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Kansas Governor Vetoes Trans Ban Bill

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed SB 233 that bans crucial medically necessary health care for transgender youth. This is the latest anti-LGBTQ bill to be rejected by the governor who vetoed a similar bill targeting gender affirming care last year. Cathryn Oakley HRC Senior Legal Policy Director stated, “We continue to thank Governor Kelly for seeing bills like SB 233 for what they really are: dangerous misinformation & attempts to target vulnerable youth for the sole purpose of riling up anti-LGBTQ+ extremists. If any legislation seeks to ban best practice, medically necessary health care for no purpose other than the person receiving that care is transgender, that is discrimination - plain & simple. Doctors, patients & families – not politicians – should be making health care decisions. As Governor Kelly has made clear with her previous vetoes of other anti-LGBTQ+ bills, discrimination is not in line with Kansan values. Legislators should do the right thing & sustain this veto.” Last year we dealt with over 600 anti LGBTQ bills in states across the country & so far in 2024 we’re dealing with more than 470 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide mostly targeting trans youth. All gender-affirming care is age-appropriate, medically necessary, supported by all major medical organizations, made in consultation with medical & mental health professional & parents. In many cases this care is lifesaving as a recent study from the Trevor Project shows providing data supporting this that transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression & are at a lower risk for suicide. 

Boston Women’s Reproductive Event

With women’s rights continuing to be on the chopping block the Boston Women’s Fund (BWF) is hosting a symposium on the future of reproductive justice on April 22nd from 10A to 4:30P at the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury, MA. This timely discussion will follow the recent legal & legislative attacks on abortion including the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022) that overturned the right to legal abortion established by Roe v. Wade (1973). The event also kicks off the foundation's 40th anniversary of philanthropic work. Natanja Craig Oquendo, Boston Women’s Fund’s Executive Director stated, “We’re strategizing, organizing & raising critical funds to fight back against the unprecedented attacks on our reproductive freedoms while uplifting the voices of Black leaders, who are the most impacted & have proven to be at the forefront of community-centered solutions. Our upcoming symposium will serve as a vital gathering place for discussing how we protect everyone’s right to their bodily autonomy & specifically combat the Black maternal health crisis.” The day-long symposium will include a keynote address with panels on the status of the reproductive justice movement & local grassroots organizing, a networking session & a trauma-informed yoga & movement break. Founded in 1984 by progressive women BWF was the first women’s foundation in Massachusetts & one of the oldest nonprofit women’s foundations in the nation. Through forward-thinking grantmaking practices BWF predominantly supports Black & Brown leaders from communities persistently excluded from philanthropy, including LGBTQ, BIPOC, immigrant, refugee, disabled, low-income & elderly communities. Space for the event is limited & lunch & childcare will be provided. 

Fed Injunction For Florida Trans Teacher

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting Florida education officials & the Hillsborough County School Board from taking any steps to enforce Florida Statute against plaintiff Katie Wood a transgender high school teacher. The Florida Statute prohibits employees & contractors of Florida’s public K–12 schools from providing a student with titles or pronouns that “do not correspond” to the employee’s or contractor’s sex assigned at birth. A teacher who violates subsection 3 could lose their state license to teach. Wood stated, “I am hopeful that this ruling will encourage those who feel powerless to stand up for themselves. Where there is pain, there is power & anything can happen when good people stand up together.” Chief Judge Mark E. Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida held that Ms. Wood is substantially likely to succeed on the merits of her claim that subsection 3 violates her free speech right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Chief Judge Walker wrote, “Once again, the state of Florida has a First Amendment problem. The question before this Court is whether the First Amendment permits the state to dictate, without limitation, how public-school teachers refer to themselves when communicating to students. The answer is a thunderous ‘no.’” The plaintiffs in Wood et al. v. Florida Department of Education et al. are represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Southern Legal Counsel, & Altshuler Berzon, LLP who concluded, “Katie Wood led by example, as the court agreed that her dedication to her students takes precedence. We are pleased that Ms. Wood can go on educating students in a safe space, where the only thing that matters is her commitment to the students.” 

UN LGBTQ Rights In Columbia Briefing

For the first time in its 78-year history the United Nations Security Council received a full briefing in a regular session on security issues impacting LGBTQ people in a conflict setting. Marcela Sánchez a lesbian human rights defender & executive director of Colombia Diversa a human rights organization based in Bogotá that focuses on LGBTQ people’s human rights briefed the United Nations Security Council on LGBTQ persons in the Colombian peace process. Sánchez called for an end to attacks against LGBTQ persons in Colombia & demanded the full, equal & safe participation of women & LGBTQ people in the implementation of Colombia’s peace agreement. Sánchez stated, “Every attack against an LGBTQ person, every human rights defender killed & every murder left uninvestigated sends the message that our lives are dispensable. I hope that today, this Council can send a powerful signal to the LGBTQ population in Colombia that their lives matter and that you will stand by your commitment to protect their Rights.” said Sánchez in her statement. Maria Sjödin, Executive Director of Outright International concluded, “For far too long, the Security Council ignored the fact that LGBTQ people exist in every conflict setting & are often targeted for who they are. If security & peacebuilding efforts leave out marginalized groups, there is no durable peace. Today’s briefing is a concrete step towards mainstreaming the experiences of LGBTQ people across the Security Council’s mandate & deepening the Council’s understanding of gender persecution in conflict settings.” The government of Malta invited Sànchez to the April briefing. Sànchez’s visit was sponsored by the Women, Peace & Security NGO working group & supported by Outright International. 

Black LGBTQ Leaders Hail Dawn Staley

Before the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball NCAA National Championship, head coach Dawn Staley made comments in support of transgender athlete inclusion in sports. Her remarks came ahead of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) April 8th vote to all but ban transgender women from women’s competitions starting next school year. Kierra Johnson National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director stated, “As we’ve heard throughout the 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament from Coach Staley, her approach to coaching this undefeated national championship team has been about letting them be who they are, meeting the moment through hard work & teamwork. Her support for transgender women in sports is no different. Coach Staley showed courage & vulnerability, in choosing to answer the question & make a powerful statement of support for trans people on one of the biggest days & biggest stages in sports history. Not only does that make her a leader we can all aspire to be like, it makes her a class act. She has etched her legacy in the history books with her play, her coaching, her heart & her smarts.” Imani Rupert-Gordon Executive Director National Center for Lesbian Rights concluded, “Leadership often looks simple but in fact only comes with tenacity, faith & the belief in each of us to bring our best. In her statement supporting transgender athletes, Coach Staley affirmed her gift of leadership & the power of the kind of teamwork that her players showed on the court – we are all better if we can all thrive. Congratulations to the Gamecocks for an exceptional year & to Coach Staley for showing by example, what it means to lead with courage & a commitment to access and equity.” 

Total Great Eclipse Last Minute Madness

The Great North American Eclipse takes place today April 8, 2024 visible across New England. In Boston where we’re based there will be a 90% total eclipse but then we realized that we didn’t have eclipse glasses. After checking online unsuccessfully we took to the highway at 6:45A on a mission to obtain the elusive must-have eclipse glasses. First stop was our local CVS that were all out. Then to Home Depot on the VFW Parkway without success. On to Lowe’s on Route 1 with the same result & then continuing south to Walmart in Walpole we stopped on the way to another Home Depot that was also out of eclipse glasses but told us that there was a pop-up at a mini mall in Mansfield, MA a few miles away. Heading there thankfully going the opposite of rush hour traffic the GPS of course took us on a wild goose chase but eventually we made it finding the vendor at Chauncy Street in Mansfield, MA. Not only were we able to buy eclipse glasses for a fair last minute price of $5 each but we both got commemorative t-shirts for $20 a pop. So now we’re trying to find the best place near Boston to observe this natural phenomena that takes place from 2:16P to 4:39P. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth & the Sun blocking the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. This will be the last total solar eclipse visible in North America until August 23rd 2044. Happy Great North American Eclipse viewing everyone. If you were unable to hunt down eclipse glasses as we did there are other ways to view this not to miss event at the link below. 

Ella Matthes Lesbian Icon Publisher Dies

Ella Matthes the longtime award-winning publisher & editor of Lesbian News Magazine has passed at 81. Matthes successfully ran Lesbian News Magazine from 1975 until 2022. The Lesbian News known as the LN had the distinction & responsibility of being North America’s longest running lesbian publication. Founded in 1975 in Southern California LN began as the lone voice for lesbian issues & evolved throughout the years to become the nation’s foremost voice for lesbians of all ages. Some of the iconic cover stories have included names such as Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, Ellen DeGeneres, Marlee Matlin, Hillary Clinton, Toni Braxton, Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Judith Light & Janet McTeer. At the young age of fifteen Ella went to work at Great Western Savings in the print shop & developed a passion for printing. Then in her twenties she purchased Superior Printers & ran it for decades. She wanted to address the lack of support & visibility for our lesbian community so in 1975 she purchased Lesbian News Magazine from Deborah Bergman who had recently acquired it from its original owner Jinx Beers. Ella Matthes built a mission statement around her vision for all lesbians stating, “The editorial vision of the LN has always been to inform, entertain & be of service to women who love women of all ages, economic class & color. We hope women from all walks of life will not only find something of themselves in the LN, but also be accepting of those with differing opinions. Lesbian News is our small contribution to the lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender liberation movement.” Rest In Power Ella Matthes...

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Kansas Governor Vetoes Trans Ban Bill

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed SB 233 that bans crucial medically necessary health care for transgender youth. This is the latest anti-L...

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