The first transgender death of 2019 has occurred, as Dana Martin, 31, was fatally shot in Montgomery, Alabama, on Jan. 6, The Advocate reported. The newspaper did not mention her gender, and some other media outlets misgendered her, but local activists told The Advocate she was an African-American trans woman. She lived in Hope Hull, an unincorporated area near Montgomery. At least 24 trans people were murdered in the United States last yearmost of them women of color.
The Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a package of rules that will govern the legislative body's operation for the next two yearsincluding a ban on employment discrimination against LGBTQ staffers and job-seekers, NBC News noted. The rules package was pushed by Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, one of eight openly LGBTQ lawmakers in the House. David Stacy, the government affairs director of national LGBTQ-rights group Human Rights Campaign, called the bill's passage "an historic moment for our country."
North Carolina has lost Netflix's business for the time being because portions of the state's anti-LGBTQ House Bill 2 remain on the books, The Advocate reported. The streaming giant had initially wanted to shoot its coming-of-age series OBXset in North Carolina's Outer Banks, in the show's creator Jonas Pate's town of Wilmington, North Carolina; but South Carolina is being considered instead while any remnants remain of House Bill 2 is in effect. HB2, which became law in 2016, was partially repealed the following year and replaced with HB 142; however, opponents say the latter leaves the door open for discrimination.
Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives have opened an investigation into a second death in less than two years at the home of Ed Buck, who has been described as a "mega-donor" to Democratic Party candidates and causes, MercuryNews.com reported. Both victims were Black men, with the first victim being Gemmel Moore, 26, who wrote in a journal a few months before he died in 2017 that he was using drugs and "Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth," according to a NewsOne.com item that cites the L.A. Times. Buck, 62, is a past candidate for the West Hollywood City Council and is well known in LGBTQ political circles; he claims he's not responsible for Moore's death and did not furnish him with drugs, The Advocate noted.
The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) called for Congress to pass legislation that mandates universal background checks for the purchase of firearms in the United States in response to the introduction of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 and a similar bill in the Senate. In a statement, HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said, "There is bipartisan support for meaningful steps to stop these preventable tragedies, including an assurance that no person in this country can purchase a firearm without clearing a background check. From Newtown to Orlando to Parkland to Pittsburgh, Americans have called for action, only to be ignored. No more." According to Everytown for Gun Safety, more than 33,000 gun-related deaths occur every year.
Eleven LGBT advocacy and legal services organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit urging the court to uphold the district court ruling in a case brought by The American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU ), the ACLU of Florida and law firm DLA Piper LLP on behalf of Reiyn Keohanea transgender woman incarcerated in a Miami prison who was denied medically necessary care by the Florida Department of Corrections ( DOC ), a Lambda Legal press release noted. Last August, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled it was medically necessary for the DOC to continue Keohane's hormone therapy and to provide her the ability to socially transition in prison, in that she must be permitted access to the same clothing and grooming standards as other incarcerated women.
New Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order ensuring non-discrimination in state employment and state contractingbut the directive notably excludes LGBT people, The Washington Blade reported. The order DeSantis signed, Executive Order No. 19-10, is titled "Reaffirming Commitment to Diversity in Government," says nothing about sexual orientation or gender identity. Joe Saunders, senior political director for Equality Florida, slammed DeSantis in a statement for the exclusion.
Equality Virginia has launched a new month-long messaging campaign to raise awareness of the fact that one can be fired in Virginia because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, The Washington Blade noted. The campaign will come in the form of a series of billboards that read, "Someone you know is gay. ... They can be fired for who they are." The messaging echoes the "Someone You Know Is Gay" billboards positioned around Richmond in the 1980s.
Openly gay California Assemblyman Todd Gloria has launched his campaign to become San Diego's next mayor, The San Diego Union Tribune reported. Gloria is expected to battle fellow Democrats Congressman Scott Peters and Councilwoman Barbara Bry in the race to succeed Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who can't run for re-election because of term limits. Before being elected to the state Assembly in 2016, Gloria, 40, served eight years on the San Diego City Council.
For the first time in Texas history, the state legislature will have an LGBT Caucus, The Dallas Voice noted. State Rep. Mary Gonzaleza four-term representative who identifies as pansexual and is the dean of the delegationfiled paperwork to create the caucus. When the legislature convened Jan. 8, four additional LGBT women were sworn into office; state Rep. Celia Israel begins her third full term representing District 50.
A transgender womanwhose angry response to a the way a clerk addressed her at a New Mexico video game store has gone viralhas spoken out after she said she was mistreated at the store, AJC.com noted, citing KOB News. Tiffany Moore said she was returning a video game she bought for her son to a GameStop in Albuquerque when she said the cashier repeatedly called her "sir" instead of "ma'am." Moore said she is using the video clip to raise awareness about the transgender community; she has already written a song and plans to create a music video.
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued a statement condemning the nomination of Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Gupta said, in part, "What we know of Neomi Rao's record makes perfectly clear that she is unfit to serve as a fair and impartial judge. Recently discovered writings by Rao contradict the foundational values upon which our country is built. She has demonstrated hostility toward racial and gender equality, sexual-assault survivors, LGBTQ rights. and the dire need to address climate change."
Over-the-counter contraceptives, such as condoms, are now free to Washington residents with health insurance, Gay Star News noted. Following six years of Republican obstruction, the Reproductive Parity Act was passed last year. Now, Washingtonians with state-regulated health insurance ( including Medicaid ) can pick up over-the-counter contraceptives at their in-network pharmacies for no cost.
The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) announced that award-winning actress Amandla Stenberg will receive the HRC Visibility Award and Tony-winning producer Jordan Roth will receive the HRC Legacy Award at the organization's 2019 Greater New York Gala on Saturday, Feb. 2, in New York City, a press release noted. The annual event raises funds in the fight for LGBTQ equality and attracts more than 1,000 of the organization's most active members and supporters, political officials from federal, state and local governments, as well as celebrity entertainers and leaders from the business community. See HRCGreaterNY.org .
Saying he respects the LGBTQIA community, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins tried to clarify comments he made about Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder's behavior during a heated NBA game, GlobalNews.ca reported. According to audio from the locker room, Wiggins appeared to say: "He was just gay. He was acting crazy for no reason." On Twitter, Wiggins said, "I'd like to clarify what I said tonight during my post game media session. I said: 'I don't know what's wrong with him he was just getting… acting crazy for no reason."
A 34-year-old man has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly groping, harassing and punching two lesbians at an NFL football game, according to Gay Star News. According to court documents, Jay Dee Harp III, spent much of the time harassing a married lesbian couple in Seattle during a game between the Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals; he later allegedly groped one of the women and punched the other. Police charged Harp with second-degree assault and malicious harassment, which is Seattle's legal name for a hate crime.
In Ohio, an LGBTQ-rights rally/march is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 21, in Toledo, according to a press release from Lair Scott, founder of the first-ever Toledo Gay Pride Day in 1995 and director of Toledo LGBTQ Social Services. Among other things, the event will address issues such as the sale of the now-shuttered Bretz nightclub space ( a gay spot ) to the Greater Toledo House of Prayer ( which The Toledo Blade has called an anti-LGBTQ group ); the demand of a section of Erie St. to honor local LGBTQ figure Joe Wicks; and having sexual orientation and gender identification added to the Ohio's employment-discrimination statute.