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National & World Briefs

Legislating the LGBTQ

Human Rights Campaign says 108 bills are affecting LGBT people being considered this year by state legislatures. The majority — 71 bills — are specific to transgender people, and 37 affect the whole acronym. Of the transgender proposals, most would restrict participation in school sports, and others are aimed at gender-affirming health procedures. Two bills on the list were in Utah, which died in the 2021 Legislative Session. HRC says nine other bills would “harm trans people in various ways.” Twenty-one bills are religious freedom bills that would enable discrimination against LGBT people based on religious belief. Bills closest to becoming law are a sports bill in Mississippi and a religious non-discrimination bill in South Dakota. The legislation in “Ole Miss” passed the legislature, and the governor signed it. As Nina Simone would say, “Mississippi Goddamn.” South Dakota’s governor signed the religion exception legislation. So South Dakota, Goddamn, too.

ACLU identified 32 bills it considers “pro-LGBT” on state legislature dockets in 2021, including non-discrimination, gender-maker changes, health-care protections, and decriminalization of sexual activity.

Homos say no to Cuomo

LeGaL, somehow short for the LGBT Bar Association of New York State, dropped Gov. Andrew Cuomo from its recent virtual gala. The governor has a pro-LGBT record and has been endorsed by most LGBT organizations when running for New York State Attorney General and Governor. He is under fire from accusations by three women, including former staffers, of directing inappropriate sexual comments toward them. As of last week, Cuomo was set to receive the Community Vision Award from the bar association. The award honored Cuomo’s repeal of a law known as the “walking while trans ban,” as well as the governor’s signing of gender identity protections and a ban on so-called conversion therapy. Cuomo has apologized for his behavior toward the accusers but said he would not resign.

Man bites dog

Bethany Christian Services, the largest evangelical Protestant provider of adoption and foster care services in the nation, announced it would serve LGBT parents effective immediately. The announcement said, “We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today.” This is a policy reversal by the Michigan-based organization, which started to evolve to the new policy by allowing individual offices to decide which prospective parents to work with. In Philadelphia, Bethany decided to end discrimination and keep its contract with the city, while Catholic Social Services chose not to and is suing the city because it lost its contract. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule later this year.

USA Gallops to LGBT ID

The Gallup polling organization found the percentage of Americans who identify as LGBT has grown from 4.5 percent in 2017 to 5.6 percent in 2020. Self-identified bisexuality is 54.6 percent of the “universe,” 24.5 percent say gay, and 11.7 and 11.3 percent say lesbian and transgender, respectively. Rejecting the LBGT nomenclature, 3.3 percent say non-heterosexual. Age plays a big role in the growth of self-identification, with 15.9 percent of Gen Z (aged 18–23) and 9.1 percent of Millennials declaring an LGBT identity. Gen Xers are at 3.8 percent; Baby Boomers are 2 percent; Traditionalists are 1.3 percent. The complete report is at bit.ly/galluplgbt

DOJ drops Connecticut suit

A lawsuit was filed a year ago by several Connecticut cisgender high school-age female runners who argued they had been deprived of wins, state titles, and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against two transgender sprinters, per the state’s policy. Previously the U.S. Justice Department and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights supported the lawsuit. It was argued transgender girls because they were born male, are naturally stronger, faster, and bigger than those born female. The Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham withdrew from the case, saying, “The government has reconsidered the matter.”

Colorado Guv almost loses Gay Card

Talk about “great engagements.” Colorado Governor Jared Polis proposed to his partner of 17 tears, Marlon Reis. Did he take Reis to the top of one of the Rocky Mountains in the state helicopter or cater something fabulous in Denver’s gay-iconic Cheesman Park? Nope, he chose the moment Reis was getting ready to go to the hospital for COVID treatment. Polis said he had been thinking about proposing to Reis “for a while.” Shortly before the couple left for the hospital, Reis said Polis got down on one knee and presented him with a ring. And while it may not have been a grand romantic scene, Reis said it turned out to be “the absolute perfect time.” Not as over-the-top for some tastes, but sweet.

Charlize Theron: Straight-wash “Die Hard” franchise

Charlize Theron, star of “The “Monster” and “Bombshell,” pitched a remake of the Bruce Willis action movie franchise “Die Hard” using a woman in the Willis role as “a lesbian on a rampage to save her wife.” Floating the stereotypical trope in “Vanity Fair,” Theron said, “I mean, it’s a great idea. And the fact that it would be two women,” she added, “I was like, ‘Yeah, sign me on.’” There were four sequels to the Willis-movie franchise.

Mexican kiss, legal

Police began to arrest two men for kissing on a public beach in Mexico, claiming the men were engaged in sexual activity in front of children. The crowd on the beach felt it was just two guys kissing and surrounded the police and demanded the actores amorosos release. The crowd chanted, “I’m gay!” and “I’m gay too!” and “No homophobia,” forcing the officers to let the men go. In a viral video, one witness can be heard arguing with the officers, saying “they were not committing a crime” and “they kissed like any other couple.”

Take a Wilde Ride on Reading

Famed British street artist Banksy confirmed he is behind a new mural on the wall of a disused prison in Reading, England. The piece honors Oscar Wilde, who served two years in the prison for the crime of gross indecency (back when being gay was a crime) ― scaling down a rope made of paper with a typewriter. A video that Banksy posted on Instagram— “Create Escape” ― parodies Bob Ross’s hit television show, “The Joy of Painting,” with audio of Ross sounding like the late artist is actually commenting on Banksy’s new art.

No Gender Reveal

Following the defenestration of “Mr. Potato Head” by Hasbro, legislation is working through the California Legislature to ban retail stores from having a “girl” or “boys” section. If it becomes law, retailers could be fined $1000 if kids’ sections aren’t gender-neutral. “Let kids be kids,” tweeted bill sponsor State Assemblymember Evan Low, who chairs the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. The bill would affect retailers with 500 or more employees, would prohibit signs that indicate whether a particular product is for boys or girls.

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