Reuters reported that there have been five big gains in the LGBTQ rights battle in 2016. They are: United Nations appoints first gay rights investigator; U.S. celebrities, corporations boycott North Carolina over transgender bathroom law; Malta bans conversion therapy to lead way in Europe; Belize scraps colonial-era anti-gay law; and beauty pageants, film industry shine spotlight on gay and transgender issues.
Religious stakeholders, prominent First Amendment scholars and five major civil rights organizations filed amicus briefs in the Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant (CSE III) case on Dec. 23 urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to District Judge Carlton Reeves’s order blocking of Mississippi’s HB 1523, an extreme anti-LGBT law, from going into effect. Eight briefs in total were filed on behalf of major civil rights organizations, including Gay and Lesbian Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and First Amendment scholars.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and the LGBT Equality Caucus co-chairs sent a letter to the Department of Defense (DOD) calling for an extension of the phase out period for the Same-Sex Domestic Partner program.
Attempts to defund an independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity were thwarted before the holiday season by a group of conservative states at the United Nations General Assembly.
Soulforce has issued a call for messages to Orlando, Fla. as a way to resist the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention slated there in February. Dove line art can be downloaded and colored in whatever way the creator chooses. Personal messages are also encouraged to be included, be they for the people of Orlando, the 49 Pulse victims and their families, for the NRB or for any community member lost. Once completed, the items will be delivered to the “Altar of Life” at the Creating Change conference in January in Philadelphia, Pa. Once assembled as one unit, it will be delivered to the NRB conference.
Aaron Belkin has taken aim at the Family Research Council who use discredited arguments in their attempts to target LGBTQ servicemembers.
A Cook County judge ruled that the Chicago City Council violated Illinois’s Open Meetings Act (OMA) by refusing to allow members of the public to testify at its meetings in accordance with the Act. Judge Diane Larson issued her order in response to long-time LGBTQ activists Andy Thayer’s and Rick Garcia’s July 25th motion for a preliminary injunction to force Chicago to follow the OMA after the general public was largely barred from attending and testifying at both the May 18 and June 22 meetings of the City Council.
The World Outgames Miami organizers have announced that it will be the host of the official soccer/football IGLFA Unity Cup. Also, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association of North America will participate at the sporting event.
A new grassroots group, 50 Bills 50 States, was launched seeking to protect LGBT youth from the practice of conversion therapy. The discredited therapy seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity using what many consider torturous techniques.
“The Wayne Besen Show” recently explored how Donald Trump is impacting LGBTQ people and democracy.
Author David G. Hallman has released a collection of short stories. The gay books author entitled the new work “Book Tales” which is imbued with stories about loving and living as an openly gay man.
The LGBT Academy of Recording Arts has launched its Outmusic Television Network which features music videos.
The LGBT Funders have announced the Funding Forward 2017 conference in Seattle, Wash., from March 29-31.
LGBTQ youth in the U.S. have been profiled for almost seven years by We Are the Youth, depicting cultural and political changes. The organization was included in New York Magazine’s coverage of the Obama years.
GYATRi Media released the romantic LGBTQ short film “NUNE” (pronounced noon-nay) on DVD for the holiday season.
Family members of Tevin Crosby, Juan Guerrero and Javier Jorge-Reyes who were killed in the ISIS-inspired Orlando, Fla. shooting at Pulse Nightclub in June 2016, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Dec. 19, naming Google, Facebook and Twitter as defendants for providing material support to the terrorist group ISIS.
Stewart Taylor has released his debut EP entitled “Underground.” The artist has been an active voice within the LGBTQ community. His story was featuring in the New York Times bestseller, “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living.”
Dr. Sherman Leis, founder of The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, presented his annual list of the top 10 trends that will affect the transgender community in 2017. Some of the items are: Although public support for transgender issues may diminish, corporations’ and non-profits’ role as advocates and supporters may increase and expand and the establishment healthcare community’s focus on transgender people who are minors will continue to expand.
CenterLink has announced its new board. Appointments are: Cece Cox and Paul Moore, co-chairs; Marvin Webb, treasurer; and Stacie Walls-Beegle, secretary.
Hornet, a gay social network, announced that it has entered into a mutually beneficial cooperation with Blued, a gay social network in China. As part of the cooperation, Blued will be participating in an extension of the funding round to help expand upon the momentum and growth rates Hornet has been experiencing.
info: love.hornetapp.com. blued.cn.
GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard thanked President Barack Obama for appointing Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education, and Debo Adegbile of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP, and previously with the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is a bipartisan, independent commission composed of eight Commissioners: four appointed by the President and four by Congress.
National Geographic has announced the January 2017 release of its Gender Revolution special issue which explores the shifting landscape of gender. Also, a two-hour documentary on the subject will premiere on Feb. 6 at 9 p.m. Produced by Katie Couric Media with National Geographic Studios and World of Wonder Productions, the special will air on National Geographic around the globe in 171 countries and in 45 languages.
info: natgeo.com. nationalgeographic.com.
The University of California-Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research released new findings through the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). It showed that 4.5 percent of youth are gender non-conforming. More than 20,000 Californians — including adults, teenagers and children — are interviewed each year for the data collection process.
A researcher at Birmingham City University in the UK is undertaking research into the social and cognitive barriers hindering men who have sex with men (MSM) from finding out more information about sexually transmitted infections.
GLSEN has released its Biennial National School Climate Survey findings which showed that U.S. LGBTQ middle and high school students still face hostility at school. However, the report, which documents school climate, its effects on student outcomes and the availability and benefits of school-based supports for LGBTQ students, also shows significant signs of improvement in these areas since 2001.
Montréal Pride has announced an international conference to be held during Canada-wide 2017 Pride celebrations, known as Canada Pride Montréal 2017.
The Treatment Action Group and HIV Prevention Justice Alliance presented a webinar on national HIV/AIDS prevention indicators. It is available for viewing online.
All six episodes of “History” — a new scripted web series that explores the relationships, friendships and the sexual and gender politics of young gay men in New York City — are official selections of the AltFest New York Winter Series, in association with NewFilmmakers.
One of the most groundbreaking HIV prevention strategies for HIV-negative gay and bisexual men (GBM) is a once-daily pill called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which is up to 99 percent effective in the prevention of HIV infection. To that end, two Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training published papers have helped understand the reasons for this gap using data from One Thousand Strong, a longitudinal study following a national cohort of over 1,000 HIV-negative GBM for three years. In the first paper, published in Social Science and Medicine, the authors identified one potential reason for this gap. Based on this, the authors then sought to look at movement along the full continuum of PrEP engagement in a subsequent paper, published in JAIDS: Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome — this paper was the first to examine the PrEP cascade using a national sample of GBM in the U.S.
The Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Law announces the launch of the All Survivors Project, documenting sexual and gender based violence against boys and men in situations of armed conflict and displacement.
info: allsurvivorsproject.org. williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu.
The American Civil Liberties Union held a media briefing call addressing the coming tide of efforts at both the state and federal levels to allow religion to be used as an excuse to legalize discrimination.
On Dec. 11, supporters and allies of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) came together at Pier 60 in New York City, N.Y. for the 31st Annual Toys Party. The event benefited LGBT elders, as well as children, through participating charities.
Organizers have announced The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) as presenting sponsor for AIDSWatch 2017 which will be held March 27-28, 2017. It brings hundreds of advocates to Washington, D.C. from across the country to educate Congress about the policies and resources needed to end the HIV epidemic. Registration opened on World AIDS Day.
New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director Francis DeBernardo has issued a statement on Pope Francis’ approval of a document banning gay priests. In it he said, “Pope Francis has a lot of explaining to do by approving the newest Vatican instruction that reaffirms a 2005 ban on gay men becoming priests. Pope Francis’ famous ‘Who am I to judge?’ statement in 2013 was made in response to a question about gay men in the priesthood, and that response indicated very plainly that he did not have a problem with a gay priest’s sexual orientation, as long as ‘he searches for the Lord and has good will.’ The newest document, entitled ‘The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,’ contains three sections about gay men as candidates for the priesthood, and all of the messages are negative.” The full statement is available online.
Filmmaker Patricia Chica and her team are presently running an Indiegogo Campaign to fund the completion of “Morning After.” The film tells the story of a young man called Michael, who comes back to Montreal after spending two years abroad. At this juncture, he is forced to explore his sexuality. A sneak preview is available at vimeo.com/193956748.
Project Q Atlanta has reported that “transgender activists and leaders are gearing up to respond to any North Carolina House Bill 2 copycat bills that may come to Georgia when lawmakers return to the State Capitol in January.”
Scientists from the amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research reported solid progress exactly one year after the Institute was established. The update was given at a summit in early December. The summit was organized around the Institute’s four research modules — “Chart, Understand, Record, and Eradicate — which are all related to the persistent HIV reservoir, the main obstacle to a cure.”