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NATIONAL School items, HIV/AIDS activist dies, Nex Benedict, inclusive parade

This article shared 13068 times since Fri Mar 1, 2024
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In a new survey, the Pew Research Center asked public K-12 teachers, teens and the U.S. public about the ongoing scrutiny placed on classroom curricula, mainly regarding race and LGBTQ+ identities, ABC News noted. Among other things, 41% of teachers said these debates have had a negative impact on their ability to do their job, while only 4% said they had a positive impact. Also, 64 of teachers said students should learn that the legacy of slavery still affects the position of Black people in society today. When it comes to sexual orientation or gender identity, about 33% of teachers say parents should not be able to opt their children out of learning about these topics. The survey is at .

The Tennessee House voted 70-24 to pass a bill that would largely ban displaying Pride flags in public-school classrooms, Yahoo! News noted. Republicans cut a debate short, leading Democratic Rep. Justin Jones to say that House Speaker Cameron Sexton was out of order and ignoring people's requests to speak; GOP members responded by voting Jones out of order, halting his immediate comments. The measure would allow certain flags to be displayed, with exceptions for some scenarios. Approved banners include the U.S. flag, the Tennessee flag, flags considered protected historical items under state law and some other banners.

Lifelong HIV/AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent has died at age 39, USA Today noted. Born with HIV in 1984, Broadbent began raising awareness about the virus during her early years. She made national headlines when she appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, at age 11; she also spoke at the 1996 GOP convention in San Diego. According to her website, Broadbent was adopted at birth by her parents after being abandoned at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, in Las Vegas.

At Oklahoma's Owasso High School—where nonbinary student Nex Benedict got in a fight with several other students the day before they died—students walked out in protest of bullying and in support of the school's 2SLGBTQ+ community, ABC News noted. "I just want to get the word out and show these kids that we're here," Cassidy Brown, who graduated from Owasso and helped organize the protest, told KTUL. "There is a community here in this city that does exist, and we see them, and they are loved." Police have said Benedict's death was not a result of physical trauma from the altercation; officials are awaiting the full results of the autopsy and toxicology reports for more insight into the circumstances surrounding the teen's death.

Republican Oklahoma state Sen. Tom Woods called LGBTQ+ people "filth" when asked about the death of non-binary student Nex Benedict, Public Radio Tulsa reported. Benedict was a 16-year-old Owasso High School student who died on Feb. 8 after a fight in the school bathroom the day before. According to the Tahlequah Daily Press, Woods said his heart goes out regarding Benedict's death; however, he added, "We are a religious state. We are going to fight to keep that filth out of the state of Oklahoma, because we're a Christian state. We're a rural state. We want to lower taxes, and for people to live and work, and to go to the faith they choose." Many social-media users called Woods out for his words, The Oklahoman noted. One user, named Lance, posted, "Dear Oklahoma—you have LGBTQ+ kids in your state whether you like it or not. This rhetoric is harming them. Protect ALL children."

In NYC, hundreds of people attended an emotional candlelight vigil in front of the Stonewall Inn to mourn the late Nex Benedict, per Gay City News. The vigil, organized by New Alternatives for LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth, was just one of numerous demonstrations taking place across the nation as details continue to unfold in the wake of Benedict's Feb. 8 death. Among other things, Jay W. Walker—a leader of the Reclaim Pride Coalition and Gays Against Guns—asked community members to pay attention to the flow of dark money contributing to the anti-LGBTQ+ political environment, including the work of Project 2025.

Also in NYC, Staten Island will finally have a new and inclusive St. Patrick's Parade this year, paving the way for LGBTQ+ groups to participate in the annual event after years of rejection from the borough's celebration of Irish heritage and culture, Gay City News reported. The Forest Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) is behind the new march, according to the Staten Island Advance, and it will take place separately from the parade hosted by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The LGBTQ-friendly parade (the Forest Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade) is slated to take place at noon ET on St. Patrick's Day, March 17; the Hibernians' event will be on March 3.

And NYC Pride—which organizes the main NYC Pride March slated for June 30—has announced a theme for 2024: "Reflect. Empower. Unite," Gay City News noted. This year's theme, announced on Feb. 27, aims to highlight the role of the Pride March "as the intersection for queer liberation and joy, motivate members of the community and allies, and promote unity, organizers said. "This year's theme is an imperative and a call to action," NYC Pride co-chair Jazz Alexander said in a written statement. "While we reflect on past triumphs and challenges, we must also empower our community to continue to ignite change and unite against the forces that do not want us to exist. Unity at this time is critical to our survival. Our theme calls us all to action."

In Philadelphia, the parents of Eric Pope—a gay man allegedly killed by a Tabu bouncer in 2022—filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the spot, claiming an unsafe environment at the LGBTQ+ nightclub contributed to their son's death, Philadelphia Gay News noted. Kenneth Frye, the bouncer who allegedly killed Pope, and Mainline Private Security LLC have also been named as defendants. On April 16, 2022, Frye allegedly sucker-punched Pope outside Tabu; Pope, 41, died a week later due to traumatic brain injuries.

In Ohio, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein announced that city prosecutors filed multiple misdemeanor criminal charges against an Ohio State University student who was caught on camera urinating on a Pride flag and directing homophobic remarks toward residents at a home in Columbus's Weinland Park neighborhood in February, per The Los Angeles Blade. Prosecutors filed four misdemeanor charges against Trey Samuel Fetzer, 20, in Franklin County Municipal Court, including ethnic intimidation, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct; penalties could include hundreds of dollars in fines, possible jail time or probation, among other things. Fetzer and a man who accompanied him reportedly returned to the house days later to apologize, per WBNS.

Don Lemon reportedly received $24.5 million from CNN in its settlement with him, according to Page Six, citing The Wrap. The sum is the total amount of money that Lemon would have received had his final contract ended in three-and-a-half years. The out journalist was criticized last year after he moved his popular primetime show to the mornings alongside co-hosts Caitlin Collins and Poppy Harlow and made sexist statements about presidential candidate Nikki Haley being past her prime.

A California couple who married 20 years ago during San Francisco's "Winter of Love" got a chance to reconnect with their officiant: Vice President Kamila Harris, NBC News noted. Bradley Witherspoon and Raymond Cabone wed on Feb. 14, 2004 during a 29-day period in which then-Mayor Gavin Newsom challenged legal norms by permitting same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses. Witherspoon and Cabone were among the almost 4,000 couples who married before the California Supreme Court nullified the marriages performed later that year. The couple recently spoke with Harris ahead of their 20-year anniversary in a FaceTime call shared with NBC News.

Michael Voris, the ex-gay founder and former head of Church Militant, was forced to resign last year after allegedly sent shirtless selfies to male members of his staff at the conservative Catholic website, per LGBTQ Nation. Voris—who, in 2016, admitted to having "live-in relationships with homosexual men" and committing "sexual sins" in his thirties before devoting himself to ultra-conservative Catholicism in the early 2000s—used Church Militant and parent company St. Michael's Media to attack moderate Catholics, secular liberals, and the LGBTQ+ community. According to The Washington Post, dozens of shirtless selfies of Voris were uploaded to the site's Dropbox account last April, along with a screenshot of text messages in which someone described the photos as sexually arousing. Former Church Militant employees said the images were likely uploaded by mistake; however, former Church Militant employee Joe Gallagher told the Post that "a whole bunch of young guys" received similar shirtless photos of Voris.

A Texas man who left a threatening voicemail for a doctor at the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center in Boston has been sentenced to three months in prison, per LGBTQ Nation. In December, Matthew Jordan Lindner of Comfort, Texas, pled guilty to one count of interstate transmission of threatening communication. reported that Lindner believed false online reports claiming that a doctor associated with the center who provides healthcare for transgender and gender nonconforming young people was "castrating our children."

A federal jury in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, convicted a man for calling the office of gay former U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-New York) in D.C. and threatening to kill the member of Congress and another person, The Washington Blade noted. On Jan. 29, 2023, Frank Stanzione, of Boynton Beach, Florida, made a threatening telephone call from his residence to the office of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives about Santos. The congressman's chief of staff reported the message to the U.S. Capitol Police the next morning. Stanzione will be sentenced in May, and faces penalties including up to five years in federal prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

This article shared 13068 times since Fri Mar 1, 2024
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