National & World News Briefs

Roberta Kaplan gets it done

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher always said, “If you want to hear a speech, ask a man. If you want to get something done, ask a woman.” It took Roberta Kaplan to finally win a suit against a man who has escaped legal punishment for 50 years — the USA’s 45th president. The civil suit for writer  E. Jean Carroll, about a sexual assault in the 1990s in New York resulted in a $5 million settlement for sexual abuse and defamation. Kaplan is proudly a lesbian and a longtime champion of lesbian, gay, and women’s rights. Kaplan is most famous for representing Edie Windsor, a lesbian widow who challenged the Defense of Marriage Act. In 2013, DOMA’s section 3 was ruled unconstitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court

FDA clarifies gay/bi blood donations, sort of

The Food and Drug Administration announced it will allow more gay and bisexual men to donate blood. The prior rule: if a man had anal intercourse with another man within the last three months, the blood could not be used. A significant change: Men in monogamous relationships are no longer required to abstain from sex to donate. Now, all potential donors need to complete individualized risk assessments — regardless of gender or sexual proclivity. People who have had anal sex with new partners or more than one partner in the last three months would be asked to wait to donate blood.

RIP Dame Edna, never a drag

Though not a gay man, comedian Barry Humphries, created one of the most recognizable drag characters in recent memory, the internationally renowned stage personae’ Dame Edna Everage. Humphries died in his native Australia at age 89. He started performing as Dame Edna in the 1950s. The Dame was one of many stage characters he created and became the most famous. Humphries, as Dame Edna, won a Tony Award for the Broadway play, “Dame Edna: The Royal Tour.” Dame Edna’s alter ego was married four times. Apparently, a bio-woman could not compete with Humphries’ uber-feminine creation, Dame Edna.

Twitter changes language/conduct policy. Oh poop

Twitter has removed language in its “hateful conduct policy” prohibiting the targeted misgendering or “deadnaming” of transgender people. The policy has been in place since 2018. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said the move made Twitter less safe for people and advertisers. Twitter’s report function still allows users to report a tweet for “misgendering or deadnaming” a person or a group of people. The site responded to a request for comment with the 💩“Pile of Poo” emoji , an automated message it sends as a reply to all media requests.

Transgender Legislative Round-Up

North Dakota law now regulates and restricts transgender health care to people younger than 18.

Also, public schools and government entities are now prohibited from requiring teachers and employees to refer to transgender people by the pronouns of choice.

Teachers are now required to tell a parent or legal guardian if the student identifies as transgender.

Transgender students are prohibited from using the bathroom of their choice without prior approval from a parent or guardian. Not clear if this is needed every time the child needs the bathroom or if a blanket notification is allowed.

Missouri’s attorney general announced new restrictions on gender-affirming care for adults in addition to minors. The regulation is a legal opinion from existing law and is believed to be the first regulation of transgender care for adults in the U.S. Advocacy groups are threatening to sue for administrative overreach. Minors would no longer have access to puberty blockers, hormones, or surgery. The adult ban affects Medicaid healthcare subscribers and inmates in local and state jails and prisons.

Missouri law now prohibits transgender girls and women from participating in female sports teams at public, private, and charter schools through the collegiate level.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed four anti-transgender bills. Veto override votes narrowly failed.

Montana House Speaker ruled Rep. Zooey Zephyr, Montana’s only transgender elected official, could not participate in debates until she apologized for saying lawmakers would have “blood on their hands” if they supported a bill regulating medical care for transgender youth. This action resulted in widespread protests by transgender activists and allies at the state house in Helena. Montana became for 15th state to regulate affording minors access to medical procedures to change sexes.

Colorado became the first U. S. state to include gender-affirming health care as an essential health benefit, or EHB. Under federal law, each state is required to provide ten EHBs, such as prescription drugs and emergency services. The Federal Department of Health and Human Services officially signed off on Colorado considering gender-affirming health care an EHB. Colorado 4th Congressional Representative known, as the “AR 15 Barbie”, objected to the federal ok, calling it a disgrace.

Washington State Governor signed a law protecting minors seeking gender changing medical care in Washington from the intervention of estranged parents. The law requires pro-forma notification of parents of children in “state care” who are seeking surgery or pharmaceutical solutions to change sex.

U.S. Congress passed legislation that would ban transgender women and girls from competing in female school athletics. The “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act” goes to the U. S. Senate for action, which it will not receive.

Surfer wipe-out

Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton said she does not intend to participate in upcoming World Surf League events after the organization announced a change in policies that will allow transgender women to compete in women’s events.

Courts examine transgender insurance coverage

The Richmond-based U. S. Court of Appeals said it will take up whether North Carolina’s state health insurance plan can bar coverage for treatments sought by transgender people for gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy. North Carolina is among a group of at least 15 states where employee health plans do not include coverage for gender transition-related procedures.

Watch your mouth, coach

UC basketball coaching legend Bob Huggins was fined for using gay and religious slurs during a radio interview. Huggins is legendary for his number of wins on the court and DUIs, suggesting that no member of the Xavier University basketball team would transfer to his School, West Virginia U. “Catholics don’t do that.” He said, “Any school that can throw rubber penises on the floor and then say they didn’t do it, by God, they can get away with anything.” When asked by the interviewer if it was “transgender night” at the ballgame, Huggins answered, “No, what it was, was all those faggots, those Catholic faggots, I think.” The Hall of Fame Coach was later suspended and fined and he apologized for the slurs.

An attractive Good Morning wake up call

ABC News has named Gio Benitez co-anchor of Good Morning America’s Saturday and Sunday telecasts. He is apparently gay, as GLAAD heralded his appointment with a statement, “GLAAD congratulates Gio Benitez on his new role as co-anchor of Good Morning America’s Weekend show and applauds ABC News for continuing to elevate inclusive and intersectional LGBTQ experiences.” Use of the word, “intersectional,’ is apparently a reference to his Hispanic ethnicity. Since 2020, Benitez has covered transportation, aviation, and space exploration at ABC News.

Gotta love Midwest cities

The City Council of Kansas City, Missouri declared the city will be a sanctuary for Missouri residents seeking medical treatment for gender issues. Directions were issued to city departments to ignore the Missouri Attorney General’s “diktat” that adults would also be covered by the legislature’s ban on gender-related medical therapies for minors.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Human Rights Commission asked Mayor Rob Green to sign a letter proclaiming June as Pride Month. The mayor spoke of his Christian values when announcing his decision not to support the proclamation. A manure storm ensued.  At city council meetings, citizens told the mayor they were embarrassed. Others told him that they felt unsafe. The mayor relented, saying, in an example of “Iowa nice,” “We don’t have to agree in order to love each other and to try to understand each other.”

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