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LGBTQ Rights

Michigan: Movements Spur Legislative Victories

The scene at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing March 14 was reminiscent of mass protests there in December 2012. At that time union members packed the State House to pressure then-Governor Rick Snyder not to sign a bill making Michigan a “right-to-work” state. But Snyder broke his campaign promise not to sign, making Michigan the 27th state with the union-busting law on the books. While a union in a workplace is legally required to represent members and nonmembers alike, in a right-to-work state the union cannot negotiate a contract that makes union dues or service fees mandatory. This weakens unions and lowers the average wage in what have for decades been nicknamed “right-to-work-for-less” states.

‘It’s Disrupted All Of My Lesson Plans’: Florida Ramps Up Censorship

As the new semester began, teachers throughout Florida were faced with new state laws strictly limiting curricula—prompting schools to remove droves of books from their classrooms and libraries for fear of being in violation of the draconian but opaque new laws. An already-chilling reality gripping the third most populous state is getting even chillier in the wake of controversial legislation such as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and the Stop Woke Act, which both went into effect in July 2022. The DeSantis administration rolled out several initiatives in January 2023 aimed at eliminating broad swathes of the existing curriculum, including banning the teaching of Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies for high school students throughout Florida.

Nurses At LGBTQ-Affirming Healthcare Provider Are Planning To Strike

Unionized nurses at Howard Brown Health, a Chicago network of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare clinics, are set to go on strike Monday, Oct. 3 after what workers say are months of stalled contract bargaining negotiations.  The union is comprised of 30 nurses across 10 clinics, who are bargaining for their second contract, the first of which expired in August. The nurses’ union, the Illinois Nurses Association, says that since June they have been negotiating with management on a weekly basis and have reached tentative agreements on more than 30 items, including staffing levels and a commitment to vaccinate workers against monkeypox. But, the union alleges, these conversations — now daily — have failed to progress to securing workers’ chief demands: Increased pay competitive with other nurses in the city, and retention bonuses. 

To Fight Far Right Attacks We Must Reclaim The Radical Legacy Of Pride

Attacks on trans people are continuing to become more prevalent and more vicious. Not only are there currently more than 150 bills making their way through state legislatures that specifically target trans people, but the far right, aligned with certain sectors of the feminist movement, are also becoming more and more explicit in their calls for a eugenics campaign against trans people, with the end goal of as few trans people in existence as possible. One Twitter user, echoing language used by Tucker Carlson, even called for a “post-Weimar cleanup” of “degenerates.” The most common types of anti-trans legislation currently being proposed at the state level are bills that restrict trans youth’s access to gender-affirming healthcare and those that restrict trans youth’s ability to participate in sports.

The Full Story Of How Louisianans Defeated The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

Baton Rouge, Louisiana - On May 3, the Louisiana House of Representatives Education Committee struck down this state’s version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by a seven to four vote. This decision came after a mass upsurge of students, parents, teachers, social workers and LGBTQ+ community members demanding to shut the bill down. HB 837, the “Don’t Say Gay” or “Classroom censorship” bill, attempted to prohibit all discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation in K-8 classrooms. On top of this, it was an effort to ban teachers from disclosing their gender identities or sexual orientations to students. Once a legislator introduces a bill in either chamber of the legislature (House or Senate), it must meet the approval of a legislative committee before going for a full floor vote.

Activists Outraged As Democrats Withdraw Trans Healthcare Bill

Democrats in Maryland recently withdrew their own bill to expand healthcare coverage for trans people, despite having a majority to pass it, leaving transgender Marylanders feeling betrayed by the party that’s long claimed to champion their rights. House Bill 746, the Trans Health Equity Act, would have forced Maryland’s Medicaid program to provide coverage for transgender people’s transition-related treatments, including hormone therapy, surgeries, and voice therapy. According to its sponsor, Delegate Anne Kaiser, some 2,000 transgender Marylanders use Medicaid. The bill easily passed Maryland’s Senate, but just as the House of Delegates’ legislative session was ending in early April, the bill mysteriously disappeared.

New Orleans: Hundreds Unite To March Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation

New Orleans, LA - Around 250 community members gathered at New Orleans City Hall, March 25, to forcefully voice their opposition to a string of legislation introduced by Louisiana Republicans in recent weeks. This includes bills that would restrict trans minors’ access to healthcare, their ability to participate in school sports, and could criminalize LGBTQ+ students and educators for being “out” in Louisiana schools. The demonstration was attended mostly by students from three New Orleans high schools who have taken the initiative in organizing bold actions both on and off their campuses. Earlier in the day students at Benjamin Franklin High School held a walkout where hundreds of their classmates marched to the front of the school chanting “We say gay!”

500 Students Walk Out Of Florida School In Protest Against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

On Monday, hundreds of students staged a walkout at a high school in Orange County, Florida, demonstrating against a bill that would limit discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools throughout the state. More than 500 students participated in a protest at Winter Park High School, organized to oppose legislation — colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — that was being debated in the state Senate at the time. The legislation would ban discussion of LGBTQ issues in primary school classrooms and severely curtail what can be discussed in older grades, and could have disastrous repercussions beyond lesson plans. On Tuesday, that legislation passed in the state Senate. The bill is now on its way to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) desk, who has signaled he will sign it into law.

Cubans Begin Collective Discussion Of New Family Code

On Tuesday, almost 7 million Cubans will start attending around 78,000 meeting points to discuss the Family Code approved by the Cuban Parliament (ANPP) in December. They will carry out the discussions in 12,513 constituency electoral commissions, where the citizens will debate the contents of code's articles. These debates will be recorded in physical and electronic records that will be sent to the electoral authorities so that they can aggregate and count citizen opinions according to specific issues. Then the compilation made by the electoral authorities will be sent to Congress so that the lawmakers can submit a new version that will go to referendum before the end of 2022.

The War Against Us

As some readers may have noticed, Antony Blinken has the State Department festooning its embassies around the world with “BLM” banners and the rainbow flag of the sexual identity movement known commonly as LGBTQI+. As our virtuous secretary of state explained in April, when he authorized these advertisements for America’s splendidly raised consciousness, the BLM pennant commemorates the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year; the familiar LGBTQI+ colors will fly on our flagpoles in foreign capitals “for the duration of the 2021 Pride season.” So our guitar-strumming chief diplomat put it when announcing this… this policy, I suppose we are to call it. Taking the very serious cause for equal rights and turning it into cover for an extremely aggressive foreign policy, it makes for a pretty weird sight, if you have seen any of the pictures. Then again, so does our Tony as he flits around the world on the wings of an angel.

Honoring The Movement To End Discrimination Against LGBTQ People

June is Pride Month – a time set aside to honor the Stonewall uprising, which launched the movement to end discriminatory laws against LGBTQ people – and to remember the many important cultural and legislative victories since that pivotal summer in 1969. This year, the celebration occurs under the cloud of more than 125 anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced in state legislatures, many targeting children who identify as transgender by denying them access to lifesaving medical treatment, banning them from participating in sports or using the restroom. This is up markedly from last year when more than 40 such bills were introduced. In fact, 2021 has set a record for the number of anti-trans legislative efforts.

Biden Administration Cynically Manipulates LGBTQ Rights Struggle To Advance Empire

Perhaps feeling wind in his sails after an executive order reversing Trump-era anti-LGBTQ policies, US President Joe Biden is now seeking to make defense of LGBTQ rights abroad a part of US imperialist foreign policy. The hypocrisy of his claim is all too apparent: LGBTQ people continue to lack basic rights here in the US, and many of Washington’s closest allies have abysmal records on the issue. “There will be no ambiguity,” a senior Biden administration official recently told the media. “This is not the word of one envoy or cabinet secretary. Biden wants this to be seen as the policy of the United States government. This administration prioritizes LGBTQ rights as human rights.” “We are lucky to have close allies in Europe who are forward-leaning and in the right place when in it comes to these issues, whether in Chechnya or Russia.

On Contact: Censorship And Criminalizing Love

On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to author Naomi Wolf about the bitter legacy of the British and Western colonialism of rampant homophobia, so virulent that people to this day are murdered for being gay in countries such as Egypt or Uganda. Naomi Wolf in her new book, 'Outrages, Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love', examines through the life of the British poet and gay activist John Addington Symonds how imperial power used, and uses, rigid sexual stereotypes as tools for repression and social control.

NYPD Officers Arrest And Pepper Spray Queer Liberation March Protesters

NYPD officers arrested and pepper-sprayed protesters at the Queer Liberation March Sunday afternoon while attempting to arrest two people for graffiti, according to witnesses. Numerous videos shared on social media show a crowd of officers shoving outraged protesters where arrests were being made near Washington Square Park. As two were being arrested for graffiti, protesters intervened in an attempt to free them, at which point police responded with pepper spray, multiple witnesses told Gothamist. A legal observer said at least four people were arrested and 10 others pepper-sprayed—including someone running a fruit stand nearby protesters.

The Stonewall Riots Didn’t Start The Gay Rights Movement

Despite what you may hear during this year’s fiftieth anniversary commemorations, Stonewall was not the spark that ignited the gay rights movement. The story is well known: A routine police raid of a mafia-owned gay bar in New York City sparked three nights of riots and, with them, the global gay rights movement. In fact it is conventional to date LGBTQ history into “before Stonewall” and “after Stonewall” periods—not just in the United States, but in Europe as well. British activists can join Stonewall UK, for example, while pride parades in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are called “Christopher Street Day,” after the street in New York City on which the Stonewall Inn still sits. But there were gay activists before that early morning of June 28, 1969, previous rebellions of LGBTQ people against police, earlier calls for “gay power,” and earlier riots.
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