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Democratic Governors Association planning conference in anti-LGBT North Carolina

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Has the Democratic Party lost its soul or just its mind by forfeiting its allegiance to LGBT equality?

For the past few months, the Democratic Governors Association (DGA)—an organization operating separate from but under the auspices of the National Democratic Committee—has been planning a policy conference in North Carolina, according to a very reliable source with knowledge of the action.

Apparently the planning started after a former staffer for newly elected North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper joined the DGA. The source did not know if the conference was a counter-measure to the backlash from such prominent LGBT organizations as the Human Rights Campaign, Equality North Carolina and Equality California over Cooper’s “compromise” with conservative state Republicans to “repeal” the transphobic HB2 law in order to appease business boycotters such as the NCAA.

The appeasement worked. On April 18, the NCAA announced that North Carolina is again free enough from anti-LGBT discrimination to hold championship games. “The NCAA has fallen ‘hook, line, and sinker’ for this ‘bait and switch’ sham ‘deal’ doubling down on discrimination,” JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs, said in a press release. “[T]he NCAA has undermined its credibility and is sending a dangerous message to lawmakers across the country who are targeting LGBTQ people with discriminatory state legislation.”

HB 142 still prohibits local anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people in public accommodations or private employment practices until Dec. 1, 2020 and leaves regulation of multiple occupancy restrooms, showers or changing facilities to the state. “I think this will address issues of who we are, how inclusive we are and whether everyone is valued,” said Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue about the “reset” back to pre-HB2 days, according to the News & Observer.

But the LGBT community isn’t buying what that Blue man is selling. “The governor threw the LGBT community under the bus,” Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills told the Washington Blade last month. “It was the LGBT community that ultimately pushed Roy Cooper into victory and he would be wise to remember that. I’m disheartened but I’m not surprised. At the end of the day opportunism is not partisan.”

It was an opportunity the Trump Justice Department couldn’t resist, withdrawing its complaint against HB2 citing the purported repeal.

“Here is yet another instance of the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrawing the federal government’s support from transgender individuals, and they are using the fake repeal of HB2 as cover,” said Lambda Legal’s Jon W. Davidson, noting that Lambda Legal and the ACLU are still pursuing legal challenges to the law.  

Already facing erasure in Trump’s America, the LGBT community may now be facing the slow betrayal of once reliable friends. Democratic pundits now talk about shucking off “identity politics” in favor of economic issues that appeal to overlooked Trump voters. But economic issues are LGBT issues when an LGBT person can be legally disqualified from applying or fired for simply being LGBT. According to a 2015 Center for American Progress report, “America’s 5.1 million LGBT women face lower pay, frequent harassment, compromised access to health care, and heightened violence” and are at high risk for poverty, especially lesbians with children.

The Democratic Governors Association Facebook page offers this glowing tribute to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

Isn’t poverty an issue of concern to America’s Democratic governors?

The Los Angeles Blade source says the DGA has “contacted” the offices of the DGA Executive Committee about the planned conference in North Carolina. The committee is made up of: incoming Chair Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe; Oregon Gov. Kate Brown; and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

The Blade made repeated calls to the offices of the executive committee members and made numerous calls and sent several emails and even Tweeted DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold, to discuss the planned conference but received no response.

Gov. Inslee’s office did respond, but noted that the DGA question was political and outside the scope of the governor’s office. However the staffer noted, Inslee signed a renewed travel ban to North Carolina and therefore it was unlikely that the governor would violate state law to travel to the conference.

Brown’s press office said the question should be put to the governor’s reelection campaign. An email and two calls to campaign manager Thomas Wheatley were not returned. When HB2 first came out, bisexual Gov. Kate Brown said she was “appalled” by the new law but has not commented on the new law.

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson for Cuomo, previously told the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson:  “Our review of the new North Carolina law is ongoing, and the Governor’s Executive Order ‎currently remains in effect.”

North Carolina travel bans are being upheld by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and California Gov. Jerry Brown.

“Discrimination is unacceptable and we intend to protect LGBT rights,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. “California’s law was enacted to ensure that, with limited exceptions, our taxpayer resources are not spent in states that authorize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. North Carolina’s new law does not cure the infirmity of this type of discrimination.”

Cities keeping their travel bans include: New York City; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Los Angeles; Oakland; Santa Fe; Cincinnati; Salt Lake City; Palm Springs, Calif.; West Palm Beach; Portland, Maine; Burlington, Vt; and Wilton Manors, Florida—where a series of egg-throwing attacks in the city’s gay corridor are being considered as hate crimes.

The LGBT community has had problems with the DNC before and has been expected to just “grin and bear it.” That time’s long gone. LGBT grassroots have glimpsed full equality and won’t settle for crumbs doled out by DGA smart-ass sell-outs. If the party wants to regain power, it needs to reclaim its soul—and that means embracing the struggle of America’s official second-class LGBT citizens.

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Tennessee

GOP State lawmakers to hospital: Stop gender-affirming surgeries

The clinic is the only healthcare provider in Tennessee offering clinical care programs for transgender & gender-expansive children

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The Matt Walsh Show (Screenshot/YouTube)

NASHVILLE – A group of Republican state lawmakers in Tennessee sent a letter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Pediatric Transgender Clinic demanding gender-affirming surgeries cease.

The letter came a few days after Republican Governor Bill Lee called for an investigation into the clinic at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in a statement after reporting by transphobic far-right pundit Matt Walsh on his Daily Wire show.

“The ‘pediatric transgender clinic’ at Vanderbilt University Medical Center raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns,” Governor Lee said in his statement. “We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children or policies that suppress religious liberties, all for the purpose of financial gain. We have to protect Tennessee children, and this warrants a thorough investigation.”

State Rep. Jason Zachary and more than 60 of his Republican colleagues sent a letter to addressed to the chair of the hospital’s board of directors calling on Vanderbilt to halt the Clinic’s trans youth healthcare regarding gender affirming treatments.

Zachary also noted the letter also requested that all conscientious and religious objections be honored.

Walsh and the far-right extremist anti-LGBTQ Twitter account Libs of TikTok, run by Brooklyn-based Chaya Raichik have previously grabbed headlines for spreading what Trans advocates and LGBTQ+ activists call anti-LGBTQ hate speech.

Raichik who has been suspended from Facebook and also Twitter for inflammatory lies and propaganda about Trans youth healthcare, pledged to redouble her attacks on hospitals providing trans people with health care, she wrote in a rant on her Substack in which she called gender-affirming care “mutilating the body.” 

Libs of TikTok has reportedly been suspended multiple times on multiple platforms, including InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. Raichik’s last Twitter suspension came for accusing LGBTQ people of “grooming” children, which Twitter confirmed violates its policies against hateful conduct.

In line with the earlier attacks on Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Washington D.C.’s Children’s with misinformation and misleading characterizations of the trans youth health care provided by those facilities, in a lengthy thread Twitter the Daily Wire’s Walsh attacked Vanderbilt’s clinic.

Vanderbilt opened its trans clinic in 2018. During a lecture the same year, Dr. Shayne Taylor explained how she convinced Nashville to get into the gender transition game. She emphasized that it’s a “big money maker,” especially because the surgeries require a lot of “follow ups” Walsh tweeted adding:

Vanderbilt was apparently concerned that not all of its staff would be on board. Dr. Ellen Clayton warned that “conscientious objections” are “problematic.” Anyone who decides not to be involved in transition surgeries due to “religious beliefs” will face “consequences”

In case the objectors hadn’t gotten the memo, Vanderbilt unveiled a program called “Trans Buddies.” The “buddies” are trans activists from the community who attend appointments with trans patients, monitoring the doctors to guard against “unsafe” behavior such as misgendering, Walsh continued.

Vanderbilt makes their Trans Buddies available to children, too. They make lots of “services” available to children, including chemical castration. Though at some point in the last month they removed explicit admission of this fact from their site. Here’s the archived screenshot:

But they must have forgot to delete a video from Vanderbilt Psychiatry’s Youtube channel back in 2020 which admits explicitly that they will give and have given irreversible hormone drugs to children as young as 13, Walsh wrote in the thread.

After they have drugged and sterilized the kids, Vanderbilt — as explained in this video presentation by plastic surgeon Julien Winocour and Physician’s Assistant Shalyn Vanderbloemen — will happily perform double mastectomies on adolescent girls.

So, let’s review. Vanderbilt got into the gender transition game admittedly in large part because it is very financially profitable. They then threatened any staff members who objected, and enlisted a gang of trans activists to act as surveillance in order to force compliance.

They now castrate, sterilize, and mutilate minors as well as adults, while apparently taking steps to hide this activity from the public view. This is what “health care” has become in modern America, Walsh finished.

Vanderbilt responded to Walsh in a statement:

“(VUMC) is now the subject of social media posts and a video that misrepresent facts about the care the Medical Center provides to transgender patients,” said the university. “VUMC began its Transgender Health Clinic because transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health issues and have been consistently underserved by the U.S. health system.”

Walsh also shared a video that featured Vanderbilt University law and genomics professor Ellen Clayton, who discouraged physicians from religious objections to transgender surgeries.

“Saying that you’re not going to do something because of your … religious beliefs is not without consequences, and it should not be without consequences,” she said in the undated clip. “I just want to put that out there. If you don’t want to do this kind of work, don’t work at Vanderbilt.”

The University in its statement disputed that assertion by Clayton:

“Our policies allow employees to decline to participate in care they find morally objectionable, and do not permit discrimination against employees who choose to do so. This includes employees whose personal or religious beliefs do not support gender-affirming care for transgender persons,” Vanderbilt wrote.

The Tennessee Equality Project notes that the clinic is the only healthcare provider in the state offering clinical care programs for transgender and gender-expansive children and adolescents.

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Congress

Out U.S. Rep. introduces bill to create U.S. LGBTQ history museum

“It is vital to remember our collective past when certain states seek to constrain & repeal existing rights by passing laws that harm LGBTQ+”

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Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) has introduced legislation that would set up the process to create a National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History & Culture, potentially as an official site within the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Pocan, one of nine openly gay members of the U.S. House and co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, said in a statement Thursday the measures would are effort to preserve LGBTQ history “as our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history.” The pair of bills is H.R.9070 and H.R.9071.

“It is vital to remember our collective past – particularly when certain states seek to constrain and repeal existing rights by passing bills that harm LGBTQ+ youth and our community at large,” Pocan said. “Let’s tell these stories, and honor the many contributions the LGBTQ+ community has made to this nation with a museum in Washington, D.C.”

The first bill, according to a news statement, would creates an eight-member commission of individuals with expertise in museum planning or LGBTQ+ research and culture “to look into the viability of establishing such a facility in the nation’s Capital.”

Among other things, the commission would be charged with recommending a plan on action for museum, including fundraising for the museum, and submitting to Congress a plan for construction of the museum, the statement says.

The bill would also instruct the commission to address whether the museum should be part of the Smithsonian Institution, based in the nation’s capital and the world’s largest museum and research complex, per the news statement. The full study, the statement says, would have to be completed in 18 months.

If the Smithsonian were to adopt the a museum on LGBTQ history and culture, it would be similar to other museums under its jurisdiction focused on minority populations in the United States, including the National Museum of African American History & Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian.

The second bill, according to a news statement, would be eligible for consideration by Congress after the commission completes its work and issues its recommendations and allow for formal creation of the museum. More than 50 lawmakers, including all nine openly gay members of the U.S. House, co-sponsor the legislation.

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Utah

New survey shows 72% of Utah residents back same-sex marriage

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah said he’s not surprised to see that a majority of Utahns now support marriage equality

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Mayor of Salt Lake, Erin Mendenhall, raises Pride Flag, June 1 2021 (Photo/Twitter)

SALT LAKE CITY – The results of a poll run by the Hinckley Institute of Politics and the Desert News found 72% of Utah’s residents agree that marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights as cis-gender marriages.

“For a state that less than 20 years ago passed laws and a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, there has been a seismic shift in opinion,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics survey also found that 23% of those surveyed disagreed, while 5% expressed that they don’t know.

The poll shows Utahns are aligned with the nation as a whole on the issue. A Gallup poll in May found 71% of Americans say they support legal same-sex marriage, a new high.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, told the Desert News that he’s not surprised to see that a majority of Utahns now support marriage equality.

“Utah is a pro-family state, and we recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes. When we see loving, committed couples joining in matrimony, our natural impulse is to support and encourage that love. This gives me great hope for the future,” he said.

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