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Sadness for Martina and Kathy

Calamity has struck two sports figures. Tennis great Martina Navratilova was diagnosed with throat and breast cancer. Kathy Whitworth, who had more pro-golf tournament wins than Sam Snead or Tiger Woods, died on Christmas Eve. Navratilova is a cancer survivor and says the prognosis for recovery now is good, too. Treatment will keep her from her commentator duties for the Tennis Channel. Whitworth won 88 tournaments and unexpectedly died at a Christmas Eve party. Her LTR, Bettye Odle, said of the death, “Kathy left this world the way she lived her life — loving, laughing, and creating memories.”

Costly restaurant slurs

A married couple in London was awarded $150,000 after suing a London restaurant for anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. The couple claimed they had been “bullied for months on end” and endured “constant slurs” from colleagues at the Italian restaurant where one was an employee and the other a part owner. The company withheld partnership dividends and accused the partner of stealing company funds. The other man was a server, experienced antigay slurs, and was threatened with bodily harm. A company WhatsApp account proved company directors conspired to force a resignation. Said the judge, “The plaintiffs have established they suffered from unwanted conduct as a result of their sexual orientation creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for them.”

Poland politicians piqued

The “rainbow symbol” has gotten American music group “The Black-Eyed Peas” in trouble in Poland. Wearing rainbow armbands on a New Year’s Eve telecast in Poland angered some Polish politicians. The band’s performance, seen by an estimated 8.3 million viewers, prompted angry Twitter comments from Pol Pols. The Deputy agriculture minister wrote, “Homopropaganda on TVP for $1 million (Ed: the event’s production cost).” A Law and Justice Party (PiS) figure, tweeted, “It’s not a New Year’s Eve of Dreams but a New Year’s Eve of Deviance.” The offending song, “Where’s the Love?” was dedicated to “those who have experienced hate throughout this year.”

Santos gets Brazilian cut

George Santos, newly elected member of congress from Long Island, New York, has been revealed to be an above-average liar — for a politician — and the lies are getting in deeper and deeper. His lies about his religion, ethnic heritage, and income are well-documented. Then he showed up for his U. S. Congressional swearing-in, not wearing the wedding ring he wore during the campaign, and flashed a supposed white supremacy hand sign during the ceremony. New York Republicans are calling for him to resign, and the new House Leadership is hesitant to put him on committees. Now he is facing scrutiny in Brazil. Brazilian authorities have said they will revive fraud charges against him for financial improprieties in that country. They dropped the case in 2008 because he could not be found in Brazil. By that time, he had moved on to defraud voters in the U.S.

Bad business In Kenya

Edwin Chiloba

Edwin Chiloba has lived a life of danger in Kenya advocating for gay and lesbian rights. The danger became real as Kenyan police were investigating his death. His body was found stuffed in a metal box and left on a rural road in the west of the country. Police said the box contained the body of a man dressed in women’s clothing. He was identified by colleagues at a morgue in Nairobi, Kenya. He was a fashion designer and model. Police have arrested five people, one of which was Chiloba’s partner. Motive speculation ranges from a hate crime for his activism to a romantic conflict involving his partner and other people. Gay and lesbian people in Kenya have experienced discrimination and attacks in a country where sex between men is illegal.

Truth, justice, and the American gay

Robert Garcia, who was mayor of Long Beach before being elected to U. S. Congress, employed a gay sense of humor for his Congressional swearing-in. He placed his hand on, not the Christian Bible, but a copy of the U. S. Constitution, his certificate of citizenship, a picture of his parents, and the first Superman comic book that he borrowed from the Library of Congress. Superman was the gayest superhero — one who wore a tight costume to show off pecs and biceps and a nice bulge, and was wary of women.

Arizona gov issues LGBT order

Arizona’s new governor, Kaite Hobbs, issued an executive order to protect LGBT state employees and contractors from job discrimination. Arizona is one of nearly 30 states without an LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination law. The order directs the Arizona government to add sexual orientation and gender identity to rules protecting race, sex, religion, pregnancy, disability, veteran status, and other factors. The amendments will be included in all state contracts or subcontracts.

“Tar” tarred by Alsop

Kate Blanchett just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of a flawed orchestra conductor in the movie “Tár.” She is on track to get an Oscar, too. That did not stop Marin Alsop, the real-life conductor with the most similarities to the movie character, from some criticism. Alsop, arguably the world’s best-known female conductor, said in an interview she had concerns about the movie’s buzz and similarities to her. In the interview, she said, “But once I saw it, I was no longer concerned, I was offended. I was offended as a woman. I was offended as a conductor. I was offended as a lesbian.” Alsop thought the movie was “anti-woman” and missed an opportunity to praise her, oops, “female conductors.” Alsop believes there are many abusive male conductors this film could have been based on.” She was sad “Tár ” put a woman in the role but gave her all the bad attributes of those men. “To have an opportunity to portray a woman in that role and to make her an abuser — for me, that was heartbreaking,” Alsop said.

National legislative action

Political activists are predicting a record flow of LGBT legislation — pro and con — to be introduced in state legislatures, most of which start new sessions in January. Most actions will be in the “T” category of the acronym.

Texas leads the league with 35 bills dealing with LGBT issues. Three Texas bills would classify providing gender-related care to minors as child abuse.

California, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia have seen pre-filed bills that will affect transgender healthcare access. Most will restrict care provision up to the age of 18. Some surgical and pharmaceutical therapies will be restricted to age 26. Second and third opinions for therapies may also be required.

California’s Sanctuary Law went into effect on the first of the year. The law shields families of transgender youth from criminal prosecution if they travel to California for gender-related health procedures. The law blocks out-of-state subpoenas and prohibits medical providers from sharing information with out-of-state entities.

Illinois will act on similar sanctuary protection. The state house, a full-time legislature, has already increased protections for patients and providers of abortions and gender-related treatments.

Minnesota legislation would give the state jurisdiction in child custody cases involving parents who bring their children to Minnesota for gender-related health care.

Oklahoma’s proposal would prohibit the distribution of public funds to organizations that provide gender-related procedures to patients younger than 21.

Tennessee will strengthen current restrictions on gender care with a proposed ban on altering a child’s hormones or performing surgeries that enable a child to present as a gender different from their sex identified at birth.

South Carolina legislation seeks to require that adults older than 21 obtain referrals from their doctor and a licensed psychiatrist before they can begin gender treatment.

Utah, which passed restrictions last year on trans girls’ participation in sports, will see adjustments in law due to suits working through the courts.

Oklahoma will use recent court rulings allowing restriction on school bathroom usage to regulate how public buildings can provide access. The state also will raise the age to 26 for those seeking gender care and block gender care from being covered under the state’s Medicaid program.

The American Civil Liberties Union reports little or no legislation which ends or modifies standing LGBT non-discrimination laws. It does report that some states are considering “Religious Liberty” protections which may modify some commercial activity and allow discrimination by adoption agencies affiliated with religious organizations.

An ALCU tracker shows marriage equality and housing non-discrimination do not appear threatened by legislative activity this year.

Restrictions on books and school curriculum are under consideration in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

Golden Globes gay stuff

The 80th annual Golden Globe Awards included some very queer moments. Starting with the host, breakout gay comedian Jerrod Carmichael. Many of the people and programs featured and honored fit the queer bill, too. Big winners included LGBTQ-inclusive films and shows like “The White Lotus,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “Tár.” Also honored were gay TV writer, producer, and director Ryan Murphy — creator of “Glee,” “Pose,” and the “American Horror Story” series.

Queer Highlights: 

Jerrod Carmichael apologized to “White Lotus” star Jennifer Coolidge, “on behalf of all the gays.” He was referring to her character’s mistreatment on the show at the hands of a “group of evil ‘high-end” gays with mafia ties.”

Michelle Yeoh, accepting the “Best Actress in a musical or comedy,” gives a shoutout to Jamie Lee Curtis. She exclaimed that Curtis was her “hot dog lover,” a reference to their characters’ hot-dog-like fingers in the film.

Actor and singer Zendaya won a Golden Globe for her role as troubled queer teen Rue Bennett in “Euphoria.”

Billy Porter, via his Facebook page

Billy Porter, in a fierce fuchsia tuxedo gown, introduced winner Ryan Murphy with a passionate speech about making a gay place for himself in the entertainment business. “In the early aughts, when my Black gay ass decided to come out to Hollywood and try my luck at this film and television thing for the first time, I discovered on Day One that Hollywood wasn’t having all this Black boy joy yet,” said Porter. He found acceptance and has been in several of Murphy’s gay-friendly productions.

Murphy received the Carol Burnett Award for Achievement in Television. His acceptance speech was dedicated to and aimed at LGBT actors and productions with whom he’s worked. He said he did that “to make a point of hope and progress.” He recounted that, as a youngster watching television in the 1970s, “I never, ever saw a person like me getting an award or even being a character on a TV show.” Wags said he must have missed all of Bob Cumming’s tv career, any of Merv Griffin and his guests, and the many appearances of Tony Randall.

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