Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

4/30 open thread


This is an open thread. We’ll post any breaking news.

81 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. VIRick  |  April 30, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Paraguay: No Election Miracles, Country Remains Staunchly Right-Wing

    On 30 April 2023, Paraguay's ruling party candidate, Santiago Peña, 44, scored a big win in the country's presidential election, tightening the conservative Colorado Party's political grip in the country. Peña had 42.7% of the vote with over 99% of ballots counted, a more than 15-point lead over center-left rival Efraín Alegre.

    Colorado and right-wing party candidates also performed strongly in congressional elections and governor races, with some provinces recording an historic Colorado majority over opposition rivals. The Colorado Party has dominated politics in the landlocked South American country since the 1950s, governing for 70 of the last 75 years. But its popularity has been somewhat dimmed by a slowing economy and graft allegations. Still, with Santiago Peña replacing the current President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo-Benítez, also of the Colorado Party, it basically means "more of the same" inertia for another 5 years.

  • 2. VIRick  |  May 1, 2023 at 12:53 pm

    Montana: Rep. Zooey Zephyr Sues State and Republicans over Her Censure

    State Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a Democrat banned from the Montana state House in late April for the remainder of the session, sued the state and various legislative leaders on Monday, 1 May 2023, in order to regain entry. Her lawsuit, filed along with the ACLU of Montana and several constituents, also seeks a temporary restraining order barring Republican lawmakers from removing her legislative privileges, pending court judgment.

    After receiving backlash from Republican legislators over her opposition to a bill restricting transgender minors’ access to gender-affirming healthcare, Zephyr was barred from the House floor and gallery last week. During the debate, she said that anyone voting in favor of said bill would have blood on their hands.

    Republicans took exception to her remark and demanded an apology, which Zephyr told "The Advocate" she would refuse to give because none were warranted. The Republican Speaker of the Montana House, Matt Regier, then refused to allow Zephyr to speak on any bill whatsoever until after she had apologized. Her supporters entered the chamber gallery last week chanting, “Let her speak.” Several were summarily arrested.

    On Wednesday, 26 April, Republicans then voted to expel her from the floor and gallery of the House, relegating her to remote work only. Several bills awaiting votes in committees Rep. Zephyr sits on have either been transferred to other committees or were elevated to the House floor, eliminating all public hearings that she had been scheduled to attend.

    The State of Montana, House Speaker Matt Regier, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Bradley Murfitt have all been named as defendants in the lawsuit.

  • 3. VIRick  |  May 1, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Missouri Court Grants TRO, Blocking A-G's Anti-Transgender "Rule" from Taking Effect

    Per ACLU of Missouri:

    A state judge from the 21st Judicial Circuit, Judge Ellen Ribaudo, granted a temporary restraining order against the Missouri Attorney-General's anti-transgender "rule," thus preventing said rule from going into effect until the court can hear from experts and issue a preliminary injunction.

  • 4. VIRick  |  May 1, 2023 at 6:05 pm

    Oklahoma: Bill Banning Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Minors Signed into Law

    On 1 May 2023, Oklahoma became the latest state to ban gender-affirming medical care for minors, as Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a bill that makes it a felony for healthcare workers to provide such treatments that could include puberty-blocking drugs and hormones. Stitt, who was re-elected in November, made the ban a priority of this year’s legislative session, saying he wanted to "protect" children.

    The bill Stitt signed would make it illegal to provide gender-transition medical care for anyone under the age of 18. Such treatment can include surgery as well as hormones and drugs that suppress or delay normal puberty.

    However, transgender advocates and parents of transgender children say such care is essential. Several civil liberty organizations, including the ACLU of Oklahoma, have promised to “take any necessary legal action” to prevent the law from taking effect.

    Oklahoma joins at least 15 other states with laws banning such care, as right-wing Republicans across the country have targeted transgender rights.

    Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and now Oklahoma (18 states) have all banned gender-affirming healthcare for minors. Florida and Missouri have done so administratively, while the other 16 have done so by state law. Alabama, Idaho,and North Dakota have included felony penalties for providers.

  • 5. VIRick  |  May 2, 2023 at 10:00 am

    Uganda Parliament Passes Deadly Anti-LGBTQ Bill

    On 2 May 2023, the Parliament of Uganda passed an extreme anti-LGBTQ bill that includes a lifetime prison sentence for engaging in same-sex sexual relations and the death penalty for "repeat offender" cases. The bill, officially the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023,” now awaits the signature of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni to become law.

    Museveni, who is not a supporter of LGBTQ rights, returned a similar bill to Parliament in April, asking for revisions to soften the legislation’s harsh penalties and treatment of LGBTQ people. Despite Museveni’s earlier request to include provisions for the so-called "rehabilitation" of LGBTQ people, the new legislation remains rather unchanged from the earlier bill that caused an outcry from governments and LGBT groups around the world.

    People found to be “engaging in acts of homosexuality” would be sentenced to life in prison, but mere suspicion of being LGBTQ is not criminalized in the current bill. However, the bill still calls for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which refers to people living with HIV engaging in same-sex sexual relations and/or to repeat offenders.

    According to Uganda law, Museveni, a vocal LGBTQ opponent, now has 30 days in which to sign the bill into law, to veto it outright, or to return it to Parliament for further revision.

  • 6. VIRick  |  May 2, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    Switzerland: Canton Neuchâtel Bans "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The law passed on 2 May 2023 by the Parliament of Canton Neuchâtel will make it illegal to propose treatment to change sexual orientation in the canton. Inciting others to change their gender identity will also become a criminal offense, punishable by a fine.

    Neuchâtel has become the first of the country’s 26 cantons to pass a law banning the controversial therapies. A similar motion at the national level is pending in the federal parliament.

  • 7. VIRick  |  May 2, 2023 at 6:11 pm

    Oregon: State House Passes Bill Protecting Access to Abortion, Gender-Affirming Care

    On 1 May 2023, Oregon lawmakers voted to advance a sweeping package that would bolster protections for abortion access and for gender-affirming healthcare for transgender persons. The bill, which passed the Oregon House on a party-line vote, was hotly debated by Republicans, as the legislation runs counter to many of the laws now being enacted in Republican-led states to block access to abortion and gender-affirming healthcare.

    The Oregon bill would protect such abortion providers and patients from legal challenges, as many Republican states are seeking to prosecute out-of-state abortion providers, as well as those traveling across state lines in order to obtain an abortion. The bill would also expand insurance coverage for gender-affirming healthcare.

    The bill now heads to the state Senate, where it could be voted upon later this week.

  • 8. VIRick  |  May 3, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    Pennsylvania House Passes LGBTQ Rights Bill

    On 2 May 2023, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 102 to 98 to approve a bill that calls for the protection of LGBTQ people from discrimination, marking the first time such legislation has passed in either the state House or Senate in the 47 years since similar bills have been introduced. Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeast that does not yet have a statewide LGBTQ non-discrimination law.

    Supporters have said that the outcome of the bill, called the Fairness Act, is uncertain in the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate, where the legislation is now headed.

    Per "Philadelphia Gay News:" “The Fairness Act is as simple as it is substantive. HB 300 would protect LGBTQ Pennsylvanians from facing discrimination and would allow all individuals in the commonwealth to file complaints, in the event of a possible violation, with the PA Human Relations Commission."

  • 9. VIRick  |  May 3, 2023 at 7:09 pm

    Oklahoma: Federal Lawsuit Filed Challenging Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    Several transgender adolescents, their parents and guardians, and a doctor have sued the state of Oklahoma over its ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, a measure which was just signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on 1 May 2023.

    The suit, filed on 2 May 2023 in US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, alleges that Senate Bill 613 “unjustly and unfairly targets them and gender-affirming health care in violation of their rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment,” says a press release from the ACLU, its Oklahoma affiliate, and Lambda Legal, which are representing the plaintiffs, along with the law firm of Jenner & Block.

    The new law takes effect immediately. Defendants named in the suit include Oklahoma Attorney-General Gentner Drummond and numerous medical officials and regulators.

  • 10. VIRick  |  May 3, 2023 at 8:17 pm

    Maryland: Governor Signs Bills Protecting Abortion/Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    On 3 May 2023, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed six bills into law, one aimed at protecting gender-affirming healthcare and four protecting the right to abortion. The sixth deals with recreational cannabis.

    On abortion, one new law is designed to protect patients and providers from criminal, civil, and administrative penalties relating to abortion bans or restrictions in other states. The governor also signed a separate data-privacy bill to protect medical and insurance records on reproductive health in electronic health information exchanges that can be shared quickly and widely across state lines. A third will ensure that public colleges and universities in Maryland have a plan for student access near campuses to birth control, including emergency contraception and abortion pills. A fourth means that abortion rights will be on the ballot in 2024, as Marylanders decide on whether to enshrine the right in the state's constitution.

    The Trans Health Equity Act expands the number of procedures relating to gender-affirming care that are covered by the state's Medicaid program. Starting from 1 January 2024, Medicaid must provide coverage for gender-affirming treatment, meaning any medically necessary treatment consistent with current clinical standards of care prescribed by a licensed health care provider for the treatment of a condition related to the individual's gender identity.

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  May 4, 2023 at 8:01 am

    Former Equality Florida governmental affairs manager and 3-term State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith raises more than $80,000 in just three weeks after announcing his State Senate candidacy in District 17

    “Carlos’ record of fighting for equality and progressive values has clearly resonated with voters, donors, and working families.” said Shayne Cheshire, Smith’s fundraiser.

    “By this time last cycle our current coalition of 12 Senators had received 49 grassroots contributions combined, while Carlos has received 571 in three weeks. This early fundraising success shows that our campaign has the momentum and support needed to win next year.”

    Smith has quickly rallied Democratic leaders in the Legislature and the Orlando area behind his campaign. He boasts endorsements from U.S. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, state Sens. Lori Berman, Shevrin Jones, Geraldine Thompson and Victor Torres, and state Reps. LaVon Bracy Davis, Anna Eskamani, Rita Harris and Johanna López.

  • 12. VIRick  |  May 4, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    Aguascalientes: Lawsuit Filed Forcing State Congress to Legislate Marriage Equality

    Per "El Heraldo de México," 3 May 2023:

    Tras una demanda interpuesta en el Tribunal Electoral, el Poder Legislativo debe legislar el tema del matrimonio igualitario. El Congreso del Estado de Aguascalientes sigue en deuda con la comunidad LGBTIQ, sobre todo al no legislar sobre el matrimonio igualitario. El diputado panista, Raúl Silva Perezchica, reconoció que tras una demanda interpuesta en el Tribunal Electoral, el Poder Legislativo se encuentra en una situación de “llamamiento” para que se legisle en la materia.

    Following a lawsuit filed in the Electoral Court, the Legislative Branch must legislate on the issue of marriage equality. The Aguascalientes State Congress remains in debt to the LGBTIQ community, especially by not legislating on marriage equality. The PAN deputy, Raúl Silva Perezchica, acknowledged that after a lawsuit was filed in the Electoral Court, the Legislative Branch is in a situation of "appeal" as to its legislating on the matter.

    Although marriage equality is now legalized throughout Mexico, 5 state congresses (of 32 jurisdictions) have not yet up-dated their state law to reflect this reality. Three states, Aguascalientes, Chiapas, and Nuevo León, have marriage equality as a result of Supreme Court rulings, and 2 more, Chihuahua and Guanajuato, have it as a result of executive decrees. All 5 must up-date state law,– or face financial penalties, as Aguascalientes may soon discover.

  • 13. VIRick  |  May 4, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    Florida: Legislature Passes Anti-Trans "Bathroom" Bill, Expands "Don't Say Gay" Law

    On 3 May 2023, the Florida Senate passed both an anti-transgender "bathroom" bill and an expansion of the state’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law. The legislation will further impose an environment in which the state will not let families admit that transgender people even exist, much less allow trans people a place to relieve themselves.

    The so-called "expansion of parental rights," which extends a prohibition on curriculum about sexual orientation or gender identity through the eighth grade, will now head to the desk of Gov. Ron De Santis, who will almost certainly sign the bill into law and further an already lengthy anti-LGBTQ record. Of note, Florida’s Board of Education has already extended said ban through the 12th grade in a move dubbed by critics as “Don’t Say Gay until Graduation.”

    However, in addition to writing an extended ban into state law, the new legislation also allows individuals to object to books in school libraries, and provides work protection for teachers who refuse to recognize students or co-workers with pronouns besides those aligned with their birth certificate.

    The Senate also passed a bill requiring separate men’s and women’s restrooms, with a unisex restroom optional, along with the requirement that citizens only use bathrooms aligned with the gender that they were assigned at birth.

    Earlier, the House had passed a bill that would have gone a step further, by also placing the same restraints on private commercial property, while the Senate then passed a "softened" version that places the imposition only on government facilities, including parks, prisons, and schools. On 3 May 2023, the House took up the Senate language, and passed it on an 80-36 vote.

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  May 5, 2023 at 4:00 am

    Republicans have a valid complaint here regarding the use of TikTok – Kelley should have switched to another app and invited followers to do the same. This is clearly a DoD-related activity and doing that on TikTok should be a violation of the law Biden signed at the very end of 2022. If it isn't, that loophole needs to be very quickly closed.

    As for "Would the Navy enlist burlesque dancers or exotic dancers to reach possible recruits?", the answer should be "Yes!", Republican butthurt notwithstanding.

  • 15. VIRick  |  May 5, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    Quintana Roo Legalizes Adoption for Same-Sex Couples/Single Persons

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In April, the Quintana Roo state Congress amended the law to allow LGBT couples to adopt.

    Per "La Jornada Maya:"

    En Quintana Roo, menores podrán ser adoptados por parejas homosexuales o por una sola persona. El 26 de abril 2023, con 22 votos a favor y cero en contra, se aprobó en lo general y en lo particular la iniciativa por el Congreso estatal.

    In Quintana Roo, minors will be able to be adopted by same-sex couples or by a single person. On 26 April 2023, with 22 votes in favor and zero against, the initiative was approved in general and in particular by the state Congress.

  • 16. VIRick  |  May 5, 2023 at 8:52 pm

    Montana: Five Anti-LGBT Bills Await Governor's Signature or Veto

    Five anti-LGBTQ bills, including a so-called LGBTQ erasure bill and one restricting drag performances, are awaiting Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s signature or veto.

    Gianforte last week signed into law a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors, even after his nonbinary son lobbied against it.

    The “erasure” legislation, Senate Bill 458, would define sex based on reproductive characteristics — females would be defined by their ability to produce an egg and males by their ability to produce sperm, “under normal development.” Those who can not do so because of a condition present at birth would be defined according to their “non-ambiguous” genitalia, the bill reads. Intersex people would be assigned a gender based on the characteristic deemed predominant. The bill’s provisions would affect more than 40 sections of state law.

    The anti-drag bill, House Bill 359, would ban what it calls “adult-oriented performances” in schools and libraries that receive state funding and would specifically ban drag story hours, NBC News reports. It passed both the House and Senate Tuesday, shortly before they adjourned.

    In the bill’s definition, a drag story hour is “an event hosted by a drag queen or drag king who reads children’s books and engages in other learning activities with minor children present.” It defines drag performers as those who appear in a “flamboyant or parodic” fashion “with glamorous or exaggerated costumes and makeup.”

    Other anti-LGBTQ+ bills awaiting Gianforte’s action, HRC notes, are HB 303, “which allows medical providers to deny services to patients based on their personal beliefs rather than urgent patient needs”; HB 676, which “allows parents to withdraw students from public school if they disagree with the lesson plan of the day”; and SB 518, which “would allow schools to misgender and forcibly out transgender and nonbinary students.”

  • 17. bayareajohn  |  May 5, 2023 at 10:19 pm

    "It defines drag performers as those who appear in a “flamboyant or parodic” fashion “with glamorous or exaggerated costumes and makeup.”

    So, clowns. geishas, and Trump, all drag and forbidden.

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  May 6, 2023 at 9:53 am

    In a shift, Saudi Arabia to 'welcome' LGBTQ tourists

    LGBTQ tourists can now visit Saudi Arabia, according to the kingdom's official tourism site. The shift follows a series of social and economic changes that the kingdom has made in recent years. Homosexuality, however, remains illegal in the country, though these laws are not always enforced.

    The Saudi Tourism Authority’s website has an updated section under its Frequently Asked Questions page stating “Are LGBT visitors welcome to visit Saudi Arabia?” The answer to the question reads as follows:

    “We don’t ask anyone to disclose personal details and never have. Everyone is welcome to visit our country.”

    Same-sex relationships are punishable by death or flogging in Saudi Arabia.

    But Saudi laws against homosexuality are inconsistently enforced in the kingdom.

    “There were no known prosecutions for same-sex relations during the year,” read the US State Department’s 2022 report on human rights.

    Saudi authorities have targeted purported LGBTQ activity in some ways recently. Last June, Saudi officials claimed that rainbow-colored toys were “promoting homosexuality.”

  • 19. VIRick  |  May 6, 2023 at 6:24 pm

    Illinois: Legislature Repeals Several Hold-Over Marriage Restrictions

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 4 May 2023, the Illinois state legislature repealed 3 hold-over sections of the marriage laws, specifically that of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, that state that non-residents can only marry in Illinois if said marriage is deemed to be legal in their place of residence. This bill, HB 1591, will now allow LGBT couples to marry in Illinois if they happen to come from a non-equality state/country.

    Since Illinois was an early leader in legalizing same-sex marriage by law, one suspects that the afore-mentioned restrictions were originally included in the marriage legislation so as to prevent Illinois from becoming a "marriage magnet" for LGBT couples coming there from a host of near-by states with the intention of marrying. Henceforth, restrictions gone, LGBT couples from anywhere will now be able to do exactly that, an important pro-active change in thinking, in the event reactionary red-state legislatures were to begin inserting restrictions/prohibitions into their own marriage laws.

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  May 7, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    Illinois still needs to create marital freedom for other communities. First cousins who were legally married in Tennessee etc., avunculate marriage partners who legally married in New York or Rhode Island, and half-siblings who legally married in Brazil or Sweden are all currently being denied any recognition of their legal marriages in Illinois.

  • 21. VIRick  |  May 6, 2023 at 7:26 pm

    Florida: Legislature Votes to Ban Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Minors

    On 4 May 2023, the Florida Legislature passed a ban on physicians providing gender-affirming healthcare to minors. The bill will now head to Gov. Ron De Santis (R), who has repeatedly called into question the idea of providing any transgender care in the state. He is expected to sign the bill and add to his record of anti-LGBTQ policies. De Santis is also expected to announce a run for president within days.

    As this legislation worked its way through Florida’s legislative process, the House and Senate did wrangle over details. On 4 May, the Senate passed an amendment that grandfathered in any minors already receiving care. The final bill allows care for those individuals to continue, as long as parents provide their consent and a licensed medical professional provides the care.

  • 22. VIRick  |  May 7, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    South Korea: Life Partnership (Civil Union) Bill Introduced to National Assembly

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A Life Partnership Bill has been introduced to the South Korea National Assembly by multiple minor opposition parties, a measure which would recognize diverse families, including LGBT couples.

    In South Korea, a bill has been proposed that would grant civil union status to a more diverse range of relationships and provide people with a broader range of legal rights and protections, despite stiff opposition from conservative Christian groups.

    On 26 April 2023, Rep. Yong Hye-in of the minor opposition Basic Income Party and 10 other lawmakers from opposition parties proposed the Life Partnership Relations Act, which would recognize partnerships outside of blood relations and marriage as being familial. The lawmaker noted that the proposal would include a wider range of groups of people who are living together as being a family, such as the elderly, friends, and unmarried couples, and well as provide them with rights in the areas of inheritance, adoption, and housing matters, and provide for other legal protections.

    Rep. Ryu Ho-jeong of the minor opposition Justice Party, who co-proposed the legislation, underscored the need to legally recognize same-sex couples as families and to provide them with health and welfare services.

    The main opposition DPK plans to support the bill only if it excludes same-sex unions, while the proposal has little prospect of gaining support from the conservative ruling PPP.

  • 23. VIRick  |  May 8, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    Estonia: Family Law Amendments Will Extend Same-Sex Couples' Parental Rights

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Estonia Government spokesperson explains that the proposed marriage equality law, to be introduced into Parliament (Riigikogu) soon, includes automatic parental recognition and adoption.

    Per "ERR," 5 May 2023:

    If Estonia legalizes same-sex marriage (which now seems likely), it will also give couples more opportunities to become parents. Maarja Kärson, a Ministry of Social Affairs adviser, gave an overview using the example of a married female same-sex couple:

    "One possibility is that one woman already has a child from a previous marriage. Then, she is already a parent. If a couple marries and one partner has a child, the other spouse can adopt," she said. Likewise, it would also be possible for cohabiting couples to adopt the other partner's child.

    Another option is expanding artificial insemination legislation. "And here the new law introduces an important new nuance. That if two women are married and one of the spouses consents to artificial insemination for the other spouse, both women will become parents from the birth of the child. They will no longer have to go through the adoption procedure," Kärson explained.

    Joint adoption would also become possible. "The law in force today allows a married couple to jointly adopt a third-party child, i.e. a child who is a stranger to them. And this possibility will also arise for same-sex couples if they are married," she said.

  • 24. ianbirmingham  |  May 8, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    Scientists say there's no such thing as a 'beautiful' scrotum

    German researchers have concluded 'ultimately' it is 'barely possible to identify a "beautiful' scrotum'.

    Writing in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, scientists said: 'We must instead speak of the least ugly'.

    In a study by researchers at the Medical School Hamburg, 673 participants were asked to each complete a questionnaire and rate the attractiveness of 36 different photographs of scrotums on a sliding scale.

    A total of 374 women, with an average age of 25 took part, while 279 men, with a mean age of 27, also completed the survey.

  • 25. VIRick  |  May 9, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    Montana: Lawsuit Filed Challenging State Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    Transgender youth, their families, and health care providers have filed a lawsuit challenging Montana’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans minors. The ban, which Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed into law in April and which takes effect on 1 October 2023, violates the Montana constitution’s guarantees of equal protection, due process, privacy, dignity, and the right to seek medical care, the lawsuit says. It was filed on 9 May 2023 in the Fourth Judicial District Court in Missoula County, a state-level court in Montana.

    The law, Senate Bill 99, bans gender-affirming treatments for people under 18, including puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries if done for the purpose of gender transition. It also bans the promotion of gender transition, including social as well as medical transition, apparently the first law to cover social transition.

    Plaintiffs include Jessica and Ewout van Garderen and their 16-year-old transgender daughter, Scarlet; Molly and Paul Cross and their 15-year-old transgender son, Phoebe; Dr. Juanita Hodax of Community Medical Center; and Dr. Katy Mistretta of Bozeman Creek Family Health. They are represented by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Montana, and the law firm of Perkins Coie.

    The defendants are Gianforte, Montana Attorney-General Austin Knudsen, the Montana Board of Medical Examiners, the Montana Board of Nursing, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, and the latter’s director, Charlie Brereton.

    Per ACLU:

    This is the 6th time we have sued to defend trans youths' healthcare in the past month.

  • 26. VIRick  |  May 9, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    Sri Lanka Supreme Court: Same-Sex Sexual Relations Decriminalization Constitutional

    On 9 May 2023, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka ruled that the decriminalization of penal provisions pertaining to same-sex relationships is not inconsistent with the Constitution, essentially green-lighting a private Bill to this effect.

    As Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court decided that decriminalization of consensual same-sex relationships is not inconsistent with the country’s Constitution, the island nation is on the verge of ushering in a new era for its LGBTQ community. On 9 May, a three-judge bench of the Sri Lankan Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Vijith Malalgoda and Arjuna Obeyesekere, confidentially delivered the verdict to Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, who made the official announcement.

    The Sri Lanka judgment quoted extensively from the "Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India" case that decriminalized consensual same-sex relationships in India.

  • 27. scream4ever  |  May 9, 2023 at 10:43 pm

    Hopefully we get the marriage ruling out of India soon.

  • 28. VIRick  |  May 9, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    Louisiana House Passes "Don't Say Gay" Bill

    On 9 May 2023, the Louisiana House advanced its own “Don’t Say Gay” bill, a measure that would ban teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity statewide in K-12 public schools, "The Times-Picayune" reports. The bill, HB 466, passed 67-28 in a mostly party-line vote.

    "The Times-Picayune" reports that the measure “would ban school employees and presenters from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom ‘in a manner that deviates from state content standards or curricula’ or during extracurricular activities.”

    The bill would also ban school employees from discussing their personal sexual orientation or gender identity and compel employees to use pronouns that align with a student's sex as described on their birth certificate, unless a parent provides permission to call them by different pronouns.

    The bill now moves to the Louisiana Senate.

  • 29. VIRick  |  May 10, 2023 at 6:45 pm

    Missouri: State Legislature Sends Two Anti-Trans Bills to Governor for Signing

    On 10 May 2023, the Republican-controlled Missouri legislature sent two bills to Gov. Mike Parson (R), for signing, one that would restrict transgender residents’ access to healthcare, and another that would prohibit them from participating in school sports. The second measure would apply to public, private, and charter schools, which would risk losing state funding for any non-compliance. It passed on a 109-49 vote, mostly along party lines.

    SB 49, meanwhile, “bans gender-affirming surgery for anyone under 18,” along with “access to transgender-affirming care for minors who are not already on a prescribed path for healthcare.” Additionally, under the law,”Medicaid will no longer be able to cover gender-affirming healthcare for children or adults” and “people who are incarcerated will no longer have access to any gender-affirming care while they are in state custody.”

  • 30. VIRick  |  May 10, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    Philippines House Begins Consideration of LGBT Civil Partnership Bills

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 10 May 2023, the House on Representatives' Committee on Population and Family Relations began its deliberations on the proposed bills legalizing civil partnerships in the country. The panel created a technical working group to study and consolidate the two separate proposals lodged before the panel: House Bills 1015 and 6782, filed by Reps. Bernadette ‘BH’ Herrera and Pantaleon Alvarez, respectively.

  • 31. Randolph_Finder  |  May 11, 2023 at 1:09 am

    I *think* that I figured out that the countries with no same sex recognition that have had "RuPaul's Drag Race" franchise shows are the Philippines and Thailand. Having said that, both countries even before they had their shows had Queens who were reasonably well known to the general public.

    OTOH, I believe the most populous country with Marriage Equality that doesn't have a show in the Franchise (or one that is filming) is Colombia.

  • 32. VIRick  |  May 11, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    Missouri: Kansas City Council to Declare City a "Sanctuary City" for Trans Rights

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 11 May 2023, the Kansas City Council is debating a resolution to declare itself a sanctuary city where recently-passed state laws banning trans health care for minors will not be enforced.

    On 11 May 2023, officials in Kansas City MO approved a resolution to declare it a sanctuary for people seeking or providing gender-affirming care, defying state lawmakers who voted a day earlier to ban such care for minors and to restrict it for some adults. The resolution states that the city will not prosecute or fine any person or organization that seeks, provides, receives, or helps someone to receive gender-affirming care such as as puberty blockers, hormones, or surgery.

    Democratic Mayor Quinton Lucas praised the 12-1 vote, saying the city is committed to being a “welcoming, inclusive, and safe place for everyone, including our transgender and LGBTQ community.”

    Kansas City MO is Missouri's largest, most populous city, given that it is spread out over varying portions of four separate counties. Although Jackson County is the primary county, accounting for the bulk of its population and area, portions of the city also extend into Clay, Platte, and Cass Counties.

  • 33. VIRick  |  May 11, 2023 at 6:57 pm

    Vermont: Governor Signs Shield Bills Protecting Abortion/Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    On 10 May 2023, Vermont's governor, Phil Scott (R), signed abortion and gender-affirming shield bills into law that are first-in-the-nation to explicitly include protecting access to a medication widely used in abortions, even if the US Food and Drug Administration withdraws its approval of the pill, mifepristone. Both bills protect providers from discipline for providing legally protected reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare services.

  • 34. VIRick  |  May 11, 2023 at 7:17 pm

    Nevada: Plan Advances to Codify Abortion Access in State Constitution

    On 10 May 2023, Nevada lawmakers passed a joint resolution that would codify reproductive rights — including already-existing abortion access up to 24 weeks — into the state constitution.

    The state Assembly approved the measure 28-14 along party lines, about three weeks after the state Senate passed it 13-8 along party lines. State lawmakers must pass the resolution again in 2025 before it would go before voters as a ballot question in 2026. If passed, the resolution would provide the highest level of state protection for not only abortion rights, but also other reproductive access, including postpartum and prenatal care, as well as birth control.

  • 35. ianbirmingham  |  May 13, 2023 at 3:08 am

    Blatant Transphobia from Megyn Kelley at Fox News

    Megyn Kelly on Friday challenged Charlize Theron – who portrayed her in the 2019 film Bombshell (inset) – after the actress said she would attack anyone who disagreed with her about drag queens. Theron, whose adopted seven-year-old son Jackson identifies as female, addressed a 'Drag Isn't Dangerous' telethon on May 7 to lobby against the mass of legislation currently being debated statewide to curtail trans rights. On Friday, Kelly replied: 'Why doesn't Charlize Theron come and fuck me up?' Kelly's guest, activist Sara Gonzales, who campaigns to end drag shows for children, said she was horrified by 'the sexualization of children', and told of attending a drag brunch where a child was present.

  • 36. ianbirmingham  |  May 13, 2023 at 3:16 am

    Leaked internal poll illuminates extent of transphobia

    Americans say sex is assigned at birth, and that men and women cannot change their sex at will. Voters also oppose giving children puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or sex-altering surgeries, such as breast removals.

    Some 60 percent were against puberty blockers, 56 percent opposed cross-sex hormones, and 60 percent were against removing girls' breasts. Barely a third of respondents supported such interventions on kids.

    Instead, respondents agreed on one treatment for trans youth: counselling. Nearly four fifths said talk therapy was best for helping teens grapple with identity challenges.

    Those surveyed were more willing to let kids get sex-reassignment care under certain conditions — after they'd got counselling, when their parents were on board, and when the treatments were reversible.

  • 37. ianbirmingham  |  May 13, 2023 at 9:25 am

    Turkey: Erdoğan finds a scapegoat in Turkey’s election: LGBTQ+ people

    To President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s LGBTQ+ community represents “deviant structures” and a “virus of heresy.”

    In the run-up to Sunday’s too-close-to-call election, he has ramped up his poisonous invective against homosexuality, as he seeks to shore up his conservative Islamist base. Almost every other speech from the campaign trail accuses the opposition of undermining family values and of being in the thrall of improbably powerful LGBTQ+ networks — sometimes with hints they are run by paymasters abroad.

    “The AK Party has never been an LGBT supporter,” Erdoğan roared at a recent Istanbul rally, referring to his governing party. “We believe in the sanctity of the family. Family is sacred.”

    Adding a menacing note, he followed up with: “So are we ready to bury these LGBT supporters in the ballot box?”

  • 38. ianbirmingham  |  May 14, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    Turkey election rivals both claim early lead, but runoff is likely

  • 39. ianbirmingham  |  May 16, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    Taiwan amends law to allow same-sex couples to adopt

    Four years after Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage, the legislature has passed the third reading of an amendment to the law allowing same-sex couples to legally adopt children.

    When the amendment was raised on Tuesday (May 16), legislators present raised no objections, and the amendment was passed.

    The change makes the process of adoption for those married to same-sex partners the same as for any other couple under Taiwan’s existing laws.

    In January, Taiwan also lifted restrictions on transnational same-sex marriages, meaning that Taiwan will recognize marriage between partners from any two countries, excluding China. However, nationals of some Southeast Asian, South Asian, West Asian, and African countries are still required to interview with the Taiwan representative office in their home countries before they are provided household registration.

  • 40. ianbirmingham  |  May 16, 2023 at 2:47 pm

    LGBTQ Spaces Are Shrinking In Mainland China

    The Beijing LGBT Center, an advocacy group founded in 2008, suddenly announced its closure this week. The center began its work amid optimism that China was opening up, and it became a beacon for LGBTQ rights in the country. There wasn’t a reason provided for the closure, but the announcement referred to “force majeure”—a common euphemism for government action which has been used by other groups forcibly shut down in the era of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    It remains unclear if the police or city authorities ordered the Beijing LGBT Center to shut down, or if it continuing its work had become impossible without putting staff and the communities it served at risk. Like other civil society groups in China, the center had come under increasing pressure in recent years.

    In the past three years, city authorities have often shut down LGBTQ events, including the annual Shanghai Pride; this was officially a COVID-19 containment policy, but many bans remain. Discriminatory policies have increased, especially at universities, and government bodies have endorsed conversion therapy.

    LGBTQ rights and feminism don’t fit with the model that the association and other government organizations, such as the All-China Women’s Federation, now advocate, which includes encouraging educated women to give up work to start a family.

    Government campaigns have also focused on supposedly weakened traditional gender roles, particularly the fear that young men are becoming so-called sissy men. Such rhetoric actually goes back to the turn of the 20th century, when some Chinese reformers portrayed the supposed weakness of Chinese men as a cause of the country’s suffering and encouraged military drills and athletic programs. Today’s rhetoric around masculinity targets everything from female fans of gay erotica to Korean pop idols.

  • 41. VIRick  |  May 16, 2023 at 7:58 pm

    Namibia Supreme Court: Same-Sex Marriages Performed Abroad Must Be Recognized

    The Supreme Court of Namibia issued a landmark ruling on 16 May 2023, declaring that same-sex marriages conducted outside the southern African country should be recognized by the Namibian government. Two same-sex couples have emerged victorious in their fight for the recognition of their marriages conducted outside Namibia in a ruling that paves the way for equal rights and spousal immigration benefits for same-sex couples in the country.

    The joint cases, initially brought before the court in March, involved South African national Daniel Digashu who is married to Namibian citizen Johann Potgieter, and German national Anita Seiler-Lilles, who is married to Namibian citizen Anette Seiler. The couples aimed to access essential spousal immigration rights, including permanent residence and employment authorization.

    The court ruled that the Home Affairs and Immigration Ministry’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages validly concluded outside Namibia violates the constitutional rights of the affected parties. Furthermore, the court emphasized that the rights to dignity and equality are interconnected, and the denial of recognition for same-sex marriages undermines these fundamental principles. It reaffirmed the principle that if a marriage is lawfully concluded in accordance with the requirements of a foreign jurisdiction, it should be recognized in Namibia.

    This ruling represents a significant milestone in the fight for LGBTQ and intersex rights in Namibia. By expanding the interpretation of the term “spouse” in the Immigration Control Act to include same-sex spouses legally married in other countries, the court has taken a crucial step toward achieving equality and inclusivity.

  • 42. scream4ever  |  May 17, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    With South Africa right next door it'll be easy to travel to get married.

  • 43. VIRick  |  May 17, 2023 at 9:20 pm

    With South Africa right next door, this is how it began in Namibia in the first instance. Notice that the original same-sex couple to sue are a Namibian-South African pair who were married in South Africa several years ago, and then, for immigration and residency purposes, sought to have their marriage legally recognized in Namibia.

    It has taken some years, but Namibia is the first adjoining country to South Africa which has, in effect, been "forced" to recognize the reality of South African marriage law, making it the first "domino" to fall. Eventually, the others, like Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, etc., will be required to follow suit. However, this "spread" in southern Africa has moved much more slowly than the similar "spread" in Latin America or Eastern Europe. And when India legalizes same-sex marriage, that event will eclipse everything we have ever witnessed anywhere, with the subsequent "spread" from India further sending shock waves throughout much of Asia.

    Namibia may also be the first country worldwide required to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed abroad that has also not yet decriminalized same-sex sexual relations. However, Botswana and Lesotho are better prepared, as both have already decriminalized such relations.

  • 44. scream4ever  |  May 18, 2023 at 7:37 am

    Mozambique will probably be next I predict.

  • 45. VIRick  |  May 17, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    Texas Legislature Sends Anti-Trans Healthcare Ban to Governor for Signing

    Texas is on the brink of banning transgender minors from obtaining puberty blockers and hormone therapies, treatments that leading medical groups say are important to supporting their mental health. On 17 May 2023, the Texas Senate voted 19-12 to accept the Texas House version of Senate Bill 14, and send it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signing, two days after the lower chamber passed the legislation.

    Authored by New Braunfels Sen. Donna Campbell (R), SB 14 would prohibit trans Texans under the age of 18 from accessing transition-related medical treatments including puberty blockers, hormone therapies, and surgeries — though surgeries are rarely performed on kids. The bill would also require trans youth who are already receiving this care to be “weaned off” in a “medically appropriate” manner (which itself is a contradiction, given that such "weaning off" is not considered to be medically appropriate).

    Assuming the governor supports SB 14 becoming law, the proposed ban would take effect on 1 September 2023. Once in effect as law, violation would bring revocation of a medical provider’s license.

    Of course, the Texas Senate, in passing this anti-transgender legislation, never noticed the significance of the date on which it was enacted,– 17 May. For a clue, see the second post below, the one concerning Mexico and the issuance of its first non-binary passport.

  • 46. VIRick  |  May 17, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    Louisiana: House Passes Anti-Trans Healthcare Ban

    On 16 May 2023, following suit with other Republican-controlled states in the country, lawmakers in the Louisiana House passed a bill that would ban gender-affirming medical care to minors, advancing the legislation to the Senate for further debate.

    The bill would prohibit doctors from performing “gender transition procedures," such as hormone treatments, gender reassignment surgery, or puberty-blocking drugs, on anyone under the age of 18 who is seeking treatment to “alter” their sex assigned at birth. The measure, which also establishes penalties for health professionals who provide such care, passed 71-24 mainly along party lines.

  • 47. VIRick  |  May 17, 2023 at 7:22 pm

    Mexico Issues Its First Non-Binary Passport

    On 17 May 2023, Mexico issued its first non-binary passport, in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, celebrated annually on the same date, 17 May. The passport was issued in Naucalpan (Ciudad Satélite), a municipality in Edoméx immediately northwest of Mexico City, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard stated. He called the occasion "a great leap for the freedom and dignity of people."

    The passport was issued to Ociel Baena, Mexico's Foreign Ministry said. The ceremony was attended by representatives from the Foreign Ministry, as well as various other officials, including Salma Luévano Luna, one of Mexico's first trans federal legislators. Mexico will start issuing non-binary passports at its consulates and embassies from July 2023, the ministry added.

  • 48. VIRick  |  May 18, 2023 at 7:03 pm

    El Salvador: Trans Woman Sues the State at the CIDH over Issue of Gender Identity

    Per "El," el 17 de mayo 2023:

    El Salvador: Mujer Trans Demanda al Estado Salvadoreño ante la CIDH

    La demanda de Karla Avelar, activista de derechos transgénero, señala la vulneración del no reconocimiento al nombre de acuerdo a su identidad de género.

    El Estado salvadoreño ha sido demandado ante la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) por la violación de los derechos humanos a Karla Avelar, una mujer trans que se vio obligada a huir del país por su orientación sexual e identidad de género.

    Cuatro organizaciones defensoras de derechos humanos presentaron la petición debido a la omisión de la Asamblea Legislativa para aprobar un proyecto de ley de identidad de género, según lo ordenado en una sentencia de la Sala de lo Constitucional.

    The lawsuit by Karla Avelar, an activist for transgender rights, points out the violation of the non-recognition of her name in accord with her gender identity.

    The Salvadoran State has been sued at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) for violating the human rights of Karla Avelar, a trans woman who was forced to flee from the country because of her sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Four human rights organizations filed the above petition due to the failure of the Legislative Assembly to approve a gender identity bill, as ordered to do so in a ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court.

  • 49. VIRick  |  May 18, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    Minnesota: State Senate Passes Constitutional Amendment Bill Guaranteeing Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 17 May 2023, in a 43-23 vote, the Minnesota State Senate passed an amendment to the state constitution, technically "a constitutional amendment providing for equality under the law," one that will bar discrimination against LGBT people, among other factors. It now heads to the State House for approval, and then to the voters in 2024.

  • 50. VIRick  |  May 18, 2023 at 10:52 pm

    Oklahoma: State A-G Signs Non-Enforcement Agreement on Anti-Trans Healthcare Law

    Per Erin Reed:

    On 18 May 2023, Oklahoma's Attorney-General has signed a binding non-enforcement agreement, pending the motion for a preliminary injunction on SB 613, the anti-trans healthcare medical ban in Oklahoma. For now, this prevents the law from taking effect.

    The other parties to the agreement are the ACLU of Oklahoma, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and the law firm of Jenner and Block LLP.

  • 51. VIRick  |  May 19, 2023 at 6:56 pm

    Maryland: Repeal of Sodomy Ban to Take Effect without Governor's Signature

    On 19 May 2023, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced that he will allow a bill that repeals the state’s Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practices Act to become law without his signature. The measure will go into effect from 1 October 2023.

  • 52. VIRick  |  May 19, 2023 at 7:07 pm

    Taiwan: Same-Sex Couples Can Now Jointly Adopt Children

    On 17 May 2023, a week before the fourth anniversary of Taiwan granting the legal right to same-sex couples to marry, effective from 24 May 2019, the Parliament of the island republic passed an amendment allowing same-sex couples the ability to jointly adopt children. The rights were an amendment to the same-sex marriage bill that passed on its third reading in the Legislative Yuan without objection, AFP/France 24 reported.

    The amendment establishes that the process for joint adoption is now procedurally identical for same-sex couples as it is for heterosexual couples under Taiwan’s civil code. The amendment comes after a family court in southern Kaohsiung City last year ruled in favor of a married gay man seeking to share the parenthood of his husband’s adoptive child, the first verdict of its kind in Taiwan.

  • 53. VIRick  |  May 19, 2023 at 7:26 pm

    Minnesota Repeals Sodomy/Fornication/Adultery Laws

    Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an omnibus public safety bill into law on 19 May 2023 that repeals several anti-LGBT sections from the state code, including a ban on sodomy that had been struck down by the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2001, finding that it had violated the state constitution’s right to privacy.

    The long-awaited reform bill, SF 2909, also deletes outdated crimes related to abortion, fornication, and adultery from the state code, and goes into effect from 20 May 2023.

    The sweeping law reform bill also includes a provision defining “gender identity” as separate from “sexual orientation” and “sex” for the first time in state law. Furthermore, it amends existing non-discrimination and hate crime laws to expand their scope, explicitly including protections based on “sex, gender, gender identity, and gender expression.”

    Bills to repeal sodomy laws have also been introduced in Massachusetts and Michigan, and are pending legislative action. Otherwise, unenforceable sodomy laws still remain on the books in ten other states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Kentucky.

  • 54. VIRick  |  May 19, 2023 at 11:41 pm

    Nebraska: Legislature Passes Restrictions on Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Minors

    On 19 May 2023, conservatives in the Nebraska legislature won just enough votes to pass a combined ban on abortion at 12 weeks, along with restrictions on gender-affirming healthcare for minors, amid continuing protests at the state Capitol.

    The bill was a gamble that could have seen both issues shelved for the current year, had it failed to win the 33 votes needed to end debate. Instead, the conservatives’ novel legislation, billed as a compromise, passed by a vote of 33-15, swaying holdout Republican state Sen. Merv Riepe, who finally voted for it, after blocking a proposed six-week abortion ban last month.

    The transgender measure bans gender reassignment surgery for those under 19 years old, Nebraska’s age of majority. As of October 2023, it gives the state’s chief medical officer, an ear, nose, and throat doctor appointed by the Republican governor, authority over the use of gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors.

    While the bill contains an exception for minors already receiving puberty blockers or hormone treatments, opponents questioned whether they would be protected, given that the bill grants ultimate authority to a conservative political appointee, specializing in an unrelated medical field.

    Once signed into law, the abortion ban will take effect immediately, while the transgender care restrictions will begin from 1 October 2023.

  • 55. VIRick  |  May 20, 2023 at 8:55 am

    Florida: More Plaintiffs Join Lawsuit to Block Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare

    More Florida families are seeking to block enforcement of the state’s newly-signed law banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors, and have also added the challenge to said SB 254 to the pending lawsuit against the similar ban already issued by the state’s Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine.

    They are seeking an emergency order blocking both, according to a press release from the organizations representing them, Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign. Late this week, three more families joined the four who filed the original lawsuit against the medical boards’ rules in March, given that the Florida legislature has now written those rules into state law, and as signed by Gov. De Santis (R) on 17 May 2023.

    Notice, too, that this preening governor, in his usual, nastily numb manner, did so on the date otherwise known as IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-phobia, and Transphobia).

  • 56. VIRick  |  May 21, 2023 at 7:20 pm

    Oaxaca: First Equal Marriage in Indigenous Mixe Community

    Adrián Rojas y Luis Fernando Vargas hicieron historia este domingo, el 14 de mayo 2023, al protagonizar la primera boda igualitaria en una comunidad mixe o ayuuk (en el municipio Estancia de Morelos) en Oaxaca. A pesar de que el matrimonio igualitario fue aprobado en Oaxaca desde 2019, este es el primer enlace dentro de esta comunidad indígena. En esta zona rural, persisten los prejuicios ante la diversidad sexual, incluso en el lenguaje, donde se incluyen palabras despectivas hacia la comunidad homosexual.

    Adrián Rojas and Luis Fernando Vargas made history this Sunday, 14 May 2023, by headlining the first equal wedding in a Mixe or Ayuuk community (in the municipality of Estancia de Morelos) in Oaxaca. Despite the fact that marriage equality has been approved in Oaxaca since 2019, this is the first instance within this indigenous community. In this rural area, prejudices against sexual diversity persist, even in language, including derogatory words towards the homosexual community.

    Video of the civil marriage ceremony is here:

    The indigenous Mixe are not to be confused with the transgender Zapoteca Muxe. The Mixe live in the rugged, mountainous western interior of Oaxaca, whereas the Zapoteca primarily live in the eastern lowlands of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and are much more integrated into the general society.

  • 57. ianbirmingham  |  May 21, 2023 at 8:49 pm

    Cultural Currents Institute names Utah as 'America's most closeted state'

    Almost two decades of Google searches have revealed Utah to be the nation's most closeted state. Utah comes in top spot for most searches for terms such as 'Am I gay?', 'Am I lesbian?', and 'Am I trans?' according to data collected between 2004 and 2023.

    The organization suggested that other socially conservative states also showed a similar amount of tension between social attitudes and the private thoughts obtained by search engine results.

    After Utah the states of Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia and New Hampshire made up the top five of users asking if they were gay.

    For those questioning whether they might be lesbian, the states of Connecticut, Kentucky, Washington and Colorado rounded out the top five.

    And for those wondering if they were trans, Kentucky, Colorado, Michigan and Washington came top of the search rankings over the last 19 years.

  • 58. ianbirmingham  |  May 21, 2023 at 8:58 pm

    Florida Pride event cancelled due to 'climate of fear'

  • 59. VIRick  |  May 22, 2023 at 11:32 am

    Tennessee Governor Signs 3 More Anti-LGBT Bills into Law

    On 19 May 2023, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed three more anti-LGBTQ bills into law, with two of the latest specifically targeting the trans community. That makes for 7 such for 2023 alone, and 19 such since 2015, including passing the nation’s first drag ban and barring gender-affirming healthcare for minors

    SB 466 says teachers do not have to honor students’ pronouns and can refer to them using the pronoun associated with their sex assigned at birth without penalty.

    SB 1440 legally defines “sex” as “a person’s immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth and evidence of a person’s biological sex.” The bill adds that “evidence of a person’s biological sex” includes government-issued identification documents.

    SB 102 says public education entities, including schools, institutions of higher education, the state Board of Education, and the Department of Education, cannot require staff or teachers to participate in implicit bias training.

  • 60. VIRick  |  May 22, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    Malawi: Court Expected to Rule on the Constitutionality of Sodomy Law

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 23 May 2023, the High Court in Blantyre is expected to interpret Section 153 (c) of the Penal Code of Malawi, which criminalizes consensual same-sex relations between two consenting adults.

    The case follows an application by Jana Gonani, a transgender woman convicted in December 2021 by the Mangochi Senior Magistrate Court on the charge of "unnatural offense" contrary to Section 153 (c) of the Penal Code.

  • 61. VIRick  |  May 22, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    Estonia: Government Approves Draft Bill on Marriage Equality, Sends It to Parliament

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 23 May 2023, the government approved a draft law amending the Family Law Code and other acts during an extraordinary session. Said draft law has now been referred to the Riigikogu (parliament) for debate.

    Under the proposal, persons of legal age may marry regardless of their gender, while cohabitation agreements will continue to remain an option alongside marriage. In addition, it simplifies the legal process of transitioning from cohabitation to marriage. The law is scheduled to enter into force on 1 January 2024.

    Furthermore, on 23 May 2023, the Riigikogu then convened for the first time to discuss the proposed amendment to the Family Law Act, while 600 prominent members of Estonian society, including former presidents Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Kersti Kaljulaid, as well as dozens of writers, actors, musicians, and business people sent a letter of support to the Riigikogu.

    The petition highlights the fact that the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia states that all individuals are equal before the law. "According to the same principle, everyone should have equal rights, including the right to marry if they so wish, regardless of whether they want to have children and are able to do so, or of their sexual orientation," the appeal states in support marriage between same-sex couples.

  • 62. ianbirmingham  |  May 22, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Ukraine’s Ministry for Defense is considering how Ukrainian LGBTQ servicemen and women would register their partnerships and have equal rights in the event of injury or death, while draft laws for same-sex relationships are moving through the country’s parliamentary and executive branches

  • 63. ianbirmingham  |  May 22, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    Orlando's Hamburger Mary’s sues DeSantis to stop drag show law

    On Sundays, the downtown Orlando restaurant has “family friendly” drag shows to which children are invited, the lawsuit said.

    The lawsuit argues the law is broad enough to include “even the most innocent drag performances, to reach into the private homes of Florida citizens, and to determine on behalf of parents what is and is not appropriate entertainment for their children.

    “The broad, sweeping nature of the statute, and the vagueness regarding what conduct is and is not prohibited, will have a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of the citizens of Florida,” the lawsuit states.

    The laws championed by DeSantis, who is expected to announce a run for the White House soon, have infuriated the LGBTQ community, with one spokesman calling them the “slate of hate.”

    Equality Florida, an advocacy group for the gay community, issued a travel advisory on Wednesday, warning visitors to Florida that those laws and others make the state a hostile place to visit.

  • 64. VIRick  |  May 23, 2023 at 3:38 pm

    Hamburger Mary's, Perfect Establishment in Filing Federal Lawsuit against Florida

    For openers, each Friday evening, the world-reknowned institution, Hamburger Mary's, located at the Church Street Station in downtown Orlando, presents the "Dining with the Divas Variety Show," a combination of drag, comedy, and Broadway production numbers, and has been doing so for a very long time. For now, however, entrance has been restricted to guests 18 years of age and older.

    Hamburger Mary's Bar & Grille is a coast-to-coast drag-themed burger restaurant franchise that started in San Francisco CA in 1972, over 50 years ago. The eateries are often in gayborhoods and are intended to represent stereotypical gay culture through humorously named menu items and flamboyant decor, with many of their locations hosting drag shows on weekends. "Mary" in the name is a reference to the slang descriptor, "Mary," used for gay men as far back as the early 1900s. It is the only national restaurant brand with a strong history within the LGBT community.…

    For Florida, Hamburger Mary's has locations in Clearwater, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Jacksonville. The Ybor City location in the heart of the Tampa gayborhood was supposed to be re-opening soon.

  • 65. VIRick  |  May 23, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    Lithuania: LGBT Civil Union Bill Passes Second Reading in Seimas

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The LGBT Civil Union Bill would allow couples to create common property and make medical decisions, but does not accord other family rights like adoption.

    On 23 May 2023, in the Seimas, 60 MPs voted in favor of the draft law, 52 voted against it, and three abstained. The final vote on the adoption of the law is still to take place. The bill passed its first vote in the Lithuanian parliament a year ago, in May 2022.

    The draft law foresees that the partners forming a civil union would create a common property, if not agreed otherwise, act in each other’s name and in each other’s interests, represent each other in the field of healthcare, and have a right to access information on their partner’s health.

  • 66. VIRick  |  May 23, 2023 at 7:07 pm

    ECHR: Romania Must Legally Recognize Same-Sex Couples

    Twenty-one same-sex couples took Romania to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), arguing that the lack of any legal recognition of their relationships "deprived them of their dignity as spouses."

    In a ruling issued on 23 May 2923, the ECHR found that Romania had violated Article 8 of the European Convention, which protects the right to respect for family life, by not allowing LGBTQ couples any means of legally safeguarding their relationships.

    The Romanian couples cited the disadvantages they faced under current domestic laws, such as being barred from mortgage programs, from spousal bereavement leave, and from joint health insurance.

    The ruling will become legally binding after a three-month period in which both sides have the right to appeal to a higher court of the ECHR. If neither do, the ruling will stand, and lead to Romania being required to implement legislation legalizing same-sex civil unions.

  • 67. ianbirmingham  |  May 24, 2023 at 6:09 am

    Montana becomes first state to ban drag reading sessions for children in public schools and libraries

    The new Montana law 'HB 359' is unique among efforts by states to block drag performances as it does not require a sexual element to a performance for it to be banned.

  • 68. VIRick  |  May 24, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    Choctaw Nation: Highest Court Affirms Marriage Equality

    On 23 May 2023, judges for the Choctaw Nation’s highest court ruled that portions of tribal code that prohibited recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, paving the way for a same-sex couple to adopt a child through the tribe’s court system. Choctaw Nation Chief Justice David A. Burrage and Constitutional Court Judges Frederick Bobb and Mitchell Mullin ruled that two sections of the Choctaw Nation Marriage and Divorce Act violate the tribal constitutional rights of members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

    The ruling comes after a Choctaw Nation district judge previously denied Chelcie and Kennedy Barker’s adoption of a child, saying that the tribal Act did not recognize the couple’s marriage. “A marriage between persons of the same gender performed in another tribe, a state, or in any other forum shall not be recognized as valid and binding in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma,” the Act states.

    Tribal constitutional judges overturned that decision, citing Choctaw Nation’s constitution. Section 1 of the Choctaw Nation’s Bill of Rights contained in Article 4 of the Constitution states: "Nothing in the Constitution shall be interpreted in a way which would diminish the rights and privileges that tribal members have as citizens of the Nation, the State of Oklahoma, the United States of America, or under any Act of the Congress of the United States.” The Five Tribes — the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole Nations — maintain tribal sovereignty, but each of their constitutions state that tribal members’ rights as US citizens will not be abridged.

    Choctaw Nation’s highest court also ruled that a tribal member of the same sex is a husband or wife of the parent of the child “and are qualified to adopt under the same.”

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    This ruling likely sets a clear path for the other holdout tribal jurisdictions in Oklahoma to legalize LGBT marriage, as well. They are the Iowa Tribe, and the Seminole, Muscogee (Creek), and Citizen Potawatomi Nations.

  • 69. VIRick  |  May 24, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    Louisiana Senate: Bill to Ban Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Minors Defeated

    Bucking the trend of other reliably red states adopting restrictions on young transgender people, on 24 May 2023, a Republican-controlled Louisiana Senate legislative committee voted to a kill a bill that would have banned gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors by prohibiting hormone treatments, gender-affirming surgery, and/or the use of puberty-blocking drugs.

    The tie-breaking 5-4 vote to kill the bill came down to Republican state Sen. Fred Mills, a pharmacist and the chairman of the Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee.

    However, three other nefarious anti-LGBT bills are still alive: a school "Don't Say Gay" bill, a school "pronouns" bill, and another restricting children's library books deemed "sexually explicit."

  • 70. ianbirmingham  |  May 25, 2023 at 10:34 am

    Oath Keepers founder & Trumpanzee Stewart Rhodes is sentenced to 18 years for seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 attack

    His sentence is the longest that has been handed down so far in the hundreds of Capitol riot cases.

  • 71. VIRick  |  May 25, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Tennessee Sued over Assault on Trans Healthcare

    The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund has sued the state of Tennessee over the exclusion of transition-related care from the state’s health insurance plan.

    In the suit, filed on 25 May 2023 in US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, TLDEF is representing a current participant in the plan and a former one. Gerda Zinner, an academic adviser at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is a trans woman who was denied surgery because the state’s public employee health plan, the State of Tennessee Comprehensive Medical and Hospitalization Program, categorically excludes coverage for transgender-related health care. Story Van Ness is a trans woman who was a special education teacher for Knox County Schools for five years, was enrolled in the state’s plan but was also denied coverage for gender-affirming surgery.

    The suit argues that Tennessee officials are violating the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by unlawfully discriminating based on sex and transgender status.

    “Federal laws protect transgender people from workplace discrimination on the basis of sex,” Darren Teshima, partner at Covington & Burling LLP, which is handling the suit with TLDEF, said in the release.

  • 72. VIRick  |  May 25, 2023 at 5:03 pm

    Cyprus: Parliament Criminalizes "Conversion Therapy"

    On 25 May 2023, the Cyprus Parliament passed legislation criminalizing therapies that seek to change the sexual orientation or gender expression of people. The bill, proposed by Akel MP George Koukoumas, received support with 36 votes in favor. The new law also saw the approval of two out of three amendments proposed by Greens and Disy, further reinforcing its scope and impact.

    This legislation effectively recognizes practices aimed at altering, suppressing, or eradicating a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as criminal offenses. It also prohibits the referral of individuals to such practices by their legal guardians.

  • 73. VIRick  |  May 25, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    Ukraine: Progress on Same-Sex Inclusive Civil Partnership Bills

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The opposition's (Sovsun's draft bill #9103) same-sex inclusive civil partnership draft bill received unanimous support from two Parliamentary committees last week, one for European integration and one for digital transformation.

    A second bill is being prepared by the Ministry for Justice for the consideration of Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers. Government has committed to introducing same-sex inclusive civil partnerships by the end of the current year.

  • 74. VIRick  |  May 27, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    Texas House Impeaches Attorney-General Paxton for Abuse of Office

    On 27 May 2023, the 149-member Republican-dominated Texas House voted 121-23 to impeach Attorney-General Ken Paxton, an historic decision that immediately removes him from office as he awaits a Senate trial. Two additional House members voted "present."

    A GOP-led House General Investigating Committee filed 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton earlier this week after months of secret deliberation. The committee cited a "long-standing pattern of abuse of office and public trust," including alleged bribery and obstruction of justice, before sending the matter to the full House for a final vote.

    Committee members, who unanimously voted to send the articles of impeachment to the full House, have said that the investigation began because of Paxton's request for the Legislature to pay a $3.3 million settlement of a whistleblower lawsuit against him. Four former aides had filed the lawsuit, claiming that Paxton fired them in retaliation after they accused him of bribery and abuse of office.

    A simple majority vote was required to impeach Paxton, a Republican. The matter now heads to the 31-member Senate, where his wife, Angela Paxton, is a senator. However, her presence is not automatically a good thing, given that the bribery allegation stems from an extra-marital affair. A two-thirds vote of the Senate (at least 21 senators voting in the affirmative), where Republicans hold a 19-12 majority, is needed to permanently remove Paxton from office.

  • 75. VIRick  |  May 27, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    Iowa Governor Signs "Don't Say Gay" Bill into Law

    Under a bill Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed on 26 May 2023, Iowa teachers will be banned from raising gender identity and sexual orientation issues with students through grade six, and books depicting sex acts will be removed from school libraries. The measure passed through the Iowa Legislature a month ago, in April.

    Under the new law, school administrators also would be required to notify parents if students asked to change their pronouns or names. Perversely enough, religious texts will be exempt from the library ban on books depicting sex acts.

  • 76. ianbirmingham  |  May 27, 2023 at 7:39 pm

    Mississippi: ACLU lawsuit over trans student's graduation attire

    The 17-year-old girl, listed in court papers by her initials L.B., had chosen a dress to wear with her cap and gown Saturday at Harrison Central High School in Gulfport, a coastal town about 160 miles (260 kilometers) south of Jackson. Graduating boys are expected to wear white shirts and black slacks, while girls are expected to wear white dresses.

    Harrison County School District officials told L.B. that she must follow the boys’ clothing rules for graduation, according to a lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties filed Thursday against the district.

    The lawsuit said L.B. wore dresses to classes and extracurricular events throughout high school, including to a prom last year, and she should not face discriminatory treatment during graduation.

    “L.B. and her parents have suffered significant emotional distress, humiliation, shame, and anxiety, and fear that they will be forced to miss this important moment in L.B.’s personal life and academic career,” ACLU attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.

  • 77. ianbirmingham  |  May 28, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    Re-elected 52-48 in 2nd round, Turkey’s President Erdoğan once again accused opposition parties of being "LGBTI supporters" as he named each party individually. He stated, "In our culture, family is sacred. No one can interfere with the family. We will strangle anyone who dares to touch it."

  • 78. VIRick  |  May 28, 2023 at 10:45 pm

    Barbados: Written Judgment Decriminalizing Same-Sex Sexual Relations Published

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In "Ramirez v. Attorney-General of Barbados," the most important new information gleaned from the published judgment of the High Court of Barbados is that the court also found that "sexual orientation" discrimination is prohibited by the Barbados constitution.

    Dated 25 May 2023, the published 68-page written judgment in "Ramirez v. Attorney-General of Barbados," the ruling that decriminalized same-sex sexual relations, and one that was originally issued as an oral ruling on 12 December 2022, is here:

  • 79. ianbirmingham  |  May 29, 2023 at 7:40 am

    Uganda’s president signs new law: death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”

    Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda under a colonial-era law criminalizing sexual activity “against the order of nature.” The punishment for that offense is life imprisonment.

    Homosexuality is criminalized in more than 30 of Africa’s 54 countries. Some Africans see it as behavior imported from abroad and not a sexual orientation.

  • 80. VIRick  |  May 29, 2023 at 12:42 pm

    Missouri: Attorney-General Curtly Told to "Google What Police Do"

    The Missouri Attorney-General has been told to “Google what police do” after telling cops to enforce a trans healthcare ban, given that the self-same head legal officer for the state does not seem to know the difference between criminal and civil penalties. Missouri Attorney-General Andrew Bailey (R) is being thoroughly mocked for failing to understand the role of police officers after he demanded that they enforce a gender-affirming care ban that is outside their jurisdiction.

    The Missouri state legislature recently passed a bill banning trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care. While it has not yet been signed by Gov. Mike Parson (R), the City Council of Kansas City has already declared itself a sanctuary city for gender-affirming care in anticipation of Parson’s likely approval of the bill.

    In response, Bailey sent a letter to the city’s Board of Police Commissioners asking them to “do something unprecedented and radical” after he claimed the City Council “publicly urged you to disregard your duty to enforce this critical legislation. It is the Board’s constitutional duty to enforce the law and ensure that children are protected from these dangerous experimental gender transition interventions," he wrote. He further said that supporting the City Council’s resolution “would not only harm children, but would also be a flagrant violation of the Board’s legal duties.”

    In a statement responding to Bailey’s directive, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves explained that the legislation purports civil, not criminal, penalties and thus does not involve police enforcement. Others were not quite as reserved with their feelings about Bailey’s words, given that Bailey has made banning gender-affirming care his singular, myopically-focused mission in Missouri.

  • 81. ianbirmingham  |  May 30, 2023 at 4:33 am

    Trumpanzee rioters are raking in thousands in donations. Now the US is coming after their haul

    Most of the fundraising efforts appear on GiveSendGo, which bills itself as “The #1 Free Christian Fundraising Site” and has become a haven for Jan. 6 defendants barred from using mainstream crowdfunding sites, including GoFundMe, to raise money. The rioters often proclaim their innocence and portray themselves as victims of government oppression, even as they cut deals to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors.

    Markus Maly, a Virginia man scheduled to be sentenced next month for assaulting police at the Capitol, raised more than $16,000 from an online campaign that described him as a “January 6 P.O.W.” and asked for money for his family. Prosecutors have requested a $16,000-plus fine, noting that Maly had a public defender and did not owe any legal fees.

    “He should not be able to use his own notoriety gained in the commission of his crimes to ‘capitalize’ on his participation in the Capitol breach in this way,” a prosecutor wrote in court papers.

    Judges have imposed at least $124,127 in fines against 33 riot defendants this year. In the previous two years, judges ordered more than 100 riot defendants to collectively pay more than $240,000 in fines.

    Separately, judges have ordered hundreds of convicted rioters to pay more than $524,000 in restitution to the government to cover more than $2.8 million in damage to the Capitol and other Jan. 6-related expenses.

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!