California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to assist LGBTQ+ veterans discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) in updating their records and accessing education, health, burial and other benefits available to honorably discharged service members, according to an official press release. Although LGBTQ service members could serve openly following the repeal of DADT, veterans discharged less than honorably under the policy face a process that can require legal counsel and other assistance to obtain an upgrade to their discharge classification. AB 325, by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), establishes the Veteran's Military Discharge Upgrade Grant program to help fund service providers that will educate veterans about the discharge upgrade process and assist eligible veterans to apply.
Florida LGBTQ+ organizations came together in gay-friendly Wilton Manors to endorse gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist in his race against Ron DeSantis, calling Florida's governor a "danger" to queer communities, The Miami Herald reported. Four organizations announced or reaffirmed their support of Crist: Equality Florida Action PAC, Safeguarding American Values for Everyone, Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus and the Human Rights Campaign. Among other things, Crist announced that on his first day in office he would sign an executive order to protect LGBTQ+ Floridians from discrimination and also "fight tooth and nail to repeal the heinous 'Don't Say Gay' law."
The National LGBTQ Task Force will honor LGBTQ+ and gun-violence prevention activist X Gonzalez with the Changemaker Award at the 26th Annual National LGBTQ Task Force Gala on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, a press release stated. The Changemaker Award is presented each year to an individual or group that embodies the Task Force's vision for a society where LGBTQ+ people are free to be themselves, works to remove barriers for the LGBTQ+ community and commits to transforming society for future generations. Organizers also announced that comic/actor/singer/writer Sandra Valls will emcee the event.
Sir Elton John was moved to tears as President Joe Biden surprised the music icon with a National Humanities Medal, according to Variety. John, at the White House to perform at A+E and History's "A Night When Hope and History Rhyme," looked visibly shocked and humbled as the president addressed the thousands in the audience. Among other things, John spoke throughout the night about the advocacy and work he's done since creating the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1991, adding that he wants to eradicate the disease by 2030.
Teen LGBTQ+ influencer "Desmond Is Amazing" was forced to cancel an event due to threats of violence, LGBTQ Nation noted. The author/social-media star, also known as Desmond Napoles, received multiple threats via a recently created Instagram account ahead of a planned reading and Q&A at the New York Public Library's Morrisania Branch in the Bronx. Napoles, a high school sophomore, was scheduled for two readings from their book, Be Amazing: A History of Pride. In the threatening posts, shared with the New York Daily News, Napoles was described as "disgusting" and called homophobic slurs.
Maryland LGBTQ+-rights organization FreeState Justice filed a federal lawsuit against former Executive Director Jeremy LaMaster, who has accused its board of directors of having a "white supremacist culture," The Washington Blade reported. "LaMaster abruptly left the meeting early and immediately began a coordinated attack on FreeState's operations; in particular, its IT assets," read the lawsuit. "When FreeState discovered LaMaster's improper interference, it terminated their employment effective immediately, ordered them to cease and desist and to rectify their actions. LaMaster did not abide and continued to hijack and misappropriate FreeState's IT infrastructure and documents."
The Southern Baptist Conventions' top administrative body voted to cut ties with two congregationsan LGBTQ+-friendly church in North Carolina that had itself quit the denomination decades ago and a New Jersey congregation it cited for "alleged discriminatory behavior," a WYFF item noted. The votes of the executive committee came at the end of a two-day meeting in Nashville, even as the committee copes with a Department of Justice investigation. The federal-level scrutiny follows a blistering report by a consultant earlier this year into sexual abuse in Southern Baptist settings and mistreatment of survivors by past executive committee officials.
An LGBTQ+ group at New York's Yeshiva University proposed a deal that would allow other student groups at the Orthodox Jewish university to resume meeting while the LGBTQ+ group's status is litigated, Gay City News reported. The group YU Pride Alliance made the offer to Yeshiva days after the university announced that it was suspending all student activities in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ordered the school to recognize the LGBTQ+ student group.
The University of Massachusetts is planning to hold a Pride Day on the same day that the Minutemen host evangelical college Liberty in a football game, ESPN noted. The school made the "special announcement" on Twitter in a video featuring techno music and a uniformed player standing in a room lit by rainbow colors associated with the LGBTQ+ community. It ends by showing how to get tickets for the Oct. 8 game. Liberty played at Northwestern in field hockey on Sept. 9, and the Wildcats had set that day as their Pride Game.
In Connecticut, the annual New Haven Pride Fest took place on the Green on Sept. 17 as New Haven residents, Yale students, performers and speakers all joined in celebrating the city's LGBTQ+ community and drawing attention to the issues that affect it, per The Yale Daily News. Dignitaries who spoke included Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and Rep. Rosa DeLauro while New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker also came to the Fest to express his solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
For the first time, runners will be able to register as non-binary for the 2023 Boston Marathon, per LGBTQ Nation. On the registration page for the 127th annual Boston Marathon, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) included a section affirming its commitment to inclusivity for non-binary athletes. The BAA added that it does not have enough data to create qualifying times specifically for non-binary runners; for now, the qualifying times are the same as for runners in the women's division.
On Sunday, Oct. 2, Equality Forum will kick off LGBTQ+ History Month with a celebration at Philadelphia's Independence Visitor Center, per a press release. U.S. Rep. David Cicilline will receive the International Role Model Award while Zander Moricz (plaintiff in the Florida "Don't Say Gay" lawsuit) will receive the Frank Kameny Award. See https://equalityforum.com/event/lgbt-history-month-launch-0.
In Medford, Oregon, a battle over pronouns spilled from social media into a school board meeting where parents and other "concerned citizens" demanded the ouster of a non-binary first-grade teacher, LGBTQ Nation noted. The meeting attracted several dozen speakers and protesters who insisted on addressing the issue despite the board's directive that personnel decisions were not a topic for discussion in the public forum, particularly when it involved privacy issues. For example, Griffin Creek Elementary parent John Furnish claimed the non-binary teacher's preferred pronouns were having a "direct impact on my first grader."
A gay meteorologist was let go from his position at a New York City news station for performing on an adult webcam siteand now, he's taking legal action, Out Magazine noted. Erick Adame, an Emmy-nominated meteorologist who, until recently, worked for Spectrum News NY1, took to Instagram to publicly apologize and explain the situation to his followers. According to People, images of Adame performing on the webcam site were sent to his employers at Spectrum News, and even his mother, via an anonymous leak. Adame is suing the website, Unit 4 Media, Ltd., so that the identity of the person who leaked the images can be revealed.
The Justice Department announced charges against 47 people accused of stealing $250 million from a federal program designed to provide meals for needy children during the pandemic, CNN reported. According to the department, the scheme is the largest COVID-19-related fraud uncovered by investigators to date. The defendants are facing charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and paying and receiving illegal kickbacks. The defendants, prosecutors said, set up a network of shell companies connected to the Minnesota-based nonprofit Feeding Our Future.
U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) said on CNN's State of the Union that he does not plan to vote for a national abortion ban bill proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), joining others in the GOP who stand by the notion that such a decision should be left up to states, Yahoo! News noted. Recently, Graham introduced legislation that would impose a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and a possible prison sentence for medical officials who violate the ban.