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National and World Briefs

More and more LGBTQ candidates

The number of openly LGBTQ elected officials, according to LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Out for America, is up to 843 local, state, and federal officials. That is up from 417 in 2016. There was no Institute guess of the number of “not-openly-LGBTQ” elected officials. The Institute says even with 850 LGBTQ people running for office this year, LGBTQ people “continue to be severely underrepresented.” With 4.5 percent of the population, 0.17 percent of 510,000 elected positions in the U.S. are filled by LGBTQ people. There remains a partisan divide. In 2018, 438 LGBTQ elected officials affiliated with the Democratic Party and only 16 Republicans.

From ‘Glee’ to sadness

The body of Naya Rivera was recovered from Lake Piru in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles. The 33-year-old actress was one of the ensemble cast of the popular high school-themed musical TV show, Glee. She played the adamantly out lesbian cheerleader Santana Lopez. Her character was in a pretty passionate screen relationship with another cheerleader. She drowned while boating with her 4-year-old son. He was recovered safely. 

Sullivan out at ‘New York Magazine

Andrew Sullivan, a gay man who was once editor of The New Republic, is leaving his post at New York Magazine. His announcement was overshadowed by the departure of a high-ranking New York Times avowedly “fluid” editor, Bari Weiss, who decried discrimination based on her political views and ethnicity. His reasons are similar, though he didn’t decry ethnic discrimination. In his last column, he said. “Staff and management at New York Magazine no longer want to associate with me. They seem to believe that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space.” Sullivan has taken a mostly “conservative” approach to issues. He did actively support marriage equality, opposed DOMA and DADT, and does not favor the current president’s reelection.

British TERF War

Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling started a row years ago with comments questioning accommodations made to transgender women relating to domestic abuse shelters, women’s prisons, and sports. She was criticized as “transphobic” and called a “TERF,” Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, by some activists. It’s gotten so heady that some actors who became very wealthy appearing in her Harry Potter movies have distanced themselves from her. But her magic has cast a spell over Great Britain’s government ministers and its beloved National Health Service, which has funded gender affirmation procedures. The Minister for Women and Equalities announced plans to ban sex-change procedures for anyone under the age of 18. The NHS had previously advocated puberty blockers, gender affirmation counseling, and body-altering surgery to minors, but changed its website to read, “Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria. It’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones. Side effects may also include hot flashes, fatigue, and mood alterations.” 

Mouth that roared, roils Fire Island

It just takes one entitled loudmouth to ruin a party. The iconic gay Fire Island’s Pines section has been put on lockdown after a series of tweets about partying going on there. Posts began circulating on social media that showed revelers mostly on private property ignoring regulations on social distance and masking. The posts contained a message from a self-proclaimed fitness trainer, “Everyone knows I had COVID. So, go fuck yourself. I hope all of you get fucking COVID.” The managing director of the Pines commercial area condemned the lack of social distance and masks on the part of partiers, but also banned the tweeting twit from the commercial district, saying, “Never have we been so sickened by the actions of one person.” he added. The Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association have now prohibited beach parties and require masks to be worn on the beach when visitors are unable to socially distance.

Halle backs out of role

A tweet also cost Halle Berry a new role in which she would play a transgender man. She expressed enthusiasm to explore the motivation of the character and portray the mixed martial arts character’s FTM transition. It was too much for the outrage-mob which criticized her for “cis-washing” the role which, they posited, should have gone to a transgender actor. Berry backed out of the role and apologized, “As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories.” No FTM transgender star has been announced and, without Berry’s star power, the film may not be produced.

SCOTUS non-discrimination

Justice Neil Gorsuch lead the U.S Supreme court’s majority in affirming the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibits employment discrimination “because of sex.” And “an employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Justice Gorsuch wrote. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision; exactly what Title VII forbids.” The vote was 6 to 3. Dissenters didn’t endorse discrimination but opined that the U. S. Congress should change the law, not the courts.

International: Russia and Mexico nyet!

Two no votes, one good, one bad happened internationally courtesy of Russia and Mexico. In Russia, the bad came in when voters approved a package of constitutional amendments, one of them that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Russia decriminalized homosexuality decades ago but there’s still animosity towards gays: Moscow city government banned Pride parades for 100 years and the Russian National Parliament forbids “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” among minors. The good news?  Mexico City said no to conversion therapy. This comes after the same government of Mexico’s capital city of 8.9 million people approved marriage equality a few years ago. Viva Mexico.

Bad business in Virginia

A Virginia man meeting a male escort was allegedly robbed and murdered by the escort and an accomplice. Two men have been arrested and charged in the murder with a third suspect also in custody. The suspects are charged with first-degree murder, robbery, using a firearm while in the commission of a felony, narcotic possession, and a probation violation (Prince William). The Washington Blade received a tip about the murderer being an escort. The tipster sent a link to the man’s page on Rent.men. Virginia added sexual orientation to its hate crime statutes recently, but no “hate crime enhancement” has been added to the list of charges. 

Leslie Jordan gently snaps back

The diminutive, but immensely funny actor, Leslie Jordan, has recently been a fixture on Instagram sending daily, funny, messages to “fellow hunker downers.” Often, the video shows him with a lanyard featuring the “Fox” logo. He was recently on Fox Entertainment Network’s Cool Kids with Vickie Lawrence and Martin Mull. He is set to appear on Fox’s Call me Cat with Mayim Bialik, Swoosie Kurtz, Kyla Pratt, and Cheyenne Jackson in the project based on Miranda Hart’s BBC series Miranda. Jordan plays the baker in a “cat” café owned by Bialik’s character. He got push-back over wearing the Fox-logoed lanyard. He reacted on his Instagram page with the words, “Let’s not make things into something they are not. I wear a Fox lanyard because I am a silver fox (just like @andersoncooper).”

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