About Me

Victory For Transgender Medical Care

Kicking off the week with good news for our Transgender community. First the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered North Carolina & West Virginia to end their discriminatory exclusions for coverage of gender-affirming medical care for transgender people in both states. Then the Kansas House voted to sustain Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of SB 233 which would have banned critical, medically necessary health care for transgender youth. Ezra Cukor, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund Senior Counsel stated, “To be denied coverage for life-saving health care simply because you are transgender is degrading & humiliating. Trans people only want to get the same coverage for their health care needs as their co-workers. The court saw how blatantly discriminatory & wrong North Carolina’s policy was & found that the state employee health plan broke federal law & we are delighted with this outcome.” Plaintiff Shauntae Anderson, a Black trans woman & West Virginia Medicaid participant added, “West Virginia’s denial of medically necessary care just because of who I am was deeply dehumanizing. I am so relieved that this court ruling puts us one step closer to the day when Medicaid can no longer deny transgender West Virginians access to the essential healthcare that our doctors say is necessary for us.” Kelley Robinson HRC President concluded, “Today was a needed relief for many Kansas families who have been facing the unthinkable possibility of having to flee their communities & their state so that their child can get the health care they need. Make no mistake, today was a win for young Kansans – a win made possible by the unwavering voices of transgender youth, their families, communities across the state & Governor Kelly, who remains committed to making Kansas a state for all.” 

Girls In Wonderland 23rd Year (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Alison Burgos about the 23rd anniversary of Girls In Wonderland that takes place May 30th through June 3rd in Orlando, Florida. Girls In Wonderland was founded in 2000 by the trio Amy Alonso, Yesenia Leon & Burgos the women behind Pandora Events. This powerhouse lesbian event production company from South Beach has created & produced some of the hottest LGBTQ soirées & music festivals in the US. In a little over 2 decades the iconic event has become a force on its own with over 10,000 attendees coming from near & far representing all colors of the rainbow & taking over a 700-room resort. The event brings together some of the most influential LGBTQ artists, celebrities, athletes, influencers & changemakers nationally including Leisha Hailey, Kate Moennig, Fortune Feimster & Chante Wayans to name a few. This year’s event kicks off with a Welcome Happy Hour on Thursday May 30th from 6P to 8P for a mix & mingle with live music by Deb Hundseder followed by the Traffic Jam opening party with special guest DJs Pat Pat, Dlux & Zehno. Friday begins with the Wet Pool Party with Chloe Star performing live, followed by Citizen Jane performance at the L-Lounge Happy Hour & then comedian Kristin Key takes the stage who has appeared at The Improv & TV series Last Comic Standing & Bring the Funny. Friday concludes with Snow Tha Product performance & then the Afterhours Afterglow Party. There will be more epic pool parties & fabulous events throughout the weekend. I talked to Alison about what she hopes to accomplish with Girls In Wonderland this year & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Ann Hampton Callaway Finding Beauty

Broadway & cabaret legend Ann Hampton Callaway is kicking off her "Finding Beauty: Inspired Classics & Originals” tour on May 1st at Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club in Portsmouth, NH before heading to Boston to perform at Scullers Jazz Club on Saturday May 4that 7P. Callaway who was recently inducted into The Women Songwriters Hall of Fame says her new show is comprised of classics from her songwriting inspirations- Carole King, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Paul Simon & many more. Ann stated, “I will perform my critically acclaimed one-woman show, ‘Finding Beautify: Inspired Classics & Originals’ & I can't wait to return to Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club & then Boston’s premiere jazz club, Scullers, to perform one of my most personal shows to date. I share stories & great songs by the artists who inspired me to become a pop/jazz singer/songwriter, as well as original songs from my latest CD, which debuted at number 1 on iTunes Jazz. The fresh takes on songs by Carole King, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor & more are both rousing & moving & I’ve selected the true highlights of my popular new CD ‘Finding Beauty: Originals Volume 1.’ I promise a feel-good night of music that touches the heart & uplifts the spirit!” After her New England gigs Callaway is headed to the Arts Garage in Delray Beach, FL May 17th & 18th then on to the Purple Room Supper Club in Palm Springs, CA over Memorial Weekend & Myron's at The Smith Center Las Vegas, NV May 31st before performing at sea on the sold-out Brand G Cruise of Norway & Iceland. 

Affordable Care Act Revised Protections

The Biden Administration has released updated regulations implementing section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibiting sex discrimination in health care federally. This rule ensures that health care providers & insurers are aware of their obligations & that patients can access the care they need. The revised updated rule restores explicit protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, transgender status & other sex-based characteristics as well as pregnancy & related medical conditions. Cait Smith, Director of LGBTQI+ Policy at the Center for American Progress stated, “Codifying nondiscrimination protections under Section 1557 will ensure LGBTQI+ Americans can visit a doctor for a checkup or receive a cancer screening without fear of discrimination. By finalizing this landmark rule, the Biden administration & HHS make clear that no one seeking health care should be treated differently by medical providers due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or pregnancy status. Everyone deserves the same access to health care without fear of discrimination. This rule is a major win not only for the LGBTQI+ community but also for everyone seeking access to health care. Julianna Gonen, NCLR’s Federal Policy Director concluded, “We know from decades of research & from members of our community who reach out through NCLR’s Legal Help Line, that LGBTQ people are routinely denied medical care or mistreated by health care providers simply because of who they are & recent moves by many states to restrict access to transgender medical care have made matters much worse. We commend the Biden Administration for issuing these important regulations that make clear that federal law protects LGBTQ people & those accessing essential reproductive care.”

Maryland Passes Freedom To Read Act

Maryland Governor Wes Moore has signed HB785 the “Freedom to Read Act” & HB1386 that mandates anti-bias training for all school employees into state law. This legislation will support academic success & overall well-being for our LGBTQ youth. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN Executive Director stated, “With Governor Moore's signature on HB785, the 'Freedom to Read Act,' & HB1386, instituting vital anti-bias training for school employees, Maryland takes a bold step forward in safeguarding the rights & dignity of LGBTQ+ youth & educators. Schools should be working to build inclusive environments that reflect the diversity of their student body & community. It is especially critical that state leaders like Governor Moore rise up for policies that foster inclusive learning when resources & supports for LGBTQI+ youth continue to be targeted by extremists across the country. GLSEN applauds this pivotal moment & urges continued dedication from state leaders to ensure every student feels valued, affirmed & safe in their learning environment." Last year there were 148 books challenged in both public schools & libraries across Maryland making the state one of 17 in the nation to surpass 100 disputed titles. In 2023 GLSEN stood with numerous LGBTQ orgs that filed an amicus brief in a Fourth Circuit case that considers whether Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) can prohibit parents from seeking an exemption from the English Language Arts curriculum when classes include books that feature LGBTQ characters. Through Gov. Moore’s signing of HB785 Maryland now joins a growing number of states that have enacted laws prohibiting book banning & strengthening culturally competent professional development trainings for educators. 

Oklahoma Vows To Reject New Title IX

Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters has ordered school district leaders across the state to refuse to comply with the U.S. Department of Education's updated Title IX rule finalized last week. The rule clarifies the scope of nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ students while also empowering sexual assault survivors, a move imperative to the enhanced safety & protection of our LGBTQ students. Cathryn Oakley, HRC Senior Director of Legal Policy stated, “Yet again, Ryan Walters is choosing theatrics & extremism over protecting & furthering the needs of the students & schools he was elected to serve. Refusing to comply with Title IX could have damaging consequences for Oklahoma schools, including significant loss in funding on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars in a state that currently ranks 49th in academic achievement. It is clear that his only priority is himself & his own political profile–not Oklahoma students.” Refusing to comply with Title IX could put federal funding for Oklahoma school districts at risk. in 2021-22 Oklahoma received more than $800 million in school funding from the federal government or about 10% of its total revenue. According to the Oklahoma State Report card an average of $1,850.68 is spent per pupil in Oklahoma from federal funds which makes up 17.5% of the total $10,574.08 per-pupil expenditure. Ryan Walters has come under fire previously for his misuse of federal grant money. A whistleblower came forward earlier this month reporting that Walter’s incompetent leadership cost Oklahoma schools at least several million dollars. Friday I participated in a virtual press briefing with LGBTQ leaders, legal experts, civil rights leaders & student advocates about the new Title IX rule. LISTEN

GLSEN To Honor Marcia Gay Harden

GLSEN has announced it will honor Oscar-winning actress & LGBTQ activist Marcia Gay Harden with the Advocate Award at the org's annual Respect Awards at New York’s Gotham Hall next Monday April 29th. The evening will be hosted by Peppermint known for her work on RuPaul's Drag Race with special appearances by Billy Porter, Anthony Rapp & GLSEN Board Chair Wilson Cruz. Harden stated, “I am deeply grateful to receive such an honor from GLSEN. I owe this award to my children, who drive me every day to be a public force for change. In watching them bloom into the vibrant individuals they have become, I have gained a redefined perspective on my own life. GLSEN’s advocacy for LGBTQ+ students comes at a crucial time when our LGBTQ+ children are under attack. We must now advocate for their freedom to form their own identities & perspectives, which must be cultivated with utmost care.” Additionally GLSEN’s Respect Award honorees will include community leader & activist Brad Baumoel with the Movement Leader Award, Republic Records will be honored with the Visibility Award & Student Advocate of the Year is Sophia T. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers GLSEN Executive Director concluded, “The Respect Awards is not just one of GLSEN’s most important fundraising events of the year but the opportunity to uplift honorees & supporters who reflect GLSEN’s commitment to advancing racial, gender & disability justice for all LGBTQ+ students.” The annual benefit raises critical funds for GLSEN’s student programs such as the Rainbow Library which provides LGBTQ affirming texts to students experiencing book bans. 

Boston Lesbian Visibility Week Event

This year's Lesbian Visibility Week runs now through April 28th & focuses on the theme "United, Not Uniform" a commitment to solidarity with all LGBTQ women & nonbinary people & designed to promote unity, uplift those who face the greatest marginalization within the community & to celebrate the joy & strength of sisterhood by highlighting remarkable contributions across generations, disciplines & nations worldwide. In Boston LesbianNightLife is joining the celebration Saturday April 27th at HAN in Allston for a special Lesbian Visibility Week Teadance 21+ event 4P-8P celebrating LGBTQ women & non-binary folx united across the country. What began as a day of recognition in 2008 has blossomed into a full week of festivities thanks to the visionary efforts of Linda Riley at DIVA Magazine stating, “This year DIVA is working in partnership with EL*C (Euro Central Asian Lesbian Committee), ILGA World, GLAAD & The Curve Foundation to make Lesbian Visibility Week a truly international stage where iconic LGBTQIA women & non-binary people can all take a moment in the spotlight to be recognized for the work they do & the joy they bring." The Curve Foundation is championing Lesbian Visibility Week in the United States. Curve’s Lesbian Visibility Week programming includes an Inaugural Curve Power List of LGBTQ women & nonbinary trailblazers, a Speaker Series including panels on critical topics such as LGBTQ Women in the Corporate Workplace, Intersections of Disability & Queerness, Race & Sexuality, Trans Inclusion, the Importance of Intergenerational Conversations & Preserving Our Stories & more. So come join us & Curve Magazine as we celebrate Lesbian Visibility Week at Han Nightclub on Saturday April 27th 4P to 8P with DJ & Dancing. 

Reactions To New Title IX Rule (AUDIO)

The U.S. Department of Education has issued a final rule interpreting & enforcing Title IX which restores & reinforces vital civil rights protections for our LGBTQ students. The new Title IX rule prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, transgender status & other sex-based characteristics & stereotypes. It also remedies students who experience sex-based harassment, removing the onerous complaint resolution procedures instituted by the prior administration & providing much-needed updates regarding the rights of pregnant & parenting students. Julianna Gonen, National Center for Lesbian Rights Federal Policy Director stated, “The U. S. Department of Education has enshrined in federal regulation what we all know to be true - discrimination against students on the basis of sex has no place in our schools. In this time when policymakers in some states are targeting LGBTQ & particularly transgender - youth with hostile laws, it is essential for our federal government to send a clear message that such measures violate federal law. We welcome these updated Title IX rules & look forward to working with the Biden Administration to ensure that they are fully implemented so that all students can learn & thrive in our public schools.” Though this is a major milestone to protect our LGBTQ youth there’s still much more work to be done. The new Title IX Ruling does not protect the rights of transgender athletes to play & be part of a team. In 2024 we’re already dealing with more than 470 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide mostly targeting our transgender youth. Friday I participated in a virtual press briefing with LGBTQ leaders, legal experts, civil rights leaders & student advocates about the new Title IX rule. LISTEN  

Lesbian Visibility Week 2024 (AUDIO)

To kick off Lesbian Visibility Week that runs Monday April 22nd to Saturday April 27th the documentary “Ahead Of The Curve” will be released on Netflix April 22nd. The award-winning documentary is directed & produced by Jen Rainin & Rivkah Beth Medow & features Melissa Etheridge, Lea DeLaria, Jewelle Gomez & Franco Stevens. “Ahead Of The Curve” tells the story of how Franco Stevens launched Curve the best-selling lesbian magazine ever published with a fist full of credit cards, a lucky run at the horse track & chutzpah for days. The film tracks the power of lesbian visibility & community from the early ‘90s to the present day through the story of Stevens founding of the magazine. Since then Franco launched The Curve Foundation whose mission is to empower lesbian, queer women, trans women & non-binary people to share our culture & our stories, connect with each other & raise visibility. Now to ensure that LGBTQ women & nonbinary people are seen & recognized for their contributions to society The Curve Foundation is championing Lesbian Visibility Week in the United States. Curve’s Lesbian Visibility Week programming includes an Inaugural Curve Power List of LGBTQ+ women & nonbinary trailblazers, a Speaker Series including panels on critical topics such as LGBTQ Women in the Corporate Workplace, Intersections of Disability & Queerness, Race & Sexuality, Trans Inclusion, the Importance of Intergenerational Conversations & Preserving Our Stories & more. I talked filmmaker Jen Rainin & Franco Stevens about what they hope to accomplish with their film “Ahead Of The Curve” & their spin on our LGBTQ issues in this inclusive podcast. LISTEN  

New Title IX LGBTQ Protections & More

The U.S. Department of Education has published its final regulatory updates that clarify Title IX protections for LGBTQ students, student survivors of sexual assault & pregnant & parenting students. Consistent with the reasoning of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Bostock v. Clayton County decision in 2020 the Department now clarifies that harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics violates Title IX’s mandate for federally funded schools to prohibit sex discrimination. The Department also clarifies that no one should be denied access to sex-separated spaces such as bathrooms, locker rooms, overnight accommodations & sex education classes that are consistent with their gender identity. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN Executive Director stated, “No child should feel unsafe in school & the potential of the next generation is eroded when schools do not root out identity-based harassment & discriminatory policies. Today’s actions by the Biden administration to clarify that Title IX protects LGBTQ+ youth are a significant step forward in building safe & affirming learning environments for all students, but the work is far from over. We must reject the discriminatory policies - many in violation of Title IX - that too many states have rushed to pass in an unseemly race to bully and target marginalized students. It is up to all of us to continue to rise up for LGBTQ+ youth by fighting to ensure robust enforcement of Title IX and the adoption of inclusive policies in school districts across the country. When students feel seen & supported in the classroom, schools become beacons of learning and opportunity, serving as an engine that drives youth toward success and fuels our diverse society & democracy.” 

Tennessee LGBTQ Discrimination Bills

Tennessee ramps up its lead as the state with the most anti-equality laws enacted in the nation. Tennessee lawmakers added 4 more discriminatory bills topping the 20 they already passed in recent years. The last 3 bills follow on the heels of SB 1738 passed earlier this month & signed by Governor Lee which could place LGBTQ youth in the foster care system into unsupportive homes. Cathryn Oakley HRC Senior Director of Legal Policy stated, “Tennessee lawmakers are on the verge of enacting more than twice as many anti-LGBTQ+ laws as any other state, a staggering assault on their own constituents. LGBTQ+ people & our families live in Tennessee & these unrelenting legislative attacks have made Tennessee an increasingly challenging place to make a home. These policies don’t improve lives, they don’t solve existing problems, they don’t address the real challenges that Tennesseans face every day. They only make life more difficult for people who are simply trying to live their lives. Governor Lee should veto these harmful, discriminatory bills & signal Tennessee's commitment to prioritizing the wellbeing of its citizens, not promoting hate.” Tennessee has passed the business bathroom sign law, the drag ban & led every trend in anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent years. Tennessee has repeatedly banned transgender students from playing school sports, forbidden students from using the correct bathroom at school, allowed government contractors providing child welfare services to discriminate with taxpayer dollars, restricted transgender youth from accessing age-appropriate, medically necessary health care, attempted to undo marriage equality & more. This year alone we’re already dealing with more than 470 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide mostly targeting our transgender youth. 

Fourth Circuit Court Blocks Trans Ban

The Fourth Circuit Court has blocked West Virginia law HB 3293 that bans transgender students from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity. West Virginia middle school student Becky Pepper-Jackson first challenged the law preventing her from joining her school’s track team in 2021. In support the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal & the ACLU of West Virginia filed a lawsuit on behalf of Pepper-Jackson advocating for her legal right to participate in the sport. The Court found HB 3293 violates both Title IX & the U.S. Constitution. West Virginia is one of 25 states that have banned transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN Executive Director stated, "By blocking HB 3293, the Fourth Circuit reaffirms that every student deserves the opportunity to fully participate in school sports. This decision makes clear what we have long cautioned: state efforts to target & silence transgender youth unlawfully violate students’ civil rights. We commend Becky Pepper-Jackson for her bravery in taking action to defend her rights & we stand in solidarity with all LGBTQ+ youth who deserve to compete & thrive in environments free from discrimination.” GLSEN is a multi-racial intergenerational LGBTQ organization working nationally & locally to transform K-12 educational systems in the United States. Each year GLSEN programs & resources reach millions of students & educators in K-12 schools via action at the national, state & local level. Since 1990 GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ students across the United States & helped launch an international movement to address LGBTQ issues in education. However in 2024 we’re dealing with more than 470 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide mostly targeting our transgender youth. 

Supreme Court Ruling Hurts Trans Kids

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted an emergency stay request in Poe v. Labrador siding with Idaho’s ultraconservative legislature & allowing the state’s ban on transgender medical care for minors to go into effect for the first time since the case began more than 2 years ago. Although the stay will remain until litigation is resolved it doesn’t apply to the families who brought the lawsuit since their children are in the process of receiving transgender medical care. Cait Smith, Director of LGBTQ Policy at the Center for American Progress stated, “Idaho’s ban on transgender medical care is one of the most extreme in the country because it includes felony charges for medical providers. By siding with the state, the justices told transgender youth in Idaho & beyond that waging a culture war is more important than their health & that decades of research into gender-affirming care does not matter. Transgender medical care is necessary & lifesaving. Transgender youth, like everyone else, deserve access to the care they need. A 2022 study found that transgender youth ages 13–20 who were able to access care saw 60 percent lower odds of moderate to severe depression & 73 percent lower odds of self-harm or suicidal thoughts. Doctors & families together should decide the medical needs of patients, not activist judges.” For almost 4 years now we have heard President Biden state that he has our transgender kids backs but little has been done to secure our LGBTQ kids from discrimination. So far in 2024 we’re dealing with more than 470 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide mostly targeting our transgender youth.

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.” 

Featured Post

Fusion NYC Pride Event Supporting AVP

With Pride Month in full swing NYC is ground zero with numerous events happening around the Big Apple especially during the Stonewall Annive...

Popular Posts