A group of LGBTQ Ukrainians and their supporters held a rally in front of the White House on April 3, The Washington Blade reported. Helen Globa, co-founder of Tergo, a support group for parents and friends of LGBTQ Ukrainians; and Human Rights Campaign Global Partnerships Director Jean Freedberg were among those who spoke at the rally that QUA-LGBTQ Ukrainians in America organized. Items that rally organizers called for included having the Biden Administration extend Temporary Protected Status for LGBTQ Ukrainians who are able to travel to the United States and establishing more military support for Ukraine, among other things.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to suspend all official travel to Texas and Florida due to highly publicized policies directed at LGBTQ+ youth and families, the Press-Telegram reported. The motion, by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, called for the suspension of all travel to the states except for instances when failing to authorize such a trip "would seriously harm the county's interests." In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that gender-affirming treatments provided to transgender youth be investigated as child abuse; In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed into law the "Don't Say Gay" bill.
A Brooklyn LGBTQ+ bar is now closed after police said someone used a canister of gasoline to set it on fire, NBC New York reported. Everything inside Bushwick's Rash Bar was left unrecognizable and torched, after it took just 30 seconds to turn the bar into a fireball. The bar has posted an online fundraising campaign to help rebuild and care for two employees who were seriously burned, including a DJ.
Legislation proposed during the Virginia General Assembly's 60-day session angered LGBTQ activists in the state, as they said it will bar self-expression in schools and uphold troublesome relics of past homophobic legislation, The Los Angeles Blade noted. A bill giving parents the power to review sexually explicit content before it is taught in the classroom was passed by both chambers of the General Assembly and is likely to be signed by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Officially listed as SB 656, it also requires educators to provide alternatives to instructional material and related academic activities that include sexually explicit content.
The Palm Springs City Council approved funding for two local organizations to develop a universal basic income program for the California city's transgender and non-binary residents, NPR reported. The city council unanimously approved allocating $200,000 for DAP Health and Queer Works in late March. The two organizations are now in the works to design the pilot program. They aim to apply for a piece of $35 million in state fundingset aside for universal basic income programssometime later this year.
Ward 5 D.C. Council candidate Zachary Parkerwho currently serves as an elected member of the D.C. State Board of Educationannounced in a video posted on his Twitter page that he is gay, per The Washington Blade. Parkera former teacher and education advocate who is one of five candidates competing for the Ward 5 Council seat in the city's June 21 Democratic primaryhas become the second openly gay candidate running this year for a seat on the D.C. Council; earlier this year, gay former D.C. police officer Salah Czapary announced he is running in the Democratic primary for the Ward 1 Council seat held by incumbent Councilmember Brianne Nadeau. According to his campaign website, Parker graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in communication sciences and disorders; and from Columbia University, Teachers College with his Master of Arts in policy and leadership.
Apple is mobilizing its vast resources to lobby against anti-LGBTQ legislation proliferating across the country, according to POLITICO. The company whose CEO, Tim Cook, is the nation's most visible gay executivehas deployed its lobbyists to oppose legislation that limits protections for trans and gay people or their families in Iowa, Florida, Texas and at least six other states. Apple's communications, government affairs and legal offices have also opposed some of the bills, working with policymakers and advocacy groups to plot out strategies and filing court briefs in cases involving LGBTQ rights.
New York Mayor Eric Adams announced an ad campaign to persuade LGBTQ Floridians upset about a new law that critics have dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill to move to the Big Apple, NBC News reported. Adams said at a news conference with LGBTQ advocates and city lawmakers that the measure is the "latest shameful, extremist culture war targeting the LGBTQ+ community" and announced a campaign inviting Floridians to "come to a city where you can say and be whoever you want."
In South Dakota, 50 students walked out of class at Sioux Falls' Lincoln High School to protest multiple anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have passed across the country, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported. A priority for these students was Senate Bill 46, which Gov. Kristi Noem signed into law Feb. 3 and mandates that sports participation in South Dakota is segregated by one's sex assigned at birth, either for boys or girls or co-ed sports; the law takes effect July 1. Another bill organizers called out was Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed.
The Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition was among the many organizations responding to the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. In a statement, the organization said, "The Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC), powered by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), is pleased to join our fellow Americans, of all racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds to celebrate the 53-47 Senate vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court. We know that she will continue the legacy of fighting for justice like Fannie Lou Hamer, Coretta Scott King, Shirley Chisholm, Dr. Dorothy Height and so many other sheroes who paved the way for this moment in American history."
A Los Angeles judge ruled that California's landmark law mandating that corporations diversify their boards with members from certain racial, ethnic or LGBT groups is unconstitutional, an NPR item noted. The brief ruling granted summary judgment to Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that sought a permanent injunction against the measure that was signed into law last year; no reasoning was attached to the ruling. The 2020 law required corporations to include at least one member of an underrepresented community on their boards of directors by the end of last year, either by adding a seat or filling a vacant one.
Tulsi Gabbarda former Democratic presidential candidate who has turned into an ally of the conservative movementhas come out in defense of the "Don't Say Gay" law recently signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida, essentially flip-flopping after having apologized for her anti-LGBTQ past, per The Washington Blade. Gabbard, who recently invoked the ire of both the right and the left by downplaying the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, said she supports the "Don't Say Gay" measure in a video posted to Twitterand added that she didn't think the measure went far enough.
Colin Kaepernick has made headlines this offseason as he continues to workout with current NFL players and spark rumors of a possible return to the league, per Sports Illustrated. "I can help make you a better team," Kaepernick told Detroit's WXYZ. "I can help you win games. I know right now the situation likely won't allow me to step into a starting role. I know I'll be able to work my way to that, though." NFL.com noted that Kaepernick last played in the 2016 season, during which he peacefully protested social injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.
In Los Angeles, a Compton man was expected to appear in federal court on criminal charges alleging he targeted and robbed more than 20 gay men he met on the Grindr gay dating app, NBC Los Angeles noted. Derrick Patterson, 22, was arrested by special agents with the FBI. Patterson, who is charged in a criminal complaint with one count of Hobbs Act robbery (unlawfully taking another person's property through actual or threatened force), was expected to make his initial appearance in Los Angeles federal court on April 5. If convicted, Patterson would face up to 20 years in federal prison.
The American Hockey League (AHL) suspended Rochester Americans forward Ben Holmstrom for eight games for using anti-gay language, per The Advocate. Holmstrom, 34, made the comments at the end of the first period of a home game on March 30 against the Utica Comets. AHL officials told the AP that as part of his punishment Holmstrom will have to take part in "diversity and inclusive education."
Lawrence Raywho moved into his daughter's college dorm and charmed her schoolmates with claims of influence and wisdomwas convicted of charges that he exploited the close-knit group, using threats and violence to enrich himself with millions of dollars as he ruined their lives, NBC News York reported. Ray, 62, was convicted at a trial where weeks of testimony chronicled his psychologically manipulative relationship with young people he met in fall 2010 at Sarah Lawrence College, a small New York liberal arts school. The abuse culminated in October 2018, when Ray repeatedly abused the woman who gave him her proceeds from sex work.