Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro R. Pierluisi declared a state of emergency to combat violence committed against the transgender community, out.com reported. Pierluisi signed an executive order in response to the surge in violent killings of transgender people in the U.S. territory. The order provides specific mechanisms to combat the violence while also working to create a more equitable and inclusive environment for the trans community across Puerto Rican society. The island territory already suffered its first trans murder this year, when the body of Latinx trans man Samuel Edmund Damian was dumped in the middle of a dimly lit highway on Jan. 9.
A gay Black San Francisco firefighter is suing the city, alleging discrimination against him on account of his race and sexual orientation, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Keith Baraka was the first openly gay firefighter at Station 6, which is located in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood. "During his time at Station 6, Mr. Baraka not only witnessed maltreatment of the neighborhood residents because of their sexual orientation and gender identity by his fellow firefightershe was also a target of similar harassment himself," the complaint stated, in part. "Mr. Baraka was consistently harassed based on his race and sexual orientation. His locker was broken into; his name was erased from the assignment board; when he entered the room, all non-Black personnel would leave." After Baraka complained, he himself was allegedly disciplined.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a long-acting, once-a-month injection that can replace the daily pills now used to control HIV infection, Instinct Magazine noted. Medical researchers expect the two-shot combo called Cabenuva will make it easier for HIV+ people to stay on schedule with their HIV medications. Cabenuva consists of two drugs packaged togetherrilpivirine and cabotegravirbut given as separate shots once a month. Cabenuva is administered as two intramuscular injections in the buttocks by a healthcare professional.
Elisa Crespo could become the first transgender lawmaker in New York City, LGBTQ Nation noted. Crespowho could fill the seat made vacant when out candidate Ritchie Torres made LGBTQ history in his election to Congressis also the first LGBTQ woman of color to run for office in the Bronx. She is running in Bronx District 15, which is considered one of the poorest in the nation, in her effort to be part of the New York City Council. However, running in a special election slated for March 23, Crespo said breaking these barriers is not about her: "I try to focus on the people of my district and the issues they go through every single day."
Queer singer, songwriter, actor and producer Janelle Monae's project Fem the Future is partnering with Bing, which is supporting donations to Fem The Future, via Give with Bing, a press release noted. Fem The Future aims to provide young womxn and girls with the resources and support they need to overcome the challenges associated with growing up in under-resourced communities of color. The project establishes after-school and summer enrichment activities that increase exposure and access to a variety of careers, and provides grant opportunities to organizations that are providing access to arts, music and leadership development-centric pedagogies. See bing.com/JanelleMonae.
The U.S. Senate voted 78-22 to confirm Antony Blinken as the next secretary of state, The Washington Blade reported. Blinken during his confirmation hearing also said he would once again allow ambassadors to fly Pride flags at their embassies. He further pledged to raise the State Department's special envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights to an ambassador-level position.
The National LGBTQ Task Force issued a press release conveying its sadness about the death of Carmen Vazqueza longtime LGBTQ+ and social justice activist who died Jan. 27 of COVID-related complications. National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said, "The loss of Carmen tears open a hole in the heart of the LGBTQ+, social justice, immigration, reproductive justice, and sexual freedom movements. And in mine. I'm deeply sad that one of our movement's most brilliant activists is no longer with us. I've never known this movement without Carmen in it." Vasquez was slated to be honored at the Task Force event Creating Change; at the 2020 Creating Change conference in Dallas, she was awarded the SAGE Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) commented on the Montana House of Representatives passing an anti-transgender bill, HB 112, that the organization said "would ban transgender athletes from participating in sports, while the House rejected a bill that would have prevented transgender youth from accessing the best-practice, medically-necessary health care they need," a press release stated. HRC President Alphonso David said, in part, "Thanks to the loud voices of transgender Montanans and advocates for equality, the Montana House has wisely rejected the proposed ban on medical care for trans youth. As another anti-trans bill moves forward, we urge Montana's state senators not to give serious consideration to a policy in search of a problem."
Investigators believe a white man whose father is a former cop shot his Black lover to deathbut he was sentenced to one year of jail time in connection to the shooting and didn't even face any charges stemming from the killing, LGBTQ Nation reported. "In order for the defendant to hide his feminine, bisexual nature, he executed my son and my grandson's father," said Dominic Broadus Sr., the father of the victim. "He fatally shot my son in the back of the head twice and tried to destroy any evidence of their relationship by deleting all text from his phone and destroying/hiding my son's phone, then calling three people before reporting the shooting to the proper authorities." Investigators believe that Broadus Jr. went to the home of Gardner Kent Fraser, and was shot there. Fraser, in fact, admitted he shot Broadus outside of his home in Florida; however, he claimed he shot him in self-defense.
In response to the now-famous photo of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (taken by Brendan Smialowski for Getty Images) at the inaugurations of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Sanders' campaign team turned it into a sweatshirt, PopSugar noted. The cotton fleece Chairman Sanders Crewneck is exclusively available on Sanders's campaign store, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Meals on Wheels Vermont.
And speaking of Bernie Sanders, lesbian mother Jen Ellis made the "swittens"as the large, hand-weaved wool mittens have become known as, LGBTQ Nation noted. In 2016, Ellis gave the items to several people who worked at her daughter's preschool. One of those people was the preschool's owner Liza Driscoll, who is Sen. Sanders' daughter-in-law; Ellis made an extra pair for Driscoll to give to Sanders, and the rest is online history. Although she is a huge supporter of Sanders, Ellis told Jewish Insider that she is still most elated by the fact that a woman is now vice president of the United States.
A small group of Iowa Republican senators released SF 167a bill that would ban educators from any discussion of gender identity in some situations and require express written (opt-in) permission in others, according to a One Iowa press release. One Iowa Action Executive Director Courtney Reyes responded, "This bill misunderstands the concept of gender identity and treats it as if it is somehow so dangerous that it needs to be expressly forbidden in Iowa education standards. Everyone has a gender identity, not just trasngender people. This would put educators in the bizarre situation of not being able to mention that George Washington is a man or that Harriet Tubman is a woman. There are age-appropriate ways to talk about most concepts, and gender identity is no exception."
The book LGBTQ Lobbying in the United Stateswritten by Dr. Christopher Pepin-Neff and published by Routledgewill be released soon, a press release noted. The book argues that gay rights lobbying in Washington, D.C. does not serve LGBTQ peoplebut that gay mainstream lobbying adopts issues, tactics and business models that punish marginalized queer and trans populations and help heterosexual institutions. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon.
OUT Maine has released the free guide "Best practices for LGBTQ+ inclusive youth programming," Bangor Daily News noted. It provides a road map, with concrete action steps for ensuring inclusive and welcoming programming for LGBTQ+ youth. It also serves as a training resource to increase administration and staff awareness of the current challenges facing LGBTQ+ participants. To request a copy, visit https://www.outmaine.org/programs/professionals.
Winston-Salem may join a growing number of North Carolina cities in passing an ordinance that would give people rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. The city's committee on general government could take up the discussion during its February session, although some council members and City Manager Lee Garrity said nothing's likely to be rushed through. Orange County and the municipalities of Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro and Hillsborough have passed LGBT-rights ordinances.
A former follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory apologized to Anderson Cooper for once thinking that the CNN anchor ate babies, HuffPost noted. In a preview clip of a then-upcoming CNN investigation into QAnon, Australia resident Jitarth Jadeja told Cooper that he "100%" believed the idea, which he claimed was prevalent among supporters of the unhinged movement. Jadeja ditched the movement in 2019 after watching YouTube videos that debunked its premises.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a letter that the company has removed more than 500,000 videos spreading misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic since February 2020, USA Today noted. YouTube's policies prohibit misinformation about the coronavirus, including claims the virus is a hoax or promoting medically unsubstantiated cures. Conspiracy theories are shaping people's perceptions of the vaccine, according to a survey by Acxiom of 5,000 U.S. consumers from Nov. 25 to Dec. 4.
Brandon Strakathe gay MAGA influencer and self-described "former liberal" best known for creating the #WalkAway campaign to encourage Democrats to leave the party and support Donald Trumpwas arrested for his alleged role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to out.com . Straka was taken into custody in Omaha, Nebraska, by the FBI and charged with multiple crimes after allegedly being turned in by a member of his own family. NBC New York reported prosecutors claim to have screenshots of since deleted tweets showing Straka actively participating in and at times directing the crowd following Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally.
Cindy McCain spoke out after being censured by Arizona state Republicans for supporting President Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, People Magazine noted. "It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well … and who, like my late husband John, have been censured by the AZGOP. I'll wear this as a badge of honor," the widow of late Republican Senator John McCain tweeted. The state party also censured former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake and current Gov. Doug Ducey.
The documentary Women in Blue will debut on PBS' Independent Lens on Monday, Feb. 8, a press release noted. Filmed from 2017-2020, Women in Blue follows Minneapolis' first female police chief, Janee Harteau (part of the LGBTQ+ community), as she works to reform the Minneapolis Police Department by getting rid of bad cops, retraining the rest, diversifying the ranks and promoting womenwho statistically use less force than their male counterpartsinto every rank of leadership.
The Biden administration is accelerating steps to feature abolitionist hero Harriet Tubman on the $20 billa change announced during the Obama administration that stalled under President Donald Trump, USA Today reported. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said it's important the nation's currency "reflect the history and diversity of our country." Among those who criticized the delay was Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a New Jersey Democrat who co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.
Poet Amanda Gorman became a breakout star of President Biden's inauguration after her moving performance earlier this monthand now she's slated to recite an original poem during the pregame ceremony at Super Bowl LV, CBS News reported. Gorman, the youngest known inaugural poet, was commissioned to compose a piece about the "resiliency" of the game's three honorary captains: educator Trimaine Davis, nurse manager Suzie Dorner and veteran James Martin, according to an NFL press release. The three "community heroes" will serve as honorary captains during the official on-field coin toss ceremony. This year's Super Bowl will be a showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 7.
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, is considering entering the 2022 Texas governor's race, Fox4News.com reported. O'Rourkebest known for his contentious loss to Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 Senate race and subsequent campaign for presidentsaid that Texas had "suffered perhaps more than any other" during the coronavirus pandemic and accused Gov. Greg Abbott of "complete indifference" to assisting local leaders in trying to save lives.
Goya's board of directors voted to censure CEO Robert Unanue after public remarks he made in support of ex-President Donald Trump and his widely debunked claims of voter fraud, according to a Queerty item. "There is a war coming; now that the president is leaving today, they're still coming after the United Statesthe working class," Unanue said on Fox Business. The board reportedly decided that Unanue can no longer speak to the press about anythingwhether it's politics or the company itselfwithout first getting permission.
Twitter permanently pulled the plug on the account of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Politico reported. A spokesperson for Twitter said, "This account was suspended for repeated violations of our civic integrity policy." Among other things, Lindellwho is considering a possible run for governor of Minnesota in 2022alleged that the voting machine companies Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems were part of a conspiracy to rig the election against Trump.