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Super Bowl 2020 will make LGBT history with rainbows, sparkle, drag

Inclusivity on full commercial display with 11 major brand commercials



Sabra Hummus will feature drag queens, Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, in its Super Bowl ad. (Image provided by GLAAD)

In 2000, RuPaul became the very first drag queen to star in a Super Bowl commercial. Flash forward 20 years later—this year’s big event today, where the Kansas City Chiefs will square off against the San Francisco 49ers in Miami, will have more ads that feature LGBTQ+ content than ever before.

“The level of diverse LGBTQ inclusion from at least nine brands during advertising’s biggest night, coupled with Katie Sowers’ trailblazing role on the field as Offensive Assistant Coach of the 49ers, mark a rainbow wave at the Super Bowl this year,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

“GLAAD has long been advocating for brands to feature LGBTQ people in ads. Now, we cannot wait for American families to see and cheer on LGBTQ icons like Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Lil Nas X, Lilly Singh, Katie Sowers, Trace Lysette, Isis King, Jonathan Van Ness, Emily Hampshire, Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Miz Cracker, and Kim Chi – it’s about time.”

History is also being made on the field with Sowers, the first woman coach to be on the field during the Super Bowl. She will also tell her poignant story—which in the past, involved sexual discrimination— in the Microsoft ad.

As part of their work, GLAAD advocates for brands and companies to include LGBTQ people and families across advertising media.

“LGBTQ people have often been invisible during the Super Bowl – advertising’s biggest night – or relegated to ads featuring homophobic tropes and stereotypes,” noted Ferraro.

Other brands that you will see during the Super Bowl include Budweiser, who will profile Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris, World Cup champions and members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The couple recently got married to each other.

In a teaser airing on YouTube, the couple is seen, saying how “good” and “powerful” the commercial is.

TurboTax will bring trans actresses Isis King (“When They See Us”) and Trace Lysette (“Transparent,” “Hustlers”) for a fun “Pose-esque” commercial, with the tagline, “all people are tax people:”

Other highlights include a commercial from Doritos, which will air a dance battle between gay rapper/singer Lil Nas X and the always handsome actor Sam Elliott. Demi Lovato, who has spoken out about being fluid, is singing the National Anthem.

Also, Olay is featuring bisexual TV host Lilly Singh, to portray an astronaut with Busy Phillips and retired astronaut Nicole Stott as part of the Procter & Gamble’s #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign.

The Pop Tarts ad features non-binary “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness, looks fun as well. During a promo for the commercial, Van Ness quips that it’s “time for this snack to get a snack,” before flipping out over the “so dull, so dry, so crusty” pretzels on the table.

Yet another fun highlight during the game will be the Amazon Alexa ad, which stars Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi in their home. The much loved talk show host already debuted the commercial on her show, much to the excitement of fans.

Making their debut in a Super Bowl 2020 ad are two former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” competitors, Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, who are being featured in a Sabra hummus ad.

Tide will feature Schitt’s Creek star Emily Hampshire, who recently revealed her pansexual identity.

“It is so important to have representation in the media, especially for minority groups like the LGBTQ community,” acknowledged cannabis influencer, Laganja Estranja. “I couldn’t think of two better queens to take the torch and lead the way!”

Not everyone is happy about the lgbtq-inclusive ad content. The conservative action group, One Million Moms, is trying to get the advertisements removed from the Super Bowl.

Created by the American Family Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a hate group, the organization has asked the NFL and FOX to pull the Sabra commercial.

“Sabra Dipping Company LLC is choosing to push an agenda of sexual confusion instead of promoting its actual product,” they wrote in a petition to get the commercial deleted. “Normalizing this lifestyle is contrary to what conservative, Christian parents are teaching their children about God’s design for sexuality.”

Of course, GLAAD created their own petition (sign it ASAP if you have a moment!)

“Unfortunately, for the anti-LGBTQ activists, this year will mark the most diverse and LGBTQ-inclusive advertising seen during the Super Bowl in its history,” GLAAD wrote. “Add your name if you agree that it’s clear that One Million Moms’ tactics aren’t working, and it’s time for them to pack it up and go home.”

Earlier in the week, Esera Tuaolo hosted his third annual Inclusion Party around the Super Bowl and was organized by the non-profit organization, Hate Is Wrong.

UPDATE: At least eleven LGBTQ inclusive ads aired during Sunday’s broadcast including appearances by: Amazon Alexa: Ellen DeGeneres and wife, actress Portia de Rossi Budweiser: Ali Krieger & Ashlyn Harris, World Cup champions and members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team who recently married each other. The two appear after full championship team appears near the end of the ad. Budweiser also released a sweet teaser commercial featuring the couple. Doritos: Lil Nas X, out Grammy Award winner Microsoft: Out 49ers coach Kate Sowers shared her powerful story Olay: Lilly Singh, bisexual host of NBC’s A Lilly Late with Lilly Singh, and the host of the GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 19 Pop Tarts: Jonathan Van Ness, nonbinary star of Netflix’s Queer Eye Sabra: Drag queens Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, former contestants on VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race Tide: Emily Hampshire, star of Schitt’s Creek, who spoke to The Advocate last week about being pansexual TurboTax: Transgender actresses Trace Lysette (Transparent, Hustlers) and Isis King (When They See Us), as well as other LGBTQ members of the ballroom community Under Armour: Kelley O’Hara, a member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, who famously kissed her girlfriend after winning the World Cup. HGTV also aired a promo for the reboot of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ featuring out host Jesse Tyler Ferguson.



Moroccan advocacy groups criticize continued anti-LGBTQ+ crackdown

Consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized in the country



Moroccan flag (Photo by Dagobert1620/Bigstock)

OUARZAZATE, Morocco — Moroccan advocacy groups have criticized continued attacks against the country’s LGBTQ+ community.

A minor on Nov. 15 was sentenced to six months in prison for being gay and fined close to $200.

According to TALAY’AN NGO, the young boy from Ouarzazate endured a traumatizing assault and rape for more than three years at the hands of a “muezzin,” an authority figure in a mosque. This “muezzin” was found guilty of indecent assault and rape of a minor and received an 8-year sentence. The court nevertheless sentenced the minor to prison time.

“While the ‘muezzin’ received an 8-year prison sentence for his actions spanning over three years, the minor’s sentence is both alarming and unacceptable,” said TALAY’AN NGO. “Already deeply traumatized by the violence he endured, he was sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of 20,000 dirhams (approximately $200) after being accused of being gay.” 

TALAY’AN NGO also said the incident mirrors myriad challenges the country’s LGBTQ+ community is facing.

“This incident isn’t isolated, it mirrors the broader challenge of outdated laws in Morocco that criminalize the LGBT+ community,” said the group. “That’s why we strongly call for the immediate release of the minor survivor. It’s a travesty of justice that a child, already traumatized by assault, faces further harm due to outdated laws.” 

Due to the country’s deep cultural and religious beliefs, those who identify as LGBTQ+ or activists are often harassed and victimized.

Consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized in Morocco. Those who are convicted of homosexuality face up to three years in prison and a fine. Activists also face stigma and repression, making it difficult for them to openly advocate on public platforms.

Lewd or unnatural acts with a person of the same sex is illegal under Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code. In addition, those who are in a same-sex relationship or are of sexual orientation that does not conform to the penal code can be punished from anything between six months to three years imprisonment and receive a fine ranging from $20-$200.

Nassawiyat, another Moroccan advocacy group, says, Article 489 should be repealed.

“The repeal of Article 489, which currently prevents the LGBTQ+ community from openly expressing their healthcare needs will foster an inclusive environment and allow the community full access to medical assistance,” said the group. “Furthermore, anti-discrimination laws should be implemented that put in place legal recourse which safeguard and protect the LGBTQ+ community from discriminatory practices in Morocco. This proactive measure will send a strong message, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is not tolerated and must have appropriate legal consequences.”

Nassawiyat also said comprehensive data collection initiatives should be implemented to better understand the conditions and challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community.

“By producing more detailed reports, policymakers and healthcare professionals can make informed decisions and formulate strategies that better meet the needs of the community,” said Nassawiyat.

Justice Minister Abdellatif Ouahbi in August said he had grave concerns over the growing influence of gay people on society, arguing serious consequences may arise as a result of the LGBTQ+ community’s continued presence. Ouahbi also argued those who identify as LGBTQ+ have more influence, which can even affect the economic well-being of the country.

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Missouri bill would ban companies’ “refusing to deal with” clauses

This recent move comes after recent high-profile cases of companies pulling business with X, formerly Twitter, over rising hate speech



Missouri State Capitol, Jefferson City. (Photo Credit: Missouri state government)

By Erin Reed | JEFFERSON CITY. Mo. – A new bill in Missouri could significantly curtail the ability of companies in the state to pull business with other companies over anti-trans, anti-abortion, or other policies.

The bill, Senate Bill 1061, would ban companies doing business with the state from engaging in “economic boycotts” over a large list of issues, including transgender care and abortion. The boycott ban includes “refusing to deal with” or “terminating business with” other companies over these policies.

This recent move comes after recent high-profile cases of companies pulling business with X, formerly Twitter, over rising hate speech on the platform.

The bill stipulates that companies doing business with the state of Missouri cannot engage in economic boycotts targeted at other companies over issues traditionally supported by conservative politicians. Notably, the ban applies not only to companies doing business with the state of Missouri but also to companies doing business with any political subdivision of the state.

Typically, this includes counties, city governments, public schools, public libraries, and more. This would affect the nearly 700 businesses that have direct contracts with the state, and countless more that have contracts with school boards and local governments.

Under this law, companies that enter into contracts with any of the aforementioned entities would be barred from “refusing to deal with,” “terminating business with,” or otherwise engaging in economic activities designed to penalize a company over that company’s views relating to “not facilitating sex or gender change” or not facilitating “access to abortion.” It also includes other topics, such as boycotts over environmental policies and firearms.

You can see the provisions targeting economic boycotts of other companies, including the abortion and trans provision, here:

Provisions barring economic boycotts over abortion access or gender change policies.

The issue of economic boycotts over anti-LGBTQ+ policies has gained rising attention in recent months. Companies have “terminated business activities with” X, formerly Twitter, over its support for hate speech, which, for some, has included anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech. New policies on X include ending a previous policy that protected transgender people from harassment on the platform, including targeted misgendering.

It is unclear if this policy would bar businesses from terminating business with X – companies boycotting the social media platform over Elon Musk’s declaration that he would lobby to criminalize gender affirming care, for instance, might violate the law if they have contracts with Missouri or any city government, school, or library. For example, IBM pulled advertising on X and currently has an open contract with the state.

This bill is not the only one like it in the United States. Over the last year, several others have been proposed with the same language, although all of them have failed to pass. Bills with similar wording have been proposed in Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Ohio, and Iowa.

This approach could, in part, stem from an earlier law targeting a different boycott target: last year, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a law requiring companies that do business with public entities in Arkansas to not engage in boycotts of Israel could be enforced.

This approach to targeting companies over their commitment to rejecting hate speech is likely to be repeated in several states this year. Increasingly, Republicans are mobilizing state law and enforcement efforts against corporate activism when it does not agree with the Republican platform.

Despite claiming to be in favor of “absolute free speech” and “less regulations,” these supposed values do not clearly apply when companies choose to protect LGBTQ+ people.


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

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


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

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Neo-Nazi group sued for harassing LGBTQs by Massachusetts AG



Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell speaking at a press conference earlier this year. (Photo Credit: Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General/Facebook)

BOSTON, Mass. – This past Friday, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell’s office filed suit against a neo-Nazi white nationalist/supremacist group the Nationalist Social Club a.k.a. NSC-131, alleging conduct that violated state civil rights laws and unlawfully interfered with public safety.

The lawsuit filed in Suffolk County Superior Court names two NSC-131 leaders, Christopher Hood and Liam McNeil, noting that the pair were responsible for fomenting an escalating series of unlawful and discriminatory incidents.

These incidents include situations where NSC-131 members repeatedly attempted to disrupt and shut down events organized by LGBTQ+ community groups, and targeted hotels providing emergency shelter to recently arrived immigrants through the Commonwealth’s Emergency Assistance program.

The Attorney General’s Office alleges that, in connection with these incidents and others, NSC-131 members engaged in violent, threatening, and intimidating conduct that violated state civil rights laws and unlawfully interfered with public safety. The complaint asserts claims for public nuisance, trespass, civil conspiracy and violations of the Civil Rights Act and Public Accommodations Law. 

“NSC-131 has engaged in a concerted campaign to target and terrorize people across Massachusetts and interfere with their rights. Our complaint is the first step in holding this neo-Nazi group and its leaders accountable for their unlawful actions against members of our community,” said AG Campbell. “My office will continue to do all it can to protect our residents’ and visitors’ civil rights and public safety.” 

The complaint alleges that between July 2022 and January 2023, NSC-131 repeatedly targeted Drag Queen Story Hours, which are children-oriented events commonly hosted by the LGBTQ+ community and others to promote inclusivity of LGBTQ+ individuals.

In late 2021, NSC-131 announced that its members would “SHUT DOWN DRAG QUEEN STORY HOURS IN THE NEW ENGLAND AREA UNTIL ALL RELATED EVENTS CEASE.” NSC-131 subsequently targeted four events in Massachusetts, during which NSC-131 members allegedly attacked members of the public; engaged in other threatening, intimidating and coercive behavior; and unlawfully interfered with access to event spaces in public libraries.

The events targeted by NSC-131 took place in July 2022 and August 2022 in Boston, December 2022 in Fall River, and January 2023 in Taunton.  

The complaint further alleges that on at least five separate occasions between October 2022 and October 2023, NSC-131 targeted hotels providing emergency shelter to recently arrived immigrants.

On social media, NSC-131 has stated that it targeted the hotels because they were providing housing to “invaders” from “Haiti,” “Central America,” and “Africa,” while espousing conspiracy theories promoting the idea that the shelters were part of a plot to implement “White replacement.” 

During the incidents, NSC-131 members trespassed on hotel property and engaged in other unlawful conduct to intimidate and threaten employees and guests and interfere with the operation of the hotels.

The group’s targeting of the migrant hotel shelters, trespassing on their property and intimidating and harassing their residents and employees, occurred in an October 2022 incident in Kingston, on three occasions in August 2023 in Woburn, and a September 2023 incident in Marlborough.  

Additionally, the complaint alleges that since at least 2020, NSC-131 has regularly conducted “patrols” of various residential neighborhoods and public spaces across the state. During such “patrols,” NSC-131 regularly trespassed on, vandalized, and damaged both public and private property.

Moreover, while publicizing the “patrols” on social media, NSC-131 revealed that members carried weapons, including knives and batons, while engaged in the “patrols.”  

Through filing this complaint, the AG’s Office seeks injunctive relief against the defendants in relation to each of the alleged claims, along with monetary awards related to civil penalties, damages, and other costs, amongst other forms of potential relief.

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

LGBTQ+ news stories from around the globe including Jordan, France, Scotland, & Britain



Los Angeles Blade graphic


King Abdullah (Photo Credit: Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Washington D.C.)

BEIRUT, Lebanon – The government of Jordanian King Abdullah have systematically targeted lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights activists and coordinated an unlawful crackdown on free expression and assembly around gender and sexuality, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released earlier this month.

In its December 4 report, HRW documented cases in which the Kingdom of Jordan’s General Intelligence Department (GID) and the Preventive Security department of the Public Security Directorate interrogated LGBT activists about their work, and intimidated them with threats of violence, arrest, and prosecution, forcing several activists to shut down their organizations, discontinue their activities, and in some cases, flee the country.

Government officials also smeared LGBT rights activists online based on their sexual orientation, and social media users posted photos of LGBT rights activists with messages inciting violence against them.

“Jordanian authorities have launched a coordinated attack against LGBT rights activists, aimed at eradicating any discussion around gender and sexuality from the public and private spheres,” said Rasha Younes, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Security forces’ intimidation tactics and unlawful interference in LGBT organizing have driven activism further underground and forced civil society leaders into an impossible reality: severe self-censorship or fleeing Jordan.”

Three activists said the Amman governor interrogated them after they preemptively cancelled the screening of a film depicting gay men. Two LGBT organization directors said that because of official intimidation, they were forced to close their offices, discontinue their operations in Jordan, and flee the country.

One activist said Preventive Security officers made him sign a pledge that he would report all his venue’s activities to the governor. Another activist reported being targeted online while social media users called for him to be burned alive.

One of the few LGBT rights activists who has remained in Jordan described her current reality: “Merely existing in Amman has become terrifying. We cannot continue our work as activists, and we are forced to be hyperaware of our surroundings as individuals.”

More recently, in October 2023, an LGBT rights activist said he was summoned for investigation by the intelligence agency. During the interrogation, the activist said intelligence officers searched his phone, intimidated him, and threatened him with a travel ban, while asking personal questions about his sexual orientation and sexual relations with other men. After three hours of questioning, the activist said the officers told him he could leave.

“They [Jordanian authorities] invest in intimidation to destroy our minds and isolate us,” the activist said. “Their tactic is to target us mentally, leaving no evidence of our torment behind.”

Jordan’s constitution protects the rights to nondiscrimination (article 6), the right to personal freedom (article 7), and the right to freedom of expression and opinion (article 15).

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Jordan is a state party, provides that everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression, assembly, and association. The ICCPR, in its articles 2 and 26, guarantees fundamental human rights and equal protection of the law without discrimination.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which interprets the covenant, has made clear that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited in upholding any of the rights protected by the treaty, including freedom of expression, assembly, and association.


Openly gay French Senator Hussein Bourgi speaking at a ceremony in the city of Clermont-l’Hérault in the Hérault district he represents. (Photo Credit: Hussein Bourgi/Facebook)

PARIS, France – Legislation that was introduced last month by the openly gay Socialist Senator Hussein Bourgi to acknowledge the French state’s responsibility in the criminalization and persecution of homosexuals between 1945 and 1982 was adopted.

However, the section of bill that called for compensation of the victims of French homophobic laws, in effect during that period by offering them a lump sum of €10,000 Euros [10,752.75 USD], was not approved.

Speaking with various French media outlets, Bourgi, who authored the bill, said: “It is high time to bring justice to the living victims of legislation which served as the basis for a politics of repression with brutal and punishing social, professional and familial consequences.”

Agence France-Presse reported:

Bourgi’s text focuses on a 40-year period following the introduction of legislation that specifically targeted homosexuals under the Nazi-allied Vichy regime. The 1942 law, which was not repealed after the liberation of France, introduced a discriminatory distinction in the age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual sex, setting the former at 13 (raised to 15 at the Liberation) and the latter at 21.

Some 10,000 people – almost exclusively men, most of them working-class – were convicted under the law until its repeal in 1982, according to research by sociologists Régis Schlagdenhauffen and Jérémie Gauthier. More than 90% were sentenced to jail. An estimated 50,000 more were convicted under a separate “public indecency” law that was amended in 1960 to introduce an aggravating factor for homosexuals and double the penalty. 

“People tend to think France was protective of gay people compared to, say, Germany or the UK. But when you look at the figures you get a very different picture,” said Schlagdenhaufen, who teaches at the EHESS institute in Paris. 

“France was not this cradle of human rights we like to think of,” he added. “The Revolution tried to decriminalise homosexuality, but subsequent regimes found other stratagems to repress gay people. This repression was enshrined in law in 1942 and even more so in 1960.” 

The legislation won the backing of Éric Dupond-Moretti, Minister of Justice for the government of President Emmanuel Macron. However, Dupond-Moretti agreed with the removal of the compensation provision by the right-wing and center senatorial majority. Dupond-Moretti justified this choice noting concerns over “legal difficulties,” telling French magazine Le Monde that “putting into practice” of this compensation measure “appears extremely complex” due to the difficulty of providing proof of an old conviction and its execution.

The Justice Minister added “It was not the law which was responsible for this harm” but “French society, homophobic in all its components at the time” adding, “This is not the fault of the Republic. The law of memory is enough.”

The bill must now be taken up by the lower house, the National Assembly, to be passed and then adopted.


The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo Credit: The Scottish Government)

EDINBURGH, UK – The Court of Session in Edinburgh has ruled that the UK government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acted within the law by invoking Section 35, which blocked the measure passed by the Scottish Parliament, that would have make it easier for transgender people to change their legally-recognized sex on documents.

The actions by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, with Prime Minister Sunak’s backing kept the act from receiving the signature of King Charles III and becoming law.

The Gender Recognition Reform bill was introduced by the Scottish government to Holyrood (parliament) in the Spring of 2022 was passed in a final 86-39 vote days before Christmas of 2022. The sweeping reform bill modifies the Gender Recognition Act, signed into law in 2004, by allowing transgender Scots to gain legal recognition without the need for a medical diagnosis.

The measure further stipulates that age limit for legal recognition is lowered to 16.

In a statement released in January of this year, Jack said:

“After thorough and careful consideration of all the relevant advice and the policy implications, I am concerned that this legislation would have an adverse impact on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation. 

“Transgender people who are going through the process to change their legal sex deserve our respect, support and understanding. My decision today is about the legislation’s consequences for the operation of GB-wide equalities protections and other reserved matters. 

“I have not taken this decision lightly. The Bill would have a significant impact on, amongst other things, GB-wide equalities matters in Scotland, England and Wales. I have concluded, therefore, that this is the necessary and correct course of action.”

The Scottish government sued Westminster in the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest civil court, arguing that Jack did not have “reasonable grounds” to block the bill. The BBC reported that in her ruling for the UK governments, Judge Lady Haldane dismissed the Scottish government’s appeal and said the block on the legislation was lawful.

Judge Haldance noted that Jack followed correct legal procedures when he made his decision to invoke section 35 and that the Scottish government had failed to show that he had made legal errors.

The judge wrote: “I cannot conclude that he (Mr Jack) failed in his duty to take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to acquaint himself with material sufficient to permit him to reach the decision that he did.”

Lady Haldane also said that “Section 35 does not, in and of itself, impact on the separation of powers or other fundamental constitutional principle. Rather it is itself part of the constitutional framework.”

Stonewall UK, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group expressed its disappointment with Judge Haldane’s ruling in a statement released this past week:

“We’re disappointed that the Court of Session in Scotland has found in favour of the UK Government’s unprecedented decision to use Section 35 to block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill from Royal Assent. This Bill was one of the most debated in the Scottish Parliament’s history and was passed by a resounding majority of MSPs drawn from all major Scottish parties.

This unfortunately means more uncertainty for trans people in Scotland, who will now be waiting once again, to see whether they will be able to have their gender legally recognised through a process that is in line with leading nations like Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

Whatever happens next in discussions with the UK and Scottish Governments on this matter, Stonewall will continue to press all administrations to make progress on LGBTQ+ rights in line with leading international practice.”


Labor MP Sir Chris Bryant speaking in Commons. (Screenshot/YouTube UK Government)

WESTMINSTER, UK – Anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric used by British Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch during her speech on the floor of the House of Commons on Dec. 6, prompted Labour MP Sir Chris Bryant, an openly gay lawmaker, to rise in opposition and declare her speech left him feeling unsafe. 

The debate was triggered by the Equalities Minister claiming that the UK does not recognize self-ID from overseas countries for trans people, PinkNewsUK reported. In his retort to her statements, Bryant explained: “I feel, as a gay man, less safe than I did three years or five years ago.”

PinkNewsUK also noted that Bryant said: “Why? Sometimes because of the rhetoric that is used, including by herself [Badenoch] in the public debate.” He added that some MPs had cheered for Badenoch’s statements on the trans community, and for statements against gender-affirming care for trans people, which could lead to LGBTQ+ people feeling even less safe in the UK. 

“Many of us feel less safe today, and when people over there cheer as they just did, it chills me to the bone, it genuinely does,” Bryant said. 

She hit back with force, challenging him to identify which words precisely were so problematic. She later criticized the attempts of trans activists to use emotional blackmail to try to shut down debate.

The UK Government has updated the list of countries from which gender-certificates will be accepted.

Replying to Bryant, Badenoch said: “He says that my rhetoric chills him to the bone. I would be really keen to hear exactly what it is I have said in this statement or previously that is so chilling.” She added that the current Tory government had done work on “our HIV action plan” and “around trans healthcare”, as well as “establishing five new community-based clinics for adults in the country.”

“There is a lot that we are doing, so it is wrong to characterise us as not caring about LGBT people,” she said. 

Bryant’s colleague, Sir Ben Bradshaw, also failed to get the better of Badenoch. He complained the UK had recently fallen in a set of international rankings on LGBTQ rights. She calmly pointed out that those rankings reward states that adopt the Stonewall-supported policy of self-ID and punish those who do not. To cheers from the Tory benches, she declared ‘Stonewall does not decide the law in this country,’ referring to Stonewall UK, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group.

Additional reporting from Human Rights Watch, Agence France-Presse, Le Monde, The BBC and PinkNewsUK.

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California humanitarian aid arrives to help civilians in Israel & Gaza

The two shipments of humanitarian supplies were delivered through close coordination with nonprofit and government partners



Governor Newsom visited Cal OES warehouse with Director Nancy Ward as supplies were prepared for shipment to Gaza, Israel. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Building on California’s commitment to provide civilians in Israel and Gaza with medical aid and assistance, Governor Gavin Newsom announced this past week that the state’s humanitarian aid package — 104 pallets of medical supplies, including field hospitals — has been delivered to both Israel and Gaza.

The two nearly identical shipments of supplies each include a 50-bed field hospital, support equipment, wound and IV kits, defibrillators, wheelchairs, personal protective equipment, and other emergency-response items.

The two shipments of humanitarian supplies were delivered through close coordination with nonprofit and government partners. The shipment to Israel arrived last month following coordination with Direct Relief — a California-based humanitarian aid organization — the Israeli Health Ministry, and IsraAID.

The supplies to civilians in Gaza arrived earlier this week through coordination with Direct Relief. The delivery of supplies to Gaza was dependent on the opening of a reliable humanitarian corridor for aid, which occurred during the temporary cease-fire negotiated by the Biden-Harris Administration.

In October, Governor Newsom visited Cal OES warehouse with Director Nancy Ward as supplies were prepared for shipment. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

Amid heightened fears and concerns stemming from the conflict, Governor Newsom previously authorized the immediate expansion of funds to bolster the safety and security at religious institutions, places of worship, and faith-based institutions across the state and called on California’s university systems to take further steps to protect student safety.

The supplies delivered to the region are deemed surplus and do not impact the state’s ability to rapidly respond to any disasters that may occur in the state, the governor’s office noted in a press release.

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Los Angeles County

Hate Crime arrest in Beverly Hills attack on elderly Jewish couple



Los Angeles Blade file photo

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Beverly Hills detectives have arrested a 44-year-old Los Angeles man and charged him in a racially motivated attack and attempted robbery on an elderly Jewish couple Saturday morning in the city.

In a statement released by Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) spokesperson Lieutenant Reginald Evans: On Saturday, December 9, 2023, at approximately 9:03 a.m., BHPD patrol units
responded to the area of North Rexford Drive and North Santa Monica Blvd regarding a reported assault with a deadly weapon.

Officers responded quickly and located an elderly victim who had sustained a laceration
on his head after being struck with a belt. During the commission of the crime, the suspect made anti-Semitic statements to the victim. The victim was accompanied by his spouse during the time of the crime.

According to the BHPD, the male victim was treated by the Beverly Hills Fire Department at the scene and did not require further medical attention and was not transported to hospital.

BHPD personnel searched the immediate area as the suspect had fled the scene prior to police arrival. An individual matching the suspect description was witnessed fleeing by a BHPD Senior Forensic Specialist. Officers used the information provided to quickly find, detain, and identify the suspect.

“Our officers quickly apprehended the suspect and he is in custody,” said Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook. “This despicable act of hate against a member of our community will not be tolerated.”

BHPD arrested Jarris Jay Silagi, a 44 year old male resident of Los Angeles and charged him with four felonies including Assault with a Deadly Weapon; Attempted Robbery; Hate Crime
and Elder Abuse. Silagi is being held on $100,000.00 bail and is currently in-custody at the Los Angeles County Jail.

According to the Beverly Hills Police, he has an initial court date of Dec. 12, at the Los Angeles Airport Criminal Court. There is an ongoing investigation by the Beverly Hills Police Department Detective Bureau.

A man claiming to be the victim’s son posted on X, formerly Twitter, that his parents were on their way to shul — the Yiddish word for synagogue — when the attack was carried out.

Included in the post was a picture of a bloody shirt allegedly belonging to the victim.

Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call the Beverly Hills Police Department at 310-285-2125. Anonymous reports can be made by texting TIP BHPDALERT followed by the tip information to 888777.

You can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477. To access Crime Stoppers, download the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP or use the website

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McCarthy on leaving Congress & his support for Trump

Republican Kevin McCarthy talks with CBS News chief election & campaign correspondent Robert Costa in an exit interview



Republican Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted from his position as Speaker of the House in October, talks with CBS News chief election & campaign correspondent Robert Costa. (Screenshot/YouTube CBS News Sunday Morning)

WASHINGTON – In his first TV interview since announcing his retirement from Congress, Republican Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted from his position as Speaker of the House in October, talks with CBS News chief election & campaign correspondent Robert Costa about leading an unruly House and losing his speakership; his thoughts about Florida Representative Matt Gaetz; his predictions for the 2024 elections; and the future he sees as part of a prospective Trump cabinet.

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Los Angeles County

Hate crime surge raises alarms, adds safety concerns for minorities

The report found that 72% of hate crimes were of a violent nature, the second highest percentage in at least 20 years



Photo & graphic credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – A disconcerting surge in hate crimes, as revealed by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission’s 2022 Report on Hate Crime, is posing a severe threat to the safety and well-being of minority communities in greater Los Angeles. Released on Nov. 29, the report disclosed alarming statistics, indicating the highest level of reported hate crimes in 21 years.

According to the report, hate crimes surged by 18% in 2022, reaching 929 reported incidents, the highest since 2001. This uptick reflects an ongoing trend, with hate crimes escalating by 143% since 2013, signaling a deeply concerning trajectory for the city.

The press conference, attended by influential figures such as Supervisor Hilda Solis, District Attorney George Gascón, Sheriff Robert Luna, LAPD Assistant Chief Blake Chow, Human Relations Commission President Ilan Davidson, and Executive Director Robin Toma, underscored the gravity of the situation.

Black residents experienced a higher rate of hate crimes, witnessing an increase from 219 to 294 incidents, marking the second-largest number of anti-Black crimes ever reported. Meanwhile, Latino residents faced a rise to 121 incidents, accompanied by the highest rate of violence among all racial/ethnic groups.

The report also highlighted a record-breaking number of anti-transgender crimes, a surge in hate crime violence, and an alarming 41% increase in religion-based crimes, with Jews being the primary target.

One of the most disturbing aspects is the continuous underreporting of hate crimes, as acknowledged by county officials. The LA vs Hate initiative has undoubtedly facilitated more robust reporting, resulting in increased numbers. However, the report emphasized that a substantial number of hate crimes likely go unreported, with nearly half of all violent hate crimes remaining undisclosed to law enforcement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Concerns Deepen Amidst LAPD’s Historic Shortage

LAPD Chief Michael Moore with LAPD personnel. (Photo Credit: LAPD Public Affairs)

Amidst the rising tide of hate crimes, Los Angeles is grappling with a severe shortage in its police force, the most significant shortfall since the 1990s, according to Mayor Karen Bass. In a recent announcement, Mayor Bass expressed her apprehension about the dwindling numbers in the LAPD, meeting with the newest batch of officer recruits.

“Today L.A. Mayor Karen Bass met with the newest batch of officer recruits. Afterwards, she and Chief Michael Moore talked about how to address the department’s officer shortage,” noted the announcement.

The LAPD’s officer workforce has dwindled to its lowest point since the 1990s, adding another layer of concern to an already precarious situation. The shortage is a multi-faceted challenge, impacting both sworn officers and civilian professional staff, affecting the overall efficiency of the department.

Addressing the shortage, Mayor Bass emphasized the importance of not only recruiting new officers but also improving working conditions, enhancing facilities, and upgrading technology. These measures, she believes, are crucial for making a marked difference in the path forward for a safer Los Angeles.

Navigating the Intersection of Hate Crimes and Police Shortages

The convergence of a historic surge in hate crimes and a substantial shortage in the LAPD poses a complex challenge for Los Angeles. The safety and security of minority communities hang in the balance as the city navigates the intricate dynamics of bias-motivated crimes and law enforcement capabilities.

In response to these challenges, the LA vs Hate initiative emerges as a beacon of hope. Recognizing the limitations of traditional reporting methods and the hesitancy within certain communities to engage with law enforcement, the initiative provides an alternative avenue for reporting hate crimes. The initiative’s comprehensive approach involves community engagement, education, and support services to empower individuals to stand against hate.

As Los Angeles grapples with the daunting task of rebuilding its workforce and addressing the heightened concerns over public safety, city officials, community leaders, and law enforcement agencies must collaborate closely to implement comprehensive strategies. These strategies should not only combat hate crimes but also fortify the city’s resilience against a backdrop of increasing challenges.

In this critical juncture, the urgency of addressing both hate crimes and police shortages cannot be overstated. Los Angeles must rise to the occasion, fostering a community that stands united against intolerance and equipped with the resources needed to ensure the safety and well-being of all its residents. The LA vs Hate initiative, with its focus on community-driven solutions, offers a promising path forward in these challenging times.

(Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

The statistics at a glance:

Following two years of double-digit increases, reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County grew 18% from 790 to 929, the second largest number in more than 20 years.  For the past 8 years, hate crimes have been trending upward and since 2013 there has been a 143% increase. 

The report’s significant findings include the following:

  • 72% of hate crimes were of a violent nature, the second highest percentage in at least 20 years.
  • Racial, sexual orientation and religious hate crimes all grew sharply.  But racism was by far the most common motivation, constituting 57% of all hate crimes. Racist crimes jumped 14%, from 476 to 545. 
  • Although they only comprise about 9% of the county’s population, African Americans were again disproportionately targeted and comprised 53% of racial hate crime victims.  While anti-Black crimes climbed, all other major racial and ethnic groups experienced slight increases or declined significantly.
  • Anti-Latino/a crimes rose 3% and they again were the second largest group of racial victims.  This was the seventh year in a row that Latino/as experienced the highest rate of violence (93%) of any racial/ethnic group.
  • Anti-Asian crimes, which had soared to record highs during the pandemic, declined 25%.  However, the 61 crimes reported were the second largest number in this report’s history.
  • Sexual orientation crimes comprised the second largest motivation (18%) and grew 20%.  81% of these crimes targeted gay men.
  • Religious crimes spiked 41% and comprised 16% of all hate crimes. Eighty-three percent of these crimes were anti-Jewish.
  • There were 44 anti-transgender crimes, the largest number ever documented.  Ninety-one percent of these crimes were violent, a rate much higher than racial, sexual orientation, and religious attacks.
  • After skyrocketing 48% the previous year, hate crimes in which anti-immigrant slurs were used continued to climb another 12% from 84 to 94.  This was the largest number ever recorded.  Suspects used anti-immigrant language in 55% of anti-Latino/a crimes and in 25% of anti-Asian offenses.
  • Hate crimes committed by gang members remained elevated and comprised 6% of all hate crimes.  74% of these were racially-motivated.
  • After declining the previous hear, hate crimes that contained evidence of white supremacist ideology (most often the use of swastikas in vandalism) increased 66% from 97 to 140 crimes.  This was the largest number in 13 years. They comprised 15% of all reported hate crime.  There was evidence of white supremacist belief systems in 38% of all religious hate crimes and 9% of racial crimes.
  • Similar to the previous year, the largest number of hate crimes (251) reported in 2022 took place in the Metro Service Planning Area (SPA) Region IV (which stretches from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights) followed by San Fernando Valley SPA Region II (141).  This represents large increases in the number of hate crimes in both regions. However, if one compares the populations of the regions to the numbers of reported hate crimes, the Metro SPA had the highest rate followed by West SPA Region V (which includes part of West Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Culver City, and a number of beach communities). These two regions have had the highest rates for several years in a row.

To view the complete report, including hate crime maps, graphs, and tables, please visit Some hate crime data is limited by the current searchability of the database only for the time period of 2003 to 2022. For specific race/ethnicity data and examples, please click here for anti-Black hate crimesclick here for anti-Latino/a hate crimes, and click here for anti-Asian hate crimes.

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California’s youngest Assistant District Attorney is only 18

Park turned age 18 in late November and was sworn in yesterday in Visalia as one of California’s youngest practicing attorneys and prosecutors



Law clerk Peter Park being sworn in as the youngest member of the Tulare County District Attorney's office by Tulare County District Attorney, Tim Ward on December 6, 2023. (Photo Credit: Office of the Tulare County District Attorney, Tim Ward)

VISALIA, Calif. –  Peter Park can safely be categorized as a child prodigy and academic wunderkinder having entered high school at age 13, passing the rigorous California State Bar exam at 17, and just this past week becoming the youngest practicing prosecutor in California at age 18.

On Wednesday, December 6, Tulare County District Attorney, Tim Ward swore Park in. According to the biography furnished by the Office of the Tulare County District Attorney;

In a legal history making moment, Tulare County District Attorney law clerk Peter Park passed the rigorous California bar exam on his first attempt making him the youngest person to ever pass the exam at age 17. According to research, the previous record holder was 18 years old. Park received his test results on November 9 after taking the exam in July.

At the age of 13 in 2019, Park began high school at Oxford Academy in Cypress, CA. Simultaneously, Park enrolled in a four-year juris doctor program at Northwestern California University School of Law utilizing a state bar rule that allows students to apply to law school through the completion of College Level Proficiency Exams (CLEPS).

After graduating high school in 2021 by taking the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), Park focused on law school and graduated in 2023. Park became a law clerk with the Tulare County District Attorney that August.

“It was not easy, but it was worth it. It required discipline and strategy to pass the Bar, and I made it in the end. I am extremely blessed to have discovered this path, and my hope is that more people will realize that alternative paths exist to becoming an attorney,” Park said. “I aspire to become a prosecutor because I am driven by a moral obligation to uphold liberty, equality, and justice in society. I admire how prosecutors keep our community safe and bring closure to victims.”

Park turned age 18 in late November and was sworn in yesterday in Visalia as one of California’s youngest practicing attorneys and prosecutors.

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New Study: anti-abortion, LGBTQ policies impact state economies

State-level shifts in social & legal rights for women & LGBTQ individuals may have negative impacts on states’ economies and workforces



The crowds gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 as it was announced that the Court had overturned Roe v. Wade. (Blade photo by Josh Alburtus)

By Bryan Luhn | HOUSTON, Texas – Researchers at the University of Houston say major, state-level shifts in social and legal rights available to women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) individuals are affecting interstate migration attitudes and may have negative impacts on states’ economies and workforces.

In a study published in Population Research and Policy Review, researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people from varying backgrounds after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year that ended the constitutional right to an abortion and assessed their views on the desirability of moving to a state with restrictions on access to abortions, gender-affirming medical care, participation in team sports for transgender individuals, teaching about gender and sexuality in schools, same-sex marriage and protections from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“The majority of people who responded to our survey, regardless of their political orientation, indicated they would be less willing to move to states with these policies or that the policies wouldn’t affect their decision to do so,” said Amanda Baumle, lead author and sociology professor at UH. “These policies are much more of a deterrent to migration than an incentive.”

The study found that women, and their partners, gay men, lesbians and those with LGBT family members may choose to avoid states with policies suggesting an unfriendly political environment. The findings also suggest that those in higher-earning occupations, or those who are invested in work or education opportunities, could be discouraged from moving to states with these policies.

“Migration attitudes provide an important benchmark for understanding how abortion and LGBTQ laws and policies influence opinions about the desirability of states as potential destinations,” Baumle said. “If the policies are deterring people from moving to a certain state, there could be negative economic and workforce impacts.”

According to The New York Times, 21 states now ban or restrict abortions. In several other states, there is an ongoing legal battle over abortion access. And the American Civil Liberties Union says state legislatures advanced more than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills this year, more than double the number of similar bills introduced last year.

The UH study found most people are averse to moving to states that enacted highly restrictive abortion laws, such as bans on traveling to other states for abortions or policies allowing people to report abortion seekers to authorities. They were the least averse to moving to states with restrictions related to gender-affirming care for children, transgender children playing on sports teams different than their assigned sex at birth and education-related restrictions such as “don’t say gay” laws.

“I think that fits in with a lot of prior research that people perceive children as in need of being sheltered from anything that falls outside of the gender binary or heterosexuality,” said study co-author Elizabeth Gregory, professor of English and director of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at UH. “Something that was somewhat surprising was that restrictions on participation in sports for transgender youth was viewed less negatively for migration and more as a potential draw than any of the other policies.”

One of the key takeaways of the study, Baumle says, is that states continuing to enact these laws and policies may do so at considerable risk of diminishing their state’s attractiveness, or pull, as a potential migration destination.

“Our findings suggest these restrictive laws and policies have implications for migration attitudes beyond women and LGBTQ individuals,” Gregory said. “States, including legislators and business owners, should consider potential social and economic effects of these actions as an important part of their policy deliberations.”


Bryan Luhn is the Interim Director of Media Relations at the University of Houston. Luhn is an award-winning storyteller and content creator.

The preceding piece was previously published by the University of Houston and is republished with permission.

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