure. On March 8, Walz signed an executive order protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people from Minnesota and other states to receive gender-affirming healthcare.
On April 20, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) hosted its inaugural New York event at The Modern honoring Macy's CEO/Chair Jeff Gennette and long-term ambassador for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation/fashion designer Zac Posen, a press release noted. Tony-nominated actor and ETAF Champion for "HIV Is Not A Crime" L Morgan Lee presented the event honorees with The Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award. "I firsthand watched and experienced how the AIDS epidemic took loved ones, teachers, and friends of my parents. Growing up in the city, it was pretty confusing, devastating and terrifying for a young man coming of age," said Posen. Gennette plans on retiring in 2024, per news reports.
In Florida, hundreds of drag performers gathered in the state capital of Tallahassee to protest a slate of proposed bills that would roll back the rights of LGBTQ+ people, The Hill reported. The legislation would bar certain drag performances as well as restrict gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youths and bar transgender athletes from sports teams consistent with their gender identity, among other things. Equality Florida, which helped organize the event, said the protest was the largest of its kind.
On a related note, officials in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, on April 11, revoked permission for a local group to hold a Pride event because it included a drag show, WBUR reported. The ACLU, in a letter dated April 18, asked the board to restore full permission for the event and asked for a response in order to "avoid potential litigation"but said it had not heard back from the town board.
Cast members of the television show The L Word: Generation Q joined White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierreherself a member of the LGBTQ+ communityat the podium on April 25 to mark Lesbian Visibility Week, ABC News reported. Among other things, Jean-Pierre told a personal story of going to watch the taping of an episode of the show last year in which two of the main characters get marrieda moment she said "meant so much to queer women across the country." Producer Ilene Chaiken and actresses Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey and Katherine Moennig, who appeared at the daily briefing, will meet with LGBTQ+ members of the Biden administration to discuss efforts to "advance full equality for our community," Jean-Pierre said.
A Trevor Project report revealed that Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) LGBTQ+ youth in the United States are reporting high rates of recent anxiety and depression, self-harm, suicide consideration, and suicide attempts, The Advocate noted. The brief stated that more than one in five (21%) MENA LGBTQ+ young people reported a suicide attempt in the past year; also, nearly half (49%) reported seriously considering suicide and nearly two-thirds (64%) reported engaging in self-harm in the past year. The full report is at www.thetrevorproject.org/research-briefs/middle-eastern-and-northern-african-lgbtq-young-people/ .
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is supporting President Biden's re-election in 2024 and is not planning a third presidential bid. Sanderswho finished second to Biden in 2020 for the Democratic presidential nominationmade the announcement hours after Biden announced his bid for a second White House term, The Hill noted. "The last thing this country needs is a Donald Trump or some other right-wing demagogue who is going to try to undermine American democracy or take away a woman's right to choose, or not address the crisis of gun violence, or racism, sexism or homophobia," Sanders told The Associated Press in an interview.
During a virtual session, the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church approved a conditional disaffiliation for 55 churches over LGBTQ+ issues, The Ledger reported. "Those churches met the requirements in Paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline regarding separation from the denomination over the issue of human sexuality," according to a conference press release. "The churches that are leaving are concerned that a gay person would be married in the Methodist Church or they are concerned that a gay person might be ordained as a clergy person," Tom Berlin, bishop of the Florida Conference in Lakeland, told the publication.
San Francisco's public-health sector continues to urge people to get vaccinated for mpox after a federal CDC report concluded that the United States may see a worse outbreak of the disease this year than in 2022, according to the Bay Area Reporter. In the report the CDC published March 30, researchers predicted with "moderate confidence" that because of those low national numbers , "if mpox reintroduction occurs and no additional vaccination or sexual-behavior adaptations occur, the risk of a resurgent mpox outbreak is greater than 35% in most jurisdictions in the United States."
The ACLU, the ACLU of Washington and the Washington State Attorney General's Office obtained a consent decree against Alaska Airlines, requiring Alaska Airlines to remove all gendered restrictions from its uniform policy for flight attendants and to require additional training on gender identity and gender expression, a joint press release noted. This consent decree concluded the administrative complaint filed by the ACLU and the ACLU of Washington on behalf of Justin Wetherell, a non-binary and genderfluid flight attendant/instructor at Alaska Airlines. Wetherell had been forced to comply with the airline's gender-based uniform and grooming policies.
The Atlanta Police Department is working to reassure members of the LGBTQ+ community after three violent crimes involving transgender women have taken place this year, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. One incident took place in January while the other two happened in April. Koko Da Dolla trans woman who gained notice in the documentary Kokomo Citywas fatally shot on April 19 in Atlanta, other media outlets noted.
Anheuser-Busch decided to shake up its marketing leadership after its Bud Light brand became a target for conservatives angered by a campaign featuring trans social-media influencer Dylan Mulvaney, USA Today noted. Alissa Heinerscheid, who oversaw Bud Light marketing, has taken a "leave of absence" and Budweiser Vice President of Global Marketing Todd Allen has been appointed. Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth posted an initial statement in response to the controversy, saying, "We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer."
One of the misconduct charges against the officers involved in the fatal 2019 police shooting of 32-year-old gay man Kawaski Trawick was dropped only days before the start of a disciplinary trial in the case, Gay City News reported. Trawick's parents said they learned through the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) that NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado dropped the charge related to illegal entry, although other charges remain. Nearly two years ago, the CCRB confirmed allegations of abuse of authority and use of force against Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis for their actions during the two minutes leading up to Trawick's death at his home in a supportive living environment in the Bronx.
The office of Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey removed an online form that was used to collect reports or complaints about gender-transition interventions that Missourians have either experienced or observed, per The Washington Blade. The development followed Bailey, on April 13, issuing an emergency rule restricting guideline-directed gender-affirming healthcare for Missourians of all ages.
On a related note, Lambda Legal filed a petition seeking a temporary restraining order to block the implementation of Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey's rule seeking to restrict the provision of gender-affirming care to transgender people of all ages in Missouri, per an open letter from the organization. Lambda Legal's partners in this lawsuit include the ACLU of Missouri and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.
Transgender swimming champ Lia Thomas took to a podcast to answer her detractors, per The Daily Beast. In an interview with Schuyler Bailar, the NCAA's first trans swimmer, Thomas accused her critics of having "an implicit bias against trans people." While many have celebrated Thomas' victory (being the first trans athlete to win an NCAA title) as a milestone for trans participation in college athletics, critics claimed that she has an unfair advantage.
Days after the former star anchor was terminated by CNN, openly gay TV journalist Don Lemon walked a red carpet, telling press he's ready for his new chapter, per Variety. "I don't have to rush to another jobeven if I want another job," Lemon said on the red carpet at the Time 100 gala in New York City on April 26. "I want to work again. But I am lucky enough to be in a position where I don't have to worry about those things."
A Missouri man who lured a teenager into a wooded area and shot him eight times because of his sexual orientation was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison, The New York Times reported. Malachi Robinson, 25, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty last summer to a federal hate crime, admitting that he had tried to murder the then-16-year-old victim, identified in court records only as M.S., who spent two weeks in a hospital, underwent multiple surgeries and still has bullets inside of him, according to prosecutors. "This significant penalty brings a measure of justice to the young victim and to the larger LGBTQI+ community," Teresa Moore, a U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said in a statement.
New York LGBTQ+-rights groups disinvited Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul from the Buffalo Gay Pride Parade in June in a dispute over budget funding, WCAX reported. The Pride Center of Western New York said the governor's budget advances a Cuomo-era policy that takes funding away from community health centers. Other groups throughout the state, including the one behind the NYC Gay Pride Parade, may follow suit.
Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat's all-time leading scorer, no longer lives in Floridapartially because of the state's political climate and attitude toward LGBTQ+ rights, Yahoo! Sports noted. The future Hall of Famer, who has a 15-year-old transgender daughter, made the revelation during an interview with Rachel Nichols on this week's episode of Showtime's Headliners. Wade's daughter came out as trans in 2020 and has spoken publicly about the backlash she has received; her father and stepmother, actress Gabrielle Union, have openly supported her.
Brittney Griner recently talked with reporters for the first time since returning to play with the Phoenix Mercury, The Washington Blade noted. In an emotional talk, she said, "I'm no stranger to hard times. Asked how she became so resilient after spending nearly 10 months in a Russian prison on drug charges, she replied, "Just grind it out. Just put your head down and just keep going and moving forward." Among other things, Griner also said she never plans to play basketball overseas again, save for playing in the Olympics.
Equality Utah issued a press release condemning the vandalism of the home of Republican state Sen. Mike Kennedyan act that may have been in retaliation for his sponsorship of the anti-trans bill SB 16, which would ban gender-affirming surgery and hormone therapy for minors. The organization said, in part, "We know what it is like to fear for our own safety. It is never acceptable to replicate the violent or threatening tactics we have had to endure and target those with whom we have disagreements. … Just as LGBTQ families have a right to feel safe and secure in their homes, so too do the Kennedys."
A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of trans woman Chelsea Gilliam claims that the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and seven of its high-level officials subjected her to "cruel and unusual punishment" during the six months she was held in two Baltimore jails, The Washington Blade reported. "Despite her femininity and gender identity as a woman, Ms. Gilliam was forced to live and shower with male inmates," the statement continues. "During this time, she was harassed by both officers and inmates and ultimately sexually assaulted by another inmate." It also says she was denied hormone treatments and placed in solitary confinement solely because of her gender identity.
Days before its April 22 Pridefest celebration, the Florida city of Port St. Lucie canceled the parade and imposed some age-related restrictions as the event still took place, USA Today noted. It was one of the first events to be affected by the so-called "Protection of Children" bill, which passed in the House and Senate, and which Gov. Ron DeSantis would likely sign into law. "We hope that everyone understands that this is definitely not what we wanted at all and are working with the city to assure our safety as well as produce a positive event," a Facebook post from The Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast read, CBS 12 News reported.
The second round of Disney layoffs hit ABC Newsand openly gay politico Nate Silver and his journalism brand FiveThirtyEight being impacted, per The Hollywood Reporter. Silver told FiveThirtyEight employees in a Slack message that he expects to leave Disney when his contract is up, which he added would be "soon." ABC News is expected to keep the FiveThirtyEight brand name, with plans to streamline the site.
A venue-management company recently canceled an LGBTQ+ party after its organizers alleged that they were uncomfortable with hosting such a "gay event," per Coconuts Singapore. Los Angeles party organizer Slay LA announced that the SLAY Harajuku eventslated to take place at the Capitol Theatre on May 27had to be canceled after the venue's management, IMC Asia, told them that neighboring tenants, including a mosque, had complained about a previous EDM event held over New Year's Eve, which made stakeholder Perennial Holdings ban EDM events indefinitely. On April 11, IMC Asia reportedly called organizers to say that Perennial Holdings was uncomfortable with SLAY being a "gay event" and terminated the hire agreement days later. SLAY added it "remains committed to carving out space spaces for the LGBTQ community that are open and inclusive."
Campus Pride is launching a storytelling campaign for 2023 that centers the experiences of LGBTQ+ college students, per a press release. Current students, recent alumni, and campus faculty and staff are encouraged to submit stories about their own experiences with the "Share Your Story" campaign at campuspride.org/shareyourstory. Also, as part of their ongoing collaboration, Campus Pride and Common App have released "A Brief Guide to Common App's Name, Sex, and Gender Questions for Member Institutions." The guide aims to help colleges and universities understand and utilize the information provided by Common App in the 2022-2023 application cycle. The guide is available for download at CampusPride.org/Publications.
A 2018 Senate investigation that found there was "no evidence" to substantiate any of the claims of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh contained serious omissions, The Guardian reported exclusively. At least one revelation raises new questions about apparent efforts to downplay and discredit accusations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh and exclude evidence that supported an alleged victim's claims. The Guardian article is at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/apr/28/brett-kavanaugh-investigation-omissions-senate-sexual-assault-claims?CMP=share_btn_tw.
In Virginia, the James Madison University (JMU) debate team condemned a then-upcoming speech on April 26 on "transgenderism" by conservative commentator Liz Wheeler, according to Reason. The team contended that Wheeler is "attempting to antagonize and harass highly at-risk groups like transgender students" and called on the student group sponsoring the event (JMU's chapter of Young Americans for Freedom) to revoke its support.
Right-wing provocateur Ethan Schmidt-Crockettknown for opposing LGBTQ+ rights and mask mandateswas recently kicked out of an Arizona bookstore after filming himself harassing people browsing a display featuring LGBTQ+ titles, Metro Weekly noted, citing The Daily Mail. Schmidt-Crockett was sentenced earlier this year to three years' probation and a suspended 60-day jail sentence for harassing a wig store for cancer patients over its mask mandate.