The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that threats of violence against the LGBTQ+ community are increasingand intensifying, according to ABC News. "These issues include actions linked to drag-themed events, gender-affirming care, and LGBTQIA+ curricula in schools," the department stated. The DHS added that the issues causing threats and calls of violence against the LGBTQ+ community could lead to a rise of potential attacks against larger targets, such as public spaces and healthcare sites possibly linked to the community.
A New York City LGBTQ+ Democratic club is rebranding under a new name and leadership heading into the 2023 Pride season, Gay City News reported. The Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens has been renamed the Lavender Line Democratic Club of Queens, or Lavender Democrats. (The name of the club stems from the lavender line painted along the route at the annual Queens Pride festivities that take place during the first weekend of June.) The new club's goal is to expand the base of LGBTQ+ political activity and emphasize diversity while the city braces for pivotal election cycles.
Vanessa Vincenzo Barrett, a popular trans content creator and TikToker, passed away earlier this month, according to Plus. The TikTok personalitywho had more than 70,000 followerswas an active member of Florida's CAN Community Health, a nonprofit promoting HIV testing, healthcare and STI education. Barrett remained active on her social media platforms up until three days prior to her death; no cause of death has been publicized.
Hundreds attended a vigil for Banko Brown, a 24-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down outside a San Francisco Walgreens, according to the Bay Area Reporter. "This is actually a good thing they closed. Walgreens should be ashamed of [itself]," said Julia Arroyo, the co-executive director of the Young Women's Freedom Center, which hosted the event. The suspect, security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, was arrested and charged on suspicion of one count of homicide. However, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins opted not to prosecute Anthony, citing self-defense.
On May 15, the GLSEN Respect Awards New York took place. According to a press release, Tony-winning singer, actress and songwriter Idina Menzel (Ally Award); non-binary Broadway singer, actor and artist Justin David Sullivan (Game Changer Award); the network Freedom to Learn (Movement Builder Award); and student Daniel Hadi (Student Advocate of the Year) were honored. Hosted by Kalen Allen, the event featured a performance by Jeremy Jordan as well as words of support from Chasten Buttigieg and Dominique; guests included Imara Jones, Travis Shumake and Oklahoma state Rep. Mauree Turner, among others.
NYC Pride announced its grand marshals slated to lead the NYC Pride March on Sunday, June 25, a press release noted. Billy Porter, Yasmin Benoit, AC Dumlao, Hope Giselle and Randolfe "Randy" Wicker will head this year's celebration, with Angelica Ross returning for a third year as co-host and featured performer of the broadcast special on ABC-7.
In Florida, organizers of Tampa Pride on the River have cancelled one of the region's largest pride celebrations, citing the expansion of the Parental Rights in Education Act (also called the "Don't Say Gay" Law), WFLA reported. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB-1438, titled "Protection of Children," into law in Tampa on May 17; the bill allows the state to "fine, suspend, or revoke the license of any public lodging establishment or public food service establishment if the establishment admits a child to an adult live performance." Drag queens perform in the open at the festival, which could violate the new law.
In response to the increasing number of anti-trans resolutions targeting childrenand, in some cases, transgender adults as wellthe Reform movement's Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) passed a resolution in February affirming the rights of transgender people as well as situating that resolution and those rights in Jewish tradition, the Jewish Standard reported. Those most vulnerable people, including transgender children and adults, must be protected, said Rabbi Dr. Nikki DeBlosi, who chairs the CCAR's resolutions committee.
Julie Mabry, the owner of Pearl BarHouston's only lesbian barsaid her business is in jeopardy after it was denied insurance coverage, blaming, in part, an anti-drag bill moving through the Texas Legislature, according to NBC News. "They outright denied us, the underwriters, because we host drag shows," Mabry told NBC affiliate KPRC. Mabry (who opened the Pearl Bar in 2013) has insurance through December, but she decided to switch agents a few months ago and shop around for a new policy. The anti-drag measure, Senate Bill 12, passed in the Texas Senate last month 20-11; if it becomes law, violators could be subjected to civil penalties of up to $10,000.
In Florida, the Wilton Manors City Commission went along with a statewide anti-drag law and voted to outlaw public drag performances, according to South Florida Gay News. The issue involved amending the permit for Stonewall Pride Inc. to force compliance of a new law that expands the definition of "live adult entertainment" to include drag entertainment. The Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival is scheduled for June 17.
And in another drag-related development, North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) President Clayton Morgan faced backlash from the group's committee for LGBTQ+ equality after he canceled a planned drag trivia night and suggested that the committee "present both sides" of the debate about drag culture instead, according to The Daily Beast. The bar association's committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity had scheduled their drag trivia night for June 8 but, on May 5, the group's members received an email from Morgan (the associate general counsel at Duke Energy) telling them that the event was off. A May 8 meeting to discuss the issue reportedly went "off the rails," according to committee member Michael Roessler.
After announcing headliners Mariah Carey and Megan Thee Stallion for the LA Pride in the Park musical event, the Christopher Street West Association (CSW) announced the grand marshals for this year's LA Pride Parade, per Out. They include comedian, actor and activist Margaret Cho as the Icon Grand Marshal; the late actor Leslie Jordan as the Legacy Grand Marshal; and the ACLU of Southern California as the Community Grand Marshal. "On behalf of Leslie Jordan, we are overjoyed by Christopher Street West's heartfelt recognition to name Leslie as LA Pride's Legacy Grand Marshal," Jordan's sister, Jana "Cricket" Jordan, said in a statement. The parade will air live on KABC/ABC7 on Sunday, June 11, at 11 a.m. PT as well as on ABC News Live and Hulu.
Out Rep. Robert Garcia (D-California) is forcing the U.S. House of Representatives to vote on kicking out Rep. George Santos (R-New York) after he was charged with 13 federal counts that could get him sentenced to more than a century in prison, LGBTQ Nation noted. Along with Garcia, out LGBTQ+ Reps. Eric Sorensen (D-Illinois) and Becca Balint (D-Vermont) are lead co-sponsors of the short resolution to expel Santos.
By a vote of 67-28 (largely along party lines), the Louisiana House passed its version of the "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would make it illegal for teachers to discuss sexual orientation or gender identity in Louisiana K-12 public schools, according to NOLA.com . House Bill 466, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Dodie Horton, would ban school employees and presenters from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom "in a manner that deviates from state content standards or curricula" or during extracurricular activities. Additionally, it would ban school employees and presenters from "discussing his personal sexual orientation or gender identity."
LGBTQ+ Victory Fund candidate Rue Landau advanced in the primary election for Philadelphia City Council, per an organizational press release. If elected, she would be the first out LGBTQ+ person ever elected to that political body. Philadelphia is the only major U.S. city to have never elected an out LGBTQ+ person to city council.
A bill that would have required school officials to disclose to inquiring parents that their child is using a different name or being referred to as being a different gender has been indefinitely postponed by a vote of 195-190 in the New Hampshire House, per PBS. New Hampshire Council of Churches Executive Director Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath said in a press release, "The defeat of SB 272 is a faithful move to support all of New Hampshire's students, particularly LGBTQ+ students who are especially at risk. We believe every child is made in the image of God and deserve access to spaces and places where they can thrive."
On May 27, Real Name Campaign NOLA and dozens of advocates from across the state will rally and march at the Louisiana state capitol in Baton Rouge in defense of LGBTQ+ youth, per a press release. Marchers will call on Gov. John Bel Edwards to veto the anti-LGBTQ+ bills anticipated to reach his desk.
In an effort to be more inclusive and bolster representation, Disney Advertising signed branded content development agreements with diverse-owned media companiesincluding Out's parent company, equalpride, Out noted. Each company under the agreements will develop custom short- or long-form branded content, and although the agreements are rooted in streaming, the size of the company's portfolio will support content distributions across multiple platforms. Cocina, Group Black, equal pride and UnitedMaster, will be the primary production partners for independently produced content.
The showdown at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors over the Castro Theatre will be postponed to June 6 because one member couldn't make it to the May 16 meeting, per The Bay Area Reporter. The board was expected to vote on an interior landmarking proposal for the historic movie palace that includes an amendment to retain the fixed orchestra seating.
Cedar Falls, Iowa Mayor Rob Green recently changed his mind after initially refusing to sign a Pride Month proclamation because of his religious beliefs, the Des Moines Register reported. "I would say to Cedar Falls residents: We don't have to agree to support; we don't have to agree to care; we don't have to agree in order to love each other and to try to understand each other," Green said ahead of the city council's vote. "So with that, I will sign the proclamation if it passes." The council passed the resolution immediately after Green's switch.
Florida Gov. (and presumptive presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning tax dollars from being used in state colleges for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs in a sweeping measure that also places restrictions on classroom discussion of race, per Reuters. While DEI programs are meant to assist in building racial, social and religious diversity among university faculty and students, DeSantis and other conservative critics have said they promote left-wing politics and launch racial divisions on campuses.
CAMP Rehoboththe LGBTQ+ community services center serving Rehoboth Beach and areas across Delawareannounced it hired Dr. Kim Leisey as its new executive director, per The Washington Blade. Leisey has served for three decades in the field of student affairs and facilities management at the University of Maryland Baltimore County leading up to her current position as senior associate vice president of student affairs.
ABC News has promoted gay correspondent Gio Benitez, naming him one of the network's flagship weekend programs' co-anchors, The Advocate noted. Benitez will join Good Morning America as a permanent co-anchor on Saturdays and Sundays, ABC News President Kim Godwin announced in a statement to the network's news division. He joins current co-anchors Whit Johnson and Janai Norman. During Benitez's time at ABC News, he covered the Pulse nightclub shooting, El Chapo's escape from prison in Mexico and the Boston Marathon bombing.
In Texas, Resource Center is holding a ceremonial groundbreaking for Oak Lawn Place, its new senior housing facility, The Dallas Voice noted. The $4-million capital campaign to build the senior housing project was launched in December 2020. According to a statement at the time, Resource Center undertook the project to "meet the growing demand for affordable housing and care and services for the aging [LGBTQ+] population in the Dallas community."
GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley would not endorse a federal abortion ban, saying it would not be honest for a Republican to promise such an unrealistic prospect to the country, according to Yahoo! News. On the CBS program Face the Nation, she said, "For a national standard, I think we have to tell the American people the truth."
A gay professor was placed on paid leave after creating a "hostile work environment" by handing out gendered chocolate bars with a "transphobic" message, per PinkNews. David Richardson, a tenured history professor at Madera Community College in California, reportedly brought chocolate bars to a campus open house that had "he/him" and "she/her" written on them; the he/him bars contain nuts while the she/her bars are nutless. The brand the confectionery belongs to is Jeremy's Chocolate, created by Jeremy Boreing, the co-CEO of conservative news outlet The Daily Wire.
NYC-based mixed media artist Beau McCall aka The Button Man will have an upcoming solo exhibition, "Rewind: History on Repeat," opening in Florida's Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library (SNMAL), per a press release. The exhibition, running June 2-Sept. 8, will feature McCall's mixed-media collages spotlighting the Black LGBTQ+ experience in America. The collages capture the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, from Philadelphia to New York, during the LGBTQ+-rights movement, the height of disco music and the AIDS crisis.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed legislation to ban Chinese-owned TikTok from operating in the state to protect residents from alleged intelligence gathering by Chinamaking it the first U.S. state to ban the popular short video app, CNBC reported. As of Jan. 1, Montana will make it unlawful for Google's and Apple's app stores to offer TikTok within the state, but will not impose any penalties on individuals using the app.
New York City passed a bill making it illegal to discriminate against people based on their weight, Yahoo! Life noted. The bill would make it illegal to discriminate against height and weight in housing, employment, and public accommodation, reported the BBC. The city joins six other U.S. cities and one state with similar laws, including D.C. and San Francisco. New Jersey, New York state and Massachusetts are also exploring similar legislation.