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Campus Pride Storytelling Campaign

Campus Pride has launched a new storytelling campaign centering on the experiences of LGBTQ college students including current students, recent alumni, campus faculty & staff are encouraged to submit stories about their own experiences. Shane Mendez Windmeyer Campus Pride Founder, CEO & Executive Director stated, “Sharing our stories has always been part of the fabric of Campus Pride. With this campaign, we are naming storytelling as a key strategy for movement building & inviting LGBTQ+ students to share the work that they are doing on campus & the challenges that they are facing. The work these young leaders, advocates & activists are doing on their campuses & in their communities is vitally important—both for the current generation of college students & for those who will follow them. By sharing their stories, we want to lift up their efforts & honor the courage they exhibit by working for change in a climate where LGBTQ people are under attack on and off campus.” Stories are powerful advocacy tools by providing a glimpse into the lived experiences of LGBTQ students & their stories help others visualize & understand the realities of campus life. Compelling narratives can move allies to take action & help to change the minds of people who have not thought of themselves as allies. At the same time current & prospective college students can be empowered & emboldened when they see themselves reflected in the stories of their peers & recognize that they are part of a larger story and community of changemakers. 

Boston LGBT Networking Event (AUDIO)

This week I talked with fierce LGBTQ ally David Zimmerman, Publisher of Boston Spirit Magazine about the 15th Annual LGBT Executive Networking Night on May 17th in Boston, MA. This year's keynote speaker is Jonathan Knight the popular HGTV star & “New Kids On The Block” member. Knight is both a local & LGBTQ icon capturing the hearts of millions of fans with his incredible farmhouse renovations on HGTV’s “Farmhouse Fixer” & during his Grammy-nominated career in pop music with NKOTB. As keynote speaker Jonathan will share his story & celebrate his remarkable career. The evening promises to be a fabulous night of networking, mingling & making valuable connections with the Greater Boston LGBTQ corporate professional community & business leaders. The event takes place at the Marriott Boston Copley Place Ballroom from 6P to 9P. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals, share insights & build lasting relationships. There will also be a special presentation by the LGBT History Project on the history of the LGBTQ community in the region. The 15th Annual LGBT Executive Networking Night is an opportunity to network with other LGBTQ professionals & meet with over 50 exhibitors. Many of the attending exhibitors are hiring so if you are in the market for a new career be sure to bring business cards. There will also be fabulous free appetizers & a cash bar with your $15 cover (cash or check only) at the door. I talked to Zimmerman about what he hopes to accomplish with the 15th Annual LGBT Executive Networking Night & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Biden Challenges Tennessee Trans Ban

The Biden administration has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Tennessee’s ban on life-saving care for transgender youth. The Department of Justice is challenging the constitutionality of Tennessee’s S.B. 1 that was signed into law by Governor Bill Lee last month banning of age-appropriate, medically necessary gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Kelley Robinson, HRC President stated, “Today, the Department of Justice announced decisive action, recognizing what is at stake for transgender people’s lives in Tennessee & across the country. Rather than tackle any real issue at stake for Tennesseans, the legislature & Governor Lee decided to attack vulnerable youth who are at the mercy of politicians who think they know better than families, doctors & the greater medical community. Gender affirming care is life-saving care. Period. We appreciate that the Biden Administration is saying ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to attempts by Governor Lee & other Tennessee lawmakers to legislate transgender children out of existence. We applaud the DOJ’s announcement & will continue to work with President Biden and the rest of his administration to send a clear message that our community is not going anywhere.” The Department of Justice previously intervened in litigation challenging Alabama’s ban on gender affirming care for youth. A recent study from the Trevor Project shows that transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression & are at a lower risk for suicide. Last month I talked to Emma Chinn, Special Projects Coordinator at Campaign for Southern Equality & a proud LGBTQ Tennessean about Tennessee’s aggressive attack on our transgender community & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN

Florida Parents Seek Emergency Ruling

Florida families filed a motion challenging the state’s ban on medically necessary healthcare for their transgender children. They’re asking the court to halt the ban while their case proceeds. The seven parents told the federal district court that the policy unlawfully strips them of the right to make informed decisions about their children’s medical treatment & violates the equal protection rights of transgender youth by denying them medically necessary, doctor-recommended healthcare. The plaintiffs are represented by Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights & the Human Rights Campaign. Simone Chriss, Director of Transgender Rights Initiative, Southern Legal Counsel stated, “These bans are already having devastating impacts on Florida families. Transgender adolescents are being denied access to critical medical care & parents are being forced to sit by & watch their children suffer preventable harm. The Florida Medical Boards & Surgeon General have not only failed to fulfill their own duty to protect the health & wellbeing of transgender youth in this state, but they have also blocked the parents of those youth from exercising their fundamental right to do so." Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights concluded, “Florida has crossed a dangerous line by letting this ban go into effect. Parents, not the government, should be in charge of directing their children’s healthcare. The state of Florida is interfering with family privacy & decision-making and children & parents are suffering because of it.” Similar bans on established medical care for transgender youth have been blocked by federal judges in Alabama & Arkansas. 

Actors' Equity Fights Tennessee Drag Act

Actors’ Equity Association has filed an amicus brief in the Western District of Tennessee opposing the state’s law intended to limit drag shows. Equity argues that the court should grant a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the ban from taking effect. Kate Shindle, President of Actors’ Equity Association stated, "News flash to the Tennessee legislature: drag performance is not inherently 'prurient'. Have they ever heard of Shakespeare? The Ancient Greeks? Live theatre has always had male actors (in drag!) playing female roles & vice versa. This law is not just an unconstitutional attack on drag performances & the LGBTQ+ community; it is an attack on the live arts & free expression. It is also quite clearly part of a much broader campaign in which Republican legislators use transgender/non-conforming human beings as political footballs, which is as cynical as it gets, but at least perhaps a metaphor they will understand. Our members want to work in Tennessee, but they want to feel safe in their workplaces. This should not be an impossible choice. Tennessee’s billion-dollar arts & culture sector is being put at risk by these endless hateful attacks & this unconstitutional law should never be allowed to go into effect.” According to Americans for the Arts the nonprofit arts & culture sector, Tennessee is a $1.17 billion industry that supports 38,482 full-time equivalent jobs & generates $135.9 million in local & state government revenue. The industry generates another $700 million in additional spending by audiences, economic activity that pumps critical money into local Tennessee businesses. 

Kansas Governor Vetoes Trans Hate Bills

Good news out of Kansas for our LGBTQ community. Governor Laura Kelly vetoed a total of four bills designed to limit the security, privacy, & dignity of transgender Kansans. In her veto statement Governor Kelly stated that “companies have made it clear that they are not interested in doing business with states that discriminate against workers & their families. I’m focused on the economy. Anyone care to join me?” The bills would have prohibits transgender youth from receiving gender affirming care, apply a definition of gender discriminating against transgender individuals, require individuals to use restrooms aligning with their gender assigned at birth & forced misgendering overnight & jail cell accommodations for transgender Kansans. Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel stated, “Governor Kelly did the right thing. By vetoing a series of bills designed solely to discriminate against LGBTQ+ – particularly transgender – Kansans, she rejected the politics of hate & division being perpetrated by the state legislature, all while keeping her focus on the issues that really matter. She’s right that discrimination is bad for business, bad for Kansas & bad for this nation.” So far in 2023 more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 210 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people which is the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date. Over 300 major U.S. corporations have stood up & spoken out to oppose anti-LGBTQ legislation being proposed in states across the country. Major employers in tech, manufacturing, hospitality, health care, retail & other sectors are joining with a unified voice to say discrimination is bad for business & to call on lawmakers to abandon these efforts. 

Tennessee Trans Health Ban Lawsuit

Families of transgender youth in Tennessee & legal organizations have filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Tennessee seeking declaratory & injunctive relief of SB1 which bans access to gender-affirming care for transgender people under the age of 18 set to take effect on July 1st. Phil Cobucci Founder of inclusion tennessee stated, “Since the start of this legislative session, we’ve heard from families all across Tennessee who were worried about the passage of this anti-transgender healthcare ban. Since then, we’ve been working tirelessly to prepare & ensure their transgender adolescents & their families can continue to access care in their home state. The filing of this lawsuit gives us great hope & we appreciate the legal organizations & plaintiffs for their leadership in court. As we await a decision in this ground-breaking legal case, we will continue to support trans youth & their families every way that we can.” Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara Executive Director at the Campaign for Southern Equality concluded, “We’re grateful to see SB1 challenged in federal court & send our love & solidarity to these courageous families & their legal teams. This law is flatly unconstitutional & we believe it must be struck down. We hope that the court will grant relief so that trans youth in Tennessee can continue accessing the health care that they need & deserve, without leaving their home state.” The case, L.W. v. Skrmetti, was filed by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Tennessee, & Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Emergency grants & patient navigation support are available for Tennessee families preparing for discriminatory healthcare ban. 

“Drag Isn’t Dangerous” Telethon Event

“Drag Isn’t Dangerous” created by Producer Entertainment Group announced an overwhelming wave of entertainment industry talent, executives & businesses have signed on to participate in the live telethon broadcast globally Sunday May 7th. David Charpentier, Founder & Talent Manager, Producer Entertainment Groupstated, “It is unacceptable to allow politicians to force LGBTQIA+ people back into the shadows of society, so PEG along with our colleagues, clients & allies is using our collective influence to raise money & fight back. We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have received so far.” Sarah Silverman concluded, “The nerve of these disingenuous politicians is unfathomable. The number one killer of children is guns & these NRA pawns deflect it with a completely fabricated problem that puts the drag community in danger. The hypocrisy is astounding.” Hosted by a wide range of drag performers & celebrities the event will feature a mix of live & pre-taped performances, appearances & testimonials from drag performers, LGBTQ entertainers & celebrity allies as well as a live celebrity phone bank accepting callers’ donations. Guests include Ali Wong (“Beef”), Charlize Theron (“Mad Max Fury Road”), Amy Schumer (“Bros”), Monét X Change, Katya, Peppermint, Desmond Is Amazing, Alaska, Eureka O’Hara, Ginger Minj, Frankie Grande, Jackie Beat, Jujubee, Justin Martindale, Manila Luzon, Sherry Vine, Nina West & more. PEG is joined by a coalition of media groups & companies including UTA, Concord, GLAAD, HeadCount.org, Q.Digital, OUTtv, Five Senses Reeling/Obsessed, Trixie Cosmetics, SERV Vodka, Loyal Studios, DeleteMe, Black Queer Town Hall & others who are contributing significant funds & or resources to the cause. 

Arizona Trans Sports Ban Challenged

Two Arizona families have filed a legal challenge in federal court against S.B. 1165 which prohibits transgender girls from competing in school sports in that state. This comes on the same day that the U.S. House of Representatives moves toward a floor vote on the mean-spirited so-called “Protection of Women & Girls in Sports Act of 2023” targeting transgender children. S.B. 1165 is one of the hundreds of anti-LGBTQ laws pushed in state legislatures across the country in the past couple of years. Healthcare organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics & the American Psychological Association have opposed such legislation as well as the National Coalition for Women & Girls in Education. The Plaintiffs are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) & the Law Firms Debevoise & Plimpton LLP & Osborn Maledon P.A. Rachel Berg, NCLR Staff Attorney stated, “This law bans transgender girls from competing with other girls in every sport, at every grade level & regardless of each girl’s individual circumstances. It cannot survive constitutional scrutiny & it endangers transgender children.” Justin R. Rassi, Associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP concluded, “We are proud to stand up for our clients’ rights to try out for & participate on girls’ sports teams. Numerous courts around this country have struck down similar bans & S.B. 1165 should meet that same fate.” The students included in the challenge are transgender girls who love sports & just want to participate in sports with other girls. Courts have struck down similar legislation in Utah, Idaho, Indiana & West Virginia. 

SAGE Creates New Strategic Divisions

SAGE dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ elders announced the addition of two new subdivisions SAGEServes & SAGEVenture. These divisions will be led by two highly experienced executive directors Darcy Connors & Michele Giordano who will help fully realize SAGE’s strategic vision. Darcy Connors will head the SAGEServes division to increase outreach to marginalized communities, including transgender, non-conforming & non-binary elders. Connors stated, “I look forward to focusing on quality programming, including caregiving, SAGEVets & SAGEPositive & creating more opportunities to serve LGBTQ+ elders in New York City & South Florida.” Michele Giordano who has expertise in start-ups, scale & international expansion will lead SAGEVenture. Giordano added, “I am excited to join SAGE & lead SAGEVenture with a world-class team that transforms how LGBTQ+ older people receive the care & services they deserve & need. I look forward to developing new social enterprise initiatives & growing SAGECare to further our mission.” Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE concluded, "As we navigate challenging times, SAGE's new strategic direction is a bold & visionary roadmap for increasing our impact for LGBTQ+ elders. We are excited to welcome two highly accomplished leaders to guide SAGEServes & SAGEVenture. With Darcy & Michele's deep expertise & commitment, SAGE will keep expanding our high-quality, life-saving programs & services for LGBTQ+ elders. Concurrently, we will create exciting new models for healthy aging for our pioneers while growing our reach & support for historically marginalized communities. We are thrilled to have Darcy & Michele join SAGE's senior leadership team & look forward to the great work we will accomplish together." 

National Black Justice Coalition (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Victoria Kirby York, Director of Public Policy & Programs for the National Black Justice Coalition. Victoria is responsible for leading NBJC’s advocacy & action strategies to maintain the org’s position as a recognized public-policy leader especially concerning Black trans, queer & non-binary/non-conforming people as well as other multiple marginalized communities. Since 2003 the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has been America’s leading national civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBTQ people including people living with HIV/AIDS through coalition building, federal policy change, research & education. Their mission is to end racism, homophobia, LGBTQ bias & stigma. NBJC supports Black individuals, families & communities in strengthening the bonds & bridging the gaps between the movements for racial justice & LGBTQ equity. Recently NBJC unveiled its Federal Policy Agenda for the 118th Congressional Term offering its recommendations for urgently needed action to address pressing public policy issues facing our Black LGBTQ community ensuring their freedoms & equal protection under the law. NBJC is prioritizing three policy pillars this legislative session addressing Awareness, Access & Accountability. Black LGBTQ Americans represent a significant subset of Black families with over one million people (3.7 percent of all Black Americans) identifying as LGBTQ. The community's challenges are compounded partly by the stigma & marginalization resulting from social constructions of race, normative gender & sexuality. NBJC also continues to fight & campaign for the Equality Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the Student Loan Debt Relief Act, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2019 & several Biden-Harris Administration executive actions. I talked to Victoria about what she hopes to accomplish at NBJC & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

LGBTQ Lawyers On Missouri Trans Ruling

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has ruled to ban health care for transgender people expected to go into effect on April 27th. Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders & the Human Rights Campaign stated, “As national legal groups who represent LGBTQ+ people & their families in every state across this country, we condemn the lawless action of Missouri’s Attorney General in purporting to bar essential medical care for both transgender adolescents & adults. This action by Missouri’s Attorney General crosses a red line that should strike fear in the heart of every person who values individual liberty & believes that individuals, not government officials, should make health care decisions for their children & themselves. This is a dangerous & unprecedented escalation in the assault on evidence-based health care for transgender people. Cutting off treatment for those who need it will create predictable, unnecessary & serious harm. It is also a blatant attempt to strip transgender people of equal protection under the law & to subject them to intrusive government surveillance & control. We wish to make unequivocally clear that we will challenge this & any similar attempt to interfere with the fundamental freedom of transgender people to obtain medically necessary care and to be treated as equal, respected & participating members of our democracy. Lambda Legal & the ACLU of Missouri are prepared to fight back in court & have announced their intention to take legal action against this order...” 

Florida LGBTQ Travel Warning Issued

Equality Florida has issued a travel advisory for our LGBTQ community warning of the risks posed to the health, safety & freedom of those considering short or long term travel or relocation to the state. The move comes in response to a wave of safety inquiries Equality Florida has received following the passage of laws that are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety laws, foment racial prejudice & attack public education by banning books & censoring curriculum. Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director stated, “As an organization that has spent decades working to improve Florida’s reputation as a welcoming & inclusive place to live work & visit, it is with great sadness that we must respond to those asking if it is safe to travel to Florida or remain in the state as the laws strip away basic rights & freedoms. While losing conferences & top students who have written off Florida threatens lasting damage to our state, it is most heartbreaking to hear from parents who are selling their homes & moving because school censorship, book bans & health care restrictions have made their home state less safe for their children. We understand everyone must weigh the risks & decide what is best for their safety, but whether you stay away, leave or remain we ask that you join us in countering these relentless attacks. Help reimagine & build a Florida that is truly safe for & open to all & where freedom is a reality, not a hollow campaign slogan.” 

National LGBTQ Women Survey Update

With over 8,000 fabulous respondents who took the time to tell their stories the National LGBTQ Women’s Survey will be sharing their full report & data at the start of Pride Month this June. The National LGBTQ Women’s Survey asked questions about our lesbian stories across 20 different categories including identity, home & community, family formations, sexual & intimate life, education & employment, health & well-being, religion & spirituality, experiences of violence & discrimination, civic engagement, policing & incarceration. Jamie M. Grant who Co-Founded The National LGBTQ+ Women’s Community Survey with the late Urvashi Vaid stated, “As I move through mountains of data to create the projects report of findings to give back to the community - this work is both thrilling & daunting. I’m daunted as these 170 questions reveal depth and breadth of the scaffolding of discrimination LGBTQ+ womxn who partner with women face & how it shapes our lives – whether at work; as we create our families & take care of our kin; or as we move into the public sphere to fight for justice. I’m thrilled when I can see all of our creativity & resilience shining through – the centrality of our friendships to our well-being, the complex & shifting ways we identify across gender & sexuality, our humor & our resolve.” This extremely important survey will provide information our nation needs to understand so we can evolve & bring forward real life experience to inform policy change, service delivery & action to support LGBTQ+ women. Back in December 2021, I talked to Urvashi Vaid about her career & establishing the National LGBTQ+ Women’s Community Survey in this exclusive audio interview. LISTEN

Miami LGBTQ Film Festival 25th Year

OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival Miami will celebrate its 25th anniversary with the opening screening of “Fairyland” at Silverspot Cinema Miami its new home on Thursday April 20th at 7P. The Festival continues for a full 11 days with over 65 features, shorts & documentaries from around the world that will inspire, entertain & educate along with a variety of parties & special events. “Fairyland” is written & directed by Andrew Durham, produced by Sofia Coppola, Durham, Megan Carlson, Greg Lauritano, Siena Oberman & Laure Sudreau & stars Emilia Jones, Scoot McNairy & Geena Davis. Mark Gilbert, Board Chair & Interim Executive Director stated, “During this commemorative year, OUTshine is thrilled to partner with the luxurious & sophisticated state-of-the-art Silverspot Cinema in Downtown Miami. This central location for all films makes the Festival more exciting, more magical & more accessible to a greater cross-section of the community. Also, new this year are free community Cocktails & Cinema Happy Hours after the films on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & exclusive films not seen anywhere else. As a leading LGBTQ+ voice in the community, we are committed to bringing people together to champion diversity, inclusiveness & awareness in the arts and beyond. This year promises an unforgettable line-up of dramas, comedies, shorts, and thought-provoking documentaries, many of which you will only see at the Festival.” OUTshine wraps it all up on Sunday April 30th beginning at 6P with the Closing Night film “Three Nights A Week” a French film that utilizes the art & culture of drag to tell a poignant yet entertaining story that will bring out the true diva in all of us. 

LGBTQ InterPride Global Gala Honorees

InterPride announced that it will honor Joel Kim Booster, Fran Drescher, Laith Ashley & Pride 365 at the inaugural InterPride Global Gala for their collective efforts in bringing LGBTQ issues into the cultural consciousness. The inaugural InterPride Global Gala will take place at the Avalon Hollywood Theater & Bardot Lounge on April 29th bringing together LGBTQ icons & activists to celebrate InterPride’s 40 years of activism & education. Natalie Thompson & Hadi Damien, InterPride Co-Presidents stated, “InterPride's Inaugural Global Gala celebrates 40 years of bringing visibility to LGBTQ+ communities across the globe. This year, we're acknowledging community icons, allies & activists who represent the spirit of InterPride – bringing LGBTQ+ issues to the forefront by living authentically. Joel Kim Booster, Fran Drescher, Laith Ashley, & Pride 365 are being recognized for having gone above & beyond by providing immeasurable support to the community throughout their careers.” The InterPride Global Gala will be emceed by Emmy Award winner Jai Rodriguez & will feature special performances by Deborah Cox & Coco Montrese with DJ Nica Ricci spinning as DJ throughout the evening. The evening will be full of music, dance & stories in honor of the organization’s efforts to advance the global Pride movement & bring social & cultural equity to communities across the globe. InterPride brings together Pride organizations from around the world as well as regional, national & local Pride networks contributing to the global coordination of Pride efforts. InterPride has over 375 member organizations in over 70 countries. Tickets run from $250 general admission to $500 VIP admission & beyond. 

Rock The CASA Benefit Concert Event

Rock The CASA is the annual non-profit concert that takes place in California founded by San Francisco Bay Area ABC-7 New Anchor Dan Ashley for the purpose of benefiting charitable organizations that serve children in need. This year Rock The CASA 2023 takes place on Saturday April 15th from 8P to 11P at Lesher Center for Performing Arts in Walnut Creek, CA & will feature Rock & Roll Hall of Famer & LGBTQ icon Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Ann Wrixon, Executive Director, CASA of Contra Costa County stated, “Rock the CASA is our highest visibility event- not only providing the organization with much needed funds, but also getting our name in front of thousands of potential volunteers, which is the lifeblood of our work with abused & neglected children. Most remarkably, Dan Ashley has created Rock the CASA so that it is truly philanthropic. We could not be more grateful for the support of Rock the CASA.” Dan Ashley concluded, “Rock The CASA helps kids & we get to have a great time doing it! Friends of Camp Concord, CASA & Big Brothers Big Sisters are causes I care deeply about.” With The Blackhearts Jett is known for her iconic rendition of the song “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” that was number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks in '82 & many more. Rock The CASA will benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates, Friends of Camp Concord, Big Brothers Big Sisters & Boys & Girls Club. The event has sold-out 2 years in a row & will continue to grow in order to help more kids & make the world a little bit brighter. 

Proposed Transgender Title IX Policy

With more than 190 anti LGBTQ bills already filed by states in 2023 specifically restricting the rights of our transgender community the United States Department of Education has released a new proposed Title IX rule affirming protections for transgender students' participation in sports. The new rule under Title IX will protect transgender students from discrimination in sports & that state laws banning participation of transgender athletes will be in violation of federal law. Kelley Robinson, HRC President stated, “State lawmakers take note -- discriminating against transgender athletes is wrong & a violation of federal law. This new rule makes that abundantly clear. Every student deserves to be treated with dignity & respect. This includes transgender girls of all ages & in all sports, without exception. The new rule should be clarified to ensure that all transgender students should be presumed eligible to participate in sports consistent with their gender identity. This moment we’re in is truly a crisis for transgender young people & we’re calling on elected leaders at every level of government to fight harder for our kids. For all of us who believe in equality & justice for all, we should be relentless in our work to undo the harms that have already been done & our pursuit of a better tomorrow.” Imani Rupert-Gordon, NCLR Executive Director concluded, “Transgender youth are an integral part of every school across this country. We applaud the Department of Education for recognizing that the law requires that transgender students must be treated fairly & equally & as respected members of their school communities.” 

North Dakota Legislature’s Hate Agenda

North Dakota lawmakers have made history for passing a total of 10 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, setting a record for the highest number of legislative attacks targeting our LGBTQ community in a single day this year. This slate of hate advanced yesterday when the North Dakota Senate passed 10 bills targeting the rights of LGBTQ+ North Dakotans. Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel stated, “It’s shameful, yet not surprising, that instead of spending their day attempting to tackle the real issues facing North Dakotans, extremist legislators in Bismarck were working vigorously to rile up the far fringes of their base & now some of their most marginalized constituents could pay the price. These 10 bills the most anti-LGBTQ+ bills to pass a single legislative chamber in one day in modern history have the sole aim of pushing LGBTQ+ people back into the closet. We urge Governor Burgum to reject this plain & simple discrimination.” The Senate also overrode Governor Burgum’s veto of SB 2231. In his veto letter the governor stated that the “teaching profession is challenging enough without the heavy hand of state government forcing teachers to take on the role of pronoun police. Parents, teachers & administrators using compassion, empathy & common sense can address individual & infrequent situations that may arise." These pieces of legislation are the result of ongoing far-right pressure placed upon lawmakers, spearheaded by political extremists & disinformation campaigns on social media & other platforms. They barely scratch the surface of the hundreds of bills being pushed by national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations across dozens of states. The following bills will now head to Governor Burgum’s desk for a signature or veto. 

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Our Global Humanitarian Crisis (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Rev. Richard Emmanuel founder of The Church, a non-profit organization established in 1968 in East Gloucester, MA th...

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