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Billie Jean King now part-owner of the LA Dodgers

Longtime partner Ilana Kloss also co-owner



Tennis Icon Billie Jean King and her longtime partner Ilana Kloss. (Photo courtesy of Major League Baseball Inc.)

Tennis icon Billie Jean King and her longtime partner Ilana Kloss have joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as co-owners, according to an announcement from Major League Baseball Inc. and the Dodgers Thursday.

“As someone born, raised and educated in Southern California, it is an honor to be part of the Dodger ownership group,” King said in a press release “Mark Walter and the entire Dodger organization are a first-class operation that have proven to be leaders in sports on and off the field of play. We share a commitment to equality and inclusion, including the LGBTQ community, and we hope to further expand the team’s efforts in those areas as we move forward together.”

King, 75, and Kloss, 62, are former professional tennis players who have previous ownership-level experience in the World TeamTennis league the Mercury News reported. King, a Long Beach native, is famous for advocating for equal pay for women and beating Bobby Riggs in a singles match in 1973 dubbed “The Battle Of The Sexes.”

Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by then President Barack Obama, King was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987 after a professional career in which she won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles, including a record 20 Wimbledon championships. In 2006, she became the first woman to have a major sports venue named in her honor when The USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., was rededicated as The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in recognition of her accomplishments on and off the court.

Dodgers’ owner and chair Mark Walter called King and Kloss “trailblazing athletes, social advocates and businesswomen.”

Walter added: “Just like Billie Jean and Ilana, the Dodger franchise has a history of and commitment to breaking barriers, inclusion and winning, and we’re looking forward to them continuing to promote these attributes within our organization.”

Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred lauded the pair for their social leadership, especially on LGBTQ issues.

“Major League Baseball is pleased to welcome Billie Jean King and her partner, Ilana Kloss, to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership group,” Manfred said. “Billie Jean King is a true American trailblazer who has tirelessly championed for gender pay equality, LGBTQ rights and diverse, inclusive workforce leadership. Through her groundbreaking efforts, she has earned some of the most highly regarded recognitions available to athletes and advocates. Ilana Kloss is well-known for being both a professional tennis player and for her work as the chief executive officer and commissioner of World TeamTennis. We are excited to have them both join the National Pastime.”

Reporting by the Mercury News and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade.



Congolese bill would criminalize LGBTQ+ people

Constant Mutamba’s measure seen as distraction from country’s long-standing problems



Congolese MP Constant Mutamba (Photo courtesy of Mutamba's X account)

KINSHASA, Congo — A member of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s National Assembly who is a leader of the country’s opposition party has introduced a bill that would criminalize LGBTQ+ people.

Part of the bill that Constant Mutamba, leader of the Dynamic Progressive Revolutionary Opposition platform, has put forth states anyone who “commits a homosexual act (including acts and gestures) will be liable to a 5- or 10-year prison sentence.”

The country in recent years has seen government leaders and civic society target the community with anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments.

The Superior Council for Audiovisual and Communication, Media Regulatory Authority last June cautioned the media against showing LGBTQ+-specific conversations. Several activists have criticized Mutamba’s bill, saying it seeks to move attention away from governance, service delivery and other pertinent issues in the country.

Sirius Tekasala, a human rights activist, said a person’s sexual orientation does not impact issues of governance.

“The proposed bill does not go in the direction of improving the socio-economic life of the Congolese people,” said Tekasala. “It’s not homosexuals who prevent you from doing your job well or from breathing. This is a violation of human rights.”

Mbuela Mbadu Dieudonné, a social analyst and trade unionist, said the bill is just a way of deviating people from the pertinent issues.

“He should suggest how to get the Congolese people out of this precariousness of life which is growing on a daily basis,” said Dieudonné. “When we don’t know the real problems of the Congolese people, he sets himself up as the great director of scenes to distract the Congolese people.”

Many Congolese, however, seem to support the bill and have applauded Mutamba for drafting it.

This is not the first time that such kind of a bill has been drafted.

An anti-homosexuality bill introduced in 2010 would have sentenced people who engage in consensual same-sex sexual relations to between three and five years in prison. The measure, however, did not become law.

Mutamba’s bill, however, may pass with Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act in effect. The country’s Constitutional Court earlier this month upheld it. Burundi, Tanzania and other neighboring countries are also considering similar measures.

Many Congolese people view LGBTQ+ rights as a Western phenomenon that disregards their religious and cultural beliefs. LGBTQ+ Congolese are among those who have fled the country and sought refuge in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and other places.

Consensual same-sex sexual relations are not criminalized in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but Congolese law does not recognize same-sex marriages.

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Out in the World: LGBTQ+ news from Europe & Asia

LGBTQ+ news stories from around the globe including Monaco, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, United Kingdom & Belarus



Los Angeles Blade graphic


Photo Credit: Principality of Monaco

MONACO – Monaco’s top court struck down two lower court rulings that would have required the tiny Mediterranean principality to recognize foreign same-sex marriages, in a ruling that has not yet been published.

The case centered around a binational Monegasque-American same-sex couple who married in Grand Rapids, Michigan in August 2019 while resident in that state. When they returned to Monaco the following year, the government refused to record them in the state register of marriages.

“Although valid, this union cannot be transcribed in the marriage register in view of its manifest contrariety with Monegasque public order characterized by the constitutional principle according to which the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman religion is the state religion,” stated a letter from the Public Prosecutor’s Office in a letter to the Civil Registrar on the matter.

The letter goes on to invite the couple to instead form a cohabitation contract, which has been available to same-sex couples in Monaco as a form of civil union since 2020.

The couple rejected that offer and appealed to the Attorney-General, who again refused to recognize the marriage, so the couple took their case to court.

In March 2022, the court of first instance ruled in the couple’s favor, citing the presumption in international private law that marriages validly concluded in one country are generally recognized in any country. The court also found that the same-sex marriages are not contrary to the public order simply because Catholicism is the state religion, and that the cohabitation agreements are inadequate to protect the family rights of married couples.

The prosecutor-general quickly appealed the decision, but the Court of Appeal once again ruled in September 2023 in the couple’s favor. The court also found that the state’s offer that the couple could protect their rights through a cohabitation agreement to be impractical, as the cohabitation law specifically says that agreements are unavailable to anyone who is already married. 

Still, the government appealed the decision to the Court of Revision, Monaco’s highest court dealing with administrative matters. That court finally ruled that the government is not obliged to record same-sex marriages, striking down the previous two rulings. 

LGBTQ+ rights have long been a contentious issue in the tiny city-state of approximately 39,000. While there are no local LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, the state has been pushed to enhance the legal rights of its queer citizens by its larger European neighbors.

Monaco was one of the last states in Western Europe to offer legal recognition to same-sex couples through the 2020 Cohabitation Agreement Bill, which came about largely because Monaco recognized it was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, which courts have interpreted as requiring states to give equal recognition to same-sex couples. 

Still, the cohabitation agreement is explicitly unequal to marriage. Couples in cohabitation agreements are not considered families and can even include siblings or other relatives. They don’t enjoy equal treatment in terms of taxation or inheritance, can’t choose a common surname, and can’t adopt, and cohabitation with a Monegasque citizen doesn’t entitle a partner to residency rights the way marriage does.

Monaco also lacks any anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people, and trans people are not allowed to change their legal gender. 


Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni with President of Argentina Javier Gerardo Milei in February during a state visit. (Photo Credit: Office of prime minister Giorgia Meloni)

ROME, Italy – During a press briefing Friday at the conference ‘For a Young Europe: Demographic Transition, Environment, Future,’ Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni took aim at the practice of surrogacy which is already illegal in Italy saying the practice is “inhuman.” 

The prime minister’s party recently introduced legislation in the Italian Parliament that would further criminalize the act by hiking fines from €600,000 to €1 million ($640,290 to $1,067,150) and increasing jail terms from three months up to two years.

“I continue to believe that surrogacy is an inhuman practice,” Meloni said. “I support the bill that makes it a universal crime,” she added.

Last week Pope Francis issued a papal document, the 20-page Dignitas infinita, which stated that surrogacy “violates” both the dignity of the child and the woman, who “becomes a mere means subservient to the arbitrary gain or desire of others.” The document also declared gender-affirming surgery to be a grave violation of human dignity.

CNN reported that the move to criminalize surrogacy is largely seen as a move against the LGBTQ+ community. Italy was the last European country to legalize same sex unions, which it did in 2016 but does not allow gay couples to be “married,” in line with the Catholic Church.

Under Meloni’s government, birth certificates were changed to list “mother” and “father” rather than “parent 1” and “parent 2.” In 2023 some communities where her Brothers of Italy leads the government, names of lesbian mothers were removed from birth certificates.


Parlament České republiky, Waldstein Palace-Malá Strana, Prague.
(Photo Credit: Parliament of the Czech Republic)

PRAGUE, Czechia – The Czech senate began consideration of bill that would enhance the rights of people in same-sex civil partnerships this week, continuing a tense legislative process that has seen pro-and anti-LGBTQ+ groups lobbying lawmakers to make changes to the bill.

The civil partnership bill passed through the lower house of parliament in February. It was a compromise after a bill that would have allowed same-sex marriage couldn’t get enough support to pass. 

The bill makes registered partnerships, which have been legal in Czechia since 2005, equivalent to marriage in all matters except adoption. Same-sex couples will have the right to stepchild adoption only – couples will not be allowed to jointly adopt.

Some senators have presented amendments to the bill that would allow same-sex marriage and full joint adoption, but some legislators think this strategy is risky – any amendments would send the bill back to the lower house, where it’s not clear they could pass. 

On the other hand, some senators are pushing amendments that would water down the bill further, by eliminating adoption entirely. 

Leading up to the senate debate, LGBTQ+ advocates were sanguine about the prospects of getting everything they want.

“Together with the majority of Czech society, we sent a clear message to our legislators: only the institute of equal marriage will ensure equal legal protection, social security and family stability for all couples and families with children,” wrote Lucia Zachariášová a lawyer who works with the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization Jsme Fér in an open letter to legislators this week. 

“However, the partnership can at this moment fulfill a promise repeated so much that if it is not a question of marriage, there will be no problem to accept such a solution. It is important to repeat again: it will help especially families with children to have a little more restful sleep,” she writes.

So far, three senate committees have examined the bill, recommending either that the senate pass the bill as is or simply not debate it. In the Czech system, if the Senate doesn’t address a bill passed by the House, it is sent to the president to be signed into law anyway. The president is expected to sign the bill, as he campaigned for full marriage equality.

One more committee is set to examine the bill next week before it’s scheduled for debate on the senate floor April 17. 

If the Senate rejects a bill, or passes it with an amendment, it returns to the lower house, where deputies can either accept the amendment or reaffirm the bill with the support of an absolute majority or 101 votes. The bill originally passed through the lower chamber of deputies with 118 votes in favor.

While Czech LGBTQ+ people are disappointed by the lack of progress on marriage equality, they’re also anxious to get the bill passed, as it would still offer a great improvement to the legal rights of many same-sex couples and their children.

“The House is not expected to improve the amendment. On the contrary, there is a fear that the situation could worsen or that everything would fall under the table,” Jsme Fér said of the progress on the bill in a post on X, (formerly Twitter). “[Senators] fear a debate that might not be dignified for hundreds of thousands of LGBT people, and after six years of debates in the House of Representatives, everything important has already been said.”


The Reichstag is a historic legislative government building on Platz der Republik in Berlin, and the seat of the German Bundestag [Parliament]. (Photo by Matthew Field/Bundestag)

BERLIN, Germany – The German Parliament voted 374-251 to pass a new law allowing trans people to change their legal gender by a simple administrative procedure, replacing outdated requirements from the 1980s for declarations of support from doctors and other invasive procedures.

The new law also imposes hefty fines of up to €10,000 on anyone intentionally disclosing a trans person’s previous name or gender for a harmful purpose. The law allows exceptions in cases where disclosure would be a legal requirement, for example in a court proceeding or a police investigation.

Under the new law, trans people may change their legal gender to male, female, or “diverse” – a third-gender option already available under German law. Applicants can also request that no gender details be recorded at all. Trans people will simply file a request, and then appear in person at a registry office three months later to make the change official. 

The new law is open to people over 18. Those between 14 and 17 will need a parent’s permission to file the application, while those under 14 will require parents to file the application on their behalf. 

Applicants are limited to one name and gender change within 12 months. The law also allows the government to suspend applications to change legal gender from male to female or diverse made up to two months before a national emergency is declared.

The law continues to allow operators of women-only spaces, such as gyms or changing rooms, to decide on their own who is allowed to access them. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the law was about showing respect to gender-diverse people.

“We show respect to trans, intersex and non-binary people – without taking anything away from others. This is how we continue to drive the modernization of our country. This includes recognizing realities of life and making them possible by law,” Scholz wrote in a statement on X.

The law was part of the governing agreement made by the current governing coalition. The upper house of parliament does not need to vote on the bill. The law will come into effect in November.

Under the 1980 Transsexuals Law, trans people were required to get two expert reports from doctors attesting that the applicant will not be likely to want to return to their previous legal gender. These reports often required trans people to undergo invasive psychological and physical examinations and would add months of delay and average additional costs of up to €2000 (approximately $2130).

The Constitutional Court struck down a requirement that trans people have sex reassignment surgery and be sterilized in 2011. The same court required the government to create a non-binary option for intersex people in 2017, which the government did a year later.

Germany’s coalition government, in place since September 2021, has promised to introduce several pro-LGBTQ+ policies, including creating a hate crime law, amending the Basic Law to ban discrimination based on sexual identity, and automatic parenthood recognition for same-sex parents.


The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is located in London. (Photo Credit: UK Government)

LONDON, UK – A government-commissioned review of gender care services for trans youth in England and Wales has sparked an outcry from trans activists who say that the review discounted decades of research showing the value of gender care treatment to reach a conclusion that care should be restricted for youth.

The “Cass Review” was commissioned by the National Health Service England in 2020 to examine gender care services for young people following reports showing a large increase in the number of youth accessing care at the now-closed Gender Identity Development Service. The Review was led by a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Dr. Hilary Cass.

The disputed report concluded that there isn’t good scientific evidence to support most forms of gender care, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or social transition.

“While a considerable amount of research has been published in this field, systematic evidence reviews demonstrated the poor quality of the published studies, meaning there is not a reliable evidence base upon which to make clinical decisions, or for children and their families to make informed choices,” reads an excerpt of the report’s executive summary.

But trans advocates criticized that conclusion, pointing out that Cass held existing studies of gender care to an impossible standard. Her report discounted any study that wasn’t based on double-blind trials, which they say would not be possible or ethical.

“The Cass Review dismisses a very large number of studies and omits studies from the past two years. Hence, it neglects a vast amount of evidence on the benefits of gender affirming medical treatment for trans youth in its analysis,” writes Dr. Hane Maung of the trans healthcare service GenderGP.

“For many medical interventions, including gender affirming medical treatment for trans youth, randomised controlled trials are unfeasible and unethical, because the consequences of not intervening would be very apparent to the participants and also would be unacceptably harmful,” he says.

The Cass Review urges caution in treatment for trans youth, including a new recommendation that medical consultations be undertaken before youth are allowed to socially transition – a major expansion of the medicalization of gender identity. Some trans activists also noticed that the review suggests increased surveillance of trans care through age 25, suspecting this implies further restricting care into adulthood.

The day the Cass Review was published, NHS England announced it would be launching a review of adult gender care, alleging whistleblower complaints.

The Guardian reports that Cass also advised the government to be cautious with the proposed ban on conversion therapy, which the government has put under review, but which is unlikely to be introduced before an election is held. Cass reportedly urged the minister responsible to ensure that doctors providing gender care are insulated from accusations of conversion practices, claiming that doctors are already afraid to take a more cautious approach to providing treatment.

The Cass Review has already made waves across the UK, with transphobic author JK Rowling claiming that it vindicates her years-long anti-trans campaigning, and claiming she would “never forgive” Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson for supporting trans rights.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak endorsed the report’s findings.

“We care above all about the wellbeing of children and it’s clear that these things are not neutral acts, whether that’s social transitioning, any kind of medical intervention, we simply do not know the long-term effects of these things,” he says. “And that’s why anyone involved in considering these issues, of course, has to treat people with sensitivity and compassion, but also have to be extremely cautious when it comes to taking any action.”

The opposition Labour Party, which is expected to win national elections later this year, has already said it would implement all of the Cass Review recommendations when in government. Labour’s shadow minister for health told The Sun that he no longer stood by the statement that “trans women are women” in the wake of the review. 

The NHS Scotland and NHS Wales, which hold devolved responsibility for care in those countries, said they were reviewing Cass’ findings.


Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. (Screenshot/Belarusian Telegraph Agency)

MINSK, Belarus – The government of Belarus issued a decree this week declaring that depictions of LGBTQ+ people may be considered illegal pornography, whether or not sexual acts are depicted.

The Culture Ministry amended a decree on “erotic materials” to include homosexuality or transgender as “non-traditional sexual relationship or behavior,” equivalent to necrophilia, pedophilia, and voyeurism. 

That may mean that depictions of LGBTQ+ people are considered pornography. Under Belarussian law, production, distribution, and public displays of pornography are punishable with up to 4 years in prison, or up to 13 years for child pornography. 

Using these new definitions, an innocuous picture of a same-sex couple with their child, or a picture of a trans child, or a picture of two same-sex teens on a date, could all be considered child pornography.

According to Human Rights Watch, it is not yet clear how the government plans to interpret and enforce the new decree.

Belarus is one of the least free countries in Europe according to the human rights advocacy group Freedom House. Often considered a client state of neighboring Russia, Belarus tends to follow its larger neighbor culturally and politically. The country has bene governed by president Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, with political dissidents routinely jailed and media heavily censored. 

LGBTQ+ Belarussians lack any protections from discrimination, and anti-LGBTQ+ violence is common. Officials have floated introducing a Russia-style “gay propaganda” law over the years, but one has never been formally enacted.

Global LGBTQ+ news gathering & reporting by Rob Salerno

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North Carolina

“Rainbow Story Time” gets bomb threat, closes Durham N.C. library

Durham police said the bomb threat remains under investigation and no further information will be released at this time



The Durham County Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St. Durham, N.C. (Photo Credit: Durham County Main Library/Facebook)

DURHAM, N.C. – An bomb threat caused evacuation and closure of the Durham County main library just before 10:35 a.m. on Saturday morning. A spokesperson for the Durham Police Department said in a press release: “An anonymous caller informed the library of the threat. The building has been evacuated as a precaution, and access is limited.”

Durham Police units and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office’s bomb dog searched “the entire building,” according to the news release. The facility was closed for the rest of the day.

At approximately the same time an emailed bomb threat was sent to the CBS TV affiliate WBTV News 3 in Charlotte, located 145 miles southwest of Durham. WBTV reported that the threat mentioned an author, Maya Christina Gonzalez, whose book was scheduled for a “Rainbow Story Time” reading at the Durham County library at noon.

Gonzalez is a 60-year-old queer Chicana artist, illustrator, educator and publisher. She lives and works in San Francisco. The event was sponsored by Rainbow Collective for Change, a non-profit that’s mission is connecting LGBTQ+ families with young children in the Triangle area of North Carolina through events like the library reading program.

Rainbow Collective for Change made a statement in response to the incident. On Facebook, the organization said: “We were not notified by the police or the library that the bomb threat was made explicitly due to our Rainbow Story Time. We learned this through a news article and have since confirmed that a bomb threat was made towards our Rainbow Story Time at the library.”

The group in its statement also noted:

“RCC has been hosting monthly Rainbow Story Times and other events for 2 years now and this is our first experience with a serious threat…We will continue to advocate for LGBTQIA+ and gender-affirming schools and build community spaces where our children can be who they are and celebrate that love makes a family. We – together with RCC families and partner organizations — will not let hate win and will continue advocating for a safe and affirming community that all our children deserve.”

Durham police said the bomb threat remains under investigation and no further information will be released at this time.

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West Hollywood

Out stylist found beaten outside Heart WeHo nightclub recovering

Family is asking for public’s assistance in locating the person or persons responsible for the criminal assault



54-year-old brother, Albert Jimenez, was discovered last Friday night, on April 5, 2024 in a parking lot next to Heart WeHo nightclub. (Family photos)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The family of 54-year-old Albert Jimenez, an acclaimed hair stylist with some celebrity clientele is asking for the public’s assistance in finding the suspect or suspects responsible for his being badly beaten and hospitalized recovering from traumatic head injuries.

Jimenez was discovered last Friday night, April 5, 2024, in a parking lot behind Heart WeHo at 8911 Santa Monica Blvd, in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District. Gloria Jimenez tells WEHO TIMES that her family is unclear about what happened to brother.

“All the information we have is that it occurred near two local West Hollywood bars, Heart WeHo and another one named Gym Bar. I guess they’re both close together. All we know is that he was struck by something on the head. He was found in the parking lot by a bystander who was walking by and who called the emergency crew to come out and pick him up. They brought him to Cedars.”

According to Ms. Jimenez, the last time someone spoke to Albert was at 7:45 p.m. The family does not know when he sustained his injuries or at what time he was picked up and rushed to the hospital. They were not notified until the following Tuesday, after a friend called Albert’s phone and a nurse answered the call.

Jimenez’s sister also noted: “We do not know if he was randomly attacked by a stranger in what could be a homophobic or racist hate crime, or if he was attacked by someone he interacted with at one of the bars.”

Ms. Jimenez said her brother has a long road to recovery.

“Albert has suffered brain swelling, and they had to remove bone fragments. He’s been in the hospital in critical condition for a week. He is expected to survive, but he will need multiple surgeries and could have possible brain damage.”

“He’s a harmless person and was just enjoying his Friday evening,” She said of her brother. “He would never hurt anyone. We are all shocked that this has happened to him. He’s the baby of the family, and his entire family is just shocked by it all. This is something we never thought would happen. He’s an independent guy, and that’s why we thought he was just out and about, you know, until we got that call on Tuesday.”

The family has filed a report with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. Anyone with information is asked to reach out to West Hollywood Deputy Franklin at (310) 855-8850.

The family’s GoFundMe campaign: (Link)


Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.


The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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West Hollywood

Vinson is leading riders in 2024 WeHo Pride & Dyke march

This year, the call is on to gain more attention, greater participation and a call for women who ride to join the parade



Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson

By Catherine Eng | WEST HOLLYWOOD – In anticipation of Weho Pride 2024, WeHo resident Katrina Vinson sat with WEHO TIMES for an interview to discuss being the lead Biker and organizer of Pride Riders in this year’s WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2, 2024 and the Dyke March on Saturday, June 1, 2024.  

Over the years, the Dyke March took place on Fridays. After much lobbying, the L Project (Producers of Women’s Freedom Festival) were able to get the event moved to Saturday-  greatly increasing participation. This year, the call is on to gain more attention, greater participation and a call for women who ride to join the parade. We spoke to Katrina about this year’s event, how she came to lead the contingency and the outreach to riders.

Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson

Q:  Hello Katrina! Let’s hear about your journey to the City of Weho;  where are you from, what brought you to the city and how long have you resided in Weho? 

I grew up in San Jose, CA.  About 15 years ago, while I was still living in San Jose, I had a long distance relationship with a woman living in Santa Monica. I would visit for about a week or more at a time and we would always go out to WeHo. I slowly started falling in love with the City. Years later, after we broke, I was offered a job in LA, and I moved to Palms, a short drive from WeHo. I quickly made friends and we enjoyed the WeHo nightlife weekly. After about 4 years in Palms, the opportunity opened up for me to move to WeHo and I never looked back. Once I moved here I began to learn and appreciate so much more about this City. I never loved a City that I’ve lived in as much as I love WeHo. I’ve been here for 8 years now.

Q:  What started your activism in our city?

I would have to say my former partner. I mostly supported her and attended events she was leading or participating in. She was unstoppable and the events and network grew immensely. Over time, she became heavily involved in the City, inspiring me and others along the way. Slowly over-time I got more involved. We all have different strengths in this life. Mine are far different from hers and I never considered myself an organizer or activist. I helped how I could with whatever strengths and resources I had. Over time, our whole network of friends became primarily activists and I showed up in whatever capacity I could. I must have picked up a few things along the way since more and more people are calling me an activist. I’ve always been diplomatic, and stuck up for what’s right, and cannot stand to see any injustice, racism, sexism, inequality, or bigotry. 

Q:    You formerly served on the City’s Planning Commission but you resigned after 1 year. Can you talk about this experience?

I had come to know Sepi Shyne quite well as well as volunteered in both her campaigns for City Council. She knew quite a bit about my education and experience in construction. I believe she trusted my moral compass and desire to do good. Once she was elected to City Council she asked me if I would serve on the Planning Commission as her appointee. I believe she thought I could bring something to the position given my construction experience. Unfortunately, I had some major life changes arise where my bandwidth changed and I knew I couldn’t give the Planning Commission the dedicated time that it deserved and needed. I do hope to serve again someday. 

Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson

Q:   In your professional capacity – you hold some unique positions; both as a Commercial Construction Superintendent and as a Carpentry instructor @ LA Trade Tech College. Tell us about these roles, how you feel you’ve been able to trailblaze in these positions and what obstacles you’ve felt as a lesbian female in this field.

Oh boy, how much time do you have? Becoming a Commercial Construction Superintendent wasn’t easy. I worked my butt off going to Carpentry school full time while also working full time. I was doing 13 hour days but I absolutely LOVED it. LA Trade Tech College lit me up. I couldn’t get enough, I couldn’t absorb enough.That passion that was ignited in me along with my mechanical aptitude, and my skills at building put me at the top of my class. I won several carpentry competition awards and ended up graduating first in my class with honors and scholarships.

Given my love for the school and especially the Carpentry program, I made it known to the instructors, as well as the head of the department, that I hoped to come back and teach someday. After graduating, I was very saddened to no longer be involved with the program but I would have to work at least two years in the construction industry to even be eligible to be an instructor, not to mention that positions rarely ever opened up.

After being heavily recruited, I ultimately decided to take a job with a General Contractor as an Assistant Superintendent. I was only able to enter the construction workforce at such a high level due to my many years experience as an operations manager coupled with excelling so quickly in the Carpentry and Construction technologies. I was promoted from Assistant Superintendent to Superintendent in just one year and I’ve never looked back. Recently I completed a 10 million, 30,000 sq ft project with high end finishes. 

Luckily, after just over two years in the industry, I got a request from Trade Tech College to apply for an adjunct teaching position that was opening up. I wasn’t sure I could handle the load on top of my insanely demanding Superintendent Position but I knew I could not let the opportunity pass. Those positions almost never open up. I ended up getting the position and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to make it work. There are plenty of female carpentry instructors at LATTC but I am the only queer carpentry instructor. I’ve had quite a few LGBTQ+ students in my class over the semesters and I think it’s important for them to see that representation.

I haven’t met many obstacles as a lesbian but more obstacles as a female in general in construction. The number of women in construction is growing but more in the office roles. Women make up about 10-14% of the workforce in construction but only 4% working onsite in the field and even less in a position as high as mine. There are very few female Superintendents in all of Southern CA. It’s hard to know how many for sure but my educated guess is that it’s less than 5. For the first 4 years, I was the only woman on my jobsite each and every day.  I’m constantly running into architects, clients, designers, and construction managers that say to me, “I’ve never met a female Superintendent before!” Mostly in an excited tone. That gets me excited and lights me up. I usually think, “and wait until you see what I can do”. It’s important to me to put my best foot forward, produce the highest quality of work that I can, and try everyday to blow people away knowing that I am representing women in the field. I have two goals/hopes. 1) To prove to the industry that women are valuable assets to the industry and bring different sets of skills, creativity, and points of view. 2) To show and inspire other woman to join the construction industry. 

Q:  You are the new lead of Pride Riders, the Motorcycle group which leads the Weho pride parade and the Dyke March. How exciting to see a new generation of riders!  How long have you been riding?  How did you come to lead this group for Pride?

I’ve been riding for 24 years now. I got my motorcycle license as well as my first bike when I was just 18. Organizing the motorcycle group for the March and for WeHo Pride was unexpected. The leader of the motorcycles in previous years has been a mentor of mine. I have spent years at her side helping her lead pride parades and the Dyke March. In 2022, she came down with covid the day before the parade and needed someone to step in to lead and pace the parade. She called me and I gladly accepted. I was honored. The following year in 2023, due to unforeseen circumstances the opportunity to lead a new contingent of bikers for the Dyke March presented itself when the leader of the motorcycle contingent withdrew  from the event.

Riders, who still wanted to ride, participate, and be seen; were left confused and didn’t know what to do or how to enter. They had less than a week’s notice and some riders had family flying to see them ride in the parade but were left stranded. I was torn. I needed to step up for the riders that were left stranded without an organizer. I worked with Jackie Steele to come up with the name Pride Riders so I could register us in the parade and I worked with The  L-Project to help organize riders for the Dyke March. If it wasn’t for The L-Project the Dyke March wouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have been moved to a Saturday. Jackie helped organize the riders while I registered as the leader of Pride Riders. 

We had a pretty decent turnout of riders given the extreme short notice. The L-Project helped us in procuring parking for all the riders so they could stay for the day and enjoy the Women’s Freedom Fest prior to riding in the Dyke March. They also organized an amazing entrance for the riders to ride in as the Festival was ending and rev up the crowd to transition into marching behind us in the Dyke March. It was quite awesome. Riders were happy, spectators were happy, and the Dyke March got more exposure.

Q:   Do you remember your first Pride?  Where/when was it and how do you think that experience has shaped your development of Pride Riders/what you’re trying to create?

Barely. I was a gaybe back then. My first Pride was in San Francisco since I lived in San Jose. I remember the Dyke March especially. There’s nothing like Dolores Park and the Dyke March in San Francisco. I was in awe. It was a sea of queer women as far as I could see in every direction. We marched for what felt like forever but I didn’t want it to end. The community cheering for us was overwhelming. It was incredible. Then the next day I saw the Dykes on Bikes lead the parade and I knew I wanted to be one of them one year (I already had a motorcycle). It just wasn’t a thing I knew about or how to get into. All those years I lived in San Jose and went to countless SF Pride Parades and Dyke Marches and I never ended up riding my motorcycle in a parade or march until I moved to LA. I would LOVE to see that type of turnout here in WeHo and a big obstacle to the turnout was not having it on the weekend. Now that the Dyke March is moved to Saturday we hope the participation can finally grow and we can bring the Dyke March the visibility it should have. 

Dyke March 2023 – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Q:  What are the goals for Pride Riders and the Dyke March?  What would you like to see from the city and the community,  as we prepare for this year’s Pride?  What are you most looking forward to?

Last year was such a success, we saw more diversity and so many folks joining for the march. The city shared that this was the most heavily attended Dyke March in years. Our goals are an even greater turnout, greater visibility, and greater diversity. It’s so important to be seen and heard and to celebrate with our community and share our herstory. All are welcome to join in and ride. 

I am most looking forward to this year’s Women’s Freedom Fest. Last year’s event was such a good program and line-up and just an overall good time! L-Project has an even better program in store for Pride this year. I’m really looking forward to that event as well as working with the L-Project to breathe new life into the Dyke March and bring it the exposure it deserves. 

Q: What outreach are you doing for more participation, greater awareness?
How can riders, or supporters, get involved? What actions from the community would enhance the Dyke March?

We promote on social media and the City promotes the events under the Overall Pride weekend advertising. We’d love for everyone to help get the word out. I attend motorcycle events to spread the word and I’m hoping this article will also help. Motorcyclists tend to have many friends who also ride so I’m hoping it will spread by word of mouth as well. L-Project is also a huge help in marketing and spreading awareness. It’s been great working with the L-project to link Women’s Freedom Fest with the Dyke March. It just makes sense to link the two and bring with it more participation.
(Note:  more info can be found here:

Riders can register here: [email protected]

Q:  And finally – what hopes do you have for the future of West Hollywood? How do you see this city evolving?

My hopes for the City are for there to be greater diversity and equity here. I like to see less people priced out from living here and more gender equality and diversity across our residents,  businesses, patrons, boards, commissions, and city council. 

Thank you for engaging with us, congratulations on all your accomplishments and have a safe, successful Pride Ride.


Catherine Eng

Catherine Eng is a long time resident of the City of West Hollywood. She currently serves as a West Hollywood Business License Commissioner, was a journalism major, and is a supporter of Weho Times @thedamecat

The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Idaho ends legislative session, anti-LGBTQ+ bills sent to governor

Legislators missed their self-appointed adjournment deadline twice due to in-fighting and behind-the-scenes debates



The Idaho House of Representatives in session at the State Capitol building in Boise on Jan. 23, 2024. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

By Clark Corbin | BOISE, Idaho – Idaho’s sometimes brutal and bruising 2024 legislative session came to a quiet end at the Idaho State Capitol in Boise on Wednesday, as without overriding any vetoes or introducing any new major bills.

After passing a controversial transportation budget on April 3, Idaho legislators recessed until Wednesday to give themselves an opportunity to try to overcome any late-session vetoes issued by Gov. Brad Little. The Idaho Senate adjourned for the year shortly before 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, and the Idaho House of Representatives adjourned a few minutes later, at 2:49 p.m.

Little did issue two vetoes on bills this week during the legislative recess – one relating to the jurisdiction of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, another relating to a bill that would have granted the state treasurer the authority to keep a portion of state funds in physical gold and silver. The Idaho Senate attempted to override Little’s veto of Senate Bill 1323, the public utilities commission bill, but fell short of the necessary 23 vetoes. That means Little’s veto stands. 

On the other hand, Little allowed two of the most controversial late-session bills to become law. Little signed House Bill 710, which would require library’s to move so-called harmful materials upon a written request or face a lawsuit. Little also allowed House Bill 770, the transportation services budget that revokes the state’s authority to carry out the $51 million sale of the Idaho Transportation Department’s flooded former Boise headquarters on State Street, to become law without his signature. Little also allowed House Bill 726, a related budget bill for the Department of Administration, to become law without his signature.

Little addressed revoking the sale in a transmittal letter that was sent to House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star, on Wednesday. 

“However, I did not sign these bills because the intent language unwinds statutory policy language about how the state handles surplus properties and it increases overhead for office space needs around the state,” Little wrote. “In addition it unfairly cancels an agreed upon sales process, causing future reputational risk for the State of Idaho.”

Idaho legislators missed adjournment targets partially because of GOP infighting

Wednesday was the 94th day of the session, which gaveled in back on Jan. 8. 

Legislators missed their self-appointed adjournment deadline twice due to in-fighting and behind-the-scenes debates. Legislative leaders originally hoped to wrap up the session on March 22. But the Idaho House got bogged down in a leadership struggle and contentious budget debate that set legislators back at least a week. On Feb. 8, House Republicans took what is widely viewed as the unprecedented step of removing a major member of leadership, former House Majority Leader Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, from her leadership post during an ongoing session. Leadership elections traditionally take place in December of even numbered years following a general election. The vote or action to remove Blanksma appeared to happen behind closed doors. There was no announcement on the floor Feb. 8, and Blanksma quietly walked off the floor that day and was eventually replaced by new House Majority Leader Jason Monks, R-Meridian.

Several legislators on Wednesday agreed that it was time to wrap up the session for the year.

“It’s a privilege to be able to do this, but it’s time to be done,” Rep. Jack Nelsen, R-Jerome, told the Sun just before the Idaho House was called to order at noon Wednesday. 

What passed during Idaho’s 2024 legislative session?

  • House Bill 722: The fiscal year 2025 budget for the Workforce Development Council provides $71 million to implement grants for the Idaho Launch program that Gov. Brad Little champions. The Idaho Launch program provides Idaho high school and home school graduates with $8,000 grants to prepare for an in-demand career. Little said the program will help train the next generation of Idahoans for a trade, allow them to remain home in Idaho and support businesses. But some prominent Republicans in the Idaho Legislature, including House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star, targeted Launch as a “handout.” 
  • House Bill 521: According to Idaho Education News, House Bill 521 creates ways for the state to spend an estimated $2 billion on school facilities over the next 10 years. Little made school facilities a prominent feature in his Jan. 8 State of the State address, highlighting a school that has sewage leaking under its cafeteria and telling the Idaho Legislature to stop kicking the can down the road on addressing the state’s deteriorating school buildings. “The can we are kicking is getting heavier, and we are running out of road,” Little warned in his State of the State address. 
  • House Bill 399: After Idaho became the only state not to review maternal death data, this bill authorizes the Idaho Board of Medicine to collect and review that data. Before the Idaho Legislature allowed the state’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee to expire last summer, data between 2018 and 2021 had shown a steady increase in deaths among pregnant women and new mothers, the Sun previously reported.   
  • Senate Bill 1234: This bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Sen. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, and Rep. Jack Nelsen, R-Jerome, allows insurance enrollees to receive up to a six-month supply of contraceptives. Currently, many insurance plans only reimburse for a one-month to three-month supply, according to the bill’s statement of purpose. 
  • House Bill 770: The fiscal year 2025 enhanced transportation services budget revokes the state’s authority to carry out the $51 million sale of the Idaho Transportation Department’s flooded former Boise headquarters on State Street and provides the third successive $200 million installment to repair and replace aging and poorly rated local bridges across Idaho. The debate over whether to block the sale of the State Street headquarters at least partially led to delaying the end of the 2024 legislative session and caused the would-be buyers from Hawkins Companies, the Pacific Companies and FJ Management to weigh their legal options after they said they thought they had struck a deal with the state. “We’re obviously extremely disappointed in the passage of this legislation,” said Brian Huffaker, CEO of Hawkins Companies, in a statement on behalf of Hawkins, The Pacific Companies and FJ Management. “This governmental overreach is a massive waste of taxpayer dollars, and we’re confident the courts will agree this kind of legislative interference in the free market violates the state constitution. We will be exploring legal action.”
  • House Bill 421: The bill states the Idaho Legislature only recognizes two sexes in human beings; male and female. The bill also states the word “gender” shall be a synonym for the word “sex” and shall not be considered a synonym for gender identity. Both the Idaho House and Idaho Senate passed the bill, and Little signed it into law Tuesday.  
  • House Bill 710: This year’s version of “the library materials bill” would require libraries to move materials deemed harmful to minors upon written notification from a parent, legal guardian or child, or be faced with a lawsuit for $250 dollars in statutory damages, plus uncapped actual damages and any other relief available by law. The Idaho House passed the harmful materials bill March 13, and it was one of the final bills of the year passed by the Idaho Senate on April 3. Little signed it Wednesday.
  • House Bill 538: This bill enacts protections for public employees and teachers who are unwilling to use a person’s preferred pronouns. Idaho Education News reported that under the bill teacher’s will not be able to refer to a student by a name or pronoun that does not align with their birth sex without parental permission. Little signed the bill into law Monday. 
  • Senate Bill 1377: This bill requires people who are paid to gather signatures for a ballot initiative or a referendum to disclose that they are being paid. Little signed it into law on April 4, and it is scheduled to take effect on July 1.  
  • House Bill 599: Republican House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star and Rep. Brandon Mitchell, R-Moscow, co-sponsored the bill as a way to combat what supporters  described as “ballot harvesting.” Under the bill, it is illegal for someone to collect and turn in another person’s absentee ballot or unvoted ballot. If someone collects 10 or more ballots during any election a violation of the bill would become a felony. The bill includes exceptions for caregivers of voters, relatives of voters and a person who is a member of the voter’s household. However, opponents including the voting advocacy group Babe Vote, described the bill as a voter suppression law that criminalizes Idahoans for helping their neighbors turn in their absentee ballots. Little signed the bill into law Tuesday.

What didn’t pass or didn’t get done in Idaho this legislative session?

  • Health of the mother legislation: Under Idaho’s strict felony abortion ban, the law does not allow for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy to protect the health of the mother – only to save the mother’s life. Most Americans support an exception to abortion bans that allows for the medical professional to protect the health or save the life of the pregnant patient, the Sun and States Newsroom previously reported. Last year, Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, worked on an unsuccessful bill that would have added an exception “to treat a physical condition of the woman that if left untreated would be life-threatening.” Crane pulled the bill back last year, the Sun previously reported, but vowed to continue working on a compromise on the issue, telling States Newsroom, “It has to be dealt with.” Legislators did not pass a bill this year that created a new exception to protect the health of the pregnant patient.  
  • House Bill 753: This bill was a Texas-style immigration bill sponsored by Rep. Jaron Crane, R-Nampa, which would have created a new state crime of illegal entry into the state, allowed local law enforcement officials to check a person’s immigration status and allow a magistrate judge to order someone who violates the bill to return to their country of origin. The Idaho House voted 53-15 to pass the bill on March 29, but the Idaho Senate never took up the bill. 
  • Senate Concurrent Resolution 135: This was an anti-racism and anti-hate speech resolution condemning the racist harassment allegedly directed at University of Utah women’s basketball team while visiting Coeur d’Alene Resort last month. The Senate voted 33-1 to adopt the resolution March 28, but the Idaho House never took up the resolution, and it died when the legislative session adjourned for the year. 
  • Senate Bill 1273: This bill would have required the Idaho secretary of state to mail a new informational voter guide to every household in the state 30 days before an election. The Idaho Senate voted 22-13 to pass the bill on Feb. 26, but the House State Affairs committee never took up the bill after it was referred to the committee in late February. 
  • Senate Bill 1445: This additional budget for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare would have provided $545,300 in state funding to provide summer lunches for low income children, Idaho Education News reported. The federal government would have covered half of the administrative costs for the program and 100% of the lunch money, Idaho EdNews reported. But the Idaho Senate rejected the budget on a 10-25 vote March 28 after Sen. Cindy Carlson, R-Riggins, and others said the state would be sending the wrong message by providing something free without requiring something in return. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee rewrote the budget without funding for the summer lunch program, killing the program in Idaho.  
  • House Joint Resolution 4: This proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution was promoted as a way to block ranked choice voting, which is a component of the open primary ballot initiative. The proposed amendment sought to limit elections to one round of voting, with the person with the highest number of votes being elected. But some legislators worried passing the bill would create unintended consequences for nonpartisan judicial primary elections. Amending the Idaho Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote of both the Idaho House and Idaho Senate. But the proposed amendment died in the Idaho House on March 11 on a 42-27 vote after falling short of the necessary 47 votes. The proposed amendment is now dead for the year.


Clark Corbin

Idaho Capital Sun senior reporter Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel.

Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state.


The preceding article was previously published by the Idaho Capital Sun and is republished with permission.

The Idaho Capital Sun is the Gem State’s newest nonprofit news organization delivering accountability journalism on state politics, health care, tax policy, the environment and more. We’re part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.

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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoes ban on gender-identity health care

Republicans vow to seek override of Democratic governor’s actions. Senate President Ty Masterson says reflects her radical left agenda



Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed two abortion bills and a measure criminalizing transgender health care for minors. House and Senate Republican leaders responded with promises to seek veto overrides when the full Legislature returned to Topeka on April 26. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

By Tim Carpenter | TOPEKA, Kan. — Gov. Laura Kelly flexed a veto pen to reject bills Friday prohibiting gender-identity health care for transgender youth, introducing a vague crime of coercing someone to have an abortion and implementing a broader survey of women seeking abortion that was certain to trigger veto override attempts in the Republican-led House and Senate.

The decisions by the Democratic governor to use her authority to reject these health- and abortion-rights bills didn’t come as a surprise given her previous opposition to lawmakers intervening in personal decisions that she believed ought to remain the domain of families and physicians.

Kelly said Senate Bill 233, which would ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors in Kansas, was an unwarranted attack on a small number of Kansans under 18. She said the bill was based on a politically distorted belief the Legislature knew better than parents how to raise their children.

She said it was neither a conservative nor Kansas value to block medical professionals from performing surgery or prescribing puberty blockers for their patients. She said stripping doctors of their licenses for serving health interests of patients was wrong. Under the bill, offending physicians could be face lawsuits and their professional liability insurance couldn’t be relied on to defend themselves in court.

“To be clear, this legislation tramples parental rights,” Kelly said. “The last place that I would want to be as a politician is between a parent and a child who needed medical care of any kind. And, yet, that is exactly what this legislation does.”

Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover, and House Speaker Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, responded to the governor by denouncing the vetoes and pledging to seek overrides when legislators returned to the Capitol on April 26. The transgender bill was passed 27-13 in the Senate and 82-39 in the House, suggesting both chambers were in striking distance of a two-thirds majority necessary to thwart the governor.

“The governor has made it clear yet again that the radical left controls her veto pen,” Masterson said. “This devotion to extremism will not stand, and we look forward to overriding her vetoes when we return in two weeks.”

Cathryn Oakley, senior director of the Human Rights Campaign, said the ban on crucial, medically necessary health care for transgender  youth was discriminatory, designed to spread dangerous misinformation and timed to rile up anti-LGBTQ+ activists.

“Every credible medical organization — representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States — calls for age-appropriate, gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary people,” Oakley said. “This is why majorities of Americans oppose criminalizing or banning gender-affirming care.”

Abortion coercion

Kelly also vetoed House Bill 2436 that would create the felony crime of engaging in physical, financial or documentary coercion to compel a girl or woman to end a pregnancy despite an expressed desire to carry the fetus to term. It was approved 27-11 in the Senate and 82-37 in the House, again potentially on the cusp of achieving a veto override.

The legislation would establish sentences of one year in jail and $5,000 fine for those guilty of abortion coercion. The fine could be elevated to $10,000 if the adult applying the pressure was the fetuses’ father and the pregnant female was under 18. If the coercion was accompanied by crimes of stalking, domestic battery, kidnapping or about 20 other offenses the prison sentence could be elevated to 25 years behind bars.

Kelly said no one should be forced to undergo a medical procedure against their will. She said threatening violence against another individual was already a crime in Kansas.

“Additionally, I am concerned with the vague language in this bill and its potential to intrude upon private, often difficult, conversations between a person and their family, friends and health care providers,” the governor said. “This overly broad language risks criminalizing Kansans who are being confided in by their loved ones or simply sharing their expertise as a health care provider.”

Hawkins, the House Republican leader, said coercion was wrong regardless of the circumstances and Kelly’s veto of the bill was a step too far to the left.

“It’s a sad day for Kansas when the governor’s uncompromising support for abortion won’t even allow her to advocate for trafficking and abuse victims who are coerced into the procedure,” Hawkins said.

Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, said HB 2436 sought to equate abortion with crime, perpetuate false narratives and erode a fundamental constitutional right to bodily autonomy. The bill did nothing to protect Kansas from reproductive coercion, including forced pregnancy or tampering with birth control.

“Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes trusts patients and stands firmly against any legislation that seeks to undermine reproductive rights or limit access to essential health care services,” Wales said.

Danielle Underwood, spokeswoman for Kansas for Life, said “Coercion Kelly” demonstrated with this veto a lack of compassion for women pushed into an abortion.

The abortion survey

The House and Senate approved a bill requiring more than a dozen questions be added to surveys of women attempting to terminate a pregnancy in Kansas. Colorful debate in the House included consideration of public health benefits of requiring interviews of men about reasons they sought a vasectomy birth control procedure or why individuals turned to health professionals for treatment of erectile dysfunction.

House Bill 2749 adopted 81-39 in the House and 27-13 in the Senate would require the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to produce twice-a-year reports on responses to the expanded abortion survey. The state of Kansas cannot require women to answer questions on the survey.

Kelly said in her veto message the bill was “invasive and unnecessary” and legislators should have taken into account rejection in August 2022 of a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would have set the stage for legislation further limiting or ending access to abortion.

“There is no valid medical reason to force a woman to disclose to the Legislature if they have been a victim of abuse, rape or incest prior to obtaining an abortion,” Kelly said. “There is also no valid reason to force a woman to disclose to the Legislature why she is seeking an abortion. I refuse to sign legislation that goes against the will of the majority of Kansans who spoke loudly on August 2, 2022. Kansans don’t want politicians involved in their private medical decisions.”

Wales, of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, said the bill would have compelled health care providers to “interrogate patients seeking abortion care” and to engage in violations of patient privacy while inflicting undue emotional distress.

Hawkins, the Republican House speaker, said the record numbers of Kansas abortions — the increase has been driven by bans or restrictions imposed in other states — was sufficient to warrant scrutiny of KDHE reporting on abortion. He also said the governor had no business suppressing reporting on abortion and criticized her for tapping into “irrational fears of offending the for-profit pro-abortion lobby.”


Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International.

The preceding story was previously published by the Kansas Reflector and is republished with permission.


The Kansas Reflector is a nonprofit news operation providing in-depth reporting, diverse opinions and daily coverage of state government and politics. This public service is free to readers and other news outlets. We are part of States Newsroom: the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization, with reporting from every capital.

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Participant Application Deadline is April 15 for WeHo Pride Street Fair Exhibitors, Parade Entries, and Food Vendors



Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood to Host Symposium: ‘Water Wise | Water Works’

WEST HOLLYWOOD – During Earth Month in April, the City of West Hollywood is working to focus attention on environmental efforts and initiatives and educational opportunities for the community. The City aims to elevate awareness about its programs and policies related to West Hollywood’s natural and built environments, ecology, and sustainability.

As part of this effort, the City of West Hollywood will host a free in-person symposium: Water Wise | Water Works. The event will focus on water as a natural resource, concentrating on its indispensable role in supporting urbanized environments. It will look ahead at issues, opportunities, and challenges in West Hollywood and the Greater Los Angeles region in the future.

The Water Wise | Water Works symposium will take place on Saturday, April 20, 2024 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The event is free and open to the public, RSVP is requested via Eventbrite. Limited validated parking is available in the adjacent five-story parking structure.

All life begins and ends with water. A precious resource, water is vital for a healthy and vibrant planet. Clean fresh water is not only essential for drinking and sanitation and providing for our crops, livestock, and industry, it is also the basis for creating and sustaining the ecosystems on which all humanity depends. Spending time in proximity to nature and water has been shown to have a direct effect on emotional well-being, reducing stress, anxiety, and heart rates as well as extending human life spans.

The Water Wise | Water Works symposium will explore the fundamental role that water plays in supporting urbanized settings and will look at some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead concerning future sustainability, construction mitigation, climate change, ecological systems, and resilience goals.

Presentations scheduled for the symposium include an overview of current City programs and talks on the following topics:

  • Water Policy Happenings at the Regional & Local Scale with Kim Clark, Planning Supervisor, Resource Conservation & Resilient   

Communities, Southern California Association of Governments;

  • Resource Management and Underground Water: Technical Challenges and Opportunities Ahead with Laney Nelson, Water Engineer, ARUP, experts dedicated to sustainable development;
  • History of Water and Ecological Resilience in a Rapidly Changing Context with Dr. Edith Guzman, UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation;
  • Power of Water-Centric Design with Water with Mariam Mojdehi, Architect, Founding Partner, MAAM Architecture & Design Studio; and
  • Water Wise Landscapes/Regenerating Nature with Hadley Arnold, Executive Director, Arid Lands Institute/Woodbury University.

Following the presentations, there will be a moderated panel discussion and a period for questions and answers.

The City of West Hollywood is dedicated to sustainability and preserving the environment, including its:

  • Participation in the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge to mark the City’s commitment to saving the monarch butterfly and other pollinators through public awareness and expansion of pollinator gardens throughout West Hollywood; 
  • Designation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Green Power Community by meeting 65% of its 100% renewable energy use through voluntary green power that goes above-and-beyond the State of California’s standards. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that helps increase Green Power use among U.S. organizations to advance the American market for renewable energy and development of those sources as a way to reduce air pollution and other environmental impacts associated with electricity use. Learn more about how the West Hollywood community gets its Green Power;
  • Green Building Program, the first-in-the-state green building code, that builds upon state requirements and integrates locally specific requirements for new buildings and remodels to strive towards energy efficiency, improve the health of the environment and community, and help the City shape a sustainable future. The Green Building Program was updated in 2023 to include more aggressive standards for electric vehicle charging stations; and
  • Implementation of an organics collection program in compliance with SB 1383, a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants by reducing organic waste disposal.

The City of West Hollywood continues its work to implement its people-centered Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, WeHo Climate Action, which outlines the City’s intended path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate while centering equity and quality-of-life outcomes for the community. The City launched a public dashboard that monitors progress under the Plan toward achieving carbon neutrality. To learn more about the City’s ongoing sustainability programs and initiatives as well as information and resources, visit WeHo Climate Action & Sustainability.

For more information about the symposium, please contact Michael Barker, Project Architect in the City of West Hollywood’s Urban Design and Architecture Studio Division, as (323) 848-6483 or at [email protected].

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

West Hollywood Celebrates Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week

The City of West Hollywood recognizes April 22, 2024 through April 28, 2024 as Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week. The City will display the Lesbian Pride flag in medians along Santa Monica Boulevard and West Hollywood City Hall and the lanterns over Santa Monica Boulevard will be lit in pink, orange, white, and red to reflect the shades of the Lesbian Pride flag.

Events during the week will feature a variety of gatherings produced with the assistance of the L-Project and Fan Girl Cafe including:

  • NextGen Coffee and Convo, featuring a panel on queer activism, challenges faced by LGBTQ women in business, and advocating for non-binary and gender-nonconforming identities with panelists Marquita Thomas, Chanel Lumiere, and Melanie Vesey. This free event will be held at Fan Girl Cafe, located at 8157 Santa Monica Boulevard, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will also feature an opportunity for community members to network and meet one another. 
  • Lesbian Speakers Series Film screening of the award-winning documentary Ahead of the Curve and Q&A with Franco Stevens and filmmakers Jen Rainin (Franco’s wife) and Rivkah Beth Medow. Ahead of the Curve captures the story of Franco Stevens, founder of the most successful lesbian magazine in the world and her fight to keep Curve magazine alive. This free event takes place on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. This event will begin with a reception with light snacks and refreshments at 5:30 p.m. The screening will begin at 6 p.m. The Q&A will follow the film. 
  • The City invites community members to spend an afternoon at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, for a Queer Art in the Park gathering on Sunday, April 28, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature lawn games, music, and queer arts and crafts vendors. Entry is free. Feel free to bring a blanket, yoga mat, lawn chair, sunscreen, and picnic accoutrements and meet new and old friends in the park. For additional information, please visit

Since 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. 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 LGBTQ. The City has advocated for more than three decades for measures to support LGBTQ individuals and has been in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week, please visit or contact Moya Márquez, the City of West Hollywood’s Community Programs Coordinator, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6574.

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

WeHo Pride 2024 Participant Application Deadline is April 15 for WeHo Pride Street Fair Exhibitors, Parade Entries, and Food Vendors

The City of West Hollywood will close the Parade Participant, Street Fair Exhibitor, and Food Vendor application portals for its WeHo Pride 2024 celebrations on April 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Application portals can be accessed via the ‘Get Involved’ page on the WeHo Pride website:

 WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, May 31, 2024; Saturday, June 1, 2024; and Sunday, June 2, 2024 in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The weekend will include a free Street Fair, the Women’s Freedom Festival, the Dyke March, the WeHo Pride Parade, and the ticketed OUTLOUD Music Festival @ WeHo Pride, as well as WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD.

The WeHo Pride Street Fair will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2024 and Sunday, June 2, 2024. It will celebrate Pride with the diverse participation of LGBTQ community groups and allied organizations as part of visibility and expression. The Street Fair is free and will feature a vibrant variety of exhibitors along Santa Monica Boulevard. There will be live entertainment and performances on two stages along the boulevard, highlighting the LGBTQ community. The Street Fair is open to everyone. It is a great occasion to take part in WeHo Pride’s LGBTQ community experience. WeHo Pride Street Fair applications are also currently open for vendors, artists, performers, and more. The Street Fair promises to be bigger and better than ever before. With a wide range of activities and options, there is sure to be something for everyone. Organizations interested in applying to participate as an Exhibitor at the WeHo Pride Street Fair can apply here. Food vendors interested in participating in the event can fill out the Google form here.

Get festive as we roll down Santa Monica Boulevard for the WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2, 2024! The WeHo Pride Parade is an imaginative and colorful annual tradition along Santa Monica Boulevard that embraces LGBTQ representation, inclusion, and progress. Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the Parade celebrates LGBTQ people and our contributions to community and culture. The Parade is a lively, energetic experience with good cheer and great vibes, and a whole lot of rainbows! Whether you participate in the Parade or join in the fun as a spectator, there’s something for everyone at the WeHo Pride Parade! Organizations and individuals interested in submitting an application to participate as an entrant in the annual WeHo Pride Parade can apply here. Get creative and think outside of the box! The WeHo Pride Parade welcomes floats, bands, drill teams, dance teams, entertainment entries, marchers, and more. 

There are a variety of ways for brands to sponsor this brand-new era of Pride in West Hollywood as well. From traditional activation spaces (street fair visibility and parade entries) to inclusion at one of the most diverse music events nationally, as well as creative customized opportunities, there are multiple outlets for brand visibility! Organizations interested in becoming a WeHo Pride sponsor can reach out to [email protected] 

Additional details about WeHo Pride 2024 will be posted as they become available at Follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook.

About WeHo Pride and the City of West Hollywood 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. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, West Hollywood consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation. More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and four of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly LGBTQ.

Pride is deeply rooted part of West Hollywood’s history and culture. In fact, Pride events have taken place in West Hollywood for more than 40 years (since 1979, five years before the City of West Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality). The City’s embrace of Pride is part of its advocacy 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. The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board (now LGBTQ+ Commission) and a Transgender Advisory Board, which each address matters of advocacy. As part of its support of the transgender community, the City has a Transgender Resource Guide available on the City’s website.

In 2022, the City of West Hollywood inaugurated WeHo Pride with programming that represents a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. West Hollywood is a community of choice for LGBTQ people from throughout the world and WeHo Pride embraces a source of deep connection for its LGBTQ history and culture.

For more information about WeHo Pride and the WeHo Pride Arts Festival, please visit

For more information about Outloud @ WeHo Pride, please visit

For inquires to the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division, please email [email protected].

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

‘Spring Fest’ at West Hollywood Park

The City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division invites the community to splash into Spring Fest in the park and at the pool on Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Bring your family and friends for a fun day of outdoor activities. Limited parking is available in the adjacent five-story West Hollywood Park structure.

Activities will begin at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center and Great Lawn. There will be carnival games, music, performances, giveaways, egg hunts, face painters, and much more! You won’t want to miss this!

Three of the featured activities for the event are:

  • Youth Basketball Shoot Out (Ages 10 to 15) – register here ($7) – In the Shoot Out, the player shoots from five spots around the key: right corner, right wing, top of key, left wing, and left corner. At each spot: take one dribble in for a mid-range shot, dribble for a lay-up, and then end the game with a 1 & 1 free throw.
  • Duck Relays and Cardboard Boat Races – register here (free) – Duck Relays are a swim event using inflatable ducks to race relay-style across the pool in a team of four and Cardboard Boat Race are one- to three-person teams of all ages that will test their ingenuity in racing homemade boats made of cardboard and duct tape across the pool.
  • Themed Recreation Swim and Rubber Duckie Hunt – registration has reached capacity, waiting list is open here (free) – Themed Recreation Swim is full of adorable rafts of rubber ducks, water toys, floaties, and mighty merfolk of the sea and swimmers will be able to participate in a rubber duckie hunt.

Learn more about Spring Fest and recreation programming by visiting and selecting Rec Reader.

For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division at (323) 848-6534 or email [email protected] or [email protected].

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

Open Call for Arts Grant Program Applications

The City of West Hollywood has opened application opportunities for its 2025 Arts Grant Program. The City will host a virtual Arts Grant Program information workshop for those who are interested in applying to learn more about the City’s grant-eligibility requirements and application process, as well as to ask questions.

The Arts Grant Program information workshop will be held online via the Zoom platform on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 1 p.m. First-time grant applicants and returning organizations with new development personnel are strongly encouraged to attend the workshop to become familiar with the application process. For more information, please visit

The City of West Hollywood, through its Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, has managed the Arts Grant Program for 26 years. West Hollywood’s Arts Grant Program provides grant funding to individual artists, artist collectives, and nonprofit arts organizations for the production, performance, or presentation of art projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood as well as those that serve the West Hollywood community.

The City of West Hollywood invites and encourages artists and organizations representing diverse populations and diverse artistic disciplines to apply for these grants. As defined in the Cultural Equity Statement, diversity includes all ways in which people differ, including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, education, age, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, geography, citizenship status, religion, language, physical appearance, and the intersection of these various identities. The City commits to ensuring cultural equity in all arts policies and practices.

The Arts Grant Program categories with open application processes for 2025 are as follows:

Arts Project Grant — Supports the production, performance, or presentation of art projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood and that serve the West Hollywood community. The proposed projects should take place in the City of West Hollywood in 2025 and 2026. Proposed presentations may include, but are not limited to: comedy show, dance performance, drag performance, film screening, visual art exhibit, music presentation, poetry reading, and theatre presentation. The Arts Project Grant category is awarded in a two-year cycle [with one application, grantee can be awarded for 2 years]. The maximum grant award is $20,000 per grantee ($10,000 per year). The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024.

Community Arts Grant — Supports non-profit arts organizations with a history of supporting BIPOC, LGBQ, and/or female artists and audiences. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2025. Proposed presentations can include an art centered presentation or performance, and/or an educational and participatory program (workshop) which engages BIPOC, LGBQ, and/or female artists and audiences. The maximum grant award for both artists and non-profits arts organizations for this category is $6,000. The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024. 

Transgender, Gender Diverse, Intersex, + (TGI+) Arts Grant — Supports and enhances the presentation of artworks in West Hollywood by transgender, non-binary, intersex, and gender nonconforming artists and non-profit organizations with a history of supporting artists in these communities. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2025. Proposed presentations should include art presentations which engage transgender, gender diverse, and/or intersex artists and audiences. The maximum grant award is $6,500 for both artists and non-profit arts organizations. The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024.

WeHo Artist Grant — Supports the long-term development of an artist’s ideas by providing funds that increase the capacity for artists to realize work, advance the conditions of creation, and navigate the complexities of both making art and making a career. Eligible artists must reside in the City of West Hollywood. The grant award is $6,000 per year for five artists. The deadline for applications is Monday, July 1, 2024.

Artists and organizations interested in applying may visit for more information.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Grant Program, please visit or contact City of West Hollywood Grants Coordinator Eva Angeloff at (323) 848-6354 or [email protected].

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

West Hollywood Promotes Local Actions that Address Climate Change as it Celebrates Earth Month in April with ‘WeHo Takes Climate Action 2024’

In honor of Earth Month in April, the City of West Hollywood will celebrate WeHo Takes Climate Action 2024 to rally community members to collectively embrace sustainable practices and contribute to the City’s 2035 carbon neutrality goal. Community members are encouraged to share social media posts about taking sustainability action steps using the hashtag #WeHoClimateAction.

Starting in April, residents, businesses, and local organizations are encouraged to take various actions that support the City’s ambitious environmental goals. Through its @wehocity social media pages, the City will promote various steps relating to energy, transportation, zero waste, natural environment, and resilience that community members can take. The City will also share the latest information on its climate action initiatives to raise community awareness about City programs and policies related to its natural and built environments, ecology, and sustainability efforts.

The City of West Hollywood has a strong record of developing and instituting progressive and forward-thinking environmental policies and, as a city committed to reducing its carbon footprint, West Hollywood recognizes the importance of individual actions in making a substantial impact on the health of the planet.

 “One of the City of West Hollywood’s most critical core values is Responsibility for the Environment,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “West Hollywood has steadily led the way in developing and applying policies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and promote sustainability. As we take next steps in realizing the goals of our Climate Action Plan, Earth Month in April is a wonderful opportunity for all us of to do what we can to make individual steps that add up to big community impacts and help our city to reducing our carbon footprint, which will better prepare us for the future effects of climate change.”

In the spirit of proactive initiatives, the City of West Hollywood is gearing up for Earth Month with a variety of community events and programs in April:

  • On Saturday, April 20, 2024, the City will host a free in-person symposium, Water Wise | Water Works, which will explore the fundamental role that water plays in supporting urbanized settings. It will examine some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with respect to future sustainability, climate change, ecology, and resilience goals that are pursued at the local and state levels. The symposium will take place at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information is available on the City website calendar
  • On Saturday, April 20, 2024 the City will host an annual Tree Planting at 9 a.m. in the public parkway at 1146/1148 Formosa Avenue. Four paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) trees, which are widely planted throughout Southern California and are native to Australia, will be planted. The paperbark is a rounded, evergreen tree with a maximum height of 40 feet. It has a low water use rating and features exfoliating bark and oblong leaves with seasonal flower displays in the summer and fall that will attract pollinators and birds. Sun exposure ranges from partial shade to full sun. West Hollywood community members are invited and encouraged to participate in this year’s annual tree planting event. Drop in; no RSVP is needed. Supervision, instruction, tools, and gloves will be provided. The event will start with a short ‘how-to’ planting session, followed by a discussion on the benefits trees provide to the urban environment.

To showcase the City of West Hollywood climate actions in energy, transportation, zero waste, natural environment, and resilience programs, the City will highlight its sustainability programs and share information about how community members can get involved via social media and more, including the following:  

  • The City’s newly launched Green Business Certification program is a recognizes and encourages efficient, profitable, and sustainable business operations. To support businesses, West Hollywood’s Green Business Program and its services are being offered at no cost. Visit for more information.
  • Electrify WeHo is the City’s new web resource on electrification with resources to help community members transition into an all-electric home which can improve indoor air quality, lower your energy costs, modernize your home, and help WeHo reach its 2035 carbon neutrality goal. Learn about the benefits and incentives to help make the switch at Electrify WeHo.
  • Go Solar West Hollywood is a City-sponsored program encouraging property owners to go solar. The City has partnered with online marketplace EnergySage to help property owners receive and compare quotes. 
  • The City’s new Resilience Efforts webpage provides the public with information on resilience and centralizes the City’s resiliency efforts to serve as a resource for community members. 
  • The City of West Hollywood encourages community members to leave their automobiles at home and take alternate forms of transportation when possible while traversing the City, including by using scooters, bicycles, walking (the City is only 1.9 square miles!), or via the City’s free transit options. Please visit or for more information.
  • Responding to a statewide effort to reduce emissions associated with organic waste disposal by diverting waste from landfills, the City has worked with Athens Services to establish an organic recycling service throughout West Hollywood. Community members are encouraged to visit the City’s organic recycling webpage to learn how to sort waste and recycle.
  • In January 2024, the West Hollywood City Council adopted the new Tree Canopy ordinance regulating the preservation, removal, relocation, and replacement of existing mature canopy trees. 
  • The City’s Heritage Tree program promotes identifying specimen trees, promotes tree awareness, advocates for the protection of mature tree benefits, and educates community members about the City’s heritage trees and proper maintenance practices. All great trees start small! Visit the City’s webpage about young tree care best practices. The WeHo community is encouraged to check out resource videos and take the tree steward pledge!

Finally, the City will continue to implement its people-centered Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (WeHo Climate Action), which outlines the City’s intended path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate while centering equity and quality-of-life outcomes for the West Hollywood community. The City s biannually updates its WeHo Climate Action public dashboard that monitors progress toward achieving carbon neutrality and its 60 programs and projects. To learn more about the City’s active sustainability initiatives and public dashboard, visit WeHo Climate Action & Sustainability.

The City of West Hollywood will, additionally partner with The Center for Early Education to provide a day of service for school children. This private event will take place at Kings Road Park and programming will feature monarch butterfly conservation education and activities, planting nectar and other foliage, and park cleanup. Visit the City’s educational Monarch Butterfly Conservation webpage to learn more about monarch butterfly conservation and City efforts.

For more information about West Hollywood’s Earth Month 2024, please contact Andi Lovano, City of West Hollywood Community & Legislative Affairs Manager, at (323) 848-6333 or at [email protected].

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


For up-to-date information about City of West Hollywood news and events, follow @wehocity on social media, sign-up for news updates at, and visit the City’s calendar of meetings and events at West Hollywood City Hall is open for walk-in services at public counters or by appointment by visiting City Hall services are accessible by phone at (323) 848-6400 and via website at Receive text updates by texting “WeHo” to (323) 848-5000.

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Transgender, nonbinary ICE detainees allege mistreatment at Colo. detention center

Advocacy groups filed complaint with federal officials on April 9



The Aurora Contract Detention Facility (Photo courtesy of GEO Group)

AURORA, Colo. — Five Transgender and nonbinary people who are in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at a privately-run detention center in Colorado say they continue to suffer mistreatment.

The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network, the National Immigration Project and the American Immigration Council on April 9 filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Offices for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Immigration Detention Ombudsman and Inspector General and ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility on behalf of the detainees at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility near Denver.

Charlotte, one of the five complainants, says she spends up to 23 hours a day in her room. 

She says in the complaint that a psychiatrist has prescribed her medications for anxiety and depression, but “is in the dark about her actual diagnoses because they were not explained to her.” Myriah and Elsa allege they do not have regular access to hormones and other related health care.

Omar, who identifies as Trans and nonbinary, in the complaint alleges they would “start hormone replacement therapy if they could be assured that they would not be placed in solitary confinement.” Other detainees in the complaint allege staff have also threatened to place them in isolation.

“They have been told repeatedly that, if they started therapy, they would be placed in ‘protective custody’ (solitary confinement) because the Aurora facility has no nonbinary or men’s Transgender housing unit,” reads the complaint. “This is so, despite other Trans men having been detained in Aurora in the past, so Omar is very likely receiving misinformation that is preventing them from accessing the treatment they require.”

Omar further alleges staffers told them upon their arrival that “they had to have a ‘boy part’ (meaning a penis) to be assigned to” the housing unit in which other Trans people live. Other complainants say staff have also subjected them to degrading comments and other mistreatment because of their gender identity. 

“Victoria, Charlotte and Myriah are all apprehensive about a specific female guard who is assigned to the housing unit for Transgender women at Aurora,” reads the complaint. “Victoria has experienced this guard peering at her through the glass on the door of her form. Charlotte, Myriah and the other women in her dorm experienced the same guard making fun of them after they complained that she had confiscated all of their personal hygiene products, like their toothbrushes and toothpaste, and replaced them with menstrual pads and tampons, which she knows they do not need.”

“She said something to them like, ‘If you were real women, you would need these things,'” reads the complaint. “The same guard told them that they had to ask her for their personal hygiene products when they wanted to use them, stripping them of their most basic agency.”

Victoria, who has been in ICE custody for more than two years, also says she does not have regular access to hormones. Victoria further claims poor food, lack of access to exercise and stress and anxiety because of her prolonged detention has caused has made her health deteriorate.

The GEO Group, a Florida-based company, operates the Aurora Contract Detention Facility.

Advocates for years have complained about the conditions for Trans and nonbinary people in ICE custody and have demanded the agency release all of them.

Roxsana Hernández, a Trans Honduran woman with HIV, on May 25, 2018, died in ICE custody in New Mexico. Her family in 2020 sued the federal government and the five private companies who were responsible for her care.

Johana “Joa” Medina Leon, a Trans Salvadoran woman, on June 1, 2019, passed away at a Texas hospital four days after her release from ICE custody. Kelly González Aguilar, a Trans Honduran woman, had been in ICE custody for more than two years until her release from the Aurora Contract Detention Center on July 14, 2020.

ICE spokesperson Steve Kotecki on Friday told the Blade there were 10 “self-identified Transgender detainees” at the Aurora Contract Detention Center on April 11. The facility’s “transgendered units” can accommodate up to 87 Trans detainees. 

A 2015 memorandum then-ICE Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations Thomas Homan signed requires personnel to allow Trans detainees to identify themselves based on their gender identity on data forms. The directive, among other things, also contains guidelines for a “respectful, safe and secure environment” for Trans detainees and requires detention facilities to provide them with access to hormone therapy and other Trans-specific health care.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is committed to ensuring that all those in its custody reside in safe, secure and humane environments,” said Kotecki. “ICE regularly reviews each case involving self-identified Transgender noncitizens and determines on a case-by-case basis whether detention is warranted.”

The complaint, however, states this memo does not go far enough to protect Trans and nonbinary detainees.

“ICE’s 2015 guidance has some significant flaws,” it reads. “It fails to provide meaningful remedies for policy violations. It does not acknowledge the challenges that nonbinary people face when imprisoned by ICE and the lack of such guidance explains why the needs of nonbinary people are largely misunderstood and unmet.”

“Further, the language used to describe people who are TNB is not inclusive and does not reflect terminology adopted by the community it is meant to describe,” adds the complaint. “Although this list is not exhaustive, it addresses some of the primary concerns voiced by the complaints.”

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U.S. Federal Courts

Federal judge tosses a NY county’s suit defending trans sports ban

Bills banning trans youth from participating in sports already have passed in 24 states, although some have been blocked by active lawsuits



Theodore Roosevelt Federal Courthouse at 225 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo Credit: U.S. Courts/GSA)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – A U.S. District Court judge ruled Friday against a pre-emptive lawsuit from Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman fighting off an attempt by New York Attorney General Letitia James to litigate his transphobic executive order barring the county’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Museums from issuing permits to any women’s or girls’ sports team with transgender players.

“This decision is a tremendous victory for justice and the rule of law, but our work here is not done,” said Alexis Richards, a spokesperson for the Attorney General. “It’s past time for Nassau County to rescind this [executive] order and treat all our communities with the basic respect and dignity they deserve.”

Earlier this month U.S. District Court Judge Nusrat Choudhury, who is on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, denied Blakeman’s request for a temporary restraining order against the Attorney General.

In that ruling Judge Choudhury wrote that the Long Island county “falls far short of meeting the high bar for securing the extraordinary relief,” the Associated Press reported.

Among other things, Choudhury said the county failed to “demonstrate irreparable harm,” which she said was a “critical prerequisite” for such an order.

The ruling, however, doesn’t address the legality of the county’s ban or James’ request that the lawsuit be dismissed. Those issues will be decided at a later date, the Associated Press noted.

Reacting to today’s ruling in a statement released to the media Blakeman said: “We vehemently disagree with the decision and will appeal.”

On March 1st, Attorney General James sent a order of cease and desist to Blakeman demanding that the Republican Nassau County Executive rescind his February 22 directive within five days or else face additional legal actions. 

“The law is perfectly clear: you cannot discriminate against a person because of their gender identity or expression. We have no room for hate or bigotry in New York,” the Attorney General wrote. “This executive order is transphobic and blatantly illegal. Nassau County must immediately rescind the order, or we will not hesitate to take decisive legal action.” 

Last month the Nassau County Executive announced he was filing a lawsuit over the Attorney General’s actions.

Last month on March 11, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a separate lawsuit against the Nassau County Executive. The lawsuit argues that the policy violates New York’s Human Rights Law and Civil Rights Law, which explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity following passage of New York’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).  

“Trans people who play sports need support and affirmation, not to be a political target. Nassau County’s cynical attempt to shut them out of public spaces is a blatant violation of our state’s civil and human rights laws. It also speaks to growing, nationwide attacks against LGBTQ+ rights, and we won’t stand for this hatred here in New York,” said Gabriella Larios, staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “As promised the day this executive order was issued, we’re taking action so that the courts relegate this harmful, transphobic policy to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.” 

The ban will remain in effect as the litigation proceeds or it is enjoined by a judge.

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