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High-tech industry campaign highlights gay Chechnya crackdown

Tech4Chechnya launched during WorldPride in Madrid



Elad Mintzer, gay news, Washington Blade

Elad Mintzer of Ze, a group for LGBT people who work in the high-tech industry, is among those who spearheaded Tech4Chechnya, a campaign during WorldPride in Madrid that sought to highlight the ongoing crackdown against gay men in Chechnya. Mintzer spoke with the Washington Blade on June 29, 2017, at Google’s offices in Madrid. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

MADRID — A group of LGBT people who work in the high-tech industry used 2017 WorldPride as an opportunity to try and help the victims of the ongoing crackdown against gay men in Chechnya.

Google on June 29 hosted participants in the Tech4Chechnya campaign at their Madrid offices.

More than 20 people took part in a “hackathon” in which they sought to help develop apps and software that would allow advocates to better communicate with gay men in Chechnya. Tech4Chechnya participants also spoke on Skype with members of the Moscow-based Russian LGBT Network about how they can use technology to provide additional assistance to gay Chechens who have fled their homeland.

Elad Mintzer, the Israel-based managing director of Ze, a group for LGBT people who work in the high-tech industry, told the Los Angeles Blade the advocates with whom he and other Tech4Chechnya campaign participants spoke “need more people that they can trust to help them.”

“It’s hard for them,” he added. “We will try to help them with technology to be more efficient, so [they can] have a more safe way to talk with the refugees.”

Representatives from InterPride, which organizes WorldPride, and others from Google and OutRight Action International are among those who also spoke with Tech4Chechnya participants. A gala the campaign held at a Madrid nightclub on June 30 raised money for English courses for gay Chechens in Russia who want to leave the country.

“Sometimes it’s better for them to not stay in Russia,” Mintzer told the Blade.

Chechnya is ‘a very big problem’

Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim, semi-autonomous Russian republic in the North Caucuses.

Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, in April reported Chechen authorities have arrested more than 100 men because of their sexual orientation — or perceived sexual orientation. Reports indicate several of these men have reportedly died after their arrest, while others have been beaten and tortured and sent to secret prisons.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who is a close Putin ally, and the Kremlin have sought to downplay or even dismiss these reports.

The Russian LGBT Network has expressed skepticism over the Kremlin’s claims it has begun to investigate the crackdown. It said on Tuesday that “persecutions of LGBT people (have) started again.”  

“It is a very big problem,” Escandia Camergo, a Tech4Chechnya participant from Mexico City, told the Blade on June 29.

‘We can do something to change the world’

More than a million people lined the streets of Madrid on June 30 for the 2017 WorldPride march and parade.

Several dozen Russian LGBT rights advocates took part in the march from the Atocha train station to Plaza de Colón. Other participants highlighted their opposition to Putin.

Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena did not specifically mention Chechnya in remarks that she delivered at a WorldPride reception earlier in the week. She did note LGBT and intersex people in many countries around the world continue to face persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Misha Makara, a Tech4Chechnya participant from New York, told the Blade on June 29 the campaign is “a great program that allows us to do more than just party at Pride.”

“We can do something to change the world and hopefully make the world a slightly better place,” he said.

“Being here working with others trying to change the situation is helpful,” added Makara. “But it’s also important to remember that Pride is a demonstration and this is part of that demonstration. So we have to have fun and also have a little bit of work as we do it.”

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin are among those who have condemned the crackdown against gay men in Chechnya. President Trump — who met with Putin on July 7 during the G-20 summit in Germany — and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have yet to publicly comment on it.

“I would like Donald Trump to comment,” Makara told the Blade. “However, judging by his past efforts, I’m not going to be surprised (if he doesn’t.)”


U.S. Military/Pentagon

Defense Secretary orders drag show at USAF base cancelled

A Pentagon official said that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was visibly angry about the decision to host the event on base



Main Gate, Nellis AFB, Nevada (Photo Credit: United States Air Force Public Affairs)

NELLIS AFB, NV – A previously scheduled drag show to kick off Pride Month on this sprawling base, an advanced combat aviation training facility for the U.S. Air Force northeast of Las Vegas, was cancelled Wednesday according to a Pentagon official, after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley stepped in.

A Pentagon source familiar with the matter told the Blade that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs informed the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. that it is not Pentagon policy to fund drag shows on bases and the show needed to be canceled or moved off base. 

The issue over drag performances was a focus at a House Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this year on March 29, when anti-LGBTQ+ Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz demanded in an angry tone that the Defense Secretary and the JCS Chairman explain why drag queen story hours were being hosted on U.S. military installations. The Florida Republican mentioned bases in  Montana, Nevada, Virginia and Germany.

In a highly publicized incident in May 2022, Stars and Stripes reported that the Commanding General of the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AFB in Germany had a Drag Queen Storytime, that was to be held in honor of Pride Month cancelled.

According to Stars & Stripes, the 86th Air Wing’s public affairs sent a statement to a radical-right anti-LGBTQ+ news outlet in Canada, The Post Millennial, which had requested comment to its article about the event and also accused the Air Force of pushing a more “woke” agenda among servicemen. 

In a press release, Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio took partial credit for the cancellation.

Rubio sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall regarding the Air Force Library at Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany hosting a “Drag Queen Story Time” event for young children of servicemembers.

Rubio urged him to cancel the event, discipline the staff involved in planning and hosting the event, and respond to questions on whether other installations both at home and around the world have done similar events. Following receipt of Rubio’s letter, the Air Force canceled the event. 

“The last thing parents serving their nation overseas should be worried about, particularly in a theater with heightened geopolitical tensions, is whether their children are being exposed to sexually charged content simply because they visited their local library,” Rubio wrote.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Mark Milley meet with U.S. Army Gen. Scott Miller at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on July 14, 2021.
(Photo by Carlos M. Vazquez, DOD)

A Pentagon official referring to the drag show at Nellis said that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was visibly angry about the decision to host the event on base after being informed about it earlier this week.

The drag show was scheduled for Thursday June 1, but Maj. Gen. Case A. Cunningham, the Commander of the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, Nellis was informed in the past few days that it must either be canceled or moved off base. 

On May 23, Congressman Gaetz sent a letter to Secretary Austin and Chairman Milley, alleging that the “pervasive and persistent use of taxpayer dollars for drag events,” had a June 1, 2023 Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada event scheduled.

Gaetz went on to write that “Nellis Air Force Base has announced a so-called “family-friendly” drag organized by the Nellis LGBTQ+ Pride Council for June 1, 2023. In this latest outright attack on children, this event is being advertised as having no minimum age requirement.” 

In his letter Gaetz also demanded to know:

  • Does the DoD feel it’s appropriate for children to attend a sexualized drag performance?
  • Why are base commanders defying your intent and direction by facilitating drag events?
  • If this event goes forward, whether on June 1st or a later scheduled date, please provide an explanation regarding your justification for why you allowed the event to take place.

According to a spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, Nellis, in June 2021 the base had hosted a Pride Month drag show titled “Drag-u-Nellis.” The spokesperson noted the 2021 show was intended to promote inclusivity and diversity. 

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San Bernardino County

City of Redlands, California won’t be flying a Pride Flag during June

If the policy had been approved, it would have been the third year the pride flag would have flown at City Hall in June



Redlands City Hall (Photo Credit: City of Redlands, California/Facebook)

REDLANDS, Calif. – A protracted and contentious battle to alter the city’s existing flag policy has left this San Bernardino municipality as one of only a few jurisdictions in the state that will not being displaying the LGBTQ+ Pride flag during Pride month this June.

Earlier this month, the city council in a 3-2 vote, rejected a change to allow the display of any flag other than the national flag, state, local and the POW/MIA flags. Consideration of a resolution to amend the City’s Flag Display Policy, which was continued from the March 21 City Council meeting at which the council deadlocked on the matter ending in a 2-2 tie, was fairly acrimonious with public comments harshly critiquing and change to allow the Pride flag being flown.

Many of the comments included a variation on the sentiment of “Sexual preference has no business in the displays of city and state.” Other were a bit more harsh stating opposition such comments such as “No flag that represents sex with minors, or any other political flag should be flown along side the US and State flag.”

Others attacked Redlands City Council Member Denise Davis, the city’s first openly LGBTQ council member. In addition to the opposition, there were more than 20 members of the public who spoke in favor of the raising of the rainbow flag for the month of June and also advocated calls for greater inclusivity of the LGBTQIA community in the city.

The city had in previous years flown the Pride flag during June. But after Redlands Mayor Eddie Tejeda voted against revising the policy, the audience loudly chanted “coward.”

“It is my opinion that if we adopt changes to our flag policy, that we do so at our own risk … In this case, it will demonstrate favor of one group over others,” Tejeda said. “For these reasons, I will change my vote and not support changing our flag policy.”

In an interview with KTLA, the city’s queer councilmember, Davis, told the station she believes the decision sends the wrong message.

 “I think that those visual cues of inclusion are really important to a community that has been historically marginalized,” Davis said.

If the policy had been approved, it would have been the third year the pride flag would have flown at City Hall in June, said Traci Lowenthal.

“To fly the pride flag this year feels especially important,” Lowenthal said. “At least 417 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the U.S. That is an all-time high. Whether banning healthcare or discussions of LGBTQ identity in classrooms, our LGBTQ community members receive one clear message over and over again: ‘You are not wanted.’ “

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Rep. Cicilline on future of LGBTQ rights & life after Congress

Looking beyond Congress, Cicilline said he is eager to continue advancing “equality and justice for our community”



Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Speaking with the Washington Blade by phone on Tuesday from Rhode Island, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) was optimistic about the outcome of the debt ceiling negotiations that have roiled Capitol Hill, the White House, and Wall Street for weeks.

“My sense of it is there are enough Democratic and Republican votes to get it to the president’s desk,” said the congressman, who would fly back to Washington in the evening with the expectation that a vote would be held the following day.  

Even amid the chaos and back-and-forth travel this week, Cicilline was ready to look back on the landmark legislative accomplishments of his distinguished career in politics, which have included groundbreaking advancements for LGBTQ rights.

And despite the ascendancy of anti-LGBTQ attacks from the right, including from much of the Republican caucus, he told the Blade there is ample reason to be optimistic that the chamber’s pro-equality work will continue in his absence.

As announced back in February and effective on Thursday, Cicilline will retire from Congress to lead his state’s largest philanthropic organization, the Rhode Island Foundation, having represented its 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House since 2011.

A former attorney, Cicilline was tapped to lead the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law as well as the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism.

Particularly in recent years, the congressman became one of the most powerful House Democrats, elected to leadership in 2017 as a co-chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and picked in 2021 by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to serve as one of the nine members tasked with managing the House’s second impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

Among other legislative achievements, Cicilline is widely credited with leading the House’s passage, twice, of the biggest civil rights bill since the 1964 Civil Rights Act – the Equality Act, which would prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination in areas from education and housing to employment and public accommodations.

While the Senate failed to pass the Equality Act, Cicilline said, “I’m handing that work off to [U.S. Rep.] Mark Takano [D-Calif.], who I know will take it over the finish line” once Democrats win control of the House again.

The congressman told the Blade that he hopes his leadership on this bill will be remembered as a key part of his legacy – and was adamant that its passage through both chambers is now a question of “when” rather than “if.”

“The majority of Americans support the Equality Act, and a majority of voters in every single state support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people,” so “this is about the Republican conference in Congress catching up with the American people,” Cicilline said.

Congress is beginning to look more like America in at least one respect, though. After his first election to the House, Cicilline was one of only three openly LGBTQ members serving in Congress (having already made history in 2003 as the first openly gay mayor of a state capital, Providence, R.I.).

Today, “I’m leaving with 10 colleagues in the House and two in the Senate,” he said, “so that’s great progress.”

“The calvary has arrived” with “young new members who are going to lead the next wave of this fight” such as openly LGBTQ U.S. Reps. Robert Garcia (Calif.), Becca Balint (Vt.), Eric Sorensen (Ill.), and Ritchie Torres (N.Y.), Cicilline said.

Echoing comments from his final speech on the House floor last week, the congressman also expressed his faith and confidence in party leaders with whom he has worked closely, including Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

Hopes and expectations for the current Democratic conference’s ability to deliver on behalf of LGBTQ Americans were buttressed late last year by passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation co-led by Cicilline that codified fundamental rights for same-sex couples that might otherwise be erased if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or weakens its constitutional protections for marriage equality.

How to combat the rightwing crusade against LGBTQ and especially trans Americans

However prepared Cicilline believes his colleagues are to meet the moment, the congressman is also up to speed on the unprecedented challenges presented by the current political climate with respect to LGBTQ rights.

This year, state legislatures have introduced hundreds of bills targeting trans Americans, which endeavor to restrict their access to everything from lifesaving healthcare to public bathrooms. At the same time, anti-trans rhetoric has escalated to such an extent that a rightwing pundit speaking at CPAC said “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely,” which some interpreted as a call for genocide against the community.

Legislatively, Cicilline said it is all part of a cynical political strategy adopted by Republicans. Having concluded that their crusade against same-sex marriage was no longer winnable, the party sought another way to fight against LGBTQ rights, eventually polling anti-trans positions and messaging that successfully motivates “the most extreme parts of their political base,” he said.

“Our Republican colleagues have weaponized the trans community in such a way that they think it’s politically advantageous to attack even trans kids,” which is “really horrific” especially considering the potential for tragic real-world consequences, including targeted violence against the trans community, Cicilline said.

“I hope people who are seeking public office will be conscious of that and will be responsible, but unfortunately, I think there are some who are so driven by their desire for power, that they’re prepared to do almost anything to get there,” the congressman added.

Some conservatives hope their polarization of and fear mongering about trans issues will drive a wedge, providing sufficient incentive or a permission structure for LGB Americans to turn their backs on the trans community, Cicilline said, but “That’s not gonna happen.”

“We are standing in lockstep with our trans brothers and sisters, and we’re just not going to allow them to be attacked in this way,” he said.

Broadly speaking, Cicilline said elected Democrats must “stand up for the queer community, speak out, condemn this kind of [anti-LGBTQ/anti-trans] legislation, and let the American people see the contrast” between the Democratic Party, which “stands for inclusion and has fought for LGBTQ+ equality” and the GOP, which is pushing “these very toxic and dangerous and un-American attacks on the LGBTQ community.”

The congressman noted that working against the interests of LGBTQ Americans is nothing new for congressional Republicans. “With just a couple of exceptions,” he said, the House GOP caucus voted against the Equality Act’s nondiscrimination protections, which stem directly from America’s most basic foundational values of fairness and equality.

“So that means I have colleagues in the Congress of the United States on the Republican side who fundamentally rejected the legislation that would grant me and others in my community full equality as citizens of this country, [colleagues who would] allow discrimination to continue against our community,” Cicilline said.

When it comes to navigating interpersonal working relationships with anti-LGBTQ Republicans in the chamber, though, “I frankly don’t really care how they feel about us,” the congressman said. “That’s irrelevant to me.”  

Cicilline to continue advocating for LGBTQ Americans after Congress

In addition to the Equality Act, Cicilline said that if Democrats recapture control of the House, he expects to see renewed momentum for a bill that he authored, the Global Respect Act, and another for which he was an original cosponsor, the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act. Both were passed by the House but not by the Senate and therefore remain “unfinished business,” he said.

The Global Respect Act, Cicilline said, “will allow the U.S. to impose visa sanctions on anyone who commits gross human rights violations against the LGBTQ community,” while the latter bill would mandate that federal surveys must include data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Other legislative efforts that Cicilline has led, in areas from antitrust to foreign policy to gun violence, also include some “unfinished business” – bills that might see movement in the next Congress that carry the potential, in many cases, to measurably impact the lives of all Americans.

For instance, Cicilline, who has been at the vanguard of Congress’s work modernizing and strengthening antitrust law, remains hopeful about the eventual passage of six bills that he introduced in 2021, all designed to increase competition in digital markets.

These would curb the monopolistic power of dominant tech platform companies whose business models center engagement as the primary mechanism to drive advertising revenue – even though, as these firms are aware, content that tends to earn more engagement tends to be that which is incendiary, offensive, hateful, false, or misleading, violent or otherwise outrageous.

Looking beyond Congress, Cicilline said he is eager to continue advancing “equality and justice for our community” at the Rhode Island Foundation, building upon the organization’s existing work “supporting the organizations that are doing really important work to support the LGBTQ community.”

Cicilline acknowledged that leading an “explicitly non-partisan organization” will be a departure from his work in Washington – though perhaps not to the extent one might imagine.

“You know, our community remains, in this country, a marginalized community,” the congressman said. “In fact, it’s the only community, still, in America, that it’s legal to discriminate against.”

At this point, rather than pivoting back to discussing the need for passage of the Equality Act, Cicilline instead explained that because of the lack of national nondiscrimination protections, he is even more eager to include the LGBTQ community in the foundation’s work advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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Trans woman from Kashmir makes her mark

Shoaib Khan has been in corporate India for 11 years



Shoaib Khan (Photo courtesy of Shoaib Khan)

SRINAGAR, India — Kashmir, the crown of India, the world’s largest democracy, has been the center of the flourishing of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and other religions

The Transgender community since ancient times has had cultural roots in every state in India, including Kashmir, but a conservative society did not let the community spread its wings properly. Breaking all odds, Shoaib Khan finished her studies and became the first Trans person from Kashmir to work in India’s corporate world. 

Khan is a person who believes that people do not come out, but they feel the same from childhood. Her journey was never to come out, but she felt the same from her childhood.

“I was dependent on people, like my family, for lots of things,” said Khan. “When I got the ability to stand by myself, when I was independent, I started behaving the way I wanted to and I started accepting the way I was from my childhood.”

Before the India Supreme Court’s historic ruling that struck down Section 377, a colonial-era law that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in the country, talking about trans people was a taboo topic for many. 

Khan told the Washington Blade it was difficult to come out because Trans people face ridicule and bullying. She believed that if one can have determination and confidence, the world starts to adjust and accept.

Khan also believes that family plays an important role, but her family’s reaction was not good when she told them about herself. Khan told the Blade that since the family knows their own from childhood, it was not a surprise for them. She stood her ground, and she is still fighting for her rights in her social circle.

Through the Blade, Khan wants to encourage other families anywhere in the world to support their kids if they are from the LGBTQ+ and intersex community.

“At least do not deprive them of their basic human rights,” said Khan. “Try to educate them, and if they gets any opportunity then these people will excel in multiple fields.”

As a Trans person, Khan’s journey to get an education was not easy. 

She faced humiliation, harassment and mental torture. When Khan was in seventh grade, someone bullied her, and when she went back home, she cried and counted the remaining days of school.

“I counted days that how many days I have to go to school to face this humiliation till 10th standard,” said Khan, while talking about her childhood. “The journey was not easy.”

Khan said society has a major role to play to make the lives of Trans people easy. She urged her community to stay strong and connect to excel in life where they are accepted.

Shoaib Khan (Photo courtesy of Shoaib Khan)

Khan has completed her bachelor’s in commerce and master’s in business administration with a specialization in human resources. She is currently working with a corporation in India.

While talking with the Blade, Khan said that India’s Trans community is facing a lot of discrimination, not only in Kashmir but around the country. Khan believes discrimination is present because of the lack of awareness about the community, but at the same time she believes the community is seeing improvements.

“Before decriminalization of homosexuality, there was no option to choose for gender other than male or female, but now if you go to the Aadhaar link (India’s biometric ID card,) you have the option to choose between male, female and others,” said Khan. “This is a great example in that our country is leading the improvements. Our country is behaving democratically, where people have the right to choose what they are.”

Khan suggested the government should spread awareness about gender identity so that people know it is natural and people do not choose it.

While talking with the Blade, Khan thanked close friends and family who supported her throughout her journey. She said that many people have supported her, but some close ones made her competent enough to fight her way to where she is at.

“I would like to thank them for their unconditional love and support,” said Khan. “They will be happy to see my work published, where I am talking about rights and standing for my community. That is a big achievement.”

‘Journey is not easy’

Khan has worked in the corporate world for 11 years.

She began her career in the airline industry before she entered the corporate sector. Khan said her experience in the airline industry was not as good as she expected because there was no sensitization about gender. She said corporate policies are not bad, but people should be sensitized before introducing someone from the LGBTQ+ community.

While talking about her previous experience, she said she was subjected to some harassment and humiliation. Although she raised her voice and actions were taken at the time, Khan said her current corporate journey has gone well, and she feels satisfied. 

She said other members of the LGBTQ+ and intersex community feel proud of what she has accomplished, and they say she is their representative from Kashmir.

“The journey is not easy,” said Khan. “You can look on to the lives of where people from trans community or LGBTQ community have achieved success. Because they did not put themselves in a confined zone where they are subjected to humiliation only. So, they concentrated on education. I would like to give an important message to my community that you need to be educated, you need to have a light in your eyes, and where you can differentiate between right and wrong.”

Shoaib Khan (Photo courtesy of Shoaib Khan)

Ankush Kumar is a reporter who has covered many stories for Washington and Los Angeles Blades from Iran, India and Singapore. He recently reported for the Daily Beast. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is on Twitter at @mohitkopinion

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Los Angeles County

Summer Classes at LA County Parks!

Our quick and easy 24/7 online registration system Active Net allows you to manage everyone’s schedule through a single household account



Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn something new, make new friends and discover new talents.


Summer CCP 3

Our quick and easy 24/7 online registration system Active Net allows you to manage everyone’s schedule through a single household account. Sign up for Summer Classes for yourself, partner and children from your smartphone or computer. To learn more about Active Net, visit

Follow LA County Parks on social media: Facebook and Twitter/Instagram/TikTok @lacountyparks. Share your experience using #LearnSomethingNew at #LACountyParks.

For more information, please contact [email protected].

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News Analysis

Since Florida banned most adult trans care: People are suffering

Today marks 15 days since Florida’s legislature banned most adult trans care. People are unable to obtain their meds. People are suffering



Stephanie, a senior citizen trans woman contemplates a grim future in her Brevard County, Florida home after the ban on adult trans healthcare impacted her. (Photo by her wife K.C.)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – It’s been 15 days since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis put his signature on Senate Bill 254, putting a halt to 80% of trans adult care while leaving the remaining 20% stuck in limbo.

The repercussions are profound, with many transgender individuals throughout the state losing access to their medications, pushing a multitude into medical detransition. The situation grows ever more critical for transgender residents, with the majority unable to secure prescription refills or make new appointments.

A fortunate few, who either stockpiled their medication or found willing pharmacies, are living on a borrowed time. For the rest, Florida, bearing the second-largest population of adult transgender individuals, is experiencing a chilling experiment: a rapid and extensive removal of lifesaving medication, and people are suffering.

Up until this point, gender affirming care bans have mostly focused on transgender youth. Though there were murmurings of bans that could go up to 26 years old, these were quickly quashed in state legislatures. A few bills, such as a bill in Oklahoma, were amended to bans on gender affirming care under 18 years of age – these bills are extreme enough and represent a major step backwards in transgender rights.

The landscape shifted significantly in recent months, beginning in Missouri. Attorney General Andrew Bailey signed a decree prohibiting the majority of gender-affirming care for transgender adults. The instituted regulations echoed Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which impose almost insurmountable requirements on abortion clinics. The policy advanced to a court hearing where it seemed to significantly falter under scrutiny. In a pre-emptive move, the Attorney General withdrew the policy before the judge could render a final verdict.

Several weeks later, DeSantis enacted Senate Bill 254, a law that uniquely targets the transgender community in Florida. Initial news reports characterized it as a ban on transgender youth, but its provisions concerning transgender adults have incited severe distress among this group within the state. The law blocks 80% of gender-affirming care for transgender adults by barring nurse practitioners from offering this care. Organizations like Planned Parenthood, one of the largest providers of this care, rely on nurse practitioners heavily.

For the remaining 20% who receive their care from MDs or DOs, they face significant challenges refilling prescriptions at pharmacies that are currently trying to interpret the implications of these regulations on their risk. Additionally, the bill stipulates that transgender adults, even those who have previously received care, must be given a medical disinformation and informed consent form sanctioned by the state’s Board of Medicine. The Board, however, has yet to produce such forms, leading to an additional layer of difficulty.

Transgender researcher Zinnia Jones’ website, Gender Analysis, has outlined the exact impact of this bill on the community in a flowchart, showing how no matter how you received your care as a transgender adult in Florida before, it is likely you are facing severe disruptions:

Speaking with Erin In The Morning, Mia, a 38 year old transgender woman, shared an email from Planned Parenthood stating that gender affirming care services were paused. Though Planned Parenthood sent an emergency refill to Publix that was valid before the law took effect, the pharmacy has refused to fill her prescriptions and she was told to return in 4 months once the impact of the law could be evaluated.

See the email she received:

Planned Parenthood email to Mia pausing care.

When asked what would happen if she lost access, she said, “I’m scared to lose access completely, especially since moving isn’t really an option right now. Losing access or not being able to refill would be possibly the worst thing. The last 9 months have been the best mental health wise, even with all of the fear from the law changes. I’ll find refills through the gray market before being forcibly detransitioned.”

She is still trying to find ways to fill her prescription legally.

She has stated that leaving the state may be an option after she finishes her bachelors in legal studies and can work long enough to afford to move, stating that it will take “about 6 months to a year to get out.”

However, as Jones points out, “Leaving the state is also not a realistic or scalable option: Florida has the second-largest adult trans population in the country after California. 94,900-100,000 adult trans people are affected by this ban.”

You can see the figures here:

Kameron, an 18 year old transgender man in the state, agrees that leaving would not be an easy option, stating that “it would uproot my entire life here.”

Kameron also received his refills from Planned Parenthood and was told that he would be unable to refill his prescriptions. Though he has heard that some doctors might be able to prescribe medication, he knows that the informed consent form to receive care mandated by the state has not been developed yet. As a result, he has been forced to rely on his stockpile that he gathered in preparation for laws like this.

Lucina, a trans individual residing in Florida, received a notification from her healthcare provider stating her care would be discontinued due to her provider being a nurse practitioner. The correspondence indicated that the enactment of the bill prohibited the continuation of her care, and she should promptly seek a legally authorized physician. The letter suggested that she contact primary care providers as a desperate measure, even though these providers often lack training in gender-affirming care. Even if they agreed to provide such care, without the necessary informed consent form, which is yet to be produced by the Board of Medicine, these physicians would likely be unable to administer it.

Here is the letter she received:

Discontinuation of care letter for Lucina.

Gender-affirming care is lifesaving. Numerous studies have proven its positive effect on transgender individuals, including research that indicated a 73% reduction in suicidality and another study that reflected a 40% decrease in recent suicide attempts. Over 50 studies underscoring the advantages of gender-affirming care have been collected by the Cornell University Center for the Study of Inequality. Policies such as Senate Bill 254 not only deprive individuals of this essential care but also inflict trauma on transgender people by abruptly discontinuing their treatment.

The future of transgender people in Florida hangs in the balance. The contentious law is currently under legal scrutiny, with an imminent decision expected regarding a motion for a temporary restraining order to halt its enforcement. Concurrently, the Florida Board of Medicine is scheduled to convene on Thursday to deliberate on the law, possibly initiating the process to create state-required informed consent and disinformation forms. As each day passes, the situation becomes more precarious for many transgender individuals in the state who are being forced to discontinue their hormone therapy unsafely or turn to alternate methods.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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Los Angeles County

Study: Awareness condoms cannot be used as evidence for arrest 

Researchers interviewed 25 adults about their experiences in sex work, including interactions with law enforcement




LOS ANGELES – California Senate Bill 233, which went into effect in January 2020, ensures that the possession of condoms or HIV prophylactics cannot be used as evidence to arrest or prosecute a person for sex work.
However, a new study of people engaged in sex work in Los Angeles County from the Southern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that 80% of respondents were unaware of the law. In addition, about 80% carried condoms while working despite the perceived risk of criminalization.
Researchers interviewed 25 adults about their experiences in sex work, including interactions with law enforcement, sexual risk behaviors, and condom-carrying practices. Respondents reported learning about the risk of carrying condoms from their own interactions with law enforcement and from their peers engaged in sex work.
While a few respondents said they avoided carrying condoms due to their concerns about police interactions, the majority still carried condoms as a way to resist police control and to protect their health, the health of their clients, community, and colleagues in sex work.
“Most of the people surveyed were aware of being targeted for sex work by law enforcement if they carried condoms at a time when condoms could no longer be used as evidence,” said lead author Ayako Miyashita Ochoa, Co-Director of the Southern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. “This study highlights the need for interventions that raise awareness of the legal rights of people engaged in sex work and oversight of SB233 implementation among California police officers.”
“People engaged in sex work report that much of the knowledge they have about the risks of carrying condoms came from members of their community,” said study author Bianca D.M. Wilson, Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “It is important that people engaged in sex work lead interventions, advocacy, and outreach efforts to ensure that accurate and current information is disseminated.”
This project was made possible by support from Sex Workers Outreach Project Los Angeles (SWOPLA) and East LA Women’s Center. Support was also provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Office of Women’s Health and Unique Woman’s Coalition.

Read the full report

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West Hollywood

WeHo Pride 2023 kicks off Friday, June 2

WeHo Pride Parade will Step-Off at 12 p.m. (Noon) on Sunday, June 4



WeHo Pride Parade 2022 (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – This second year of the City of West Hollywood’s own annual Pride celebration kicks off Pride month with music, arts, the parade, and a host of other activities. Starting off on Friday, June 2 to celebrate WeHo Pride Weekend, WeHo Pride presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD in a free show featuring Idina Menzel, Jessie Ware, Shangela, and Tinashe beginning at 6 p.m.

OUTLOUD at WeHo Pride presents the Ticketed Music Festival on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4. Produced by JJLA, the music series will feature headliners Grace Jones, Carly Rae Jepsen, Orville Peck, Passion Pit, and many more artists.

The Free WeHo Pride Street Fair and Women’s Freedom Festival begins at 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 with the Annual Dyke March at 6 p.m.

Free WeHo Pride Arts Festival and Community Group Event Programming Continues through Thursday, June 30

Photo provided courtesy of the City of West Hollywood (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)
  • WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, June 2, 2023, Saturday, June 3, 2023, and Sunday, June 4, 2023 in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. For all the latest #WeHoPride information, visit and follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.
  • WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD will feature Idina Menzel, Jessie Ware, Shangela, and Tinashe with additional performances by JORDY, Tolliver, and DJ Venessa Michaels beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 2. After several weeks of advance complimentary ticket registrations, capacity has been reached for WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD. Unfortunately, no additional RSVPs can be accepted for Friday Night at OUTLOUD entry. For additional information about other free WeHo Pride Weekend programs, visit and for information about Saturday and Sunday music festival details and tickets, visit OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride at  
  • The free WeHo Pride Street Fair and Women’s Freedom Festival begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 and the annual Dyke March will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 3. The Street Fair is located along Santa Monica Boulevard between Hancock Avenue and La Peer Drive. The Women’s Freedom Festival will feature emerging LGBTQ and BIPOC women and non-binary musicians, comedians, poets, and activists will take place at the Community Stage, immediately followed by the annual Dyke March. The WeHo Pride Street Fair will continue on Sunday, June 4. More information is available at
  • WeHo Pride Weekend will feature the ticketed OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride music festival and concert experience produced by JJLA at West Hollywood Park on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 featuring a star-studded, high-energy line-up celebrating and advocating for queer and allied voices in music. Headliners include Grace Jones, Carly Rae Jepsen, Orville Peck, Santigold, and Passion Pit along with dozens more. Plus DJs, drag, and dancing all weekend long. Full artist lineup, event, and ticket information is available by visiting Follow OUTLOUD on Instagram and Facebook @OfficiallyOUTLOUD.
  • On Sunday, June 4, 2023, thousands of people will gather in West Hollywood for the annual WeHo Pride Parade, an imaginative and colorful tradition along Santa Monica Boulevard that embraces LGBTQ+ representation, inclusion, and progress. Full of music, dancing, vibrant floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the Parade celebrates LGBTQ people and their contributions to community and culture. Icons for this year’s WeHo Pride Parade will be RuPaul’s Drag Race, Laith Ashley, Niecy Nash-Betts & Jessica Betts, and Melissa McCarthy. KTLA is the official broadcast partner of the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade. For those not able to attend in-person, tune-in for WeHo Pride Parade coverage on KTLA 5, KTLA + and featuring Cher Calvin, Pedro Rivera, the KTLA Family and surprise special guests. Enjoy OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride and the WeHo Pride Street Fair following the parade.
  • The 40-day WeHo Pride Arts Festival continues through June 30, 2023. Events will be live at various locations throughout the City of West Hollywood and will also feature selected online programming. More information is available at
  • WeHo Pride community group event programming takes place through June 30, 2023. Details about community group events are available at
  • Other highlights of Pride Month in the City of West Hollywood include the annual Pride Pickleball Tournament, a free Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles concert in West Hollywood Park, and a free combined Lesbian Speakers Series/Summer Sounds event at Plummer Park featuring Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins. More information is available at

Information about WeHo Pride Weekend street and facility closures is available at

Information about the City’s Pride Ride free WeHo Pride Weekend shuttle service is available at

Additional information about #WeHoPride is posted at and @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.

For nearly four decades, West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ people and allies from around the world traditionally make WeHo their annual destination during Pride season.

WeHo Pride Parade will Step-Off at 12 p.m. (Noon) on Sunday, June 4

The Icons for this year’s WeHo Pride Weekend Pride Parade will be RuPaul’s Drag Race, Laith Ashley, Niecy Nash-Betts & Jessica Betts, and Melissa McCarthy. WeHo Pride will honor these trailblazers and allies as this year’s Icons for their work in bringing the LGBTQ community and social justice issues to the forefront, as well as expanding queer representation in mainstream pop culture.

The WeHo Pride Parade will step-off at 12 p.m. (noon) on Sunday, June 4, 2023 beginning at N. Crescent Heights Boulevard at Santa Monica Boulevard, and will travel westbound along Santa Monica Boulevard into the heart of City’s Rainbow District to N. Robertson Boulevard.

Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the WeHo Pride Parade is free and open to the public embracing LGBTQ representation, inclusion, and progress.

WeHo Pride Parade 2022 (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)

KTLA is the official broadcast partner of the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade. For those not able to attend in-person, tune-in for WeHo Pride Parade coverage on KTLA 5, KTLA + and featuring Cher Calvin, Pedro Rivera, the KTLA Family, and surprise special guests. 

“The City of West Hollywood is pleased to kick off another WeHo Pride celebration filled with engaging activities and plenty of opportunities to celebrate the LGBTQ community,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne. “Our WeHo Pride Parade Icons embody queer joy and fierce allyship by creating spaces where our community can be celebrated, whether that’s on the red carpet or directly through their art and advocacy. We’re thrilled to celebrate the impact our Icons have in creating a more evolved and accepting world.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race is being celebrated as this year’s Drag Icon and will join the WeHo Pride Parade on a float accompanied by a number of fan favorites from the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise.

Long-time host and judge Michelle Visage will be receiving the Drag Icon award on behalf of the franchise. The illustrious Drag Race series has produced some of the most globally famous drag queens, and the City of West Hollywood is thrilled to include Drag Race participants in this year’s parade including Angeria, Gigi Goode, Gottmik, June Jambalaya, Rock M. Sakura, Symone, and more.

Produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and World of Wonder (WOW), the franchise has reshaped international pop culture, earning 27 Emmys, and has created a global network. Fans can catch the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8 streaming exclusively on Paramount+.

Receiving this year’s Breakthrough Icon award is Laith Ashley, a model, actor, and activist who launched his career with a campaign for Barneys New York in February 2014. As of 2023, Ashley was the male lead in Taylor Swift’s Lavender Haze music video, and in 2017, he was the first transgender man to be featured in an ad campaign for the Diesel brand.

Since then, he has volunteered with nonprofit organizations like FLUX and the transgender division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Before beginning his career in the entertainment industry, Ashley was a counselor for homeless youth in New York City and spearheaded trans sensitivity training in medical facilities and homeless shelters.

He now uses his platform to help inform others about the trans experience and other marginalized groups, as well as advocate for social justice in hopes of a more open, loving, and accepting world.

Actress Niecy Nash-Betts and singer-songwriter Jessica Betts will be honored with the title of Trailblazer Icons for blazing their own trail in Hollywood.

The married couple has made HERstory on their own terms by finding love and leaning in. In 2022, Niecy and Jessica became the first same-sex partners to appear on the cover of Essence magazine. The cover story received a nomination for a 2023 GLAAD Media Award in the category of “Outstanding Print Article.”

Niecy has gained recognition as an Emmy Award®-winning producer and three-time Emmy-nominated actress best known for her roles on Comedy Central’s RENO 911!, ABC’s The Rookie: Feds and Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. She is also the host of Don’t Forget the Lyrics! on FOX.

Early in her career, Jessica was crowned the winner of Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott. She he has toured with numerous renowned artists and has been inducted into the BET Music Matters showcase.

In recent years Jessica has continued to release music and acted alongside her wife on Comedy Central’s Reno 911!: It’s a Wonderful Heist, TNT’s Claws and ABC’s The Rookie: Feds where she and Niecy played a same-sex couple.

Melissa McCarthy has been named WeHo Pride’s 2023 Ally Icon and is being recognized for her outspoken allyship and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Emmy winner and two-time Oscar nominee, McCarthy, known for her roles in Bridesmaids, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Tammy, Ghostbusters, Gilmore Girls, and much more, is a staunch advocate for the LGBTQ community and has recently been very outspoken against the anti-drag laws that are being introduced by state legislatures across the country.

West Hollywood and WeHo Pride

Pride Starts Here. For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world traditionally make West Hollywood their regular destination during Pride season.

WeHo Pride Weekend (June 2 – 4) will include a free WeHo Pride Street Fair representing a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the annual Dyke March; Friday Night at OUTLOUD; OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride music festival; and a wide range of community group programming throughout Pride month.

The 40-day WeHo Pride Arts Festival (May 22 – June 30) takes place at various locations throughout West Hollywood, along with selected online programming.

Additional information about #WeHoPride is posted at and @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.

Since its incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. No other city of its size has had a greater impact on the national public policy discourse on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people.

Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, the City consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation.

More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and three of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly gay. The City has advocated for nearly four decades for measures that support LGBTQ individuals and the City is in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. #WeHoPride @WeHoCity

For more information about WeHo Pride, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496. 

WeHo Pride Parade 2022 (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)

WeHo Pride Weekend Street and Facility Closures

Street and Facility Closure Information:

WeHo Pride reminds the local community and the greater LA region about WeHo Pride-related street and facility closures. Drivers and Metro riders can anticipate increased traffic and commute times; please plan to use alternate routes.

Street Closures:

  • N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Melrose Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard from Thursday, June 1, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 5, at 10 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Blvd (Eastbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive from Friday, June 2, at 12 p.m. (noon) through Monday, June 5, at 7 a.m.
  • N. Robertson Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue from Friday, June 2, at 3 p.m. through Monday, June 5 at 7 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard (Westbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive from Saturday, June 3, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 5, at 7 a.m.
  • N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Cynthia Street from Saturday, June 3, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 5, at 10 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard closed from N. Fairfax Avenue to N. Doheny Drive (including side streets one block north and one block south of Santa Monica Boulevard) from Sunday, June 4 at 5 a.m. through Sunday, June 4, at 5 p.m. for the WeHo Pride Parade. Santa Monica Boulevard from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive will remain closed though Monday, June 5 at 7 a.m. 

Facility Closures:

The City of West Hollywood will activate its annual Pride Ride free shuttle service during #WeHoPride Weekend.

More information is available at

Parking Information For WeHo Pride Weekend

Permit Parking Requirements are Suspended from 4 p.m. on Friday, June 2 through Monday, June 5 at 7 a.m.  >>> Parking Meters will be Enforced Throughout the Weekend <<<

 Permit parking requirements are lifted for WeHo Pride Weekend from Friday, June 2 at 4 p.m. through Monday, June 5 at 7 a.m., however parking meters will be enforced throughout the weekend. Drivers can anticipate increased traffic and commute times; please plan to use alternate routes based on street and facility closures.

Please note that Santa Monica Boulevard will be closed during the weekend in both directions of traffic and during closures for the WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 4, 2023, there will be limited access to cross Santa Monica Boulevard for those seeking to drive around the City or access parking locations.

Attendees of WeHo Pride Weekend festivities are encouraged to observe the boundaries of the City of West Hollywood when parking; if parking occurs in the City of Los Angeles and/or the City of Beverly Hills, all parking restrictions for those cities must be observed.

Limited paid public parking near the WeHo Pride site in and around West Hollywood Park may be available on a first-come-first-served basis at the Pacific Design Center, located at 8687 Melrose Avenue; Kings Road Parking Structure, located at 8383 Santa Monica Boulevard; and Hancock Parking Structure, located at 901 Hancock Avenue.

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Los Angeles

Pride flag burned at elementary school where protests continue

“We have a real concern over what is going on. We have three teachers who are LGBTQ at that campus. And two parents are LGBTQ”



Progress Pride Flag hangs outside a classroom at Saticoy Elementary School, replacing a smaller version destroyed in an arson hate crime. (Photo credit: Renato Lira San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center)

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that a small LGBTQ+ Pride flag located outside of a classroom at Saticoy Elementary School was destroyed in an act of arson. The crime is now is being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to an LAPD spokesperson.

First reported by The Daily News, Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton of the LAPD’s Valley Bureau told journalist Steve Scauzillo: “The investigation is ongoing. It is a vandalism hate crime. The hate crime is still significant but it is a misdemeanor,” he said on May 27.

A group of parents have taken to social media and distribute flyers to protest a scheduled June 2, LGBTQ+ Pride event at the school located at 7850 Ethel Avenue in North Hollywood.

The group called for other parents to protest outside of the school on June 2 at the start of the school day. “We respect everyone, but some things are appropriate for children (of) that age, and some things are not,” George Dzhabroyan, who is among the Saticoy parents unhappy with the school, told KTLA 5 on May 24. “Hopefully the message gets across and people understand that parents should be the primary contact of what their children should be exposed to and shouldn’t be exposed to.”

The blackened planter and burned flag were discovered by school personnel on Monday, May 22, at 6:30 a.m., Hamilton said. He did not know when the planter and flag were burned and there are no suspects, he said.

According to The Daily News, a member of the group, Saticoy Elementary Parents, claims that no one from the group was responsible for the act of arson.

Ana, a parent in the group who asked that her last name not be published in the interest of her family’s safety, said she does not believe any member of the group is responsible for the possible hate crime, the Daily News reported.

“None of us parents are aware of who the person might have been who set the flag on fire,” she said. “None of us would jump the fence or set the flag on fire because we don’t want to bring that negativity to the school where our children are.”

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) confirmed that the event being protested by the group will include a book reading by faculty of British author Mary Hoffman titled ‘The Great Big Book of Families. The book covers families of different colors, single parents, grandparents, two mothers, two fathers, and adoptive families.  It also addresses family sizes, different homes, different ways to go to school, different ways parents work, the holidays families take, the food people eat, clothes, pets, and hobbies.

The school also has an assembly planned for that day.

The executive director of the San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center, Renato Lira, expressed concern over this latest incident: “We have a real concern over what is going on. We have three teachers who are LGBTQ at that campus. And two parents are LGBTQ who bring their kids to that school.”

Lira and the Center donated a full size Progress Pride flag for display and told the paper that volunteers from the Center will be present on the event this Friday. He added: “We raised that flag to let them know we are going to be stronger and united,” he said.

Lira pointed out that whoever burned the flag showed disrespect for LGBTQ parents, teachers and the community. “They should not be doing that, whoever they are,” he said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District did not respond to a request by the Blade for comment.

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Alabama extends ban on trans female athletes to universities

“Look, if you are a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women’s and girls’ sports in Alabama”



Alabama Republican Governor Kay Ivey, (Left) with Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor/Facebook)

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday signed House Bill 261 which limits transgender students to playing sports in public colleges and universities only with “their biological sex assigned at birth.”

“Look, if you are a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women’s and girls’ sports in Alabama. It’s about fairness, plain and simple,”  said Governor Ivey in a statement released by her office.

House Bill 261 was approved 26-4 in the Alabama Senate and 83-5 in the House of Representatives. In the vote in the Alabama House over a dozen lawmakers abstained from the vote.

Ivey had previously signed legislation in 2021 banning trans female athletes from competing in K-12 girls sports. At the time she signed that bill the governor had noted that “Alabama remains committed to protecting female athletes at all levels and upholding the integrity of athletics.”

Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey, Alabama state director of the Human Rights Campaign said the legislation is part of a “systematic attack against LGBTQ+ people” in Alabama and elsewhere.

“In just two years, [Ivey] and extremist lawmakers in Alabama have passed four anti-LGBTQ+ bills. From dictating what bathrooms we can use to blatantly ignoring the actual problems in women’s sports, these politicians are making Alabama an increasingly hostile place for transgender people and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole,” Anderson-Harvey said.

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