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LGBTQ National, World, Olympic briefs

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2022 Olympics

The following is a partial list of LGBTQ Olympians competing this year:

Bruce Mouat, a curler, says he found athletic success after coming out to a psychologist eight years ago. He is Britain’s top athlete in this sport in the 2022 Olympics.

Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff came out publicly in 2013 and competed in 2014 to protest against Russia’s anti-LGBT laws.

Back again is figure skater Eric Radford of Canada, the first international figure skater to come out publicly while competing, will again compete in couples skating.

For the third time, speed skater Brittany Bowe became a member of a U.S. Olympic team after her outstanding performance in the 1,000-meter trial. She was the first out-athlete to earn a spot on Team USA for this year’s games.

Representing France is ice dancer Guillaume Cizeron, who is gay. He will compete in couples figure skating.

We met Gus Kenworthy in 2018 kissing another man. The two-time Olympian and silver medal-winning freestyle skier will represent the U.S. in what he says will be his last Olympic competition.

Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands heads to her fifth Olympics and has won 11 medals, winning gold at every Olympics she’s competed in.

French figure skater Kévin Aymoz said he wanted “to help open the conversation about homosexuality in sport” by participating in this past summer’s documentary “Faut Qu’on Parle” (We Need to Talk) and is on the French Team.

Kendall Wesenberg, who during the 2014–15 season became the first American woman to win the European Cup, is part of the American skeleton crew.

Timothy LeDuc, who made history as the first out gay athlete to win a U.S. pairs ice skating title after capturing gold with partner Ashley Cain-Gribble, has now become the first out nonbinary Winter Olympian.

RIP, GLAAD Founder

Arnie Kantrowitz, a pioneering activist for the rights of gay men and lesbians and founding member of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has died at age 81. Before GLAAD, he co-founded the Gay Activist Alliance in NYC after the Stonewall demonstrations in 1969. He was an English professor at the City University of New York, where he created one of the first gay studies courses in the nation. He promoted the work of Walt Whitman and other gay writers. He made many groundbreaking television appearances on local and national radio and T.V. talk shows in the 1970s, speaking for the Alliance and gay and lesbian rights. In the 1980s, he helped his lifetime partner, Dr. Lawrence D. Mass found the Gay Men’s Health Clinic.

PrEP Subsidy requested

A coalition of 111 public health, HIV, hepatitis, and STD community-based organizations have sent a letter to the White House to support funding to make Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis available to underserved communities. Said the note, “PrEP (therapy) is nearly 10 years old; however, it is underutilized, particularly by the communities most impacted by HIV. For example, in 2019, only 8 percent of Black/African Americans and 14 percent of Hispanic/Latino persons eligible for PrEP were prescribed it, compared to 63 percent of white persons. Increasing access to PrEP requires dedicated funding.” The group suggested $400 million be added to the National HIV strategy released in December 2021 for PrEP subsidy.

Jeopardy’ winner

Amy Schneider thrilled viewers of the game show “Jeopardy!” with a $1.3 million run to land among the all-time top winners on the game show. Her loss came after winning 40 consecutive games, second only to current host Ken Jennings, who won 74 in 2003. In media interviews, Schneider said that providing positive representation of transgender people was even more valuable to her than the money she had won. “It’s definitely been the most rewarding part of the whole experience,” she said. Her streak ended by missing a “daily-double” question, handing the victory to Rhone Talsma, a librarian from Chicago. He is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, identifying as queer.

Pope’s Advice

Pope Francis urged parents not to condemn their children if they are LGBT. The Holy Father has consistently reached out to the LGBT community and spoke informally in a regular Wednesday public ceremony. He said he was thinking about, “Parents who see that their children have different sexual orientations, how they manage that and accompany their children and not hide behind a condemning attitude. Never condemn a child,” he said.

Iran: Death Penalty

Iran has executed two gay men who were convicted on charges of sodomy. They had spent six years on death row. Homosexuality is illegal in Iran. In 2021 two other men were executed on the same charges.

Income Gap

Recent analysis of Census data by the Brookings Institution found that gay couples have higher median family income than opposite-gender couples. Gay couples out-earn lesbian couples, says the report. This was true even though lesbian couples were more likely than straight couples to have traits that typically lead to higher incomes, including having two income-earners, living in densely populated areas, and attaining higher education. The report found that the average family income for gay married couples is 31 percent higher than for married lesbian couples and 27 percent higher than for opposite-gender couples. Interestingly, for unmarried couples, gay men earn 36 percent more than unmarried lesbian couples and 38 percent more than unmarried straight couples.

COVID vax rate

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that COVID-19 vaccination rates are higher among gay and lesbian adults than among heterosexual, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary adults. As of October 2021, 85.4 percent of gay and lesbian adults had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 76.3 percent of heterosexual and bisexual adults and 75.7 percent of transgender and non-binary adults.

No LGBT SCOTUS promise

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the White House isn’t pledging to put an LGBT person or an Asian American on the Supreme Court if future vacancies arise. However, the president promised in March 2020 during his presidential campaign to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, which would be a historic first. The press secretary praised the administration on the number of POC and women nominated to the federal bench. She did not mention that only three out LGBT federal judge nominees of the 82 were sent to the Senate by the administration. With Justice Breyer’s retirement, Justice Elana Kagan will become the Court’s “liberal wing” lead batter and assign opinions and dissents. 

Wrap up of U.S. state legislature activity

Florida’s Senate Education Committee advanced a bill that would establish review procedures for instructional materials featuring LGBT themes. The bill requires school districts to certify that all teaching content aligns with state standards. Opponents of the bill say it empowers parents to challenge books featuring queer characters and topics. Proponents suggest books and other material with LGBT representation led to gender confusion. No floor action yet.

A Virginia legislator has introduced a bill that would restrict transgender students’ access to school restrooms and other facilities. The bill specifies that facilities for more than one person must be restricted to members of the same “biological sex.” It does not address single-user facilities. The bill is in the House of Delegates, led by Republicans. The Democrats still have a majority in the state senate, making the bill’s chances slim there. A bill in the senate was introduced to rescind laws containing transgender protections but also has little chance of passing.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill that bans transgender girls and women from competing on female sports teams. This is the tenth state to enact such a law and the first in 2022. The law requires anyone competing on a female sports team to have “female” listed on their “official birth certificate issued at or near the time of the athlete’s birth.”

The Tennessee legislature will take up a so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill again that would prohibit public schools from using textbooks or other materials that “promote, normalize, support or address LGBT issues or lifestyle.” The legislation has been introduced a few times and has never gotten very far. State Sen. Bruce Giffey reintroduced his bills with the argument, “The state of Tennessee is not allowed to teach my daughters Christian values. So if those are not part of the school curriculum, I don’t see how LGBTQ and other issues and social lifestyles should be part of the curriculum.” Other bills the Tennessee legislature will consider would restrict gender-affirming care for minors, and one would allow teachers and other school staffers to disregard students’ preferred pronouns.

January 6 participant plea

A self-proclaimed “gay activist,” founder of the “WalkAway” Campaign, was charged in the January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol. Prosecutors said Brandon Straka “is one of the most prominent” because of his almost 500,000 followers on Twitter. He took a plea and was sentenced to house arrest, probation, and fined $5000. Straka, a New York hairstylist, founded the WalkAway’ Campaign encouraging LBGT to “walk away” from the Democratic party. He spoke at the rally before the storming and took part in the activity inside the building. He pleaded guilty to trespass and inciting resistance to police orders. 

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