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Trump executive order to suspend US immigration for 60 days

Groups that work with LGBTQ migrants sharply criticize directive

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Thousands of migrants currently live in a camp in the Mexican border city of Matamoros, which is across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas. The Los Angeles Blade visited this camp in January. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Advocacy groups on Tuesday sharply criticized President Trump over his executive order that will effectively stop immigration into the U.S.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our great American citizens, I will be signing an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States,” proclaimed Trump late Monday in a tweet that referred to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump during the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s daily press briefing on Tuesday announced the “temporary suspension of immigration into the U.S.” will remain in place for 60 days.

The New York Times reported the order only applies to those who are seeking green cards that would allow them to permanently live and work in the U.S. It is not immediately clear if the order would apply to refugees or asylum recipients.

Trump said he will likely sign the order on Wednesday.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf on Monday announced the U.S.-Canada border and the U.S.-Mexico border will remain closed to non-essential travel for an additional 30 days. Wolf at the March 20 press conference that announced the closures said undocumented immigrants will not be allowed into the U.S.

“As President Trump stated last week, border control, travel restrictions, and other limitations remain critical to slowing the spread of coronavirus and allowing the phased opening of the country,” said Wolf on Monday in a tweet.

The suspension of international flights and border closures have essentially stopped immigration into the U.S. Trump’s announcement also coincides with continued criticism of the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine indicate there are 820,104 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 44,228 deaths. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, among many others, have said the White House needs to do more to address the shortage of testing in the country before stay-at-home orders can be relaxed and businesses are able to reopen.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday said there are 253 confirmed coronavirus cases among detainees who are in their detention centers. Immigration Equality is among the groups that continue to demand ICE release people with HIV and detainees who are at increased risk for th virus.  

A man uses a makeshift ladder to scale a fence that marks the Mexico-U.S. border in Tijuana, Mexico, on Feb. 26, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Immigration ‘largely frozen across the world’

OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern in a statement to the Los Angeles Blade on Tuesday noted “immigration processes are largely frozen across the world; many borders remain closed and international travel is negligible.”

“As such, President Trump’s tweet announcing an upcoming executive order temporarily banning all immigration is redundant and only serves to blame foreigners for effects of the pandemic, instead of seeking solutions to the global problem,” said Stern.

The Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration is a Minnesota-based organization that works with LGBTQ migrants and refugees around the world. Jardín de las Mariposas, an LGBTQ migrant shelter in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, is among those with which ORAM has partnered.

ORAM Executive Director Steve Roth on Tuesday sharply criticized Trump.

“What the president is proposing is not only in violation of international and domestic law, it will also have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers,” Roth told the Blade in a statement. “This is especially true of LGBTQ migrants who face higher rates of violence and discrimination at the border due to their sexual orientation and gender identity and who have higher rates of HIV and other underlying health conditions.”

“This is a travesty and a new low for this administration,” he added.

Roth and Stern spoke with the Blade before Trump addressed his executive order at the White House.

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Utah

Young Utah trans girl delivers stunning speech to school board

A speech is gaining attention across Utah. A young trans girl named Allison tells her story with her supportive father standing behind her

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Screenshot/YouTube

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – Across the United States, laws and policies aimed at transgender individuals, particularly transgender students, have taken center stage. This is markedly evident in school boards, where groups such as Moms For Liberty are orchestrating efforts to enact rules that marginalize LGBTQ+ students, with a specific ire towards transgender students.

In these school board meetings, derogatory remarks are often hurled at trans individuals, portraying transgender students as violent threats. Yet occasionally, a transgender student courageously steps forward to share their own story. This was precisely the scenario in Jordan School District, where a young transgender student named Allison delivered a captivating speech, imploring for her own acceptance and humanity.

Before Allison spoke, her father approached the microphone, arms encircling his daughter, and stated, “I am here to address the board as the father of Alison,” adding that “If you’ve known her her whole life, you know this is who she’s always been.”

He then inquired if she would like to speak. That’s when she leaned into the microphone and delivered her remarks, evoking tears and applause.

“Hello fathers, daughters, mothers, and everybody else who came here today with fear, anger, and confusion… three feelings that hurt inside badly. I came here not to fight, but to make peace. How am I going to do that? I’m going to tell a story.”

She articulated her speech with honesty and emotion, recounting the first time she donned a pretty white dress and had her hair styled, and how magical it made her feel. She spoke about seeing the person she is for the first time in her life, and how, when she envisions herself as an adult, she sees “a woman dancing in a white dress through a meadow of flowers,” concluding with a plea for acceptance.

Watch her tearjerker speech here:

Over the past year, the state of Utah has significantly targeted transgender individuals like Allison. It banned gender-affirming care — without this care, trans girls like her will be compelled to endure a boy’s puberty. The state barred individuals like her from participating in sports, although this ban was halted in court and substituted with a “commission.” Seated on that commission is Paul Hruz, a notorious anti-trans doctor who has testified in favor of bans on care. Additionally, a law was enacted that prevents transgender youth from obtaining birth certificates bearing their legal gender marker.

Alongside state level attacks on trans youth, individuals opposed to transgender people have testified in school districts, labeling trans youth like Allison as “peeping toms” and “voyeurs” purportedly at risk of “sexually assaulting” fellow students. Incendiary remarks such as these have propelled some schools into adopting restrictive policies that bar trans students from bathrooms.

Yet, such concerns markedly lose ground when young trans girls like Allison come forward. It defies belief to listen to her testimony and deduce that she poses a danger to other students, or even causes them discomfort. Instead, we glean that her friends are bewildered and upset when she is barred from accompanying them to the bathroom, and that in the eyes of her friends, she belongs just as rightfully as anyone else does.

Allison’s speech is gaining traction in the state. The state’s largest newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune, has picked up the story. Meanwhile, the anti-trans organization known as “Genspect,” often cited as an authority on transgender people by publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, reacted by putting quotes around Allison’s name and the word “daughter.” Clearly, Allison has made an impact far beyond her home school district.

The school district has not decided if it will take action on transgender students following the meeting.

****************************************************************************

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: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

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

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Congress

Vote to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy succeeds

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a close McCarthy ally, will serve as Speaker pro tem, or as temporary acting Speaker

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Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz delivers his closing argument prior to the vote on the resolution he introduced to oust Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. (Screenshot/YouTube Washington Post live coverage)

WASHINGTON – A motion to declare the chair vacant House Resolution submitted by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida to oust U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, succeeded on a 216 to 210 vote Tuesday, after an at times contentious debate between House Republicans on the floor.

The last to vote in the full order of the roll call was Speaker Kevin McCarthy who voted against the motion to remove him from his post. U.S. Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), who chaired the proceedings declared the Speaker vacant after the House chamber went silent, after he had asked if anyone wished to change their vote, then read off the tally submitted by the clerk.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a close McCarthy ally, will serve as Speaker pro tem, or as temporary acting Speaker.

With a sharp bang of the gavel, he declared the chamber in recess.

This is a historic action by the House as never before has a Speaker of the House successfully been voted out of the Chair. The last time the House had a vote to oust the speaker was in 1910.

The vote that year stemmed from angst among progressive Republicans that the speaker at the time, Joseph Cannon, a conservative known as “Uncle Joe,” refused to bring progressive legislation to the floor for a vote.

The House Cannon Office Building, which was completed in 1908 and is the oldest congressional office building- a significant example of the Beaux Arts style of architecture is named for Cannon who had served as Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

Earlier Tuesday afternoon the chamber voted 208-218 with Democrats supporting, a motion to table Gaetz’s resolution to oust McCarthy, setting the stage for a vote on whether McCarthy should remain in the top spot. Democratic leadership had told reporters earlier that their conference would be united in an effort to remove the House Speaker.

The roll call vote on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. (Screenshot/YouTube Washington Post live coverage)

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Congress

Laphonza Butler sworn in as California’s newest senator

Consistent with her work in progressive politics, Butler was previously a labor leader with Service Employees International Union, SEIU

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U.S. Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) with her wife, Neneki Lee, in the U.S. Senate chamber on Oct. 3, 2023, as Vice President Kamala Harris administers the oath of office. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday swore in Democrat Laphonza Butler as California’s newest U.S. senator during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

The first Black lesbian to serve in the Senate, Butler was president of the nation’s largest organization dedicated to electing women to public office, EMILY’s List, and previously was a senior advisor to the vice president during her 2020 bid for the Oval Office.

Harris, the country’s first woman vice president as well as the first Black and South Asian person to serve in that role, also made history with her tenure as attorney general and then senator for California.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Butler to fill the vacancy caused by the death, on Friday, of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who had represented the state in the upper chamber since 1992.

Per the terms of her appointment, Butler will be eligible to run for the seat during next year’s elections, in which case she would face competition from three high profile Democrats now representing California in the House: U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff.

Newsom in 2021 pledged that he would appoint a Black woman to Feinstein’s seat. Lee, so far the only Black woman among the declared candidates, congratulated Butler in a statement in which the congresswoman said she is “singularly focused on winning” her Senate campaign.

California “deserves an experienced senator who will deliver on progressive priorities,” she said. “That’s exactly what I’m running to do.”

Consistent with her work in progressive politics, Butler was previously a labor leader with Service Employees International Union, SEIU, the powerful union where her wife, Neneki Lee, serves as director of the Public Services division.

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson and Claire Lucas and Judy Dlugacz were among those who attended the swearing in alongside Butler’s wife.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) escorted Butler into the chamber. Lee and Schiff were among those who attended the ceremony.

“It’s a good day,” Lucas told the Washington Blade as she left the chamber.

Michael K. Lavers contributed to this story.

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U.S. Federal Courts

Florida bathroom ban challenge, plaintiffs say its unconstitutional

A temporary restraining order (TRO) would allow use of public bathrooms for the National March to Protect Trans Youth in Orlando on October 7

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Courtroom, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando. (Photo Credit: U.S. Courts/GSA)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Last week on Sept. 29 a group of trans and non-binary people asked a federal court to declare Florida’s bathroom ban unconstitutional and to issue an order temporarily prohibiting authorities from enforcing it against them while they are in Florida in the coming weeks.

The temporary restraining order (TRO) would allow the plaintiffs to use public bathrooms that align with their gender as they travel to, participate in, and return from the National March to Protect Trans Youth in Orlando on October 7. 

An anticipated 1,000 people are marching in Orlando, Florida, in support of transgender youth and other marginalized communities on October 7, organizers stated.

Under Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida has been at the forefront of a national movement to legislate against trans rights. In May, DeSantis signed four anti-trans and anti-queer legislation passed by the Florida Legislature including Florida Statute § 553.865.

This law, also known as the Bathroom Ban, prevents transgender, gender nonconforming, and certain kinds of intersex people from accessing a restroom in line with their gender because it defines sex as one’s anatomy and naturally occurring hormones at birth. 

The lead defendant named in the lawsuit is Andrew Bain, the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Florida. DeSantis appointed Bain last month to replace Monique Worrell, whom he removed, in part, because she signed a statement pledging not to prosecute people accused of transgender-related “crimes.” 

A complaint, along with a motion for the TRO, filed on the plaintiffs’ behalf by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Southern Legal Counsel says the ban forces trans, gender-nonconforming, and certain intersex people (TGNCI people) to use a bathroom inconsistent with their identities, risk arrest by using a bathroom consistent with their identities, or forego multi-stall restrooms in public facilities altogether.

All of these options are legally impermissible because they deny TGNCI people basic freedoms afforded others, according to the complaint. 

 “The State of Florida believes it can eradicate the lives and identities of trans, gender nonconforming, intersex, and queer people through numerous pieces of legislation, including Fla. Stat. § 553.865, otherwise known as the bathroom ban, ” said  Zee Scout, a Bertha Justice Fellow and attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “But this law is an unconstitutional reaction to the growing acceptance of these communities. The state cannot erase viewpoints that it dislikes. It cannot force people to accept its idea of sex and gender. And it cannot demonize these communities by referring to them as ‘demons,’ ‘mutants,’ and ‘imps.’ This lawsuit is a message that trans, intersex, and queer people nationwide will not tolerate this discriminatory behavior against their siblings in Florida or anywhere.”

“The bathroom ban is yet another unconstitutional and politically-motivated maneuver in the state of Florida’s relentless, multi-faceted attack on the rights, lives, and dignity of transgender Floridians,” said Simone Chriss, Director of the Transgender Rights Initiative at Southern Legal Counsel. “SLC denounces the state’s weaponization of fear and misinformation to strip away the rights of TGNCI Floridians under the guise of protecting others, and we are honored to stand beside the brave plaintiffs and all others who plan to travel to Florida to speak out and stand up for trans rights on October 7th!”

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Pennsylvania

Openly gay journalist shot dead at home in Philadelphia

Jim Kenney, the Mayor of Philadelphia, said in a statement that he is “shocked and saddened” by Kruger’s death

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Josh Kruger, shown here with his cat named Mason, was shot seven times & collapsed in the street after seeking help. He was transported to Penn Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead. (Photo Credit: Josh Kruger/Facebook)

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – An openly gay journalist was shot to death in his Point Breeze neighborhood home in the 2300 block of Watkins Street in South Philadelphia early Monday morning.

According to Officer Shawn Ritchie, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department, 39-year-old Josh Kruger was shot at about 1:30 a.m. and collapsed in the street after seeking help. Kruger was transported to Penn Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 2:13 a.m.

Police said that Kruger was shot seven times throughout the chest and abdomen and that no weapons were recovered nor have any arrests been made. Homicide investigators noted that there was no sign of forced entry and the motive remains unclear.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement:

“Josh Kruger lifted up the most vulnerable and stigmatized people in our communities — particularly unhoused people living with addiction. As an openly queer writer who wrote about his own journey surviving substance use disorder and homelessness, it was encouraging to see Josh join the Kenney administration as a spokesperson for the Office of Homeless Services.

Josh deserved to write the ending of his personal story. As with all homicides, we will be in close contact with the Philadelphia Police as they work to identify the person or persons responsible so that they can be held to account in a court of law. I extend my deepest condolences to Josh’s loved ones and to all those mourning this loss.”

The local PBS/NPR affiliate, WHYY reported Kruger had written extensively with bylines in multiple publications, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, The Philadelphia Citizen, WHYY, and Billy Penn.

CBS News reported that Kruger overcame homelessness and addiction to work for five years in city government, handling Mayor Jim Kenney’s social media and serving as the communications director for the city’s Office of Homeless Services.

He left city government in 2021 to return to journalism, according to his website.

“He was more than just a journalist,” Kendall Stephens, who was a friend and neighbor of Kruger’s told CBS News. “He was more than just a community member. He was somebody that fought that great fight so many of us are not able to fight that fight because we’re too busy sheltered in our own homes wondering if someone is going to knock down our doors and kill us the same way they killed him. The same way they tried to kill me. And we’re tired of it.”   

Jim Kenney, the Mayor of Philadelphia, said in a statement that he is “shocked and saddened” by Kruger’s death.

“He cared deeply about our city and its residents, which was evident in his public service and writing. Our administration was fortunate to call him a colleague, and our prayers are with everyone who knew him.”

The District Attorney’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee issued the following statement:

“Many of us knew Josh Kruger as a comrade who never stopped advocating for queer Philadelphians living on the margins of society. His struggles mirrored so many of ours — from community rejection, to homelessness, to addiction, to living with HIV, to poverty — and his recovery, survival, and successes showed what’s possible when politicians and elected leaders reject bigotry and work affirmatively to uplift all people. Even while Josh worked for the Mayor, he never stopped speaking out against police violence, politicized attacks on trans and queer people, or the societal discarding of homeless and addicted Philadelphians.

“We are devastated that Josh’s life was ended so violently. We urge anyone who has information that could lead to an arrest and prosecution for Josh’s murder to contact the Philadelphia Police or the DA’s Office directly. LGBTQ+ Philadelphians experience violence of all kinds every day; few people used their platforms to remind powerful people in government of that reality as effectively as Josh Kruger did. Josh and the communities he advocated for every day of his life deserve nothing less than justice and accountability for this outrageous crime.”

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National

National test of Integrated Public Alert & Warning System Oct. 4th

On Wednesday at 2:20 p.m. ET, there will be a nationwide emergency alert test on cell phones, wireless devices, radios, and TVs

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Image courtesy of The Federal Emergency Management Agency

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) on Oct. 4, 2023.

On Wednesday at 2:20 p.m. ET, there will be a nationwide emergency alert test on cell phones, wireless devices, radios, and TVs. This is a standard test that occurs at least once every three years. No action is needed.

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Nebraska

Nebraska to force “non-affirming therapy” on trans kids

In guidelines released by the state, trans youth will have many requirements to start care, including one likened to conversion therapy

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EIM/Los Angeles Blade graphic

Editor’s note: Important update- The regulations have been removed from the website but can be found in an archive here.

By Erin Reed | LINCOLN, Neb. – A new set of regulations released on Monday morning by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services spells out several new restriction on transgender youth in the state.

The restrictions, allowed under a new law passed by the Nebraska legislature this year, would curtail gender affirming care for those under the age of 19, the age of majority in the state. While several restrictions are poised to create hurdles for those seeking care, one in particular stands out as especially troubling: a mandate that all trans youth seeking treatment undergo five months of therapy that is “not in a gender affirming context,” a nod to a novel form of conversion therapy championed by those opposed to gender-affirming care.

The new regulations delineate a series of hurdles that transgender youth must navigate to access care. One rule, for instance, mandates that trans youth must have been fully out and living as their gender identity for six months prior to treatment, a throwback to an archaic and decades-old standard of care. This standard was discarded following criticisms that requiring transgender individuals to present as their gender identity, before hormones could facilitate such presentation, was psychologically painful and not linked to improved outcomes. Another stipulation demands that only a trans youth’s parents may collect their prescription, which must be labeled for gender dysphoria. Additionally, these youth must be handed obligatory medical misinformation forms, proclaiming the medication to be risky and promoting “alternatives” to care.

Most troublesome, however, is a particular regulation on the mental healthcare of transgender youth. The document states that transgender youth must obtain 40 hours of therapy, with a maximum of two such hours per week, that is “not in a gender affirming context.” Read literally, this could involve forcing transgender youth to be misgendered and their old names used for months before obtaining care. Such a regulation may put therapists and providers in legal jeopardy merely for practicing the basic respect and dignity of their patients. The guidelines also state that the therapy has to probe for other “mental and physical health conditions” that the guidelines claim may be “driving the patients distress.”

You can see the guidelines around therapy here:

Collectively, these guidelines champion a new form of conversion therapy dubbed “Gender Exploratory Therapy.” Despite its innocuous name, this therapy seeks to explore all possible causes for a transgender person to experience gender dysphoria other than genuine transness.

It’s important to highlight that the patient being transgender is never deemed an acceptable conclusion. Treatments are perpetually dangled just beyond reach until the trans youth believes they are not actually transgender, that too much time has elapsed and puberty has induced too many changes for a successful transition, or they turn 18 and age out of care.

Mirroring crisis pregnancy centers, these tactics are deployed under the pretense of “alternative care” and “neutral treatment,” despite the deception inherent in the care provided. The duplicity surrounding gender exploratory therapy is evident in its founders, its practitioners, and on the Gender Exploratory Therapy Association’s (GETA) own website.

One of GETA’s co-founders, Lisa Marchiano, was implicated in leaked emails of a working group seeking to ban gender-affirming care nationwide. In these correspondences, she employs the far-right doxxing website Kiwifarms to relay information about a transgender activist to Fox News.

Although the GETA website presents the practice as “care without pushing a political agenda,” it conspicuously displays a brief aimed at blocking Title IX anti-discrimination protections for transgender youth. Evidently, “value neutral, non-ideological care” is a misnomer for this form of therapy.

Many accounts of patients going through gender exploratory therapy can be found in a widely-viewed thread soliciting patients experiences, and the practice of delaying transition through the associated practice of “watchful waiting” is is explicitly condemned by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Because of widespread harm caused by this kind of therapy, the practice has been recognized as unethical in medical ethics journals.

Collectively, these new guidelines were put in place after the passage of LB547, the “Let Them grow Act.” Fittingly with the comparisons to the way these kinds of practices are levied at those seeking abortions, the bill was a combination bill banning abortion up to 12 weeks as well while also containing the provisions allowing for these kinds of restrictions on trans youth. It passed the Nebraska legislature by a narrow supermajority after Democrats filibustered the law for three months.

These new policies were developed under the guidance of the state chief medical officer, Dr. Timothy Tesmer, an appointee by Governor Jim Pillen, who called gender affirming care “Lucifer at its finest.” These policies were released on an emergency basis pending the adoption of permanent regulations and will go into effect immediately. A hearing is planned on November 28th on the permanent rules for gender affirming care under the new law.

****************************************************************************

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: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

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

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U.S. Federal Courts

Lesbian mother from El Salvador released from ICE custody in La.

Jessica Barahona-Martinez arrested on June 26, 2017

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An ICE Detentions facility (Photo Credit: Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement photo division)

LAFAYETTE, La. — A federal judge last week ordered the release of a lesbian mother from El Salvador who had been in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since June 2017.

Jessica Patricia Barahona-Martinez and her three children entered the U.S. on May 31, 2016. A court filing notes she fled “persecution she faced in El Salvador as a lesbian, and because the government had falsely identified her as a gang member.”

Barahona-Martinez lived with her sister and other relatives in Woodbridge, Va., until ICE arrested and detained her on June 26, 2017. She was housed at two ICE detention centers in Virginia until her transfer to the South Louisiana ICE Processing Center, a privately-run facility the GEO Group, a Florida-based company, operates in Basile, La., in October 2020. 

An immigration judge in November 2019 granted Barahona-Martinez asylum for the second time. The government appealed the decision and the Board of Immigration Appeals, which the Justice Department oversees, ruled in their favor.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana last month filed a writ for habeas corpus petition in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana’s Lafayette Division that asked for Barahona-Martinez’s release. U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty on Sept. 27 ruled in her favor.  

“Petitioner (Barahona-Martinez) ultimately argues that her prolonged detention violates due process; she moves that this court issues a temporary restraining order, requests release, a bond hearing, an expedited hearing and costs and attorney fees,” wrote Doughty.

“This court finds that petitioner has plausibly alleged her prolonged detention violates due process,” added Doughty.

An ACLU spokesperson on Monday told the Blade that ICE has released Barahona-Martinez and she is once again in Virginia with her children and sister. 

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Missouri

‘Trans is beautiful’ Missouri high school senior says, defies haters

Young told the Kansas City Star newspaper that the hatred would not deter her from living her life authentically

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17-year-old Tristan Young described the joy she felt when two weeks ago her peers at suburban Oak Park High School had chosen her for their 2023 homecoming queen. (Screenshot/Kansas City Star video)

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In a recent interview with the Kansas City Star newspaper, 17-year-old Tristan Young described the joy she felt when two weeks ago her peers at suburban Oak Park High School had chosen her for their 2023 homecoming queen.

Tristan Young, center, crowned homecoming queen standing alongside other candidates.
(Photo Credit: Oak Park High School North Kansas City School District/Facebook)

As the Young approached midfield at half-time in the game, along with the four other nominees, she told the Star she heard the roar of her classmates cheering and applauding at the sound of her name. She was chosen queen and for the transgender senior it was ‘the’ moment.

“I was so overwhelmed,” Young told the Star. “I thought I was never going to be in this position. And, in that moment, I had tears welling in my eyes because I just felt so supported. And I just felt like, this school wants me to be who I am, and not who other people want me to be.”

However, the next day Young was caught up in an explosion of transphobic hate speech and threats from across the United States.

The transphobic hate and threats was spread on Facebook, Instagram, and on X, formerly known as Twitter, where the notorious Libs of TikTok, a handle for the far-right anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech social-media accounts operated by Chaya Raichik- a former Brooklyn, New York real estate agent, spread the anti-trans messaging directed at Young.

Libs of TikTok has millions of followers and the account’s vitriol and hate speech has in the past fomented and instigated threats against the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

The Star also reported that with the deluge of hatred directed at the teenager, family members including a sister attending university in Boston became alarmed and called home.

“She was worried about Tristan being safe,” said Chari Young, the senior’s mother told the Star.

Responding to the threats Young told the paper,

“The comment that has stuck with me,” Young said, “was that I should have been dragged off the field by my hair and beaten up.”

While no one is certain how the news spread nationally, although once Raichik posted about young, the inevitable tsunami of hate followed. Ironically the Star reported that Young was in fact the second transwoman crowned homecoming queen at Oak Park High.

Nearly 8 years to the day on September 15, 2015, Landon Patterson, 18, was named homecoming queen.

Landon Patterson in September of 2015 after being named homecoming queen at Oak Park High School. (Screenshot/KMBC ABC 9)

Young told the paper that the hatred would not deter her from living her life authentically.

“I’m just not one of those people,” Young said. “I like to stay strong. I don’t really buckle unless something is really wrong. Right now, what’s happening is people are trying to turn a joyous thing into something that I should regret. But it’s going to stay a joyous thing.” She added that ‘Trans is beautiful.”

Local advocacy groups and others including former trans homecoming queen Patterson have rallied to the teen’s side.

Justice Horn, the chair of the Kansas City LGBTQ Commission, posted on X: “I uplift this against the transphobic comments against this young person.”

“I told her stay strong. You’re gorgeous. You’re beautiful. And no matter what these people say, they can’t take away this crown. They can’t take away this moment from you,” Patterson told The Star, adding, “Everything is amplified as a kid. Choosing yourself over everyone else’s opinion takes a lot of courage and bravery. … All these things that they said about her, that they said about me, what they say about trans people, it’s truly just ignorance. They probably don’t even know a trans person. They’re just saying things to be hateful. “Being trans is a reality. This is our life. It’s not going away.”

Additional reporting by the Kansas City Star and wire service reports.

Watch:

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Congress

House averts shutdown, clears bipartisan spending bill

Conservative members of GOP caucus warned they would replace the Speaker if he cooperated with Democrats on a deal to avoid a shutdown

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U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) speaks in favor of the stop gap funding measure Saturday. (Screen capture/PBS News)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House on Saturday approved a 45-day continuing resolution that, should the Senate approve the stopgap measure, as expected, will avert a government shutdown.

In a stunning turn of events, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats backed the proposal, H.R. 5860 advanced by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), which was passed with a vote of 335-91.

Ninety Republicans and one Democrat voted against the continuing resolution which, in addition to funding U.S. government agencies through mid-November, will provide billions in disaster relief .

(Screenshot C-SPAN)

Democrats agreed to the bill even though it did not contain U.S. aid to Ukraine. Still, the most conservative members of McCarthy’s caucus have warned they would replace their speaker if he cooperated with Democrats on a deal to avoid a shutdown.

In recent weeks, these members advanced far-right anti-LGBTQ amendments to spending packages that stood no chance of becoming law.

The Senate voted 88-9 to pass a “clean” continuing resolution (CR) that funds the government at current levels through Nov. 17 and gives the Biden administration $16 billion it requested to assist victims of natural disasters.

“Bipartisanship, which has been the trademark of the Senate, has prevailed. And the American people can breathe a sigh of relief,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters.

After the Senate voted late Saturday evening to pass the House stop-gap continuing resolution, the White House released the following statement from President Biden:

“Tonight, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to keep the government open, preventing an unnecessary crisis that would have inflicted needless pain on millions of hardworking Americans. This bill ensures that active-duty troops will continue to get paid, travelers will be spared airport delays, millions of women and children will continue to have access to vital nutrition assistance, and so much more. This is good news for the American people.

But I want to be clear: we should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis. For weeks, extreme House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.

While the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of Congress have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, there is no new funding in this agreement to continue that support. We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted. I fully expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.”

Biden is expected to sign the measure once it is delivered to the White House before the midnight deadline.

UPDATED:

On Saturday, September 30, 2023, the President signed into law:
 
H.R. 5860, which provides fiscal year appropriations to Federal agencies through November 17, 2023, for continuing projects of the Federal Government and extends several expiring authorities.

Speaker McCarthy’s Press Conference After House Passage of 45-Day Stop-Gap:

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