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Hawai’i Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduces Anti-Trans bill

Gabbard is introducing a blatantly transphobic piece of legislation

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, (D-HI) LGBTQ statement, 17 January 2019 (Screenshot via YouTube)

WASHINGTON – Democratic Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Oklahoma Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), introduced a bill Thursday that if enacted would strip Trans-girls and women of their ability to engage in competitive athletics across the United States.

The Protect Women’s Sports Act, House bill H.R.8932, would narrowly define that the protections of Title IX should be limited to a person’s biological birth sex. ‘This bill protects the sex-based intention of Title IX protections by reaffirming the biological sex-based distinctions between men and women in athletics.’ The bill is clearly written to prevent Transwomen from competing.

Title IX, [20 U.S.C. §§ 1681–1688] states that: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

“Title IX was a historic provision championed by Hawai‘i’s own Congresswoman Patsy Mink in order to provide equal opportunity for women and girls in high school and college sports. It led to a generational shift that impacted countless women, creating life-changing opportunities for girls and women that never existed before. However, Title IX is being weakened by some states who are misinterpreting Title IX, creating uncertainty, undue hardship and lost opportunities for female athletes,” Gabbard said in a statement.

“Our legislation protects Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men and women athletes based on sex,” “It is critical that the legacy of Title IX continues to ensure women and girls in sports have the opportunity to compete and excel on a level playing field,” she added.

“Tulsi Gabbard is now introducing a blatantly transphobic piece of legislation aimed at trans and non-binary young people,” Trans activist Charlotte Clymer wrote on Twitter.

“Remember when Tulsi Gabbard tried to convince us she was an LGBTQ ally? We knew she was a liar, a fraud,” wrote Zeke Stokes, former chief programs officer of LGBTQ rights organization GLAAD. 

A Congressional source told the Blade late Thursday that the bill likely will die in committee and never see a full House vote.

This past August, U.S. District Judge David C. Nye issued an injunction blocking an Idaho statute, signed into law by Gov. Bradley Little in March 2020 that barred transgender females from participating on girls’ or women’s school athletic teams, ruling that the law likely violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause.

“The court recognizes that this decision is likely to be controversial,” Nye wrote. “While the citizens of Idaho are likely to either vehemently oppose, or fervently support, the [Fairness in Women’s Sports] Act, the Constitution must always prevail.”

The challenge to Idaho’s law was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Lindsay Hecox, a transgender track athlete at Boise State University.

 In his 87-page decision in Hecox v. Little Nye noted;

“Ultimately, the court must hear testimony from the experts at trial and weigh both their credibility and the extent of the scientific evidence. However, the incredibly small percentage of transgender women athletes in general, coupled with the significant dispute regarding whether such athletes actually have physiological advantages over cisgender women when they have undergone hormone suppression in particular, suggest the act’s categorical exclusion of transgender women athletes has no relationship to ensuring equality and opportunities for female athletes in Idaho.”

This past May the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued guidance that stated that allowing transgender athletes to compete in Connecticut high school sports violated the civil rights of female athletes.

The U.S. Supreme Court this past June ruled by a vote of 6-3 in Bostock v. Clayton County, that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from terminating employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  The problem some legal experts point out is the court’s majority was careful to claim that the decision did not extend beyond Title VII to other federal or state laws that prohibit sex discrimination.

Gabbard ran for the Democratic presidential nomination during the 2020 election cycle before dropping out in March. In January of 2019 she released a video apologising for homophobic comments made years earlier.

Gabbard is set to leave the House of Representatives in January, Democrat Kai Kahele, was elected Nov. 3 to the seat she is vacating after deciding not to run for re-election.

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Florida

Florida middle schoolers post racist photo using N-word to social media

School district officials confirmed the photo was authentic. They said it was taken by students at Hidden Oaks Middle School

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Screenshot/WPBF ABC News 25

STUART, FL. – A picture of six Martin County School District middle school students, each holding up at letter that spells out the highly offensive epithet N-word is circulating on social media and has prompted an investigation by officials.

Dr. John D. Millay, Superintendent of Schools for the Martin County School District in Florida notified the district’s community Tuesday evening after a board meeting regarding actions officials are taking in a statement:

Last night, the Martin County School District launched a comprehensive investigation into the origin and authenticity of an inappropriate and disturbing photo circulating on social media. We are moving with all deliberate speed to interview all those who may have been involved in this shameful incident, and, unfortunately, can confirm that the photo is authentic. We expect to have our investigation finalized within the next 48 hours,” Millay wrote.

(Editor’s note; WARNING: The following image is graphic and is offensive in nature, racial slur.)

Screen capture from a mobile phone posted to Twitter

Students who were involved in this disgraceful incident will be provided the due process afforded under federal and state law, and our investigation will not compromise those rights.

“The District is, however, appalled, and saddened by this incident which is contrary to our values, and the ideals that are instilled in our students.

Upon the completion of its investigation, the District will mete out appropriate disciplinary consequences to any students who participated in this behavior, pursuant to the District’s Code of Student Conduct. Federal law precludes us from identifying specific students and the specific disciplinary actions taken.

The Martin County School District reaffirms, without reservation, to all our students, our families, our employees and this community that the Martin County School District is committed to promoting and maintaining a learning environment free of hateful, racist and discriminatory actions or conduct. We will not condone or allow any conduct that may harass any student or class of students, has the effect of substantially interfering with any student’s educational performance, or has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of any school.

We have and will continue to enforce a zero-tolerance policy in this regard. I will work towards partnering with the leaders in our community to reinforce our values in this regard and will continue to strive towards fostering a learning environment free of bigotry and racism,” Millay said.

WPBF ABC News 25 reported Tuesday afternoon, school district officials confirmed the photo was authentic. They said it was taken by students at Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City.

Officials said the students made the letters in an art class.

“It’s disgusting,” said district spokesperson Jennifer Deshazo. “And it’s against everything that the Martin County School District stands for.”

The president of the Martin County chapter of the NAACP, Jimmy Smith, told 25 News it’s about so much more than just a photo.

“I was very heartbroken,” said Smith. “We all have made mistakes,” Smith said. “But when you get to that degree and that depth to come up with an idea like that, there’s something else going on.”

The incident with the Hidden Oaks Middle School students comes on the heels of racially motivated violence in Buffalo, New York after a gunman radicalized by online hate groups opened fire in a predominately Black Buffalo neighborhood Tops Supermarket killing 10 people.

WPBF ABC News 25:

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U.S. State Department

U.S. demands regular access to Brittney Griner in Russia

Out WNBA star detained in Moscow in February.

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Brittney Griner (Photo by Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

MOSCOW — U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan on Tuesday said Russian officials have denied consular visits to detained WNBA star Brittney Griner three times this month.

“For the third time in a month, Russian authorities have denied an embassy visit to detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner,” said Sullivan in a statement the U.S. Embassy in Moscow posted to its Twitter account. “This is unacceptable. We call on @mfa_russia (Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry) to provide timely consular access, in line with Russia’s international and bilateral obligations.”

Griner — a center for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is a lesbian and married to her wife — was taken into custody at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February. Russian officials said customs inspectors found hashish oil in her luggage.

The State Department earlier this month determined Russia “wrongfully detained” Griner. 

A Russian court on May 13 extended her detention for another month. The Women’s National Basketball Players Association, a union that represents WNBA players, has endorsed a Change.org petition that urges the Biden administration to “prioritize” Griner’s release.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Tuesday told reporters during his daily press briefing that a consular official “was able to speak with” Griner “on the margins of her court proceedings” on May 13.

“That consular official came away with the impression that Brittney Griner is doing as well as might be expected under conditions that can only be described as exceedingly difficult,” said Price.

“But sporadic contact is not satisfactory,” he added. “It also may not be consistent with the Vienna Convention, to which Russia has subscribed. That is why we continue to urge the Russian government to allow consistent, timely consular access to all U.S. citizens detained in Russia, in line with those very legal obligations, and to allow us to provide consular services for U.S. citizens detained in Russia.”

Price on Tuesday also said Secretary of State Antony Blinken “had an opportunity in recent days to speak with” Griner’s wife.

Blinken spoke with her on May 14.

He conveyed once again the priority we attach to seeing the release of all Americans around the world, including Brittney Griner in the case of Russia, Paul Whelan in the case of Russia — those are Americans who we consider to be wrongfully detained,” said Price.

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Minnesota

Minnesota teachers fear retaliation over support of LGBTQ+ students

According to staff, teachers are afraid the move is intended as “a fishing expedition to prove that teachers encouraged students to protest”

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Screenshot/ FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul

BECKER, Mn. – Following protests over the anti-LGBTQ+ Minnesota Child Protection League’s (MNCPL) March 14 presentation to the Becker County School Board, staff in all the district’s public schools will be required to turn over a trove of documents related to that event, The Los Angeles Blade has learned.

According to a staff member at Becker High School, teachers are afraid the move is intended as “a fishing expedition to prove that teachers encouraged students to protest” in a bid to “get the Board to fire” them.

The mandatory request was filed by Chris Klippen, a local attorney who addressed the School Board on March 14 ahead of the representative from MNCPL, echoing many of the group’s lies about LGBTQ+ people and objections to measures designed to protect the community’s youth.

As the Los Angeles Blade reported, controversy over the School Board’s decision to hear a presentation from the MNCPL was the latest in a series of events that have escalated tensions between area schools and LGBTQ youth, along with their families and allies.

Last year, a Facebook post that falsely claimed classrooms were replacing the American flag with the Pride flag invited comments that included homophobic and transphobic remarks. When students shared screen shots of the post on their social media pages, the Becker chief of police demanded they remove them, earning a rebuke from the ACLU of Minnesota.

Becker Public Schools/Facebook

LGBTQ+ students regularly face harassment at Becker High School, according to the staff member and Ella Rick, a junior who is active in the school’s GSA club.  

While the state’s legislature has successfully passed some protections for LGBTQ+ youth in schools, proponents of additional measures face virulent opposition from anti-LGBTQ+ groups whose influence has increasingly been felt in schools across the country amid a corresponding rise in legislation targeting the rights of LGBTQ+ students and their families. 

MNCPL is among the organizations currently advocating against Minnesotan Democrats’ proposed bill that would outlaw conversion therapy for minors and vulnerable adults.

Both Rick and the staff member at Becker High School said that following the MNCPL’s presentation to the School Board, participants in the protest felt targeted with veiled threats that left them fearing they would face retaliation from administrators and county officials.

An email Tuesday from Becker Superintendent Jeremy Schmidt instructs all recipients to collect and share, by the end of the month, electronic documents as well as “personal notes, post-it notes and handwritten notes” from February 1 to “the events on March 14, 2022.”

Statutorily, interested parties are permitted to file mandatory requests for documents from Minnesota’s public schools, and in this case it will apply to communications between staff and a breadth of different parties, from the media and advocacy groups to individuals and law enforcement.

LGBT students protest controversial presentation at Becker school board:

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