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Say Gay in NYC

New York City Mayor Eric Adams previewed a digital billboard campaign aimed at Florida residents who may be unhappy with a law recently enacted which regulates how gender, sex, and other “sensitive” topics are taught in Florida public schools. The billboards will be displayed in five major markets in Florida for eight weeks in April, May, and June. “This is the city of Stonewall. This is the city where we are proud to talk about how you can live in a comfortable setting and not be harassed, not be abused — not only as adults but also as young people,” Adams said.

Jeopardy! at the White House

Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider went to the White House to participate in Trans Day of Visibility ceremonies there. A video at the ceremony condemned the legislation affecting transgender people around the nation and promised further steps to protect their rights. The video said the current administration is, “committed to advancing transgender equality in the classroom, on the playing field, at work, in our military, in our housing and health care systems, everywhere.”

HIV snipped From DNA

A promising HIV therapy using “gene-editing” was revealed by a biotechnology company. Recently released results of a groundbreaking and promising preclinical study that highlights what may be a step in curing HIV. The virus is deleted from an individual’s DNA where it has incorporated itself into the genome. “Lipid nanoparticle-delivered CRISPR-Cas9” technology has been used for some years in China and other countries experimenting with “gene therapy” for cancer, birth defects, and other medical maladies. The technology was used to clone sheep in China.

Gay dog re-homed

The dog named Fezco, left at a North Carolina animal shelter because his owner thought the dog was gay, has gotten a new home. The previous owner observed the dog “humping” another dog and surrendered the dog to a shelter. Steven Nichols and John, his partner of over 30 years, learned of the dog’s abandonment and decided they had to adopt him. “We just thought it would make sense for the gay dog to be adopted by a loving gay family.” One of the first things they did after adopting Fezco was to rename him Oscar, in honor of the poet Oscar Wilde.

LGBT books expelled from schools

Since July 2021, 1,586 requests from a wide range of government and citizens’ groups have restricted the circulation of 1,145 books in libraries and school districts across 26 states. Texas had the most school book actions (713), followed by Pennsylvania (456), Florida (204), Oklahoma (43), Kansas (30), and Tennessee (16). The greatest number of restrictions, 467 books, had main characters or prominent secondary characters who were people of color. 247 books addressed race or racism directly. Thirty-three percent or 379 books, concerned LGBTQ issues.

U.S. military loses HIV dismissal suit

A federal judge ruled on cases involving the U.S. military’s policy of discharging service members living with HIV. Two cases were combined and the ruling is good news for each plaintiff. The U. S. Air Force must rescind the discharge of service members released because of HIV status. The judge ruled that the USAF policies “are at odds with known medical science and treatment methods.” The U.S. military was the last entity of the U.S. Government allowed to discriminate against people living with HIV.

Ala. gender-affirming felonies

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed two bills regulating transgender people — one about “gender-affirming” health care and the other about bathroom use. The bathroom bill also regulates how matters of sexuality can be discussed in public elementary schools. The governor didn’t take a stand on the bills as the legislature debated and voted. Her signing statement said, “We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable state in life.” Bless her heart, she was later quoted as saying she believed, “very strongly that if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl.” She didn’t mention the “Good Book’s” condemnation of divorce, of which she’s had two.

The un-caged bird sings

After being released from jail, in what may be one more bad career move, Jussie Smollett released a new song on Instagram titled “Thank You God.” Recall the former “Empire” star claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault in January 2019. Smollett was convicted of filing a false report and sentenced to 150 days in jail and 30 months of probation. He was released after six days behind bars as the ruling was appealed. Some of the lyrics to the song deny he was guilty, singing, “It’s like they’re hell-bent on not solving the crime / Taking out the elements of race and trans and homophobia that’s straight taking lives / But turn around and act like I’m the one that killed the strides.” 

Porn actor arrested for January 6 demonstration

Sergeant Miles, Lucas Films

A gay and straight adult film entertainer whose nom de cinema is Sergeant Miles, real name Steven Miles, has been arrested for alleged involvement in the riotous demonstration that occurred on January 6, 2021, at the U.S Capitol. The Florida man has been charged with “assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, civil disorder, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, and related offenses,” according to the Department of Justice. Most damning is that he was photographed wearing a MAGA hat. Miles isn’t the only LGBT person to have been arrested for the January 6 incident. Transgender woman and former militia member Jessica Watkins faces charges of sedition, and gay media personality Brandon Straka was sentenced to house arrest, probation, and a fine.

Tennessee marriage-equality end-run peters out

A Tennessee bill aimed at offering an alternative marriage process only for male-female couples didn’t get much traction and was sent to “study.” The bill’s goal was to create a marriage license with language disassociating the license holders from the state’s usual marriage licensing process. Sponsors said this was needed because the standard license is now available to same-sex couples. “This bill was to say have your license, but do not deny our understanding of marriage or force ministers to choose between signing a document they disagree with or performing a marriage that has no legal effect,” David Fowler, director of the conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee and a former state senator. Opponents said the confusing bill ignored the constitutional guarantee of religious freedoms and, “No minister has to perform a marriage they don’t endorse, whether for a same-sex couple, an interfaith couple, or anyone else.”

Kansas confrontation, Oklahoma and Arizona OK

The legislatures in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arizona recently passed bills “protecting” women’s sports teams from “invasion” by transgender women. All three states deemed that athletic teams “designated for ‘females,’ ‘women,’ or ‘girls’ shall not be open to students of the male sex.” The laws affect public schools and colleges as well as private schools that compete against public schools. The designation on a birth certificate is considered the “sex” marker for team membership. In a sexist lapse, no mention of keeping members of  “female sex” from the “men’s teams” is made in the legislation. The Democratic governor of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the bill while Republicans Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bills.

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