The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Showtime announced the 25 recipients of "Queer to Stay: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative" to support and uplift small businesses that focus on LGBTQ+ people of color, women and the trans+ community who continue to be impacted by economic setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic, a press release noted. Some of the recipients include Dorothy Downstairs (Chicago), Bake Me Happy (Columbus, Ohio), Urbody (Los Angeles), Queer Therapy Network (Houston), Queer Chocolatier (Muncie, Indiana) and Franny Lou's Porch (Philadelphia).
Jim Kolbea Republican congressman who represented a heavily Democratic region of Arizona for more than two decades and was a proponent of LGBTQ+ rightsdied at age 80, The Brunswick News noted. Kolbe served in the Arizona legislature before being elected in 1984 to Congress, where he often sparred with other Republicans over his support for free trade and an immigrant guest-worker program. He came out as gay in 1996 after learning a national publication planned to out him for his vote against federal recognition of same-sex marriage. He was in Congress during 1985-2007.
GLAAD noted that at least a record 124 incidents targeting drag events were reported so far this year across 47 U.S. states, according to LGBTQ Nation. GLAAD's data did not include the Club Q massacre in Colorado Springs, pending an official declaration of motive. The highest number of threats and incidents took place in Texas (10), North Carolina (10), Illinois (eight), Tennessee (six), California (six) and Georgia (five). Illinois events included one in Downers Grove in September in which a public library canceled a drag-bingo event after receiving a threatening letter that included a bullet and the phrase "more to come."
The Florida state representative who authored the so-called "Don't Say Gay" law has been indicted on charges of trying to fraudulently obtain more than $150,000 in federal pandemic relief moneyand he has resigned from the Florida legislature, LGBTQ Nation noted. The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Republican state Rep. Joseph Harding has been charged with six counts of wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements. Harding's trial will take place on Jan.11, 2023; he faces up to 20 years in prison.
A 21-year-old transgender college student is suing the Department of Defense (DoD) and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for denying her gender-affirming surgery under her dad's military health insurance, LGBTQ Nation reported. The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe in court filings, lives in Sagadahoc County, Maine; so does her father and co-plaintiff, a retired senior master sergeant in the Marine Corps and Air Force identified as John Doe. The pair are suing in the U.S. District Court in Maine for a declaratory judgment that denial of gender-affirming surgery for military dependents is unconstitutional.
The Hill profiled 10 U.S. House Republicans who flipped their votes regarding the Respect for Marriage Act's initial and amended versions. Among those who went from "yes" to "no" were Oregon's Cliff Bentz; Florida's Mario Diaz-Balart, Maria Salazar and Brian Mast; Pennsylvania's Dan Meuser and Scott Perry; and New Jersey's Jeff Van Drew. Those who went from "no" to "yes" included Wisconsin's Mike Gallagher and Washington's Jaime Herrera Beutler while Utah's Burgess Owens went from "yes" to "present."
LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Davante Lewis won the election for Louisiana Public Service Commissioner, District 3, according to a press release. With this victory, he is now the first out LGBTQ+ person ever elected to state office in Louisiana and the first out Black LGBTQ+ person elected to office in state history. There are currently just two out LGBTQ+ elected officials in Louisiana, according to LGBTQ Victory Institute.
Colorado Springs police charged the suspect in last month's mass shooting at Club Q with 305 criminal counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, and bias-motivated crimes. The shooting left five people dead and injured approximately 20 others. Club Q co-owner Matthew Haynes said in a statement, "We are encouraged by this morning's announcement of formal charges in the heinous and deadly attack at Club Q, as it cements what we already knew: This was a targeted hate crime. The charges also affirm what we as a community demand: Hate has no place here in Colorado Springs or anywhere."
In Virginia, Metzger Bar and Butchery recently refused to host a private event for The Family Foundation, a conservative Christian organization, over its position on same-sex marriage and abortion rights, CBS News noted. Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb told CBS MoneyWatch that the restaurant's decision was "alarming and disgraceful." The move was consistent with Metzger's past practices and was made out of respect for its staff, according to the restaurant.
In California, Assembly Bill 37a new measure proposed by Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland)would make it easier for candidates, elected officials, their families and staff to provide security for themselves in the face of increasing threats, The Bay Area Reporter noted. It comes in the wake of several threats against gay state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), including a bomb threat, but the bill's timing is a coincidence, Bonta's chief of staff said. The bill has been in the works since October.
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, is changing her party affiliation to independentjolting the Democrats' narrow majority, Politico reported. The first-term senator said she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. Among other things, Sinema's move means Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia)a pivotal swing vote in the 50-50 chamber the past two yearswill hold onto some but not all of his influence in the Democratic caucus. Sinema would not address whether she will run for re-election in 2024.
In North Carolina, a transgender member of the Asheville City Board of Education resigned after a months-long campaign of harassment by a rep of a national hate group, LGBTQ Nation noted. Peyton O'Conner announced her resignation from the board after constant harassment (including misgendering) from Ronald Gates, a self-described pastor and "ambassador" for the Arizona-based hate group Alliance Defending Freedom. O'Conner was appointed to the seat in March 2021 by the Asheville City Council to fill a term ending in 2024.
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously designated Julius' Barthe oldest gay bar in the city and site of the 1966 "sip-in" demonstrationas an official landmark, Gay City News reported. The 11-0 vote, held during a virtual hearing on Dec. 6, was primarily symbolic because the bar was already previously protected by a broader landmark designation in the Greenwich Village Historic District.
Salesh Prasada queer, bi 51-year-old man in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detentionwas granted bond by an immigration judge after a 90-minute hearing at an immigration court in Van Nuys, California, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Judge Kevin Riley granted $5,000 bond and said that he did not hear "clear and convincing evidence" that Prasad was a flight risk or posed a risk to the community. Prasadwho had been in ICE custody for 473 days, his lawyer saidwas directly transferred from prison to ICE custody at Golden State Annex in August 2021 after being found eligible for parole. (He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years to life after taking another life at age 22.)
World-renowned athletes and engaged couple Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe have launched A Touch Morea new production company that centers the stories of revolutionaries who "move culture forward," Variety noted. Bird, a five-time Olympic gold medalist and basketball legend, and Rapinoe, a two-time FIFA World Cup-winning soccer superstar, created the company to "bring a touch more understanding, connection, entertainment, and conversation to the evolving media landscape" by amplifying narratives around concerning underrepresented communities, including LGBTQ people, POC and women.
The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice in Princeton, New Jersey, welcomed Rasheed Newson to its board of directors, according to Out in Jersey. Newsom is an author, TV drama writer and executive producer. His debut novel, My Government Means to Kill Me, is a queer coming-of-age story following the personal and political awakening of a young, gay, Black man in 1980s New York City.
The Nike Hoop Summitan annual event that has top U.S. high school players play a team of international players age 19 and youngeris adding a women's matchup for the first time, ESPN noted. The next summit will be in Portland on April 8, according to USA Basketball. The summit dates to 1995 and has seen 253 past participants drafted into the NBA, with 90 top-10 selections and 14 No. 1 picks, including Derrick Rose (2008) and Zion Williamson (2019).
Eric Ryan Hazena gay adult-film performer otherwise known as Tyler Robertshas passed away, according to his boyfriend, Out noted. Thomas shared an emotional letter via Twitter and revealed that Hazen had passed away. In the letter, Thomas called Hazen "the love of my life" and went into detail about their relationship. According to Edge Media, Hazen had been hospitalized in the ICU in Palm Springs after suffering organ failure.