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First openly gay member of Costa Rica National Assembly takes office

Enrique Sánchez represents portions of the country’s capital



Enrique Sánchez on his first day as a member of the Costa Rica National Assembly on May 1, 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Costa Rica National Assembly)

The first openly gay man elected to the Costa Rica National Assembly was sworn in on Tuesday.

Enrique Sánchez — a journalist who is a member of the leftist Citizen’s Action Party — represents a portion of San José Province in the National Assembly.

Sánchez told the Washington Blade on Thursday during a WhatsApp interview from the Costa Rican capital of San José that he never hid his sexual orientation during his campaign. Sánchez added the reaction he received from voters was “positive.”

“My campaign sought to promote visibility for the LGBT community,” he told the Blade. “My sexual orientation wasn’t something I hid.”

Sánchez, 40, took office a month after Carlos Alvarado of the Citizen’s Action Party defeated Fabricio Alvarado of the National Restoration Party in the second round of Costa Rica’s presidential election.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in January issued a landmark ruling that recognized same-sex marriage and transgender rights.

Outgoing Vice President Ana Helena Chacón announced her government would comply with the decision.

Fabricio Alvarado — a former journalist who is a singer and Pentecostal minister — made his opposition to the ruling the centerpiece of his campaign. Carlos Alvarado — who takes office on May 8 — publicly supports marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Fabricio and Carlos Alvarado are not related.

“(The ruling) is binding and it must be implemented,” Sánchez told the Blade.

Sánchez noted improving access to technology and reforming Costa Rica’s public television network are among his other legislative priorities. He also told the Blade he hopes U.S. institutions can “stop” the Trump administration’s efforts to curtail the rights of LGBT people, women, migrants, people of color and other marginalized groups.

Primer hombre gay elegido a la Asamblea Nacional de Costa Rica asumió el cargo

El primer hombre gay elegido a la Asamblea Nacional de Costa Rica asumió el cargo el martes.

Enrique Sánchez — un periodista quien es miembro del Partido Acción Ciudadana de la izquierda — representa parte de la provincia de San José en la Asamblea Nacional.

Sánchez dijo el Washington Blade el jueves durante una entrevista de WhatsApp desde la capital costarricense de San José que no ocultó nunca su orientación sexual durante su campaña. Sánchez añadió que la reacción de los votantes que recibió era “positiva.”

“Mi campaña buscaba promover la visibilidad de la comunidad LGBT,” dijo al Blade. “Mi orientación sexual no era algo que oculté.”

Sánchez, 40, asumió su cargo un mes después de Carlos Alvarado del Partido Acción Ciudadana derrotó a Fabricio Alvarado del Partido Restauración Nacional en la segunda vuelta de la elección presidencial de Costa Rica.

La Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en enero emitió un fallo histórico que reconoció el matrimonio igualitario y los derechos de la comunidad trans.

La vicepresidenta saliente Ana Helena Chacón anunció su gobierno cumpliría con el fallo.

Fabricio Alvarado — un experiodista quien es un cantante y ministro pentecostal — hizo su oposición al fallo la pieza central de su campaña. Carlos Alvarado — quien asumirá su cargo el 8 de mayo — apoya públicamente el matrimonio igualitario.

Fabricio y Carlos Alvarado no están relacionados.

“(El fallo) es vinculante y tiene que implementar,” Sánchez dijo al Blade.

Sánchez nota mejorar el acceso a la tecnología y reformar la red de televisión pública de Costa Rica están entre las otras prioridades legislativas. El también dijo al Blade que espera las instituciones estadounidenses puedan bloquear los esfuerzos del presidente Trump de reducir los derechos de la comunidad LGBT, las mujeres, los migrantes, los afrodescendientes y otros grupos marginados.

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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards vetoes trans youth sports bill

Discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana



Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) (Official state portrait)

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana’s Democratic John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday that he has vetoed a measure that would have barred trans girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools. 

The measure, Senate Bill 156 authored by Sen. Beth Mizell titled the ‘the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,’ in the Governor’s eyes, “was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” Edwards said in his veto statement;

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue. 

Further, it would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health. We should be looking for more ways to unite rather than divide our citizens. And while there is no issue to be solved by this bill, it does present real problems in that it makes it more likely that NCAA and professional championships, like the 2022 Final Four, would not happen in our state. For these and for other reasons, I have vetoed the bill.”

The Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper’s State House reporter, Blake Paterson, noted that [the law] would have required athletic teams or sporting events for women at public institutions be composed only of “biological females,” or those who presumably were listed as female on their birth certificates.

The measure won Senate approval 29-6 and cleared the House 78-19. Those margins are wide enough to override a governor’s veto, though it’s unclear whether lawmakers will return to Baton Rouge to do so.

“Governor Edwards deserves enormous credit for urging Louisianans to reject the politics of division and to focus on what brings us together, including a shared concern for vulnerable children. As his veto message rightly notes, transgender youth already face huge challenges,” Shannon Minter, the Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, (NCLR) told the Blade in an email. “Banning them from school sports would not make any child’s life better or safer, but it would bring discredit and economic hardship to the state, which likely would lose NCAA and professional championships. Governor Edward’s veto message is a model of clarity and compassion. We need more leaders with his courage.”

The ACLU reacted in a tweet saying:


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Anti-LGBTQ religious extremist celebrates death at Wilton Manors Pride

Mehta points out this type of rhetoric is quite likely to inspire violence against the LGBTQ community by one of Shelley’s followers



Screenshot vis Twitter

HURST, Tx. – The pastor of a fundamentalist Baptist Church in this suburban Fort Worth, Texas city took to his pulpit to celebrate the death of an attendee at the Wilton Manors, Florida Pride parade this past weekend.

Pastor Jonathan Shelley, whose church is affiliated with infamous “death to gays” Pastor Steven Anderson in Phoenix, Arizona is quoted by Patheos writer and progressive blogger Hemant Mehta saying; […]”I hope they all die! I would love it if every fag would die right now.” […]

Mehta, who runs the heavily trafficked The Friendly Atheist, also noted that Shelley told his congregants; “And, you know, it’s great when trucks accidentally go through those, you know, parades. I think only one person died. So hopefully we can hope for more in the future.”

Mehta noted that the video of Shelley’s hate-filled remarks on this and other anti-LGBTQ vitriol is still accessible on Shelley’s YouTube Channel. He also points out this type of rhetoric is quite likely to inspire violence against the LGBTQ community by one of Shelley’s followers.

The Blade has reached out to YouTube Tuesday for comment but has yet to receive a response.

Editor’s note; The language used in the video in the embedded tweet below is uncensored hate speech:

In a related update from the Daily Beast, Fred Johnson Jr., who was named by Wilton Manors police as the driver of the vehicle that veered out of control killing one person and injuring two others at Saturday’s Stonewall Pride Parade has offered his “sincere regrets to all those who were impacted by this tragic event.”

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California’s LGBTQ Pride week 2021, Capitol Lighting

The building will be illuminated for the week, marking just the second time in California’s history that Pride colors have donned the dome



California Capitol Building illuminated for Pride 2021 (Photo by Nune Garipian 2021)

SACRAMENTO — The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus and partner organizations held a press event and lighting ceremony, Monday, June 21, for the illumination of the California State Capitol Dome in rainbow colors to kick off a weeklong recognition of Pride Month.

The building will remain illuminated for the entire week, marking just the second time in California’s history that Pride colors have donned the dome. The first lighting occurred after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage equality.

The ceremony is part of a citywide initiative to put light installations at additional Sacramento landmarks, including City Hall, Sutter’s Fort, and the Museum of Science and Curiosity. The lighting initiative is the brainchild of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center and the first of its kind for the region.

Speakers and participants included Assemblymember Evan Low, Chair of the CA Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, Senator Scott Wiener, former Chair of the CA Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman, Vice Chair of the CA Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, California’s Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Senator John Laird, Alexis Sanchez, Director of Advocacy for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Tony Hoang, Executive Director-designate for Equality California, Tami Martin, External Affairs Director for the Capitol LGBTQ Association and Legislative LGBTQ Caucus members and community stakeholders.

Editor’s note: The Los Angeles Blade thanks the efforts of the event’s photographer, Nune Garipian, who is responsible for covering the event on behalf of the Blade. All photographs are [Copyright Garipian 2021] and are used by permission.

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