It’s been a little over five years, March 23, since the passage of House Bill 2, a piece of legislation that forever transformed North Carolina and the fight for transgender rights in the United States and around the world commonly referred to “the bathroom bill.” On this notorious anniversary, our country is also on the precipice of passing a federal law protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in every area of life, including housing, public spaces, healthcare, and more. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act earlier this month, and it’s up to the U.S. Senate to take the bill and enact its critical protections once and for all. It’s incredible to think how far we’ve come in five years — and how North Carolina has been a major player in our country’s major shift toward transgender equality. HB2 in 2016 was about so much more than bathrooms — it outright overturned and banned local statutes throughout North Carolina that protected people from discrimination. A global backlash followed: Businesses, celebrities, events canceled an estimated $3.76 billion in investment from North Carolina. And that fall, Governor Pat McCrory, a major champion of HB2, lost his reelection bid, unable to overcome the political damage of the law. In past weeks, a half dozen municipalities in North Carolina have passed LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinances. Each of the ordinances they passed unanimously. According to polling, more than 67 percent of North Carolinians support nondiscrimination measures. North Carolina, and certainly their neighbor Virginia are starting to light a new path for LGBTQ civil rights.
Eyes have turned to Montana, as a federal judge in the state will soon rule on removing citizens convicted of having consensual gay sex from the state’s sex offender registry. The decision hinges on the case of Randall Menges, an Idaho man convicted of sex offenses in the state when he was 18 years old. In 1994, a court convicted Menges of criminal sex offenses after he was discovered having sex with two males. Though a police investigation found that the sex acts were consensual, Menges received a prison sentence, probation and was required to register as a sex offender. Now 45, Menges has filed suit against Montana, arguing that the state violated his rights as it has no current prohibitions against gay sex. Such antiquated sodomy laws were overruled in 2003 in the landmark Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas. However, Montana currently has a law that requires registered sex offenders from other states to register as offenders in Montana, regardless of the facts of the case. The news comes as Menges has joined the American Civil Liberties Union in a federal suit against the state of Idaho in hopes of having his original conviction overturned.
Anti-LGBTQ organization the Family Research Council has told its followers that gay people are “unnatural” and directed them to a Bible passage that suggests they “deserve death.” A release issued through Watchmen on the Wall, FRC’s official ministry to pastors, summarizes a publication from last year called “Biblical Principles for Human Sexuality,” written by David Closson, FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview. FRC, a recognized hate group said “The apostle Paul explains that humanity has rejected God, exchanging the truth about Him and the things He created for a lie. While describing the sinful ‘exchanges’ men and women have made, Paul uses the term para physin, which means ‘unnatural’ or ‘against nature.’ Homosexuality is unnatural because it is a departure from God’s design for sexuality. According to the passage, homosexuality is also a consequence of humanity suppressing God’s truth and refusing to honor Him.” FRC points its followers to Biblical passages Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:18-32 in the Bible claiming that gay people “deserve death” and should be “put to death.”
Traditionally, Americans hate Congress. Yet approval of Congress is now at a 12-year high, a modest 35 percent, because Congress is actually doing something. Voters are encouraged by the passage of the $1.9 billion economic stimulus package. The legislative branch is actually legislating! But unless the Senate changes its bizarre filibuster rules, Congress won’t be doing anything else any time soon–including passing the Equality Act. The passage of the stimulus package relied on an obscure rule that allows the Senate to pass budgetary issues without the threat of a filibuster. But virtually no other legislation, including voting right protections or the Equality Act, qualifies for that exception. Under Senate rules, 60 senators need to vote to end debate on legislation and move it forward, a process called cloture. That doesn’t mean all 60 will vote for a bill. That just means that they will allow the entire Senate to vote for it. Republicans in particular have been using this tactic to ensure that legislation they don’t like never comes to the floor for a vote. The most progressive members have been pushing to end the filibuster altogether, but two Senators, Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), have said they oppose such a move. However, Manchin is now saying he’s open to making it “painful” to use the filibuster. Even more importantly, President Biden is signaling he’s fine with that approach. Instead of eliminating the filibuster outright, Manchin is proposing a return to the talking filibuster, where Senators have to hold the floor and talk nonstop. The President has suggested our democracy is not working if something is not done to end the 60 filibuster rule as it currently stands. The president’s position may also force Sinema to change her tune. Sinema clings to bipartisanship like a life raft in the ocean, ignoring the fact that the GOP keeps poking holes in it. She has declared that she won’t eliminate the filibuster, but perhaps reforming it would give her cover to tweak her position. Otherwise, the Equality Act and a lot of the Democratic agenda is doomed to failure. If Sinema refuses to go along with the change, she will have the odd distinction of being a sponsor of the Equality Act and the person who single handedly ensured its failure.
SPOILER ALERT. LGBTQ South Florida, in the last moments of this story, Queer News Tonight is going to tell you how long you are going to live. Interesting new data released today shows If you’re LGBTQ and born in the South, chances are you’ll have a shorter life expectancy compared with the rest of the United States.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today. The findings, published in the National Vital Statistics Reports, examined state-level mortality and population estimates from 2018, as well as state-specific death and population figures for older Medicare beneficiaries that year.
(TAI) The CDC found that Americans are expected to live an average of 78.7 years, though women were more likely to outlive men by five years nationwide, according to the report. States in the South fared worse when compared with their Northeastern and Western counterparts.
LGBTQ living in West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina and Missouri all ranked in the bottom 10 states for life expectancy. LGBTQ in West Virginia ranked the lowest and live 4 years less than the average rest of us.
(TONY) What LGBTQ State are you likely to live the longest? Congratulations to Hawaii. You will likely live three years longer than the rest of us and 7 years longer than West Virginia. The Aloha State was followed by California, New York, Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Colorado, New Jersey and Rhode Island to round out the top 10 LGBTQ states where you’ll live the longest.
The CDC’s latest life expectancy figures come about a month after the agency published a provisional report in February that found life expectancy during the Covid pandemic fell by a year in the first half of 2020 — the biggest decline since World War II. According to that report, the CDC’s prediction of life expectancy for Americans at birth in 2020 was 77.8 years.
LGBTQ South Florida, in case you are curious, while Florida is about in the middle as a state, Miami, Ft Lauderdale has among the top city life expectancy in America, nearly 3 years longer than the national average.
THIS EVENING PRESIDENT BIDEN WILL MARK THE 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC IN HIS FIRST NATIONAL ADDRESS. SO WE REMIND YOU WHAT, THEN, VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN SAID TO PRESIDENT OBAMA ON LIVE TELEVISION 11 YEARS AGO, ALMOST TO THE DAY.
MANY IN THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY CELEBRATED BIDENS CANDOR OVER THE PASSAGE OF OBAMA CARE THAT DRAMATICALLY AFFECTED THE ACCESS OF LGBTQ AMERICANS TO HEALTHCARE. WHO COULD HAVE POSSIBLY DREAMED THAT 11 YEARS LATER BIDEN COULD AGAIN SAY “THIS IS A BIG FUCKING DEAL”. YESTERDAY HIS SIGNATURE $1.9 TRILLION COVID-19 PANDEMIC PASSED. AND ON THE 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICA’S SHUTDOWN DUE TO PANDEMIC. ON THE MARCH 11, 2020 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF IT’S HAPPENING OUT BREAKING THE NEWS OF DRAMATIC EFFECTS COMING FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY.
NO ONE KNEW THAT A HOST OF IT’S HAPPENING OUT WAS LIKELY ALREADY INFECTED WITH COVID-19 AND WOULD LIKELY INFECT OTHER ANCHORS. RON BRENESKI WOULD BE ADMITTED TO A MIAMI HOSPITAL AND DAYS LATER TO ICU AND RESPIRATOR. OUR BROADCAST HOST WOULD NEVER LEAVE THE HOSPITAL AND DIES, ALONE, IN ICU 40 DAYS LATER. NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO VISIT HIM.
SO TODAY, MARCH 11, 2021 IS A BIG FUCKING DEAL. THE PANDEMIC RELIEF BILL WILL PROVIDE DIRECT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND EXTENSIONS TO THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY. IT WILL PROVIDE NEW ACCESS TO REDUCED COST HEALTHCARE. IT PROVIDES DRAMATIC SUPPORT OF LGBTQ SMALL BUSINESS AND ESPECIALLY HOSPITALITY LGBTQ SMALL BUSINESS OF BARS, RESTAURANTS, TRAVEL AND ENTERTAINMENT SECTORS.
THIS IS THE LARGEST DIRECT LGBTQ SUPPORT BENEFIT IN HISTORY. OF IMPORTANCE IS THAT THIS BILL SUPPORTS EVERY AMERICAN DIRECTLY IN THE LOWEST 75% OF INCOME EARNING INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES. CONTRAST THAT TO THE 2017 TRUMP TAX CUTS THAT SPENT ALMOST THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY LARGELY ONLY TO BENEFIT THE TOP 15% OF AMERICA’S WEALTHIEST INDIVIDUALS.
THE NEW BILL HAS WIDESPREAD BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT. A NEW GALLUP POLL INDICATES 75% OF ALL AMERICANS SUPPORT THE COVID RELIEF BILL WHILE ONLY 18% OPPOSE IT. THE BILL DID NOT RECEIVE A SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTE IN THE HOUSE OR THE SENATE. TODAY, FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY, 1 YEAR LATER, THINGS ARE GOING TO IMPROVE FOR ALL OF US. SO IT’S A BIG FUCKING DEAL.
After Florida’s Brevard Public Schools sent out guidelines on how LGBTQ students should be treated under state and federal laws, the religious right, Trump supporters, and far-right politicians were outraged. They posted on social media and organized a protest for the next school board meeting where they planned to testify during the public comment portion.
What they didn’t expect was a determined group of students and parents ready to defend the policy. When the two groups met outside the building, Florida Today reports it sparked “heated exchanges and a vitriolic display of homophobic and transphobic bigotry.” The Trump supporters can be seen holding signs with phrases like “straight & proud” and “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” the MAGA crowd called the students “queers” and “pedophiles.” As students, including Trans students entered the building you hear vulgar slurs against them.In the end, not a single student spoke in opposition to the policy – and more than double the number of speakers supported LGBTQ civil rights than opposed it.
LATE THIS AFTERNOON THE HOUSE VOTED TO ACCEPT THE FINAL VERSION OF THE COVID-19 RESCUE PLAN. THE VOTE WAS 220 TO 211 WITH NO REPUBLICANS IN THE SENATE OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SUPPORTING THE RESCUE PLAN. THE HISTORIC $1.9 TRILLION DOLLAR COVID RELIEF BILL IS THE LARGEST PIECE OF LEGISLATION IN AMERICAN HISTORY RESPONDING TO THE GREATEST HEALTH AND ECONOMIC CRISIS IN AMERICAN HISTORY. REPUBLICANS OBJECTED OVER THE COST AND ITS EFFECT ON THE DEFICIT. HOWEVER, IN RECENT WEEKS THERE HAS BEEN MUCH CONVERSATION OF THE CONTRADICTIONS OF THE REPUBLICAN VOTES. BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT EXISTS AS 70% OF AMERICANS SUPPORT THE BILL. INTERESTINGLY, THE REPUBLICANS PASSED A BILL IN 2017 THAT COST NEARLY THE SAME $1.9 TRILLION IN A TAX CUT THAT OVERWHELMINGLY BENEFITED THE TOP 10% WEALTHIEST AMERICANS. THEY DID NOT COMPLAIN ON THAT PASSAGE. ADDITIONALLY, THE LAST ADMINISTRATION ALONG WITH THE REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED HOUSE & SENATE ENTERED 2017 AT US NATIONAL DEBT OF 19 TRILLION.
WHEN THEY LOST CONTROL OF ALL BRANCHES, HOUSE, SENATE AND THE WHITE HOUSE ON JANUARY 20, 2021 THE DEBT HAD SOARED TO 27 TRILLION. THIS WAS THE LARGEST SPENDING SPREE IN HISTORY. SO IT SEEMS CLEAR TODAY IS ALL ABOUT POLITICS NOT ECONOMICS. TODAYS BILL OVERWHELMING SUPPORTS THE BOTTOM 50% OF AMERICANS IN INCOME AND NEED. TODAYS BILL IS THE SIGNATURE CENTERPIECE OF BIDENS FIRST TERM AS PRESIDENT.
A new book on the 2020 campaign includes a passage that describes former President Barack Obama making fun of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg behind his back, calling him “gay and short.” Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency, by Hill journalist Amie Parnes and NBC’s Jonathan Allen, describes a meeting with corporate Black Democratic donors at Yves, a trendy restaurant in New York City, in October 2019, a few months away from the first state primaries. The book says that Obama was asked by an executive if the candidates in the Democratic primary had come to him for advice. The authors say that he mostly talked about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and effectively supported her presidential bid, even though he added that he wasn’t endorsing her. Then he talked about then-Mayor Buttigieg. Obama said that he liked the mayor, but that he couldn’t win the election. The book says “He’s 38, but he looks 30, Obama said, getting laughs from the audience. He made a joke about sharing traits with Pete, like big ears and a funny name. He’s the mayor of a small town,” Obama said, referring South Bend, Indiana, population 102,000, perhaps a comment on Buttigieg’s relative lack of political experience compared to the former vice president and several sitting U.S. senators. He’s gay, and he’s short. Everyone laughed again.”
Construction has halted on the overhaul of the new Marsha P. Johnson Park in Brooklyn after the family of the late activist joined community members who strongly objected to the design and rushed nature of the project. Johnson’s relatives, Black trans activists, and members of the community objected to the lack of green space in the park and also objected to the proposed acre of concrete slab covered featuring a rainbow-striped thermoplastic mural. Maria Lopez, activist from Strategic Trasngender Alliance for Radical Reform which works to honor the legacy of Johnson and fellow activist Sylvia Rivera said “Stop saying y’all consulted the Black trans community, we are the Black trans community. What happened is a group of people selected who were the other people, who were important, not the ones that didn’t say what they didn’t want to hear.” Matthew McMorrow, director of LGBTQ affairs for Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed construction has been halted. However, he provided no further information about how long with construction will be stopped, and what, if any, changes will be made to the highly unpopular park design.