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NATIONAL Anti-bias rule nixed, trans deaths, lesbian archivist dies
by Windy City Times staff

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Under the cover of chaos the day after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, the Trump administration officially nixed regulations barring federal grantees in the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) from discriminating against LGBTQ people, including in adoption services, The Washington Blade reported. HHS went public Jan. 7 with the final rule, which rescinds regulations implemented in the Obama administration barring discrimination among HHS grantees with respect to sex, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. The change also rescinds the Obama-era regulations requiring HHS grantees to "treat as valid the marriages of same-sex couples."

There were at least 43 transgender and non-binary people killed in the United States in 2020—the deadliest year ever, reported. (The previous high was 31 people, in 2017, and other sources say that there were as many as 50, if not more.) The majority were people of color. Just a few of the victims included Lexi, Serena Angelique Velaquez Ramos, Nina Pop, Johanna Metzger, Courtney "Eshay" Key, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Selena Reyes-Hernandez, Summer Taylor, Marilyn Monroe Cazares, Queasha D. Hardy, Mia Green and Aerrion Burnett. Out's full list is at .

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) issued a press release mourning the loss of trans woman Kimberly Patricia Cope, whose body was discovered by a passerby in an Athens, Georgia restaurant on Dec. 27, 2020. "As we enter the New Year we should commit to concerted, communal efforts to ensure that Black trans and gender non-confirming lives are valued, supported, and protected," said NBJC Executive Director David J. Johns. "Kimberly Patricia Cope should be celebrating new opportunities presented by this New Year with all of us. Instead, her family and friends are planning her homegoing services while holding out hope for some sense of justice. Kimberly and her family deserve better. Our community deserves better." Anyone with information regarding her death is asked to contact Sgt. Gregory Dickson at 762-400-7070 or .

Bay Area Lesbian Archives founder Lenn Keller has died at age 69, The Advocate reported, citing The Bay Area Reporter. The cause of death was cancer, and she died at her home in Oakland, California. Keller started the archive in 2014, putting out a call for stories and donations of material relating to lesbians' experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. But the collection "is not just for the lesbian community and it is not just for the queer community," she told the Reporter in 2015. "I feel it is for everybody." It is now billed as "the largest major archive on the West Coast dedicated to preserving and promoting lesbian and feminist history and culture," the Reporter noted.

A code of conduct change in the U.S. House of Representatives swaps gendered language for gender-inclusive terms in its official language, The Fresno Bee noted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern—both Democrats—outlined the proposal. It's included in a package of "sweeping" rule changes that, among other things, promote diversity and inclusion in the 117th Congress. The House approved the package 217-206, along party lines, The Hill reported.

On a related note, former presidential candidate and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) went on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show to complain about gender-neutral language that the U.S. House will soon be using, like replacing "Chairman" and "Chairwoman" with "Chair," LGBTQ Nation noted. "It's the height of hypocrisy for people who claim to be the champions of rights for women to deny the very biological existence of women," Gabbard said. Gabbard ran in the Democratic presidential primary in 2020 and faced strong criticism for her past work as an anti-LGBTQ activist, even working for an organization that supported conversion therapy.

A California woman pled guilty to threatening to bomb a D.C. Catholic school after it announced it would include news of same-sex marriages in its alumnae magazine, NBC Washington reported. Two days after Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School announced it would print the announcements, a nun and administrator received threats about bombing the school and killing nuns. Sonia Tabizada, 36, pled guilty in federal court to making the bomb threat.

An Arizona county's Republican committee voted to censure Cindy McCain, widow of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona.), The Hill reported. The Maricopa County Republican Committee voted to censure McCain, the Arizona Republic reported, citing her support for "leftist causes" like same-sex marriage, larger government and "others that run counter to Republican values." The committee also said she "failed" to support conservative candidates and has "supported globalist policies and candidates," including Democrats such as President-elect Joe Biden, the newspaper reported.

In Ohio, Charmaine McGuffey made history when she took the oath of office as the first openly gay person and first woman to become Hamilton County sheriff, reported. "It's a momentous day," McGuffey said to the handful of people in the room, the audience limited due to COVID-19. "It's a great day." McGuffey will take charge of a sheriff's office that fired her three years earlier after she had worked there for 34 years. She is one of at least five openly gay sheriffs in the country, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. Cincinnati is the county seat.

Sasha Renee Perez made history when she was sworn in as the new mayor of Alhambra, California, in December, reported. "I am the first of many things. … I'm the first LGBTQ-identifying person to be a part of the council, I am bisexual," said Perez, 28. "And on top of that I am the first renter as well." She won the city council race in the November election. Because of the mayoral rotation, Perez was sworn in as mayor and the council on the same day.

Patricia Loud—the matriarch of the Loud family in the TV documentary An American Family—has died at age 94, Deadline noted. She and her family entered the spotlight as one of the subjects of what is considered the first U.S. reality-television series. Filmed May 30-Dec. 31, 1971, An American Family followed the daily life of the Loud family, an upper-middle-class family based in Santa Barbara (and eventually the divorce of William and Patricia). The show also became well-known when son Lance (who died in 2001) came out as gay. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made in Patricia's name to The Rescue Train, at .

Following a year of racial protests over police killings of Black Americans across the country, San Francisco's top two political leaders will be African Americans born and raised in the city, The Bay Area Reporter noted. The Board of Supervisors unanimously elected District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton as its next president—and he's the first Black man to serve in the role. London Breed is the city's mayor.

Gay Louisiana teen Holden White, 19, is calling for the justice system to strike his attacker with hate-crime charges, Instinct Magazine noted. White told the Acadiana Advocate that no red flags appeared during his conversations with Chance Seneca, 19; when White went over to Seneca's father's place to play video games, Seneca allegedly attacked White, cutting him several times. Seneca was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder; he remains jailed with a $250,000 bond.

Three years after it went on hiatus due to months of lacking the quorum needed for meetings, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission's LGBTQI Advisory Committee will relaunch in 2021 under a new membership structure, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Recruitment of community members interested in serving on it will begin in February, with the first meeting expected to take place in the spring ahead of Pride Month. First established in 1975, the committee is tasked with advising the HRC on issues affecting the LGBTQ community.

In Southern California, the LGBTQ+ community has a new center devoted to addressing its physical and mental health needs, noted. Launched by UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health, the center is led by epidemiology professor Matthew Mimiaga, who said his goal is to reach historically marginalized communities and take a holistic approach to addressing the health disparities they face. The center will also partner with local organizations, including the Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth.

Openly gay longtime MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart is now a permanent host on the network, noted. The two-time Out100 honoree also been announced as a regular contributor to PBS Newshour, succeeding Mark Shields. "Following a giant like Mark Shields and becoming part of the PBS Newshour family is a double honor," Capehart said in a statement of the new segment Brooks & Capehart. "And I can't think of a better person with whom to hash out the future of our nation and our politics than David Brooks."

Simon & Schuster decided not to publish a forthcoming book by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (titled The Tyranny of Big Tech), citing the lawmaker's role in fomenting the recent "disturbing [and] deadly insurrection" at the U.S. Capitol, NPR reported. Hawley quickly fired back at the publisher, calling the move "Orwellian" and an "assault on the First Amendment." Hawley was photographed offering a raised fist in apparent solidarity with the crowd that would later attack the houses of Congress.

A gay bar in Oklahoma was vandalized two consecutive nights in December, reported. The Oklahoma City bar Partners was unconventionally vandalized with soup and blueberries. Luckily for Partners and the community, the culprit was caught on surveillance video; he appeared to be driving an early 2000s model of a Chevrolet Silverado truck.

Philadelphia's Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar settled a trans-related anti-bias lawsuit filed by a former employee for $15,000—while denying any wrongdoing in the matter, Philadelphia Gay News reported. "Roe," who is transgender and non-binary, worked as a server at Tabu from October 2018 to December 2019. Roe—who initially requested more than $150,000 and a written apology—filed suit against Tabu in July 2020, alleging compensation discrimination, failure-to-promote, hostile work environment, retaliation and wrongful discharge.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control are seeking an 85 day suspension of Jersey City LGBTQ nightclub Six26's liquor license, according to . According to a press release, Six26 was cited for violating the 10 p.m. curfew, face-cover requirements and for exceeding the limit on the number of patrons seated at a table. It was also cited for hindering an investigation and allowing smoking indoors. Six26 was one of 12 establishments charged across the state.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, an MGM Resorts luxury resort destination, celebrated the recent holiday season by giving back to Atlantic County and New Jersey charitable organizations, a press release noted. Borgata's 12 Days of Giving honored the people and communities that make up the greater Atlantic City region by providing meaningful gifts, support and donations to a wide variety of nonprofits and service groups. Borgata partnered with such groups as the LGBTQ organization Garden State Equality; Community FoodBank of New Jersey; and Adelaide's Place, A Center for Women, among others.

A day after Parler was removed from the Google Play Store, Apple made a similar step, USA Today noted. The social network, launched in 2018, became popular among conservatives and an unmoderated home to more extreme views in 2020 when both Facebook and Twitter tightened their content moderation and labeling. "We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity," Apple said in a statement.

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