The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments challenging Senate Bill 14, the ban on gender-affirming care that went into effect last September, KERA reported. SB 14 blocks trans minors from accessing gender-affirming medical care, such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy, and it revokes the licenses of any doctors who offer this care to trans youth under 18. Last August, a Travis County judge granted a temporary injunction to stop the law from going into effect; however, the state appealed, overturning the injunction.
In California, the city of Sausalito now has a lesbian police chief, per The Bay Area Reporter. Stacie Gregory's appointment to the position was effective Jan. 7, according to an announcement on the city's website and a news release. Gregory had been serving as acting police chief since June 2022. Gregory is the second woman and first member of the LGBTQ+ community to serve as police chief in the city, which has a population of about 7,000. The press release stated, in part, "The decision by City Manager Chris Zapata to promote Gregory and forgo a formal recruitment was based on her distinguished career in public safety, her education and training, and her performance as acting chief during a time beset by staffing shortages and operational challenges."
In NYC, hundreds of people gathered at Judson Memorial Church on Feb. 7 for a deeply emotional, hours-long memorial service to remember the life of Cecilia Gentili, an influential trans leader and activist who died on Feb. 6 at age 52, Gay City News reported. "This is a testament to the impact Cecilia had on every person in this room," said event co-organizer Gia Love. "[She] just gave me everything when I didn't even ask and just made sure I was good, made sure that I was well." An immigrant from Argentina, Gentili spent years supporting trans individuals, sex workers, immigrants, people living with HIV and others. She also sought to influence the government through her role as the director of policy at GMHC and in her post as board co-chair of the New Pride Agenda.
In North Philadelphia, ward leader Lewis Nash Sr.who is running for a seat in the Pennsylvania House against gay incumbent Malcolm Kenyatta, a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate who has been called a rising star in the partyis under scrutiny by the head of the party for his comments about LGBTQ+ people, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The situation centers on Nash and has rocked the city's 47th Ward, with Nash recently threatening to expel a member of the Democratic City Committee for refusing to back his candidacy. Last August, Nash led a ward meeting with more than a dozen committeepeople. According to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The Inquirer, Nash told committee members that they should consider voting for the Republican nominee for mayor, that some elected officials are encouraging children to seek gender-reassignment surgery, and that members should not "vote for a president that's going to [support] the mutilation of kids." Nash said his comments are being "misinterpreted" and were made public as part of an effort orchestrated by Kenyatta to sink his political career.
in Virginia, legislators killed all of the anti-transgender bills that had been introduced during this year's legislative session, The Washington Blade reported. The Senate Education and Health Committee, in a nine-to-six vote, tabled Senate Bill 37, which Equality Virginia said would have forcibly outed transgender students; also, a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee killed an identical measure, House Bill 670. The Senate Education and Health Committee also denied Senate Bill 68, which would have banned trans students from school sports teams that correspond to their gender identity. Other anti-trans measures died as well.
Transgender residents in Florida will no longer be allowed to change the listed gender on their driver's licenses or state ID, ABC News noted. In a memo from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Deputy Executive Director Robert Kynoch states that "misrepresenting one's gender, understood as sex, on a driver's license constitutes fraud" and those with licenses that represent their gender identity could be subjected to "criminal and civil penalties, including cancellation, suspension, or revocation of his or her driver license." Kynoch wrote in the memo that gender is synonymous with sex although major national medical organizationsincluding the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Preventiondefine gender and sex differently.
Valentina Gomez, a Republican running for Missouri secretary of state, posted a campaign video of herself lighting LGBTQ+-inclusive books on fire to underscore her pledge to "burn" such books, The Hill reported. Gomez, appearing with a flamethrower, said in the video, "This is what I will do to the grooming books when I become secretary of state." On X/Twitter, she wrote, "When I'm Secretary of State, I will BURN all books that are grooming, indoctrinating, and sexualizing our children. MAGA. America First." The two books in the video appeared to be Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens and Naked: Not Your Average Sex Encyclopedia. Kathy Belge, a co-author of "Queer," said in a statement to The Hill that it shouldn't come as a surprise that "extremism is on the rise."
In Tennessee, the city of Murfreesboro must pay $500,000 as part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups over an anti-drag ordinance, the AP reported. Last year, the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) filed a federal lawsuit after Murfreesboro leaders announced they would no longer be approving any event permit requests submitted by the organization, claiming the drag performances that took place during TEP's 2022 Pride event resulted in the "illegal sexualization of kids." TEP denied the shows were inappropriate.
Apple defeated a lawsuit (International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Garage Employees Local 272 Labor Management Pension Fund v. Apple Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York) that claimed the tech giant overpaid out gay CEO Tim Cook and other top executives by tens of millions of dollars by miscalculating the value of performance-based stock awards, Reuters reported. U.S. District Judge Jennifer Rochon said the company described its pay methods in detailed compensation tables in its 2023 proxy statement, "precisely" as securities laws and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules require. The plaintiff said Apple, in 2021 and 2022, awarded a respective $92.7 million and $94 million of performance-based restricted stock units to Cook and four other executives, although its compensation committee intended to award just $77.5 million each year.
The National LGBT Cancer Network is sending a message from LGBTQI+ community member Angie P., who is featured in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 13th annual Tips from Former Smokers Campaign, per a press release. "This is the first ad featuring a queer person in nearly a decade, and it couldn't have come at a better time," noted Network Executive Director Dr. Scout. "Our communities really need to understand how menthol has made it easier for too many of us to smoke and too many of us to suffer from tobacco-related diseases." The Tips campaign will continue through Sept. 22; Angie's story is at www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/stories/index.html .
In Littleton, New Hampshire, Jim Gleason resigned as town manager after an LGBTQ+ art display off the town's Main Street kicked off a local controversy, NBC News noted. Gleason left after three pieces of art, sponsored by the nonprofit LGBTQ+ group North Country Pride, drew the ire of state Sen. Carrie Gendreau, also a member of the town board. Gendreau told the Boston Globe that she was perceiving the artwork from a "biblical perspective" and she said it had "demonic hidden messages," calling homosexuality an "abomination." Gendreau's comments to the Globe devastated Gleason, who lost his gay son to a battle with cancer in 2016.
In celebration of Black History Month, the LA LGBT Center announced that lesbian entertainer Raven-Symone will be presented with the Center's Bayard Rustin Award at its new event, Highly Favored, per a press release. She joins a list of notable past honorees, including last year's recipient, Grammy winner Big Freedia. The event will take place Feb. 24 at Ed Gould Plaza, in Hollywood. The festivities will include a (mini-ball curated by LA ball scene icons House of Marc Jacobs that will be open to all.
In Massachusetts, Worcester city councilors reported that they recently received antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ+ mail at their home addresses, according to The Telegram & Gazette. Councilors-at-Large Khrystian King and Thu Nguyen as well as District 5 City Councilor Etel Haxhiaj shared photos of two pieces of mail. The mailers arrived less than two weeks after two online callers to the Jan. 23 City Council meeting made racist and anti-LGBTQ+ statements before being cut off.
PureWow published its list of the 21 best LGBTQ+ bars in Los Angeles. Topping the list was the iconic West Hollywood spot The Abbey that celebrities (including Jennifer Lopez) visit. The Or Bar, Precinct, Honey's and Akbar completed the top five; other bars on the list included New Jalisco (#6, known for muscle-boy lap dances), Ruby Fruit (#8, with its name being a reference to Rita Mae Brown's 1974 classic The Rubyfruit Jungle), Rocco's (#11), Beaches (#14) and The Bullet Bar (#21).
The National LGBTQ Task Force's Winter Party Festival 2024 returns to Miami Beach for its 31st-anniversary celebration on Feb. 28-March 5, per Outtake. The Winter Party Festival brings in more than 10,000 attendees annually and hosts 14 events across nine events in Miami and Miami Beach venues. The Task Force has given back more than $3.6 million and supported more than 100 community organizations in South Florida since 2005. See winterparty.com .
E. Jean Carroll was spotted toasting her legal victory against Donald Trumpand her historic $83-million winat the NYC bar Flower Shop during a media party hosted by MSNBC contributor Molly Jong-Fast and Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Noah Shachtman, Page Six noted. Also at the party were MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell, Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen, former SNL producer Marci Klein, Puck columnist Tara Palmeri, New York Times opinion writer Lydia Polgreen and Washington Post journalist Sarah Ellison.