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First gay Black man elected in Texas; Beats anti-LGBTQ incumbent

“Jalen shattered a lavender ceiling in Texas, and it came as right-wing state legislators target LGBTQ people.”

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Jalen McKee-Rodriguez campaign poster

SAN ANTONIO, TX. – Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, a high school math teacher and graduate student who has lived in San Antonio since 2013, beat his former boss and incumbent in the runoff race for the San Antonio City Council. With his victory, McKee-Rodriguez became the first out gay Black man ever elected in the state of Texas.

McKee-Rodriguez once worked for his opponent, incumbent City Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan, but left her office in 2019 after facing retaliation for reporting anti-gay discrimination and harassment. Just last week, poll watchers heard two pastors who endorsed Andrews-Sullivan tell congregants voting for McKee-Rodriguez would be a “sin.”

“Jalen shattered a lavender ceiling in Texas, and it came as right-wing state legislators target LGBTQ people and people of color with bigoted policies aimed at rallying their extremist political base,” said former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “We need more people of color, young people and LGBTQ people in state and local government who will ensure politicians look to improve the lives of Texans, not further marginalize them. Jalen’s victory is a rejection of the homophobic and racist politicking so fashionable in Austin and it will inspire more LGBTQ Black leaders to run and win.”

McKee-Rodriguez graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio, (UTSA) with a BA in Communication in 2017 and will graduate with a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies this year. McKee-Rodriguez married his husband Nathan, a pharmacy technician, in 2018, and the couple owns a home in the suburban San Antonio Northeast Crossing neighborhood.

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Texas

High School removes LGBTQ ‘Safe Space’ stickers- students walk out

“These aren’t political stickers, they are merely a signal that a teacher has the confidence to have conversations with LGBTQ+ students”

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Photo Credit: GLSEN

IRVING, Tx. — A sizable number of the student body of a suburban Dallas, Texas high school walked out in protest after faculty members were forced to remove LGBTQ “safe space” stickers from their classroom doors.

Dallas ABC News affiliate WFAA ABC 8 reported that hundreds of students walked out of MacArthur High School on Wednesday after students said they began noticing the stickers were being removed from the classroom doors by the administration.

Carrying rainbow flags, the students walked out protesting what they describe as targeted discrimination against the school’s LGBTQ+ students and teachers.

One teacher reported a Safe Space poster she had printed and laminated was missing from outside her classroom too. “I was freaked. The kids were freaked out,” Rachel Stonecipher, an English teacher and sponsor of the campus’ Gay Straight Alliance told CBS-DFW.

Students, she said, immediately wondered who had removed them and what message their disappearance was sending.

“I was a little scared too because I’m the only openly, very obviously gay teacher, lesbian teacher,” said Stonecipher. She and at least four other teachers signed an e-mail to the principal asking for an explanation.

In a statement released to the media, the Irving Independent School District administration said that district policy does not allow teachers to use classrooms to “transmit personal beliefs regarding political or sectarian issues.

“To ensure that all students feel safe regardless of background or identity, the district has developed guidelines to ensure that posters, banners, and stickers placed in classrooms, hallways, or offices are curriculum-driven and neutral in viewpoint,” the statement added.

“These aren’t political stickers, they are merely a signal that a teacher has the confidence to have conversations with LGBTQ+ students,” Stonecipher told reporters.

Irving police were at the school during the walkout as an added presence.

“We have extra resources deployed at MacArthur HS to maintain a safe environment for all,” Irving police tweeted.

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Texas

East Texas bakery shows Pride, gets slammed, that went viral and…yeah

“Honestly, I never thought a post that literally said ‘more love, less hate’ would result in this kind of backlash…”

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Rainbow cookies for Pride, photograph courtesy of Confections, Lufkin, Texas

LUFKIN, TX. – For sisters Dawn and Miranda, owners of Confections, a small family bakery in this small town located in the heart of East Texas 115 miles northeast of Houston, life is about love, love of baking sweet treats for everybody. So when on Wednesday of this past week they posted a picture of heart shaped cookies decorated like a Rainbow flag, the immediate and super negative reaction crushed both them and sales.

“Today has been hard. Really hard,” reads the bakery’s Facebook post from Thursday. “… My heart is heavy. Honestly, I never thought a post that literally said ‘more love, less hate’ would result in this kind of backlash to a very small business that is struggling to stay afloat and spread a little cheer through baked goods.”

One customer cancelled a massive order of cookies that were already baked and ready to deliver; “We received a very hateful message on our business page canceling a large order (5dz) of summer themed cookies for tomorrow morning (that we just finished decorating) because of a rainbow heart cookie we posted.”

What happened next though took the sisters by surprise. After their post was shared by tens of thousands on Facebook and Instagram as well, orders poured in as did long lines around the block to buy their sweet treats. Within hours the shelves were bare and then they had to close to bake more, and when that supply was exhausted and customers just wanted to donate money instead of buying baked goods the sisters responded with;

“WE LOVE OUR TRIBE SO MUCH! Such an amazing outpouring of support❤️❤️❤️We’ve had a lot of people wanting to donate money to our shop in the name of kindness, and we appreciate the gesture so much! But. We can’t take y’all’s money like that, but if you would like to donate to one of our local shelters or rescues, that would be so amazing! Y’all are incredible human beings. We’ve always had such faith in humanity, and y’all have just reconfirmed the ABSOLUTE BEAUTY in human nature.”

Photo Credit: Confections

Sadly the sisters say that they are not set-up to ship, but they’re grateful for the outpouring of support that they have received.

Lines literally went out the door and around the block as customers patiently waited to buy the sister’s cookies and other baked goods.

Photo Credit: Confections
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